The 4 leads in the movie (Kandi, Vinnie, Luke, Travis) make up the paranormal investigative team behind the show "Wrestling With Ghosts". Their experiences that they had on the show looking for the Cherokee legend Spearfinger influenced several story elements used in the film.
This movie is based on true events that happened to Executive Producer and male lead Vinnie Vineyard's brother, John Vineyard. John can be seen on the show "It Happened to Me..." where he goes into detail about his hiking misadventures in the Great Smoky Mountains. Many of his experiences on those hikes, including the tent scenes at night, the two Coors Light beer cans floating in the river, and Vinnie building an effigy of himself (John called this, making a dummy of a dummy), were included. And as Vinnie states in the movie, John used the effigy to escape a real life bear attack.
When Luke Walker first came up with the story idea for "The Hike" it was supposed to be a straight up horror movie with Travis Graves playing the lead as Robin's boyfriend. When it came time to start filming, Travis was unsure if he could make all of the filming dates, so producer Vinnie Vineyard took his place as the lead and Travis was switched to the role of a stranger. Since there was no concrete script, Vinnie's ad-libbing and line delivery made the movie extremely comedic. Vinnie was also worried about not having enough material for a 90 minute movie (they ended up with 2 and a half hours of usable footage), so he wanted to include comedic flashbacks to lengthen the movie and flesh out character backstories. Luke finally embraced the comedic aspect that the movie was morphing into.
Kandi Thompson not only played the lead in the movie, she sang on two songs in the movie. She is the lead singer of Vox Dei, whose song "It's Over" plays during the opening credits. She also performs "The Song of Spearfinger" which plays numerous times in the movie. According to legend, the lyrics she used are actually from the song Spearfinger would sing to her friend, the Raven. Translated, it simply means: "Liver, I eat it."
Travis Graves is a professionally trained axe thrower. During the movie and in the trailers for the film, he is actually throwing axes at his cast mates. On the throw that makes it in the movie, the axe that hits behind Vinnie actually caromed the wrong way on the first take, but shot off to the left. If it caromed to the right along the same trajectory it would have hit Vinnie in the body.
The three flashback stories in the movie are all true... as fantastic as they seem. The only creative liberty is that Vinnie's judo tournament disqualification and run in with Furries on an elevator happened in two different cities, (Memphis and Atlanta) several years apart.
Director Luke Walker plays all of the acoustic guitar parts in the movie.
The man that plays Forest Ranger Billy is professional wrestler Billy Parrott (ring name: Billy Marshall). Billy helped train Vinnie Vineyard in wrestling and was his tag team partner for years. Vinnie thought it would be funny for a forest ranger to kick an animal of some sort, but the only stuffed animal he had that could pass for something real was his daughter's toy skunk. The night after they filmed Billy kicking the stuffed toy, a real life skunk dug through Vinnie's trash and ate his leftover Chinese take out and spread it out all over his driveway. The skunks got revenge, but Vinnie took it as a good omen.
There are hordes of professional wrestlers associated with this movie. Luke Walker (Big Luke), Vinnie Vineyard (Funkmaster V), Travis Graves (El Gordo Gringo), Micheal Standley (Keith Gavins), Tony Covington (Hack), Scott Lane (Insane Lane), Billy Parrott (Billy Marshall, The Demon, Juggalo Jack). Even the crew's friend, pro wrestler, drag queen, fire breather Demitrya Alterna let Vinnie use his blonde wig for the Judo flashback.
The cave in the movie is another location where "Wrestling With Ghosts" investigated for their TV show. This amazing place had a multitude of EVPs and disembodied voices during both the shoot of the show and their movie. In the parts of the movie where Kandi is alone in the cave without of a flashlight, she was legitimately anxious.
The final fight scene was inspired by the two famous movie fights. The pro wrestling street fight in "They Live" with Keith David and Roddy Piper and James Cagney's fight scene with his real life judoka sensei in the film "Blood on the Sun." Vinnie Vineyard thought a Judo vs. Pro Wrestling fight scene would be a believable fight given the size difference between himself (5'10) and director Luke Walker (6'8).
Kandi Thompson (Robin) thought there should be a part in the movie where Robin and Vinnie hid from Travis and Luke in plain sight. Director Luke Walker quickly thought of an odd hillside right outside of the Tunnel to Nowhere near Bryson City, NC for the perfect spot. The scene has an interesting look, and the crew affectionately called it "The Stairsteps", but everyone in the shot was injured or nearly injured in that scene. Travis's axe cut his arm during a slide, Luke broke his toe during a jump, Vinnie cut his leg deeply climbing over brush, and Kandi was almost killed. Kandi was filming the scene where Vinnie throws a rock, but the stone bounced off of a tree and the ricochet missed Kandi's head by less than 12 inches.
In the original script, Robin and Vinnie were supposed to be going on a hike to work through relationship problems. There were several scenes shot where they were discussing Vinnie's insecurity over Robin being caught texting her ex. Vinnie doesn't know if Robin is over him or not. Robin even buys Vinnie hiking shoes that were the wrong size, (it is later discovered that they were her ex's shoe size) and the ill-fitting shoes cause Vinnie to fall down during his fight with the giant. After watching the dailies, Luke and Vinnie decided that Vinnie and Robin's chemistry was so good that they appeared to be a healthy couple and the troubled relationship angle was not needed.
"I love you." "I know you think you do." Is an inside joke between producer Vinnie Vineyard and his wife, Julie. It was used in the movie to imply that Vinnie is chasing Robin in a way during the "rocky relationship" storyline. When Robin finally says it to him, it signifies that she finally realizes that she did love him, too. The troubled relationship trope was dropped but they decided to keep the lines in as the couple's inside joke with each other.