“RED CANYON” SCRIPT
A note from the writers
When we, (Laura Pratt and Giovanni Rodriguez) were writing the screenplay for “Red Canyon” we studied horror and psychological thriller films, novels, and short stories thoroughly looking at recent blockbusters like the “SAW,” “Hostel,” and “Scream.” We watched a slew of Japanese and Korean horror films then went to the classics such as “Halloween” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and then further back to films such as “Psycho” and the earliest thrillers like “M,” “Frankenstein,” and “The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari.” We looked at Poe, Stephen King, and H. P. Lovecraft.
While almost everything was creepy and disturbing in it’s own way, the stories that impressed us the most were based on how people really act – the stories that could actually happen. It is entertaining to see a half naked girl being chased by a psychotic maniac who can’t be killed – but we found that the things that truly frightened us came from what people really do. Life is often much scarier than fiction. Most crimes can be traced to money, drugs, booze, sex, or insanity – and it’s usually a combination of one or more of the above. Quite obviously a prevalent aspect in assaults on women have to do with rape and sexual sadism.
So Giovanni and I asked ourselves what is real? What is truly horrifying? What is the worst thing we could imagine? Is it being hurt or killed? Or is it seeing someone we loved being hurt and powerless to stop it? What would that do to the victim? What would it do to the person who was forced to watch?
We started with that question and framed it around the small Pratt family farm in Southern Utah that lies in the shadow of a large mesa. The farm is very isolated and surrounded by weird twisted landscapes. Many people have spent sleepless nights at the farm asking themselves…what if…what if…what if – and have only felt safe falling asleep in the early hours of dawn.
In April we had a test screening of “Red Canyon” and the audience filled out questionnaires and afterward we held small discussion groups to talk about the film. On the whole the audience found it gripping and disturbing.
Everyone agreed that Christine Lakin, Tim Draxl, Norman Reedus and Noah Fleiss did an excellent job portraying people who’d been profoundly damaged by one devastating event.
They also agreed that Justin Hartley, Ankur Bhatt, Richard Pratt, and Katie Maguire did an excellent job portraying people caught in a situation they didn’t understand.
The sense of realism disturbed some of the viewers. Many women in particular found it disturbing. They felt like these things could and did happen.
The consensus was that “Red Canyon” goes to place where most films wouldn’t dream of going – and getting there is one hell of a ride.
In April we started wrapping up post production on “Red Canyon” starring Christine Lakin, Norman Reedus, Tim Draxl, Justin Hartley, Noah Fleiss, Ankur Bhatt, Katie Maguire, Walter Rodriguez, and Richard Pratt.
Postproduction editing had been carried out at Savage Pictures in Salt Lake City, an extremely good boutique-editing house owned by veteran editors Mike Fox and Steve Haugen. Savage Pictures specializes in state of the art high definition editing.
After such an intense work schedule it was particularly sad to wrap up post-production and say goodbye to our editor Ian Seymour. Ian had been a part of the editing teams that completed such notable films as “Penelope,” “In Bruges,” and “The Proposition,” and has an excellent sense of story and composition. Ian’s work on “The Proposition,” an excellent film starring Guy Pierce was really what drew him to our attention. Ian was amazing to work with and we felt very lucky to get such a skilled editor.
We also said goodbye to our assistant editor Troy Rackley who was so technically skilled that he was a terrific asset. Troy had lent his talents to such films as “An Inconvenient Truth,” in the past.
Once “Red Canyon” was locked and ready for sound design Giovanni Rodriguez, the director, was finally able to abandon his adopted state of Utah and return home New York.
In New York Giovanni, who is an extremely talented musician himself, oversaw the final sound elements for the film. Giovanni worked with DuArt Film and Video in New York where the post-production sound elements were added. DuArt has been a post production house since roughly 1925 and has worked on many productions, including: “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” “Slacker,” “Crumb,” and “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman.” It was interesting and exciting to work with a post house whose history goes back to the silent era of films.
Rob Filomena of RZRHD Razorhead Music also came on board in New York as the composer for “Red Canyon.” Rob composed a great score for the film. His steel guitar work is phenomenal – and the entire score is extremely haunting.
The “Red Canyon” cast partially re-united in Los Angeles for “ADR” at Shoreline Studios in Santa Monica. Christine Lakin, Tim Draxl, Justin Hartley, and Ankur Bhatt all participated in ADR. Giovanni Rodriguez and the producers Laura Pratt, and Michael Dungan flew in from New York. It was everyone’s first time being together since filming. It was particularly nice not to see everyone covered in blood or dirt.