THE HILL AND THE HOLE, duration 1 hr 20 min
Starring Liam Kelly, Adam Gorightly, Kristen Brody, Brandt Adams, Matthew O’Donnell,
Ricardo Burgos, Christopher Dunlop, Xochi, William McLane
Directed by William Darmon & Christopher Ernst
Original score - Drew O’Doherty
produced by BRIGHT RECTANGLE, Ryan Darmon, Stacie Gentzler
Executive producers - Eric & Laura Hostage
BRIGHT RECTANGLE is Christopher Ernst & William Darmon
Working one last job for the Bureau of Land Management, archaeologist TOM DIGBY finds himself confronted with a strange manmade hill on an old ranch in a remote corner of New Mexico.
After being brutally attacked by the ranch’s owner and posse, TOM escapes the ranch and hill’s mysterious power- but finds himself trapped in the surrounding town.
The problem is, TOM DIGBY cannot stop digging. And the town and its bizarre residents keep drawing him into the hill’s larger conspiracy- with a retired Bureau agent at its core.
TOM finds that he might be the latest in a series of land surveyors destined to vanish on the ranch and hill- and that might be the least of his worries.
THE HILL AND THE HOLE is dramatically expanded from a ‘weird fiction’ short story by renowed sci-fi/fantasy author Fritz Leiber.
Fritz Leiber published the original short story in Unknown Worlds in 1942. Leiber went on to write numerous horror, science fiction and fantasy tales- credited with defining the sword and sorcery genre (along with Conan’s Robert Howard), and inspiring modern fantasy works like Game of Thrones and the Elric saga. Renowned horror writer HP Lovecraft was an early admirer of Leiber’s- and William Gibson (Neuromancer) claims Leiber was as a primary inspiration for his career.
Principal photography for the movie took place over 12 days in the dog days of summer 2017 (late July/early August). The cast and crew started in the Kit Carson forest of northwest New Mexico- moving to Raton, in the northeast part of the state- then to Trinidad, Colorado- and a major crew move to New England.
With the screenplay at a total of 85 pages- cast and crew were covering an average of 7 pages a day.
The ‘Caster hill’ is, in reality, Huerfano Butte- located in Walsenburg, Colorado- nearly 200 miles from the location for the ‘Caster ranch’ in Vallecitos, New Mexico (on the Rio Grande). The filmmakers composited the hill into the ranch location- creating the Caster ranch and farm in post. This posed interesting challenges for both cast and crew, as well as a singularly mysterious location with a character of its own.