In a slightly different take on a traditional anti-bullying film, Red Head Randy highlights the negative aspects of bullying through the lens of a horror film. For example, one character comes back from the grave to haunt his bullies in a dramatic turn of events.
“This started because we wanted to bring awareness to bullying,” said executive producer and casting director Phillip Hammond, who said he chose to make a horror film because he felt that it would grab the attention of teenagers more than a documentary.
The world premiere of the Red Head Randy trailer will take place at Indoor Extreme Sports, 47-11 Van Dam Street in Long Island City, at 6 p.m. on September 15.
The event will feature an anti-bullying speaker and a presentation on how to prevent bullying. There will be a free laser tag event where participants can hunt down zombies.
The event is just one on “The Read Head Randy Stand Up to Bullying Tour,” which is taking place from September to December.
The actors who play bullies in the film were, in many cases, victims of bullying growing up. Hammond said it was important for former victims to play the aggressors because they have firsthand knowledge of how bullying can effect children.
Actress and the film's songwriter Meredith O’Connor has been struggling with bullying since she was eight years old. Growing up as a child actress and model, she was constantly being told she wasn’t good enough.
“I remember being bullied like a permanent scar,” she said. “This film will hit home with so many viewers, and maybe even save a life.”
The film features a wide variety of bullying, including kids, teens and adults being picked on for reasons such as homophobia or jealousy.
“Other people’s opinions don't matter,” said O’Conner. “Ignore the labels. I know when they treat you like a lower form of life you feel like one, but try to prove them wrong.”
Actress Jackee Minelli was also a victim of bullying. Growing up, she was a starter for her school’s basketball team. However, her teammates were jealous and told her coach during summer practices that she suffered from a heart condition, leaving her four months behind her classmates.
Her mother would find her sleepwalking, dribbling a basketball and saying “They’re after me.”
Minelli now dedicates her time to helping others facing similar problems. She said she wishes there was a film like Red Head Randy when she was growing up that could have helped her cope with her problems.
“I hope to one day help others that were bullied,” she said. “I want to be a positive role model for kids.”