Monday night sparked the beginning of the most intense phase of "Munger Mania" in St. Charles as "Munger Road," a film shot in the city, soon will be released.
Local product Nicholas Smith is the film's writer and director. He appeared before the St. Charles city council Monday night to thank them for the city's contributions to making the movie, including providing volunteer firefighters and closing down Main Street.
The plot of the film involves St. Charles police officers searching for a killer the same night four teenagers go missing on Munger Road.
The thriller explores local urban myth against a backdrop featuring some of the most iconic structures and events in the city, including the annual Scarecrow Festival.
Smith described the film as a cross between John Carpenter's original "Halloween" and Steven Spielberg's "Jaws."
"You all took a very big chance on me," Smith said. "Later on this month, and in the month of October, the chance that you gave me and my family will pay off. Yes, it was a movie. But what it has really done is create a sense of community with all sorts of local businesses."
Indeed, local shops are selling "Munger Road" T-shirts. Colonial Cafe has a new "Munger Road" sundae. And even city hall will get into the act by placing a Jumbotron out front that will promote the film.
"Munger Road" will premiere Sept. 30 in an exclusive one-week run at the theater inside Charlestowne Mall. From there, the movie will branch out to theaters throughout the Fox Valley.
"Our little town of St. Charles and our little movie are blowing up with each other," Smith said.
Smith said the film already has put St. Charles on the map with the Illinois Film Commission. He said commission members came to town to see some of the locations featured in the film, and to get a feel for the number of hotel rooms as well as the city's potential as a host for future movies.
"I never thought of this film in terms of what it could do for St. Charles," Mayor Don DeWitte said in a behind-the-scenes clip about the making of the movie. "I looked at the project as a local-son-makes-good."