Never Hike Alone is an incredible fan made short film featuring the iconic killer of Camp Crystal Lake, Jason Voorhees. As much a tribute to the Friday the 13th franchise as anything else, the story follows a backpacker who takes a trail camera into the woods on one of his expeditions and stumbles across the remains of a familiar summer camp. He soon ends up face to face with the hockey mask clad murderer in a struggle for his life. I had a chance to talk to director Vincente DiSanti in January after watching a trailer for the film and was even more fortunate to get a chance to catch up with him again this week for an update on Never Hike Alone.
Dan: Tell me about completing Never Hike Alone.
Vincente Disanti: After the Kickstarter campaign came to a close in February, we had roughly ten weeks to prepare for our second round of principal photography. We broke down the remainder of film into eight, semi-consecutive weekends with crew sizes varying as high as twenty-five to as low as three. Coordinating so many moving pieces over a long period with a limited budget wasn’t easy, but everyone on the crew found a way to make it work.
Principal photography resumed on May 3rd, 2017 and we completed our last round of pick-ups on August 5th. During that time, we tackled a majority of the film’s higher budgeted scenes, each of which presented their own unique challenge for us. We just took it one week at a time and built up a momentum from there.
It was reassuring to see the fans following along with us on social media. It is important to us that we do Friday the 13th justice and their feedback was a good indicator that we were on the right path. We also received a lot of requests to expand the running time. We were hesitant at first, but after giving it some thought we ended up writing a few extra scenes in our downtime and snuck them into the schedule. Now it’s tough to imagine the film without them.
Dan: You told me about some hazards and bizarre happenings during the original shoot when we spoke in January. Were there any other unsettling mishaps during production?
Vincente Disanti: After waiting four months for the spring to melt the snow off of the set, we ended up having a snowstorm descend on us during our first weekend of night shooting in May. We originally prepared for rain that was in the forecast, but we all shook our heads a little when the temperature took a dive and brought snow along with it. It didn’t stop us from shooting, but we did end up having to line up the production vehicles behind one of the cabins to keep the crew warm between set ups. For all of the months of planning, I don’t think any of us could have predicted snow in May.
Dan: What about the editing and post production process? How well did that come together?
Vincente Disanti: Since we shot about half of Never Hike Alone’s footage in the Fall, our editors Lawrence Gan and Sarah DiSanti were able to get a jump start on organizing the project before we started shooting in the Spring. The time we spent getting our house in order became essential to everything from scheduling picks ups, to how the back-end pipeline would flow once we wrapped shooting.
By the time we wrapped principal photography in August, about 95% of the film had been assembled and that's also when it really started coming together. Post Production began roughly around the same time and is scheduled to wrap in early October about a week before the premier. From there we will begin building the steaming pages and preparing for release.
Dan: With a release date set for October 13th, what sort of experience are you hoping to give Friday fans?
Vincente Disanti: Most of all we want the fans to have a lot of fun watching it. The premise is a unique take for a Friday film for sure, blending the found footage aspect with traditional narrative camera. It has a lot of the qualities you’d find in an adventure film, but with a Friday the 13th spin. Overall, we think Never Hike Alone can help shine a fresh perspective on the Friday universe and hopefully show the studios that fans are hungry for new material.
Dan: Where will audiences be able to watch it?
Vincente Disanti:Never Hike Alone will be available to stream for free on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook on Friday the 13th October, 2017 starting at 11:00PM EST / 8:00 PST.
The launch is scheduled in conjunction with our live screening debut as a part of the 8th Annual Telluride Horror Show. Showtime is at 10:15PM (MST) at the Sheridan Opera House in downtown Telluride, CO. Admission is FREE and will include a follow-up Q&A with some of the film’s cast and crew.
Having the opportunity to premiere in Telluride is beyond exciting and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the launch of the film than seeing it on a big screen with a bunch of Friday the 13th fans.
Dan: What’s next for Never Hike Alone after its initial release?
Vincente Disanti: We are currently looking into setting up additional screenings in both New England and Los Angeles. Details will be announced soon. We are also open to setting up screenings at other local theaters and conventions if the demand is there. If anyone is interested in hosting a screening of Never Hike Alone, they can reach out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
A lot of fans have asked if we would consider releasing physical copies of the film. Right now the answer is that we would like to, but we do not want to risk violating any laws by selling the film itself as product since it based on something we do not own the rights too. Once we have released the film for free online, we are going to look more into the possibility of a limited physical copy release as an additional fundraiser for Penny Pines.
Dan: What sort of funds and awareness were raised for Penny Pines and is there still a way for fans to contribute?
Vincente Disanti: Unfortunately, there were no funds directly left over from the campaign available to donate to Penny Pines. However, we are still hoping to raise some money by selling the remaining reward inventory from our Kickstarter campaign. A limited number of shirts, posters, pins, and stickers have been made available for purchase on our online store at www.wompstompfilms.com. The proceeds from those sales will go towards Penny Pines.
In addition to our final fundraising push, a few members of our crew have been volunteering time to perform additional cleanup and restoration at the abandoned camp location we used for shooting. We were able to get most of the camp in safe enough condition for production, but there is still a lot of work to be done in order to make it a safe place for hikers that pass through.
So, Friday fans, if you can’t be at the actual premiere you can still stream it on Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo this Friday the 13th at 11:00PM EST / 8:00 PST as well as at the 8th Annual Telluride Horror Show in Telluride, Colorado
The launch is scheduled in conjunction with our live screening debut as a part of the 8th Annual Telluride Horror Show. Showtime is at 10:15PM (MST) at the Sheridan Opera House in downtown Telluride, CO. Admission is FREE and will include a follow-up Q&A with some of the film’s cast and crew so, if you can, be sure you check it out. And even if you can’t, be sure to at least read my original interview here.
Dan Lee is a horror fiend and freelance writer with a special place in his heart for monster movies and demonic possession stories.