Sometimes the most disturbing parts of a horror film can happen offscreen. When an aspiring filmmaker set out to make a low-budget horror movie in the woods, it would lead to a deadly final act that not even a screenwriter could have put to the page. Greed was the theme behind this real-life story, and the monsters would turn on the one person closest to them for the climax—and she never signed up to be the star.
It all began when Blaine Norris watched a low budget horror movie that skyrocketed to success thanks to its creative viral marketing and real-life vibe. That film was “The Blair Witch Project,” and it proved that it didn’t take a huge Hollywood budget to make it big in La-La land.
Inspired by the horror about a group of student filmmakers haunted by a legendary witch in the woods, Norris set out to create his own horror movie called, “Through a Hike: A Ghost Story.” Seemingly inspired by “The Blair Witch Project,” this ghost story was set entirely in the woods and focused on a group of young people being taunted by a sinister force.
Taking the story out of Burkitsville, Maryland, Norris’ film was to be set along the Appalachian Trail in central Pennsylvania, where he lived. Although he had giant aspirations to create the next big horror movie, the rookie director had zero experience behind the camera.
With a day job as a computer technician, Norris had little time and finances to make movies. Luckily for him, his co-worker and best friend, Brian Trimble, had a solution. He offered his camera equipment for filming and agreed to be the cameraman.
With a cameraman secured, Norris’ luck continued and he received an investment of $18,000 to make his horror movie. Soon actors were cast and things were ready to go, that is until things began going horribly wrong leading up to the production.
The film’s cameraman was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and was unable to hike the trails during filming. The film’s investor then reportedly took his money and left. Norris was left without a camera guy and no money for the film.
Despite the setbacks, Norris continued the movie by putting everything on his credit cards. The movie sent him into debt, and eventually Norris’ filmmaking dream would flicker out like a flame on a candle.
Norris was in trouble, but he saw a solution to all his problems. That solution again came from his friend Trimble, only this time he suggested something deadly: murder.
Trimble was struggling with his health and finances, too. His wife, Randi, worked two jobs to help support her ailing husband, but Trimble apparently wanted more. His selfishness gave him tunnel vision, and the the theory that the death of his wife would bring him more money.
Randi had a $100,000 life insurance policy that was appealing enough for Trimble to enlist his friend to murder her. They struck up a deal where Norris would kill Randi, and together they would split her life insurance. Norris agreed to take Randi’s life for just $20,000.
The plan rolled out on January 10, 2003. Trimble went out to dinner with friends while his wife worked all night. Norris waited for Randi in the Trimbles’ garage, and attacked her when she returned home. He strangled her with an extension cord and stabbed her over 20 times as she prayed for mercy.
Then, Trimble returned from his alibi and found his wife face-down in a pool of her own blood. He called 911 and reported the horrific incident, playing the part of the upset husband.
When authorities arrived at the scene they saw the overturned furniture throughout the house. It appeared that there had been a robbery, but nothing was stolen. Police immediately suspected the scene was staged, and Trimble was considered a suspect early on.
Norris was eventually taken into custody where he confessed to conspiring with Trimble to kill Randi. Both perpetrators were sentenced to life in prison for the murder.
Following the senseless events that took Randi Trimble’s life, her mother, Nancy Chavez, set out to create something positive from the horror. She created Randi’s Race, a foundation to raise money for victims of domestic abuse, and created Randi’s House of Angels, where abused children can seek refuge.
Along with creating a safe environment for domestic abuse victims, Randi inadvertently created a safer world for possible future victims of Blaine Norris. Detectives believed Norris would have killed again had he not been arrested for Randi’s murder.
[Featured image: Youtube/Iskender Bolu screenshot]