North Carolina’s Kenny Caperton is not your average horror fan. When he and his girlfriend, Emily, began house hunting in 2007, Caperton got a wild idea: He wanted to build a replica of the house from his favorite movie – the 1978 John Carpenter slasher classic “Halloween.”
A year and a half later, he and Emily, who is now his wife, were moving into their classic horror movie home in rural Hillsborough.
Caperton’s make-it-happen attitude paid off again in creating his first feature-length film, “Honeyspider”: He asked Smashing Pumpkins’ frontman Billy Corgan for permission to play the Pumpkins’ song of the same name over the end credits, and his wish was granted.
The movie – written by Caperton and directed by Ohioan Josh Hasty – premieres Saturday at Kannapolis’ historic Gem Theatre, where part of the movie was filmed. (“That theater embodies everything I love about classic movie theaters,” says Caperton, who frequented The Gem while living in China Grove during high school.) It’s on a double-feature bill with the original “Night of the Living Dead.”
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“Honeyspider” takes place on Halloween 1989 and centers on a woman named Jackie Blue (Ohio-based newcomer Mariah Brown), whose plans for a quiet birthday night go awry as she’s stalked by a mysterious stranger.
In addition to borrowing the movie’s title from an obscure early Smashing Pumpkins track, he says Blue’s name was inspired by an Ozark Mountain Daredevil’s song the Pumpkins covered.
Corgan allowed the filmmakers to use “Honeyspider” for free, at least until the indie film finds distribution.
“To get the rights would be more than the entire budget of the movie,” says Caperton, who by day works for a print production company in Raleigh. “It influenced the script when I got this title. People will definitely know what the title means after they see the movie.”
As for that replica of the “Halloween” house?
Caperton got the idea after visiting the original house in Pasadena while on a trip to L.A. for the premiere of Rob Zombie’s version of the film.
“I was going through my pictures from the trip and thought, ‘Why don’t we just build this house?’ ” Caperton says. “In five minutes, I was on the phone trying to get the blueprints.”
It turned out to be more difficult to get them than anticipated (the original house was built in 1888), and as recent college grads, the couple also had a hard time getting approved for a mortgage. But in March 2009, the Capertons moved into their dream home.
Although it was unsettling at first to sleep in a replica of the bedroom where Michael Myers killed his sister, Judith, it turned out to be creative fuel: Caperton wrote and produced a 2010 short film based on her character – titled “Judith” – with “Honeyspider” director Hasty.
Caperton is a self-described film location junkie who spends vacations seeking out classic film sites – he recently spent a weekend in the Burkittsville, Md., woods where “The Blair Witch Project” was shot – and throws massive parties on his property on Halloween, the only time of year the house is open to the public. (The house also has appeared in several other independent films.)
He traces his obsession with Halloween not to childhood trauma, but to warm fuzzy memories growing up in Suffolk, Va.
“The neighborhood I grew up in was a complete gold mine for trick-or-treaters,” he says. “My parents embraced the holidays, and Halloween as well. They’d dress up. My dad made a life-size coffin and jumped out and scared people.
“My favorite band is Smashing Pumpkins. My favorite movie is ‘Halloween.’ I think it’s in my blood.”