Kevin Smith brings ‘Red State’ to campus

Out of all the theaters, in all the towns in all the world, Kevin Smith is coming to Butler.

Smith, who wrote and directed the film “Red State,” surprised everyone when he bought his own film—instead of auctioning it off—at the Sundance Film Festival this year. Now, he is taking the film on a cross-country tour to forego the millions put into advertising and instead do a viral campaign, depending on his cult-like followers to spread the word well enough by its October release.

The horror flick’s plot has so far been kept under wraps, but the basis is that three boys visit an online pornography site and are given an invitation for sex. When they road trip to the given place, they meet a sinister fundamentalist group instead.

“He’s so known for comedy, I really want to see how he can translate into horror,” Katie Johnson, a freshman pharmacy and English double major, said.

It’s true that Smith is well known for comedy; he has a small cult following after producing indie films such as “Clerks,” “Dogma” and “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.”

If you know a Smith fan, you know a die-hard Smith fan.

It’s working to his advantage. According to the film’s website,, all the areas where the movie has shown have sold the minimum amount he needed to not owe the theatre anything. That includes Clowes Memorial Hall.

“Ticket sales have been really good so far, given that Clowes and Kevin Smith are trying to promote the show through social media only,” Joshua Lingenfelter, director of marketing at Clowes, said. “I think the fact that it’s a premiere of his brand new movie followed by his signature ‘Evening with Kevin Smith’ where he answers questions from the audience and tells some amazingly funny stories will push a lot of tickets.”

If there are a significant amount of fans like Johnson and Conor Owens, a freshman pharmacy major, it won’t be a problem. When asked about why they wanted to go to the movie premiere, they had a simple answer: it’s Kevin Smith. Period. No other reason needed.

This is good, as the movie has gotten mixed reviews since its debut at Sundance. Comments range from “clever,” from the Hollywood Reporter, to “so off-the-map that it doesn’t cohere,” from Screen International.

Despite being nervous about the genre-change, Owens said he’s just going to trust Smith.

The showing is something new for Clowes, Lingenfelter said. The biggest out-of-the-ordinary hurdle has been trying to find a projection system that is the size of the Clowes stage—about 70 feet diagonally. The format of the film requires a special high definition player and a projector that is currently being shipped from Chicago.

It’s a crazy concept for a film—rumors have said it is based on the ever-controversial Westboro Baptist Church—and a crazy idea for promotion, but so far, it looks like everything is turning out just like Smith hoped it would.

“Dude is god,” Johnson said.