Back in the summer of 1979 me and my friends Adam, Wes, and Paul got together to 'make a movie'. I had just turned seventeen. This was shot entirely on Ryan Street back when it was an open mall with no car traffic allowed. If you listen closely, you can hear music playing. At that time there were speakers all over the open mall playing music
At the beginning the two kids are leaving the old Paramount Theater and if you look closely you can see Zempter's Model Shop next door. On down they walk in front of the old Calcasieu Marine National Band when it was on the corner of Pujo and Ryan Street. Now days Ryan Street has been opened back up to traffic.
Also I think at the time the Paramount Theater was closed. The majority of the film was going to be shot inside the old Hotel Charleston (which was also closed) but made a fantastic set.
We had recently seen the films 'Halloween' and 'Phantasm'. We wrote a horror movie script and got some of our friends to act in it. Our film was called 'Horror Hotel'.
I conned my neighbor into loaning me the new TV camera that his church had purchased. I told him he could teach me how to run it and I would help him film the church services which were broadcast on the local TV station.
This camera was huge. It was not a camcorder, there was no such thing back then (at least that I had ever seen). It was a shoulder mount model, heavy, and fully manual. No auto functions at all.
It had a fifteen foot cable that connected to a portable full-size VHS cassette recorder. Wesley carried around the recorder unit because it was too much for one person to carry both of them. The portable recorder had a battery that would last a little over an hour, so you had to go fast.
As you can see in the footage, I didn't know what a white balance was.
We had so much fun.
Unfortunately, our primitive equipment could not edit the footage. We tried and tried but to no avail. You had to shoot one long take with no cuts. Bob (the guy that did the church services) would set up the camera at the back, point it at the Pastor, and never touch the camera again during the service.
We even tried to get one of the guys at the TV station to edit it for us. But they wanted fifty dollars an hour to use their equipment. We had no money.
This footage was saved on a VHS tape. Back in 1979, a two hour tape cost $29.95 (a one hour tape cost $19.95). So these tapes got used and re-used a lot.
We never actually finished making the movie. These clips are all that remain.
I talked with Adam the other day to see about resurrecting this project, now that we have some money.
Synopsis: Horror Hotel was about a group of kids that, on a dare, go and spend the night in an old abandoned downtown hotel. They begin to disappear one by one. We find out there is an old crazy bum living in the basement of the hotel.
There was some disagreement between me and Adam about how the movie should end. He wanted the last kid to find all of his friends dismembered and dead before killing the old bum. I thought that was a little much. I wanted the last kid to find all his friends locked in an upstairs room and rescue them. As we never finished filming the movie, no one knows how it ended.
The sound is not that great. This is what they are saying. They are coming out of the movie house and they are talking about just seeing the film 'Halloween':
LARRY (guy in the white shirt): Man that was a good movie!
MIKE: (guy in the red shirt) Yeah, we ought to go see it again. You had your eyes closed half the time.
LARRY: You know I didn't want to go see it the first time. You know I don't like scary movies.
MIKE: It wasn't all that scary. I like the part where she went and found that dead body in the closet.
LARRY: That made me mad when they made the boy drop his pumpkin.
MIKE: If it would have been me, I'd picked it up and throwed it at them. And what about that time he got that lady in the car?
LARRY: Oh yeah. And stabbed her, and then, and then. . .
MIKE: Hey, there's that old hotel. Want to go in?
LARRY: Uh uh
MIKE: Awe, come on. My mom says she used to go in there all the time. She says there's some old stuff in there. We might even find something.
MIKE: Come on. Let's go look in the window.
Loading more stuff…
Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?