The Hippo


May 29, 2020








See American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire

Carmike Cinemas: 16 Orchard View Drive, Londonderry, Friday, June 12, at 7:15 p.m., capacity 80, tickets at door
Smitty’s Cinema Pub: 630 Main St., Tilton, Sun., June 14, at 7:15 p.m., capacity 90, tickets sold through box office
Cinemagic: 1226 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, Mon., June 15, at 7:30 p.m., capacity 110, tickets sold through box office
Contact:; most events will include Q&A’s with Reed and Michael Todd Schneider, who also acted in the film and performed special effects

Love letter to NH
Native salutes the state with Slew Hampshire

By Kelly Sennott

Even though American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire doesn’t paint the prettiest picture of filmmaker Adam “Flood” Reed’s home state — what with the blood and gore and all — he still thinks of it as his love letter to New Hampshire.

Reed, who currently lives in L.A., went to high school in Hudson and studied film at UNH. He wrote, produced and directed the flick because he was burned out from the Los Angeles filmmaking “rat race.” After years of working freelance jobs in front of and behind the camera in L.A. he decided it was time to do something from scratch again. And, he figured, what better place to do this than in his home state?
“It’s interesting, nobody around here really knows anything about New Hampshire,” Reed said. “Even having grown up there, I feel like I never really knew much about what happened in the rural north part of the state. For me, [producing the film] was kind of a chance to, through the fiction writing process, extrapolate or explore ideas of what could be hiding up there, or what kind of weird, deranged behavior is occurring out in the woods.”
The result of this extrapolation is American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire, a film about a group of New Hampshire friends who, while embarking on a local rite of passage — traveling north for one last weekend of debauchery — find themselves in a struggle for survival amongst a sinister hunting party, a bloodthirsty tribe and a mythical beast. This weekend, Reed will be touring the film with special effects guru Michael Todd Schneider at various New Hampshire cinemas.
Reed began writing the movie in 2008 and shooting it in 2010. That summer, cast and crew spent three weeks filming in New England, including outside Dartmouth College, at Mack’s Apple Farm and Londonderry Access Center in Londonderry and in various woodsy spots around Keene, Hudson and Durham. (They saved the scream-heavy scenes for a shooting session in Maine, where they had access to a cabin surrounded by 13 acres of land.) Making up the cast and crew were locals and non-locals (including Dayo Okeniyi, who played Thresh in The Hunger Games).
Reed said he got help from a Kickstarter campaign and other financial supporters in New Hampshire and L.A. In some ways, it would have been easier to film in California — it’s where many of his cast and crew members live. But it’s always his preference to shoot on location and remain authentic to the story. Plus, he said, people in New Hampshire are a little more compliant to filmmakers. They’re not used to this kind of activity, and they get excited about it.
“It was a pretty big leap of faith,” Reed said. “I don’t have a lot of boots on the ground back east, other than people I’m friends with, and without whom I wouldn’t have been able to pull this off. … I had to find locations, props, wardrobe, vehicles from afar. … It cost me a good chunk of money to have people fly out and to house them, but I felt like the trade-off was also worth it because you don’t have to get location permits.”
When cast and crew went to film, numerous changes needed to be made — namely, special effects and make-up had to be toned down because of budget issues. Reed thinks they found a happy medium. He referenced films like Jaws and Psycho, which were horrifying even during non-graphic scenes.
“Sometimes showing less is more, too,” he said. “When you don’t see the shark, or don’t see the knife touching or stabbing her, it’s actually more suspenseful and scary at times. Sometimes horror films have too much blood and gore, and you’re kind of de-sensitized to it.”
Even so, Rue Morgue Magazine gave American Backwoods its “Goriest Scene of the Year” award. Since its 2013 release, it’s screened at the Shockfest Film Festival of Hollywood, the Rock and Shock, the Another Hole in the Head International Genre Film Festival and the B Movie Celebration.
Reed was very happy it did as well as it did; he had doubts while filming.
“I find that horror fans tend to be incredibly forgiving, in that there seems to be a subculture of the horror community that really likes bad movies. They forgive bad, cheesy audio effects, but I didn’t want to wind up in that territory. That was a real, paralyzing fear at times. Is this going to look good? Is this going to pan out the way we envisioned?” Reed said. “My primary objective was to make a good film first, a good horror film second. Inevitably, you think about the same factors in terms of quality, no matter what the genre.” 
As seen in the June 11, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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