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Actor Chris Young, center, and crew prepare to roll camera for a scene in the horror-comedy short film “...And Then She Laughed.” The film, written and directed by Amy Taylor and produced by local resident Ben Guenther, was shot at a village home on Orton Road. (Photo by Lauren "Chuck" Shows)

Horror-comedy filmed in Yellow Springs

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Movie magic was in the village air last month, when a five-day shoot for a short film was held at a home on the south end of town.

The horror-comedy film, “…And Then She Laughed,” was written and directed by Virginia-based filmmaker Amy Taylor and is currently in post-production.

The News visited the set on Orton Road on the film’s final day of shooting, Sunday, May 19. According to writer/director Taylor and local resident and producer Ben Guenther, the film’s Yellow Springs shooting location was serendipitous:

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“The script specifically calls for a house with these ultra-modern, hard angles, and [Taylor] asked if I knew of any houses that looked like that,” Guenther told the News on-set.

“About five minutes later, [Guenther] texted me a picture of this house, and I was like, ‘perfect,’” Taylor later told the News via email.

“…And Then She Laughed” features a main cast of two, Emily Williams Young and Chris Young, who, though they are happily married in real life, act on-screen as a couple with a decidedly rocky relationship. Without spoiling the premise, Williams Young told the News that the film’s story includes an element of paranormal revenge for her character with regard to her villainous on-screen husband.

“I’d say there’s some mystical, magical spookiness going on,” she said.

The inspiration for the film, Taylor said, was sparked by news of a cheating scandal that took place surrounding the reality TV show “Vanderpump Rules.” Watching the show after the scandal became public, Taylor said she was “fascinated” by the way the man involved in the affair feigned devotion to his partner while the cameras were running.

“It got me thinking about the kinds of men who blow up their relationships for no apparent reason,” Taylor said. “When you dig deeper, it often seems to be about not being able to handle it if the woman becomes more successful, so I wanted to explore that insecurity and the darkest ways that might manifest in a relationship.”

Taylor said the theme of “toxic masculinity” runs through both “…And Then She Laughed” and her first feature film, 2018’s “Hunter’s Weekend.” That film also starred Emily Williams Young, Chris Young and Ben Guenther. “Hunter’s Weekend” recently aired on Community Access Channel 5, where Guenther is station manager. When asked if the film will air again in the future, Guenther said: “I know a guy.”

In fact, many of those on set for the film this month had worked together before, having attended Ohio University together and studied in the film and/or performing arts programs and having also been part of Taylor’s web series, “Jess Archer Versus.” Guenther said this month’s shoot was a sort of reunion for the cast and crew.

“It’s kind of like getting the band back together,” he said.

Taylor added that she values the continuity of a cast and crew with familiarity with one another and with her narrative style, which she described as “horror with a dry, comedic tone.”

“They all immediately got my style and sensibility, and it’s always so much fun to work with them,” Taylor said. “I love the idea of having a team of people that stays together on different projects throughout your career.”

Taylor added that she hopes the film will wrap up post-production in the fall in time to submit to festivals such as Toronto After Dark, FrightFest and SXSW — and perhaps the village’s own YS Film Fest.

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