"This is when the murders start," I thought to myself as I stood atop a rainy mountaintop alone in the middle of nowhere.
Mike had gotten a hot tip the last time he was in town about a great looking boggy-esque lake, but he didn't have the chance to make it out there. Now, with Andy and I in tow and all excited about making Love in the Time of Monsters a reality, we set out to find this mysterious Rattlesnake Lake.
"Google can't seem to decide where it is," Andy said as we were driving out there, "but there's enough of a general idea, I'm sure we'll find it." Mike was quick to agree, as it matched up with what the locals had told him the last time he was there.; I, meanwhile, just silently nodded from the backseat. It felt like the start of something, even if I didn't know what that start of something was.
"It says it'll take us twelve minutes to go three miles. That can't be right, can it," Andy asked while turning onto an unkempt forestry road. We soon discovered that the twelve minute drive was due more to the treacherous path than it was the mileage. We should have just turned around, somehow, once we hit the first patch of rocky debris in the road; but as the intrepid filmmakers, we opted to just move them out of the way and continue on. After all, it was only going to be three miles.
Two miles in we hit a fork in the road - sign-less, of course - and are forced to make our first big decision. In the end, we opt to continue on our original 'road' for the other way was somehow far more dangerous looking than it. A half a mile later, when we arrived at a makeshift river created by the falling rain, we had another decision to make. It was time to find this place on foot. "We can't be that far away," Mike said hopefully.
"Just around the next curve" became a mantra as our moisture levels began to match that of the trail. Somehow, this mysterious lake just didn't seem to materialize. We had taken the wrong turn; we needed to go back to the fork in the road.
As we re-arrived at the fork, Andy got a phone call from a friend. "You guys go ahead, I'll stay here," he said, "lemme know if you find anything." Mike and I, as determined as we were soaked, took up the challenge this time with umbrellas in hand. After a few hundred feet, it became apparent that it was best to do this on foot, for the road was narrower than ever and covered in a soft reddish mud. Clearly, this was no longer an option to shoot at - it was far to hard to get there - but now it was a matter of pride to find this damn lake.
"I think this might be it," I joked as Mike and I came across a giant ten foot puddle in the middle of the road, "we should just go back."
"No," Mike said the determination still burning in his eyes, "it's close, I can feel it. I'm going to go just a little bit further. I'll be right back." And with a nimble jump over the non-lake, Mike was gone still searching for the elusive, and quite possibly mythical, Rattlesnake Lake. It was here, in broad daylight, that the isolation came crashing down on me and I realized that this would be the perfect place for a horror movie.
Of course Mike didn't die and we all got off the mountain with nothing worse than mud covered jeans, but I still couldn't shake that momentary revelation. Don't get me wrong, it's so incredibly gorgeous up there and the people are nothing but extremely friendly, but for a kid who's gotten used to living in high-density areas it was crazy how scary that place could be.
And that doesn't even take into account what the lodge was like at night.
To say that this scout was a rousing success would be an vast understatement. Personally, I went in with a nebulous idea of what Love in the Time of Monsters would be, and emerged from it with a pretty decent idea of how everything's going to fit together. Suddenly I can picture how the script will play out on screen and, more importantly, what will make it scary. In the brightest day or the darkest night, there's nothing more scary than not being able to find the help you need when you need it, and in an isolated place like Patrick's Creek it's like a frggin' natural resource.
Terror aside, Patrick's Creek Lodge is one of the most beautiful places I've ever had the pleasure of staying. It could have been the people, the constant rush of the nearby creek, the way the clouds enveloped the pine trees as it came off the mountains, or a combination of all of it; regardless, I felt serenely at peace there, like it was a place I ought to be.
A place like this begs to be captured on film (or it's equivalents) and I desperately hope that we get the chance to shoot there. I can't WAIT to show you more of it.