Horror movie wraps filming in Runnels County

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register

The horror movie, "Country Club," wrapped filming in Runnels County on Sunday. The film is due out sometime early next year. Filming took place in Ballinger, Rowena, Paint Rock, as well as in Water Valley in Tom Green County.

Director Shane Bradford gives some instructions to the crew and cast for a scene in the movie, "Country Club." The actor in the background played the sheriff in the movie.

The final scenes with actors were shot at the Horny Toad Brewery in Rowena from  Saturday afternoon until early Sunday morning. Director Shane Bradford said that some days the shooting lasted well into the following morning, "There were days where we started filming at 3 p.m. and didn't finish until 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. I think that I've had, maybe, 16 hours of sleep this entire week." Bradford was busy preparing shooting locations, handing out assignments and shooting "B roll," material for the movie when the crew wasn't shooting scenes.

Stephanie Martin-McGuffin and Betty Herrin-Moyer go over their lines for an upcoming scene during filming of the movie, "Country Club."

The Saturday scenes included a band, the Soggy Pesos, playing on a fifth-wheel trailer across from the brewery. Over 100 locals came out to be extras in the movie, drink some cold beverages and listen to live country music between the filming of scenes. The film will also feature a spot recorded at KRUN radio earlier in the week. It was a busy Friday night in Rowena, as The Hall, a couple of blocks down the street, also had a live band playing.

On Friday, the filming took place on a ranch southwest of Paint Rock. The scenes were shot throughout the night, with special effects guru, Joe Castro, flying in to handle the makeup and special effects. Castro has worked on over 100 movies and television shows. He built a dummy for the movie, complete with skeleton, musculature, intestines, blood, etc. The majority of the filming on Friday night was centered around the scenes with the dummy. Bradford has been a fan of Castro's for years, "He's done some really great films. I've always enjoyed his work and we're very fortunate to have him working on this film with us." Some of Castro's credits include Xenophobia, Escape from Area 51, Red Moon Lake, Obscura and Maya.

Frank Castle, aka "RIcky," and director Shane Bradford pose together during the filming of the movie, "Country Club," in Rowena on friday

Playing the role of the slasher in the movie is Frank Castle. The character that Castle plays is, "Ricky." The character goes around carrying out his gruesome work while carrying a heavy club, thus the name of the movie, "Country Club." The club that Castle carries is something more than a stage prop. It is actually part of a tree limb with duct tape wrapped around one end. The club weighs at least 10 pounds. Castle is a body builder and dealer of rare toys who has embraced the role of the slasher, "It's unique because this is the first movie with Ricky in it. I've really enjoyed playing the role. The club isn't too heavy, but I did have to be careful using it in scenes." Castle was asked if there would be a sequel, "There has been talk about it but nothing has been decided for sure."

Castle says that being out in west Texas has been a good experience, "All of the people out here are nice. They've treated us great and I've enjoyed it." People came up to Castle during the interview to have their photos taken with him while he was wearing his slasher outfit; a teddy bear head, red flannel shirt, overalls and boots. "I think it's really cool for the local folks to be able to come out here. Many of them may not get to go to Comic-Con or see movies being filmed," Castle commented.

Declan Wells poses for a photo with Frank Castle, aka "Ricky."

In addition to the ranch out in Paint Rock, the locations for the filming have included Harper Park in Water Valley, Rowena VFW parking area, Horny Toad Brewery, Ballinger Inn, as well as other areas throughout the county. Bradford said that he wanted to see local businesses earn some revenue from the movie being filmed locally, "We wanted the brewery, the hotels and other places around Ballinger and Rowena to maybe earn some money. Everyone here has been great to us."

The movie is produced by horror movie veteran, George C. Romero. His father was legendary director, George A. Romero, whose movie, "Night of the Living Dead," is widely considered to be the grandfather of the horror genre. George C. Romero has produced and/or directed movies such as Zombies, The Screening, Radical and The Auctioneers, respectively. He's also written a number of horror movies and television shows. His company, Indie Brigade, helps produce movies in the horror genre.

The filming in Rowena finished at 2 a.m. on Saturday morning. The actors and most of the crew may be finished working, but the hard work continues for Bradford, "It takes several days to film the movie, but it takes months to edit it and put it all together."