What it's like directing a horror movie in a decrepit home
The spell room at the very top of the old Madden family house on Winchester Road is lined with jars of the ingredients any witch might need.
But if the witch in the movie “The Wiccan,” which is currently being filmed in the dilapidated house, needs a snake, she can just head to the basement.
“There’s an infestation,” said Bryan Sexton, the producer of the film. “We were fortunate to not have too many snake problems when we were shooting.”
So Sexton skips the basement on his tour of the house, choosing instead to walk through the various rundown rooms upstairs. Occasionally, he’ll stop and point out the places where the witch killed his characters.
“Everybody’s death is super interesting,” Sexton said.
Sexton doesn’t always make horror movies — he recently made a couple of romantic comedies — but he’s having fun filming in the abandoned home he often drove by while growing up in Lexington.
“Horror is not my favorite movie to see, but it’s my favorite movie to make,” Sexton explained.
Since going to Los Angeles and working in the film industry, Sexton has specialized in what he called “premiere sequels.” Now he has his own production company, Distilled Media.
“The Wiccan” is about a group of teens who explore the house at the end of the street, unaware that it’s occupied by a witch. Of course, the usual horror ensues.
“It’s surprisingly fun,” director Alex Merkin said. “I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much. Reality goes out the window.”
Merkin said the old house has been perfect for the film, particularly because even in its rundown state, you can see its former elements of grandeur.
He also appreciates the history. The crew has been told that the owner used to poison select bottles of his wine collection to prevent his employees from stealing and drinking them. The crew has avoided drinking from any wine bottles.
“You literally feel the weight of the history around you,” Merkin said.
And he’s noticed the ghosts of the house. When scouting the location, he swore he saw someone out of the corner of his eye while he was in the attic.
But when he looked closer, the rest of the crew was downstairs.