With a full moon rising in the dark Kisatchie Forest, it is easy to get scared walking around, and Joe Willie made sure those who see what happened out there will think again before walking alone on a dark bridge.
Although none of the horror was real, Willie, a Fort Polk resident and Hammond native, filmed his new movie Saturday night with the goal of leaving those who watch it scared and entertained.
"It's a very dark idea, and we want to deliver something very shocking, slightly disturbing and really entertaining to the independent circuit in Louisiana," Willie said. "We want to show them what we are doing out here with, really, no budget. We want to show people we are just as good as people putting big stuff out.
"There's some good horror out there, but I have my own ideas and stuff I want to do. I want to show my worth. You have to be a go-getter."
Willie wrote, produced and directed the film, Crybaby Bridge, which features multiple local actors and crew.
"I would describe the movie as a supernatural, ghoulish horror movie," Willie said. "It's based off Crybaby Bridge, and anybody can go on Wikipedia and see that every state has a Crybaby Bridge. There's different legends to it, and I used to read about it a lot.
"This movie came together fairly easy. I think the hardest part of getting it other was getting the City of Leesville and Kisatchie Rangers on board. They've been very cooperative and helpful, as well as the sheriff's department."
The short film was shot at the Little Cypress Pond Recreation Area between Fort Polk and Pitkin, and features area residents using their acting chops.
Crybaby Bridge is about two friends who decide to test out an urban legend, however, this one is more than just a legend.
"This is dealing with a supernatural legend about a girl that passed away in the 1970s, and her spirit is known to haunt this bridge," Willie said. "If you do certain steps, then she possibly can appear."
Starring in the movie is Joe Barnhill and Adrian Richard, who play Derek and Lionel, two friends who after a few beers end up on the haunted bridge.
"I work with Joe Willie, and we were talking one day about ideas, and he pitched it to me," Barnhill said. "I agreed to do it. This is really the first time I've done anything like this on this scale. I did some minor things in school, but my background is actually in band. I'm excited to perform again.
"I'm a huge horror fan, and that's one thing we connected on when we started working together."
Richard, from Leesville, got involved with the film and listened to Spotify playlist of Kanye West and Drake to morph into his character.
"This is my first speaking role in something that is not my own project," Richard said. "That's exciting. I've done some background stuff but have never been featured.
"(My character) is someone who got talked into this, and if would have known what he got himself into, he would have held out a little bit longer. He's real good friends with Derek, so when he said they should go check this out, he just said alright."
Anna Medley plays the vengeful spirit and jumped at the opportunity to be a focal character in the story.
"I've been acting since about 2013," Medley said. "I work on Fort Polk full time, so anytime I can get away from work or on the weekends, I try to get out and do it.
"I'm trying to keep my cool, but on the inside, I'm like a little kid in the candy store. The whole set up, from the beginning to the end, has been great. If I could, I'd this full time. I'd make it a career."
Willie brought down a makeup artist, Emily Martinez, from Monroe, Louisiana to make Medley's character come to life, even though, in this case, she needed the opposite effect.
"A lot of it has to do with the cinematography, the lighting, the scenery and the actors," she said. "I want to make this a full-time career. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm going to keep doing this until it takes off."
Skylar McMillian, out of Lake Charles, took care of the cinematography for the film and said, before the cameras starting rolling, that he was excited to work with the people in the project.
"(Willie) hit me up on Facebook after seeing what we have been involved in," McMillian said. "He wanted to know if we were interested. I love to collaborate, especially with locals.
"This is something I've learned to do over time. It's something I've always wanted to do, but I never really started perusing it until a couple of years ago."
Willie has published three horror novels and made the movie, Welcome Home Rougarou, which is still in post production.
There is no release date on Crybaby Bridge, as of yet, but Willie hopes to show the movie in festivals and plans to premiere it in the Fort Polk and Leesville area.