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Heartland of Darkness

USA 1992
produced by
Steven E. Williams for Donovan Productions
directed by Eric Swelstad
starring Dino Tripodis, Nick Baldasare, Shanna Thomas, Sharon Klopfenstein, John Dunleavy, Linnea Quigley, Lee Page, Mary Alice Demas, Ray Beach, Elmo Smalley, Sid Sillivan, Ralph Scott, Wesley Coleman, Dallas Dan Hessler, Kirk Adler, Charles Grab, Kelly Barret, Roy McCombs, Nick Kellis, Catherine K. Lewis, Mary Alice Warton, Paulette Bryant, John Q. Adams, Kel Crum, Bryan Moose, Phil Hamilton, Dale Wilhelm, Mike Romeo, Walt Peterson, Davis R. Staggs, Pat Yothers, Rich Stadley, Bob Pivetta, John Branch, Larry Barnes, Mike Roderick, Bob Yothers, Harold Goldsmith, Tim Hower, Gary Jones, Lisa Saulsby, Steven M. Dunn, Phylis Jones, Chip Kocel, Scott Simonson, Denise Davis, Donna LaStella, Jay Woelfel, Kristy Woelfel (voice)
written by Eric Swelstad, music by Jay Woelfel

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Paul (Dino Tripodis), once an investigative reporter with a big newspaper, has moved to a small town in the middle of nowhere, USA, with his daughter Christine (Sharon Klopfenstein) to get away from is all and allow her to grow up in peace and safety. He has scored himself the job of editor-in-chief of the local newspaper, but how much excitement could a job like this truly provide? Quite a bit it turns out, as soon after opening business and hiring Shannon (Shanna Thomas), a fellow big city investigative reporter and soon to be love interest, Paul learns of a particularly gruesome murder cum mutilation. The local Sheriff (Lee Page) deems it drug-related, but Paul and Shannon agree there's more to it than that, and doing some digging at the local library, they soon figure it has to be a Satanic ritual. Then another murder occurs, the body mutilated very much the same, but this time it was the local church's teenaged organist (Kelly Barret) - which brings the local reverend, Donavan (Nick Baldasare), to their attention ... and it brings them to old Reverend Kane's (John Dunleavy) attention, a researcher into Satanic cults, and he pretty much confirms their worst fears, that the whole town's in the claws of Satanists. Now he apparently has the photos to prove it, but before he can hand them over to Paul and Shannon he's murdered by Donavan, and that they get their hands on the pics at all is rather by mistake than design. But them having the photos only makes the Satanists more dangerous, and soon enough they kidnap Paul's daughter Christine, to either exchange her for the photos or (preferably) sacrifice her in a Satanic ritual - so for Paul it's a lose-lose situation, and it's doubtful he even has the means to take on his adversary ...

Genre fave Linnea Quigley plays an (intentionally) a little too sexy teacher in this one.


Now this movie took about 30 years from wrapping to release - and watching it nowadays, one can only wonder why ... and no, I don't think it looks rushed at all, it's just a pretty perfect example of low budget horror cinema from its era, and not at all a bad one at that: The story's interesting and evolves above the merely obvious, the characters feel real, and all the shocks and scenes of suspense are in all the right places. And in all, the film just flows really well, with hardly a boring moment, making this pretty cool vintage genre entertainment.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD