When Ben Martin, a middle-aged marketing manager from Warrendale, set out to make his first feature-length garage-style film, commercial mainstream success was not his ultimate goal. Instead, he focused on the raw and highly creative story he had wanted to tell for more than 15 years.
One Last Stop in a Violent Town is a tale about good people doing bad things, love and hope, struggling through rites of passage, and monsters. Martin's style reflects the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, with drawn-out scenes that heighten the senses. The story is a throwback to the relatively obscure masked-Mexican-wrestler "Santo" movies of the 1950s. Martin aims to please a select audience, and damn the consequences. "It seems less like a movie to me now than a throwing together of themes I'm passionate about," he says.
For years Martin procrastinated on the project because of work and family obligations. In January 2001, tired of wasting time, he wrote a fantastical script based somewhat on his life experiences and including characters reflecting his inner struggles. Now, after four years of writing, shooting and editing, Martin looks forward to learning what others will take from his film.
One Last Stop, shot on video, is truly a garage film. Permits for location shooting were never obtained, and the unpaid crew often trespassed onto private property while filming in the back woods of Butler County. "We did get permission from the [city] council when we shot the bank-robbery scene in Evans City," Martin says. "It was beneficial because the police showed up to help us out and we used them in part of the scene."