Guinevere Turner stars in Crouch’s $350K horror pic shooting 16 B&W in November

Writer/director Catherine Crouch reunites with “Stray Dogs” star Guinevere Turner (“Go Fish”) for Crouch’s sophomore feature “Metamora,” a horror pic she described as “a love triangle between two people.”

Crouch’s usual DP, former Columbia College classmate and reality TV regular Marie-Jo?lle Rizk, will shoot on black and white 16mm in Illinois and Indiana from Nov. 20 to Dec. 15.

“More than likely we’ll shoot at the same farm in Stockton, in Northwest Illinois, where we made ?Stray Dogs,'” Crouch said, “and at a stage here in Indianapolis,” where she lives.

Crouch and producer Joel Umbaugh have raised nearly half the $350,000 budget from private investors through their Monster Movie Productions LLC and are in talks with companies and individuals to cover the remainder.

In “Metamora,” Turner plays a bisexual stranger who arrives in a small Indiana town and begins an affair with a woman farmer and a man she believes to be the woman’s brother, unaware that they’re the same person ? a contemporary, gender-shifting Jekyll and Hyde who eventually takes on a third form: a hermaphroditic creature to be played by Movieside Film Festival impresario Rusty Nails.

Crouch’s 2001 southern gothic debut feature “Stray Dogs” is out on video from Echelon Entertainment, which bought the picture after previous distributor Spectrum folded earlier this year.

Her 2002 short “Pretty Ladies” won the Kodak Cinematography Award at both the Wisconsin Film Festival and the Reeling: Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival, providing her with enough film stock to shoot all of “Metamora.”

Crouch sees “Metamora” as an opportunity to work in a “more experimental, dreamlike mode than I’ve done before,” and to address themes involving bisexuality and transgender issues.

“I’ve been feeling a lot of concern about the number of young women I see transforming into men,” Crouch said.

“If you have a woman who presents in a more masculine way, she may be encouraged to think that she should have been a man instead of that [masculinity] just being one of the many diverse ways that women are presented. This story provides a structure to address these issues.”

“Then you have this bisexual character who comes in and presents herself one way to one gender and another way to another gender ? also a sort of Jekyll and Hyde,” Crouch continued. “I’ve dated a lot of bisexuals and they’re interesting to me, and I’ve never seen them dealt with well in film.”

Crouch is making “Metamora” quickly in the midst of development on her larger project, the $2.5 million lesbian military drama “Half Life,” a stage adaptation just closed its premier run at the American Theater Company.

“Half Life” producers, Carol Ann Shine and Windy City Times editor Tracy Baim ? author of the novel on which Crouch’s screenplay is based ? have brought in a Los Angeles production company for partial financing of “Half Life” and are courting a second company, Crouch said.

“It’s going well, but I’m not the type to hang around and wait when I’ve got a horror script on the shelf and a refrigerator full of film,” Crouch said.

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? by Ed M. Koziarski,