Beaufort native returns to film thriller, slasher movie

emoody@beaufortgazette.comAugust 5, 2012 

A Beaufort native is returning to the area next month and is looking for places and people to include in a slasher movie that will be filmed here.

Michael Shoemaker, along with writer and director Rand Marsh, is producing "Demented-ead," in which Tom Berenger will star as a reporter. The movie is based on a book of the same title by Marsh.

"I just want to bring a project back to the town I love," Shoemaker said, "and create some jobs and fulfill a childhood dream."

Pre-production will begin Sept. 5, with production to run from Nov. 5 to just before Christmas, Shoemaker said. The movie will be made on a budget of less than $5 million, he added.

Only the top-billed actors are being brought to Beaufort for filming, which means the production crew will advertise for extras and help. Some residents might also be cast in small roles.

Shoemaker said he hopes to film in downtown Beaufort, on the University of South Carolina Beaufort campus and in local businesses. He's also looking for two plantation homes, he said.

He said it isn't just nostalgia drawing him back to his hometown.

"It's Beaufort, and having the Spanish moss hanging off the oak trees, it looks very mysterious and we'll be able to make it look very much like a thriller, slasher film," he said. "It's beautiful, but it really has this mysterious element to it, and we want that to come across in the film."

Shoemaker isn't the only member of the production with local ties. Berenger has been a part-time resident of Beaufort County for years. His film work includes "The Big Chill," "Platoon," "Major League" and "Inception." More recently, he was in the TV miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys," which received 16 Emmy nominations, including one for Berenger for Outstanding Supporting Actor.

The associate producer of "Demented-ead," Michael Hudson, lives on Lady's Island and also is coordinating the movie's special effects. His work includes "Forrest Gump," "I Know What You Did Last Summer," "Dear John" and "Cold Mountain," according to IMDB.com, the Internet Movie Data Base.

The film will mark the second collaboration for Shoemaker and Marsh. The first, "Scorpio Men On Prozac," won Marsh the Best Director Award for a Feature Film at the 2010 New York International Independent Film Festival.

Shoemaker said his self-published book, "Boy in Babylon," has been adapted into a screenplay and is being developed into a film.

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