Today a brand new extension of the long established “Land of Illusion” haunted amusement attraction site in Middletown, Ohio was introduced- “Land of Illusion Studio and Backlot.” Located off of St. Rt. 4, the 110 acre grounds on Thomas Road are a comprehensive film lot. Local entrepreneurs, Mark Ott (General Manager ) and Brett Oakley (owner), saw the need for their facility to boost the regional film industry.
The grounds feature permanently themed sets that include city scape’s, wooded areas, a school, mine shaft, full service bars (with full alcohol permit), an amphitheater and more. Sure to attract many out of region productions, they offer fully equipped construction and scene shop work space, green screens,space for a production office, gift shop, restaurant and full service housing to accommodate a crew of 21. Set equipment such as generators and portable lighting are also available. Crew and personnel listings are extensive as well, offering on-site medics, carpenters, fabricators, make-up artists, production assistants, gated security and a payroll administrator. It is site to behold as the tour seems never ending. (Thankfully they have golf carts.)
Though the site has been functional for a few years, hosting productions of the “reality” genre, the first LA based production helped to roll out the official debut as a full service studio and backlot. On March 25th., principal photography began for comedy / horror film “The Funhouse Massacre.” LA Director Andy Palmer and crew are settling in nicely and adjusting to the ever changing Ohio elements. The budget has not been disclosed at this point but when asked, Palmer confirmed it is “over $1 million, under $4 million.” Working under a tight production deadline, principle
photography will end April 19 with a projected release date of Halloween season, 2015.
Actor Robert Englund, best known for his role as Freddie Kruger in “Nightmare On Elm Street” is part of the principal cast of “The Funhouse Massacre” and is due to arrive on set within the next few weeks. Also cast is character actor Clint Howard, known for his offbeat roles but probably best known as the brother of Ron Howard. He is due to arrive within the first half of production.
“The Funhouse Massacre” production is the perfect scenario for what the regional film industry is focusing on. Economic development and job creation are on the forefront of the minds of “Land Of Illusion” owners and managers. Employing a year round staff, the bulk of business is generated by paintball outings and during the Fall for Halloween attractions. With the studio and backlot, the staff increases for production services. The need for regional production services was brought to manager Mark Ott by Dayton based producer Karri O’Reilly. “The Funhouse Massacre” is stimulating the regional economy by employing a local management agency, crew members, equipment rental, leasing 40 hotel rooms in Middletown and Dayton, hiring of local catering services, rental cars, gasoline and local restaurant outings. Producers for the film continue to filter in from LA and are have commented on the ease of travel and navigation of the Greater Dayton region. The advantages of our “90 minute” market is an added bonus to the attractive Ohio tax incentive for films of a larger budget.
For information on the “Land of Illusion Studio and Backlot”, visit the website at: