Everyone that lives in Niagara has their own version of the urban legend of the Screaming Tunnel – but generally they all centre on the fact that if you light a match in the centre of the tunnel, a sudden gust of wind will blow out the match.
“It’s a universal and relatable story in Niagara,” said Reece Fisher.
“You could be born in the 60s or born in the 90s and you’d still know a certain version of the legend. If you didn’t, it’s a 15 minute drive, and all of sudden you’re very aware of the legend as you sit there staring into the blackness of the tunnel, questioning whether you should light that match or not.”
With this story Fisher and his friend Jake Maiuri created a fake trailer about the legend of the Screaming Tunnel in 2015 to showcase Fisher’s production company Instillment – who were generally known for creating videos for sporting events or music videos for local bands.
By chance, the trailer caught attention and had people wondering when the actual film was going to come out. In the summer of 2017 Fisher (Director) and Maiuri (Producer) revisited the idea of making the film – giving a modern twist to a classic legend.
With this, Warner Road was born.
“In summary, Warner Road follows Sarah Garner, a high school student who is tasked with grouping up with her best friend, Ryan Virtue, and Ryan’s crush, Tessa Evans, to create a short movie for their film class,” explained Maiuri.
“The group comes across the legend of the Screaming Tunnel, and as they dive deeper into the legend, everything starts to become a little too real.”
The film was shot in nine days and features an all-Niagara cast of crew comprising of six actors (Morgan Hilliker, Eric Evans, Madinson Marino, Andrew Noto, Danica Deschamps & Sam Hart) and six crew members (Fisher, Maiuri, Ben Mannella, Christyne Hopkins, Alexa Gordon, and Anthony Iannacchino). The film was shot on location in Niagara as well.
“Morgan was the first person we called when we green lit Warner Road, and she was so excited to finally be revisiting the project,” said Fisher. “During the whole process, I could not be more proud of her, and the rest of the cast and crew, which were all students for the most part.”
Both Fisher and Mairui agreed that Warner Road was one of the biggest learning experiences that they have had the pleasure to take part in. The hours were long in a dark, wet tunnel entrenched in supernatural history.
“At some points our minds started to play tricks on us. Most of the time, Reece and I were at the back of the tunnel because we had to film our actors ahead, and there were times that we thought we heard or saw something and just looked at each other, wondering if the other had seen or heard it too. A few nights we were there till 4 or 5am, so it was definitely mentally and physically challenging, but we were lucky enough to have an amazing cast and crew who worked super hard at pulling this vision together,” said Maiuri.
“It feels really cool to show Niagara in this positive light for not only the arts, but the people and students who are working hard to achieve their goals in the region,” said Maiuri.
Warner Road premieres at Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse on October 19. Tickets are available at the Niagara Institute of Music and Arts.