We recently connected with genre actor/producer Jeff Kirkendall on Twitter and were lucky to be able to chat with him about Return to Splatter Farm, an indie horror flick that he wrote and co-directed.
Return to Splatter Farm is a sequel to the 1987 movie Splatter Farm. That original film was produced by brothers John and Mark Polonia, along with their friend Todd Smith. I wrote the first draft of Return to Splatter Farm, and Mark Polonia added additional material which was included in the final shooting script. The two of us co-directed, while Mark handled the bulk of the camera work, as well as the editing chores. Prior to this production, I had appeared in numerous feature films Mark had directed for his company Polonia Brothers Entertainment (PBE).
The Return to Splatter Farm main cast was made up of many PBE regulars, including Danielle Donahue, Marie DeLorenzo, Nico Bryant, Tim Hatch, James Kelly, James Carolus, Ken Van Sant, Jennie Russo, Jamie Morgan, Drew Patrick, and popular model/scream queen Mel Heflin. I starred as (an older version of) the character Jeremy, who was the killer in the original 1987 film. The DVD and streaming distribution was handled by Wild Eye Releasing, a company that has released many past PBE movies.
The original 1987 film was about twin brothers who spend a summer with their eccentric aunt on a rural Pennsylvania farm, unaware that her handyman Jeremy is a serial killer who stores the body parts of his victims in the barn. In Return to Splatter Farm a distant relative named Bobbi inherits the farm and travels there with some friends to determine what to do with the place. On the way they stop at a general store where some locals discourage them from visiting the place, calling it the “Death Farm”, referring to the unsolved murders which occurred there over 30 years ago. But the group doesn’t heed the warnings and continue on their way. Little do they know that a now grown-up Jeremy still resides at the old farmhouse, and that he has dispatched countless unlucky folks over the years. And keeping with his murderous tendencies, he now hunts down Bobbi and her friends one by one. Can the local sheriff save them? And will anyone survive?
As mentioned, the story takes place at a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse. Our goal was to find a place that resembled the location used in the original film as closely as possible. And fortunately, Mark was able to locate such a farm not too far from where he lives in Wellsboro, PA. The outside of the building was very similar looking to the one in the original movie, and also the owner hadn’t lived there in awhile, which suited our needs perfectly. And we had many other buildings (barns, storage sheds, etc.) and open fields to work with as well. For all but one afternoon (when we filmed the store scene) the cast and crew were at that farm location.
Return to Splatter Farm takes place approximately 33 years after the events of the first movie. We filmed the sequel over a week during Summer 2019, and it was released in the United States on DVD and various pay streaming platforms in November 2020. Following this, it went on to play on the free streaming channel Tubi. There is even a VHS version available for collectors of that format.
I had previously directed several of my own short films and features, and as mentioned acted in many PBE movies. Mark Polonia and I were on a break during the filming of his feature Amityville Exorcism, and I asked him if he would ever consider producing a sequel to Splatter Farm. He said he would and shared some ideas. It turned out his ideas were similar to my own, so when I returned home from Pennsylvania I began working on a script. I surprised him with the finished draft a few months later and he really liked it. And a couple of years later we went into production together on it.
I was motivated to write Return to Splatter Farm because of my admiration for the first film. It has become an indie horror cult classic over the years, and I thought it was amazing that three teenagers with minimal resources could not only produce a feature back in the 1980’s, but also get it distributed nationally on VHS as well. Splatter Farm is a quintessential home-made, shot-on-video (SOV) example of what can be done with sheer determination and lots of imagination. And as for story, it is a compelling tale mixed with potent shock value that keeps one watching from beginning to end.
I wanted this sequel to be an entertaining standalone slasher movie, as well as a plausible continuation of the story. This was achieved by bringing a fun group of characters to the old farmhouse for a legitimate reason, where Jeremy is alive and well. For viewers new to the franchise it will be something of a mystery who the killer is, whereas fans will know his identity and have an idea what he’s up to. And speaking of kill scenes, I intentionally wrote each one to be as unique and different as I could in order to make the movie fresh and memorable. My personal favorite moments include one where Jeremy makes use of a flare gun, and a scene involving an 80’s boombox. And I would also mention there are several nods to famous 1980’s slasher films sprinkled throughout the movie. This was done because I’m a big fan of the genre and the films of that decade in particular, and I’m hoping other fans will enjoy these moments as well.
Our film Return to Splatter Farm can be seen on the streaming platforms Tubi TV, Amazon Prime, Vimeo and Google Play, among other places. It is also available on DVD and VHS from various major retailers.
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Great post! I’d never heard about Return to Splatter Farm before but am glad I got to read about it here.
This sounds like it was thoughtfully put together with an eye for the serious horror film fan. Unfortunately, that is not me, so I won’t be watching it. But fans in the know will no doubt enjoy the attention to detail, including the “…nods to famous 1980’s slasher films sprinkled throughout the movie.”