Fear of the Dark Publicity
Fear of the Dark around the world ...
Where it all began
It has been a long bumpy road but it seems that we have finally arrived at our destination. With our first award under our belt it makes the next phase of our journey a whole lot smoother. What a wonderful journey it has been so far meeting and talking with fans from as far away as Germany. They have been very encouraging.
The publicity for the movie snowballed. In August of 2000 I was lucky enough to draw the attention of freelance reporter/author, Saxon Henry who resides in my hometown. Only recently did I learn that it was pure coincidence that she was browsing through a newspaper one day and stumbled across a press release announcing a casting call. She thought that the story of a local filmmaker would be a great human interest piece and so she pitched it to the New York Times. The article gave me a lot of notoriety and quickly opened doors for me. That success has been followed by numerous articles in various newspapers and magazines as well as the first interview on News 12 Westchester. Reprinted below are transcriptions from the various articles and interviews. Be sure to check out the HALL OF FAME to see celebrity pictures that were taken as part of the publicity for the movie.
All material on this page is courtesy of the authors and is protected by copyright.
By Betty Jo Tucker (October 10, 2007)
Actress Rosemary Gore joins Betty Jo to talk about playing Alice Walker in "Fear of the Dark" as well as her work in "Baby Doll" and other horror movies.
Click here to go to the web site and hear the interview.
Excerpts from a Review by Logan DeSisto (January 25, 2006)
About five years ago, Glen Baisley decided to get some
friends together and make a movie. Entitled FEAR OF THE DARK, it was the
launching point for his newly created production company, Light and Dark
Productions, through which he initially released FEAR on DVD himself. Today,
Light and Dark is going strong, and now Brain Damage Films (which also put out
Baisley’s THE TENEMENT) has reissued the movie that started it all in an
upgraded special edition.
NewsBlaze Interview with Mike Lane about "Fear of the Dark"
Oh My Gore : "You are currently working in a movie. Tell people about this project and the plot?"
I am currently working as the Lead “Elaine Fisher” in the thriller feature "ALIBI" that has theatrical distribution by Pagan International. It is about two accidental lovers, "April" and "Jenna", who get together to seek revenge against those who have wronged them. Such person is "Elaine Fisher" who is a manipulative, bisexual, high-school teacher turned business woman. She had a torrid affair with her then student "April" whom she used to front a fraudulent business. “Elaine Fisher” is also the woman who broke many hearts including hit man " Costello.” The cast includes Holly Woodlawn, Peter Franzen, Natalie Denise Perl, Tim Colceri, Lisa Crosato, Marie Zieleke, and Joe Estevez.
Oh My Gore : "Is there a webpage out covering this film?"
Not that I am aware. I am sure that a website will be made available to the public.
Oh My Gore : "Don’t you have a webpage of your own also?"
Oh My Gore : "You have done some interesting horror films as well, have you not, before this?"
My first film work was in the Clive Barker’s "HELLRAISER III" in which I played the “Date” of the Lead character played by Kevin Bernhardt. Unfortunately, the one scene in which I spoke was deleted from the theatrical release. I so upset because I had told everyone I knew to go see the film. Nonetheless, my character did remain in the final cut. My second horror film work was as the Lead "Alice Walker" in "FEAR OF THE DARK" It will be available worldwide in all major stores in spring 2006. This was my first Lead role in a feature-length film that was also directed by a first time director. My third horror film in which I worked was in the short "BABY DOLL" that is in negotiations for domestic distribution. It has been developed as a feature-length film project.
Oh My Gore : "Do you find the horror genre more satisfying than other genres?"
I just enjoy working as an actor whether it is in the drama, horror, or comedy genres. I love working in projects that make the audience think. As a child, I was an introvert and was terrified of horror films. Therefore, it is ironic that I have been a part of this type of film.
Oh My Gore : "As an actress, how do you develop your characters, such as some of the uncanny people you've played?"
I would have to stress that actors are people who watch and absorb the behaviors and characteristics of people with whom they have encountered. This is how we gather and create our choices for roles that we play. Art imitates life. I also like to learn by watching the performances of other actors such as Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey, and Anthony Hopkins.
Oh My Gore : "Any future plans after this new film?"
I will just continue what I normally do: audition, audition, and workout on the treadmill. I just bought a house so I will probably begin working on it next year. Also, we are planning to visit friends in India.
Oh My Gore : "Do you just follow director's advice or make improvisations of your own?"
I incorporate several methods: I study with an acting teacher; make my own choices; improvise; and above all, I follow the director’s suggestion. Most importantly, it is the director who makes the final decision of what choice is necessary for the film.
Oh My Gore : "Any interesting behind the scenes stories you would like to tell about your acting career?"
Oh God, they are too many experiences to share...the stalkers and the fake auditions and interviews... I would have to write that the funniest occurrence was when my picture was featured in the New York Daily News magazine in which my web domain was given. My website crashed for two days, and then I was inundated with email marriage proposals. I had my husband respond to each and every one of them.
Oh My Gore : "Do you ever make it to the fan fests or conventions for Indy and/or horror films?"
Whenever I am promoting a film, I attend the festivals and conventions. I have been to the Chiller Convention a few times, which was a lot of fun. I got to meet Joe Pantoliano, Lassie, and Doug Bradley.
Oh My Gore : "In the Hollywood mainstream, do you have any favorite horror film actors or directors?"
I love Jack Nicholson’s performance and Stanley Kubrick’s direction in "THE SHINING". Francis Ford Coppola’s "HAUNTED" starring Kate Beckinsale and Aidan Quinn is also one of my favorite films. I also love Anthony Hopkins’s performance in "SILENCE OF THE LAMBS". The scariest film I have ever seen was "ANGEL HEART" starring Mickey Rourke, who is an excellent actor. To this day, I still have a problem watching it.
Oh My Gore : "Did you study acting or filmmaking, or just pick it up as you went along?"
I have been studying acting for a long time. In New York, I studied with many different coaches and schools. I learned many different forms such as the Meisner and Method techniques, Improv, Shakespeare, Comedy, Stage Combat, Voice, Speech, and Character and Scene Studies. I have never studied filmmaking but I do find it interesting.
Oh My Gore : "What are your interests outside of your career?"
Traveling and being with my husband, my two cats, Isaac and Boobie, and my parrot, Yolanda.
Oh My Gore : "A lot of people on this particular page are into the European horror films scene. How might you, as a participant in film, compare the European and Americans style of horror? Any comments?"
I have not had the opportunity to watch many European horror films; however, I do enjoy watching foreign films. I love the Spanish film "LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE" and the French film "MY WIFE IS AN ACTRESS". I have seen a few Russian, Icelandic, Indian, and Iranian films that were brilliant! Unfortunately, I can not remember their titles. I am a huge fan of Peter Stomare, Ben Kingsley, Catherine Deneuve, and Emmanuelle Beart.
Oh My Gore : "A lot of actors and actresses in decades past were bombing out in the USA, like Telly Savalas, Lee Van Cleef, Clint Eastwood and others, yet when they went to Europe for films, they became big stars, which carried over to the international level. Do you think you might be interested in making films overseas and maybe having this happen to you?"
Sure, if the opportunity presented itself. I speak fluent French; I lived in Lille, France for a year as an exchange student. I hold a degree in Italian, and have studied Russian and Spanish. I have been approached by a few English filmmakers for work. Who knows? I love Europe and could live there. However, I have moved around so much (Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and California (twice). Right now, Los Angeles is my home for a while.
Oh My Gore : "What co-stars do you particularly like to work with?"
I enjoy working with actors who are grounded and prefer to work as a team.
Oh My Gore : "Directors?"
I have enjoyed working with James Chean, Glenn Andreiev, James Jennings, Glen Baisley, Frances Megahy, Barbara Kopple, and Lance Reha. For the most part, I have had a good experience working with most everyone. Of course, it would be a dream to work with Steven Soderbergh, Cameron Crowe, Ron Howard, the late Stanley Kubrick, Roman Polanski, Francis Ford Coppola, Dino De Laurentiis, Tim Burton, Jonathan Demme, and Mel Brooks.
Oh My Gore : "Anything else you would like to throw in?"
Always follow your heart and your instincts.
Oh My Gore : "Closing comments?"
I am a damsel in distress and my husband always saves me.
By Eric "The Hitman" Strauss
Fear of the Dark, Glen Baisley’s fine little slasher from a few years ago, has found wider distribution for the movie, thanks to Brain Damage Films, which put out the writer/director’s sophomore effort, the prequel The Tenement.
This “5th anniversary special edition” DVD features a shorter, tighter edit of the film that trims nearly half an hour of footage. The nice thing is that they made this a leaner, tighter flick — always a good thing when a film strives to ratchet up the tension and keep it high.
Fear tells the story of the “Black Rose Killer,” who terrorized a small town 20 years ago before vanishing after a murder attempt gone awry. As the film advances to the present day, his last would-be victim, Alice Walker (Rosemary Gore), has grown up to be a neurotic young woman who has never truly recovered from seeing her parents slain. When she begins dreaming of the Black Rose Killer, and the bodies start piling up, she finds herself wondering if she has lost her mind, or if she has the power to catch the killer and save her town.
Thus, Fear becomes a story with two levels: The psychological study of Alice, and the deterioration of her life as those around her cannot bring themselves to believe the return of the Black Rose Killer is anything but a figment of her imagination.
Despite its touch-of-madness overtones — the kind of thing emphasized much more heavily in The Tenement — Baisley kept Fear’s pacing efficient even in his longer cut. Although there are times when the film is unintentionally laugh-out-loud funny, every time it seems to veer dangerously toward “Mystery Science Theater 3000” territory, Baisley finds a way to get things under control. He also deserves high marks for his directing style, and his use of just the right amount of point-of-view shots, close-ups and odd angles is a benefit.
The acting, as with any low-budget film, is a risky proposition. Gore is talented, but has plenty of rough edges; her highs are excellent, her lows laughable. She is offset nicely by the solid Vanessa Edwards as Alice’s housemate, Karen, who gives a consistent performance that provides an anchor for the film. And to Edwards’ credit, she is at her best at the climax of the film.
Mike Lane, playing Alice’s boyfriend, Michael, may benefit the most from the film’s changes, as he comes off far more subdued than in the original version — which fits the film better. Herb Smithline does the best all-around job in a supporting role as Alice’s psychologist, Dr. Fisher. And Danielle Russo (playing Janice, the gratuitous eye candy) deserves a mention, simply because she is drop-dead gorgeous.
If the actors frustrate at times, viewers can save their applause for the special-effects crew, Anthony “Dr. Death” Eikner and Death Head Productions. From an early, bloody disembowelment — an extended version is among the extras — to the bloody destruction of a pet rodent, the gore guys get the most out of their budget, and deserve high marks. As an added bonus, Brian Spears has crafted some additional effects for this version of the film.
Fear also has several nice touches, including some tongue-in-cheek humor and a classic scene in which a character, face-to-face with the Black Rose Killer, pulls the old elementary-school playground trick of faking a wide run right, then sharply cutting back left to dodge the bad guy.
Most independent “C-movies” are labors of love, and “Fear of the Dark” is no exception: It is clear Baisley loves making movies, and his actors love appearing in them.
Brain Damage has compiled a solid package of extras for this film, just as it did with Baisley’s previous The Tenement.
The cast and crew commentary is loaded with participants: Baisley; his actress wife, Diana; Spears; actors Lane, Fangoria bigwig Mike Gingold and Ed Shelinsky; and stuntman Mark Yonick, the main man behind the Black Rose Killer’s mask. Like The Tenement’s commentary, there’s plenty of information despite the fact that it’s often tough to tell who’s who. Unlike The Tenement’s commentary, this one avoids the irritating and repetitive pitches for Light & Dark.
The other extras start with “The World of Light & Dark,” a brief intro from Baisley explaining his Light & Dark films and discussing some of the changes made to Fear for this release.
The 10-minute behind-the-scenes featurette included in the previous release is also present on this DVD. It offers a glimpse at the making of a low-budget film — and really makes you root for the good-natured Baisley and his cast and crew.
The disc also has quite a bit of unused footage, which might be expected with a shorter cut of the film. The extra clips include the original title sequence, a series of alternate endings, four extended/deleted scenes and some entertaining “behind-the-scenes bloopers.”
As with The Tenement DVD, an extensive photo/video gallery is set to the music of Sal Sirchia (Nikos the Impaler).
Trailers for Fear of the Dark (also part of the behind-the-scenes featurette) and three upcoming releases — Curse of Pirate Death, Night and Branded — are also included.
Pulling the Trigger:
Fear of the
Dark deserved a bigger release than Light & Dark’s self-produced version,
and after Brain Damage picked up The Tenement, it made the wise decision
to market the earlier, superior film. In my original review, I called it “an
effective horror mystery that overcomes its flaws,” and I stand by that
(The Light & Dark Productions release of Fear of the Dark was originally reviewed in February 2004.)
By Owen Keehnen (July 17, 2005)
Brooklyn born Mike Lane made a gutsy decision 5 years ago to
chuck his Marketing Degree and go for the gold --- make that the blood red --
and hasn’t bothered to look back since. In the years following he’s made some
formidable progress in the acting field – mostly in the horror genre. Mr. Lane
is most closely associated with the world of Light & Dark Productions, where he
also works periodically behind the scenes. His features for Light & Dark include
the features ‘The Tenement’ in which he plays Jimmy Wayne Garrick, a man who
believes he is turning into a werewolf (with Racks and Razors gore-gore gal Syn
DeVil) and ‘Fear of the Dark’ (which features a deliciously visceral
disembowelment scene). He has also appeared in such features as ‘Urban Cannibal
Holocaust’, ‘Permanent Scars’, ‘Cosmetic Commando’, and ‘Linger’. In addition he
has several projects in the immediate offing.
It’s a wonderful advantage of this site to showcase new talent and Mike Lane is someone you will definitely be hearing more from in the none-too-distant future.
Owen: I was reading your bio how five years ago you changed gears and went from a marketing future into acting. It can be a pretty tough career. Have you ever regretted your decision?
Mike: Never. Even though I would be making a steady salary behind a desk, I would be miserable from regret and frustration for not pursuing my dream. Acting is what I should be doing and I’m glad I made that decision. And it’s not like my degree is totally going to waste. I am marketing myself.
Owen: True. In 'Tenement' (which also features Racks and Razors fave Syn DeVil) you play Jimmy Wayne Garrick who after being bitten by a wild animal becomes convinced he is turning into a werewolf. What was the most challenging part about the role?
Mike: My naked butt shot. It was a chilly October night and I was completely naked except for a pair of fake ears and a plastic bag covering my private parts. We also shot the scene not too far from a busy street. Luckily I was performing in front of just the director Glen Baisley and Marion Nash, a nice old woman who was in the scene with me. Oh and in the too much information department, I shaved off all my body hair for the part since being hairless was a set up for a one line gag. So shaving got to be very time consuming. I found the role of Jimmy (which is probably my favorite role to date) more fun than challenging since I rarely had to hold back. He was an over the top character. I could just let everything go and be crazy which I enjoy doing. In acting I find “toning down” to be challenging sometimes. Syn DeVil was great to work with. The night of our scene was a night where everything that could go wrong did go wrong from starting to shoot at around 3am to the extras being drunk, to actors not showing up, etc. Syn handled her brief but memorable role like a true pro. Hopefully I’ll be working with her again soon.
Owen: So do you feel what we fear is scarier than the real thing?
Mike: Sometimes. It depends on the situation. I do believe that our imagination can definitely be worse than what actually happens. An old trick in horror is sometimes to not show everything in every possible gory detail and leave it up to the audience’s imagination since that is usually worse that anything a special effects artist can build.
Owen: Tell me about the disembowelment scene in 'Fear of the Dark'. That's something you don't see everyday.
Mike: Speaking of not leaving anything up to the imagination – that scene was made to be purposefully long and overly drawn out. That was Glen’s tongue and cheek comment on the ridiculousness of gratuitous gore scenes in horror. Fear of the Dark was actually almost banned from a local film festival due that scene’s “shockingly realistic” vibe which is ironic since there is no way a human being can have that many intestines.
Owen: Both those films were done by Light and Dark Productions and I know you're also a creative consultant there. Can you tell me a little something about that production company?
Mike: While I made a suggestion here and there for Fear of the Dark and The Tenement, I really started to step up behind the scenes during the time between The Tenement/Sin of the Father (which were shot simultaneously) and Fairview Falls. Light and Dark has been around since 1999 and has released two full lengths (Fear of the Dark and The Tenement), one short (The Family Tree) that can all be purchased at www.lightanddark.net. We have another short (No Trespassing 2: No Exit) playing some festivals and screenings and two more full lengths in post (Sins of the Father and Fairview Falls). The movies all have a basically dark theme exploring the light, dark as well as the gray areas that dwell within everyone. We do our best to put out a good STORY first and then enhance it with the blood, guts and scream queens that lots of horror fans like. The Tenement is probably the most well known title since it landed a distribution deal with Brain Damage Films. I met Glen in the spring of 2000 when I auditioned and landed the role of Michael Jacobs in Fear of the Dark. We’ve been friends ever since.
Owen: What about Glen Baisley's (Light and Dark Productions) film vision coincides with your own?
Mike: Well first off Glen is the be all and end all of Light and Dark. He gets the last word and approval on everything. He’s the big boss. Light and Dark is his playground and he is nice enough to let me play in it. That being said I am one of Glen’s worst critics and I think he appreciates the constructive criticism because he knows I argue my views for the betterment of the movies. I have the right to argue with him and be brutally honest about why my vision would be the best for Light and Dark. Sometimes my arguments work, sometimes they don’t but I always respect and go with his decision since it’s his money being put into all the projects. Luckily, we do agree more often than not on the creative direction and Glen is always open to suggestion from anyone and everyone including actors, crew, fans etc. As long as the final decision is Glen’s, he is a happy man. If I really feel strongly about a project that Glen doesn’t agree with, I’ll find a way to do it on my own. I’m sure Glen would be around to help if that ever comes to be.
Owen: In conjunction with Light and Dark I've heard you also attended your first horror convention. What was that first-time experience "on the other side of the table" like?
Mike: I actually attended my first horror convention as a fan I believe back in the early 1990’s. It was a Fangoria Weekend of Horrors and I remember Clive Barker and Grandpa Al Lewis being there. Going to that convention opened my mind up to many alternative and underground cultures and styles. I did not attend another convention until Chiller Theatre in October 2000 to promote and hand out flyers for Fear of the Dark. We did not have a table then. I think at the Fangoria and Chiller conventions the following year, Glen bought a table and we’ve had tables at both those conventions for the past five years. The first time being behind the table was great. I was helping to sell a movie that a bunch of other people and I busted our butts to make. And it was a damn good feeling when total strangers bought Fear of the Dark just based on the trailer playing on the monitor at the table and our passion to get our movie to as many people as possible.
Mike: I look forward to every convention because it’s a chance for at least one more person to be exposed to our work.
Owen: Is your work behind the camera something to make connections to get more work in front of the camera or does production involvement on any level bring you the same amount of pleasure?
Mike: Right now I only work behind the camera for Light and Dark and that’s with the understanding that my work behind the camera for them does not conflict with my acting schedule. I would not mind lending a behind the scenes hand in other company’s project but only if we have the same understanding. Acting is my priority and if a company understands the sometimes last minute demands put upon an actor then I would be happy to help creatively in any way I can. I never approached the idea of working behind the camera to try and get work in front of the camera since I always prefer acting to anything else. So if I wanted to act in a project I would approach the project’s powers that be as an actor first and foremost. I do find pleasure in a script I helped write or develop come to life in front of me or an idea that I had (whether being creative or business based) come to fruition but honestly not as much pleasure in a compliment on a performance from a fan or critic.
Owen: You also played Carter in the scare flick 'The Demon Shells'. Can you tell me a little something about that project?
Mike: Unfortunately The Demon Shells will never be released. The director did not like the results of the movie after it was shot so he scrapped it. Luckily he liked my performance and I have worked with him on subsequent movies. Hopefully someday the movie will be revisited.
Owen: Boo, well then I want to hear about your work as a featured zombie in Insane-O-Rama's 'Last Rites'.
Mike: I shoot with them this Friday so as soon as I find out, you’ll find out. I’ve hung out with the Insane-O-Rama crew a few times at the horror conventions and they are good people.
Also, after reading the script for Last Rites I can tell you that it is 100 times better than Strange Things Happen at Sundown. So if you liked Strange Things, you will absolutely LOVE Last Rites.
Owen: So which is the most frightening to you and why - werewolves, witches, zombies, vampires, psychos, aliens, or creatures?
Mike: Psychos because they really exist. Just watch the news.
Owen: As someone dedicated to the enhancement of the horror genre what are your favorite fright movies?
Mike: The George A. Romero zombie movies (including Land of the Dead) are hands down some of my favorites. What are so great about them are not only the awesome looking effects and gore, but the underlying social commentary that Romero weaves into his stories. I also find The Exorcist, Evil Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Kubrick’s The Shining to be some of the scariest movies ever made. They gave me nightmares when I was a kid. For roller coaster like thrills that make you jump out of your seat, Aliens and Scream definitely come to mind.
Owen: What projects do you have lined up in the near future?
Mike: I just finished doing commentary for the Light and Dark short No Trespassing 2: No Exit with Glen and Diana Baisley and I did some overdubs for an upcoming director’s cut of Fear of the Dark
I start acting in a Star Wars fan film (I am a HUGE Star Wars fan) very soon. That should be fun. I get to fly a starship and fire a blaster. How cool is that? And coincidentally the director of the fan film was a fan of Fear of the Dark who I met and talked to at the different horror conventions over the years. Before my audition he e-mailed me and said that he knew me. I immediately recognized him once I saw his picture. Good thing we always got along at the conventions.
I have a few indie films lined up but I don’t want to announce them until all the funding comes into place and all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed contractually. Hopefully they will all be made but I have learned to hope for the best but expect the worst. I act regularly in industrials (training videos) for RuMe Interactive and Learn It Solutions based on Long Island . Glen and I are also in the preliminary stages of writing Light and Dark’s next feature length movie as well as working on the postproduction dealings for Sins of the Father and Fairview Falls. And I’m sure to let off some steam, Light and Dark will probably film some shorts, DVD extras and whatever else comes to mind. And finally, when I’m not acting, I spend my time going on auditions, looking for more acting work by sifting through the multitude of casting pages on the Internet, always promoting that I’m an actor to almost everyone I meet and trying to have a good social life as well. Luckily, I have been keeping busy.
Owen: What scares you in real life?
Mike: Falling asleep while driving. There have been many times where I’ve had to pull over and either stretch or take a nap in my truck. For some reason it’s almost impossible to try to stay awake if I’m tired while driving. Luckily I haven’t completely fallen asleep and driven off a mountain or into oncoming traffic. Thanks for the interview (you got yourself a damn good website) and don’t forget to check out my website at www.lightanddark.net/MikeLane.htm.
Owen: Will do, thanks Mike. And all the best with your career.
Excerpts from a Review by Miguel Coyula (January 26, 2005)
In 1981, seven-year-old Alice Walker barely managed to escape the wrath of the Black Rose Killer during a city-wide blackout. Now twenty years later, the murders have begun again and Alice fears he has come back for her. She can see him in her dreams and even when she is awake. Those around her believe that she is insane. One week before the anniversary of her parent's murder, Alice desperately searches for the truth before time runs out.
Despite the conventional feel of the movie, you can see that some effort was put into the screenplay as it contains a few nice touches. Sometimes the physics of some of the murders deny logic, but that kind of liberty is forgiven in the genre. Alice’s descent into madness is pretty well conveyed and there are a few scenes that stand out from the usual slasher fare. One of them goes into the bizarre territory of necrophilia as the lead masturbates, imagining sex with her dead, mangled face boyfriend! One can’t help to notice that the story is reminiscent of The Stendhal Syndrome (1996).
Fear of the Dark remains watchable (if sometimes predictable) by microcinema standards, and it ends on a high, clever note.
Issue #25 Winter 2005
Excerpt from "Independent Roll Call" by Art Ettinger (Issue #6)
Few recent indie films start out as well as Fear of the Dark (www.lightanddark.net). The film opens with a group of young cussing girls, chasing a little boy and pelting him with snowballs. The boy hides behind a snowman, and they continue assailing him with snowballs. Parts of the snowman fall off, and it’s revealed that a bloodied human body is hidden in it. The film is worth checking out for its attempt at being different. Light & Dark offers a prequel to Fear of the Dark, which is included in their anthology film The Tenement. You get a lot of wacky shit all in one film, from cultists to some good old-fashioned domestic violence. The best segment involves a confused individual’s belief that he is turning into a werewolf. Both The Tenement and Fear of the Dark feature fun cameos from Fangoria’s Michael Gingold.
Excerpts from a Review by Paul Bistoff (August 6, 2004)
Glen Baisley’s anthology film The Tenement details the origin of the Black Rose Killer. It’s the story of Ethan Fernier, a diehard horror film fan and flower arranger, who’s determined to prove to the world that he’s a serial killer for the ages. Although Fear of the Dark was filmed before The Tenement, it’s a direct continuation of the Black Rose Killer saga.
The film opens in 1981, when a series of seemingly random murders terrorize a small town. Detectives are on the prowl, desperately searching for leads. The only commonality is the long-stemmed black rose found near each of the lifeless corpses.
On a stormy August night young Alice Walker awakens to find the Black Rose Killer in her home. He’s wielding an axe, and with it he’s chopping her parents into pieces. Startled, she tries to run away. The killer gives chase, and in her desperate retreat she stumbles, falling down the stairs. The murderer ceremoniously places a rose on Alice’s unconscious body, raising his axe to prepare for the fatal blow. At that moment, neighborhood watch unexpectedly arrives at the home. They manage to break down the door and successfully chase the killer off.
Fast forward nearly 20 years later. For most, the Black Rose Killer is nothing but a somber memory. However, for Alice Walker (Rosemary Gore) the fear has never subsided. Suffering from horrific reoccurring nightmares, her life has been completely disrupted. She lives in constant fear that the killer will return, to finish the one job he left incomplete. Believing she has a telepathic link to the killer, Alice has been consumed by paranoia.
As the 20th anniversary of the Walker slaying nears, the town is once again the victim of a string of killings. Alice sees these events unfold in her dreams. She awakens aware of the specifics of each murder, even before the police know that a crime has been committed. Alice can feel the Black Rose Killer looming over her, getting ever closer. Desperate to figure out the killer’s identity, she begins to doubt the motives of her best friend Karen (Vanessa Edwards), her shrink Dr. Fisher (Herb Smithline), and even her boyfriend Michael (Mike Lane). Trusting no one, Alice is left alone to confront a living nightmare.
Fear of the Dark is the story Alice Walker’s desperate quest for inner peace, just as it’s the story of Glen Baisley’s dream to be a filmmaker. As a first time writer and director, this film is a live fire trial and error process. It’s a chronicle of the natural progression of developing one’s distinctive style of storytelling. At its best Fear of the Dark combines quick cut, almost subliminal, imagery with smart dialogue and effectively paced action. When this film works it’s a tense and thoroughly engaging affair, marked with visions of brutal violence and an authentically depraved tone...
...It’s the depth of Alice Walker’s conflict and the strength of Rosemary Gore’s portrayal that get us through the lulls. This is a complex role, far beyond the typical slasher scream queen. Alice is a woman not only in conflict with the killer, but with herself. Years of living in fear have taken their toll and Alice has trouble discerning reality from delusion. Rosemary Gore’s performance is at times riveting as she instantaneously changes gears from strong to helpless, or innocent to possessed. We witness a woman’s fall into the grips of fear and during these scenes it feels all too realistic.
It’s these sequences that display the distinctive edge that made The Tenement such a surprisingly good film. Fear of the Dark stands as a largely successful debut for Glen Baisley, and it offers plenty of reason to look forward to the upcoming Sins of the Father, the stated conclusion of the Black Rose Killer saga.
Fear of the Dark is currently available through the Light and Dark Productions website (http://www.lightanddark.net) in both DVD and VHS format... Extras include a trailer, music video, and a short pseudo-documentary that chronicles the joys and difficulties of shooting a director’s first film.
Review by Paul Pritchard (July 10, 2004)
Fear of the Dark
is a sequel – of sorts – to
The Tenement. However, whereas the focus of The Tenement is the genesis of
the Black Rose Killer – a black clad serial killer who leaves a single black
rose with each of his victims – Fear of the Dark deals with the consequences of
The film starts with the discovery of the Black Rose Killer’s first victim on New Year’s Day, 1981 and then follows the killer’s eight month rampage which culminates in August at the home of seven year old Alice Walker.
Although her parents are both killed in the attack, Alice survives and the Black Rose Killer disappears as suddenly as he’d arrived.
We then jump forward twenty years, to August 2001.
Alice (Rosemary Gore) has spent much of the intervening time in and out of foster homes and psychiatric hospitals. Even though she is now living independently, in a shared apartment, she is still receiving psychiatric treatment, is still suffering from nightmares and as still terrified of the dark.
She’s also convinced that she has some sort of psychic link to the killer and that he’s going to come back for her...
Steadily, Alice becomes increasingly paranoid, pushing away the few people that have managed to get close to her – Karen (Vanessa Edwards), her friend and flat mate; Dr. Fisher (Herb Smithline), her psychiatrist; and her boyfriend, Michael (Mike Lane), who wasn’t going to win any compassion awards even at the start of all this – until she is finally alone and trying to cope with a killer that has returned.
And there is a killer out there. But who – or what – he is or why his killings have started now is very effectively buried in a complex and fascinating story, until the truth is finally revealed in the final scenes.
And, as with all good whodunits, it’s all so obvious once you have the benefit of hindsight.
The bulk of the film is spent with Alice, whose state of mind adds immensely to the deliberate blurring of what exactly is going on. This is also a good point to mention Rosemary Gore's incredibly compelling performance as a woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown, increasingly isolated and less and less able to distinguish between reality and her increasingly frequent delusions. Although not perfect, she carries her role - and the film - magnificently.
The soundtrack also deserves a mention for effective simplicity. It’s constructed around a very simple omnipresent theme that is effectively used to rack up and maintain the tension throughout the film.
At the end of the day Fear of the Dark is an excellent horror film about fear, paranoia and insanity and one that will hold your attention from the opening scenes to the closing credits.
Excerpts from a Review by Rich Wolf (June 11, 2004)
Alice’s family became victims to the Black Rose Killer back in 1981, which left her alive but her parents dead. Throughout the years the strain has been building and as the 20th anniversary of her parent’s death gets closer, so does the Killer. Seems he may not be dead after all and Alice’s friends may end up paying for her 20 years of living.
Overall: This is actually the sequel to “The Tenement’s” story “Fade to Black” chronicling the “Black Rose Killer.” I liked the story a lot and thought creator Glen Baisley did a good job putting everything together. There’s no question to me that “The Tenement” is the superior film and after watching this film, you can tell that Glen is getting better at what he does.
I thought it was a good story and enjoyed the flashbacks of each of the killings. Seemed each killing got more in depth as the film went on and of course we do have the “mouse-smashing” scene which was quite original. The music and score was top notch for sure and if anything, that could earn a definite A+. I do think that although the film had its flaws with lighting and background noise, if you watch this in tandem with “The Tenement,” you will see the improvements. In addition, I think the “Black Rose” trilogy will be a sight to see once everything is finished on them. The fact is, the Killer knows exactly when to strike and it seems no one knows how to stop them.
Comparison: Flashback meets Dorm that Dripped Blood
Review by Andrew Shearer (May 19, 2004)
A woman who saw her parents murdered when she was a child is faced with the
possibility that the killer has returned 20 years later to finish the job.
VIOLENCE - Lots of blood is spilled, and there are some extremely graphic killings (including a disembowelment sequence).
SEX/NUDITY - One simulated sex scene involving a completely nude woman.
WHY I WATCHED IT - I'd seen and enjoyed filmmaker Glen Baisley's latest flick THE TENEMENT, and was intrigued to discover that FEAR OF THE DARK, despite being made years prior, was actually its sequel! Thankfully I was getting to see the story "in order", because I'm the kind of guy that gets easily confused.
THE DOPE - Unlike THE TENEMENT, FEAR OF THE DARK is one complete story that follows a steadily more intense series of occurrences in the life of one woman. The writing, editing and music are all first rate (particularly for a shot-on-video feature), but what really makes the film stand out is the performance of lead actor Rosemary Gore (an appropriate name given that this flick has a lot of gory moments). She carries a lot on her shoulders, because the entire film relies on whether or not we the audience believe that this woman really experienced this awful thing as a child, and is slowly coming apart at the seams. She transforms herself several times throughout the movie as the events worsen, and sometimes I wasn't sure if I was looking at the same woman from the beginning of the movie. That, to me, is the mark of someone who really knows what they're doing.
THE TENEMENT showed us the origin of the "Black Rose Killer", and FEAR OF THE DARK continues the story and keeps the scares coming. Glenn Baisley clearly put a huge amount of time and effort into making a seriously good horror film, something that I would be afraid to even attempt. Given that audiences are very quick to laugh at a serious movie if it doesn't come across the right way, Baisley entered dangerous territory with this movie. However, the complex and interesting story, combined with Rosemary Gore's standout performance, kept me in the moment and never took me out. My hat goes off to the filmmakers here... a job well done indeed.
MEMORABLE SCENES - The ending caught me by surprise and is the kind of twist that ultimately leaves an impression. For the end sequence, Rosemary Gore exhibits some Debbie Rochon-caliber acting chops, which brought a smile to my face.
NOTES - Visit the Light And Dark website to find out how you can purchase this flick.
While watching Fear of the Dark, I couldn’t help thinking how appropriate it was to cast an actress named Rosemary Gore in the leading role. Why? Because there’s “gore” galore surrounding Alice Walker, the character she plays. This horror flick starts out with a bloody disembowelment and gets even bloodier as it goes along. Causing all the mayhem is the Black Rose Killer, a serial killer responsible for the deaths of Alice’s parents when she was seven years old. Although Alice survived the attack, she has suffered nightmares for many years and needs psychiatric help. Will the Black Rose Killer return to finish the job? Alice thinks so. She sees him when she’s awake and in her dreams.
Clad all in black, the murderer always leaves a rose on his victims. He quietly stalks them and uses various weapons for the kill -- axes, scythes, razors, knives, etc. -- but never a gun. Most horror fans will recognize the Black Rose Killer from The Tenement, a prequel to Fear of the Dark. Glen Baisley, who wrote, directed and produced both movies, promises a third installment (Sins of the Fathers) later this year to complete his horror trilogy about the fictitious town of Fairview Falls.
Although shot on mini-DV with a predominantly volunteer cast and crew, Fear of the Dark contains enough scary moments to satisfy many horror film fanatics. Not a slick production, for sure, but it held my interest concerning what would happen to poor Alice. And it reinforced my childish need to keep at least one light on every night.
Fear of the Dark won an award for “Best Storytelling in a Feature Narrative” at the first Annual Putnam County Film and Video Festival in New York. Released in October of 2001, it’s now available for purchase through the Light and Dark online store at www.lightanddark.net. Included on the VHS version are the movie trailer and “Fear of the Dark” song. The DVD comes with a bonus feature titled “Fear of the Dark: Things That Go Bump in the Night and Other Fun Stuff.”
Filmmaker Baisley obviously has a passion for making horror flicks. After completing his Fairview Falls trilogy, will he treat fans to more gory movies in the future? I’m betting on it.
Excerpts from a Review by Josh Agnew (March 16, 2004)
Our movie starts out with a group of kids throwing snowballs at each other in a cemetery! Here they come across a snowman but this snowman has a secret. You'll know what I'm talking about if you've watched The Tenement. After this, several months pass by and we're introduced to several dead bodies - all the work of The Black Rose Killer. One night while the killer is doing his dirty deeds, he gets interrupted before he can slay everybody in this particular house. The house belongs to the Walkers' and their little girl, Alice, is fortunately left unharmed when a neighbor comes over and interrupts the killer before he can chop her into little pieces.
Flash forward twenty years and we find Alice having bad nightmares about that terrible night. She's been suffering from these nightmares and hallucinations all this time. Now the time is closing in on the twentieth anniversary of her parent’s murders and she fears that the killer is coming for her. Now she can see the killer murdering people that she's had contact with during the day.
Is this all just in Alice's head or is this some sort of sick, demented reality?
...I did like the music on this movie. I felt like in some scenes the choice of music helped heighten the tension in the scene so good job goes out to the people that helped out on the music....
There are a couple of cool kill scenes in this movie. First off, almost near the beginning of the movie we are treated with a cool looking disembowelment scene! You can't go wrong with that. Then there is an awesome scene where Alice does something... not so humane, to a poor little gerbil! There are a couple of other kills in this flick but those two really stand out! I think there could have been a lot more blood but then again I like lots of blood in my movies....Overall, Fear of the Dark is a decent flick. I liked the story and there is an interesting twist near the end that you need to watch out for.
Reviewed by The Hitman (March 8, 2004)
Fear of the Dark
DVD released by Light & Dark
A Light & Dark Productions DVD
Written and directed by Glen Baisley
Approx. 117 minutes
Full-screen, 2.0 sound
Rosemary Gore as Alice
Vanessa Edwards as Karen
Mike Lane as Michael
Herb Smithline as Dr. Fisher
Watching a low-budget film is something like scouting minor-leaguers: Part of the fascination is more than the film itself; it is imagining what the filmmakers and actors could become, given time and money. Ultimately, for a reviewer, one of the most important questions about any movie is not what its makers might do in the future, but what they do here and now. In the case of Fear of the Dark, writer and director Glen Baisley has succeeded on both counts, fashioning an enjoyable horror mystery and offering an intriguing glimpse of what his Light & Dark Productions may become.
Fear of the Dark opens with the story of the Black Rose Killer, who terrorized a small town 20 years ago before vanishing after a murder attempt gone awry. As the film advances to the present day, his last would-be victim, Alice Walker (Rosemary Gore) has grown up to be a neurotic young woman who has never truly recovered from seeing her parents slain. And when she begins dreaming of the Black Rose Killer, and the bodies start piling up, she finds herself wondering if she has lost her mind, or if she has the power to catch the killer and save her town.
Thus, Fear becomes a story with two levels: The psychological study of Alice; and the deterioration of her life, as her loved ones refuse to believe the Black Rose Killer's return is anything but her imagination.
Despite its touch-of-madness overtones, Baisley keeps Fear’s pacing efficient, and the movie benefits for it. Although there are times when Fear is unintentionally laugh-out-loud funny, every time it seems to veer dangerously toward Mystery Science Theater 3000 territory, Baisley finds a way to get things under control and the film regains its effectiveness. He also deserves high marks for his directing style, and his use of just the right amount of point-of-view shots, close-ups and odd angles is a benefit.
The acting, as with any low-budget film, is a risky proposition, and the uneven performances are one of the few black marks on Baisley’s direction. Gore is talented, but has plenty of rough edges; her highs are excellent, her lows laughable. But she is offset nicely by the solid Vanessa Edwards, who plays Alice's housemate, Karen. Edwards' best may not be as good, but she gives a consistent performance that provides an anchor for the film. And to Edwards’ credit, she is at her best at the climax of the film. Mike Lane, playing Alice’s boyfriend Michael, is another actor who shows some promise, but far too often that gives way to over-the-top antics that grate and feel out of whack with the rest of the film. On the other hand, Herb Smithline does the best all-around job as Alice’s psychologist, Dr. Fisher — convincing enough to make one wonder if he really has some training in the field. And Danielle Russo (playing Janice, the gratuitous eye candy) deserves a mention, simply because she is drop-dead gorgeous.
If the actors frustrate at times, viewers can save their applause for the special-effects crew, Anthony “Dr. Death” Eikner and Death Head Productions. From an early, bloody disembowelment to the bloody destruction of a pet gerbil, the gore guys get the most out of their budget, and deserve high marks.
The film has several nice touches, including some tongue-in-cheek humor and a classic scene in which a character, face-to-face with the Black Rose Killer, pulls the old elementary-school playground trick of faking a wide run right, then sharply cutting back left to dodge the bad guy.
If the film’s low budget shows through regularly, hampering the picture and sound quality and providing the occasional “huh?” moment, it seldom turns disastrous — a tribute to Baisley’s craftsmanship.
Most independent “C-movies” are labors of love, and Fear of the Dark is no exception: It is clear from the film (and the included behind-the-scenes featurette) that Baisley loves making movies, and his actors love appearing in them. That kind of enthusiasm should endear Light & Dark Productions to viewers, and make them look forward to what the company will produce in the future.
Grade: B. Some rough edges, but a solid psychological mystery makes for an entertaining and enjoyable film.
The full-frame image is hit with a double-whammy: The film itself suffers from its low-budget nature, and the DVD authoring only exacerbates its flaws. Bad lighting, always the bane of inexpensive films, renders the nighttime scenes almost incomprehensible, and the brighter scenes sometimes suffer from a washed-out look. The DVD only adds to the problems with sporadic compression artifacts and quite a bit of digital noise, particularly in the bright daylight scenes.
Grade: C-. It’s a bad image, but that’s not unexpected.
The 2.0 sound quality also suffers from the low budget, as the added music and effects sometimes overwhelm the dialogue, which seems to suffer from the absence of any kind of boom mike.
Grade: C+. Almost as bad as the image, but again, the flaws are understandable.
A 10-minute behind-the-scenes featurette is included at the end of the film, and it offers a glimpse at the making of a low-budget film — and really makes you root for the good-natured Baisley and his cast and crew.
Grade: B-. Not a lot, but it’s enough — and well done.
Fear of the Dark certainly shows Glen Baisley’s potential as a filmmaker, but it is more than that. It is an effective horror mystery that overcomes its flaws and deserves a look on the basis of what its creators have done, and not just what they might do someday.
Overall grade: B-. The DVD itself is pretty poor, but the film on it is definitely worth a look.
The Tenement, a prequel to Fear of the Dark, will be released through Brain Damage Films in April. Although the VHS screener provided to HorrorTalk suffered from some poor image and sound quality, Brain Damage’s work on TimeWarp Films’ Vampire Sisters DVD offers hope the quality of the next Light & Dark DVD will be a step up from the independently made Fear.
The Tenement does, in fact, represent an attempt by writer and director Glen Baisley to take the next step in his filmmaking. Using an old apartment house as the basis for a Tales from the Crypt-style series of shorts, he emphasizes the psychological aspect of horror. This contrasts sharply to the much more straightforward Fear of the Dark, but does it work?
The Tenement is basically divided into four episodes. But the movie is a risk for one basic reason: The emphasis on the mental and emotional state of its characters forces the lead actors to stretch to the limits of their talent — and unfortunately, not all succeed. Obviously, no matter how well crafted a half-hour sequence is, when the star doesn’t fare well, the whole thing suffers.
There certainly are highlights, however. The second story — by far the best — is the tale of a would-be rapist (John Sudol) stalking a mute girl (well-played by the lineless Carol DiMarsico). It features some very, very effective sequences, especially when he discovers there is more to her than meets the eye. And in the fourth episode, a duel of serial killers, Danielle Russo (offering some back story for her own Fear of the Dark character) gets to show less skin and more of her acting chops, and comes through very favorably, as does her opposite number, the hulking Ed Shelinsky.
But what might have been the film’s two signature stories are hurt by the same inconsistent acting that plagued Fear of the Dark. Mike Lane returns from Fear to star in the third sequence as a paranoid dog-bite victim who may be turning into a werewolf. And while his hammy performance may fit The Tenement better than it did the earlier film, it still seems more of a minus than a plus. And while Joe Lauria, playing the young man destined to become the Black Rose Killer in the first episode, is better, he is a little too annoying a little too often throughout his showcase.
Among the shorter stories interspersed with the main episodes, the best is the opening sequence, starring cute Suzi Leigh as the victim of a cult in a film-within-the-film.
The one true letdown of the film, however, comes in the Black Rose Killer sequence, when several performers, including Baisley and Fangoria bigwig Michael Gingold — a dreadful actor — seem to have real trouble maintaining their composure. Light & Dark seems to strive for legitimate quality, and this lack of professionalism is a real letdown.
Glen Baisley took a real chance with The Tenement, pushing the limits of his cast and budget in an effort to take the next step forward in his moviemaking career. And for that, he must be commended. Yes, Fear of the Dark is a more enjoyable film, but that doesn’t mean The Tenement is a step backward for Baisley and his Light & Dark Productions. What it means, perhaps, is that he has reached the limits of his current capabilities in terms of budget and cast. So what fans must hope for is that someone with stronger financial backing sees what Baisley has to offer, and gives him the chance to really move up into the B-movie world of films like Stakes and Flesh for the Beast.
Until that time, Baisley will have to take comfort in the fact that Fear of the Dark and The Tenement prove he can craft entertaining films. And if he spends the intervening years working on eliciting better, more consistent performances from his actors, when his chance to take the next step comes, he should be more than ready.
Grade: C+. Baisley continues to show a lot of promise as a filmmaker, but his psychological horror prequel suffers from too much schizophrenia.
(Fear of the Dark reviewed in February 2004 on a Mitsubishi 1080 series 42" TV with a Sony DVP-CX875P DVD
"CGI be dammed, in Fear of the Dark Glen Baisley packs enough ghoulish eye candy to please even the most jaded of horror fans, all on a budget that would not pay a studio film's food service tab. If this first outing is any indication, Mr. Baisley will have a bright future making very dark films." - Mike Mars
Season 4 - January 2002
Pedge interviews Sal Sirchia about his involvement with Fear of the Dark and The Tenement.
Al J. Vermette
March/April 2002 Issue #10
FEAR THE NIGHT
BY AL J. VERMETTE
“Sleep With The Lights On”
This is the tag line of this new horror thriller form Light & Dark Productions, “Fear Of The Dark”. The year is 1981 and young Alice is awakened by a fierce storm raging outside. The lights are out and her mom and dad are both sleeping, unaware of the horror that their little girl is about to witness. With a blink of an eye, young Alice watches helplessly as her parents become the next in a rampage of murders by an unknown killer known only as the Black Rose Killer. Young Alice escapes from certain death but this night will follow her 20 years into the future.
Now it’s 2001 and one week till the anniversary of Alice’s parents’ death; she begins to feel that he…..the man in black is still out there…. Somewhere still wanting to get her and end what he started so many years ago. Though now a grownup, Alice is almost mothered by her best friend Karen, played by Vanessa Edwards who tries to comfort her from her ever growing fears. Now as night falls, death once again walks as the killings begin again 20 years later. With each new murder, Alice sees it in nightmares that bring her ever closer into insanity.
“Fear Of The Dark” is the brainchild of writer/Director Glen Baisley. His new psychological thriller goes way beyond any slasher flick with just a killer walking about and whacking your people with anything handy that can cut or rip a human body. His film takes us into the mind. “Fear Of The Dark” is much more than just a slasher flick, in fact, it’s much in the same vein as the movie “Scream”. For it doesn’t just dwell on the killer but on its other players like Alice herself, played by Rosemary Gore (And Yes That Is Her Real Name) and Alice’s friend Karen.
Then there is the killer himself, the Black Rose Killer. He was played by Mark Yonick and Anthony Eikner. He was always in Black, never said a word and only was seen just before someone died and the only thing left was a body and a black rose beside it.
The killer was much like that of other horror film murderers where he will use any device that can inflict death and carnage. In one very memorable scene near the film’s beginning, he attacks a young woman and disembowels her as she screams in terror before slowly dying at his feet. We have not seen this kind of gore in a horror movie in some time. It’s satisfying to see that some horror films are still not afraid to show the bloody goods now and then…and in this flick, the blood flows red.
Glen Baisley’s film not only brings to the table a good story and acting but also sports great make-up and F/X by the man who was the killer Anthony Eikner. (Then again I think it was make-up.) The film’s creepy music was by Ed Shelinsky and added to the film’s nightmarish terror….and for all you gore hounds, this flick has more than its share of dead people with a very high body count, 15 in all. Seems like the Black Rose Killer can keep up with the best. Watch out, Freddy and Jason…there’s someone new in town. The film’s VHS also has bonus material with outtakes and two movie trailers for “Fear Of The Dark” along with a song from the rock band “Malice.”
So, what’s next for Glen Baisley and his film? Well now “Fear Of The Dark” has won the Putnam County Film and Video Festival and is now being distributed by the “Fear Of The Dark” website along with being sold at horror conventions where you can meet the director and other members of the cast. There are also plans in the works for more films with The Black Rose Killer as well as other tales from writer/director Glen Baisley.
For your own copy of “Fear Of The Dark” go to the website at www.LightandDark.net.
The website also shows the cast and behind the scenes photos of the making of this new horror film. You can also contact the film crew at LghtandDrk@aol.com.
Or write them at:
P.O. Box 21
Lake Peekskill, N.Y. 10537
SO REMEMBER, SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON!!!!
The following are excerpts from Cinescape Online's coverage of the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors convention that was held on January 5th and 6th, 2001. The article and photo was taken by Andrew Hershberger and was published online (as a Premium subscription article) on February 2, 2002 (part 2 in a 3 part series).
Our recap of the incredible, amazing, stupendous, and many-other-positive-adjectives event that was FANGORIA’s Weekend of Horrors
Dateline: Friday, February 1, 2002
(EXCERPT) Filling out the vendors’ space were the standard mix of dealers and up and coming filmmakers, pitching their latest independent ventures in the horror field. While the main drawing power is naturally the various celebrities and the promise of the “latest, hottest” news, it’s these homegrown outfits that hold the most interest to me. While the celebrities sure are great – particularly the likes of Thom “RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD” Matthews and producer Richard “FIEND WITHOUT A FACE” Gordon – it’s these by-the-bootstraps, gung-ho, independent entrepreneurs and their game of cinematic craps that hold the possibility for the next TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, HALLOWEEN or BASKET CASE. You know: the proverbial classic from out of nowhere. Free from the stress of an overwhelming crowd I took the time to peruse the various films being offered and talk to those involved.
Our visit to FANGORIA’s Weekend of Horrors convention continues
Dateline: Saturday, February 2, 2002
In part one of CINESCAPE’s coverage of Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors convention, our intrepid correspondent detailed his visit to the event, which took place at New York’s Brooklyn Marriott Hotel on January 5th and 6th. Today we continue to explore the dark and musty depths of the indie-horror filmmakers who attended the convention trying to hawk their latest films, while also recounting a visit with the people behind Troma Entertainment.
(EXCERPT ) Rounding out my look at the various independent film companies, I stopped by the Light & Dark Productions booth where they were selling copies of their films THE FAMILY TREE and FEAR OF THE DARK. There’s a lot of buzz surrounding FEAR OF THE DARK; it won the Merit Award for “Storytelling in a Narrative Feature” at the Putnam County Film and Video Festival, has received exposure in the New York Times, there’s a picture from the film in Fangoria #210 (“Video Chopping” section) and the lead actress Rosemary Gore (who plays Alice) has recently been featured in Paxil commercials. Judging by the downloadable trailer from their website www.lightanddark.net, FEAR OF THE DARK looks like an effective tale in the slasher genre featuring a new horror icon, the Black Rose Killer. Talking with Glen Baisley, president and writer/director of FEAR OF THE DARK, he told me of the concept that underlies his films. All the stories occur in the same universe, ala Stephen King, and an upcoming project, THE TENEMENT, a four-story horror anthology, will feature an origin tale of the Black Rose Killer. (Also look for the upcoming SINS OF THE FATHER, which is a sequel to FEAR OF THE DARK.) Sounds interesting, so be sure to check out the website for information on their titles and the latest news.
(Interesting aside: on the site in the “Recent News” section they mention that a person from Cinescape interviewed them at the Fangoria convention and snapped some pictures for an online article. I wonder who the hell that was, cause I told everybody I wrote for Les CaShiers du Cinema.)
The following review was posted on B-Indpendent.com on January 20, 2002.
Written, Produced, Edited, and Directed by Glen Baisley
Alice - Rosemary Gore
Karen - Vanessa Edwards
Michael - Mike Lane
Dr. Fisher - Herb Smithline
Poor Alice. After watching her parents murdered at the hands of the Black Rose Killer, she's spent the past 20 years afraid of the dark. Man, that's got a put a cramp in her sex life...
Director Glen Baisley mixes storytelling styles and techniques as he spans two decades examining the rehabilitation of Alice. For all their worth, the institutions haven't helped much. She's more delusional now than she ever was, and believing herself psychically connected to the Black Rose Killer is the least of her worries.
In the end, Alice is unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy. Pushed passed the brink of sanity, she must confront the killer, put and end to her misery, and set her place in the world right. With her friends a distance, she has none to rely on but herself.
Alice, herself, is a complex character and Rosemary Gore is often stunning in her portrayal of a woman consumed by fear and anguish. Gore isn't afraid to look her worst for the camera, never hiding behind makeup like so many Hollywood types who are hung up on image. No, Gore is a real actor willing to take chances, even if they don't always work.
The heart of the story lies in Alice's relationships with those around her, and not all can handle her descent into madness. Karen, the roommate, is the closest thing Alice has had to a mother since the murder. Michael, the boyfriend, can only see things in the "now" and isn't willing to help provide a stable future. Finally, Dr. Fisher, Alice's psychiatrist is all compassion and warmth, completing the family circle started with Karen.
Bonded to the killer, Alice must do what she can to keep her friends alive, after all, they're the only family she has. Alice must find the strength for clarity before she finally snaps, embracing the killer within herself.
FEAR OF THE DARK is pure story-driven horror encased in the confines of raging insanity. Baisley takes his time to peel away at the layers and create what is essentially a whodunit that's similar to an Italian Giallo. Dark and moody, FEAR OR THE DARK is another addition to a short list of movies that prove smart horror films can be made with almost no money. All you need is a good script.
The following pictures are from the March 2002 issue number 210 of Fangoria Magazine which went on sale January 15, 2002. It featured the disembowelment scene in the "Video Chopping List."
The listing reads as follows:
Fear of the Dark (Light and Dark Prods., 2000):
Alice escaped her parents' killer 20 years ago; now she fears he's back and slashing in Glen Baisley's indie shocker. The DVD includes outtakes; go to www.LightandDark.net.
The caption for the picture reads as follows:
Even someone with as much guts as Renee Laverde couldn't overcome the Fear of the Dark.
October 6 & 7, 2004
A number of the cast members reunite for the movie's debut.
Al J. Vermette
September/October 2001 Issue #7
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Glen Baisley, director of the upcoming film, "Fear of the Dark", at the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in New York City.
Blood Moon Rising: Before this film, how many films have you directed and what were they?
Glen Baisley: This is the first individual film that is a full feature. I worked in cable and local free-lance commercial video.
Blood Moon Rising: Can you briefly describe your latest project?
Glen Baisley: It's more of a psychological thriller than a slasher-type film. The film is currently being edited, then will be marketed to film festivals.
Blood Moon Rising: Where is the movie being filmed?
Glen Baisley: It was shot in Putnam, Dutchess and Westchester Counties in New York State.
Blood Moon Rising: How long was the shooting schedule?
Glen Baisley: Pre-production was last May, for about a 2-week time period.
Blood Moon Rising: Who are some of the stars in this production?
Glen Baisley: Mike Lane, Rosemary Gore, Glen Baisley (bit part), featuring special effects by Anthony Eikner from Death Head Productions.
Blood Moon Rising: When released, where can our readers see this film?
Glen Baisley: Check out the website for the latest information on pre- and post-production: www.LightandDark.net.
Fishkill resident Anthony Eikner and Glen Baisley of Peekskill have two films in the can.
''The Family Tree'' will debut during the Putnam Valley Film and Video Festival in October. The two filmmakers are seeking a place to present ''Fear of the Dark.''
''Fear of the Dark'' was shot in several areas of Dutchess County, while ''The Family Tree'' was shot primarily in Eikner's home. The film's message is taking responsibility for one's own actions. The film features songs by the band Malice and Ed Shelinsky of Demon Call productions.
Baisley and Eikner are seeking to create a film group in the Hudson Valley allowing filmmakers and actors to network and exchange ideas. For more information, visit www.LightandDark.net.
GLEN BAISLEY'S fascination with horror films began when he sat on his father's lap watching Chiller Theatre on television.
Now, he is turning his lifelong passion into an independent film. To this end, he is putting 19 actors and 40 extras through their paces in venues from Pleasantville to Putnam Valley and from New Rochelle to Bear Mountain.
"To say that this movie is just a horror film would be wrong," Mr. Baisley said. "It has a little bit of slasher, a little thriller and leans heavily on psychological terror. Most of all, it's a good old-fashioned whodunit."
Hoping for a spring or summer 2001 debut, Mr. Baisley has his eye on the Rome Film Center in Pleasantville for the movie's first screening. From there, he would like to tour the local film festivals and sci-fi and horror conventions.
Mr. Baisley, a freelance videographer and writer who also manages the electronics store Cousins Audio Video in Pleasantville, has set his budget for the film, titled "Fear of the Dark," at $8,000, though he confesses that the figure is likely to go up.
To keep costs to a minimum, he is shooting with a mini digital video camera.
"Although Mini DV is not as widely accepted as 16 mm or higher formats," Mr. Baisley said, "it is quickly gaining respect among moviemakers and opening the floodgates for budding enthusiasts."
Ed Shelinsky of Putnam Valley is a phone company worker who is acting in the movie and choreographing the fight scenes. He said the minimal budget presents challenges, like the extra time it takes to film a scene, since there is only one camera, rather than four or five shooting a variety of angles at once.
Many of the all-volunteer cast and crew perform double duty. Anthony Eikner of Fishkill, who has a role in the film, is also the makeup artist, the special-effects man and a stuntman in the film. Kirk T. Larsen from Hicksville on Long Island, who is serving as a production consultant and acting in the film, explained that this is not unusual, as he recently had 14 jobs while shooting an independent film.
The female principal in the movie, Rosemary Gore of Manhattan, has a number of regional theater appearances and 15 independent films to her credit. She portrays Alice Walker, a character she describes as "very unbalanced." Mike Lane of Smithtown on Long Island plays opposite Ms. Gore. This is his eighth independent film, but his role as Michael is his first lead. He describes this role as his meatiest to date.
Mr. Baisley said he has been in awe of the unfolding project as the characters have materialized through the actors. As writer, director and producer of the movie, he said, "It's such a thrill to bring to life something that you've created."
When it comes to marketing his film, Mr. Baisley finds himself in a situation similar to that of many independent producers: he has yet to arrange distribution.
Though he sees some parallels with "The Blair Witch Project," another independent film made by unknown filmmakers with a minimal budget, he has no illusions about repeating its success.
"Forget the Academy Awards," he said. "I will know I have finally made it when I can stand before an audience at one of these conventions and have them adore me for the hard work that I have done."
For More Information Contact:
Light & Dark Productions
PO Box 21
Lake Peekskill, NY 10537
Telephone: (845) 526-6118