Don’t Be Scared! DIFF’s almost here!

27 03 2011

Bloody scary time when you check out the Midnight Specials section or the Midnight shorts section at the DALLAS IFF! Story time? Make the Jump…

Myself, Director/Writer Blair Rowan, and Actor/Writer Chris Gardner at AFI DALLAS 08′ closing night party.

You might be wondering Gadi why show us a photo from so long ago.  Well those lovable fellas i’m sharing a drink with are BACK!!!!  That’s right their short film,Narcissism & Me, is playing in this year’s Shorts Program 2.  But I remember the boys best from their Midnight Screening of their feature film, BLOOD ON THE HIGHWAY.  A wild evening in which a line around the Magnolia Theatre in the West End wouldn’t deter me from seeing this “crazy funny flick”.  I don’t think a Q & A session has ever replicated the horribly offense and wild responses from Chris and Blair.  It was epic.  So I figured I’d write a night post about the MIDNIGHT SPECIALS Section at this year’s DIFF 2011.  Get your Claws out, forget Antlers (at least till the opener).

Currently there are 3 Midnight Special films (and a great short that precedes one of them), this obviously may change over the next few days as DIFF releases more and more of its full schedule!  We’ll start our journey into the scary Midnight Specials with a STAR AWARD WINNER, Amber Heard.

The Ward

Midnight Specials

(USA, 2010, 88 mins)

Directed By: John Carpenter

Cast: Amber Heard, Lyndsy Fonseca, Danielle Panabaker

When an old farmhouse is set ablaze by Kristen she is taken by police to the North Bend Psychiatric Hospital. She awakens in a special ward with four similarly unbalanced and wayward girls.Kirsten’s therapist, Dr. Stringer (Jared Harris), tries to uncover the root cause of her breakdown, but despite his calm and understanding manner, she resists any attempts at help and rehabilitation.

Unfortunately, the hospital is not the sanctuary it seems to be. Kristen begins to have strange run-ins with a shadowy phantom that roams the halls when the ward is locked down at night. Persistent and inquisitive, she goes digging for information about former patients and soon becomes convinced that no one ever leaves the ward alive.

The Ward marks a resurgence in director John Carpenter’s celebrated stylistic mojo, with his trademark prowling camera, jump scares, and the sort of atmospherics that typified THE FOG and PRINCE OF DARKNESS.

Speaking of hot blonds in scary places, you may need to prepare yourself for Mr. Calvin Lee Reeder’s THE OREGONIAN (it’s lead actress’ Lindsay Pulsipher’s bloody face that you see at the top of this post!).

The Oregonian

Midnight Specials

(USA, 2011, 81 mins, HDCAM)

Directed By: Calvin Lee Reeder

Cast: Lindsay Pulsipher, Robert Longstreet, Matt Olsen

THE OREGONIAN is that nightmare where the lines are blurred, where memories and unconscious thoughts fade in and out. There was a car accident. And a green, furry friend. And gasoline coladas… And the woman from Oregon screams for help as she runs from her past and becomes lost in this nightmare.Reeder returns to DALLAS IFF with his debut feature after screening his previous three shorts at the festival (including the 2007 Grand Jury Prize for Best Short, LITTLE FARM). Those familiar with Reeder’s previous work will recognize both the thick visuals and often-violent experiences of sound, and THE OREGONIAN is no exception to that. Reeder is an independent director on the festival circuit today with a bold, unique voice that can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

The Northwest woods are a creepy place for the woman from Oregon, but one she can’t escape. The atmosphere is cold, eerie, dark and tense. The characters she meets along her journey, strange and wild. This nightmare is unsettling yet even humorous at times. It’s a nightmare that’s ok to get lost in.

— Sarah Harris

Are you like me and hate clowns because of Tim Curry?  Well if not then maybe you will hate them after seeing this spooky Midnight Special.

The Last Circus
plays with NEAL

Midnight Specials

(Spain, France, 2010, 107 mins, 35mm)

In Spanish with English subtitles
Directed By: Álex de la Iglesia

Cast: Santiago Segura, Carolina Bang, Antonio de la Torre

A circus, two clowns, one ballerina, a blood-and-bullets-riddled love triangle, and lots of dark humor–such is the formula of THE LAST CIRCUS, the latest work from acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia.Using ridiculous violence and wicked humor as prime satirical materials, the film represents more than just a piece of B-movie-type of entertainment–it’s a parody of the Spanish Civil War, critical of its horrors. Dark, funny, and far from politically correct (all typical of de la Iglesia’s style), THE LAST CIRCUS will make people grin if they don’t mind a little guts and blood with their satire.

— Alex Garcia Topete

Yep you saw PSD’s good buddy,Geoff McGee, has his short film NEAL preceding THE LAST CIRCUS.  We’ll have much more from our buddy in the next few days and weeks, but we’ll break down the Midnight Shorts category by starting with his short.


Midnight Specials

(USA, 2010, 6 mins)

Directed By: Geoff McGee

Producers: Carolyn Hodge, Adam Donaghey
Cinematographer: Clay Liford
Editor: Geoff McGee
Music: Jordan Aveline Blair
Cast: Teresa Valenza, Ryan Harper Gray, Robert Brittan, Allen Zachek, Jaden Roberts

Danger lurks beneath the crystal clear water.

I do believe we’ll jump to another PSD fave, Director Nicholas McCarthy and his haunting short THE PACT.

The Pact

Shorts Competition Programs

(USA, 2010, 11 mins, HDCAM)

Directed By: Nicholas McCarthy

As a woman struggles to come to grips with her past after her mother’s death, an unsettling presence emerges.

Since DIFF 2011 is showcasing a hairy hand as its logo, its only fitting that there would be a film about a famous creature who has pretty hairy hands.

Sasquatch Birth Journal 2

Shorts Competition Programs

(USA, 2010, 4 mins, HDCAM)

Directed By: Zellner Bros.

An unprecedented peek at the mysteries of nature.

From birth to a campfire with young boys, where’s Alec Baldwin in a Boy Scout outfit when you need him?

The Legend of Beaver Dam

Shorts Competition Programs

(USA, 2010, 12 mins, HDCAM)

Directed By: Jerome Sable

Cast: L.J. Benet, Sean Cullen, Rick Miller, Kailey Swanson, Michael Cheyovich

When a ghost story around the campfire awakens an evil monster, it’s up to nerdy Danny Zigwitz to be the hero and save his fellow campers.

And next up we get out of the woods and into your homes in the form of old school video game wildness!


Shorts Competition Programs

(France, 2010, 7 mins, HDCAM)

Directed By: Valere Amirault,
Sarah Laufer,
Jean Delaunay,
Benjamin Mattern

Music: Gregory Smith, Yann Van der Cruyssen

A fight between an 8-bit superhero and a high-def boss, in a retro-gaming world.

Up next has to be the thing us gents love the most…ladies.

Cold Sore

Shorts Competition Programs

(Australia, 2010, 18 mins, HDCAM)

Directed By: Matt Bird

Producer: Jaimi Chivers
Cinematographer: Paul Howard
Editor: Matthew James
Music: Jared Underwood
Cast: Saskia Burmeister, Henry Nixon, Peter McAllum

After kissing a stranger in a bar, Jenna wakes up the next day to discover a nasty lesion has appeared on her lip.

One more lovely lady.

plays with Cold Sore

Shorts Competition Programs

(Canada , USA, 2010, 14 mins, HDCAM)

Directed By: Jonathan Caouette

Producers: Jonathan Caouette, Stephen Winter
Cinematographers: Sean Kirby, jonathan Caouette, Jason banker
Editor: Jessica Brunetto
Cast: Chloe Sevigny, Chandler Frantz, David Logan Rankin, Sandra De Paula, Joshua Caouette, Eva Dorrepaal

The director of TARNATION takes us on a guided tour through the shattered remains of memory and identity.

Ok gotta post this before Midnight cuz i’m heading out to see a Midnight film tonight!




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