The 12 finalists in a local horror movie-making competition have been unveiled just in time for Halloween. Chris Schulz eyes the shortlist.
A cursed garage sale, a pair of dodgy crime-scene cleaners, a clingy "deranged" mum and a high-stakes poker game are ideas for a horror film that could soon be coming to a cinema near you.
The 12 finalists have been revealed for the second instalment of Make My Movie, a collaboration between Make My Movie, the NZ Film Commission, MPI Media USA and nzherald.co.nz, which this year focuses on horror films.
The competition invites budding Kiwi film-makers to come up with a poster, tagline and synopsis for a movie they want to make.
The winner, announced early next year, receives $200,000 and logistical support to see their gruesome idea reach the big screen in late 2014.
Organiser Ant Timpson says horror is the "perfect" genre for a low-budget movie.
"They're designed to be films that are quite commercial but aren't reliant on the usual ingredients like an A-list cast and major effects. They're the go-to calling card for people who want to make a name for themselves.
[Horror films] are a highly commercial part of the film industry."
The 12 finalists, whittled down from around 400 entries, showcase the dark imaginations of budding Kiwi film-makers, from hens' night-gone-wrong tale Chicks vs Hicks, to Collision, about a late-night car crash that goes badly wrong for rescue workers.
Take a look at the horror movie posters from all 12 finalists
From here, a top five will be chosen by public voting, Facebook "likes" and a panel of judges unveiled in mid- November. The top two will be named at the New Zealand Film Awards on December 10.
Both teams will write scripts, and the winner will be announced on January 16. Then the hard work really begins: They'll start shooting their film, edit it, and release it before the end of 2014.
Whoever the winner is, they've got plenty to live up to. Last year's winner, the "Peeping Tom rom-com" How to Meet Girls From a Distance, made for just $100,000, landed overwhelmingly positive reviews, played nationwide at the film festival and recently won the Grand Prix du Jury (Best Film) at the Antipodes Festival in France.
Vote for your favourite at makemymovie.co.nz.
Blood Brothers: With their crime-scene cleaning business about to go bankrupt, two friends decide to create some work for themselves, moonlighting as serial killers.
Chicks vs Hicks: Friends celebrating a hens' night accidentally kill a peeping tom and learn the only thing more deadly than the victim's chromosomally challenged family is friendship.
Collision: At 2am, on a pitch-black country road, a car is involved in a violent head-on collision. As rescue workers try to save its passengers it becomes clear this is no regular accident.
Deathgasm: Splatter horror/black comedy about two heavy metal-thrashing losers who have to stop a malevolent force which they have inadvertently unleashed.
Garage Sale of the Damned: A seemingly ordinary garage sale is cursed: five customers take home Kiwiana, triggering five horrific stories. Equal parts creepy, bloody and demented.
Mother's Little Boy: When Phillip Black finally hits puberty his mother becomes increasingly deranged, resorting to bizarre methods to keep her little Phillip from ever growing up.
Mother's Milk: An archaeologist investigating a group of missionary graves finds that a sinister history could be repeating itself as her crew begin to succumb to vile illness and delirium.
Penance: Kidnappers who abduct the daughter of a mysterious family find themselves battling supernatural forces when the girl turns out to be the central cog in an evil plan.
They All Come Running: In the river town of Bastion, a series of grisly murders coincide with the arrival of an icecream van and its enigmatic proprietor.
Strangers Have The Best Candy: Forced to stay home on Halloween, Natalie finds herself on the receiving end of countless social media updates from her friend. But then the images start to turn gruesome.
The Card Game: A stranger joins a small town poker game and sets about winning everything from the players until they have nothing left to gamble but their children.
Mary Till Death: With his marriage on the brink of collapse, a desperate husband creates an elaborate hoax to stop the woman he loves from walking out of his life.