Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

October 15, 2013

CALLERI: When an amusement park is no longer amusing

Niagara Gazette — Randy Moore, a native of the suburban Chicago village of Lake Bluff, graduated from a Florida college and set out to work in the motion picture business. Moore’s dream, which is the dream of many who head to Los Angeles, was to write and direct movies.

In L.A., Moore worked as a freelance story editor, often without credit, proofreading and offering insights into other people’s screenplays. Growing up on the cushy North Shore of Chicago meant his family had a little bit of money. Income from his wife’s nursing job helped bridge the gap between merely existing and actually living in the mythical realm of Hollywood.

As a child, Moore often went to Disney World, adventures he has said were occasionally unnerving. As an adult, he would make his own Disney movie, but not the kind the notoriously litigious company would embrace.

Moore had ideas for films of his own making. He thought about exploring the contrast between the public face of Disney’s theme parks and the realities of long lines, frustrated parents, and incorrigible and exhausted children. Over a brief period, he wrote three screenplays, one of which would become the raw and unnerving “Escape From Tomorrow,” a movie that shadows a father slowly losing his mind at Disney World.

Some people complain about the homogenization of American studio filmmaking and the comic book-themed takeover of the Hollywood mentality. They want to see something different. They want a jolt when they go to the movies. “Escape From Tomorrow” delivers that jolt. It’s playing in selected cities, including Buffalo, and is also available from video on-demand services.

On a budget of $650,000 (a small inheritance from Moore’s grandparents helped), the filmmaking team shot the psychological horror film without permission at Disney World and Disneyland using everyday Canon cameras. The result is something that looks like millions of dollars had been spent.

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