Horror-comedy directors present a double feature

Two Grand Rapids filmmakers reunite to premiere a spooky double feature just in time to get moviegoers into the Halloween spirit.

America’s Most Wanted theatrical poster, Photo courtesy of Jason Roth

Movies, America’s Most Haunted and too dead to diewill be screened consecutively at the Wealthy Theatre, located at 1130 Wealthy St. SE, in Grand Rapids on Friday October 14.

“Friday, October 14th seemed like a fun day to schedule, which is how the ‘Friday the 14th Made in GR Double Feature’ was born,” said filmmaker Jason Roth, who helped direct both films. He is credited to America’s Most Haunted as a producer and is the writer and director of too dead to die.

“It’s the 10th anniversary of the release of America’s Most Haunted, so we wanted to do something to celebrate it,” Roth said. “Chris Randall has done a great horror comedy, and it’s a project I’m very proud to be associated with as a producer.”

America’s Most Haunted has been described as scarier than ghost hunters and funnier than Fighting spirit and features well-known Hollywood actors. James Karen, who starred in night of the living deadcould be more recognized by the general public for his role in the 1982 film, Fighting spiritwritten by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper.

Familiar TV, film and voice actor Brad Norman stars in the lead role in America’s Most Haunted. Norman has dozens of film and TV credits to his credit, but he’s perhaps best known as the voice of Bullwinkle on Amazon’s recent show. Rocky & Bullwinkle the comeback. The film’s co-star Joe Anderson also co-wrote the film. Anderson is the mastermind behind The Comedy Project, the newest comedy club to open in Grand Rapids.

America’s Most Haunted was filmed in early 2012 and had its first screening at Thriller! Cooler! Film Festival in October of the same year. It had good distribution through physical media and streaming services, Roth said.

Whereas America’s Most Haunted has had some commercial success and features some familiar faces, too dead to die was more of a labor of love for Roth.

too dead to die is a mixture of night of the living dead and The Three Stoogeswith a touch of Sam Raimi evil Dead movies,” Roth said.

movie stars local rockabilly legend Jim Rodery playing the character of President Walter Bronsk, with a soundtrack full of music from his band Dangerville and plenty of tunes from surf rock greats The Concussions.

“I started production in the year 2000 without a script. It’s had a weird, bumpy ride since then,” Roth said.

“There have been screenings of different versions over the years, it’s an ever-evolving project. But he’s back, in a brand new final cut.

“The budget probably wouldn’t cover an hour of restoration on a Michael Bay film, most of the cost was buying Mini-DV tapes to film. I doubt the budget would end up being more than $1,000. I just filmed a few more new tracks last week (still on Mini-DV for consistency), so it’s been 22 years in the making so far.

“I’m going to sign it up for a few horror film festivals and see how to find distribution for streaming and physical media,” Roth said.

Roth’s next project is an animated pilot called sticky fingers he described as a cross between madmax and Ren & Stimpy.

“The pilot will feature late great actor James Karen’s last voice role, recorded in 2016, so I feel a great responsibility to make this one spectacular. Once this is done, I have a script in the works for a live-action murder/mystery movie that could be the next movie,” Roth said.

The two filmmakers will be present to present the films during the double feature on October 14. Some cast and crew members will also be present. There will be a cash bar with exclusive drinks for each movie and “other fun surprises,” Roth said. A post-show hangout will follow both screenings so audience members can mingle and ask any questions they may have.

Admission is $10 and allows moviegoers to see both films. The first film shown will be America’s Most Haunted, which begins at 7:30 p.m. and lasts 85 minutes. There will be a brief intermission between shows, then too dead to die will begin around 9 p.m. and will last 65 minutes.

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