Return of the Masked One (2014)

Nearly two years after Carol’s past caught up with her, and the Masked One’s reclaiming of her soul forever marked the spot where she died, a new tenant in the building unwittingly opens a dark new chapter of this horror tale.

When Garret spills a few drops of blood, he begins a fast descent down into darkness, opening the door between worlds for the Masked One to return and claim a new soul for his dark schemes. Will Garret’s own past prevent him or anyone else from taking this threat seriously?

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Mark Cannon & Jim LaVasseur

Director’s Notes

Shortly after finishing the first installment in this horror series, I knew I wanted to revisit and expand on the mythology I was building, because lets face it, these days, you gotta have a sequel! It’s a horror rule that Scream so poignantly explained (then exploited). But I also knew that the first film offered so little of the established character mythos that I had constructed in putting the film together, that I figured I would eventually want to come back to this tale and build more. Reveal more. Even if it is done subtly.

I began toying with the idea of how I would continue the story in the same settings, and use a different aspect of the Masked One’s dark plan to drive and unfold the narrative. And while the idea itself began to take some distinct shape that was appealing to me, it wasn’t until I came up with the words of the Prophet for this part of the story, those two lines of poetic verse that act as something of a hook in the plot, that I was completely sold on moving forward with the sequel.

I reached out to Dan once again to see if he would have any interest in reprising the role of the Masked One, but he was not. This wasn’t surprising to me given the lack of actual acting and involvement the role requires, but I still wanted to make the offer nonetheless.

Mark was eager to take the helm of this installment, and be the Masked One’s mark, no pun intended, after I discussed the film with him. We simply needed someone who fit the part as Dan had established it for the Masked One himself. But still Mark and I began working on a filming a teaser for the short in 2013. We got together on the heels of filming Waiting for the Way and shot some footage that was intended to announce the coming project. When delays began to set in, and then the summer would bring large amounts of flooding to Manitou Springs and the area we were to film in, the project got put on hold. It would be nearly a year before the Masked One would return.

After working with Jim on another project in 2013, where he was cast in a similar lurking fashion, I sent him the script and asked if he would be at all interested. He signed on without hesitation, and I began planning our first sequel to go forward. Using some of the footage we shot in 2013 to both open and close the film (and also in the teaser for the film), we effectively took over a year to complete this short. However, some of the footage we shot in 2013 that we were supposed to use, had to be re-shot and arranged completely, as in the time since the flooding, we had moved out of the back apartment in our building, and into the front apartment. Suddenly, some of the shots I had penned and planned for had to be reworked as we no longer had access to our former apartment.

Having the bigger apartment and space, allowed us to shoot the entire short in our apartment however, instead of cheating and shooting the interiors elsewhere as we had in the first one. Having the old church with the bright red door across the street from the building allowed me to incorporate a large amount of added symbolism and meaning in Garret’s attempts to escape this dark plot he has stumbled into, and seek salvation from his impending doom at the hands of the fallen reaper. I already sought to imbue this installment with more commentary and meaning than the first one, especially given Garret’s circumstances and means by which his story and concerns are dismissed.

In that year, another rewrite of script simplified the casting and allowed for quicker and easier shooting. I did this mainly to hold to the original and not have more than one main character in the short. Also to simplify down the locations needed to access in order to shoot. The fact that the Library was closed by the time we made it over there that afternoon was disappointing as I had intended to actually show Garret inside the building, or at least, walking in and out through the door. But we had to fake it. So overall, the script got much simpler in the rewrite, and brought in the phone call element much more to again hearken back to the first film. In fact, the only other speaking role in this short went to Jim in a small cameo, as a little add in to allow for him to be on screen without the mask.

I was extremely pleased with the result of revisiting the Masked One’s story and plot. I am interested to see where the tale goes in the future as well.

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