The McKinley Monster is a short film about a giant lizard that takes up residence on the McKinley Monument — a science museum in Canton, Ohio. According to their website:
Nightwine Productions, in association with the William McKinley Presidential Museum and Monument, provide a film camp every summer for students who are interested in the art of film-making. The one-week intensive course covers scriptwriting, storyboarding, set design, filming, editing and special effects. The result is a world premiere of the movie at the Great Escape Theaters in Massillon, Ohio. (Nightwine website)
The giant monster flick The McKinley Monster was the result back in 2004.
Deep within the bowels of the McKinley Museum lies a chest unopened for over 50 years. When two kids from the Science is Cool camp find the chest and open it, they release a white-bearded dragon that has been mutated from nuclear fallout from the 1950s. As the dragon runs loose in the museum, people from the Science is Cool camp begin to disappear. Time is running out. The kids from the Science is Cool camp must find their friends and stop the dragon, who has grown to over 100 feet, has busted out of the museum, and is bent on taking over the McKinley Monument!
The production schedule was, needless to say, a tight one:
Monday through Thursday the students read their lines from a 17 page script. Nightwine personnel provided the script and covered the basics from storyboard design to set design. Filming also consisted of special effects such as a fog machine, human skeleton, webbing people up and a 8 foot by 9 foot giant lizard claw. The claw was built to simulate the lizard crushing a student who got too close.
Nightwine personnel also filmed the production of the movie so that a documentary could be made detailing the creation of the movie. …. On Friday, the students were able to see the rough cut world premiere of the 14-minute movie The McKinley Monster.
Each student received a DVD that includes the 17-minute movie and a 43-minute Making-Of documentary. Here is a clip of the giant lizard reaching the monument, plus some sample Behind-the-Scenes footage:
Though featuring some interesting no-budget creature SFX by Nightwine Productions and its professionals, the amateur film is intended as an educational exercise, albeit an entertaining one, and must have been very exciting for the kids involved. Those concerned are rightfully very proud of the result. It represents an intriguing learning initiative.
Nightwine’s slogan is: We make life interesting.
The picture below shows part of the crew who helped in the creation of the McKinley Monster. From left to right are James Gerren (Writer/Director), Jeff Heimel (Special Effects Supervisor, who provided the bluescreen effects of the monster climbing the monument), Jerry Sandifer (Actor who played President McKinley in another Nightwine Production, “President McKinley vs the Alien Marauders”), John Gerren (Keygrip and boom technician) and Matt Person (Mechanical Effects Specialist and Graphic Designer, developed the sets and the official poster, as seen above).
To check out other films made by Nightwine and Science is Cool campers, check out the Nightwine website.