By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, you can believe in this young filmmaker.
Jeff Ferrell, 27, made a movie inspired by the night he spent alone inside Historic Everett Theatre.
The 90-minute movie, “Ghostlight,” will make its Everett debut at a fundraiser for the vintage theater on Halloween night. Show time is 8 p.m.
Tickets are $8, but a costume gets you in for $6 for the show at one of the oldest operating theaters in the nation.
The horror flick tells the tale of a man’s night inside a haunted theater in an attempt to win $50,000 in a radio contest.
“Scary things commence,” Ferrell said. “It’s a totally fiction story, but some of the incidents that happened to the main characters did happen to me.”
Ferrell, who lives in Burien, discovered the downtown theater when he shot a music video of his Everett friend Davin Stedman’s band, The Staxx Brothers.
“As soon as I went in there, I said, ‘Man, I have to make a movie here,’” Ferrell said. “I fell in love with it.”
It fit with his master plan.
“My personal goal was to direct my first feature film at the age of 26,” the Seattle Film Institute graduate said.
Ferrell asked theater staff to lock him in the theater for a night. They were happy to oblige.
“I had a bunch of pretty amazing supernatural experiences,” Ferrell said. “Loud stomping. Walking around. Heavy creaking floorboards. I heard voices coming from the dressing room. I got the audio.”
Mike Olson, theater director, had heard it all before.
“I’ve heard doors close and you’re the only person in the building,” Olson said. “Some people have seen the lady in white in the balcony. I always say, ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’ to Al.”
Al the ghost, that is.
There have been deaths in the 112-year-old theater, but not the bloody murder-suicide and string of mysterious deaths in the movie version.
“Three patrons passed away from natural causes,” Olson said. “That was before CPR and EMTs.”
Paranormal specialists have confirmed the spooky vibes.
“In the mid-’90s, a ghost show felt five entities: three people and a couple of animals. They used to use live animals here in vaudeville,” Olson said.
The 834-seat theater with a vivid history has an uncertain future.
“We are trying to keep the doors open, and it has been a struggle in the economy the last several years,” Olson said.
He appreciates Ferrell’s help.
“It is nice that somebody did this on their own to help us out,” Olson said.
The movie was shot in 10 days using local talent. Ferrell rates it PG-13 for blood and violence. It will be released next year on DVD, on demand and on digital streaming.
Why wait when you can see it on Halloween?
“I hope people are scared and enjoy the film and it brings awareness to the theater,” Ferrell said.
Show: 8 p.m. Oct. 31. Tickets are available at the box office, by calling 425-258-6766 or online at www.etix.com (with additional fees). The director and cast members will attend the screening.
The plot: Andrew (Brian Sutherland) wins a radio contest to spend one night alone in a haunted theater on the 80th anniversary of a bloody murder/suicide that took place inside. His prize, if he stays the night: $50,000. The catch: The theater has been reportedly haunted and plagued by a series of mysterious deaths in the 80 years since. A devout disbeliever in the supernatural, Andrew has no qualms about spending the night there. But his wife Mira (Lisa Coronado), who has been haunted by psychic premonitions about the place, feels differently. As Andrew is locked inside the theater for the night, the ghosts and secrets of its past begin to reveal themselves to him. Will he make it through the night to collect his prize? And will he get out before the murderous ghosts take hold of him forever?
Historic Everett Theatre: 2911 Colby Ave.; 425-258-6766; or www.historiceveretttheatre.org.
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org.