Premiering December 6, 2022, The Oath: A Batman Fan Film has quickly blasted toward 100,000 views on YouTube with rave reviews from fans eager to return to the world of Tim Burton and Michael Keaton’s Batman (1989).
Praised by Comic Book Resources (CBR) as “studio-quality”, The Oath is a 17-minute fan-produced short film from Kaotica Studios. An unofficial prequel to Batman (1989), The Oath focuses not on the Caped Crusader, but on original character Sgt. Frank Kelly of the Gotham City Police Department. From investigating the death of Johnny Gobs, to his encounter with a member of Carl Grissom’s mob, and a run-in with the Dark Knight himself, Sgt. Kelly’s life takes a turn, and fans are loving it.
The Oath was written and directed by Johnny K., whose debut short, The Killer of Grassy Ridge (2020), took home a slew of international film festival awards for Best U.S. Short Film, Best Cinematography, and more, before landing on Amazon.
“I’ve loved Batman (1989) since I was a kid,” Johnny said, “and I’ve always wanted to see more of that world. Not so much of Batman or the super-villains, but through the eyes of the everyday people who have to live and work in that awful place. Imagine their stories.”
“We’ve loved reading the hundreds of comments from fans,” the director said. “My favorites are those that acknowledge all the time and effort spent trying to recreate the vibe and aesthetic of Batman (1989), which is something we really strived for, even on our small indie-film budget. After two years, it’s great to see that work recognized, and huge thanks to our crew for helping pull all those pieces together.”
The short film stars actors Jerry Morgan, Oz Keenum, Chris Konke, and Michael Stumbo, with Guillermo Mejía as Batman; perhaps the first Puerto Rican to don the cape and cowl.
A non-profit passion project, The Oath took two years to produce and was filmed mostly on-location in Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia in the wee hours of several frigid nights. A successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign helped offset escalating production costs and the viral success of the film’s first two weeks have now left many fans clamoring for a sequel.
“We have much more story left to tell,” said writer/director Johnny K. “The actors seem up for coming back, so I don’t think we’ve seen the last of these characters.”
The cast have been thrilled with the audience response. Actor Jerry Morgan said, “In my anticipation of the premiere, I had a high expectation that the film was going to be a banger! It far exceeded that and folks are asking when the next one is coming out.”
Georgia actor Oz Keenum, who plays mobster Jimmy Atlas, said, “I knew the premiere was going to be a great turnout and that the word would get out… but I did NOT anticipate 100,000 views in just a few days; that’s just amazing. The reviews have been amazing and positive, thank you everyone.”
“The last two weeks have been surreal… seeing The Oath premiere on the big screen at a private screening and now watching it approach 100,000 views on YouTube! Amazing.” – Chris Konke (Officer Joey Barnes).
The Oath features a cameo by Michael Stumbo, who fans may recognize from the award-winning horror short, The Killer of Grassy Ridge (2020). “I love the fact that our independent films are doing as well as they are,” Stumbo said, “and that means that we can continue producing more quality films.”
Lastly, Guillermo Mejía (Batman) had this to say, “I’m blown away with peoples’ reactions to what’s essentially the passion project of a few people who saw Batman (1989) one too many times. I knew what we made was quality, so it’s a happy relief that others feel the same way.”
The Oath features an acclaimed soundtrack by composers Francesco D’Andrea, Jordan Hatfield, and Jakub Pietras, as well as a custom Gotham City skyline painting by artist Joe Granski.
“There have been so many unexpected outcomes from making this film,” said director Johnny K. “Through The Oath, I’ve come to know Carl Newman, who was Michael Keaton’s movement double in Batman (1989), and I even heard from Oscar-nominated costume designer and Hollywood legend Bob Ringwood on his original designs for the Gotham police costumes created for the 1989 movie. It’s been an amazing experience, not just as a filmmaker, but as a huge Batman fan.”
A sequel to The Oath just might be in the works, but until then, fans can enjoy several behind-the-scenes features on YouTube about the making of the film, including specials on the music, the costumes, and cast interviews, with much more on the way.
Did you enjoy The Oath? Be sure to LIKE the video and subscribe to the Kaotica Studios YouTube channel to help this up-and-coming indie film studio continue to grow!
* Batman and all related marks, logos, and characters are solely owned by DC Comics and Warner Bros. Entertainment. This non-profit fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with DC Comics or Warner Bros. Entertainment.*