NC hor­ror fan shows movies where they were filmed

The Charlotte Observer - - Front Page - BY COURT­NEY DEVORES

In an age when you can buy Le­go­las’ pros­thetic ears from “Lord of the Rings” or spend hours in line for a glimpse of Har­ri­son Ford at ComicCon, it takes a lot to be con­sid­ered a su­per fan.

But North Carolina’s Kenny Caper­ton took the idea of fan­dom to the ex­treme: Ear­lier this year, he in­tro­duced On Set Cinema, a se­ries of film screen­ings in the ac­tual lo­ca­tions where iconic scenes were shot.

Fol­low­ing screen­ings in Wilm­ing­ton, Bur­gaw, N.C., and Florence, S.C., On Set Cinema premieres in the western part of the Caroli­nas Fri­day, when the 1981 slasher flick “Fi­nal Exam” re­turns to the class­room on the cam­pus of Lime­stone Col­lege in Gaffney, S.C. — where much of the film was shot.

This new ven­ture, by the way, isn’t the only ex­am­ple of Caper­ton’s su­per­fan­dom.

For nearly 20 years, he has planned va­ca­tions around hor­ror-movie land­marks from clas­sics like “The Shin­ing” and “The Texas Chain Saw Mas­sacre” and spent week­ends hik­ing through the for­est where “The Blair Witch Project” was filmed. Along the way, he shared his ad­ven­tures with fel­low fans on so­cial me­dia, re­al­iz­ing that he wasn’t the only one in­ter­ested in this sort of sight­see­ing.

But per­haps the most ex­treme ex­am­ple? In 2007, he built a replica of the My­ers house from John Car­pen­ter’s orig­i­nal “Hal­loween” on his prop­erty in Hills­bor­ough.

“Peo­ple ask what it’s like to live in the house,” says Caper­ton, who man­ages the box of­fice at Durham’s Carolina The­atre. “It’s dif­fer­ent from day to day, but when I watch ‘Hal­loween’ there it’s re­ally bi- Tick­ets: For de­tails, or to re­serve your spot: zarre. It’s tough to ex­plain a feel­ing like that. I try to al­ways pull up a scene on YouTube when I go to a movie lo­ca­tion be­cause that’s ba­si­cally as close as you can get to the movie with­out be­ing there as it’s filmed.”

As for On Set Cinema, it all started be­cause Caper­ton wanted to watch the 1995 cult hit, “Em­pire Records,” in the Wilm­ing­ton restau­rant that once dou­bled as the record store in the film. He got his chance when a new restau­rant called Re­bel­lion took over the spot.

“I’m a crazy fan nerd, and this is what I do,” he says. “I didn’t know if other peo­ple would get it. Peo­ple love their re­clin­ing seats and their full meals at their movies these days.” Yet the event re­ceived a lot of sup­port from lo­cal busi­nesses. “Wilm­ing­ton put me on the morn­ing news, and a guy who owns a record store there brought a bunch of records and set up a booth.”

While On Set Cinema may be a hard sell for some film­ing lo­ca­tions, much of the plan­ning has been serendip­i­tous. The owner of the down­town Bur­gaw depart­ment store where Sarah Michelle Gel­lar is chased in “I Know What You Did Last Sum­mer” ac­tu­ally found the Shiv­ers Depart­ment Store sign used in the film and placed it atop the build­ing for the screen­ing, which at­tracted fans from as far away as Cal­i­for­nia. Caper­ton was elated to have fans like him who were will­ing to travel for the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It’s less about meet­ing the celebrity,” he says. “It’s about be­ing with fans and watch­ing a movie, and be­ing as close to it as you can to it.”

He’s since watched “The Strangers: Prey At Night” with fans, cast mem­bers, and lo­cal crew in ru­ral Fal­mouth, Ky., while float­ing in the pool from the film; screened “Hal­loween” in the gallery now lo­cated be­hind the orig­i­nal My­ers house in Pasadena; and co-hosted a screen­ing and overnight party in Stu’s house from the fi­nale of “Scream.”

“I ate a piece of pizza in Stu’s kitchen and did a Q&A with Ghost­face,” Caper­ton says, with a laugh.

“Fi­nal Exam” is On Set Cinema’s sev­enth event this year. An eighth — set for March at the Port­land, Ore., high school where Bella and Ed­ward meet in “Twi­light” — sold out in three days.

“The school is be­ing re­con­structed next year, and this is the only time it will ever be screened there,” says Caper­ton, who ex­pects fans from 25 states and four coun­tries. “Peo­ple are fly­ing across the world to watch a movie they’ve seen 1,000 times in a high school cafe­te­ria. Only a ‘Twi­light’ fan will get it. You’re go­ing to feel like you’re in that mo­ment. For me to be able to do that for (other) fans, there’s noth­ing more re­ward­ing.”

CAROLYN SCOTT Fan­go­ria

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