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Monday, Aug. 16, 2010

Wisconsin Filmmakers Travel ‘Into the Pit’

Kelly Marcott captures ‘The Shocking Story of Deadpit.com’

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The Internet, with its blogs, comment boards and chat rooms, is giving voice to what was once a marginalized subspecies of moviegoer: a fringe community of fanboys (and girls) who spent their adolescence renting every horror movie at the local mom-and-pop video store and watching them over and over until the VHS tapes wore thin. When Harry Knowles started Ain’t It Cool News—a website devoted to Hollywood news and film reviews—in 1996 while still living in his father’s home, he ushered in a new professional class of film bloggers comprised of 20- and 30-something film geeks who spend their working hours immersed in what they love: watching movies, talking about movies and writing about movies. What’s more, many, like Knowles, are finding they wield a powerful influence on how movies are marketed by big studios.

Into the Pit: The Shocking Story of Deadpit.com is a compelling, insightful view into the lives of two young horror fans from rural Kentucky as they grapple with the success of their creation, the world’s first Internet-based horror talk radio program, Deadpit.com. Director Kelly Marcott led a team of documentary filmmakers from Wisconsin to the small, rather isolated city of Prestonsburg, Ky., where church, hunting and NASCAR reign supreme, a stark contrast to the shared interests of Aaron Frye and Wes Vance, lifelong friends with a deep, almost obsessive, appreciation for the horror genre.

In need of a creative release, in 2005 Frye and Vance recorded their first podcast on Deadpit.com as the duo Uncle Bill and the Creepy Kentuckian, respectively. Armed with uncensored wit, an encyclopedic knowledge of the horror industry, and thick Appalachian accents, the duo shares their brutally honest horror movie reviews, news and comprehensive interviews with what is now an avid worldwide audience. Marcott ingratiates Frye and Vance with the audience by weaving documentary footage with poignant family photos and home videos of Frye and Vance as boys. When Uncle Bill and the Creepy Kentuckian are finally granted an interview with their hero, horror mastermind George Romero, in 2007, the duo not only generates more than a million hits on their website, they also have the Into the Pit audience rooting for them.

The documentary’s dramatic arc is found in Frye, a thoughtful, articulate graduate student pursuing a certificate in mental health counseling, as he finds himself divided between his commitment as host of Deadpit.com and his desire for a career that will have a meaningful impact on the distressed region in which he lives. Compounding the quandary is his long-standing friendship with Vance, who considers their increasingly popular show the top priority.

Into the Pit offers an intriguing impression of the horror community as a close-knit band of lovable misfits that finds communion in the macabre and supernatural, regardless of, or in defiance of, its stigma, and how nostalgia is tied into the genre’s appeal. It documents the unlikely success the Internet affords, and its role as the “last democratic medium.” But, at its heart, the feel-good documentary is a story of friendship and family and how alienation from one group can mean acceptance in another.

For more information on Into the Pit: The Shocking Story of Deadpit.com, visit www.intothepitthemovie.com.