Falco and his partner B.J. Davis are working alongside film festival proprietor and former Hoboken resident Ken del Vecchio on the film, which has been shooting at several locations in and around town for the past month.
According to del Vecchio, who wrote the film's script, Polycarp is not your typical slasher scream-fest. "I didn't want to do your standard horror movie," he said. "This one is riddled with the occult and psychology. It's more intellectual."
Psychiatrists, attorneys, rock stars, and even the detectives investigating the crimes are all suspects in this thriller, which mixes mystery, gore, sex, and the occult. As each victim is killed, one body part is taken from them and a mysterious word is tattooed on their body. Detectives on the case must decipher what that word means. So is "Polycarp" the word tattooed on the bodies?
Writer and producer del Vecchio wouldn't say. He explained that Polycarp was the first martyr and the bishop of Smyrna (known today as Izmir), Turkey, and that he fulfills a biblical prophecy, but he remained tight-lipped about the rest of the mystery.
This marks film number five for del Vecchio, who is also an accomplished author, novelist, and attorney. With several other films and a festival under his belt, del Vecchio has come to understand what makes a good movie. "If it doesn't start with a good script, it'll fail," he said. "The thing that potentially makes this movie a success is that there is a large mystery component to it," said del Vecchio. "There are seven to eight legitimate suspects and you really have no idea until the end who is the killer."
Among the suspects are Detective Barry Harper and rock star Dean Zimmer. Brandon Slagle, a Texas native who now lives in Teaneck, plays the up-and-coming rock star in the film. He describes his character as being similar to James Dean's in "East of Eden."
"Unfortunately, he attracts the wrong people," Slagle said.
An actor who has appeared in several other horror movies, Slagle drew on his past touring as a front man with the band Die Section to play the character. He also helped del Vecchio write the screenplay. Brooklyn native Michael Pare plays Harper, whom he describes as "a misogynistic, homophobic, angry, bitter cop."
Falco and del Vecchio both have small parts in the film. But Falco, who has worked with screen legends Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in the past, said he doesn't mind having only a bit part in the movie.
"I'm like Hitchcock," he said. "Put me in a cameo and I'll be happy."
Rounding out the cast are actresses Kelli McCarty, Brooke Lewis and Beverly Lynne, as well as Emmy winner Justin Deas and Academy Award winner Charles Durning.
A perfect backdrop
On a recent Wednesday morning, drivers and joggers coming down Sinatra Drive rubbernecked at an apparent crime scene just south of the skate park. After they saw the boom mics and camera crew, their curiosity was satisfied, and the cars sped away and joggers resumed their workout.
Producer Jeff Quinlan had been at the location since 6 a.m. on that chilly morning, and said that the scene on Sinatra Drive was not the first time Hobokenites might have really believed there was a serial killer in their midst. He said that when they were filming downtown the week before, commuters on their way to the PATH station paused to see if a fake body on the ground was for real.
"People walking by asked, 'Is she dead?' " said Quinlan, a Hoboken developer and real estate broker who is a former resident. "Hoboken is a great location. It has a lot of charm." In addition to the city's scenic waterfront, the film's producers have chosen to use several familiar locations around town, including City Hall, Court Street's cobble-stoned alleyways, and the Whiskey Bar's cavernous stage space.
"It's a postcard location," said executive producer B.J. Davis. "Where else can you get the New York skyline as a backdrop?"
Davis, a Texas native who has been in the movie business since the age of 7, lives in Los Angeles. But, he said, he loves coming to Hoboken and he hopes that the city will be able to attract more crews to film here. "Louisiana, New Mexico, and New Jersey are leading the nation in providing film incentives and attractions to bring runaway Canadian productions back to the United States," he said.
If they want to film in Hoboken they have to get Falco's okay. The police captain is also the city's film liaison. "If I find it doesn't interfere with the quality of life in the area - I sign off on it," Falco said.
Polycarp will be one of the featured films at the Hoboken International Film Festival, to be held this coming June. Comments on this piece can be sent to: email@example.com.