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Kluckin Films In Surge Weekly

By Chris Raposa
For Weekly Surge

Photos by Scott Smallin
Staff Photographer

Horror flicks can be broken down into three major categories: suspense, slasher, and supernatural. In many cases, these three core components are fused together for the greater goal of the film, which is to scare the hell out of moviegoers.

The horror genre in movies dates back to the onset of film itself. In 1896, Georges Melies, a French cinematographer known for his technical and narrative developments in the fledgling art of filmmaking, came out with what is thought to be the first horror film, "Le Manoir du Diable" (i.e. "House of the Devil"). The filmmaker's use of multiple exposures, time-lapse and dissolves (a way of fading one frame in as another fades out) put him at the forefront of the fast-developing film industry.

In the 1930s and 40s, Universal Films Co. Inc. made the genre a huge American success with a slew of gothic films including "Dracula," "Frankenstein," "The Mummy," and "The Invisible Man." All these films were created with heavy influences from the German expressionistic styles.

In the 1960s, with films including "Psycho" and "Rear Window," Alfred Hitchcock took the genre away from menacing monsters and the supernatural and made a new nemesis to fear: the ordinary man. These films were also created with the idea of the audience as voyeur.

The late '70s and early '80s brought us such box office horror hits as the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "Halloween," "Alien," "Carrie," "Friday the 13th" and "Nightmare on Elm Street." These were some of the last R-rated horror films to be seen by theatre audiences for quite some time. Hollywood made a push to become more family-friendly, luring younger audiences and thus removing the R-rating from many general releases.

After the rise of PG-13, horror films in the late 1980s through the early 90s lacked the blood, gore, and excessive violence of old. Many people stopped going to so-called horror films and the genre's audience began to dwindle. But in recent years, the R-rated horror film genre has had an amazing resurgence. The "Saw" series ("Saw 4" comes out Friday, Oct. 26), the remake and prequels of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," along with rocker-turned-director Rob Zombie's films including "House of 1000 Corpses" and his recent "Halloween" remake have bolstered the market once again.

"Like most genres, it's cyclical. If Hollywood makes a blockbuster horror film, you can bet at least four similar films will be coming out from other studios," said Michael J. Hein, Director of the N.Y.C. Horror Film Festival. "After one of those films (or a sequel to the first) doesn't do well at the box office, everything that was on the fast track to be made goes into a holding pattern or doesn't get made at all. At that point, people say horror is dead. Eventually, another film hits it big and Hollywood repeats the process."


In the late 1990s, a group of friends from the greater Myrtle Beach area fed up with the lack of blood and guts depicted in latter-day horror films decided to take their passion for the genre and start their own video production company.

If you don't know already by now, Kluckin Films is a Myrtle Beach video production company that makes low-budget horror films with nothing but wits, a few cameras and a lot of trespassing. The movies aren't the best quality, but the films get better with each new project.

Wait, did we say low-budget? What we meant to say was no budget (practically). Whatever the crew makes is done with less than the bare essentials. So with no budget to speak of, no production studio, and no previous experience, how did this ragtag band of friends win Rob Zombie's short Horror Film Competition in 2006, beating out 50 other competitors, and how did the company's latest flick, "Kill Syndrome," end up at the Cannes Film Festival this year? Determination, the love of the art of horror, excruciating 10 to 18 hour days of filming in both legal and illegal shooting sites, and lots and lots of duct tape.

Can such a small, independent outfit from our neck of the woods make an impression in the world of slasher flicks?

"The first thing is to make your film no matter what,'' said Hein. "Don't let anyone or anything get in your way. I believe that any film can be made on just about any budget if you do your homework in pre production."


Kluckin Films was founded in 1999 by Dwayne King (CEO of the organization), and Wendell Smith (actor and writer) when they got together with a group of close knit friends to write and direct their first film, which became a Grand Strand cult classic: "Pizzaguy." The film, amazingly, was written, directed, shot and edited in the span of 24 hours using just one high 8 camera (hand-held video camera with nearly twice the resolution of VHS, with better sound quality), two VCRs for editing, and a Sony Playstation to dub in the audio. "Make no mistake about it. We are B-filmmakers from start to finish. We'd rather be under budget than under control of some big production company. We all came together because of our love of classic horror films and we were sick of seeing big movie companies coming out with PG-13 horror films. If you want to make a scary movie, then make a scary movie. Not the shit they were coming out with at the time," said Smith.

With the first film under their belts, the crew realized they were onto something. Now it was time to start bringing more actors and writers into the mix. But that wasn't the only challenge they had to face. When producing shoestring budget films, there's no such thing as ponying up for a filming permit, so reminiscent of Kevin Smith's "Clerks," the Kluckin crew would film wherever and whenever they could. That also meant multiple encounters with Horry County's finest. "Oh, we have had the cops stop us more times than I care to remember," said King. "It's really hard to try and explain why there's a girl being chased across a field in the middle of nowhere covered in fake blood (which they make from inexpensive ingredients that include chocolate milk mixed with red and blue food coloring). There have actually been times when I've thought about running away and leaving them all there to explain it all, but thankfully we've never been arrested...yet."

But there have been some close calls - and curious onlookers.

"Once when we were filming 'Pizzaguy,' we really ordered a pizza for delivery." said King. "Everybody was working on a really crazy scene on private property and I was waiting by the side of the road for the real pizza guy to get there when the cops showed up. It's really hard to sell a cop on the fact that you're filming a movie when the people behind you are covered in fake blood holding chainsaws. It turns out that the guy who owned the property saw us and called the police. We didn't get arrested, but that time, we came close."

Another problem the cast and crew have run into on countless occasions is when actors and actresses quit a film while it's still in production.

While working on the upcoming re-release of "Kill Syndrome" they ran into just such a problem.

"One of our main female character's storylines had to be cut short in the film when (actress) Evellyn (Angelo) had to bail on the filming." said Scott L. Collins, a writer and actor for Kluckin Films. "She has two kids to take care of, and I don't think her husband was comfortable with the part she was playing. You can tell by watching the movie when she just up and quit. But all you can do at that point is change a bit here and a bit there, then move on."

After "Pizzaguy," the Kluckin crew took a two-year hiatus (going their separate ways for what they describe as "personal reasons"), before coming back with "Piggy", the winner of the Rob Zombie Short Horror Film contest put on by 101.7 WKZQ at the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach. The film beat out 50 others in the local competition and was screened before Zombie's concert at the House of Blues on April 23, 2002. "After we won the Rob Zombie contest, I ran into Scott again," said King. "We originally met at an Up Spook Hill concert where Dwayne was doing sound for the band," said Collins. After getting together and writing, Collins became involved in his first Kluckin production, "Welcome to Blood Beach" which was shown at the inaugural Myrtle Beach Film Festival at Horry-Georgetown Technical College. The story consists of scores of zombies washing up on the shore of a vacation resort town causing mayhem and chaos. Once again, while filming this short film, Kluckin Films ran into an unfriendly environment. "We tried to find the most secluded piece of beach we could find, but as usual, people always accidentally stumble along us,'' said King. "It's really hard to try explaining why you've got a bunch of people out on the beach in the middle of the night decked out in costumes and zombie makeup. It's great to see the look on peoples' faces."

At one point in the filming of "Bloody," an upcoming Kluckin release, actress Kandi Ranson was approached on the beach by a gentleman whose house they were filming in front of. He turned out to be a former South Carolina senator. "I don't want to say which one he was, but he was very nice. He brought the cast members towels from his beach house and has even agreed to be in one of our upcoming films," said Ranson.

Things were picking up after the Rob Zombie film competition and moving in the right direction, so the Kluckin Films brain trust decided to get more serious and write more projects individually and as a crew. "I never wrote stories until we started doing this," said Smith. "I'd never written a screenplay or even seen how a screenplay was prepared. I started looking over other writers' screenplays and learning from their styles. Now that we've been doing this for a few years, I'm writing all sorts of different stories."

Smith, who was diagnosed with scoliosis at birth, has also been writing a non-commissioned story pitch for Hallmark about a boy who meets a Vietnam veteran in a wheelchair who trains him to be a champion wheelchair racer. "It's loosely based auto-biographical story from when I raced as a kid," said Smith.

One thing is for certain: anyone who's seen Kluckin Films' work has an opinion about it. Myrtle Beach resident Casey Knox has seen pieces of "Kill Syndrome" and said, "Some things were truly disturbing. I think it needed a little more work on editing, but overall, with

Gray Higgs in full makeup at the Steelhorse Saloon, shooting the opening scene for the 2nd Annual Day of the Dead Bash.

what they have to work with, I think they did a pretty good job. They definitely have a lot of potential."

Former Myrtle Beach resident Kevin Burke, who is now finishing up at Boston University Film School and has had a recurring role in Boston-based comedy troupe House of Honcho said, "I've seen about three of their short films and I think they have a long way to go. I can't remember the names of the projects I saw; it was a short film compilation. I remember that they really needed a lot of work on editing and the white balance on their camera work wasn't great. These are just basic fundamentals you need for a film to be worth watching. That being said, let me tell you, filming is hard. Especially when you don't have proper equipment or filming permits. They are all really great guys and I wish them the best in all future endeavors. They are good, hard-working people and I hope they make it."


Working with and for Kluckin ain't easy. Trying to keep this company up and running is a full-time job. To get a better idea of what it takes to make a movie, let's go down a list of the cast and crew.

> King, 37, is the man who started out the company with a video camera he received as a Christmas present in 1999. Since that time, he has written, scripted, produced, promoted and casted all of the Kluckin Films projects.

> Smith, 41, co-owner and vice president of Kluckin Films, has been involved since the company's inception. A longtime friend of King, Smith has always been into horror films and has helped take King's ideas to the next level. He has been a major contributor to films such as "Piggy" and "Kill Syndrome" which is slated for re-release, Nov. 8 as part of Brain Damage Film's compilation "Beastly Butchers." Smith has also been writing many side projects and is shopping a few scripts to various film companies.

> Ranson, 36, the longtime actress has been involved in many of the Kluckin Films' projects in one facet or another. She is the company's webmaster, is in charge of contracts and also helps with wardrobe and has been used as a production assistant and on-set babysitter (literally) for actors at shoots. "I get the worst of the deal in most of our projects. You try sitting in a freezing cold warehouse, duct taped to a chair topless in your underwear for four days in the middle of January. Believe me, it isn't easy," she said. Becoming part of the troupe also led to romance, as she and King are engaged.

> Collins, 36, came onboard immediately following the short film "Piggy." He is currently working on "The Soldier" and "Berserker," two upcoming full-length Kluckin Films projects. "It's all about doing everything. You might show

up on the set one day expecting to run a camera and do lights. The next thing you know, you're the main character, acting in a scene," said Collins.

> Bracey (just one name like Prince or Madonna) 38, is an actor and fight scene choreographer for "Kill Syndrome." He will also play a key figure in the upcoming film "The Bleeding," playing the protagonist, a research developer. Bracey came to the company via actor/makeup designer Leah Carroll Myers who got him in touch with King. At the time, he was working as a character at Ripley's Haunted Adventure. The minute they met, it was an instant match. Bracey also has a background in acting and special effects makeup.

> Myers, 34, is the most accomplished actress and the makeup designer of the group, and is a jack of all trades in the Kluckin family. Originally brought in to do make-up and special effects arts, Myers has also become an actress and plays a main character in "Kill Syndrome." She also has her own makeup and effects company, HorrorCinemaFX, and has worked with Oriana East Productions out of Wilmington, N.C., acting in the studio's upcoming film "The Legend of Granny Brown." She has also appeared in "Dawson's Creek," "One Tree Hill," and "Surface." Throughout her career, Myers has worked with many A-list actors including John Travolta, Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Danny Glover, and Martin Lawrence. "I've been doing this (acting and makeup) for about ten years. I'm the scariest bitch in Myrtle Beach," she said.

> Paco Ramani, 26, is a local rapper and producer originally from Washington D.C. who has gotten involved in Kluckin Films, including writing and producing the title song for Kluckin Films next big release, "The Soldier." "When I was approached by Scott and the guys, I was just chilling at a bar talking with a bunch girls. They asked if I was interested in acting in their next movie. Since I rap and produce my own music, I figured it would be a great way to get more local exposure," said Ramani. "You have to want to do it. It takes a lot of effort because sometimes you have to do 10 to 15 takes for a single scene, so you have to really be involved if you want to have a good finished product."

Kandi Ranson and Paco Ramani at Nightmare Haunted House on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach.

WHAT'S NEXT? Speaking on the upcoming re-release of "Kill Syndrome"(with additional scenes and re-edited for feature length distribution is set for re-release Nov. 8), Darrin Ramage, president of Brain Damage Films said, "Kill Syndrome' is the most vile and disgusting film I have ever seen, but I loved every minute of it." It will be distributed at Sun Coast Video (a national franchise of movie stores) stores and will be available during early release at and The film will also be distributed in six different countries: Australia, Russia, India, Greece, Brazil and the United States. As for "Kill Syndrome'' being shown at the Cannes Film Festival, as advertised on Kluckin Films' website, it's a matter of semantics. It was not screened as part of the prestigious festival's programming, but it was shown at a booth set up by Brain Damage Films.

Meanwhile, Collins has just finished a script for the aforementioned project called "The Soldier." It's a slasher film done in a classic 80s style about a deranged Iraq war vet who snaps and stalks a group of teenagers whose car has broken down in the middle of nowhere.

King is in the middle of editing a film he wrote and produced called "The Bleeding." It's a horrific story about a tampon company that distributed drug-laced tampons that make women continuously bleed and eventually become vampire-esque craving blood themselves. Not one that we'd recommend watching with kids.

Suffice to say, these guys and gals have a long way to go before they make the big time. They are, however, a determined and spirited, tight knit group that get better and better with every project. Now with the guidance and wisdom of Brain Damage Films, they have more tutelage than they have ever had before.

What comes next for Kluckin Films? Who knows. But one thing is guaranteed: it will be covered in blood.


Weekly Surge's Oct. 25 cover story about Kluckin Films unfortunately contained a few errors. The article should have said that Kluckin Films' re-release of "Kill Syndrome'' is set for Nov. 6. Also, another film was incorrectly titled and should have been identified as "The Bleeding.'' And "Monster Teen" is not on the 2004 compilation "Nightmares." In addition, it should have said actresses Leah Carroll Meyers is 39 and Kandi Ranson is 37. We are committed to accuracy and if you see any factual errors in the pages of Weekly Surge, please contact Editor Kent Kimes at


CORRECTIONS On to The following tid-bit:

"Once when we were filming 'Pizzaguy,' we really ordered a pizza for delivery." said King. "Everybody was working on a really crazy scene on private property and I was waiting by the side of the road for the real pizza guy to get there when the cops showed up. It's really hard to sell a cop on the fact that you're filming a movie when the people behind you are covered in fake blood holding chainsaws. It turns out that the guy who owned the property saw us and called the police. “We didn't get arrested, but that time, we came close."The only thing close to this was when we were filming Kill Syndrome at our Studio, on Seaboard St.

Pizza was the chosen food for catering for that day. We did ask for the pizzas to be delivered. Dwayne King, the only one with the least amount of blood on him and the only one who could go out in public and not scare the hell out of people, went to the entrance of the property to meet the pizza delivery guy. Being late night/early morning, the police stopped to ask Dwayne why he was standing on the side of Seaboard St, at the time of night. Dwayne explained that he was waiting for a pizza delivery and that we were filming a movie. Our studio is on private property, but where the bloody cast and crew were located was not in the direct view of the police. The pizza arrived around that time. The police officer didn’t find that Dwayne was out of place or breaking any laws, so he left. No one called the police on us, at any time while we were filming at our Studio, and not once was the police called on us by the owner of any property, as we have always obtained permission to film on any private property before we begin to shoot any scene.

Dwayne King does not recall stating, At any time during the interview :

It turns out that the guy who owned the property saw us and called the police. “We didn't get arrested, but that time, we came close."

At one point in the filming of "Bloody," The name of this film was listed wrong. It’s actually "The Bleeding,""Kill Syndrome" which is slated for re-release, Nov. 8 as part of Brain Damage Film's compilation "Beastly Butchers."

The release of Kill Syndrome is Nov. 6, ‘07 as a single world wide to include d. The short version was released in Jan. ‘07, as part of Brain Damage Film's compilation "Beastly Butchers."Paco was quoted as saying:

"When I was approached by Scott and the guys, I was just chilling at a bar talking with a bunch girls. They asked if I was interested in acting in their next movie.Paco does not recall stating: “I was just chilling at a bar talking with a bunch girls”

The fact:

King and Collins were at one of their favorite watering holes and the place was empty, except for Paco and Matt Brumbly. Leah Carroll Myers is actually 39 years old Kandi Ranson is actually 37 years old

The original camera we worked with was a High 8. We now work with a Panasonic PV-DV102D With 700 x DIGITAL ZOOM. Neither of which had White Balance Control

Kluckin Films In Surge Weekly
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About Kluckin Films

King Dwayne
(Kluckin Films)

Kluckin Films is now international! Come see what we're up to!!

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