Blood Red Shoes, Part 5

Jun 9, 2024 | Filmmakers

Blood Red Shoes
by MerrySmith Filmworks

The Making of Blog, Part Four
More Shooting, Continued by Bradford D Smith

More than a few memorable things happened while we searched for props and shooting sites. If the cast or crew could not provide the items we needed, the search was on.

At the time of the shooting my family was renting an apartment from an older fellow and his wife, lets, call them Joe and Mildred.  We got to know them well and I even worked off some rent periodically as they had multiple units, all in need of constant maintenance.

At the time Joe drove a big old boat of a car. It was a beat up four door beast that I have no idea as to make or model but both Kendal and I thought it perfect for picking up a prostitute on the street. In the movie, come on now, keep up.

I was trying to wheedle, out of asking them to borrow said beast, but Kendal wouldn’t let me. The thought of trying to explain Blood Red Shoe to two quite conservative older folks was not something I relished so I lied. Well not completely, I did mumble some nonsense about needing it for a movie we were filming. I conveniently left out the prostitute stuff and the strange, assimilated sex act that would take place inside it. After a few words about it being an experimental art piece their eyes filmed over, and I stopped while I was ahead.

I was granted the use of their old beater, and we used it in the street pick up scene after Star kicked the red VW.  It was also the bouncing white car in the scene by the harbor where Stars legs are sticking out the window.

Joe nor Mildred had any questions, and I was not exactly forthcoming. As far as I am aware neither of them ever saw the movie nor ever brought it up afterwords.  But I moved my family shortly afterward, just in case.

When it was time to film the scenes in the rich couple’s house and the closet scenes where the rich lady kept her shoes on the pyramid rack, we realized we needed a fair amount of high heeled shoes. Neither Glo or April wore them, nor did myself or Kendal, although I had my suspicions about him.

No problem said I and off to the thrift store I went. I got a few stares as I methodically searched through the selection with an eye for style and condition. The real fun started at the checkout counter when a 250-pound bearded, bushy haired construction worker, me, plopped down ten pairs of high heel shoes.

If you can imagine the movie personification of the lunch counter lady, we’ll call her Flo. So, Flo was working at the cash register that day. My oblivious self wasn’t cluing in on the situation at first but when Flo raised her eyebrow and stared at me with steely gray eyes and didn’t ring in my purchases, I suddenly awoke to the utter ridiculousness of the scene.

As I stared into those cold gray eyes my mind went crazy. Would she call the cops, or worse? Is there worse? I’m sure there is. What if I got banned for life? I mean I did find most of my work clothes there.  Eventually after a million emotions raced by and my mind went blank for what seemed ages I suddenly blurted out, “we’re making a movie.”  I was immediately aware I had made things much worse. She’s calling the cops now for sure. I babbled out more absolute nonsense while to her credit she rang up my shoes but didn’t offer a bag and I was too terrified to ask her for one. I’m sure she derived a modicum of pleasure watching Grizzly Adams juggling ten pairs of high heel shoes through the store, out the door and across the parking lot. I passed several amused patrons as I slunk to my car. One guy called out “No judgement bro.”

“Um thanks but we’re making a movie,” I muttered.

At one point we were in a desperate search for a police uniform. We needed one or more in several scenes in the movie. We searched all the thrift stores and even some garage sales. It wasn’t near Halloween, and we were out of ideas. In the first scene we went for a white shirt, a tie and black pants, but we wanted something more authentic for the alley scene.

Kendal and I were downtown one day searching out scene locations and he also had a haircut scheduled on Seward Street. I didn’t want to sit and wait so I continued to wander the downtown streets checking alleyways and back lots.

I happened to be passing the Adult Store when a thought came to me. “Maybe they have a police uniform.” I figured they probably had handcuffs so one never knew, why not check it out.

I cautiously entered the strange and foreign world of adultness.  I noticed a young man was behind the counter helping a customer. There was a couple in the corner giggling in front of a case of large rubber toys. I managed to slink in unseen. Wandering by the glass cases and pegboard walls full of things that are used in the privacy of one’s home I was amazed at the selection and multitude of available enhancers or enhancements.

Toward the back of the store, I even found racks of costumes. There were nurse costumes, fireman costumes, fairy costumes, the devil and angels made the cut, but nowhere did I see a police uniform or a proximity.

I hadn’t noticed but the shop had emptied out and I heard a voice asking if I needed help. I was trapped and it was too late to run so I jumped in and asked if they had a policeman’s uniform in stock.

The voice belonged to Chad the young man I had seen at the counter. He quickly searched; the racks then disappeared into the back to check inventory. I was left to stand there beside a rack of topless fairy costumes while I waited, hoping no one else would enter.

Shortly Chad reappeared and sadly informed me they were out. My comment about a big run-on police uniform fell on deft ears. I concluded that like Flo, Chad had heard plenty of wacky stories and nothing fazed him.

Chad suggested we try the catalogue, and he produced a thick binder filled with images of costumes. While I flipped the pages someone entered, and Chad busied himself with them. I was contented to be left alone and perused through the pages untill I came across the perfect police uniform, utility belt and badge included, the truncheon was extra, but I figured I could make one if needed.

Chad came back and I pointed out what I wanted. He flipped to the back page and told me the price. He then asked If I wanted to order it. As Kendal was our main financier at the time and ultimate decision maker, all costs went through him.

It was very expensive, but it would have worked so well for the movie. I eventually came up with the brilliant line “I’ll have to run it by my partner, he’s the money man.” Chad didn’t flinch but I did.

At the same time Kendall saw me as he passed and entered the shop. I looked up and spoke. “Here he is now.” Kendal has always been very clean-cut especially after a fresh haircut. He strode up to the counter and inquired as to what I was up to. I showed him the costume in the catalogue. I noticed Chad glancing back and forth between Kendal and me.

I think he was having a hard time figuring out our arrangement or relationship as we didn’t look like a couple and we both wore wedding rings It was a decade before Alaska recognized gay marriage. About that time Kendal spoke up and told Chad the costume was too expensive for our low budget movie. At least I didn’t say it that time. Now we had Chads attention, his eyes enlarged, and he took an involuntary step back.

Kendal and I left a confused Chad staring after us as we closed the door. I was determined to never mention to anyone ever again that we were making a movie.