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A real scream

A slender young woman dances on the stage of the cavernous club, long brown hair flying under the lights. She flails to recorded rock like a go-go dancer from the '60s, bumps and grinds like a stripper, finishes in a snaky voodoo groove.

"Good," says Dan McCloy. "Now we need you to scream for us."

Between dancing and nervousness, Abijah Bauer's mouth is dry. Somebody offers gum. Bauer chews, pronounces herself ready, gets it together:


It splits the air, hangs there for a moment.

McCloy, who says he's "36 going on 13," and pals Melanie Dahl, 29, and Sabrina Baugh-Kesterson, 30, are holding auditions Friday for a horror film to be shot in the Rogue Valley.

The three admit to an obsession with the cheesy horror and exploitation films of the 1970s. Their production outfit, Noxious Trinity, made the ultra-low budget "Dead Girls," their first feature, last year.

McCloy says he's still trying to figure out how to get it into the hands of actor/filmmaker/author Bruce Campbell, who gained fame with director Sam Raimi in the "Evil Dead" cult pictures, and who is among those being feted at the Ashland Independent Film Festival April 12-16.

McCloy says this picture will be bigger and better than "Dead Girls." It's not a full-length feature but a "Tales from the Crypt" kind of thing, five short tales held together by a frame story he won't talk about yet.

Actors are called one after another all afternoon, reading for the three directors and makeup people Julie Jankowski, 29, and Matt Hendrix, 28.

Bauer, 23, of Cave Junction, is the first to read here at VIBES Main 1, the Medford youth center and teen nightclub. Before dancing and screaming, she read the part of a stripper.

"Don't be afraid to get nasty," she reads as if to a beginning dancer who's a bit on the shy side, "just don't get too nasty."

Other roles to be cast include wise-cracking go-go girls, demon cannibal homeless people, a voodoo master with issues, a baby sitter, a jive-talking pimp and a faceless army of living dead, plus extras for roles as young people, corpses and assorted monsters.

Next up is Randy Granstrom, 38, of Medford, who says he has experience in filmmaking and commercials. The role he's reading calls for his character to try to talk a woman into letting him tie her up.

It's full of long passages. Unless you're Laurence Olivier, long passages are among an actor's toughest challenges. Granstrom gives it his best shot, growing more menacing as he goes on. He tells the imaginary actor opposite him that she would look sexy cut up in a garbage bag.

He, too, is asked to scream.

"NO!" he bellows. "GOD! NO!"

He mentions in passing that he recently made an independent horror film.

"Bruce Campbell loved it," he adds.

Why try to get into a film that pays nothing? Actors and wannabes have their reasons. Away from the stage, Whitney Shannon, a 22-year-old glass blower, says she needs something to do to keep her sanity.

"Something over-the-top crazy should help," she says.

MiLisa Childers, 19, of Ashland, says she's done lots of theater but no films.

"In a spotlight is where I belong," she says before being cut off by another screamer.


That's from Amanda Thomas, 20, of Central Point.

"I assumed I'd be screaming," she says later. "Considering it's a horror film."

Skyler Sexton, 21, of Medford, reads the part of the guy who wants to tie up his victim.

"Aaagggghhhhh!" he screams. "Aaagghhhh!"

Caleb Brumley, a young man with dark hair and a whiff of beard, says he won't do nudity. A backside? No.

He will scream though. His are short and choked up.

"Argh! Aa-arghh!"

It's time for a smoke break. The filmmakers say it's going well. After all, they know what they're looking for.

Which is?

"Chutzpa," McCloy says. "And a willingness to be chased by salivating monkey devils."

Reach reporter Bill Varble at 776-4478 or e-mail bvarble@mailtribune.com.

From left, casting crew Sabrina Baugh-Kesterson, Melanie Dahl and Dan McCloy watch Randy Granstrom of Medford audition for a part.