The Evil Fred
Not a lot of people liked me. I didn’t do the stuff they did. I couldn’t play sports, and I had a small stutter, which made it hard to talk to people for longer than a minute or two. My mom supported me a lot. She hung out with me when I was alone. She’d take me to the movies and we’d go out to eat afterwards. On Friday nights we’d watch TV together. Depending on how big our dinner was, mom would order Chinese takeout every now and then. We’d sit in front of the TV and eat it. She bought us a VCR. She didn’t make a lot of money, so it was a big deal for her. Mom got the VCR, and it was my job to find us movies to watch.
I started with the classics, Casablanca, The Wizard of OZ, Vertigo; those were a few of mom’s favorites. She got me into horror films. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was really good, but my favorite was The Evil Dead. I liked how raw it was. It didn’t try to come up with some silly story to make the gore make sense. It just went for it and made its own rules. It was the first video I actually went out and bought. I watched it everyday. I wrote down everything that happened and made my own script out of it. With my old action figures I’d reenact the movie, line for line, scene for scene.
Then I found my mom’s old film camera.
Mom said I should try making my own movie. I asked her if she wanted to act in it, but she said it would give me a reason to talk to other kids my age. I didn’t really have any super original ideas, so I figured a horror film like The Evil Dead would be the best route to go. I’d call it The Evil Fred, an obvious homage to the real film, and the main character would be named Fred. It seemed like solid footing. I had a couple people at school I talked to who didn’t really have a lot of friends either. I figured I’d ask them to help.
Sam and Rich were on prop and location duties, respectively. I wrote the script in a night, it all took place at an old barn. I needed five actors, more people than I was used to being around at once. I knew I couldn’t talk to the popular kids. Or, at least, they wouldn’t want to talk to me. I had go down the social latter, nearer to me. The theater kids were pretty low, and they actually had experience. After class, I went to the stage. They were all practicing some old-sounding play. I slowly walked onto the stage, and they all looked at me. I bent down as slowly as I could and set the script on the floor. Then I ran.
The next day at school all the roles had been filled. Laurie, a theater girl, came up to me at lunch to tell me. I offered her a seat at my table since I was alone.
It was okay.
Rich said we could use his grandma’s garage. It wasn’t attached to her house. He said it was more like a barn than anything else he could find. It would have to do. Sam made a prop head out of Styrofoam filled with corn syrup blood. He stole one of his mom’s wigs and made it look like Phil, the other actor that’s not Fred. It was for Fred to step on when he was killing Phil. When we filmed it, blood splattered on the lens. It looked awesome.
We shot the movie on a cold night in March. It lasted from nine o’clock to four in the morning. The girls were all complaining. The guy playing Fred was covered in fake blood and mud. He didn’t complain though. When I was telling the actors what to do, I didn’t really stutter. I think it was because I was focused.
It took me a month to edit. Cutting film is a slow process. My mom helped me with it. She would give me her input on where to cut. She was usually right-she knew movies really well. When it was almost done, she said she talked to a friend of hers who worked at the local theater. Her friend said they would play it before a couple movies playing the next weekend. I was happy, but I think my mom was even happier.
Sam and Rich were pretty excited to. I gave them producer credits.
To celebrate, mom and I watched it at our house. That was the premier. She set up her projector and hung up a bed sheet on the wall. It was only ten minutes long, but she said it was worth the little bit of work. Mom got Chinese food, and we watched the movie together. She said she couldn’t wait for the next one.
more by TYLER CLIFTON
photograph by Leeroy
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