When MTV chose to add a horror movie to its programming schedule, it was with the understanding that the film would be a stark departure from the reality shows that currently dominate the network. The venture was carefully fleshed out and the pulse of the people was examined: MTV used Eventful.com to see if 100,000 people would express interest. When the counter reached that magic number, Savage County was slated for broadcast on October 7th, at 11PM EST/10PM CST.
Savage County features a group of teens that drive over to the Hardell residence on a dare to pull a knock-and-dash. This prank goes horribly wrong when the eldest of the Hardell clan ends up dead, setting in motion a vengeful killing spree as the rest of the Hardell family seek to impose their kind of vigilante justice on the residents of Savage County.
And where the movie ends, the alternate reality game begins. Head of MTV’s New Media division, David Gale, was inspired to continue the thread of the Hardell story through an online extension, and hired writer and transmedia producer Nina Bargiel to flesh out the experience. Bargiel was kind enough to come out from behind the curtain and offer her perspective on this on-going project. “The ARG is part of the overall transmedia experience,” Bargiel said about the background of this storyline. “When I was hired, there was some pre-existing prequel narrative – the great Sinner’s Medicine comic by Director and Co-Writer David Harris.”