Three months after filming wrapped on “The Doll” at the Cummins-Phipps-Grill House in Eden Prairie, the short horror movie will debut for audiences later this month.
Written and directed by Alex Arredondo, “The Doll” is one of the entries being screened at the Z-Fest Film Festival. This Twin Cities-based contest features original, seven-minute films made by local filmmakers.
It will be shown as part of the group of 10 movies in Session 5 of the festival on Saturday, April 23, at Emagine Willow Creek Theater in Plymouth. “The Doll” is set to start at 9:15 p.m.
“We’re waiting for the day to get our lovely film on the big screen,” the St. Paul resident said Friday, April 4.
Arredondo and his crew spent two days at the house in January. For his directorial debut, he was looking for a place with a lot of history, and the brick farmhouse built in 1879-80 for John R. and Mattie Cummins fit the bill.
He said it was like a dream to see the pieces of his film come to life in the editing process.
“It felt like I was walking on air when I was watching the final cut of the film and hearing it put to music, hearing the sound effects,” he said. “It was one of those pinch me moments.”
Though “The Doll” is a horror story, he said the chills are more psychological. The movie is about a young girl named Violet who finds a doll in the woods and unknowingly makes a deal with a demon when she brings it home.
“With this film, I wanted it to be more atmospheric, as opposed to jump scares,” he said of the movie. “I think we knocked it out of the park with the tone, the atmosphere. It will genuinely creep some people out.”
Arredondo said there will be other opportunities for people to see the movie. However, those details are still being worked out.
“The Doll” was one of two film productions planning to use the house this winter (as profiled in an EPLN story). The other project, a full-length independent horror film titled “Preserved,” has been postponed until possibly next year. Its director, Molly Worre, planned to shoot interior shots there.
Kathie Case, the Eden Prairie Historical Society president, said the production could not find a farmhouse up north for exterior shots this winter before the snow melted.
The Cummins-Phipps-Grill House is owned by the city and leased by the Historical Society. Available for private event rentals (such as movies), any money made from those rentals goes back into the house.