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Indie Horror Movies: Evaluation: Heartland of Darkness

Textual content © Richard
Gary / Indie Horror Movies, 2023
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Heartland of
(aka Fallen Angels; Blood Church)
Directed by Eric

Donovan Productions;
HOD Productions;
Visible Vengeance; Wild Eye Releasing; MVD Leisure
101 minutes, 1992 / 2022

Whereas this movie was to
be launched in 1992 (although filmed in ’89, and not likely completed till 30
years later), it had by no means been provided on any residence format till now. And
typical of the Visible Vengeance sub-brand of Wild Eye Releasing, this Blu-ray was
supervised by director Eric Swelstad into an SD grasp from the unique

Who doesn’t love a
good satanic cult film, except you’re a fundamentalist yahoo? This movie does
not essentially tread new floor, regardless that it’s 30 years previous. Whereas many satan’s
cult releases have come since then, it was preceded by the likes of The
Satan’s Rain
and Race with the Satan, each from 1975. However as I watch
every movie with an open thoughts, let’s hit the play button, lets?

To start with, y’gotta
love a movie that, in its credit, presents Scream Queen Linnea Quigley with an “And”
on the finish of the forged listing, regardless that it’s 1992. Off to begin.

Amusingly, I begin off
with a query concerning the prologue. With out freely giving the explanation, a person is
being chased via the woods by stated cult. I perceive that the chasers are
carrying sun shades to point that they’re a united group, however sun shades
after darkish? Is that this a Cramps music? Looks like a visible oxymoron, like somebody carrying a baseball cap backwards,
and shielding his eyes from the solar along with his hand. The map doesn’t match the

Dino Tripodis, Sharon Klopfenstein

Because the story begins, ex-Chicago
author (saywhat?) Paul (stand-up and future DJ Dino Tripodis
in his first IMDB itemizing) and his teenage daughter Christine (Sharon Klopfenstein,
in her solely position, as with many of the forged), who wears much less and fewer because the
movie goes on, has simply moved right into a small city in Ohio (although largely filmed
across the Columbus space). Paul has taken over the native newspaper, The
Copperton Chronicle
, which clearly has been shuttered for years. Love the
previous typewriters. As I used to be a phototypesetter for an area Brooklyn weekly
newspaper (The Weekly) in Bay Ridge throughout the late Nineteen Seventies, this may increasingly
point out it had been shuttered for fairly a couple of years. He quickly hires Evelyn
(Mary Alice Demas). Additionally employed proper off is ex-The New York Instances author
(saywhat?) and shoulder-pads carrying Shannon (Shanna Thomas). Love
curiosity or cult plant? We will see.

There are many
persona contradictions. For instance, the Sherriff (Lee Web page) is grumpy to
Paul, however offers him data. The native priest, Rev. Donovan (Nick Baldasare),
clearly the unhealthy man, pressures Paul and Christine to point out up at church. Would
not fly with atheistic me. I imply, the biblical god killed far more harmless individuals
than Devil did of their holy guide. However I digress… One other digressive query:
Paul is attempting to make the native, small-town newspaper right into a journalistic
hotspot. Have ya ever seen a small-town newspaper? Normally, it’s 90% native enterprise
promoting (i.e., the paper’s bread and butter), and the remaining is what
is happening on the Rotary Membership, “espresso time” jokes, or who has a seventy fifth marriage ceremony
anniversary. The toughest information you’ll discover will probably be how the native crop did this
12 months, or adjustments within the trucking guidelines.

Nick Baldasare

In the meantime, again to the
present, Donovan rapidly presents himself to be the villain that he’s (once more, no
shock), via his sermon (of which Christine is enamored). I imply, you
know one thing is off when the congregation says a communal “Sure” slightly than “Amen.”
He’s additionally setting in movement a temptress, Julia (Quigley, who’s topless inside
5 minutes of her intro; gotta adore it), to seduce the newcomers into the fold.

Paul and Shannon are
joined by Reverend Kane (John Dunleavy), who’s a Satanic cult knowledgeable. Maybe the
character was named after the Puritan Satanist hunter, Solomon Kane, from the
Robert E. Howard novels. He, Paul, and Shannon, confront Donovan. Which leads
me to another questions: persons are killed off by the cult for the smallest
of infractions, even their very own members (e.g., plans to depart city), so if
confronted by this trio, why are they not instantly killed off just like the
others, particularly after the newspaper first releases a narrative concerning the risk
of the native murders being cult-related? And when do college students (Catherine) and
particularly academics (Quigley) present up in highschool (the place they train about Aleister
Crowley and the optimistic facet of Hitler) carrying belly-showing garments and neck
diving tops? Oh, yeah, in B-movies…

Linnea Quigley

When it’s payback
time, aka Act 3, the motion naturally ramps up. I smiled how one scene close to the
finish mirrored an inverted model the start, one thing uncommon in most movies.

The performing runs from
fairly first rate, reminiscent of the 2 male leads, to only wood and horrible (I’ll
miss the names), however that’s to be anticipated in B-films. In the course of the Eighties
and ‘90s, indie movies leaned in direction of unhealthy performing, however that can be a part of its
appeal, for my part.

There are hours upon hours of extras on this
Blu-ray, so if you’re eager about this type of factor, you ought to be comfortable. It
took me three days to observe all the things, together with these extras. First up is a
full-length commentary with the director, Eric Swelstad, the lead actor Nick
Baldasaere, cinematographer Scott Spears, and composer Jay Woelfel. I used to be amused
that they introduced up the sun shades after darkish; in truth, they point out a bunch
of matters I did above, although I watched this after the movie. Whereas generally
arduous to inform who’s speaking, they’re respectful, don’t speak over one another, and
inform fascinating tales. It was higher than I anticipated with this massive a crowd.
The second full lengther is with Tony Strauss of Weng’s Chop journal. It
a little bit of a extra educational deep dive into the tradition earlier than and after the movie,
information on the shoot itself, and histories of the actors. Typically these dives are
uninteresting, however Strauss’ retains it a bit mild with out shedding any of his subject’s integrity.
A few of what he says is reflective of the earlier commentary, however even then,
he provides extra on high of it.

One of many noteworthy extras is the 2020 documentary
featurette, “Deeper into the Darkness” (39 min). It is a nicely put-together assortment
of interviews of crew members and Baldasaere, combined with archival footage each
in entrance and behind the digicam. Actually enjoyable to observe, truly. I actually loved
the half about Quigley (although she just isn’t interviewed), and the discharge has
been dubbed “The Misplaced Linnea Quigley Movie,” which I discovered amusing. There’s
additionally a trailer for “Deeper into the Darkness.” In the meantime there are two Quigly-related
shorts, a brand new interview known as “Linnea Quigley Remembers” (6 min), and a really
grainy, clearly VHS taped off the TV archival interview on this system “Shut-up”
(20 min). The newer one is simply Linnea speaking about her expertise with the movie
and will get to plug her web site. The older interview by Jane Sachs is from
Columbus Fox Tv, as Quigley not solely talks about this movie (below the title
Fallen Angels), however her profession and her animal rights work. All very
cool, however I particularly appreciated the numerous commercials between the 2 segments,
together with a promo for an upcoming Seashore Boys particular.

The whole, authentic
Fallen Angels 1990 workprint (37 min), can be obtainable with a commentary
observe with director Eric Swelstad, which is how I watched it. This was to be proven
to advertise traders. It has the timeclock on the underside and is grainy, which
helped me admire the fashionable, remaining lower. Sadly, there isn’t a subtitles
for this model, which isn’t shocking. This can be very abbreviated, with
some completely different moments right here and there with extra uncooked edits, together with video
noise between scenes. For the ritual scene, it’s virtually like a blooper reel as
elements are shot again and again. Additionally, some scenes, reminiscent of a key Quigley bit, is
proven each with and with out nudity. A number of the dialog is analogous in
data to the opposite commentaries. Naturally, there’s a “The Making of Fallen
” (18 min), which is classic newscast interviews with Quigley and Swelstad
in an extended format. Once more, it’s a grainy and very “noisy” VHS copy, but it surely
is fascinating as numerous the information is exclusive and never talked about within the

A Nineteen Nineties abbreviated model
of the movie for distributor promotion, edited by somebody out of the loop of the
director, is Blood Church (13 min). Once more, fuzzy, washed out, and time
stamped. It’s kinda bizarre and incoherent. A SFX featurette is “Heartland of
: Filming [Name Redacted]’s Demise” (3 min). I’ve eliminated the character’s
title as a result of it could be a spoiler. This was cool. Following, is an article
scanned from Fantasm journal, which I noticed however didn’t learn.

Then there’s the behind-the-scenes
picture gallery, tv spots, two variations of this movie’s authentic coming points of interest
and the brand new one for this launch, in addition to a few Visible Vengeance
trailers, and non-compulsory English subtitles.

On the bodily facet,
there’s a six-page liner notes booklet, a Restricted Version slipcase (first
urgent solely), a collectible Linnea Quigley folded mini-poster, a stick your
personal’ VHS sticker set, and a reversible sleeve that includes authentic Blood
promotional artwork

For a low price range (appx
$100,000) indie movie (regardless of all of the Pepsi placements), the sensible SFX (with
one exception) appears to be like astoundingly good, and there’s a lot of it. So is the nudity
by a couple of character.

Earlier than this, I had
by no means heard of Heartland of Darkness, which isn’t any shock contemplating
it seen as a “misplaced movie,” however regardless of my questions, I discovered it to be a really
pleasant classic piece of its interval.

IMBD itemizing


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