Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, May 11, 2001

"The Night Watchers" Web site has been
getting hits from around the country.

Brothers march
into town with
local horror project

By Gary C. W. Chun

"The Night Marchers "
Wallace Restaurant Row

When we last spoke to Blake and Brett Cousins in mid-March, the twin brother movie production team were enjoying Big Island hometown success with the showing of their movie "The Night Marchers."

In its month's run at the Kress Cinemas multiplex in Hilo, the "Blair Witch"-style movie about a documentary crew's search in Waipio Valley for the ghosts of Hawaiian warriors reportedly had triple the attendance numbers of "Hannibal," which was screening there at the same time.

Now they're hitting the big time, relatively speaking. After well-attended screenings on the Big Island and Maui, "The Night Marchers" makes its Oahu debut today at the Restaurant Row multiplex with the brothers in tow, and with it, plans to forge ahead with the pre-production of its sequel with a statewide casting call.

Twin brothers Blake and Brett Cousins of the Big
Island, above and below respectively, produced, directed
and starred in their own video "documentary," "The
Night Marchers," in which they travel to Waipio
Valley in search of the ghostly marchers of
Hawaiian legend.

"It's going to have a bigger budget (the first cost $40,000 to produce) and be done in a cinematic style, on 35mm film instead of digital video," said Blake Cousins Tuesday by phone from their Honoka'a home. "It should be done in a year, year-and-a-half's time."

Cousins said that they're looking for one cast member in particular, preferably a female who will have a major role in the sequel. (Those interested should take an 8-by-10-inch or smaller photo of themselves, with their name, address and age printed on the back, to any Wallace theater box office in the state during operating hours.)

"We will notify those we're interested in by sending them applications," Cousins said. "The audition process and the final selection should take, at most, a couple of months."

The script, while "top secret," according to Cousins, will make reference to the first "Night Marchers," and will intertwine not only other legends, but a love story too.

"It will amplify the project's profound message, which is respect the ways of the Hawaiian culture and its people," he said. "We hope to add more humor in it as well."

Graduates of Honokaa High in 1989, the brothers have had the camera bug since their parents loaned them a Super 8mm camera when they were 5 years old.

Because "The Night Marchers" was shot on digital video, the brothers are now in town to oversee the installation of a high-definition digital video projector at the Restaurant Row theaters, a first for the Wallace chain, Cousins said.

And while the local-made thriller clocked in at just over an hour, "the sequel will be a feature-length one, 90 minutes long, and shooting will be done throughout the islands."

Cousins hopes to avoid the sophomore jinx that befell "The Blair Witch Project" sequel. "The problem with that sequel was that it didn't stick to the first one's message -- the second one was a little too psychotic."

If there's any blockbuster sequel the brothers want to model theirs on, it is "The Mummy Returns." While nowhere near that studio film's budget, they do plan to add special effects and apply for an audience-friendly rating of PG-13.

According to Cousins, "The Night Marchers" Web site has been getting hits from all over the United States from people who want to see it, and the brothers hope to test market the film for a month in Oregon and California theaters. If interest grows from that, a 35mm print will be struck from the original video.

Cousins hopes the movie does as well on Oahu as the Big Island, realizing that the big summer movie season is just beginning.

" 'Pearl Harbor,' frankly, has got me shaking in my boots!," he said with a laugh.

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