This past Saturday, I headed out to Atlantic Highlands, NJ to watch the World Premiere of the independent film “The Forest Hills” Starring Chiko Mendez III, Edward Furlong, Dee Wallace and Shelley Duvall(in her first acting role in 20 years). The Film is Directed by Scott Goldberg, and Executive Producer and Director of Photography Scott Hansen. I have known Scott Hansen for about 10 -15 years since he used to reside in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I talked to both Scott’s, and became friends with them, doing posts on Geekykool.com to follow the production of the film.
Scott Goldberg was looking for a place to World Premiere the finished film, and Director Kevin Smith(Mallrats, Clerks trilogy) was gracious enough to offer his own theater for the Premiere. The theater in Atlantic Highlands had closed during the pandemic, and Kevin Smith bought it, and reopened it, in his home town as a way to give back to the community. Saturday Night The theater was packed full of cast, crew, press and fans/friends of Scott Hansen and Scott Goldberg for the show. Kevin Smith introduced Scott Goldberg who talked a bit about the process of making the film, and then the audience sat back to watch the finished feature. I was one of those who saw a preview copy of the movie(before post production was completed), so I knew how the film would go, but with all the effects, and music scored into the film, it made for a much better viewing experience. The movie got a large ovation from the crowd when it was finished. The Movie is dedicated to both George A. Romero and John Carpenter(two legendary horror directors). Scott Goldberg puts forth a worthy entry into the genre with his first full length film.
The acting is top notch, the cinematography, especially the scenes in the Adirondack Mountains is excellent, as is the use of closeups on the actors faces. Chiko Mendez III stars as “Rico” the title character, he puts forth an excellent rendition of a man suffering from trauma, and the ability or lack of ability to deal with it. He hits all the right tones showing the wild swings that some mental health suffers go through. Edward Furlong plays Rico’s friend “Billy”. Billy has a huge role in both trying to keep Rico “grounded” as well as pushing him towards that edge, to see how far Rico will go. It is an interesting dichotomy, that takes the entire movie to play out, which is good for the viewers of the film. Shelley Duvall plays “Rico’s mom”. She hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to being in front of the camera, and having her in the film, even for the few scenes she is there, give the movie “heft”.
After the film ended there was a Q&A session with the cast and crew in attendance, as well as 3 other cast members(including Shelley Duvall via zoom). there were a lot of good questions asked by the audience, and it was very informative, both in the how and why’s they movie was filmed, and the motivations of each actor. Of course a lot of questions were aimed specifically at Shelley Duvall, and she did enjoy answering them. Scott Goldberg did say they production is in active talks with multiple distributors to get the movie as wide a release as possible.
Here is the full Q&A with the cast and crew:
Here are the photos that I took at the premiere
Scott Goldberg and Kevin Smith
The full House before the movie
Q&A with Scott Goldberg(Standing), Scott Hansen, Chiko Mendez III, Elliot Dreznick and Edward Furlong(Seated)\
Marlanne Hagen(Jordanna), Shelley Duvall(mama) and Linda Flores(Emily) joining the Q&A via Zoom
Kevin Smith and I
Chiko Mendez and I
Edward Furlong and I
The Forest Hills will be a “featured selection” at the 2023 Salem HorrorFest on April 28th at 9:00pm and on April 30th at 11:55pm. Tickets can be purchased online @ https://www.salemhorror.com/register/festival-pass
The Forest Hills will also be screened at Horrorhound film and tv weekend March 24th -26th at the Sharonville Convention Center in Cincinnati, OH. tickets can be purchased online @ https://horrorhoundweekend.com/shows/202303/tickets.shtml
The movie will be shown on Saturday, March 25th from 12:30 – 2:30pm in screening room A located at the Delta Marriott across from the convention hall. The Forest Hills has the dubious distinction of being the ONLY movie show BY ITSELF. EVERY other screening is of multiple movies.
This was an incredible night filled with lots of love for the entire cast and crew. They all worked hard to produce a film that they can be proud of and I believe they hit it out of the park.