(L-R) Owen Campbell, Brittany Snow, Mia Goth, Scott Mescudi, Jenna Ortega. Photo Credit: Christopher Moss.

200+ New Zealand crew

6 New Zealand cast

Shot on location in Whanganui, Otaki, Foxton and Wellington

Practical gore FX and prosthetics by Wētā Workshop

X showcases New Zealand’s versatile landscapes, with 1970s Texas re-created in Whanganui, Otaki, Foxton and Wellington.

A number of scenes were shot in and around the city of Whanganui. Production was predominantly based at a farm in the settlement of Fordell, where a large barn was constructed as part of the production. Filming also took place near the Rangitīkei town of Bulls, where the production made use of an old town hall. Whanganui's main street, Victoria Avenue, was closed during the final day of production, and transformed into 1970s Texas.

Directed by Ti West (The Innkeepers, The House of the Devil), key New Zealanders include Line Producer Jared Connon (Mulan, Mortal Engines), actor Stephen Ure (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Mortal Engines) and actor Martin Henderson (Virgin River, Grey’s Anatomy).

X stars Brittany Snow (Prom Night), Mia Goth (Suspiria), Scott 'Kid Cudi' Mescudi (Don’t Look Up), Martin Henderson (The Ring), Owen Campbell (Super Dark Times), Stephen Ure (Deathgasm) and Jenna Ortega (Scream).

X filmed in New Zealand during the summer of 2020, when the pandemic was spreading throughout the United States and around the globe. While initially reticent about shooting abroad, West came to see the distant production as a gift: cast and crew were able to film during a pandemic in a country where there were no COVID-19 cases and safety for the cast and crew would be para­mount. "If we wanted to shoot safely in the States we would have had to push the movie a year,” says West. “That wasn't a great option, so we went to the other hemisphere to chase the summer."

New Zealand also offered access to Wētā Workshop in Wellington, the creative effects house made famous through the Lord of the Rings franchise. Before Lord of the Rings, Weta built its reputation as an effects house servicing horror productions like Dead Alive and The Frighteners. In New Zealand, West found himself in close proximity to the best prosthetics and practical effects studio in the world.

“It was a dream to get to work with Wētā on this,” West com­ments.“ Their work on Peter Jackson's early horror films is some of my favourite of all time. From our very first meeting they totally understood what I was going for and were excited by the challenge. Nowadays so many special make up effects that were historically done practically are done with CGI. I was adamant about a return to practical gore FX and world class prosthetics work for the aging.”

"In the end, shooting in New Zealand worked out in a remark­able way,” concludes West. “I was there for 13 months and am very grateful for the experience. We got to disappear to an island and make a movie in the traditional way, which oth­erwise would have not been possible for our extremely not social-distanced film.”

(L-R) Stephen Ure, Martin Henderson. Photo Credit: Christopher Moss.

About the film

In 1979, a group of young filmmakers set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast find themselves fighting for their lives.

About the New Zealand Screen Production Grant

The New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) for International Productions is part of the New Zealand Government’s screen incentives scheme, which includes the Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Grant. Eligible productions can access a cash rebate on Qualifying New Zealand Production Expenditure (QNZPE).

The baseline International grant is 20% of QNZPE. For PDV productions, the grant is 20% of QNZPE up to NZ$25million, thereafter 18% of QNZPE NZ$25million and above.

X is in NZ cinemas April 7 2022.