The Monkey's Paw (2009)
In a modern take on a classic tale, The Monkey's Paw tells the story of a family given a magic amulet by an old friend. They ignore his warnings of misery and pain and decide to test the paw's ability.
I was in high school when I made this film, without a single idea of what to do or where I fit in. I knew I loved movies and wanted to do something with them, but what? After writing my first script for "Lefty," I borrowed a book of short horror stories from the library and found myself reading "The Monkey's Paw" over and over. I decided to use the story as a foundation to improve my screenwriting, and worked on the script until I was completely satisfied. I joined the Video Club soon after and was given an opportunity to create something for them to showcase the following year. I was a junior in high school, and this would be the first production I was in charge of (though certainly not the last.)
I was forced to cast myself when I couldn't find a lead, and was battling a fear of being on camera at the time (which, thanks to this film, I have since overcome.) My co-star, Robin Mikula, is truly the heart of the film and was no doubt the one getting us eager and energized throughout the shoot. I had a tremendous amount of help from her and the entire cast and crew, which was made up of friends, family, and my TV teachers, who were all on board since day one.
The paw itself was made out of an old glove filled with lentils, and fur glued onto the back. We operated it via strings sewn onto the fingers, which we pulled through an unseen wood block. It was my first film, and I was already working with special effects!
The day it premiered, the response it got from peers and classmates was outstanding, and I knew in that moment that a new chapter of my life had officially begun.