Local Film Crew Shoots...
"The Legend of the Loveland Frogmen"
by Ricky Mulvey
LOVELAND, OHIO - February 3rd 1972 was a night that changed the very fabric of Loveland. Patrolmen Ray Shockey and Mark Mathews reported spotting a frog-like creature on the banks of the Little Miami River. It was reported to be roughly 3 feet tall, docile, and resembled the “Creature From the Black Lagoon.” While it wasn’t aggressive, this sighting was kept under wraps. The Loveland Police Department thought it would be better to not have citizens in a frenzy over an alleged sighting. Until it happened again. Exactly one week later it was spotted on Riverside Drive, this time by Patrolman Matthews.
The only thing different about this sighting was that Matthews unloaded 4 rounds into the torso of the creature, not because it was aggressive, but to get a closer look. Other sightings of the monster had been claimed, such as one by students from the University of Pittsburgh. Yet, none as reputable as the sightings reported by law enforcement officers. The encounters by police were eerily similar to reports of a similar creature that had been described in our area over 100 years ago.
To commemorate this rich legend, a short movie called “The Legend of the Loveland Frogmen,” is being made by Loveland High School student, Gretchen Kessler. To find out more about the project I spoke with her father and director, Bob Kessler.
Question - Tell me about the story line.
Bob Kessler - It’s about students who are canoeing down the Little Miami River one summer day. They take longer than they expect to reach their destination, beyond the Loveland Castle. It becomes dark and the students get off the river. They don’t know it at first, but they land at the Loveland Castle. The students encounter a strange, mean old man who yells at them for trespassing. One of the teenagers thought that he saw something frog-like around the fire ring. A creature sitting with the old man leaps away as they approach the clearing. There is a lot of confusion, a lot of yelling, they don’t know where they are, and eventually they see that they are at the Castle and they leave. One girl sees something and is intrigued. She tries to convince her friends that she saw some kind of frog creature. One of the group later looks up on the internet, “film, frog, Loveland” and finds the internet pages of the Loveland Frog. They go back to the Castle and try to find the truth of the Loveland frog.
Q - I saw the trailer, when is the whole production going to be ready?
BK - The rough cut is done, which means it is done being edited. Now what we are doing is going back and equalizing all the sound and doing some color correction, and adding special effects. Sometime soon there will be a premier. I am going to ask Loveland High School if we can use an auditorium for the opening night premier. Then we’ll put it on public access TV because we used their equipment to make the movie and edit it. The movie is going to be on ICRC (Intercommunity Cable Regulatory Commission) public access. ICRC will let me do a premier, but technically, you have to show whatever it is on air first, then you can do whatever you want with it. When that happens, we’ll put the final movie up on YouTube, but not before it’s done at ICRC.
Q - Is your movie headed to any film festivals?
BK - I would imagine, that was kind of the main idea originally, because my daughter Gretchen wrote the script for it and is the star of it. She and I co-directed the movie. It’s difficult to direct yourself when you are an actor, so I was helping her to cast. My other daughter Molly, is the frog person. I can’t give away too much of the plot, you have got to come and see the movie.
Q - What does the frog actually look like?
BK - It looks just like the depictions on the internet. It is half frog, half human, so we have a human frog person. All the mysteries of the frogmen will be revealed in our movie. The truth will come out.
Q - What was the research process? Did you talk to anyone who actually saw the frog?
BK - No (we didn’t speak with anyone who saw the frog). My daughter wrote, and I came up with the story line. I wanted to make a suspense film about frogmen and teenagers, because my daughter Gretchen is interested in the movie business and being an actor - and theater. I have a background in making films and videos professionally, so I came up with a story line, she wrote the script and we shot it together.
Q - What other movies have you done?
BK - Gretchen and I did another movie together when she was in seventh grade which we shot up at the Middle School, called Flavor Invisible. That was actually a feature length movie, at 80 minutes long. Gretchen wrote the screenplay for and directed Flavor Invisible. It won a BlueChip award from Cable Access in best entertainment. On a professional level, I have worked on a number of motion pictures that have come through Cincinnati through the years, but just as an electrician. That was a long time ago.
Q - What was the inspiration of putting this together? Why this story?
BK - I didn’t want to make a horror film, but teenagers like horror films. We thought it would be fun to make a movie where there was a sense of jeopardy created at the beginning, because you don’t know if the frogmen are good or bad. I won’t answer the question if it is good or bad, you will have to see the movie. The idea is that you don’t know if the kids will be hurt or not, and that forms the suspense. It leaves you guessing what is going to happen.
Q - Who else is in the movie?
BK - Full cast is Gretchen Kessler, Denver Coulson, Matt Hall, Kia Fix, Marshal Miller, Paul Schliesser, Amara Clough, Fred Russell, and Molly Kessler.
Q - Is there anything else you want to say about the movie?
BK - It was a lot of fun. The Legend of the Loveland Frogmen is 30 minutes long. I’ll let you know when the premier is available. We are going to have movie posters around town when the time comes.
For the uninitiated, the legend of the Loveland Frog is a world-wide phenomenon right up there with Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster. Don't believe it... Google "Loveland Frog" or "Loveland Lizard". It is our local urban legend - believed across the globe.
WATCH THE TRAILER...