For the fourth year now, Nightmares Film Festival (run by Jason Tostevin and Chris Hamel) has been holding a genre festival in Columbus, OH. They hold a top rank in the genre festivals and for a good reason. They create a family feel from way before the beginning and it continues well afterwards. Their lineup often includes World Premieres and carefully selected blocks of features and shorts from all over the world.
When my movie was accepted into the festival as it's World Premiere, I was thrilled and bought plane tickets right away. Even though I was there a day early and left a day after it ended, I still regret not seeing all I wanted to see, but I had to make tough choices. Sometimes in my exhausted state (very little sleep) I decided to give my brain a break, but many times it was due to talking with other filmmakers, creators, writers, fans, staff, volunteers (all wonderful and hard working), etc. Everyone involved made the experience even more memorable.
29 Needles, was in a 2am time slot that comes with the title of "Late Night Mind Fuck" . “One of the most dangerous and challenging blocks of programming at any festival” (The Film Coterie) The award ceremony was in the 5-6pm slot on the day of my premiere. I was there with P. Andrew Willis, who helped design the sound of the movie and created the original score, as well as the star of the movie Brooke Berry. The movie was nominated for Best Midnight Feature and Best Lead Actor (Brooke Berry). We did not end up winning for the nominations, however we ended up with an even more greater and coveted award of THE FILM FROM HELL - BEST OF THE FESTIVAL. I was in shock. It was the last award and I was just thrilled to be there. What an experience. It is now almost a week later and I still and in a bit of disbelief.
As an artist and filmmaker it is wonderful when you create something you love despite the fact that others may not feel the same about it, but when you get validation and understand, that feeling is remarkable. It motivated me to begin work on my next film as soon as possible.
PopHorror.com - Video Interview
Candy-Coated Razor Blades - Podcast interview
Mr. Needle was making his mark in Mt. Vernon. Auda, The Mushroom Princess, lived in a cozy and spacious home (bedecked with mixed matched antiques and a plethora of plant oddities) deep in the sewer system beneath the surface of the neighborhood. Leaving her home and making her way to the surface, see noticed the handiwork of Mr. Needle at her feet. To the average person, it looked like a large hermit crab, but the tell tale sign that this was Mr. Needle’s handiwork was the fact that the shell of this crab was a barnacle encrusted human skull.
Auda stopped and watch the creature as it drug itself along the wet concrete floor. She wondered who this person once was and what their name had been. How exactly had this happened to them, and why had Mr. Needle sought them out? What had they done or had they even done anything?
Auda knew this curse because she had seen it before. All Mr. Needle needed to do was whisper his curse into his victims ear and these words took hold. It started small, so small a scan of the brain would never pick it up, but it was there. A tiny solid speck that felt like something important you were trying to remember, but couldn’t bring it to the surface, no matter how hard you tried. The first week was like this and it was distracting. The feeling of a lost thought that you just had to uncover, but the second week was the horrible reward for all of time spent trying to remember what you had thought you had forgotten, because this is when the the curse was feeding on those thoughts and growing. By week two, the curse had form and purpose and its heartbeat could be heard by the host. Like the beat of a song they couldn’t shake -an earworm. The next month was a tragic decent into insanity and eventually led to a complete vegetative state and death. Most of those that died from this curse would have been buried and the parasitic curse would did with it, due to enablalming. Some of those afflicted would seek solitude during the period of mental collapse and would end up dying alone. The bodies might eventually be found in the harbor, but the heads would be missing - left to roam the sewer system or shores of the bay.
Auda wondered how long ago this person must have died. How long would it have taken for all this to happen and for barnacles to have had time to grow on the cranial remains which now served as this creatures home. It sent shivers up Auda’s spine and she left the thing where it was. It was horrific and a cruel reminder for those that stood in Mr. Needles way.
By the time Auda had returned from her errands, the creature was long gone, but the thought of it stuck with her much longer. Mr. Needle had been sent from the the Inmost as a warning and if this was a warning to the suvians (like Auda), then what would it be like if he was crossed?
The demise of Chris Dorton was a mystery. Many had speculation based on his erratic behavior in person and on social media lately, but all of the speculations were outlandish. Some people assumed it was suicide. That he had simply gone mad and took his own life somehow, but those that heard how his remains were found knew that suicide would be impossible. Most people suspected murder, but those that felt that way made that determination because it was the easiest way to dismiss the situation and move on. It was tragic, they would think, but he must have gotten mixed up in the wrong crowd and was killed.
His closest from Edward, knew the most, but still wasn’t clear.
Ultimately, the police determined it was an animal attack, but if you had seen his last few posts on Facebook (before they were mysteriously removed), you would know that an animal wasn’t the cause and it was believed they just didn’t want to dig too deep into the details. An easy answer and onto the next case. This also didn’t make sense because of the initial reports which included a missing phone and location of the victim in the second floor of his locked home.
All of Chris’s friends would tell you he loved to meet new people and alway try new things. He did IT work from home so he love the opportunity to be around people and get out of the house. He had gone to most events that he was invited to, even if he went alone. Concerts, parties, Bingo nights, charity events - it didn’t matter. Shortly after he attended a neighbors party in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, he began to ask strange questions of his friends and tell them even stranger. Chris began to ask every new person he met if they were a Suvian. No one knew what he was talking about until he started posting about how there were people in Baltimore that were conjuring demons and he saw one of these rituals in person. Chris removed that post after the comments reached over 200 and there were heated arguments within the thread. Mostly unrelated to the initial statement. If you asked Edward, you would see that the last message that was posted was a comment about someone called Mr. Needle. The post was deleted immediately after.
Edward said Chis had told him that he would dream of this demon in the corner of his room. It would always be watching him. It’s head was a vapor and it’s genitals were dozens and dozens of thin tendril-like tenticals. It would whisper things to him in his sleep. It seduced him with terrors and promises would always say Mr. Needle will come and unlock your bones. Chris said he would always wake up at this point and the corner of the room would be empty.
Chris would post photos of the neighborhood and say there was a suvian in the photo, despite the photo being devoid of anything but an empty street or a random rooftop. Other times he would be on Facebook live or post a video and he would seem scared and would say he was being followed.
His posts to Instagram and Twitter of a photo of a key and the question “How do you unlock a bone?” got many responses, but all were either a joke or someone asking him for the punchline. It this point some of Chris’s friends would post concern for his mental health or ask if he wanted to meet them for a drink, but he would either ignore them or decline. The last post that is still up on Chris’s page is a photo of him smudging his place with sage and you can clearly see salt had been poured in various patterns around the room.
Edward said that he hadn’t seen Chris for a few days, but he remembers the last two posts that Chris made before they were taken down. The first post was a photo of the inside of his refrigerator and it was fully stocked with food. The caption said My door is locked and the fridge is stocked. Not leaving for weeks. The suvians can’t help and he is coming.
The second post was a video that was posted the following evening. It was dark and you couldn’t make out much except an empty corner of his room. Chris was crying and frantic and insisted that the Archdemon of Seduction was right there and telling him horrible things that Mr. Needle would do to him. This went on for about a minute until he swung the camera around to the window which was open. The last thing he said was “Oh my God, he’s here.” He panned the camera up toward the ceiling he was trying to capture something that was quite tall in the video. Well over eight feet because his ceiling was 9.5’ high.
Both of these videos were deleted the next morning.
The news reported multiple things that were peculiar. Police indicated that the videos were deleted from Facebook by the account owner and not by Facebook. This conflicted with the time of death. Chris’s home was found locked and bolted from the inside and his phone was missing. The details of how his remains were found were not released, but Edward was told by a neighbor who had overheard police at the scene. Someone had called the police because of screams coming from an open window on the second floor. The neighbor made out that the remains were divided. Piles of neatly arranged bones. All cleaned and separate from the rest of him.
Augen needed a vacation. An escape from the chaos happening around him at home in Baltimore. The threat on the suvians from the beasts and shadows from the Inmost, was becoming stronger by the day.
His beloved Elsie was visiting relatives in New York City, so Augen decided to meet her there. He knew they would not get much time together, but even if they could sneak in a romantic night out on the town, it would be worth it to him.
Augen had arrived via the Bolt bus a few hours ago and walked the streets with Elsie on his mind. They were scheduled to meet in a few hours. He passed bodega’s, souvenir shops, discount jewelry stores, small art galleries, smaller cafes, and varieties of street vendors. He took in all of these things, but they were secondary pleasantries that contributed to the anticipation of this evening. Elsie had been traveling for more than a year with her family. It was supposed to be a much shorter trip, but it extended longer due to complications. Elsie had come from a long line of vampires and it was necessary for them to return to their homeland of Constanța, Romania for reasons she did not want to go into. Although Augen would have loved to have join her on the trip, Elsie’s father still did not approve of their romance. He was lucky enough to no longer to be stalked and threatened by the family, but they were a long way away from being cordial with him. Her uncles avoided him and her father could not bring himself to acknowledge him directly. There had been progress though and Augen was patient.
Red neon poured out of a bay window he that he wandered by. It distracted him from these thoughts. The neon oval read “Psychic” and the sandwich board on the sidewalk advertised Palm Reading. In a moment of pure impulse and curiosity, he walk toward the entrance, but then turned back around toward the street in dismay. What fortune could be told from these hands of his? He looked down at them and although most people that would look at him would see a middle aged man in shorts and a T-shirt, he was able to see through the mental hologram he created and see the real Augen - his blue skin and his tentacled arms. What would that reveal? Could it even reveal anything at all?
“Let me help you.” Came a voice from behind him. He turned and saw a pleasant woman with dark hair. “Come in.” She beckoned and reached for his hand.
Augen hesitated, but did not resist. He was led to a small table and she sat opposite him. “Let me see your hands.” she said with a smile.
“I don’t think there’s much to see.” Augen said. A sadness came through in his voice. He wanted to know about the outcome of the growing tension between the suvians and hateful beasts that were threatening the suvian, but he also wanted to know about Elsie and her family. Would he ever be given a chance or would their love be wrought with conflict and distress.
She took his hands and turned them both with their plans upward. She ran her fingers here and there - intently following pathways he could not see. Her facial expression revealed that she was having some difficulty with something. Perhaps trying to process information into a correct translation. She took his hands and folded them together so his palms were touching and both inside her hands, and then she looked at him. Her gaze seemed to fall beyond his eyes. It went deep. Augen knew that she knew he was not human. She saw him and had seen him from the very beginning when he was outside. When she had not asked him what hand he favored, he suspected something, but now he knew. Few hands had this gift. To see beyond the illusion the suvians could create and she was one.
“What I see is difficult to say.” She said with a comforting and pleasant expression. “You have difficulty ahead…”
She closed her eyes momentarily and then returned his gaze. He had not let her finish. “If I tell you what I see, it will not help you, but let me say this.” She paused and chose her words. “Trust yourself. Do not let doubt take hold.” She opened his hands and pointed to lines that split and intersected with other lines. “Your struggles ahead are great. Keep love in your heart; whatever happens.”
Augen did not like hearing any of this, but felt good that she had seen some kind of hope ahead as long as he trusted himself and asked out of love.
“But!” She said holding up a finger. “Having said that, I will tell you this as well. You should know that following your heart and acting out of love are two different things.”
Augen seemed more confused and she could see this.
“One piece of advise.” She offered and Augen nodded for her to continue. “I do not normally do this but, change your plans tonight. Be alone and go back home tomorrow.”
Augen thanked her and paid her ten dollars instead of the five that was on the sign. He left the shop and it began to rain. Seemingly out of nowhere, an umbrella vendor appeared shouting “Five dollar umbrellas” and the smell of rain began to momentarily overtake the sells of gyro and urine that had been so strong second earlier. Augen bought an umbrella and began walking. Not sure it he should head to were he was supposed to meet Elsie or if he should follow the psychic’s advise. It felt like he was struggling inside to turn left or turn right at an imaginary intersection that was quickly approaching. Stay and see Elsie - Left. Don’t see her and go home tomorrow - Right. Left, I will go left. That’s what I’ll do. I love her and miss her. No. Right. I should listen to the psychic. Yeah, I should do that, but I feel anxious and stressed thinking of that option. Go with my gut. What does my gut say?
A text message came in and it was Elsie. “So excited to see you. I miss you. Thank you for coming up.”
Augen stood still in the rain under his new umbrella with colliding and conflicting thoughts in his head all vying for top position. Minutes passed. He knew she had seen that he had read her message.
“Me too! I love you. See you soon.” He typed and couldn’t hit send. He hesitated. Deleted the text and typed. “I love you, but I am so sorry. Something came up. I won’t be able to see you tonight. So so sorry. Let’s talk tomorrow and I’ll explain.” He hit send and muted his phone. He stood and thought of where Right might lead him.
Adrian Cox was born in Georgia in 1988, and after a few stops on the way, he made his way to where he currently lives - Los Angeles, California. Cox’s style began early in his career as an artist and has remained. His work consists of a mythos and narrative derived from his desire to express the connection between humans and the environment we live in. Boarder Creatures consist of a changing composition of the organs and individual material we are made of. These beings live in the Borderlands, but do not live there alone. As his work has evolved - so has the narrative that takes place in his paintings. The painting I highlighted, “Amniotic Paradise”, depicts a typical scene you may find in his paintings although his current work has focused more on themes of harmony and peace and no so much grim and somber scenarios. There are many interviews out there and loads of information available on Adrian. I urge you to visit the sites below and learn more about him and his beautiful paintings.
Constance had been friends with Clementine for twenty years now. Although they were quite close and shared many hopes, dreams, wishes, memories, and even secrets, Constance never told Clementine that she was a Suvian. She always hid her true appearance from Clementine. Few suvians ever risked telling a human their true nature, and even fewer ever let the facade slip away and show their true appearance. They wandered through the Flower Mart that had been a tradition of theirs that started on the day they met at the same fair all those years ago. Rain or shine they had gone and enjoyed the day wandering through the various stalls, attending contests (the Grand Hat Contest was Clementine’s favorite and she had almost won twice), enjoying the live music and the various foods to offer. They loved ever moment of it and attended both Friday and Saturday.
As the suvian population grew in Baltimore, so did the variety of plants and creatures they had brought with them when some of their kind came to live on the surface so long ago. This was the first year that Constance had seen some at the Flower Mart.
“That is quite a peculiar plant.” Clementine noted as she studied it. Was the breeze moving the plant or had she seen it move on its own?
“It looks like is is related to the Venus Flytrap.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“I think have seen it at the farmers market a few times.” Constance said in an attempt to normalize the peculiar potted plant.
“Yeah.” Clementine thought. “Maybe. That plant stand from the Eastern Shore. I may’ve seen it there.”
They continued to walk around and enjoy the day, but Constance continued to think about the plant that she knew well. It was related to the Venus Flytrap, but it could grow to be quite big in the right environment. Some could even get big enough to eat a bird. Constance also knew that if cooked right, it was quite tasty.
As the evening grew to and end and the good friends said goodbye Constance put on a happy face and pretended that she hadn’t been distracted since she saw the flytrap plant. They hugged each other and Clementine got into her car happy and tired. Ready to go home and put her feet up. Constance made her way back to the vendor and bought the flytrap plant. The vendor was a suvian too and they gave each other a knowing wink. It made Constance sad. Hidden in plain sight. It was convenient, but it also felt somehow deceitful to her good friend. All these years and she knew that Clementine didn’t truly know her. Constance cut a stalk off the plant and prepared a small snack for herself. As she diced and simmered and folded the treat into corn tortilla, she wondered if her friendship would be over if one day she had the courage to truly be herself in front of her dearest friend.
Sergey Sovkov was born in Russia, 1972, in a little town called Kyshtym. It is located near Chelyabinsk in Ural. When Sergey was young he lived some time in the north of Siberia, but eventually moved to Togliatti (near the big River Wolga in the region of Samara) to study art pedagogics (related to the methods of teaching). After his marriage to his husband, Erwin Sovkov, who is Austrian, he moved to Vienna where they currently live. Sergey’s first professional exhibition was in 1995 (at the age of 23), but he has been creating art since childhood. As a boy Sovkov enlisted himself into an art school while also attending his required schooling, but unfortunately had no time to finish the art school. After graduation, he attended the University in Togliatti to study art pedagogics. In Russia it is a comprehensive and all inclusive art education. After graduation Sergey worked, trained, and developed his skills of art and stayed as a teacher in the university for 17 years where he advanced from an assistant to finally a lecturer. Sergey creates using many mediums and styles (clay/sculpture, pastel, oil, ink, and pencil) and although his favorite to work with is oil on canvas, currently his inspiration has drawn him to his pastel and clay work. Two opposites and with drastically different outcomes, but the connection between the two would be a dream-like quality of man and nature. Where his art in oil, ink, and pencil seem to highlight and capture the beauty of life, whether it be a playful street scene, a simple collection of food and/or flowers, or a lazy afternoon, Sovkov manages to capture his subjects in a way that evokes a serenity and beauty that comes from a place of love. A moment of pure joy captured.
The first painting in his current style in oil was painted in 1999 was a still life with peonies made with palette-knife and afterwards surrounded every single color with a black line. While visiting his best friend in Italy Sergey showed this painting to an artist there who loved it and suggested that he use the same style on contemporary themes. She also gave my style the caption "Di Vetro“ which translates to “Made of Glass” because of how it resembles stained glass, like the painting I featured for this highlight.
Sovkov has had exhibitions in Russia, Germany, Holland, Austria, United Kingdom. Years ago, Sovkov’s now-husband was given a painting of his which he loved so much he wanted to meet the artist that created it. They met in Vienna to get to know each other. Erwin is a dancer and invited him to a photo shoot. In that shoot Sergey was so amazed how he poses and moved that he was inspired to sketch and paint everything he could. This began their life together and partnership. Erwin is a practicing photographer, which provides images for Sergey to use in his paintings along with live models. They will soon open a gallery in Vienna and launch their .com website for a wider audience in the near future. I urge you to use the links below to discover his stunning work and see for yourself how he shapes his vision in the various mediums he utilizes.
German website -
English website (coming soon) -
One of the online galleries that feature his work -
Liffeys are small. About four to six inches tall and covered in a fine, but dense, mossy fur. Laloux had a fondness for the arcane creatures and always looked for them during her visits to Ireland. Even looking for them, they are easy to miss due to the fact that they hide well and even in pain sight, they camouflage with the surroundings perfectly. Liffeys love damp and green areas and are often found near waterways or ponds and the most common place would be near their namesake, the River Liffey. One quality that Laloux loved about the Liffeys is that that moss will grow where a Liffey makes its home and Laloux loved moss of all kinds. If a liffey lived in one place for long enough, a wide variety of mosses would begin to flourish.
On her recent trip to Ireland Laloux hoped to find some and convince them to move to Baltimore and help with the moss that grew on the stones and bricks in the dark and damp corners of her backyard. She wanted all types of moss. A wide variety of cushion moss, different kinds of sheet moss, a few kinds of rock cap moss, but most importantly she wanted an enormous selection of haircut moss to use in some of her most rare teas and tinctures. With the right ingredients, she could make potions that would charm the fairies, stop aging and need reverse it, make trolls sleep, and that is just to name a few of the recipes she knew.
Laloux knew what to look for and she finally had success on the riverbank of Waterstown Park near the base of the Farmleigh Bridge. There were a dozen and they were doing what they love to do - which is sleeping. Second only to building camouflaged fairy homes, which is more of a favor that they do for them as a barter for protection. The Liffey have no self defenses and can be very vulnerable if they are sleeping outside of their homes (which look like a moss covered rock), so the protection the fairies provide is essential to their survival.
It was after a lot of bartering and discussion that two of the Liffeys decided to go with Laloux to Baltimore, Maryland. She promised them protection, plenty of food, and travels to anywhere they wanted to visit. The return trip was thrilling for the two Liffeys (Brín and Peadar) and when they reached their destination they immediately settled down for a nap in Laloux’s garden in a small sunny spot near a rather large fox skull that she had placed there last year. The moss that had taken root last year, already looked healthier with the Liffeys near by and Laloux smiled as she slowly leafed through her potion book. Exhausted from the trip, but quite content.
Alex Overfelt was born in Wellington, Kansas in 1989 but now lives in Dallas, Texas where he works as a professional tattoo artist at Sleep Hollow Tattoos. His work as a tattoo artist has brought clients from all over, but first and foremost he is a painter and it show in his work. Overfelt does not have a website or a clear way to purchase his art, but buyers find a way to get their hands on his grim yet breathtaking paintings or prints. Alex has an active Facebook and Instagram page which I urge to visit. The dark visions that come to life on board, canvas, paper, and even mirror are haunting. His passion for art has been with him for as long as he can remember. In 2008 Overfelt began studying art at the Art Institute of Dallas, but ended up changing directions and began his apprenticeship as a tattoo artist. The painting I have highlighted is still in the works, but as you can see, it looks like it near completion. Visit the links below and see what his past creations are, and what is in store for him in the future.
Hildreth was a behemoth. A hulking mass of tentacles and ferocity, but she was also cunning and diplomatic. Her protective and watchful eyes had never missed an account of trickery or disguise, which is why the counsel had appointed her to keep watch. Mr. Needle had been lurking in the neighborhood of Mt. Vernon, Baltimore these days and there were darker forces within the Grootslang that were pulling his strings. This does not discount the severity of Mr. Needle’s individual encounters or intentions. He was not one to cross. His encounters were some that had been written in history books. The great grimoires and crumbling scripts of the ancients had even mentioned him by name.
Hildreth had followed Mr. Needle on many occasions. He had a collection of dark entities that did his biddings and followed him around, they were know by many as the Shadows. On occasion Hildreth had spotted the Shadows lurking about the neighborhood on their own. One particular cold February morning (just before sunrise and as the city was quiet and the sky was beginning to brighten on the horizon), Hildreth witnessed five of the Shadows emerge from the storm drain and Mr. Needle was nowhere in sight. One by one they floated off to the nearby rooftops and bridged the peak and went out of sight. Instead of following them, this time Hildreth crawled down from her vantage point to investigate the storm drain. She knew that Auda, the Mushroom Princess, lived in the sewer system and she hoped that she was safe. Auda lived all alone down there despite the counsel advising her to move to the surface, where most of the suvians already live.
Hildreth noticed a faint glow within the corner cover of the storm drain. It moved slightly, but did not dissipate. She crouched down and discovered that it was a runt of a demon. Not much bigger than a softball and sitting on the edge with the most curious little eyes.
“Hello there.” Hildreth beckoned. “I won’t hurt you.”
The little beast cooed and pulsed with a greenish yellow glow from inside it’s dark and smoky form. The light was like a little storm coming from a cloud. It emerged from the canopy of the drain and sniffed one of Hildreth’s tentacles. Green static sparked between the two of them, but it didn’t hurt. A minor spark of curious magic.
“You should get back home.” Hildreth told the little one. The little demon blinked with understanding, but did not obey. Instead, it crawled up over Hildreth’s tentacle she tried to snuggle into one of the coils which tickled Hildreth.
The little beasty followed Hildreth back to her lookout and even after much dissuading, it even followed her back to her home. Despite Hildreth’s size and fearsome nature, this little creature had found a soft spot in her heart. After days and days of attempting to get the beasty to go back to it’s home, it would not go and had bonded with her. She seemed to fear going back. After a week, Hildreth gave up and decided to keep the beasty and name her Tempest, which she seemed to like and whenever Hildred called her by name, she would glow and purr and sometimes even let out a little burst of static. Tempest even began to copy Hildreth's shape, so they would look similar. They became quite an inseparable pair and if you looked for them, you may just find them studying the neighborhood from the roof of one its many buildings - looking for the Shadows and Mr. Needle.
As of October 2016, I intended to use this blog as an accompaniment to my Facebook page and Instagram page. On this blog I post information and updates about my work as well as once a month I highlighted an artist whose work I like (I stopped doing this when I opened my gallery www.GalleryBlueDoor.com). As of March 2017, I began posting a monthly Story Entry with an accompanying illustration of mine. In mid-2019 I took a break from this, but it will resume.