Superstitions, UFOs, and Villains Are On Tap for Wisconsin’s 2024 MidWest WeirdFest

If the odd, the unusual, and the bizarre in cinema appeals to you, have a gander at the full-program announcement for the 2024 edition of Wisconsin’s MidWest WeirdFest, scheduled for March 13. Following is the official press announcement.

MidWest WeirdFest announces its full program for 2024 today. The 8th annual film festival — a cinematic celebration of of all things fantastic, frightening, paranormal, and just plain weird — takes place March 1-3, 2024 at the Micon Downtown Cinema in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

The fest’s fantastic line-up of horror, sci-fi, underground, paranormal, and documentary cinema, kicks off at 6pm, Friday March 1, with the theatrical world premiere of the brand new, and soon to be cult hit, BLIND COP 2.

“The story of getting BLIND COP 2 made is nearly as absurd and feverish as the film itself.” says the film’s director and co-writer Alec Bonk.

“Our small group of highly impassioned and exceedingly motivated artists came together and forced this movie into being through 5 years of blood, sweat and tears. This movie is a sequel to a film that does not exist, with an ultra macho vengeance seeking action hero that could fit right into any number of films that defined 70s and 80s American cinema. We couldn’t have been more excited when Dean asked us to open MidWest WeirdFest, one of the top tastemakers for independent genre filmmaking in the country. Team Blind Cop is looking forward to screening alongside another fantastic group of films!”

BLIND COP 2 is one of the amazing feature films to be showcased at the festival next month, along with over fifty short films.

This feature films screening at the festival include:

BLIND COP 2: (dir: Alec Bonk) THEATRICAL WORLD PREMIERE

A sequel to a film that doesn’t exist, this is a riotous homage and parody of 80s action cinema. Blind Cop, the former beacon of justice, is consumed by grief after the mysterious death of his partner in the first movie. (Again there is no first movie.) His once-illustrious career has been reduced to drunken disorderly conduct, putting him at odds with the police force.  Fired for his reckless behavior, Blind Cop ventures into the dark underworld of the city to continue his investigation into his partner’s death. The truth he seeks may not be what he expects, but he will stop at nothing to avenge his fallen partner and bring the criminals responsible to justice.

BLOODY BRIDGET (dir: Richard Elfman) MIDWEST PREMIERE

Voodoo deity Baron Samedi transforms a down on her luck burlesque dancer into a “Valentine Vampire.” But blood only whets her appetite; to satiate her gory desires she must eat her victims’ beating hearts! A bloody – and bloody fun – horror comedy from director Richard Elfman, music by Danny Elfman and Ego Plum. Fans of comedic horror and camp will delight!

THE BUILDOUT (dir: Zeshaan Younus ) MIDWEST PREMIERE

The mesmerizing feature debut from MidWest WeirdFest alum and award winning director Zeshaan Younos, and executive producer Greg Newkirk (HELLIER, THE UNBINDING).  Shot in only 7 days, THE BUILDOUT seamlessly and intentionally unfolds through a multi-camera narrative approach. It is a profound and moving cinematic meditation on the impact of the paranormal and high strangeness on both human relationships and our very existence.

DAUGHTER OF THE SUN (dir. Ryan Ward) MIDWEST PREMIERE

A 12-year-old girl struggles with life on the run as she travels across the American mid-west with her father who has Tourette Syndrome (a bravura performance by the film’s writer/director Ryan Ward). Wanting nothing more than a normal family life, she befriends a community of outcasts in the remote countryside who want to harness a volatile supernatural power her father is hiding. The film echoes the best of 70s cinema. Both its fierce immediacy and originality, as well as a heady mix of pending paranormal revelation from that decade’s best genre offerings. Akin to what might have struck an audience when first watching CLOSE ENCOUNTERS on its opening weekend; right on the cusp of tent-pole cinema, and long before the MCU had commercialized and juvenilized cinematic imaginings of the fantastic. 

EVERYONE IS GOING TO DIE (dir. Craig Tuohy ) SNEAK PEEK SCREENING

On his daughter’s birthday, a wealthy father’s reconciliation attempt is hijacked by two female burglars. A shakedown evolves into a lethal cat-and-mouse game as hidden motives emerge, culminating in a life-altering revelation. A brilliant, bloody, shocking, and twist-ladened addition to the home invasion genre.

FLASHLIGHT (dir. Justen Patrick Lander) WORLD PREMIERE

A young cleaning lady receives mysterious phone calls, pushing her to reluctantly investigate the disappearance of her father amid an oncoming solar storm. A gorgeous, evocative, and moody lo-fi, sci-fi, thriller, FLASHLIGHT evokes a mood somewhere between THE X-FILES and a NANCY DREW mystery, played out in an insomniac landscape, haunted by the hum of late night Coast to Coast AM broadcasts. It is, in a word, mesmerizing.

GUNFIGHTER PARADISE (dir. Jethro Waters) WORLD PREMIERE

A hunter returns home to North Carolina with a mysterious green case. Following the death of his mother, he settles back into the family home where his mind begins to disintegrate. Stalked by divine voices and unholy visions, guided by disquiet, his mother’s hand written riddles and strange visitors further complicate an already splintering mind. A cable man, a mummified cat, zealous neighbors, and a killer swirl through this darkly comic southern gumbo. It’s a film that is as beautiful as it is disturbing. As horrific as it is comedic. It resonates with a genuine understanding of human nature, particularly our violent and religious drives and impulses.

LAST WEEKEND (dir: Curtis Anthony Williams) MIDWEST PREMIERE

LAST WEEKEND is a slow burn drama that subverts into a twisted neo-noir. When Sylvia (Virginia Rand – Candy Land) and Ethan (Charlie Barnett – The Acolyte, Russian Doll) meet for an electric one night stand, they find themselves bound together in a drug fueled mania. After Harrison (Hunter Morton) a disturbed ex-lover resurfaces, Sylvia is forced to confront her dark past. As the weekend spirals, they are unable to reconcile with the consequences of human nature. Rand’s portrayal, of a woman whose life spirals out of control, is a show-stopper; perhaps the most powerful female performance of the year.

THE POCKET FILM OF SUPERSTITIONS (dir. Tom Lee Rutter) US PREMIERE

A spell-binding cinematic experience which evokes both the wonder and terror a child might experience flipping through the pages of an illustrated “pocket book” on the paranormal. It delivers a mesmerizing and creepy merging of folkloric horror, the supernatural, and dadaist humor as it looks at various superstitions through the ages.  The film features a wonderful roster of performers, including a stunning array of first ladies of the silver-scream: Caroline Munro (Maniac, Slaughter High, Dracula AD 1972), Lynn Lowry (Shivers, The Crazies, Cat People), Dani Thompson (Serial Kaller, My Bloody Banjo) and Annabella Rich (Eating Miss Campbell), as well as a who’s who of the current British indie horror boom.  And get ready for pitch-perfect, almost hypnotizing, narration from living cult legend The Shend; of Dadaist punk/post-punk bands The Cravats and The Very Things.

THE UFO’S OF SOESTERBERG (dir. Bram Roza) US PREMIERE

In the early morning of February 3, 1979, a mysterious object flew over Soesterberg Air Base. At least twelve soldiers witnessed this. Despite being in the middle of the cold war this event has still remained unexplained. And that is not the only anomalous sighting in that specific part of the Netherlands. A fascinating examination of a stunning series of UFO encounters, this film travels down an ever spiraling mystery of high strangeness and US Military secrets. 

VILLAINS INC. (dir. Jeremy Warner) MIDWEST PREMIERE

After the death of their villainous boss, low-level henchpeople Beatrix, Cain, and Harold are left destitute living in an abandoned grocery store. Not content with this situation, Beatrix is determined for them to strike out on their own and take over the world by any means necessary. A refreshing and hilarious take on the superhero genre, told from the perspective of aspirational villainous underlings. With bravura comedic direction and loaded with a stellar cast, including: Mallory Everton (GO WEST, LOVING LYFE),  Colin Mochrie (WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?) JASON GRAY (STUDIO C, GO WEST), this film is not to be missed.

The full line-up of visiting filmmakers will be announced soon.

MidWest WeirdFest’s full 2024 program and schedule can be viewed here:  https://www.midwestweirdfest.com/program

Tickets to all films, along with discounted festival passes, are available to purchase here: https://www.midwestweirdfest.com/tickets

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.