Paul Traynor of Hay Moon, Inc. is out to make “Witches’ Night” a horror movie for grown-ups on a $500,000 to $1 million budget he’s raising from private investors.
Traynor is courting investors with a demo scene he shot on HD last October at Moraine Hills State Park in McHenry, employing strikingly high production values.
His script follows four buddies on a camping trip who get lured into the occult sex rituals of a band of beautiful witches.
“I’ve always been afraid of witches since I was a kid, but I never got a sense of what they actually did,” said Traynor. “I wanted to find out what it was that empowered them, and see if I can put it into a gritty, realistic horror movie. Four beer-bellied guys out camping sounded like a fun way to approach it, something recognizable from my own life.”
Traynor likens the film to ?70’s horror classics, citing “well-rounded characters, titillating sexual scenarios, an indelible villain, and a plot that builds slowly and inexorably toward a deeply disturbing and unforgettable conclusion.”
He plans to start preproduction Aug. 1 and begin shooting Sept. 1. His screenplay was a top-ten finalist in last year’s Illinois/Chicago Screenwriting Competition,
“We’re in talks with several actors we hope to get, who would bring a fun horror connection to the project,” Traynor said, declining to name names amid ongoing negotiations.
Pete Biagi (“I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With,” “Design,” “Stolen Summer”) has signed on to shoot on HD. Misty Tosh of Fatcake Productions (“Lana’s Reign,” “Design,” “?Eat Cheese With”) is line producer. Jim Gaynor, a composer for ESPN and A&E, will write the score.
“[The demo] was my first foray into filmmaking,” Traynor said. “I knew I was going to have a truly immersive and hands-on experience before I undertook the full feature. It allowed me to go through the entire process in a condensed format.”
He aims to market “Witches’ Night” through festivals and film markets, and said the film’s web site has already drawn attention from international distributors.
Traynor has performed at the Candlelight, National Jewish, Organic and Live Bait theatres, and voiced spots for clients that include McDonalds and Budweiser. He’s been a freelance corporate presenter for the past 10 years for local trade show marketing agency Live Marketing.
He started Hay Moon in 2001 with his wife, fellow DePaul theatre school grad Lindley Curry.
“I hope to create a new home for low-to-medium budget films in Chicago,” he said. “I have several films I plan to do with budgets of $1 to $5 million, utilizing Chicago’s underutilized filmmaking talent.”
Traynor’s next script is an untitled drama about a North Shore police chief who’s a former Chicago cop, embroiled in a murder investigation as he faces a mid-life crisis.