Film students investigating the legend of The Hogman, a serial killer believed to terrorize the small town of Emerald Hills, find the myth to be real. The story is told in detail in “Butchers Bluff”, a film due for release in 2022 and which is written, directed and produced by William Instone, who graduated from Marble Falls High School in 1996.
Now a resident of Elgin, just east of Austin, Instone shot the feature film in a town loosely based on where he fell in love with the horror genre: Marble Falls. Although he did not shoot on location, the film is a reflection of his time here and even of the people he met.
“I have loved horror my whole life,” he said. “I have memories of watching ‘The Exorcist’ when I was a child and my babysitter took me to see ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ when I was 8 years old. This movie is a mix between Jason and Leatherface. It’s a love letter to the horror movies of the 1960s.
It’s also a tribute to Marble Falls, where Instone lived for most of his childhood and into his early twenties. It was during this time that he developed his artistic side and discovered a fascination for creating something all his own. He learned screenwriting and the tips for making a movie on a low budget by listening to tapes after school and on weekends.
At 24, Instone moved to Austin to pursue a musical career, but fell into the world of theater. He was cast as a feature in the 2009 teen film “Bandslam”, which inspired him to take a leap of faith and dive straight into the film industry.
“I had the virus, although I never wanted to act,” he said.
After being cataloged as supporting characters and extras in a few films, he decided he wanted to produce his own. Use the knowledge gained from reading “Rebel Without a Crew” by Robert Rodriguez and “Make Your Own Damn Movie! by Lloyd Kaufman, Instone wrote, filmed, performed and produced his first film, “Jon”.
Rodriguez is an Austin-based filmmaker responsible for films such as “Predators”, “Grindhouse” and the “Spy Kids” franchise. Kaufman is a New York filmmaker and actor.
Instone refers to “Jon”, a horror film made with a budget of $ 4000 and a crew of three, as his “film school thesis”. Although it was never officially released, it hosted a screening of the film in 2011 at the Uptown Theater on Main Street in Marble Falls.
“One of my goals was to show a movie at the theaters I went to as a kid,” Instone said with a smile.
Since then, Instone has produced several short films and had the opportunity to work with idols such as Rodriguez and Bill Oberst Jr., actor, producer and screenwriter. He has won a number of industry awards, including over 30 for his 2016 short film “Among the Dead,” which he wrote and co-directed. For his lead role in the film, Instone won the award for Best Actor in a Short Film at the Houston Horror Film Fest.
His most recent project, “Butchers Bluff,” tells the story of a group of film students who are making their thesis film about the fictional legend of The Hogman. Although the film is set in modern times, Instone, co-writer Renfield Rasputin, and co-director Matt Rifley made it feel like a 1980s slasher.
“Horror is the easiest thing to do because it doesn’t take a lot of money,” Instone explained. “And horror fans are the best because they go all the way. Making a great horror movie is difficult, because putting your own twist on it can be a challenge. For us, we took cell phones in this movie.
Filming was scheduled to start and end in 2020 but was delayed like the rest of the world by the pandemic. They were finally able to start filming that summer in San Marcos, New Braunfels and Bastrop with security protocols in place. No one working on the film has contracted COVID-19.
Winter storm Uri also caused a drop in production when it hit in February. The team persevered, however, and recently came to an end. Now Instone and the production team are putting the finishing touches on color grading and sound mixing. Instone hopes for a release in early 2022.
The independently produced film was funded by two Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns making it easy for fans and investors to contribute online. The former raised $ 40,000 to cover initial production costs, actor fees and location reservations. The second, which raised $ 20,000, covers post-production costs and other finishing costs.
Although he didn’t shoot the movie in Marble Falls, Instone said he got a lot of inspiration from his life in the city.
“I have characters in there that are in direct line to Marble Falls,” Instone said. “Plus, the town inside the movie is called Emerald Hills instead of Marble Falls.”
When asked what motivates him to pursue his profession, Instone’s response was simple: inheritance.
Instone encourages anyone interested in pursuing a career in the arts to do so without hesitation and follow where the journey takes them.
“My advice to young filmmakers is to just make your film,” he said. “Don’t look for excuses. Apologies have never worked for anyone, anywhere. You can make your film with what you have and you can write with what you have.