The 2nd annual MidWest WeirdFest hosts a cinematic celebration of all things fantastic, frightening, underground and just plain weird at the Micon Cinemas Downtown in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, from March 9-11, 2018. Check out the fantastic program below! Tickets available here.
PICKINGS (Fri, Mar 9, 6pm)
1 hr 43 min
Dir: Usher Morgan Cast: Elyse Price, Joel Bernard, Emil Ferzola, Katie Vincent, Michelle Holland Writer: Usher Morgan Genre: Action, Thriller, Western, Neo-Noir
MidWest WeirdFest is delighted to present PICKINGS as the festival's 2018 opening night film. It's a cooler than cool neo-noir / western / thriller. Tightly directed, gorgeous to look at, and loaded with twists, thrills, violence, and a superb cast. Come join us in kicking off the 2nd annual festival with this incredible film.
When a short-tempered mobster and his gang of thugs try to shake down a neighborhood bar, they're soon confronted with the wrath of its owner - a mysterious southern mother with a dangerous past.
PICKINGS is a twisting, blood-drenched, super-stylized, thrill ride. Fans of Quentin Tarantino's KILL BILL and Robert Rodriguez's SIN CITY will be in cinematic heaven!
3 DEAD TRICK OR TREATERS (Fri, Mar 9, 8pm)
1 hr 14 mins
Dir: Torin Langen Cast: Holden Levack, Jeremy Charles Singer, Raven Cousens, Eric Repke Writer: Torin Langen Genre: Horror
After stumbling upon the graves of three murdered trick or treaters, a small town paperboy discovers a series of handwritten horror stories tacked to the children's headstones. Penned by a deranged pulp author driven mad by his craft, the stories chronicle grisly tales of Halloween rites, rituals and traditions. Absent of dialogue and heavy on atmosphere, 3 DEAD TRICK OR TREATERS is a horror chiller unlike any you've seen before.
Screens with short film:
THE FUTURE IS SO BRIGHT (I GOTTA WEAR SHADES) Dir: Julien Eon/FRA/25 mins
Rocker Dick Traverse is a tour manager based in France. Washed out by a sterile existence, Dick is about to call it quits. During his next tour with an obscure Norwegian pagan-metal band he meets some mysterious and crazy people who might just change his mind...
Ahead of its official release this April, MidWest WeirdFest proudly presents this special sneak-peak screening of the highly anticipated, latest offering from production company Small Town Monsters. This terrifying documentary revisits one of the earliest and most famous alien encounter reports of American UFO lore.
The film's director, Seth Breedlove (BOGGY CREEK MONSTER, THE MOTHMAN OF POINT PLEASANT, INVASION ON CHESTNUT RIDGE) is the most important documentarian working in the UFO/paranormal/cryptid field today, and was the recipient of 2017's "Cryptozoologist of the Year" award. Don't miss your chance to be one of the first people on this haunted planet to see his latest film.
Screens with documentary:
THE MILWAUKEE MAFIA: FRANK BALISTRIERI Dir: Jason Love/USA/46 min
Frank Peter Balistrieri (AKA "Mr. Big", "Big Frank", "Mr. Slick", and "Mad Bomber") was the most notorious and dangerous Mob Boss in the Milwaukee's history. In this documentary, learn about the secret world of organized crime through the lens of the most dangerous man in Milwaukee. Known for using car bombs to get rid of his enemies, Frank Balistrieri was willing to do anything to keep his power over the city. From Wisconsin-based production company Made Men Productions and director Jason Love.
THE MILWAUKEE MAFIA: FRANK BALISTRIERI
SHORTS 1: HORROR & SCI-FI (Sat, Mar 10, 12pm)
1 hr, 48 mins Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Animation
From an expanse of alternative universes and an alien-occupied earth, through domestic robot usurpers and radio communications with the dead, to oozing zombies, demonic back-road encounters, and cannibalistic school lunches: this stunning shorts program will take you on a tour through the boldest and bloodiest cinematic landscapes of the fantastic and the macabre.
WHISTLE, HAWK & SPIT Dir: Jed Schlegelmilch/USA/5 min
Hot Coffin performs at the Oriental Theatre in Milwaukee and are being watched by ‘creeps’ wearing masks that resemble the bands likeness.
PINK PLASTIC FLAMINGOS Dir: Colin West/USA/6 min
All is well when a suburban father creates a robot to carry out his daily chores -- until his invention begins taking over his life.
ZACKMAN Dir: Jack Tong/HK/5 min
The personalities of five prisoners must battle for supremacy, when they find themselves confined in a single body.
THE BOOGEYS Dir: Samjay F. Sharma/USA/19 min
On a future Earth transformed into a planetary ghetto by alien overlords, Dawkins, a cop-turned-pickpocket, tracks down a missing child about to be sold to the ‘Boogeys.’ The encounter will determine the child’s fate and his redemption.
KANSAY'S GLORIOUS DEATH Dir: Chris Sagovac/USA/1 min
Kansay the Spider faces the demigod Tesshin at the Iron Gate. The Spider is one of 99 assassins sent to unleash Hell upon Earth from beyond the grave. "Kansay's Glorious Death" is the first chapter in Kansay's quest for power and revenge.
NIGHT SKY Dir: Matthew Crum/USA/4 min
Charlie is on his way to an epic party... but something stops him dead in his tracks.
TASTE Dir: Adrian Selkowitz/USA/14 min
Claire, a beautiful and calculating trophy wife, has convinced her husband to invite an influential Hollywood power couple to dinner, believing that preparing an elaborate meal for them might result in her starring in her own cooking show. Things begin to go awry when the arriving guests step over a woman's naked body in the driveway. The arrival of the paparazzi leaves the group no choice but to bring this barely conscious woman inside. As Claire struggles to remain the consummate hostess we learn that the strange woman is no stranger at all but rather a ghost from her past – one she is bonded to in a strange and supernatural way.
CRYPTO FORCE ALPHA Dir: Megan Kluck/USA/6 min
Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Mothman, an Alien, and a male Mermaid live together and solve crimes.
TIME TO FADE Dir: Carlos Nahuel Cerutti/USA/4 min
On the night before Billy's birthday, her imaginary friend struggles to bring up the news that tonight is the last time the will ever see each other.
43 QUINTILLION Dir: Kylie Eaton/USA/5 min
A grieving woman stumbles upon a mysterious artifact of her beloved's past. Propelled into an unknown world, Jessica must find her way back home by moving on.
EARTH TO ISAAC Dir: Jack Birdsall/USA/11 min
After a tragedy, a father and son struggle to connect. Looking for answers in the stars, the boy, Isaac, begins searching through his attic for supplies to build an interstellar radio. As Isaac progresses towards his goal, both father and son are forced to confront their mutual loss.
DITCHPEOPLE Dir: Jeremiah R. Milmine/CAN/7 min
Mud human creatures emerge from the ditches to attack and transform a group of friends at a drive-in theatre.
LUNCH LADIES Dir: J. M. Logan/USA/19 min
For the past twenty years, obsessed Johnny Depp fans and fraternal twin sisters, Seretta and LouAnne Burr, have shared a miserable existence as high school lunch ladies serving up rubbery chicken parts, ammonia-treated government meat and whatever else the cash-strapped national lunch program sends their way.This year is going to be different: The twin’s Cheesy Burger Bites recipe is the Grand Prize Winner of Johnny Depp's Cook for Kid's Charity Event! Convinced this is their ticket out of high school hell town and that 'The Depper' will hire them to be his very own Personal Chefs, their dreams are shattered after a snotty head cheerleader pushes them one step too far. This forces the Lunch Ladies to ask themselves... WWJD? What would Johnny do?
WHISTLE, HAWK AND SPIT
PINK PLASTIC FLAMINGOS
KANSAY'S GLORIOUS DEATH
CRYPTO FORCE ALPHA
TIME TO FADE
EARTH TO ISAAC
CANNIBALS AND CARPET FITTERS (Sat, Mar 10, 2pm)
1 hr 22 min
Director: James Bushe Cast: Darren Sean Enright, Richard Lee O'Donnell, Zara Pythian, Jessica Jane-Stafford Writer: Richard Lee O'Donnell Genre: Horror, Comedy
A ragtag group of carpet layers are sent on a job to an old English country house in the middle of nowhere. They soon discover it's a trap set up by a savage cannibalistic family. The carpet fitters must fight for their lives or risk ending up as the evening's dinner.
Horrific delights abound in this gore filled dish of a horror comedy, that tastes like a wickedly decadent blend of SHAUN OF THE DEAD and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.
Screens with short film:
THE CALL GIRLS Dir:Juice/USA/11 min
Junk, a local sanitation worker, impulsively decides to employ the services of a underground escort agency.
THE CALL GIRLS
IMPOSSIBLE HORROR (Sat, Mar 10, 4pm)
1 hr 16 min
Director: Justin Decloux Cast: Haley Walker, Creedance Wright, April Etmanski Writer: Justin Decloux, Nate Wilson Genre: Horror
Lily, an insomniac filmmaker, begins to hear a sinister scream outside her window every night. Determined to help the person that is screaming, she heads into the darkness of her neighborhood and meets Hannah, a veteran “scream hunter”, obsessed with putting a stop to the nightly occurrence. The young women join forces to solve the bloodcurdling mystery and quickly discover that its true source may be an otherworldly threat that is driving its victims into madness - and Lily and Hannah are next.
Screens with music video and short film:
PUSHING RESISTANCE Dir: Dieter Sturm/USA/5 min
In this music video for band LevRage, a post apocalyptic story unfolds about a rouge group of musicians performing an impromptu song for a couple of desert survivors.
THE MORNING AFTER Dir: Leanne Mangan/AUS/7 min
A backpacker awakes at dawn in a rice paddy field outside Siem Reap...with no knowledge of how he got there, what happened the night before - or where his girlfriend is.
This spine-tingling film chronicles the true story of “The most haunted house in England”. Narrated by Julian Sands (WARLOCK, GOTHIC, LEAVING LAS VEGAS), and starring Reece Shearsmith (THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN, SHAUN OF THE DEAD), BORLEY RECTORY features a stunning combination of live action re-enactments, animated photographs from the period, and eerie visual effects.
Be prepared to be mesmerized and chilled in equal portions by the most haunting film of the festival season.
Screens with short documentaries:
HOW TO TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT ED GEIN Dir: Steve Chappell/USA/11 min
HOW TO TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT ED GEIN is a short film by Steve Chappell (CHAP), documenting one blustery October day back in 1997 (around Halloween) when his family (his wife Kathleen operated the camera) stopped at the Plainfield Cemetery in Plainfield, Wisconsin to teach the kids “all about Ed Gein”. Gein is the guy who inspired Robert Bloch to write the novel PSYCHO, which in turn served as the inspiration for such movies as Alfred Hitchcock‘s PSYCHO, the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Growing up in central Wisconsin, CHAP had plenty of opportunity to hear the stories about Ed Gein, and continues with this oral tradition in this entertaining little film.
THE PEPIE LEGEND Dir: Stewart Jay Koski/USA/9min
Full-time folklorist and book author Chad Lewis reveals a 150-year-old legend that continues to resurface in modern day. In an attempt to solve the puzzle of this long-sought legend a $50,000 reward has been offered for indisputable proof of this Midwest lake monster. Filmed entirely on location.
THE BEANING Dir: Sean McCoy/USA/10 min
An experimental sports film combining documentary techniques with horror aesthetics, THE BEANING explores a sinister theory surrounding the death of Cleveland baseball player Ray Chapman in 1920 and the subsequent rise of the Yankee dynasty.
HOW TO TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT ED GEIN
THE PEPIE LEGEND
ATTACK OF THE TATTIE-BOGLE (Sat, Mar 10. 8pm)
Director: Pete Marcy Cast: Rob Jones, Joe Marcy, Christopher Marcy, Lindsay Marcy, Marie Weiss Writer: Adam Anderson, Joe Marcy, Pete Marcy Genre: Horror
A group of unlikely bunkmates gathers at a mutual friend's cabin in remote Wisconsin. Armed with all the comforts of urban life, they are ready to celebrate Independence Day; but when the group is attacked, they are sent reeling. Confused, scared, and unprepared to handle real danger, survivors are forced to battle fears, balance egos, and summon their courage - or die.
Forget "cabin in the woods" slashers in the style of FRIDAY THE 13TH. This edge of your seat film depicts believable adult characters being killed with unpredictable, rapidly descending, and brutal violence. It feels uncannily real, and is all the more disturbing for it.
Plus: Q&A with director Pete Marcy & cast and crew
SCHLOCK AND AWE! MINI TRIPLE FEATURE (Sat, Mar 10, 9:30pm)
2 hr 2 min Genres: Action, Comedy, Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
In a a city full of superheroes and monstrous villains, a clumsy police officer stumbles upon an evil conspiracy. He has to choose whether or not it's worth risking his life to save a city that despises him.
THE STREET WIZARD'S APPRENTICE 30 min Dir: Andrew Melzer, Matt Giordano, Drew Krehel
A hapless drug-dealer finds out he has magical talents when he meets a powerful wizard cursed to look, sound, and smell like a homeless beggar. Together they could go on daring adventures and do magical battles with the forces of evil. But most likely they will just get high.
A teenage girl is having nightmares about strange men cooking her into tea. Everything goes crazy when she finds out her dreams are real. She must use her martial arts prowess to save herself and her kid sister from becoming the beverage flavor of the month!
Plus: Q&A with the filmmakers!
THE STREET WIZARD'S APPRENTICE
MENTAL STATE: REVELATION
SHORTS 2: TALES FROM THE UNDERGROUND (Sun, Mar 11, 12pm)
Take a cinematic journey into the stranger realms of human existence with this confronting, terrifying, sometimes offensive, and often hilarious shorts program.
SIGNAL Dir: Steven Lapcevic/USA/6 min
A reliable glut of misinformation.
IRONHEAD Dir: Thomas C. Johnson/USA/9 min
IRONHEAD documents the creative work of ironmonger Kelly Ludeking and the happenings at his Down on the Farm Iron Pour, a yearly communal gathering of local and national artists collaborating to make cast iron art at the Ludeking family farm in Decorah, Iowa.
NOIRE Dir: Rindert Odegnal/HUN/19 min
By day, Ervin works as a teacher in a suburban school where he tries to survive amongst the deviant students and apathetic teachers. At night he spends every minute trying to finish his first comic book. He tirelessly draws his noir world where gangsters and corrupt policemen fight the only figure of justice: the private investigator. One day, Ervin finds one of his students seriously injured in the school-yard, and he suspects that it's not an accident. He tries to investigate the case while the reality around him begins to change. The noir-world of his comic book starts to bleed through the school walls, and he slowly turns into his comic's protagonist: the justie-seeking private investigator.
THE PRINTER Dir: Zach Lona/USA/2 min
A man sends a document to the office printer. You won't believe what happens next!!!
EVERY ESCAPE IMAGINABLE Dir: Nick Butler/CAN/11 min
In a surreal city scape, a young man named Stan has an unusual job helping miserable city dwellers escape their lives by turning them into any animal of their choice. The procedure may be painful, illegal and expensive, but it’s a popular alternative for people looking for a fresh start.
ENTROPIA Dir: Marinah Janello/USA/15 min
Loneliness and an obsession with vanity has pushed one woman to take unconventional measures to find happiness. After her daily beauty regimen she decides to perform more drastic procedures on her body which trigger her inner thoughts to drive her mad. She Finally leaves her home to venture into the outside world only to find more sadistic ways to enhance her beauty regimen. Symbols of birth, death and rebirth grace the film and asks the audience to ponder the question: How far would you go to turn back time?
MULES Dir: Paul von Stoetzel/USA/15 min
A brutal new short from the director of the feature documentary SNUFF: KILLING FOR CAMERA. Mary-Jo has considered herself useless her entire life as a junkie, thief and now drug mule. But within a day of abject horror she is able to find motherly salvation and purpose in her last blood soaked moments. MULES is a about finding hope within the horror of life.
HELMINTH Dir: Merinda Staubli/AUS/7 min
HELMINTH is an exploration of beauty ideals and the innate abject, grotesque nature of the human body.
STRETCH Dir: Stephan Larson/USA/4 min
Stretch depicts a machine that is based on the design of surgical robots but further refined specifically to stretch things. The machine does not care what it is stretching as long as its purpose is fulfilled… it stretches.
THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF HUNTER WOOD Dir: Stephen Kurowski/USA/8 min
The world needs more fun now! THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF HUNTER WOOD is delightfully unique: Ferris Bueller meets David Lynch at PeeWee's Playhouse. It's a surreal cartoon come to life about the eternal quest for love, with unexpected plot twists as an eccentric young man goes to outrageous lengths to woo the new girl in the neighborhood.
SHOUT AT THE GROUND Dir: Joe Lonie/NZL/11 min
Trapped in a speeding van, a Kiwi rock band succumb to travel sickness while deconstructing the heist that robbed them of an entire weekend’s door take.
EVERY ESCAPE IMAGINABLE
THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF HUNTER WOOD
SHOUT AT THE GROUND
FAKE BLOOD (Sun, Mar 11, 2pm)
1 hr 21mins
Director: Rob Grant Cast: Rob Grant, Mike Kovac, Chelsey Reist, Jacqueline Breakwell Writer: Rob Grant, Mike Kovac, Michael Petertson Genre: Horror, Thriller, Documentary
Rob Grant and Mike Kovac receive a disturbing fan video inspired by their previous horror movie MON AMI, motivating them to investigate the responsibility of filmmakers in portraying violence in movies. In their pursuit of the truth they are unwittingly introduced to the real world of violent criminals and their victims.
Few films have managed to so successfully examine the blurred lines between real and imagined violence. FAKE BLOOD will keep you engaged and unbalanced until the final frame.
Screens with short film:
THE MISTRESS OF THE FOREST Dir: Nicholas Hiatt/AUS/9 min
To meet an impossible deadline and overcome his creative block, fledgling comic artist Neil must enter the world of his characters and learn from the mysterious Mistress Of The Forest.
THE MISTRESS OF THE FOREST
THE MOOSE HEAD OVER THE MANTEL (Sun, Mar 11, 4pm)
Director: Rebecca Comtois, Bryan Enk, Jessi Gotta, Matthew Gray, Shannon K. Hall, Jane Rose Cast: Jessi Gotta, Nat Cassidy. Writer: Jessi Gotta Genre: Horror, Drama, Thriller, Underground
Lillian Hoffhienze-Bachman and her family move into the previously abandoned Hoffhienze ancestral home, where their hopeful new start becomes tainted by the discovery of a century's worth of abuse, dysfunction and violence.
Lillian becomes consumed by her sordid ancestry, terrified that the past might dictate her son's future. The grisly events of the past 100 years are revealed through the eyes of the family's victims... including the moose head hanging on the mantel wall.
Influenced and inspired by the notorious real lives of H.H. Holmes, The Bender Family, Lizzie Borden, Carl Panzram and The Fox Sisters, this dark and unsettling anthology chills to the core.
Screens with short film:
IT BEGAN WITHOUT WARNING Dir: Jessica Curtright, Santiago C. Tapia/USA/6 min
'The time has come,' the Walrus said. And all the little Oysters stood and waited in a row.
IT BEGAN WITHOUT WARNING
FUTURE (Sun, Mar 11, 6pm)
1 hr 26 mins
Director: Rob Cousineau, Chris Rosik Cast: Joshua Cousineau, Connor Sweeney, Phreddy Wischusen, Claire Sloma Writer: Joshua Cousineau, Robert Cousineau, Doug Kolbicz Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama, Romance, Comedy, Thriller
A drunken train-wreck of a time traveler offers a suicidally depressed tea store barista a do-over. The catch is, the do-over comes at a murderous price.
FUTURE is a poignant and funny low-fi sci-fi that begs the question: If you only had a few days left to live, and you felt like no one wanted you around, what would you do with that time? Would you climb a mountain? Fall in love? Invent a world saving device? Or would you eat all the junk you usually don't let yourself have, and blow off work to get drunk with your old friends?
Plus Q&A with directors and writer/star: Rob Cousineau, Chris Rosik, and Josh Cousineau
DADDY ISSUES (Sun, Mar 11, 8pm)
1 hr 28 mins Director: Amara Cash Cast: Madison Lawlor, Montana Manning, Andrew Pifko, Monte Markham Writer: Alex Bloom Genre: Drama, Romance, Underground
Maya is desperate to attend art school in Italy, but lacks the means. So she spends her days escaping into her drawings and social media, where she cyber-stalks the enigmatic Jasmine. Jasmine is an aspiring designer in an emotionally charged, co-dependent, fetish relationship with her neurotic and drug-addicted sugar daddy, Dr. Simon Craw.
Unbeknownst to Jasmine, Simon has an estranged daughter who he hasn’t seen in years: it’s Maya. The three are soon unwittingly enmeshed in a bizarre love triangle. When the shocking truth is revealed will it destroy or liberate the three lost souls...
DADDY ISSUES is compelling, smart, sexy, and at times confronting. The perfect closing night film for MidWest WeirdFest 2018!
Plus: Q&A with DADDY ISSUES director Amara Cash.
Followed by after party with complimentary drink on arrival (21 years and over event).
Screens with short film:
DINNER WITH DADDY Dir: Penelope Costopoulos/USA/10 min
When Denise finally gathers the nerve to pop the big question, everything seems to be falling into place. But when Denise goes to seal the deal with Libby's father, an alternate reality steps in.
DINNER WITH DADDY
CLOSING NIGHT AFTER PARTY (Sun Mar 11, 10pm)
Following the Wisconsin premiere of DADDY ISSUES audience members are invited to come and relax with the festival team and visiting filmmakers at the nearby THE FIRE HOUSE, the official bar of the festival, and situated within easy walking distance of the cinema.
Enjoy a complimentary drink on us,* and chat about the films that screened at the fest, cinema in general, and all things weird!