Local writer-director Eddie Lengyel originally thought he'd be a DJ. When he was at Kent State in the '90s, he would spin at the now shuttered Boiler Room on the East Bank of the Flats and then at Spy Bar in the Warehouse District. He was working at a strip club called Hydra and met a guy who wanted to make an independent film. That's when he formed Fright Teck Pictures, the production company that issues his low-budget horror movies.
"I took a crack at it and that's how my first film, Hell Week, came out," he says. "We were just two guys sitting around bullshitting."
His latest flick, Kandie Land, premieres at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5, at Atlas 7 Lakeshore. Lengyel describes it as "a throwback to the '80s horror genre with its 'in your face kills.'" It's also his most elaborate production to date (and he's trying to get a distribution deal that could make it available nationwide).
Shot in Medina, the film centers on modeling agency owner Faye Ambler (Justine Greenwald) who sends four women to a rural lodge for a photo shoot. A bloodbath ensues as the photographer and models encounter a disfigured man (Hellweek's Don Kilrain), who wears a mask to cover up his scars.
The film also stars Playboy model Lisa Neeld and Ari Lehman, the "first Jason Vorhees" from Friday the 13th. The film cost about $10,000 to make, and Lengyel says locally based location scout Janine Sarnowski helped him find the locations to film.
"That's low budget in the scheme of things," he says of the film's overall cost. "I love shooting here. There are so many wonderful places to shoot. The lake where we shot at was just beautiful. It has a Hollywood feel because of the sets."
Many of the stars from the film will attend the premiere, and First Jason, a metal band featuring Lehman, will perform after the screening. — Jeff Niesel