The 1980’s are back! It’s cool again to relive the era many of us grew up in. With shows like Stranger Things and movies like Ready Player One, now is the time to revisit our youth. There’s a whole new generation of filmmakers who have grown up in the 80’s and are attempting to bring back the things we loved about it. There are short films like Commando Ninja, The Summoner, and Kung Fury (soon to be a feature) that have successfully tapped into the 80’s and delivered a terrific over-the-top good time. While over-the-top is great, filmmaker Erick Solis has another idea in mind. He plans to make a new film, shot in 2018, and make it look like it came straight out of 1985.
“Night Run tells the story of Daniel McCormack, a regular guy who dreams of sports cars and a better life with his girlfriend, Jennifer,” explains writer/director Erick Solis. “One night Daniel stops an assault on several civilians by the notorious Kano Gang who have been overpowering the city of Santa Mira. Sadly, he’s murdered by the gang’s leader Johnny. One year later, on Halloween night, Daniel rises from the grave seeking revenge on the men who took his life, his future, and his dreams.”
In 2013 while still in college, Solis came up with the idea working on a different project. “I wanted to make a true, genuine, 80’s throwback film, a homage in the same sense Stranger Things is. I’m a huge fan of action and horror films from the 80’s, I would watch and re-watch these movies, so I came up with an outline of what I wanted to see in one of these movies. The idea of a guy coming back to life on Halloween Night, seeking revenge after being murdered seemed perfect for that era,” he declares. “It just seemed like a movie that could have been made in the 80’s. The closest I could think of with similar themes would be The Wraith or maybe a couple Death Wish films but those were straight up revenge flicks. I want it to be a heavy, supernatural, action film straight from the 80’s. With the resurgence of all things 80’s, now was the perfect time to dust it off and see where I can take it.”
To tell a story like this, Solis has turned to Kickstarter and started a campaign in order to raise funds for the film. “I set a very realistic goal and having already met the goal, I want to keep my expectations realistic. I know we will never get $30,000 but maybe $8000 would be amazing.” Solis continues, “With what I have saved myself, a previous IndieGoGo campaign, and what we have now our budget for the film should be around $20,000. I feel pretty confident with that budget to shoot an 80min feature.” With nearly one month left in the campaign, he has exceeded his initial goal of $5000 and is now sitting at over $5700.
In order to sell the idea, Erick and his girlfriend spent a couple of days in 2016 putting together a trailer he hoped would capture the essence of what he wanted to create. “Putting together the trailer was a really huge challenge. I shot the whole thing myself while my girlfriend worked on casting and makeup. We shot in downtown L.A. and had to get a permit in order to shoot the majority of it in an abandoned warehouse”, he declares. “We only had four hours to shoot because the rental prices are just outrageous here. I ran around with the camera, choreographed the fight, and shot the majority of the whole thing in a single day. I did a few pickups two days later so we moved very quickly. The editing was challenging because we only shot individual things. It was a little difficult piecing it all together so it made sense.”
Once the trailer was completed, it was easy to get a sense of the type of film Night Run should be. In order for the movie to feel authentic, it would have to be shot in a way similar to how it would have been shot in the 80’s, with no CGI. Solis explains, “I love Kung Fury and the Commando Ninja stuff but I consider myself an 80’s purist. When I see a CG Lamborghini or a cop with a dinosaur head, it just never really happened in the 80’s. In the early 80’s, films were really gritty and grounded. He continues, “If you look at movies or videos from that time period, take Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller,’ which John Landis directed, and notice how dark and dirty it looks. That type of look I want to apply to Night Run and make it grounded. Being low budget will help us achieve it. I can also compare it to how Death Wish has a very basic premise and I want to keep it very straight forward, much like that film. The main thing I don’t want to do is add CGI, it will immediately take you out of the movie and ruin the experience. One of the reasons those 80’s films felt so real was because they didn’t have any of that and it helped to keep you grounded at all times.”
Working with a tight budget may seem limiting, but Solis has a plan of execution to shoot the action scenes the way he wants. “There’s going to be car chases, we should have the budget for one or two explosions, and of course fist fighting. Shootouts too, it’s all really simple to do, especially if you plan everything out accordingly. We can have a lot of blood, use a lot of squibs, and put it together with a small group of people. The car chases will be pretty modest but there are a lot of tips and tricks you can do to make them more exciting.” Another component in achieving that gritty and grounded vibe is choosing the right composer who can replicate the sound of an 80’s score. The man for the job is synthwave artist Crockett. “Crockett’s music is the perfect balance between old and new, it’s very subtle and it feels like it could appear in an episode of Miami Vice. Being that I’m trying to make a very authentic film, his music just feels like it’s the perfect fit. “
Everything appears to be aligning for Erick Solis and Night Run. The initial goal has been met and the donations are still coming in. Depending on how much, there are possible plans to add stretch goals before the campaign ends. In the meantime, for each pledge tier, there are some amazing perks including t-shirts, DVD’s, Blu-Ray’s, soundtracks, digital downloads, vinyl, and even VHS. Every little bit helps and Solis will make sure his supporters are the first to experience Night Run. From there, he’s ready to throw caution to the wind, “Once I submit it to festivals, we will just see where it goes. I’ll throw it out there and see if it gets picked up. “
Not all indie projects get the attention they deserve and Night Run is most certainly one we should not only be keeping an out for, but one we should support by getting the word out or donating so we can help make it the best it can possibly be. You can visit the official Kickstarter campaign page here and for updates, check the movie out on Facebook.
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