BELFAST, Maine — Welcome to Damnationland, the way life should bleed.
Yes, you read that right.
During Halloween week, cinemas in Belfast, Houlton and Waterville will feature seven original, Maine-made horror films. The short films will be shown at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at the Colonial Theatre in Belfast and at the Temple Theatre in Houlton, both of which are co-owned by Mike Hurley. The films also will be shown at 9:15 p.m. the same day at Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville.
“Anytime films are made in Maine, we’re excited to do that,” Hurley said this week. “Horror and this kind of thriller filmmaking, for many people, they can’t stand it. But for a very significant segment, they absolutely love it.”
The seven shorts were produced exclusively for the new Damnationland project, said Eddy Bolz, a co-organizer and a projectionist at Portland’s Nickelodeon Cinemas. The other organizer, Allen Baldwin, is also from Portland.
“We want to try to get people to realize hey, there is a Maine film scene,” he said. “And I think it’s a cool idea to get some people to make some horror movies.”
He said he has been pleased with the excellence of the eight- to 15-minute films, all made in southern Maine locations. The project is low- or no-budget, Bolz said, but that didn’t stop anyone from turning in great, suspenseful and even funny films. The filmmakers were given no funding or direction, and the project organizers could offer only one thing — a guaranteed showing at the Nick. The films were shown there Thursday and Friday nights.
“I really like them all. What they were able to do was incredible,” he said. “We decided to get other theaters involved. There’s so much talent, it was a no-brainer.”
The films ended up being very diverse, Bolz said.
“There’s a couple psychological thrillers. There’s a supernatural story dealing with a couple in the woods that were kidnapped by some guy. Each one is different and unique in its own way,” he said.
A zombie film made in Brunswick by filmmaker Christian Matzke tells the story of a Maine town infested with undead pests.
“It’s a cool story,” he said. “That’s probably the funnest one of the bunch. It’s a humorous piece.”
In fact, although some automatically assume horror is synonymous with “splatterfest,” that’s not how the films turned out.
“These are intelligent films,” Bolz said.
He and Baldwin plan to do the Damnationland project every year with new filmmakers and screen the shorts around Halloween.
“We want to try to get central and northern Maine filmmakers involved, too,” he said. “When you say, ‘Maine film scene,’ it can’t just be southern Maine.”
For information, go to www.damnationland.com.