Oklahoma filmmaker Mickey Reece’s homegrown horror movie ‘Climate of the Hunter’ bows in theaters
Although he was born in 1982, clima oklahoma City filmmaker Mickey Reece has a deep affection for the 1970s — hot dog-baked potato soup, outlandish gelatin concoctions and all.
“I think the ’80s has a style, a pronounced style. … And then the ’60s have their thing, and the ’50s have their thing. Then the ’70s, it’s almost like it has no personality in that everything just looks great. Like everything is just kind of like perfect, like textbook. That’s just kind of the way I imagine America in the ’70s,” he said.
“I didn’t go to university for film. My education was really based around watching ’70s movies, I guess because those were just the movies that inspired me the most. I would rather make something like a movie that isn’t modern. … You have cellphones and computers and stuff in movies, and any kind
of trouble that arises it’s just like, ‘Oh, well let’s just get on our cellphone or out computer and fix it.’ And I just don’t find it very cinematic, the modern era. So when I think about making something like timeless, I kind of always just go back to the ’70s.”
It’s fitting, then, that Reece is getting his first theatrical release with “Climate of the Hunter,” a twisty 1970s-set tale of two rival sisters (Ginger Gilmartin and Mary Buss) who reunite with an enigmatic writer (Ben Hall) from their past and begin to compete for his affections, even though he may or may not be a vampire. The movie is opening Friday in select theaters, including Tulsa’s Circle Cinema, with an on-demand and digital release coming in January.
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“It’s exciting. … I’ve never seen anyone else cut a trailer of one of my movies, so that was fun to watch,” Reece said. “Whenever I got my poster and trailer back I was like, ‘Oh, it’s really interesting seeing a different interpretation of your work.’”
Still, the indie auteur had a grand plan for what he would do if one of his movies earned a coveted theatrical release. But 2020 hasn’t been kind to anyone’s plans.
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“Something I’d always imagined all my life was ‘Whenever my movie hits the theater, I’m gonna go as an anonymous person and just watch it.’ … It would be like a situation of, ‘Well, I’m gonna go to Denver and watch it. I’m gonna go to Austin to watch it.’ … But it’s not like I’m gonna be traveling,” Reece said.
“Any other year I would be just ecstatic about it, just walking on air. … But this year it’s just kind of bittersweet.”
“Climate of the Hunter” premiered last year at Fantastic Fest — the largest genre film festival in the United States — and was subsequently shown at the Nashville Film Festival, Australia’s Fantastic Fest, Calgary Underground Film Festival and more. Many film festivals this year went virtual in response pandemic, which Reece said helped “Climate of the Hunter” rack up rave reviews, especially after Canada’s Fantasia International Film Festival.
“Obviously, it’s not one of the bigger titles at festivals, so the press didn’t have to fight like, ‘Oh, we can only see this movie at 7 p.m. on this day,’ and then it’s up against some other bigger movie that they want to see. With this route, they can kind of watch at their own leisure, so I think it got more eyes on it that way,” he said.
Dark Star Pictures snapped up the North American distribution rights to the stylish thriller. After its run in select theaters, “Climate of the Hunter” will debut Jan. 12 on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Vudu, DirecTV, Dish Network and major cable providers.