I'm not really sure how I missed "The Caretaker" when it came out on February 14th. Maybe it's because that was a Thursday and I usually only check the new releases on Tuesdays. Either way, I missed it and it first came to my attention when I actually had a chance to discuss the film with the writer and producer, Jackie Olson. So, in a way, I'm kind of glad I missed it, as I got to hear all about how and why it was made before I watched it.
A bit about the movie... it's written and produced, like I said, by Jackie Olson and was directed by Bryce Olson. Jackie's actually produced four other films, but this is the first that she actually written. This is Bryce Olson's second time at directing, the first being "Be My Baby", which looks like it was a romantic comedy, so I'm not going to tell you any more about that, as I only made it as far as looking at the cover art. "The Caretaker" has both Jen Tilly and Judd Nelson in it... Judd Nelson's role is really just a cameo, but Jen Tilly has a bit meatier role. A bit of a side note here, I didn't realize that Jen Tilly is 50. I gotta say, she looks pretty damn good for 50 and her boobs are really holding up well, so to speak. On top of that, she really doesn't get the respect that she deserves, if you think about it. Sure, we all remember her as Tiffany from "Bride of Chucky" and "Seed of Chucky", but lest we forget that she was an academy award nominated actress for "Bullets Over Broadway". In any case, it's a pretty big deal for them to land her for this role and she adds some nice eye candy. Not that it's really needed, as all the lead roles in "The Caretaker" are played by a bunch of good looking teens. The plot of the film revolves around a group of teenage boys who go out to give their girlfriends a scare on prom night by taking them to an abandoned house in a grapefruit orchard, where they reveal the story behind the real life urban legend of "The Caretaker". Although it's a little light on the gore (and there's a reason for that), it does have a great nudity sequence that involves 'boob-o-lanterns', there's a lot of tension and suspense and the over-all quality and feel of the film is fantastic. By no means, at any time, do you feel like you're watching a low-budget film.
How it came to be: They actually managed to secure financing as they were heading into pre-production, however that came with a few strings. The financier who agreed to fund the project had strict stipulations - no demons, monsters or pre-marital sex. Further, they had found a location that they really wanted to use, 56 acres of grapefruits with an empty house in the middle, but they didn't really have a script that worked for it. So, they realized that they had to start from scratch and write the film for the location, based on the parameters given.
The script: Although the surface of the plot, the teenagers being stalked by a killer, is quite formulaic, the back story on "The Caretaker" isn't. The idea came from "possessive love", a lover that will kill themselves and their partner, so that no one else can be with them. That's the basic backstory of the killer in the film, but there is a bit more to it and you'll have to check out the film if you want to know more. Mixing up the plot is Jen Tilly's character, 'Miss Perry', who's a teacher that wants to sleep with one of the kid's in her class and follows them up to the orchard in an attempt to do so. In the end, Jackie was given guidelines on how to put the script together and she came through. It's a good little story that's tied together well and, to be honest, that's something you don't really see every day.
Distribution: They've decided to self-distribute the film and they've released it in both NTSC and PAL formats for worldwide viewing and they even have subtitles in French, Spanish and German. When they were ready to get the film out there, the first place they turned was Amazon.com, as it's an easy, obvious place to start and it's open to everyone and a lot of people check it out. They also made their own website at http://www.turkeyranchproductions.com/ for promotional reasons, as well as a portal to sell copies. "The Caretaker" is also available on Netflix and, to be honest, I'm not sure how hard it is to get your film available there, but it can't be too difficult. After that initial push, they're now talking to a few sub-distributors.
In the end, if you're looking for straight up gore, it's probably not the film for you. However, if you're looking for a well made horror movie with a tounge-in-cheek sense of humor, "The Caretaker" is worth a watch... and the fact that Jen Tilly's in it doesn't hurt, either.