Friday, July 1, 2022

Details in this film came from WYDaily’s story in March. ‘Crawford Road’ is showing on Halloween

Buried in the center of York County, the 3.6-mile-long Crawford Road carries a decades-long history of homicides, ghost stories and mischief. (Sarah Fearing/WYDaily)
Buried in the center of York County, the 3.6-mile-long Crawford Road carries a decades-long history of homicides, ghost stories and mischief. (Sarah Fearing/WYDaily)

Graffitied and fringed by shallow ditches, Crawford Road tunnels through the thick, unlit woods of York County and Newport News for 3.6 miles.

According to legends, things can get a little dark as you travel down the road.

The secluded road carries a sinister air influenced by decades of local legends, from ghosts, to murders, to juvenile vandalism.

Now, “Crawford Road” is hitting the big screen.

Virginia Peninsula residents Gordy Price and James Person have produced a fictional film based on stories about Crawford Road, Yorktown, and the unsolved Colonial Parkway murders in the late 1980s.

The movie explores the decades of murders that have occurred dating back to the late 1800s,” according to the movie’s description. “Wrapped in a modern day murder investigation that is nothing less than thrilling.”

Price said details throughout the film were influenced by a WYDaily story published in March about the grim legacy of Crawford Road.

It’s been almost two years since Price and Person first teamed up to produce the film, and now it’s set for its second-ever showing Halloween night.

A humble beginning

Price and Person met at Hoss’s Deli in Newport News and spent time bonding over a love for film.

In February 2017, Price pitched the idea for a Crawford Road film to Person, who agreed to help produce the project.

“It was really a weekend warrior type of thing,” Person said.

By day, Person is retired from Anheuser-Busch, now serving as president of stage and television for Richmond-based Soulidifly Productions. Price owns Pro Music and Sound in Yorktown and is an actor.

Although the two men met casually, they both share an interest in local lore.

Person was born in Hampton and grew up in the Denbigh area of Newport News. Throughout his life, he’s heard many stories of the Colonial Parkway and Crawford Road murders.

“I grew up under the shadow of these murders,” Person said. “As teenagers, we knew it was going on.”

Price moved from Seattle, Washington to Virginia in 1976, about a decade before the Colonial parkway murders happened.

“People kept telling me about Crawford Road,” Price said. “I’d been down it, but didn’t know about the legends.”

Warning: This trailer includes some profanity and subject matter that may not suitable for younger audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.

Community-minded

Local residents and businesses played a role in filming, keeping “Crawford Road” low-budget and hometown-oriented.

All actors in the movie — 20 main actors and about 70 overall — are from Virginia.

Filming took place locally, including at private property in Seaford and Mugzy’s Grill in Hampton. A local horse-riding center also allowed the crew to use its horses.

“Gordy and I probably have similar inspiration — mine ultimately was to create greater awareness of some of the unsolved murders in the area,” Person said. “We knew we couldn’t solve some of these cases, but after all this time, if the conversations are elevated and someone knows something … that would be huge.”

Making it bigger

Getting an independent film into a movie theater can be difficult, so Price and Person are taking an alternative approach.

The men are showing their film in local bars and other small venues, building their audience before trying to break into theaters.

“That’s the future of expanding independent film,” Person said.

The showings of “Crawford Road” are also theatrical; viewers not only sit down to watch the film, there are some interactive components.

Price and Person declined to describe the special effects ahead of the showing, not wanting to give anything away.

“Crawford Road” premiered Oct. 17 at Boathouse Live, a music venue and restaurant in Newport News, and attracted about 250 people, Price said.

The duo is scheduling more showings of in the region, and will release more information on the film’s Facebook page.

Want to go?

The film will be shown Wednesday at 7:45 p.m. at Mugzy’s Grill in Hampton, 1312 E Pembroke Ave.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets for the showing are $12 each.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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