Something wicked this way comes to Manitoba this fall.
Dark Harvest, a horror thriller produced by MGM, is slated to go before the cameras by mid-August.
No cast has been announced yet, but the film’s director is something of a genre star in his own right. English filmmaker David Slade directed the nasty but effective 2007 vampire thriller 30 Days of Night, as well as one instalment of the Twilight Saga, Eclipse, in 2010. Slade announced himself as a director to be reckoned with the 2005 revenge thriller Hard Candy, starring Elliot Page and Patrick Wilson playing a cat-and-mouse game between a pedophile photographer and a not-so-harmless teen girl.
Ironically, the Alaska-set 30 Days of Night scouted Manitoba locations but ultimately filmed in New Zealand.
Slade has also shot music videos for acts including Stone Temple Pilots, the Stereophonics and System of a Down.
The film, rumoured to have a budget north of $40 million, was to have been shot and released by Halloween this year, but presumably, the COVID pandemic threw a wrench into the schedule.
Certainly, the film looks to have Halloween-friendly potential. It is based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Norman Partridge which Publishers Weekly deemed one of the 100 best novels of that year. It’s about a Halloween tradition in a small town where young men are invited to stop a murderous supernatural entity known as the "October Boy." The novel, set in 1963, is about one young man who vows to kill the October Boy as a means of escaping his small town life.
The film is currently scheduled to shoot between Aug. 16 and Oct. 4, which would suggest it is likely to target a release date in October of 2022.
Rachel Rusen, the CEO of Manitoba Film and Music, expressed particular enthusiasm for hosting a project by a storied Hollywood studio.
"We are delighted to welcome MGM to Manitoba," Rusen said. "The Manitoba Film Commission has scouted numerous projects for this legendary studio and this is the first one that landed in our province.
"It’s going to be a feature that’s going to be a significant project for our summer calendar and it will be a good complement to (the CBC series) The Porter, (the upcoming French language series) Gabrielle Roy and the made-for-TV movies that are made here."
In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.