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Local filmmakers' flick is a fan fave at film festival

September 05, 2012|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE |

It seems HorrorFind Weekend fans were harkening back to a different era when they selected their favorite flick this weekend at the Gettysburg, Pa., film festival.

Neon Reel Entertainment’s “The Darkness and Tom Markos” walked away with Fan Favorite Sunday, Sept. 2, at the end of the three-day event.

“When they announced that we won, in my head I wanted to ask them to repeat it because I didn’t believe my ears,” said director-editor Matt Matzen, 28, of Hagerstown.

“The Darkness and Tom Markos” is about the story of a married couple — he’s a struggling writer, she’s a successful editor — who are visited one night by a stranger. The stranger is the devil, or as he prefers to be called, Tom Markos, and he wants the couple to help tell his story.

The film was shown Friday, Aug. 31, at the festival while the cast and crew sat in the audience to watch the flick.

“It seemed like they reacted to the film just the way I painted it for them,” Matzen said. “They laughed at all the right moments. They gasped at the last moment.”

Screenwriter Rob Talbert, 28, of Hagerstown, said the response was “just overwhelming.” Talbert said during the weekend, people kept on coming up to them congratulating them on the film.

The horror comedy 53-minute indie feature was reminiscent of “The Twilight Zone,” where the scares were more about the psychological build-up and less on the body count.

Screenwriter Steve Shives 28, of Sharpsburg, also starred in the movie alongside his wife, Ashley Hutson. Clayton Myers played Tom Markos.

Matzen said they sold out of the 100 BlueRay/DVD combos they had of the film during the weekend.

The film will receive a certificate for their fan votes.

As for the future, Matzen said they plan to shoot something short for "EVFES000167">Halloween, which will be posted and screened for free on their website. They also hope to submit “The Darkness and Tom Markos” to the Maryland Film Festival for another screening.

To watch a trailer for “The Darkness and Tom Markos,” go to

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