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Lights, Camera, Video Store

27 Aug, 2017 By: Brett Sporich

Walking into Movies & Candy, the lone video store in the entire Las Vegas Valley, is like entering a time warp.

From a bobble-head Linda Blair to the movie-themed Hot Wheels collection resting atop shelves packed with 40,000-plus DVD titles, the store takes on a mid-‘90s Clerks vibe. Among the titles old and new, ‘B’-movies dominate as the specialty of the store, which also sports a 30-seat theater in the back of the shop nestled in a small strip mall on the upscale side of Henderson, a Vegas Valley enclave. The theater rents out for $10 per person for a 2.5-hour viewing period minimum, perfect for families, kids birthday parties and ‘B’-movie fans.

Now store owner Trevor Layne is taking his passion for ‘B’-movies to the next level.

After crafting a script titled Curse of the Popcorn Nerd, a horror/comedy about an abandoned child who's left in the video store's drop box and raised on movies and candy, Layne and his cast and crew are now in pre-production and plan to start shooting this fall, using the 2.300-square-foot shop and strip mall as the backdrop.

"'B'-movies have always been a passion of mine," Layne said. "So producing this film is really just an extension of that passion."

Layne admits that making a comedy in the horror genre is challenging, but he's enlisted an experienced ‘B’-movie director, Mark Freed (Shock ’Em Dead, Lovers and Liars), and television star Myles Nathaniel (ABC's “Secrets and Lies”), who plays the orphaned Orville Weaver in Popcorn Nerd.

In the story, orphaned Orville is an oddball videophile, who after being fed tainted popcorn provided by a crazy crone, morphs into a beast who snaps one day and goes on a "strip mall killing spree like no suburb has ever seen," boasts the film's tagline.

Director Freed, who is a longtime Vegas resident, said that he met Layne while searching for an old movie title at the shop.

"I walked into the video store and entered a movie," said Freed, whose cult classic Shock ’Em Dead starred porn star Traci Lords in her third legit feature.

"Trevor told me that he wanted to make a movie, so I told him to write a script,” Freed said. "At first I thought, ‘What a weird title,’ but when I read the script and saw the main character Orville with his boxed head and red-and-white tattoos running down his face, I thought, ‘This is kinda Freddy Kruegerish. Cool.’"

Indeed, the animated Orville beast looks like a cross between David Lynch's Eraserhead and The Hulk. Bringing him to life is the real challenge, Freed said.

"We don't want this film to go off the cheesy deep end, like so many ‘B’-movies can do,” he said.

Layne, who is funding the $50,000 project himself, said special effects takes up the lion's share of the budget.

"Because special effects are such an important part of this project, I decided to invest a good portion of the budget on it," he said.

About 10% of the film's special effects are CGI, but a good 90% is what Layne calls "practical effects," such as a model head crafted from polymers and prosthetics.

Leading up the three-person special effects department is Alden Fajardo, for whom both Layne and Freed have great expectations.

"He's a fantastic artist, but he's an unknown in the field, " Layne said. "I'm sure that this project will get him some well-deserved attention."

The producer-director duo plans to have a premiere opening of the film at Las Vegas Town Square's AMC Theaters in spring 2018, along with a subsequent DVD release in April.

About the Author: Brett Sporich

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