If you are looking for cinematic fare that delves into the strange, the quirky, and the bizarre, look no further than Wisconsin’s MidWest WeirdFest, which each year presents an outstanding array of narrative features and documentaries from around the globe. The festival’s first wave announcement for its March 5–7, 2021 edition continues that tradition with seven fine features including horror offerings drawing on Lovecraft and Poe to one man’s consuming passion to find African cryptid Mokele-Mbembe and beyond. Following is MidWest WeirdFest’s official press announcement.
MidWest WeirdFest announces its first programming wave for 2021 today. The cinematic celebration of all things fantastic, frightening, paranormal, and just plain weird, is now in its 5th year. The festival takes place March 5-7, 2021 at the Micon Downtown Cinema in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
“The world has never seemed so weird. Neither has MidWest WeirdFest’s program of cutting-edge cinema,” says festival founder and director Dean Bertram. “It’s filled with alien abductees, serial killer victims who can’t die, real-life dinosaurs that still live in the Congo, Lovecraftian fish people, mystically empowered but inept ninjas, an erotically twisted re-imagining of Edgar Allen Poe, and a dystopian fungal pandemic that makes Covid-19 look like a cake-walk . . . and that’s just from our first wave of feature film programming.”
Discounted festival passes are now on sale here: https://filmfreeway.com/MidWestWeirdFest/tickets
Festival passes, t-shirts, face masks, collectable dog tags, and more fest merchandise is available only via the festival’s Indiegogo page here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/midwest-weirdfest-2021
Half of the proceeds from this crowdfunding campaign go directly to the Micon Downtown Cinema. Help MidWest WeirdFest, help the Micon, and get cool perks in the process!
Individual tickets to each film will go on sale closer to the festival; both on the fest’s website, and directly from the Micon Downtown Cinema in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Full program details and filmmaker guests will be revealed in the coming weeks.
The first seven feature films announced follow:
ALIEN ABDUCTION (director: Jared Sagal) AV Super Sunshine (a rock and roll band couple) approach a young filmmaker and ask for his help in finishing a film about their true story: being abducted, experimented on, and taken off planet aboard a flying saucer. The couple send the filmmaker their home-made alien abduction film, and he sets out on a mission to either verify or discredit their experience. Unable to debunk the authenticity of the couple’s story, the documentarian resorts to the use of psychological tactics in an attempt to make the couple turn their narratives against one another.
THE EXPLORER (director: Alexandre Brecher) Fresh from it’s “Best Documentary” win at Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, this stunning documentary takes us to the darkest heart of the Congo Basin. There, accompanying cryptozoologist Michel Ballot, we search for Africa’s most famous cryptid: The Mokele-mbembe, an alleged giant reptile or dinosaur (think brontosaurus), that has been reported to stalk the region’s rivers, swamps, and jungles for hundreds of years.
H.P. LOVECRAFT’S THE DEEP ONES (dir: Chad Ferrin) Fest alumni Chad Ferrin (THE CHAIR) returns; this time, riffing on the works of cosmic horror maestro H. P Lovecraft. Ferrin delivers a disturbing, comedic, and sexy adaptation, which brings to mind the work of genre giants from Roman Polanski (ROSEMARY’S BABY) to Stuart Gordon (RE-ANIMATOR). [Editor’s note: You can check out Horror Fuel’s The Deep Ones review here.]
LADY USHER (dir: George Adams) Based on Edgar Allen Poe’s classic tale (The Fall of the House of Usher), this updated re-telling possesses the quintessential features of the Gothic: a large dreary house, strange macabre characters with doubled personalities, and a mysterious sickness. But the fantastic film spins with modern sensibilities, tongue-in-cheek moments, bizarre twists, and dark eroticism.
MIRANDA VEIL (dir: Levin Garbisch) When aspiring serial killer Soren, abducts his first victim Miranda, both of them are shocked to discover that she is unable to die. Faced with the unknown, the two of them struggle to come to terms with this revelation as they embark on an increasingly surreal road trip home. A disturbing yet touching film, that resonates with a richness of character and an all round originality not often captured in the horror/thriller genres.
NINJA BADASS (dir: Ryan Harrison) The Ninja VIP Super Club is doing a slow drag across the American Midwest, culminating in female sacrifice. When they kidnap a “super hot babe” that local scumbag Rex has his eyes on – it’s up to him to become a ninja to steal her back. Then, he hopes, she will have his babies! This hilarious indie hit of the festival season is set to make the director/lead actor a cult genre star.
TIN CAN (dir: Seth A. Smith) An unrelenting fever dream that feels like a nightmarish allegory of the Covid-19 pandemic (even though the film was shot prior to the outbreak). As the world enters quarantine, a front-lines parasitologist is imprisoned in a life-suspension chamber. And to escape, she must destroy the last of her kind. Filled with potent imagery and disturbing themes, this is the brand new sci-fi/horror film from the director of 2018’s critically acclaimed THE CRESCENT.