After seeing slasher film after slasher film containing the same tropes and characters, she wanted to see a change.
“Tin Roof” movie director and Bargersville resident Rebecca Rinehart is a longtime horror fan, and wanted to lead a movie in the central and southern Indiana area. She joined forces with assistant director Rob Mello, who she also worked with in her first film, “The Embalmers,” which she cast Mello in. In this movie, Rinehart said she wanted to reinvent the idea of a camp slasher.
“I love and always wanted to make a camp slasher,” Rinehart said. “It’s always teenagers on spring break. I’m in my 40s and people I know grew up on them. I wanted a slasher that involves middle-aged people, kids, people who have problems, mortgages, jobs. It’s about five adults, four who grew up going to this camp and were counselors there when they got older. Bad things happen with the camp and it will get shut down. They decided to go to the camp and shoot a bunch of videos to go viral and get a GoFundMe to save the camp. The protagonists are five people in their late 30s and early 40s trying to save the camp they love, but there might be some bad stuff out there.”
About a third of the filming will take place in Johnson County, with a third in Brown County and a third in Morgan County. The filming in Johnson County will be split between two locations: Banta Community Hall and Taxman Brewing Company in Bargersville.
Taxman events director Ashley Vandervort knew Rinehart and Mello as regulars at the brewery, and jumped at the opportunity to host their film set, Vandervort said.
“It was kind of intriguing when they contacted us. We do weddings, bridal showers, wedding showers, and this seemed like a fun opportunity,” she said. “It’s been exciting, it’s been fun; they’ve all been really nice. I think I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s going well. I know the staff is very excited to see their restaurant on (film) and everything. They will give us credit, and our logo and glassware will be in it.”
Rinehart said she’s hopeful the film will be released next summer.
On the younger side of casting is 11-year-old Kentuckian Jonni Shandor, who has been acting for more than half her life, including roles in “Annie” and “The Embalmers.” She plays the role of Mary in “Tin Roof.”
“Whenever I was around six, I started with theater. My mom went to the theatre and I enjoyed watching plays and she wanted me to audition and I thought, ‘that sounds fun.’ I auditioned and surprisingly got accepted,” Shandor said. “Rebecca Rhinehart wanted me in ‘The Embalmers’ and I decided I wanted to do film. I found out how much I wanted to do acting.”
On the other end of the experience spectrum is Hélène Udy, who has had roles in “My Bloody Valentine” and “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” over a career spanning almost four decades. In “Tin Roof,” she plays Charlene, who she describes as “self-important.”
“I love Rebecca and Rob and I had so much fun in (‘The Embalmers’). They’re great filmmakers and the script was really good. I think it’s a classic horror movie with well-developed characters,” Udy said. “I love being on set. There’s something magical when we’re on set. We get very excited and helpful with each other, especially with an independent film. It feels like you’re on vacation, but you’re working with each other; it’s addictive.”
Michael Dean, who plays “Brian,” one of the lead characters, said he loves the ability to tell stories through acting.
“I love to story-tell. I went to college where my voice and diction teacher was friends with Jeff Daniels. I’m from Michigan and he had the Purple Rose Theatre. I told him I wanted to be a storyteller and he told me to get into acting,” Dean said. “My inspiration is I’d like to be a light on the set, bring a lot of positive energy and be the missing piece to move it forward.”
Mello said he always wanted to be involved in creative fields, and writing the script for “Tin Roof” is the most recent chapter of that.
“This is the first (movie) I’ve written from notions to concepts to kills to the scenes and dialogue and relationships,” he said. “Rebecca wanted the characters to have beer bellies, mortgages and problems. It’s more relatable to people who would consume such a film. We wanted our kills to be unique. People are killed in all sorts of ways, and in horror, the kills are important. There’s nothing overly sexual or overly bloody. The story had to be compelling.”