Flint, MI— Smudge your home, say your prayers, and hope you avoid the paranormal killer that’s coming this fall—because Flint is the latest setting of a horror story.
Los Angeles-based director and writer Bron Theron plans to shoot his new movie “Half Dead Fred” in Flint in Oct. 2021. Flint’s architecture inspired the film as well as the book “Haunted Flint,” authored by Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project Joe Schipani.
“This is a Flint movie,” Theron said, adding that he hopes to involve as many Flint locals as possible. “I’m looking for as many people with good attitudes and who want to be part of something cool that is pretty much 90% filmed in Flint.”
The tale begins when alcoholic Freddy Nash (Corin Nemec) gets in a bad car accident that kills his 9-year-old son. After the tragedy, he’s suddenly able to see and communicate with spirits. With his newfound abilities he becomes a medium detective, earning himself the nickname Half Dead Fred.
His work brings him to Flint after the caretaker of an abandoned estate is mysteriously murdered. The late Roger Dalton left the home to his eldest daughter Roberta Dalton, but something about the house, something sinister and otherworldly, prevents Roberta and her two siblings Debbie and Jake from ever setting foot inside.
Freddy arrives to investigate and finds himself on a wild treasure hunt devised by Roger before his death as he tries to solve the caretaker’s murder.
Flint documentarian Jessica Revoldt and Schipani are slated to produce the film. Schipani will also play a small role as James, a character based on himself who writes a book about Flint’s hauntings.
Revoldt has spearheaded the effort to involve Flint residents and local businesses. Major positions like makeup, wardrobe, and film crew have been filled from Flint.
“It’s a new adventure for Flint Public Art Project to add on to what we’ve been doing. It’s going to build up local artists. I know it’s only gig work, it’s not permanent work, but it’s an opportunity for somebody to make a little bit of money in their own city doing something big,” Schipani said.
While many roles have yet to be cast, Theron held auditions for Flint locals on May 8.
“We did two casting calls here already. And we met a lot of people from the theater groups here in Flint. … There are some scenes with extras, and we will reach out to people for that as well,” Theron said.
Theron first came to Flint in 2017 as a muralist for the Flint Public Art Project, where Schipani gave him a copy of Haunted Flint. Theron said he was inspired by Flint’s architecture, particularly Schipani’s house, as the setting for a supernatural murder.
“The way a house is structured here versus where I live is kind of influential to making more of a horror movie. The aesthetic of the houses and the some of the locations we already have are really strong. I think they look way better on camera than anything you could really rent in L.A,” Theron said.
He’s scouted out Soggy Bottom Bar for a possible bar scene, Cocina Mio for a possible diner scene, as well as several other abandoned buildings.
The plot of “Half Dead Fred” will incorporate Flint’s history, something that Theron said was important to him while writing the script.
“It’s kind of a sad story. … So, we have a little bit of that story, a little bit of that history in this movie that I wrote because I wanted people to realize why it’s like that. Unfortunately, if you talk about Flint, the only thing people even think about is the water problem. And I don’t think they really even know what happened with the water. … (My) story is trying to paint a picture of Flint actually being more of a pleasant place. Minus the hauntings, of course,” he said.
The movie will release for screening purposes in Jan. 2022 and Theron said he plans on holding a screening in Flint.
But he cautions viewers: prepare for a twist. “Half Dead Fred” has the feel and tone of the “Sixth Sense,” he said, so expect the unexpected.
To stay up to date on all film happenings, follow the “Half Dead Fred” Facebook page.