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Pigeon Forge production company creates horror film set in Smoky Mountains

Movie-goers will help choose the ending during a special test screening on Oct. 16.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — While big blockbusters of Hollywood are on hold, Vinnie Vineyard is busy editing the first full-length feature movie for the Pigeon Forge production company he co-owns: Big N Funky Productions. 

Vineyard said the COVID-19 pandemic created unique opportunities for small production companies like his own. 

"These distribution companies are starving to death," Vineyard said. "They need content to sell because how many times can you sell 'Splash' and 'Big' and, you know, 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids?' They need new content. So, I think that gives anybody who's a filmmaker an opportunity right now to make money."

With a small crew of around 30 people, Vineyard and his team wrote, shot, acted in and even created the music for a scary movie they named "The Hike."

"When you make a movie called 'The Hike,' the bad thing is is that you have to hike," Vineyard said. "So, we would have to walk for an hour sometime, all saddled with gear and then we're looking daylight so it's like, 'quick, everybody start shooting and stuff.'"

'The Hike' follows a couple embarking on a three-day trek in the Great Smoky Mountains and the hidden evils they encounter in the woods. Vineyard said he combined legends and true stories for the plot.  

The ending is still up in the air. At a special test screening during Friday's Halloween at Halls event at Halls Cinema 7, movie-goers will watch alternate endings and vote for which one they prefer. 

Tickets to the Halloween at Halls move celebration cost $25. The night will include trivia, costume contests and a showing of Child's Play 2. 

Vineyard said he's in talks with streaming services to release the film to a much wider audience.