Terrace Lanes Goes Hollywood Before Taking Final Curtain
By Gina Gallucci-White. Photography by William Gray
Before closing its doors in May, Terrace Lanes was a local landmark known for its bowling leagues, birthday parties and other gatherings during the past 60 years. But before the Frederick landmark is soon torn down to make way for a 300-unit residential development, Terrace Lanes will also be known as the site of homicides.
Well, fake homicides.
The bowling alley’s final frame is the primary location for a horror movie, Last Night at Terrace Lanes. In the film, young heroine Kennedy and her friends find themselves at Terrace Lanes on its last night of operation. Kennedy’s estranged father works in the bowling alley. When chaos breaks out, Kennedy and her father must come together to try and save their friends and survive the night.
Today, on day four of a 12-day shooting schedule, the bowling alley is abuzz with activity as cast and crew work together to film several scenes that will appear early in the movie. Both scenes focus on Kennedy and her friends having a lighthearted bowling session. The mayhem comes later.
Before the first scene of the day, crew members work diligently on the details moviegoers never see but nonetheless appreciate. Photographs are taken to ensure continuity of each scene. Microphones are carefully hidden on each actor. Lighting is checked to ensure the scene is perfectly captured. Several moments before action is called a crew member enthusiastically yells, “Let’s make a movie today!”
Actress Francesca Capaldi, based in California, plays the heroine Kennedy. She is most well known for her role as Chloe James on the Disney channel television show Dog with a Blog and the voice of the Little Red-Haired Girl in 2015’s The Peanuts Movie.
Capaldi, 18, notes a horror movie is a departure from a career that has mainly been limited to comedy. “When I heard about [the movie] and I read the script, I just thought it was something really cool and something I had never done before,” she says. “I was really excited to do something in the horror genre.” Capaldi is driven in her craft for many aspects, but she loves seeing the work she does reflected on the screen. “It is just so fun and I love acting so much,” she says. “For me, it is just what I love to do. It is my passion.”
Before coming to Frederick for the film shoot, she had only been to Maryland once for a trip to Ocean City. She has now visited Downtown Frederick several times. “There are so many beautiful areas.” The actress notes the film shoot inside a bowling alley has been fun as she’s gotten to see areas that guests don’t traditionally see including the machinery in the pits. “It is really cool just exploring around here,” she says.
With the bowling alley’s days numbered and its doors closed, film crew members were able to do things that they might not be able to do in an open establishment. “Fake blood is supposed to wash out of things, but it is still safer to put fake blood on this carpet knowing this carpet is going to get torn out pretty soon, than on the carpet in my house,” says Chad Horn, owner of Bard Tales Productions and a producer on the film. The location was one “that we couldn’t let go to waste.”
For the 80-page script, there is a film crew made up of around 50 people from Frederick and the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas. The independent film is one of several set to film in Frederick County this year with efforts by the Frederick Film Office to bring in even more next year. “We are going to try to bring as many to the region as we can,” says Carlo Glorioso, owner of Cinematic Productions and director of the Frederick Film Office. “I don’t know that they will all land in Frederick County but the next three are slated to film mostly in Frederick County.”
Glorioso moved to Frederick a decade ago and founded the Film Office eight years ago as a labor of love through a conversation with staff at the Maryland Film Office. “They basically said, ‘You guys need a film office out there.’ We started [the office] to attract filming and production and it went very well.” So far, the Frederick Film Office has brought in more than $2 million in production spending to the local and state economy.
He has been working with The Blair Witch Project co-director Eduardo Sánchez on bringing more productions to the area. “We found out that the area is pretty film friendly. A lot of people are very open to having filming here. They are very welcoming. There are a lot of looks and options” for film crews. “That money would have gone somewhere else. It is a good thing” to have film crews come to Frederick. Glorioso will often get calls from producers needing certain backdrops for scenes and he will drive the crews around to show them everything that the county has to offer.
While Glorioso didn’t intend to live long term in Frederick, he fell in love with the area and decided to stay to raise a family. He still travels frequently and even spent a month in Los Angeles for a project early this year, but Frederick remains home. “If I can live here and work here and sleep in my own bed and spend time with my family, it is nice to do that, so we are trying to bring as many projects here as we can,” he says.
Last Night at Terrace Lanes is mainly filming at the bowling alley, but there were a few scenes being shot in Downtown Frederick. “The City of Frederick really went out of their way to open their doors to us and make things easy,” Horn says. “Maryland has nice film incentives. It is a way for them to support local [people and businesses]. There are 50 people here that could be working in Atlanta. They could be working in New York. And we have chosen to work here close to where we live. That support is great. I think it is going to be a fun film.”
With an aggressive production schedule, principal photography will be completed by this month and a vigorous post-production is planned, as well. “We would like to get people to see it as soon as possible,” Horn says. Producers plan to show the film on the festival circuit and release it to on-demand platforms in about a year. They also hope to have a premiere in Frederick for the cast and crew to see the completed film.
“This [production] has been a success,” Horn says. “There is more coming [to the area]—potentially as many as four or five films over the next 18 months.”