Vampire Flick Could Help Scorpio Duo Sink Teeth Into Feature Market

January 15, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff writer

She stalks the small towns of Carroll County, seducing and slowly killing her hapless victims.

Only one thing will stop the beautiful vampire -- the power of her husband's love to find and kill her.

At least that's how the story line goes in "Shadow of an Angel," a new film being created by Kevin Summerfield and Dale Frantz of Scorpio Pictures in Eldersburg.

A trailer for the film -- which will be shot in Carroll -- was filmed last weekend in Westminster and Eldersburg to entice prospective investors into backing the film.

The production is the second venture for Frantz and Summerfield, who paired in October 1990 to make a 36-minute film, "One Red Rose," for Carroll Community Television, Channel 55.

"It's a tragic vampire love story," said Summerfield, president of Scorpio Pictures. "Sort of a combination of the strong personalities in "Twin Peaks" and the tragic love of 'King Kong.' "

The idea for the screenplay, which Summerfield wrote three years ago, came from the ending of the movie "Fright Night."

Summerfield, 22, said he was intrigued by the scene where the character Amy seduces her boyfriend in the shadows of the basement and emerges a vampire.

"I had never seen a movie that explored the sensual and personal side of a vampire," said Summerfield. "This is more from the female aspect, with strong female characters."

In this film, the power to turn into a vampire is caused by a metabolic disorder the main character, Angelica, contracted through a sexual liaison.

"You actually feel sorry for her," said Frantz, the producer and director of the film. "This is a disease of lust, and it wasn'ther fault. She struggles to live with the disease, knows she has it and can't help it."

In fact, the term "vampire" is only used loosely to describe the long nails, fangs and desire to kill that overtakeAngelica when the disease flares up, Frantz said.

"There are no bats, she doesn't fly or turn green, and she can go out during the day," he said. "Vampire is just the word we use to describe the point that she kills people."

The conflict comes when she leaves her husband, Tom -- played by Summerfield -- to protect him from the effects of her disease. The deep love they share leads him to search for her to free her from the blood disorder.

"The only way to stop the disease is death," said Summerfield. "So, the question is, is their love strong enough for him to actually kill her?"

A third character, Lisa, befriends Tom when he finds Angelica in a small Maryland town.

"This is not your everyday vampire film," Frantz said. "Strong, sensual women carry this picture, rather than them killing everyone in sight or laying at the men's feet.

"It was written specifically for that aspect."

Frantz also stresses that the sensuality in the picture is tastefully done.

"It is sensual and erotic, but not X-rated," he said. "Often, the less you see, the more erotic it is."

The copyrighted screenplay, which has been rewritten at least 10 times since its inception, has received much praise from producers and actorsin Los Angeles and New York, the owners of Scorpio Pictures said.

Negotiations have begun with investors, they said, but none have committed to back the film.

"That's why we're doing the trailer," Frantz said. "The way the economy is, it's difficult to get the money together, and they want to see what we can do."

Frantz and Summerfield said distributors have expressed interest in releasing the film once it is completed, at a budget of under $1 million.

"Tri-Star, Paramount and a few others said they would look at it once it is completed," Frantz said, explaining that distributors usually deal that waywith independent producers.

"They (usually) won't even start looking at a film until its budget range is $3 million or above."

Casting for the 31 roles, which has taken seven months to complete, has been done primarily with local talent, Summerfield said.

"We're actually pushing for local talent," he said. "Hollywood often comes out here to make films and then uses Hollywood or New York talent rather than the local boys. So, I decided to make some work for myself.

"We only want one or two big names to bring in the audiences."

In fact, the pair has actually gotten at least one "big name" to considerstarring in the film.

"I can't disclose any names, but someone who is considered a medium-sized actress is interested in doing the film," Frantz said. "Her agent said if we got the backing, they would bevery interested in doing it."

But, for now, all the local filmmakers can do is sit and wait.

"We were ready to shoot yesterday," said Summerfield. "We just need four weeks to do pre-production, getting special effects together and doing rehearsals. Then we're ready to go into our five-week shooting schedule."

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