MEDINA: Some of the folks who made a Katie Holmes movie in Cleveland this summer thought Ohio was so nice, they came back.
This month, they’re in Medina to film Fear Clinic, a horror film featuring Robert Englund, best known for playing Freddy Krueger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street series.
“We’re feeling the love for Ohio,” said Mani Isler, associate producer and publicist for the independent film.
Fear Clinic is a full-length feature film based on a five-part Web series that launched in 2009.
“It’s the most-watched horror Web series in history,” Isler said. “Now we’re taking the leap to the big screen.”
The story features Englund as Dr. Andover, a “fear doctor” who wants to help people get over their phobias.
The cast and crew will spend most of their time at a former nursing home on North Huntington Street.
The old Sophia Huntington Parker Home for Pythian Sisters is being “transformed into our fear clinic,” Isler said.
But on Thursday, the action was at the town square.
A short flashback scene was filmed on a park bench, with the city’s iconic gazebo and Christmas tree in the background.
Then cast and crew moved across the street to Eli’s Kitchen, a restaurant that served as the location of a key traumatic event in the story.
Kevin and Julie Myers, a couple from Olmsted Falls who were extras in both scenes, said they never acted before this year. They sported huge smiles between takes, saying the experience was worthy of their bucket lists.
They only became interested in community theater this summer when a play their children were in needed a couple of extra adults.
“Now we’ve got the bug,” Kevin Myers said with a laugh.
The couple were casual strollers in the park bench scene, and expected to be victims of a killing spree in the restaurant.
“We’ll probably end up on the cutting-room floor,” Myers quipped.
“Or maybe you’ll just see an elbow,” Julie Myers chimed in.
William Baker, the film’s line producer, is a Medina County native, raised in Lodi and currently living in Medina.
He helped producer Mark Johnson with the Katie Holmes film Miss Meadows in Cleveland, and when he was called to work on the Fear Clinic project, he immediately suggested the nursing home.
A church is using part of the building, but the rest of it remains vacant. The crew has been busy preparing it for the past three weeks and will continue filming there throughout December.
Main Street Medina’s Executive Director Matt Wiederhold was busy drumming up local support for the project on the business association’s Facebook page this week.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for Medina to be featured in a major motion picture,” Wiederhold said.
He noted that during World War II, Medina was featured in Hometown USA, a 15-minute film that promoted the quality of life in small town America as a way to remind soldiers of what was at stake.
“With the Hallmark feeling and look of the square, we hope that more studios will take note of the opportunity to film in Medina,” he said.
Isler also noted that appeal, saying the square “looks like a Universal Studios backlot.”
Filmmakers hope to release Fear Clinic for the 2014 Halloween season. The movie was co-written by Aaron Drane and Robert Hall, the latter serving as its director.
A small part of the cost of production — about $80,000 — was raised through the crowdfunding website Indiegogo.com, where backers could donate and receive the opportunity to do everything from have lunch with the cast to screening party perks.
For more on the film and Web series, follow it on Twitter (@FearClinicMovie) or on Facebook (fearthecure).