Last week I drove out to the set of Some Kind Of Hate, a new film co-written and directed by first time feature helmer Adam Egypt Mortimer and produced by Caliber Media (Condemned, Dark Was The Night and Bad Milo). And it was unlike any visit I’ve undertaken in recent memory.
As I turned off I5 just north of Santa Clarita I started to get sort of excited. Most of the time when I travel to a set, it’s on a sound stage. And, since I write for a horror site, if I visit a set in Los Angeles (an increasing rarity) it’s usually at the Linda Vista Hospital. But here I was, embarking on the rarest of adventures – a rural location in the great outdoors. Even if the movie turned out to be a total dog at least I wouldn’t be cooped up inside.
But Some Kind Of Hate doesn’t look like a dog. It looks pretty great from what I can tell. For one thing, there’s the aforementioned location at VT Ranch in Castaic, CA. When I pulled up and saw all the cabins and the sprawling campgrounds amongst the rolling hills, I immediately felt at ease. Not only is this movie in my favorite subgenre (the slasher), it takes place in my favorite setting for that subgenre (a camp). While there don’t seem to be a lot of hard partying counselors on site (the tone of SKOH is played a little more straight), the location and its genre-befitting geography are perfect.
After parking outside the camp I make my way up a steep hill to a gathering of people. The top of the hill looks like a cross between an innocent meeting spot and the place where pagan sacrifices take place whenever you imagine such things. I immediately recognize Noah Segan (Starry Eyes, Looper, Deadgirl), Grace Phipps (Fright Night 2011) and Ronen Rubinstein (who I had literally just seen a week or two earlier on the New York set of Condemned). They’re joined by Zombeavers‘ Lexi Atkins and a few other key cast members. Segan and Michael Polish (Twin Falls Idaho) are seated across from the younger cast as Polish’s character performs what seems like an intake session.
The camp is basically a reform school for troubled kids and Polish is the almost cult-leaderish figurehead. His character interrogates the subjects with the measured, authoritative tone of a man who is trying so hard to be compassionate you wonder if he has any real sense of the emotion at all. After the scene breaks (the prevailing winds force the actors to go through this several times due to sound issues) I head down the hill with Segan to get a private interview with him and Phipps. It’s a colorful exchange to say the least, bordering on philosophical, and I can’t wait to share it with you when I publish my full piece later this year.
After that I spend several hours milling about. I eat lunch with the cast and crew, chatting with Rubinstein, Mortimer and Polish (the latter of whom turned down acting gigs for the Wachowskis and Spielberg in order to focus on directing, but made an exception here). I investigate the campgrounds. And then I head up the hill for more shooting… where the peaceful gathering place I first stumbled upon has transformed into the location for something far more horrific.
You’ll have to read my full piece later this year to find out exactly what that is (and to check out those interviews), but I’ll say one thing. Mortimer (along with his co-writer Brian DeLeeuw) is dead serious about the slasher genre. You may have heard titles such as A Nightmare On Elm Street bandied about in association with this project and that’s no accident. While Some Kind Of Hate obviously has little in common with that film’s dream world, it does share a goal that should be paramount to anybody aiming to make a mark in the subgenre – a truly iconic villain.