I have a soft spot for bad horror. And Sleepy Hollow High isn’t exactly good horror. It’s not horrible horror either. It follows the story of five teenage delinquents at Sleepy Hollow High School. Threatened with expulsion, their only choice is to do community service. In this case that means picking up trash in the eerily secluded town park. I won’t give away the one big spoiler, but it’s fair to say not is all that it seems. It’s very low budget (paid for by credit cards and estimated to be $16,500) shows in several places, but it does keep you watching. And wondering, to an extent. It claims that the legend of Sleepy Hollow is true, but not exactly in the way you might think. (Sorry for being cryptic—I don’t want to give too much away.)
One of the reasons I appreciate efforts like this is that I know what it’s like to be possessed by a story you want to tell but being unable to find a publisher—or in this case, a distributor/studio—who’s willing to take a chance on you. The movie is largely the effort of Kevin Summerfield and Chris Arth. They are listed as co-directors and co-producers, and each has credited roles beyond that. Neither one is famous, and yet they made the film anyway. It’s the same impetus behind self-publishing, I suspect. The problem with the latter is that anyone can do it, and it often shows. Most of us don’t have access to proper movie equipment, props, and actors willing to work for free. Heck, I don’t even know most of my neighbors.
Movies like this stand a chance of becoming cult favorites. I have no idea how that happens or who makes the call on it. Low budget (often), cult films catch the imagination of a certain kind of fan and eventually generates some buzz of its own. Wikipedia articles will appear about some of the people involved because those who watch grow curious. Our highly developed publicity systems make decisions on who or what gets exposure. That doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t get a small dose of attention now and again, but those who’ve made it have had some help. Sleepy Hollow High was perhaps able to cash in a bit on the previous year’s Tim Burton effort, Sleepy Hollow. But there are horror movies—and stories—out there that nobody knows about. And which might, if discovered, have their fifteen minutes.