Damnationland: The Way Life Should Bleed, an evening’s program of five short Maine-made horror films, returns this year with a new crop of Halloween-season terror. The 2011 Damnationland films will be screened Saturday, Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre in Belfast; and Saturday, Oct. 29 at 10 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. at Rockland’s Strand Theatre.

Last year’s Damnationland screened at six theaters throughout Maine during Halloween weekend and garnered close to 600 people in attendance. The mini film fest raises the standard of local filmmaking and provides a chilling event for people to enjoy during the Halloween season. The films are unrated, but are not appropriate for children younger than 17.

The low-budget Damnationland films feature Maine filmmakers, writers, actors and music. New filmmakers are chosen every year for this unique cinematic event. The shorts are screened back-to-back, without interruption. All credits are held until the end of the final film, so as to keep the tension heightened and leave viewers on the edge of their seats.

This year’s Damnationland screenings, which will tour movie theaters throughout the state, offer a very diverse and bizarre set of short horror films with subjects ranging from vengeful spies to cheerleaders in a world gone wrong. These films promise to be scarily entertaining and different from the average Hollywood horror film. Brief synopses follow.

“Are You The Walkers?”, directed by Derek Kimball, is in the spirit of the traditional supernatural folk tale. All the elements are in place: two friends at a diverting point in their relationship; an isolated cabin in the woods; a blizzard; and a returning voice that calls and calls and calls.

“Forgiveness,” directed by David Meiklejohn, tells of a vengeful spy who survives an assassination attempt and takes revenge on the man that tried to kill her. The spy is played by Aly Spaltro, best known in music circles as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper.

“Keeper’s Refrain,” directed by Ben Kahn and Jayson Lobozzo, is based on a legendary account of a mid-19th-century lighthouse keeper and his wife stationed atop the bluffs of Seguin Island, three miles offshore from Popham Beach. The film is about the tedium and isolation of living and working on a remote island in Maine and of a husband’s last great effort to change the course of his marriage.

In “Telephoto,” directed by Jeff Griecci, a photographer sees more than she is supposed to, leading to a country cat and city mouse tale of suspense.

“American Waste,” directed by Michael Hadley, offers a disturbing series of animations focusing on the gruesome and sometimes humorous everyday horror of the American dream. A video of Hadley working on this film may be seen on the Damnationland website, damnationland.com.

For ticket information on the Colonial screening, call 338-5087. Strand tickets are the regular film admission of $8.50, $7.50 older than age 65; all matinee tickets are $7. Tickets may be purchased at the box office window before the shows. For more information, call the Strand at 594-0070 or visit rocklandstrand.com.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to dernest@villagesoup.com.

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