CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Halloween will be here as quickly as you can say “Hocus Pocus 2.”
This time of year especially, QC News anchor Brien Blakely is haunted — in a good way– by something in his past.
More than 30 years ago, he starred in a horror movie with something of a cult following.
“A kitschy little horror film that still lives!” Blakely said, watching HauntedWeen for the first time in years at VisArt Video.
The nonprofit let us play the DVD in their screening room as Blakely took a stroll down memory lane.
Let’s just say I know what you did last summer, Mr. Blakely. It was actually the summer of 1989.
“So we shot at this house in the farm areas of Bowling Green, Kentucky,” he explained.
“Oh yeah, now the whole plot’s coming back to me!” he said, laughing and wincing as the movie played.
In a world where the future newsman got the acting bug.
“Awesome, they got my name spelled right!” says Brien as his name popped up on screen.
Get your popcorn ready.
“That’s the director Doug Robinson right there… may he Rest In Peace,” Blakely said.
It was filmed while Brien, the movie’s leading man, was a student at Western Kentucky University.
“This is at the SAE– Sigma Alpha Epsilon—frat house where we shot this,” he said.
Rotten Tomatoes sums up HauntedWeen: “A college fraternity’s haunted house fundraiser becomes a wealth of terror when a psychopath stalks the halls.”
Hearing Brien heckles himself is hysterical.
“Nice Hair!” he yelled.
“Oh, youth,” he added.
“Terrible. I stink as an actor! Looking back at that, I just laugh at it,” he said. “I cringe and go, ‘Oh my God, I’m so bad!’ But there’s some moments in there I go, ‘That’s pretty cool.'”
In his acting debut, he channeled an icon.
“Tom Cruise, baby!” said Blakely.
Brien worked in the Atlanta Braves front office at the time. Back then, Brien hosted TV shows and was just starting down the path of his journalism career.
He describes acting as more of a “hobby.”
HauntedWeen was also the welcome diversion he badly needed.
“My mom died a few months before,” said Blakely, who also lost other loved ones around that time. “And so there’s this moment where… man, I just want to do something to feel good.”
So he hung out with friends and drove around in a sweet Corvette for six weeks during the film production.
“That was the car I got to drive around for a while,” he said, pointing to the vehicle that appeared in HauntedWeen.
So it was a fun time between all the killing on camera, including the memorable image of a victim’s neck being snapped.
“The film came out; we were like, ‘Ew, how did we do the neck like that? That’s gross, that’s too much!'” Blakely said.
SPOILER ALERT: Brien gets his moment of on-screen glory at the end.
“Ooh! What great acting,” he said sarcastically as a van speeds by him in the final sequence.
That’s when he gets a shot at taking down the bad guy.
“That was a good night to shoot—we shot overnight,” he told us. “And I’m sitting there with this shotgun, it comes up on me, and I blow the guy up. You know, all this fake Hollywood stuff.”
“Boom!” Blakely yelled as if watching the action unfold for the first time.
The movie concludes in a blaze of cinematic glory, with the killer’s van in flames.
“The End… Oh, but he drives away. Uh oh… is there a sequel? He’s still alive!”
Decades later, the low-budget movie somehow survives.
“They find it somehow. One of our producers, Jesse, came up to me and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re in HauntedWeen.’ And I was like, ‘How in the world do you know about that?'” Blakely marveled.
That gives him a chance to ponder that fascinating part of his past.
“But they’ll always look back and say, ‘Hey man, that was pretty cool what we did,'” said Blakely.