We’ve already got the Amish mafia. Next up, Amish horror.
The Amish community, which has already provided grist for the mill of the gangster-style “reality” show “Amish Mafia,” has inspired a screenplay for a scary movie.
“Infernal,” described as an “Amish horror movie,” will be filmed in Lancaster County starting Monday and running through June 23, according to people involved with the project.
The independent thriller is slated for release in 2015 and will star Lancaster native Jennifer Gareis, according to the Internet Movie Database.
But film producer Daniel Shultz, a 1993 graduate of McCaskey High School, and director Ivan Kraljevic were quick to distance themselves Thursday from the “Amish Mafia” mindset.
“That has left a bad taste in so many people’s mouths,” Kraljevic said. “We are completely the opposite.”
“I grew up here,” Shultz added. “I was here my whole life — and we know a lot about the culture.
“And we’ve seen the press on the ‘Amish Mafia’ — I watch it sometimes in L.A. just to see home. But it’s a complete misrepresentation of how things really are. ... We have nothing to do with ‘Amish Mafia’.”
The project also has nothing to do with “Tales of Amish Horror,” another “reality” TV series in production by the makers of “Amish Mafia,” Shultz said.
“Infernal” is less a horror movie and more of “a haunting,” he said. “There’s no gore.”
“It’s more like a Hitchcock movie,” said Kraljevic. “It’s more about what goes on off-screen. ... It’s emotionally driven.”
Although the movie has a paranormal aspect, Shultz said it was inspired in part by the story of Dirk Willems, a 16th century Anabaptist martyr, who rescued his own pursuer when he fell through the ice and was, in turn, tortured and killed for his pains.
“Our hearts are in the right place,” Kraljevic said. “It’s important that we don’t misrepresent the culture.”
The two men hesitated to discuss the plot, which they hope to keep largely secret until its release.
“In short, an English family moves to the area and they start experiencing unusual events — a presence on the land,” Shultz said. “But it doesn’t affect their Amish neighbors. ... That’s probably as much of the plot as I want to tell.”
Part of the twist involves “the Amish quality of forgiveness,” he added.
“It truly is a labor of love,” Kraljevic said. “I guarantee you — it will be correct. You will see it and say, this is right.”
The movie is privately funded, mostly by Lancaster supporters, Shultz said.
“It’s in the ultra-low budget category,” he said. “It’s really a friends and family affair. ... No one is working on this movie to get rich.”
The movie draws heavily on local talent, Shultz said. Besides himself and Gareis, the production includes co-producer Dave Gareis and writer Ben Everhart, both of whom are also McCaskey graduates.
More than half of the film crew is from Lancaster as well, he added, and the movie will be shot entirely within the county.
Lancaster resident Rachel Dennis, who is listed on IMDb as a production assistant on five episodes from the 2014 season of “Amish Mafia,” recently posted a call for extras for the movie on her Facebook page.
Dennis, in her message, said she has been hired as extras coordinator for the film — and asks if anyone is interested in playing “Amish ghosts.”
She said filmmakers are looking mostly for young folk, ages 18 to 24, although they’re also looking for a few extras in their 30s.
However, Shultz said there are “no Amish ghosts in the movie.”
Melanie Forchetti, a casting director with Mike Lemon Casting in King of Prussia, is nearly finished assembling the cast.
“It’s going to be really neat. It’s a great story,” Forchetti said. “We’re really excited about it.”
Gareis, a 1988 graduate of McCaskey High School and a 1992 graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, has starred for several years in the TV soap opera “The Bold & the Beautiful.” She previously starred in “The Young & the Restless.”
Her movie credits include “Venus on the Halfshell,” “The 6th Day,” “Miss Congeniality” and “What Boys Like.”
Others in the cast, according to IMDb.com, are Elena Caruso, Peter Patrikios, Chris Conner and Accalia Quintana.
Shultz would like to see Lancaster as the stage for more movies in the future.
“Hopefully, this will be the first of many,” he said.
A release date has not been set, Shultz said — that depends largely on whether or not a studio picks the movie up for distribution.
If possible, he said, he would like the film to premier in Lancaster.