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The Reeker is coming

The Reeker is coming down south, to a cinema near you. Scary stuff. I mean, how do these cinemas know where you are?

But what is seriously even more scary is Reeker itself. It’s one cool horror movie and it is being released in South Africa at the end of September (this month!) exclusively on the Nu Metro circuit.

What is so fascinating about this particular film is that it is the first purely wide digital release in South Africa. The film was made in America and has been released all around the world on traditional 35 mm reels, but here in South Africa it will be released on a digital platform, which represents an exciting departure for all our local film makers.

Nu Metro has 26 cinema complexes and each has a state-of-the-art digital projector. That means that 26 Reekers will be unleashed on the public soon and result is going to make for an important case study in the local film arena.

Reeker is about a bunch of young strangers who get trapped in an eerie travel oasis in the desert. These youngsters start to unravel the mystery behind their visions of dying people being preyed upon by a decaying creature. (Have a look at for details about this indie film.)

Reeker has received compelling reviews around the world. Variety magazine said, “Both a nightmare and a scream, Reeker earns a top spot among those horror films that are as self-aware as they are creepy, spooky, mysterious and kooky. There’s nothing vaguely mild about this movie.” Ain’t It Cool News said, “Reeker has a fun vibe, cool effects, and doesn’t ever take itself too seriously. Check this one out!”

The film was shot in the visually stunning and haunting desert of Southern California. For the opening sequence, special make-up effects wizard Monster FX used 70 gallons of fake blood. There are more than 300 visual effects shots in the film.

The film stars hot newcomer Arielle Kebble – who was the lead in American Pie 4 and is now going to be seen in Aquamarine and John Tucker Must Die. Then there is Eric Mabius from Resident Evil, and veteran actor Michael Ironside from Top Gun and Total Recall.

The magic behind the movie lies with the writer/director Dave Payne, who says, “I’ve been missing the sense of fun from the current crop of horror films. You’ve got the over-stylized, too serious, almost purposely vague PG-13 studio fare, you’ve got the sub-budget direct to the bottom shelf of the video store drivel, you’ve got the popcorn C-movie monster flicks on cable – and there isn’t much else in between. My favourite horror films have always been scary, smart and funny. So basically I set out to frighten the pants off people, make them laugh, and give them a story thick enough to chew on, but easy enough to swallow.”

Payne has directed a host of interesting films, including the Addams Family Reunion. Reeker is his own creation.

I have a personal interest in this film. The truth is, I am one of Dave Payne’s partners. I met Dave and his actor/producer wife, Tina, in Los Angeles many years ago when I was living there and this is the result of a good collaboration and a lot of inspiration.

Reeker is a humble and magical production that has pushed the envelope when it comes to innovative and creative film making. The part I am so thrilled about is that we are getting to test the waters on a wide digital release.

I have seen a test of a 35mm print projected against the digital system and I couldn’t tell the difference. My gut feel is that horror fans are going to be delighted with this and I am hoping that our efforts here will set an important precedent for all those film entrepreneurs who get overwhelmed at the expensive exercise that is film distribution.

A digital platform is just what is needed in our local film industry. If the release is successful (and we are quite bullish on this venture) then it will demonstrate that one can release a film on a digital platform with no loss in quality and with a massive reduction in distribution costs. We will know the results soon enough. Watch this space – Reeker is coming!

  • Ronnie Apteker is one of the founders of Internet Solutions, the country’s largest corporate Internet service provider. He is also a movie producer, an author of two books and sometimes a stand up comedian.

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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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