June 13, 2012 - What if there was a game that could instantly solve all your financial woes?
Oxford resident James Henry Hall (right) and his uncle Bret K. Hall have written and directed the new film Spin, which premieres at the Oxford 7 Theater on Monday, June 25 at 7:30 p.m. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
The only catch is in order to win, all the other contestants must die and if you lose, you die.
That's the premise of a new independent movie entitled "Spin," coming to the Oxford 7 Theater (48 S. Washington St.) later this month. Showtimes are Monday, June 25 at 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, June 26 at 9 p.m.; and Thursday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $8 each.
"Spin" was written and directed by Oxford resident James Henry Hall, 27, and his uncle Bret K. Hall, who are partners in a company called Magical Jungle Productions.
"It's basically a twisted version of Russian roulette," said Hall, who is the grandson of Oxford Village President Tom Benner and his wife Marilyn.
In a nutshell, the film, which has a running time of 74 minutes, is about five people from different walks of life who all have one thing in common they desperately need a large sum of money to solve a problem.
"One owes money to a bookie. Another's been stealing money from their company. One needs money for his sick wife," said Hall, a 2003 graduate of Lapeer West High School.
One way or another, all of them learn about this chilling game where the prize for winning is $500,000 and the penalty for losing is death. There can only be one winner.
The title "Spin" refers to spinning the chamber of a revolver during a game of Russian roulette.
"Each time the character pulls the trigger, their life flashes before their eyes," Hall said. "That's how we tell the characters back stories and what brings them to the table."
Although the audience learns the reasons each person is there playing this sick game, they never learn the characters' names and that's intentional. "No one has a name because they're all strangers," Hall said. "They keep the game very impersonal."
Although the movie was shot in California, the location of the fictional game is never divulged. "We did that intentionally, so it could be anywhere," Hall said.
Overall, Hall is "extremely pleased" with the film. "It came out better than I could have dreamt or hoped for," he said.
Visit www.magicaljungleproductions.com to watch a trailer for "Spin."
Hall decided to screen the premiere of his movie in Oxford because this is his hometown. He attended school here through seventh grade and his late mother, Cheri Mulligan, was a 1981 Oxford High graduate and a paid-on-call firefighter/EMT for Oxford from 1994-98.
"We felt it was fitting to show it here first," he said.
After his mother passed away in 2007, Hall decided to use her life insurance money to move to California, where he spent five years learning the craft of filmmaking by doing. "Had it not been for that (insurance money), then this movie might not have happened," said Hall, noting "Spin" is dedicated to both his mother and his late grandmother, Nancy Hall.
Although he took a couple of acting and film production classes at Oakland Community College prior to moving to California, Hall felt it was better to hone his craft by actually creating films as opposing to spending time in the classroom studying various techniques and other people's work.
"I put the money I would have used for school into making films and buying editing software and equipment," he said.
After "Spin" runs in Oxford, Hall plans to screen his film on the West and East coats.
"We want to take it to Los Angeles and then to New York," he said. "We want to start hitting some bigger markets, possibly some college towns, too. That proved successful for 'Paranormal Activity' and a few low budget horror movies."
Hall also plans to enter "Spin" in some film festivals in Michigan and Australia.
"It's a great way to attract a nice, broad audience and get it out there," he said.
For ticket information, please call the Oxford 7 Theater at (248) 969-7469.
"We've been selling quite a few in advance," Hall noted. "We still have tickets available for the premiere, but not many. The other two days are still pretty open."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.