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Don’t go trespassing near Twelve Pole

By Staff | Mar 28, 2018

Wayne County has a house. It’s along Twelve Pole. 335. Looks like a fixer upper.

335 has a history.

Years past a tenant’s wife appeared to be a witch – or at the very least possessed by the dark arts. The man hanged his wife on a sprawling tree, but after checking her dirty toe for a pulse, he grabbed a sharp object. He inflicted what we will call a bad sore throat upon himself. And, you’ll be reminded of this murder/suicide over and over, every time you see a barren tree.

A team of freshmen filmmakers have assembled this seriously chilling tribute to the paranormal supernatural slasher genre. After viewing “Twelve Pole,” you’ll be a little hesitant biting into your next saucy sausage pizza.

Sam Hodge has writer/ director/ cinematography credits for the indie film shot in Wayne, Ft. Gay and Dunlow, W.Va. It will have a local premiere on Thursday, April 26 at Marquee Pullman Square; it then goes to streaming and DVD.

First-time filmmaker Hodge has absolutely no prior experience whether in front of or behind the camera; he’s merely a critical viewer.

“The only experience I have with film and editing is a horror review channel on YouTube I’ve had for a few years,” he said during an interview.

Numerous directors have influenced him, but Hodge narrowed it to three stand outs for “Twelve Pole” —

Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Funhouse, Poltergeist), for “gritty unapologetic style;” John Carpenter (Halloween, Escape from New York, They Live) for “most of the way [Twelve Pole] was filmed;” and Dario Argento (Suspiria, Terror at the Opera, Bird with Crystal Plumage) for “lighting set up, emotions and time.”

Carpenter should receive a thumbs up, too, for a twinkling score (by Hodge) and lots of well executed stereoscopic bumps in the night.

Unlike the one camera POV perspectives of “Paranormal” and successors, Hodge prefers a wide shot lingering camera behaving like a curious stalker that goes for the gut when switching to a close up. For instance, after a group of dudes reluctantly purchase 335 Twelve Pole for upgrading, a couple roasts marshmallows in the back lot. The camera starts wide establishing the isolation, then slowly zooms to their discussion. Similarly, a “nightmare” awakening works in reverse – from relatively close to a jittery widening of the shot.

Credit Argento for planting stealthy decoys and intentional possession ambiguities. His “Suspiria” remains one visit to the other side that still sends shivers down this writer’s spine.

“The house is definitely problematic in real life in the sense that something isn’t right and you can feel it as soon as you go in,” Hodge explained. But editing and camera continually ask ‘how many somethings?'”

For the levels of fright (and hard R special effects) you would not suspect “this was the first film for all of us. We spent eight months shooting and four months in post production,” the admittedly “self taught student of horror films” said.

True, some dialogue betrays their first time acting, but their eyes, lips, faces have ashen glares when necessary.

Yeah, they all made a mistake purchasing this structure, but “Twelve Pole” avoids many of the standard cliches through cleverness. Their modest budget nearly equates them with “B” grade wide horror releases, not fan made beginners.

A no spoiler pledge included the credits, so stay, and READ.

Tony Rutherford is a film reviewer for HuntingtonNews.net and a member of the Huntington Regional Film Commission.