Horror film shot in central Kentucky


David Neikirk was looking to add another credit to an already wide-ranging resume as well as alleviate boredom when he signed on to act in "Dance With A Vampire," a horror film that was shot in Lexington, Frankfort and Richmond.

The resume includes an extensive background in public relations and business management, including owning and running multi-million dollar companies, as well as working with jazz festivals and the fashion industry. Neikirk, a Danville resident, says he's dealt with most of the designers in the industry.

He also has been "doing theatrics off and on" since he was 6, in mostly professional circles, he says. Retired since 1990, Neikirk says he was "bored out of his mind." So he hooked with "Seabiscuit" when it was shot at Keeneland in November 2002 and pulled information off the Internet about "Dance With A Vampire" and its writer/director, George Bonilla.

"Anyone can go out on Monday night and get involved," says Neikirk. "There's a core group of people who I work with extensively."


Neikirk isn't concerned with potential criticism for working on a horror film, a genre the director and crew are comfortable with, he says.

"I don't care how good, bad, or indifferent it is - it's a credit," he says of the latest addition to his acting resume.

Bonilla, who also directed "Zombie Planet," which played at the Kentucky Theatre, and "Zombie Planet 2," says shooting a horror film was a marketing decision.

"It's the easiest to sell," explains Bonilla, who is contemplating more monster movies and a 1930s gangster movie as future projects. "It's like a cycle - about every seven years" it becomes popular again, he notes. "And I like that genre."

Neikirk says he started going to Monday meetings for "Vampire" in April 2003. It's low budget, so the actors are being offered a percentage of the take as pay.

He is playing the governor of a state

In the film, Neikirk is playing the governor of a state, Warner Workman.

"My part is - after the killings in Southern City (where the film is set), the governor is there to assure the public that the 'atrocities are behind us'," Neikirk explains. "He holds a press conference. It's about 30 lines altogether, in a contemporary setting."

Filming has gone on for such a long time because the "director is involved with other movies and he does several takes (of each scene)," Neikirk notes.

"That's what drags it out," he adds.

Another member of the crew is David Workman - yes, Neikirk's character has the same surname - who is the producer for the film. Workman says he heard somebody was working on film in Lexington a few years ago.

"My whole life, I've been fascinated with special effects," he explains. "I have a dental lab, and I started trying to find out" more about special effects.

Apparently, Bonilla heard about the dental lab with the special effects aficionado, and a partnership was born. "I read the script and decided I wanted to get involved with (the film)," Workman notes.

He functions as the executive producer, Workman says, which means he should "sit by the swimming pool and write checks." In reality he, "runs the cord or whatever."

"I do what needs to be done to keep it running," Workman explains. "We split the bills up on everything, and I make sure everything is going OK."

Student teacher got recommendation from a student

Stephani Nichols-Heise, a student teacher at Bryan Station High School, says she got involved at the recommendation of a student. She just showed up at a Monday meeting one week. "He needed tons and tons of extras," Nichols-Heise notes.

She recalls one day of filming that ran from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. Filming was upstairs, and it was the middle of summer.

"I was in heels and a leather skirt that didn't breathe," Nichols-Heise recalls. "We did a fight scene that was like (film) 'Mad Max.'" I was in the background hootin' and hollerin'."

For several of the scenes, Bonilla was able to use a rare commodity.

"We almost never get to access a housing complex, but there was one that was abandoned in north Lexington, Aspendale," he explains. "We used it for two months, then they tore it down."

Many of the scenes are shot in a basement studio off Blue Sky Parkway. As Bonilla leads the way to the studio, he describes the atmosphere.

"There are all kinds of interesting things here," he explains, popping into the "weapons room" and pointing out the variety of weapons and their realistic appearances. "We are constantly building new sets.

"It doesn't need to be fancy so long as it looks good for the camera," Bonilla says, noting certain crewpeople and their contributions to the film. "Dave (Workman) supervises while Linda Goforth and Sven Granlund create the effects. Darrell White builds big props - he's the master propmaker."

Bonilla demonstrates how the vampire masks work

Bonilla demonstrates how the vampire masks work on Todd Burrows, another executive producer.

"The vampire masks are like those in 'Planet of the Apes,'" Bonilla explains. "They move with the muscles of the face."

Neikirk says he enjoys "watching the shoots and standing behind the camera while he's doing it."

"I can see what he's after and what he's doing," Neikirk notes. "He may shoot the same scene 10 or 15 times."

Bonilla, who came to Kentucky from Hawaii, says he likes working in the bluegrass state.

"I got here and just really liked the people and the atmosphere," he explains. "And it's a non-union state, so I can make movies without stars and still sell them."

Bonilla was talking to a number of different distributors about taking on "Dance With A Vampire." One soon may be bringing the film to theater near you.

For more information about "Dance With A Vampire," go to

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