TAMPA — Horror movie writer Joe Davison was struck like an ax to the head with inspiration while camping in Ocala National Forest around five years ago.
“I looked across the woods and the only light was coming from my cabin,” the Tampa resident said. “It was sort of creepy.”
He made it creepier.
“I thought, ‘What if a dude lives there and he has an ax and, every time you ring a bell, he shows up to kill you,’” Davison said with a laugh.
He turned that into a script, which was picked up by producer Jeffrey Reddick, the man who launched the “Final Destination” franchise.
Now the slasher flick, titled “The Bell Keeper” and starring UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, has a trailer and a theatrical and video on demand release date.
It is out on Oct. 13. “That’s Friday the 13th,” Davison said. “Fitting.”
It’s not yet been announced if the movie will screen in Tampa Bay theaters.
According to IMDB.com, the film “follows a group of friends who travel to a secluded campsite to film a documentary. What they find is something much more sinister than they could have ever imagined.”
Directed by Colton Tran, “The Bell Keeper” also features Chaz Bono and Bonnie Aarons, best known for starring in the titular role in “The Nun.”
Couture portrays Hank the bell keeper who, in the trailer, bludgeons campers with an ax.
“Randy brought a lot to the character,” Davison said. “He was great.”
The movie was originally to be shot in Riverview, Oldsmar and Sarasota, but then went to California instead.
“Things change,” Davison said.
Davison’s writing credits include “100 Tears,” about two journalists on the trail of a demented serial killer dressed as a clown. Released in 2007, “100 Tears” became a worldwide underground hit among hard-core aficionados of the gore genre.
Ten years later, Davison appeared in four episodes of the second season of the Netflix hit series “Stranger Things.” His character, called “Nerdy Tech” in the credits, appeared along alongside Paul Reiser — the star of “Aliens” and “Mad About You” and who portrays Dr. Sam Owens in the “Stranger Things” universe.
“This might be the biggest thing I have done,” Davison said of “The Bell Keeper.” “But I have a lot more coming.”