From Scene to Fear: Owensboro Native Finds New Love in Horror Filmmaking | Features
Before Eric Huskisson became known as one half of local production company Blood Moon Pictures, the Owensboro native was just a kid spending quality time with his dad watching “B-horror movies.” corny” late night.
“My dad doesn’t like horror, but he knew I liked it, so he let me stand and watch it,” Huskisson, 54, said. “…”I don’t want to say I was the biggest horror fan, but when I was a kid I loved watching it.”
Growing up in the 1980s, Huskisson remembers the first time he saw John Carpenter’s 1978 film “Halloween” – which completely caught his eye.
“(It was) a hook, a line and a sinker,” Huskisson said. “I was pretty much hooked from then on.”
Huskisson also became fascinated with special effects in movies, which eventually became his own hobby when he carried around college a cigar box containing make-up and wax.
“I would do things to my friends’ faces and hands and they would freak out their mom and dad,” Huskisson said.
Despite loving the genre, Huskisson had no initial idea of finding a livelihood to pursue a career in horror films, and instead focused on making a name for himself as an actor.
He became heavily involved in the theater arts while in Owensboro High School and later was part of The Rose Curtain Players.
“A friend of mine convinced me to sign up for an acting class for an elective; I didn’t want to, but I did it,” Huskisson said. “…I got a small role in a play and got hooked on acting.”
Huskisson followed this passion for acting after high school when he enrolled as a theater major at Western Kentucky University.
But the change of environment raised doubts.
“It wasn’t long after I got there to get into the theater program that I realized what a different world it was from high school,” Huskisson said. “Even though I was in the plays, I was still a shy guy (and) I had self-esteem issues – if you had to say – and I slowly backed off.”
He also started hearing some of the stories of people struggling in the profession, which sowed doubt.
“You hear all there is to know about the ‘hungry artist’ commentary and I’m the kind of person who likes to know where my next meal is coming from (and) I like to know where I put the head at night,” says Huskisson. “I heard about 10-12 people in an apartment sleeping on the floor and begging for the crust of whoever actually had money that week…. I guess I didn’t have that in me…. I was too scared to fall on my face and come back and fail.
Huskisson left WKU after two and a half years and took odd jobs while attending classes at the former Owensboro Community College and volunteered his time to work with props for a production with the Theater Workshop of Owensboro (TWO) before making plans to go to Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida to take his passion for special effects more seriously.
However, he got a call for a job offer with Owensboro Municipal Utilities (OMU) where he ended up working for about 20 years with experience in the office and as a
“(I) saw dollar signs and so I dove in to make money,” Huskisson said.
Soon after, Huskisson met his wife Haley and started what he called his “new world”.
Still, Huskisson found time to watch horror movies and watch the growth of special effects and was planning on heading to Chicago Comic Con with a friend when the two decided to attend “Unscripted: An Indie Film Xperience” at the Daviess County Public Library. who was having a zombie themed party.
There was a costume contest offering prizes – which Huskisson dressed in a costume and full zombie makeup, assuming the prize could have been cash to help fund their trip to Chicago.
While Huskisson soon discovered there was no cash prize after finishing second, he caught the eye of local filmmaker and future business partner PJ Starks.
It was Starks who called Huskisson about being in a commercial for WBKR’s Zombie Run.
Huskisson then joined Starks to work as an extra hand for The ScareFest film festival in Lexington – a watershed moment for their relationship and Huskisson’s professional entry into the world of horror.
“Near this trip, PJ and I became friends overnight,” Huskisson said.
Soon after, Huskisson became involved with Starks’ “Volumes of Blood” project as Starks’ assistant and prop master on film and even portrayed the characters “The Face” and “Bag Head Killer”. .
The teamwork paid off and Huskisson and Starks decided to take their efforts more seriously and co-founded Blood Moon Pictures in 2015.
Huskisson also decided to try acting again and found a talent agency that helped land him small roles on ABC/CMT’s “Nashville” TV show.
But since the growth of Blood Moon Pictures, Huskisson has focused more on the business and said he was beginning to feel more assured of his confidence and abilities both as an actor and on set. .
Huskisson said Starks has been accommodating throughout this new chapter.
“PJ helped me a lot – there’s a lot artistically that I’m still learning that I didn’t know,” Huskisson said. “He’s always been there for me when there’s something I don’t understand.”
And Huskisson, now prominently in a producer role these days, still finds a thrill in the job even if he’s not the one in the spotlight.
“Being a producer and watching something go from script to screen is just fantastic in itself. But when you experience it, it’s amazing to see it go from paper to screen because you see every facet of it – from behind the scenes with people taking lunch breaks to people stopping in for make up,” Huskisson said.
“When you see it all come together on screen with the colorization, sound and soundtrack, it’s mesmerizing,” he added.
Huskisson also expanded his directorial roles and put his writing skills to the test.
This new adventure in his life was also educational.
“I’ve learned a lot so far, but it’s amazing to realize how much I still don’t know,” Huskisson said. “…I’ve learned that trying to produce on top of doing something as important as acting or directing is something that’s a major challenge that I’m going to have to take on and continue to (grow). “
And even with some of the longer days on set, Huskisson remembers why he decided to wake up and get out there and get on with this new part of his life.
“…When you see this movie on screen – every doubt, every moment of fatigue – once you see it on screen, you’re like, ‘There it is,'” Huskisson said. “…Even though I may be tired or struggling, I know what the outcome is now and I know what the goal is and I can see it….”