TheoFantastique is a supporter of independent film, particularly in the form of indie horror. Midnight Syndicate Films makes its contribution to this art form with The Dead Matter. The press release for the film reports that post-production was completed at the end of April. “‘I am absolutely thrilled with how the movie came out,” says Edward Douglas, the film’s director, composer, and sound editor. ‘I think it’s exactly what fans would expect from a Midnight Syndicate movie. Classic horror themes…very atmospheric, very creepy…and loaded with twists and turns that really pull you into the dark world we try to create on all our discs. It’s definitely a fun ride for fans who enjoy a good story and an old-school edge to their horror films.’”
The press release also discusses the film’s plot: “The movie tells the story of a girl named Gretchen who’s desire to reconnect with her dead brother draws her into the supernatural world of vampirism and the living dead. Drenched in the dark and shadowy music of Midnight Syndicate and inspired by EC Comics, Creepshow, and Hammer Films, this mix of classic horror and modern twists promises to deliver for fans of the genre.”
Ed Douglas also responded to a few questions about the film in a brief interview:
TheoFantastique: The Dead Matter has a long history before reaching its present form with the upcoming release. How did you move from horror and Halloween music to independent horror filmmaking?
Edward Douglas: Before forming Midnight Syndicate, I studied film and theatre. My first major project was the original The Dead Matter (1996). Back then we had about $2,000 and had to borrow a Super-VHS camera and mics from our school, John Carroll University just to shoot it. We knew that we were going to be limited by our technical specs but we did the best we could with what we had in order to put ourselves in a position to remake it later with an actual budget. As a midwest filmmaker trying to make a movie out here, Sam Raimi and George Romero were two of my greatest inspirations (Sam Raimi had a slightly similar path with Evil Dead). We released The Dead Matter in 1996 but it would take another ten years before we would be in a position to do it again. The success of Midnight Syndicate put us in contact with a lot of people in the entertainment industry, most notably, FX legend Robert Kurtzman (producer of From Dusk Till Dawn, and co-founder of KNB FX) who contacted us to score his drive-in thriller The Rage in 2006. After he was done shooting that film we approached him about The Dead Matter. He liked the project and signed on. We ended up co-producing the film with him, his company Precinct 13, and producer, Gary Jones (Boogeyman 3, and Xena).
TheoFantastique: The Dead Matter is described as a combination of “classic horror themes with modern twists.” What are you trying to accomplish with this synthesis?
Edward Douglas: Just as is the case with Midnight Syndicate, most of my influences come from the classic horror movies. That comes through in our music and it definitely comes through in The Dead Matter. The throwback feel of this film is also helped along by the look of it and the fact that both myself and the DP, Alex Esber are inspired by Hammer Films, Mario Bava, and 70s/80s horror cinema. We’re dealing with classic horror themes in the vampire and zombie and we respect a lot of the established “rules” which gives the movie and story an old-school feel. The fun comes though when we take those conventions and turn them on their side for a bit (the “modern twists”). It makes for an unpredictable movie that keeps you guessing and entertained. I think what I was trying to accomplish was to create a movie that respects the older vampire and zombie films that inspired us while still touching on new ground to mix it up for all of us that have watched those movies a thousand times over and still love them.
TheoFantastique: How can interested viewers see The Dead Matter? And do you have any plans to try to get it into next year’s Slamdance Film Festival perhaps?
Edward Douglas: We just began talks with distributors and will also be submitting it to festivals. I hope to have more information within the next few months.
If the film is anywhere near the caliber of the 2008 CD by Midnight Syndicate, titled The Dead Matter: Cemetery Gates, which was a collection of music inspired by the movie, then horror fans can expect plenty of frights from the film. For further information visit the film’s website.