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Following ‘Cocaine Bear’ success, WI Filmmaker begins principal photography on ‘Fentanyl Badger’

CEDARBURG, WI –  The anticipation for the gripping Elizabeth Banks horror comedy ‘Cocaine Bear’ has been building for months. Friday night, crowds were ravenous for the raw, unbridled power of one of the largest land mammals looking for another bump.

Its impressive box office open gave the universally panned ‘Ant-Man 3’ a run for its money – or, perhaps, a coke-fueled chase. Paying careful attention to the renewed Hollywood interest in campy horror is independent filmmaker Ren Krause of Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

A recent graduate of Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Television and Video Production program, Krause is leveraging the success of the breakout hit to boost interest in his own pet project. 

‘Fentanyl Badger’ tells the mostly real-life story of a 9 year old Wisconsin badger that stumbles upon a cache of fentanyl-laced party drugs – and has the night of his increasingly short life while he ends many others’. 

Starring Chris Pratt as the voice of the badger, the story tracks Opie the badger through a terrifying 4 day killing spree from Kenosha to Green Bay. After intercepting a fentanyl run coming up from Chicago, Opie gets a taste for fetty and begins his rampage up I-94 – fatally scratching two children that think he is a flat, stocky puppy. 

He continues up I-43, hitting every Kwik Trip and local curd haunt including Zutz Cheese House, Cheese Nook, Blossoms & Cheese Store, the Dino Stop, and finally Novak’s Cheese. The deranged nocturnal animal begins murdering shop owners and customers alike when he can’t find his favorite flavor beef stick (maple) … or just for the hell of it

The trail of blood and gore isn’t what makes this movie “potentially the next Psycho or other genre-defining classic I saw last semester,” according to the first-time writer/director. It’s the timely, heartwarming component that Krause says he’s expertly woven into the story. 

“Audiences are definitely going to respond to the horrific body horror,” says Krause, “but a layer of deep, existential terror that surrounds addiction and loss circumvents expectations and will leave viewers questioning the state of American healthcare as we know it.” 

You’ll walk out of the theater asking yourself questions like, “What can we do to remove the stigma imbued on addiction and help policymakers treat it as a disease and not a hindrance?” “Would legalizing marijuana in Wisconsin help tamp down the demand for harder drugs?” and “How many rainbow fentanyl pills would make an American badger murder 34 adults, 2 kids, and 45 maple beef sticks, really?” 

Fentanyl Badger will be showing on one screen at the Rivoli Theater in Cedarburg following its release in late 2023.

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