Controversy in Oklahoma: The Making of Bad Girls Burn In Hell

Last month, I was down in Oklahoma with Death Factory, Inc. making a horror movie called BAD GIRLS BURN IN HELL! I play Susan Shepard, and the amazing Chris Burchette plays my husband David. We both went nuts when our daughter was killed by a group of girls driving drunk. Ever since then, we've been kidnapping "bad girls," as we perceive them to be, and we punish them.

Our film shoot took place in Picher, Oklahoma, a small town in the upper right hand corner of the state that barely exists anymore, but has a rich history. During both World Wars, Picher was a location for mines that supplied bullets to the soldiers. During mining operations, the workers removed subsurface material from the town, which left the city's structures unstable. Picher had already been declared closed when a tornado hit the town last year. The government gave its residents checks to assist with relocation.

Since Picher wasn't really functional anymore, we were all staying at a hotel in a nearby town called Miami, OK. I know it's spelled just like Miami, FL, but don't be fooled by the name. It's pronounced "My-AM-uh," not "My-AM-ee". Remember this if you ever go there. They get a little defensive about it.

The house we were contracted to use had no plumbing and no electricity, so we had to set up port-a-potties and a generator, while we were on set. The house was decorated with all kinds of beautiful--yet old-fashioned and somewhat creepy--photographs, paintings and knicknacks. There was a scary shed, which was decorated to represent the "basement" where we tortured the girls. Among other things, there was a bed, handcuffs and some big, glass jars with ambiguous contents that had girls' names taped to the side. Suffice it to say, it was creepy.

Some looters had already stolen a generator, so when some of the crew saw some people poking around in the shed, they decided to call the police. When they arrived, they were surprised to find a group of 20-somethings in surgical masks who were not thieves at all, but amateur, paranormal researchers. Apparently, they had stumbled upon the Shepards' makeshift torture chamber and thought they had found a real murder site, and a goldmine for ghost hunting. When we showed up with the cops, they were both disappointed to find out there were no ghosts, and relieved that we weren't actually going to kill them. This was my first day on set. I knew it was going to be an interesting week.

Lloyd Kaufman from Troma came into town to do a cameo for the movie. I had worked with Lloyd before and it was great to see him again. We did a gore effect in which we blew his fake head off of a mold of Michael Keaton's torso from BATMAN '89, which we were fortunate enough to have on set.

Before I explain what happened, there's something you should know. Our director of photography is Craven Moorehead, the famous porn director. He did an excellent job shooting, was a pleasure to work with, and was a lot of fun to be around. A few days before we were scheduled to go back, he knocked on the door of my hotel room.

"We lost the house," he told me. "They think we're shooting porn."

"What? Why would they think that?"

"I don't know. They say it's my fault, but who knows?"

Everyone thought for sure that someone in authority must have found out who he was. When we saw the article in the Joplin Globe, we learned that this was not the case.

A resident had heard about what we were doing and decided to check it out. The resident in question was Gary Linderman, and he's actually a very interesting guy. He's the town pharmacist in Picher, and when the town was cleared out a year ago, he vowed to stay in the town as long as there were people who needed him, and to be the last person out of the town. Since there are a few who adamantly refuse to move, he's still there. He was once featured in People Magazine's Heroes Among Us. He was, however, not so keen on the idea of our film. He checked out the website, full of blood and boobies, and decided he did not like what he saw there.

Now everyone always asks, Why didn't you just prove to them that you weren't shooting porn? But then that's the problem--how do you prove a negative? Say the District Attorney comes to set and doesn't see any porn being filmed. How does he know we're not going to start filming porn as soon as he leaves? If we give him the footage, how does he know we didn't just keep all the footage that had porn on it? Once the proverbial "they" get involved, "they" are going to believe what they want to believe, and there's nothing we can do about it.

I'd filmed in small towns before. The locals are usually excited to see a movie being made near them, no matter how small the project. Even if it's a student short, they ask all kinds of questions and just observe to see how it's done. But Picher, and the surrounding areas, were towns much smaller than I'd ever been to in my life. We tried to order subs for the cast and crew one day, and we couldn't get them because the local Subway didn't have enough bread.

The rest of the article in the Joplin Globe was...interesting, to say the least. The assistant to the District Attorney reportedly said of our film, "the test--the question is--is it obscene?" They also amusingly quoted my Twitter page, including my confusion about the pronunciation of "Miami."

Fortunately, our ever resourceful producer, Joe Hollow, secured a new location within a day. Our director, Travis Miller, purchased the shed we were filming in for ten bucks, so that we could come back and finish later. We are about seventy five percent done, and we won't be able to resume filming until January. But in a way, I'm glad, because working on the film was a great experience, and I feel very fortunate to be able to go back to it.

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