Mineral Wells Index
— By CLINT FOSTER
Bar the door and load your shotgun! In the words of Youtube sensation Antoine Dodson, "Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife," because the zombie apocalypse is coming to Mineral Wells!
Not literally, of course. But the home of Crazy Water is about to get a little crazier when film crews come to town at the end of this month to shoot portions of Stuart Page's new zombie flick: "Daylight's End," by Daylight's End LLC Film Productions.
On Tuesday night, Mineral Wells City Council approved an ordinance providing for temporary street closures of NE 1st Street to facilitate the filming of the movie in the Central Business District on Aug. 27 and 28. The filmmakers plan to feature parts of the famous Baker Hotel as well as a large action sequence on NE 1st. Filming is set to begin at midnight on Aug. 27 and conclude at 9 a.m. on Aug. 28.
According to Internet Movie Database, the movie, directed by William Kaufman and set for a 2014 release, takes place years after blood-thirsty zombies have essentially taken over the world. The plot summary reads:
"A rogue drifter on a vengeful hunt stumbles across a band of survivors in an abandoned police station and reluctantly agrees to try to help them defend themselves and escape to the sanctuary they so desperately need."
City Manager Lance Howerton said it is by no means unusual for production companies to ask permission to film in and around the Baker, which has a reputation as being haunted. Typically access to the once luxurious hotel is restricted only to prospective buyers, but in this case, Howerton said all involved parties felt Page's film would be beneficial to both the Baker and the Mineral Wells community. Howerton said the Hunter Chase Group – the developer that has been working on the Baker's rennovation – and property owner Greg Horn were both in favor of the project.
"They felt this would be an opportunity to get some exposure for the hotel, get some nationwide promotion and get people to see the property if they watch this movie and that it might be something positive for the hotel project over the long term," Howerton said.
Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan said at Tuesday's City Council meeting that he has heard no public objections to the filming. He has also contacted all affected businesses whom have all said they are happy to work with the filmmakers. Howerton added in a later interview that when production companies like Daylight's End come to town, it also generates an overall positive effect on the local economy.
"Whenever we've had production companies come in the past, typically they'll fill hotel rooms, bring catering in," he said. "There are a lot of business opportunities that come with these, even if it's just for a couple of days. A couple of our local businesses should realize the beneficial impact of this kind of activity in our community."
Although City Council approved the ordinance for street closures for the movie, members were not unanimous in their decision. The vote was 3-2 in favor of the closures, as council members Tammy Underwood of Ward 2 and Thomas Lively of Ward 1 voiced their strong disapproval of the entire film project. Both said during Tuesday's meeting that they were disappointed by promoting the community as haunted and, although permission has already been given to start filming, they do not support it.
"There seems to be quite a bit of focus in the last few months on promoting our city to the paranormal community," Underwood told the Index. "This movie, to me, still promotes that whole theme of making Mineral Wells known for being haunted and the paranormal. We have such a rich heritage in this community. I do not understand why we are placing that much focus trying to change the way people perceive us. I don't think it's healthy.
"The whole concept of trying to sell the Baker and now we're turning around and putting all the focus on it being haunted and all that. I just don't think that's the direction that we need our city to head in. I can't see how that's going to be positive exposure. Of course, that's my opinion. I just hate to see us go that direction. I don't know that we're that desperate that we have to try and promote ourselves as being haunted."
For those who look forward to "Daylight's End" coming to Mineral Wells, Howerton said he believes the public could be able to watch the large action sequence being filmed and possibly even be cast as extras.
"Typically, it's my understanding, that is possible," he said. "We've had some other film production crews come in to Mineral Wells over the past several years and that's exactly what they did. You could come stand on the sidelines and watch the filming and there were some locals who were actually extras in the movie."
After multiple attempts to contact Page, one of the film's producers, the Index could not attain information confirming this or concerning how to become an extra.
Follow Clint on Twitter @Clint_Foster55