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We talk with filmmaker Matthew Currie Holmes about his feature film “The Curse of Buckout Road” and the importance of adapting in indie cinema.

Executed witches, flesh craving albinos, and a mysterious lady holding a lantern are just a few of the urban legends inhabiting what is dubbed the most haunted road in America. Located in Westchester and White Plains, NY, Buckout Road seems tailor made for a horror film adaptation of its many legends and actor turned filmmaker Matthew Currie Holmes has done just that.

The end result is The Curse of Buckout Road, a satisfying horror spook-fest that has won several best feature and audience awards during its successful festival run. Now mass audiences will get to experience the film as it opens in select theaters across America and on VOD Sept 27th.

With over 40 acting credits to his name, The Fog (2005) and Wrong Turn 2 among them, Matthew recently took his talents behind the camera as a writer and director. And with The Curse of Buckout Road as his first released feature film, Matthew’s career as a filmmaker is off to a very promising start.

We were honored to have the opportunity to talk with the filmmaker about how he got involved with the project and his experience making the film.


INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW CURRIE HOLMES

1. First of all, congratulations on a great feature film debut! I’m surprised there hasn’t been anything done with the horrors surrounding Buckout Road! What drew you to these urban legends, so much so that you chose it as your feature directorial debut?

Thanks Jason. Glad you dug it!

Well, there is now 😉 The Curse of Buckout Road was already ready to go. The producers (John Gillespie and Brad Clark) up in Canada had Danny (Glover) and Evan (Ross) attached. They had a start date and some crew. What they didn’t have was a script that they loved. Paul Weber (casting director and producer) was familiar with my work and suggested I’d be perfect for the punch up.

When I read the script they had, I proposed an idea and suggested a page-one rewrite. Needless to say, the producers were not thrilled. So I offered to write a 30-page treatment for free to fully illustrate what I wanted to do. I handed in my treatment within the week, and they LOVED it, so they hired me.

It was an intense period, and I was on the clock. I handed in my first draft in 3 weeks. Based on the strength and potential of that draft, John offered me the directing job. I said ‘yes’ and got to work rewriting the script so it would be shootable (never shoot your first draft, people…EVER).

2. There’s a large number of urban legends surrounding Buckout Road but you chose 3 specific stories to focus on. What made you choose those 3 and were there any others that almost made the cut?

Oh my god. There are over 13 urban legends attached to Buckout Road, and I think I got up to paying homage to 8 in an early draft, hahaha.

Here’s the thing: I love research. I am a research pig!! It’s my favorite part of writing. When I went down the Buckout Road rabbit hole, I knew I had a wealth of information to choose from. Here’s another thing. During my research, I discovered that the fine folks who live in Westchester and White Plains, New York (the home of the actual Buckout Road) are EXTREMELY protective of that two mile stretch of road. And in discovering that, I knew I had to do right by them.

There were so many to choose from. But the ones that I found made for the best story, narratively, was the one where if you honked your horn three times in front of an old dilapidated house at night, Albino twins would come out and EAT YOU. I also knew I had to include the tale of the three women who were accused of witchcraft in the 1300s and were burned at the stake.

So I knew I had to have those two for sure. As for the third? There were so many others like: Mary’s lantern, the white sacred deer, the wandering man with no jaw known as The Leatherman — and, of course the story of Capt. John “Jan” Buckhout for whom the road was named. Then there was the famous murder/suicide of another Buckhout and his wife, the one where the boyfriend is left hanging from the tree, a tale about a ghastly spirit known as The Lady In White, and the fact that real life serial killer Albert Fisk lived in the area.

I wanted to do right by the fine folks of Westchester, so I embellished with the third. I amalgamated a few legends into one main urban legend as my way of being respectful and thankful. There was a draft where the Leatherman made the cut, but it was too ‘inside baseball’. Plus, I think if he’s cool enough for Pearl Jam to write a song about, he should probably have his own movie.

3. A lot of the imagery within the the film is quite striking, especially the lady with the lantern. Can you talk about the visual influences behind these images?

Thank you! I tried to include as many visual homages to films (specifically 80s midnight movies) I loved as possible. It’s not an accident that one of the Albinos looks an awful like The Phantom Killer from The Town That Dreaded Sundown.

There is an actual Buckout Road urban legend that tells of a woman carrying a lantern in the woods, but her name is Mary and she’s searching for something. I combined Mary’s lantern with the ghastly Lady in White legend and took my inspiration from the 1988 kids horror film aptly titled The Lady In White. Katherine Helmond was so graceful, yet so terrifying in that film. And I wanted to capture that grace and fear…something that scared the hell out of me when I was 13.