SHERIDAN — After two years of shooting, editing and tweaking little bits and pieces of their ‘70s slasher horror, producers of “Echoes of the Unheard” finally debuted the first round of the film at Centennial Theatre Oct. 30.
While the film was meant to entertain an audience of slasher horror fans, the main purpose in the eyes of executive producer Stephen Logan is to place Sheridan on the map in the filmmaking arena. Logan said all but one of the scenes was filmed in and around Sheridan County.
After an abrasive fight scene to start the film, title credits featured quick shots of Sheridan WYO Rodeo week, former Miss Wyoming Cheyenne Buyert and a classic slow onset of happy-before-the-gore opening.
Logan said local artists helped contribute to the soundtrack throughout the movie and provided artwork for the walls. The film also gave opportunities for local talent to dive into potential careers in the movie business.
Director and actor in the film Jeffrey Johnathin, better known to the actors and film crew as “J,” said the night was intended to provide feedback for the film. The audio was slightly off and a few scenes were missing.
“The final product — the ending and some flashbacks — as well as some edits based on audience reaction should be finished in about two months and will make a whole lot more sense,” Johnathin said.
The movie was played for an audience nearly filling the large theater at the local movie house. Tickets were $10, but Logan said several were comped to account for cast members with speaking parts, executives in the creation and participation in the film and other integral stakeholders. The goal was to receive feedback from the audience on the first cut of the film.
The movie displays a wide array of grotesque ways of killing, lots of fake, oozy blood close-ups and lengthy, focused male nudity. The audience laughed and cheered along with friends’ entrances on screen. The filming, all in natural light and during the day, was intentional to set the movie apart from other horrors often taking place in dark places at night. An old-timey film color overlayed the entirety of the movie, and local music helped move the storyline along. Because of the local artists producing the soundtrack, the lyrics closely coincided with different scenes and Sheridan locations throughout the film.
While Logan, who had not seen the finished first cut before the interview, talked of iconic Sheridan shots, the familiar scenes of The Mint Bar neon sign, rodeo week street dancing and the interior of Luminous Brewhouse only showed in the opening credits. The majority of the movie took place in the Tongue River Canyon, where killer after killer killed victim after victim in any way possible. A separate, yet eventually integrated, storyline with a woman and a talking porcelain doll started in what was The First Resort shop on Main Street in Sheridan. The woman and her doll eventually ventured into the deadly landscape of Tongue River Canyon.
Main actress Remi Larsen played Harley in the film. She acted and helped people prepare for upcoming scenes. Larsen grew up watching horror flicks, so this opportunity to star in one was an opportunity she did not want to miss. Larsen met the directing crew while filming a music video for Lancifer, another Sheridan-based musician. The most difficult aspect of filming for Larsen was screaming on command. She remained eager before the showing to see how well she felt she did and to grade her screaming abilities when placed with the other content of the film.
Her on-screen boyfriend, played by Jacob Reagan, was quickly killed off in the picture. He self titled his part as “handsome boyfriend” and became a part of the cast through a friend of a friend. Reagan emphasized the amount and intensity of the gore throughout the film.
Logan said the next stop for the film will be Sandpoint, Idaho.
After the tweaks and adjustments per the audience feedback from last week’s showing, the executive production team anticipates entering it into film festivals and attaining their goal of putting Sheridan on the map as a location with many great places to shoot and produce a film.