Never Hike Alone is the Friday the 13th fan film you’ve been waiting for. Inventive, professionally photographed, and cool as hell. Or, at least that’s the impression I get from the trailer that dropped last May (on Friday the 13th, no less). If you missed it at the time, have a look now.
What began as a much shorter story about a hiker who wanders into Camp Crystal Lake, Never Hike Alone has now expanded to an intended 22 minute film with a proposed budget of $40,000, and the filmmakers at Womp Stomp Films have taken to Kickstarter to finish the project.
“Never Hike Alone is a short film set in the world of Friday the 13th.”, says director Vincente DiSanti in the project’s Kickstarter video. “It follows the story of a young adventurist, played by our lead actor Andrew Leighty, who discovers the long lost remains of old Camp Crystal Lake while on a back country camping trip.” Everyone knows you never hike alone, but that goes double in Jason Voorhee’s old stomping grounds, and soon our hiker is attacked by Camp Crystal Lake’s most famous resident. What follows is a survival story pitting both man versus nature and man versus machete.
Playing the iconic Voorhees (with the help of a gnarly hockey mask designed for this film) is DiSanti, who adds, “For me, (Never Hike Alone) is a story of man vs. nature in the most extreme way. I took inspiration from films like 127 Hours, The Martian, and The Descent. Films that use complete isolation to escalate their drama. In this case, our drama comes in one of horror cinema’s greatest characters.”
In its first two days, the campaign has already generated pledges of more than $5,000 of its $40,000 goal. If successful, the campaign will allow Womp Stomp Films to shoot at an abandoned camp in the San Bernardino National Forest. As if from a tale straight out of a backwoods slasher movie, the team first discovered the lost camp after a pair of locals showed them an old map outlining the location. Disanti elaborates, “At first, all we had to go on were some vague directions and photos of an old map on my phone. It took a few nights on Google Maps, but I was eventually able to locate the camp. We set out the following weekend to find it and as soon as we arrived at the site we knew we had to film there. It was perfect.”
Backers can choose from any number of rewards, with plenty of reasonably priced physical goodies in the $15 to $50 range, and some incredibly cool high end stuff for those of you who can afford to splurge. Thank You credits start at just $5 and stack throughout the reward tier, there are pins, shirts, and hoodies, but also plenty of NHA branded camping themed rewards such as duffel bags and blankets, and you can even snag one of the film’s many badass props (including one of the aforementioned hockey masks, but also prop weapons such as Jason’s machete and axe).
It’s worth noting that Womp Stomp Films is treating this project as a non-profit venture. Any funds not used in the creation of the film will be donated to Penny Pines Reforestation Program, an organization that helps revitalize areas of national forest affected by fire and/or disease. Says DiSanti, “We see it as a way of giving back to a set that has given us more than we could ever ask for.”
Like a true fan, DiSanti seems to be making this one for his love of the genre (and especially his love for the Friday the 13th franchise) rather than for compensation.
Check out the Never Hike Alone Kickstarter campaign to read Disanti’s Director’s Statement, where he elaborates on why he loves this series so much and how he was first bit by the horror bug.
Never Hike Alone will continue to fund on Kickstarter through September, coming to a close on Monday, October 3rd, 2016.
Ryan Stockstad is a Los Angeles filmmaker with a passion for horror, documentary and experimental cinema. He has written articles for HC Magazine, Mostly Harmless Magazine and various blogs and websites. He has lectured on topics as diverse as low budget filmmaking, short story structure, and the influence of the Spanish Civil War on surrealist cinema. He hosts new episodes of Pop Culture Beast's Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October.