A makeshift theater was set up in the parlor of the historic Cummins-Phipps-Grill house earlier this month by the Eden Prairie Historical Society.
People sat quietly in folding chairs, their eyes focused on the small screen playing the short horror movie “The Doll.”
On a dark and still night outside, the movie’s ominous music seemed like a perfect soundtrack for the setting both on- and off-screen.
After all, the movie 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 was filmed in the house earlier this year.
Watching the movie’s debut at the house that plays such a pivotal role in its plot were mostly historical society members.
When it ended, one person quipped, “now, you’re all wanting to take a tour upstairs.” Another person added with a laugh: “Make sure the lights are on.”
Without giving away any spoilers, an upstairs closet plays a pivotal role in that final scene. Also featured in the film are the house’s parlor and kitchen.
The movie, written and directed by Alex Arredondo, premiered in April at the Z-Fest Film Festival, where it won several awards. This Twin Cities-based contest features original, seven-minute films made by local filmmakers.
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.
Kathie Case, the Eden Prairie Historical Society president, told the movie-goers that Arredondo paid $1,000 to use the house.
The 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.
“It’s a great win,” said Case, adding that Arredondo told her he wants to do a sequel. “We got some money for restoration, and we got this cool movie that was made here.”
“The Doll” was one of two film productions planning to use the house last 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.
“It was fun to have it made here,” Case said of Arredondo’s movie. “And it kind of opens the doors for other people (to make movies there).”
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