Brandon’s former mental hospital was once again the site of a film shoot, considered a "gem" locale for horror and suspense productions.
The filming of "The Exorcism of Molly Hartley" wrapped its five-day shoot in Brandon on Friday, filming in and around the preserved Parkland Building of Assiniboine Community College’s North Hill campus — a nearly perfect spot for a film largely set in a stereotypical mental institution.
"This facility offers so much interesting architecture," said Neal Baksh, production assistant in the film’s location department.
"It’s so clinical looking, it does look like a hospital. You stick some people walking around in robes and wheelchairs, it looks exactly like what we’re looking for and you just can’t find that anywhere."
ACC’s Parkland Building has yet to be transformed, though the college’s long-term plan is to restore it.
Until it is reimagined as a college building, it offers a unique shooting location in Manitoba, since any building similar has either been torn down or since renovated, Baksh said.
And this production has taken full advantage of the campus, as nearly a quarter of the film’s quick 20-day shoot will have taken place in Brandon.
The film is a joint production of Los Angeles-based Capital Arts Entertainment Inc. and Winnipeg-based Original Pictures Inc. for distributor 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
The film is the second chapter to 2008’s "The Haunting of Molly Hartley," directed by horror veteran Steven R. Monroe and written by Matt Venne, who wrote "Leprechaun: Origins," and "Fright Night 2."
Most of the film was shot in studio in Winnipeg, with two days in Selkirk.
And when the film comes out on DVD in 2015, not only will the setting look familiar, but some of the background hospital patients and orderlies may be recognizable as well, since the film cast at least a dozen locals as extras.
Brandonite Taylor Parks, 19, was at the casting call earlier this month. Being in a movie was something she wanted to cross off her bucket list.
But the Brandon University student ended up being a stand-in as the character of Molly Hartley for pre-shooting framing while the actress, Sarah Lind, got ready in makeup.
"It’s been really exciting, it’s all interesting seeing how things go together and seeing what it will end up as," Parks said as dozens of crew members shuffled monitors, chairs, camera lenses and cords from one end of a long off-white hall to another.
While she’s not on camera, Parks worked a lot more than the extras since she had to be on set all day every day. She’s not sure if her name will role on the end credits, but she hopes so.
Parks wasn’t the only local drawn into the storm of about 70 crew members who worked into the late nights this week.
Alyssa Robbins, 26, also tried her hand in the film industry for the first time as a location production assistant for the local shoot.
She made sure the location was clean, helped move the massive amount of equipment and "locked up the set," meaning she is one of many who make sure it’s quiet during filming.
"It’s hard, but it’s been really fun," said the university grad who’s planning to go to medical school next year.
The film cast includes Devon Sawa ("Final Destination," "Idle Hands"), Gina Holden ("Final Destination 3," "The Butterfly Effect 2") and Lind as Molly Hartley, who now as an adult, has fallen under the possession of an evil spirit and must be exorcised by a fallen priest before the devil completely takes her.
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