By Hannah Wallace February 28, 2006

Neil McCurry is a man possessed by films-so smitten that, as a 40th birthday present to himself last summer, he wrote, filmed and produced a 20-minute horror movie called Possessed, which premiered last fall at the Eerie Horror Film Festival in Erie, Pa.

McCurry is founder, president and CEO of People's Community Bank in Sarasota, a Sarasota Film Festival board member for five years and now its president. "Over the years I've gotten to know filmmakers," he says. "My general philosophy is, if somebody else can do it, why can't I?" With years of experience filming the antics of his preschool-age children with a handheld video camera, a good group of technicians and a mix of local and out-of-town actors, McCurry filmed the movie over two weekends. Sarasota City Manager Mike McNees, an amateur thespian, played the devil. The cost was about $5,000.

McCurry says his storyline follows his favorite kind of films (warning-potential plot giveaway ahead!): "Where something happens, you're not sure who did it, the story progresses, you're sure you know who did it, and at the end you realize you were all wrong."

He admits most people wouldn't assume a banker would be spending his weekends filming a horror movie. "But it was a lot of fun, and all I want to do is do it for fun. Everybody's got hobbies; people are talented golfers or fishermen. I've always been a film buff."

Possessed was one of 80 films shown at the three-day Eerie Horror Fest, and it snagged the coveted Saturday night slot right before the festival's tribute to Lloyd Kauffman, legendary indie horror filmmaker.

The audience's response? "You sit there biting your nails, slumped in your chair hoping everyone would like it," McCurry says. "When you wanted them to laugh, they laughed; when you wanted them to be scared, they were. That's all you can ask for."

Possessed will air on the Horror Channel sometime in 2006.

Filed under
Show Comments