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Emmy winning local filmmaker Ryan Bellgardt has a loyal following who will show up to see his next film just about every time.

After his big hit Army of Frankensteins at the 2013 deadCENTER Film Festival in Oklahoma City, he is back with a more serious, dark movie that falls squarely in the “scary movie” category.

Gremlin had its U.S. and Oklahoma premier the first night of deadCENTER with another enthusiastic fan base who were there for more.

It featured another local hit filmmaker, Adam Hampton, this time in front of the camera as the lead character.

Free Press got to record this interview with him earlier in the day.


“Army of Frankensteins was meant to be kind of funny and campy,” said Bellgardt. “But I wanted to get into the more serious theme of the persistence of something that is terrifying.”

We asked if he is familiar with terror or if he never actually experiences it himself.

“I’m terrified of everything,” Bellgardt said.

“I’m actually scared. I’m scared of horror movies,” Bellgardt confirmed.

“Like, I couldn’t even watch the Paranormal Activity movie,” he said with a laugh. “Everyone thinks those are so stupid, but I was terrified. I got 10 minutes into it and then it was like, nope.”

Writing this movie had its challenges on a deeper level.

He forced himself to spend only 10 days writing the script which meant he delved deeply into the theme of a family seeing one member after another killed by a being that seems indestructible.

He said that at one point he became concerned about his own psyche as he was developing yet more ways for the creature to kill members of a family.

“I remember coming out around day seven and telling my wife this is a little bit worrisome, because my head is going to this very dark place,” said Bellgardt.

Enthusiastic fans

At the premier, fans at first seemed to expect the movie to be like Army of Frankensteins which looked scary but was very humorous.

They laughed out loud and guffawed for about the first five minutes until they realized that this was a different kind of movie that tended more toward Alien than Frankensteins.

But by the end most of the crowd stayed to ask questions and compliment Bellgardt and the rest of the large crew.

They can be counted on to come back for more of whatever Bellgardt can produce in coming years.


Director: Ryan Bellgardt

Writer: Ryan Bellgardt

Producers: Ryan Bellgardt, Josh McKamie, Andy Swanson, Chris Hoyt

Cast: Adam Hampton, Kristy K. Boone, Katie Burgess, Catcher Stair, Mike Page

Oklahoma and U.S. Premier – 89 minute

Ryan Bellgardt, "Gremlin" writer/producer/director
Ryan Bellgardt, “Gremlin” writer/producer/director

Last Updated March 18, 2021, 2:44 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor