Upcoming horror film shot and set in West Michigan

Kent County

LOWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — An independent horror film made in West Michigan is days away from its nationwide premiere.

An independent horror film made in West Michigan is days away from its nationwide premiere. (courtesy Lionsgate)

“The Spore” by Lionsgate is about a global pandemic, following the lifespan of a deadly and gruesome virus.

“It starts to get into their system, and it mutates their skin and then they really start changing and lots of wonderfully gross things happen,” writer and director D.M. Cunningham said.

Although many assume the movie was made in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, “The Spore” wrapped production a week before the shutdown in March 2020.

“There were lines of dialogue that I was writing in the script that play on the radio in the movie and it was almost verbatim to what was being said in the news,” Cunningham said. “It was almost prophetic in a way of what we were saying and what was happening.”

Using an all-local cast and crew, the movie was shot in Lowell. Most of the scenes took place in one of the filmmakers’ backyards. 

“If you tell a good story, you can be anywhere,” director of photography Keith Golinski said.

Although the set was tucked away in a woodsy part of the property, they made sure to let the neighbors know what was going on.

“We actually had to call the cops a couple times saying, ‘Hey, there’s going to be people screaming and yelling help, help, (but) it’s just us making a movie,'” Golinski said.

On one occasion, an alarmed resident called the police on them.

“We were shooting downtown, and we had a nun with a machete attacking someone and we had the cops called on us,” Golinski said.

Police quickly sorted out the mix up, which gave everyone a good laugh.

“The Spore” stars Jeanie Jefferies, best known for her work in the original 1978 “Dawn of the Dead.” (courtesy jeaniejefferies.com)

Reviving her career as a horror film actress, Jeanie Jefferies plays a leading role in the film.

Best known for her work in the original 1978 “Dawn of the Dead,” Jefferies thought her acting career was over after moving to Grand Rapids in the early ’90s.

She says it was serendipitous timing when the producers reached out to her about being in the film.

“I was watching an old black and white movie feeling sorry for myself, thinking I’m never going to work since I moved to Michigan… and then I checked an email, and it was Cunningham introducing himself,” she said.

Cunningham couldn’t believe Jeffries was living in West Michigan, saying she was the perfect for the part. 

“Horror is my thing,” Jefferies said. “I was like, ‘absolutely.'”

She said anyone that’s into horror is going to love “The Spore.”

“I did a lot of screaming and it came out easy,” she said. “Normally, you’d feel kind of stupid screaming, but no, I was scared!”

The Spore is set for nationwide release on digital, video on demand and DVD on Nov. 2, 2021, also known as the Day of the Dead or Dia De Los Muertos.

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