Directed by Eric Swelstad and also starring scream queen Linnea Quigley, In the heart of darkness (A.K.A blood church) was previously considered a lost 1980s/early 1990s film. However, a finished version will finally be available on Blu-Ray on November 8, 2022! We asked one of the film’s stars, Nick Baldasare, about it.
Interview with Heartland of Darkness star Nick Baldasare
1428 ELM: Heartland of Darkness looks like an interesting movie. Why did it take so long for it to come out?
NICK BALDASARE: From what I understand, Eric, the director, simply ran out of money to finish it. He could explain much better than me, because I was only an actor in the film.
1428 ELM: The In the heart of darkness Bluray is to come with a 40-minute behind-the-scenes documentary, 3 commentary tracks and a new interview with star Linnea Quigley. Looks like you’re going to do it all! What more can we expect from this promotional blitz?
NICK BALDASARE: Well, hopefully a lot of online interviews with participants. I think there are a lot of interesting stories about the making of hood and where the different actors landed in their lives; too many stories to enter here. Suffice it to say it was one hell of an adventure and I’m proud to have been involved and can’t wait to tell my story to anyone who is interested. It remains to be seen if anyone is interested, because the film is unveiled. Of course, many of these stories appear as extras on the disc itself.
1428 ELM: How do you feel about the Satanic Panic era of the 1980s and 90s compared to the Satanic Panic stuff going on today?
NICK BALDASARE: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Going back to the Salem witch trials, there have always been powerful people willing to exploit the fears and superstitions of the masses for their own gain. Today it’s still the same shit. Now the tools are more sophisticated to spread lies and rumors with the internet and corporate media in our lives.
It’s all about power and control. And anyone who threatens the rich and powerful is subject to demonization based on lies and savage conspiracies. It’s a proven way to build and hold power.
1428 ELM: What are some of your favorite movies or TV shows dealing with Satan, hell, demons, etc.? ?
NICK BALDASARE: Just watched the original from 1979 Fantasy movie and I loved it. I had always dismissed it as not worth watching and was blown away by the director’s take on it. The 70s and 80s were the golden age of horror. That and exploitation are 2 of my favorite genres. Of course you can’t beat Rosemary’s baby like the height of satanic films. Like Coscarelli with Fantasya good director can make such films unforgettable.
1428 ELM: How has the horror genre changed since this movie was made (for better and for worse)?
NICK BALDASARE: The obvious answer is the digital format. Most of the movies I’ve been in are in the horror genre and they were all shot on film. Plus they all used practical effects, which I prefer to most of the CGI we see today. That being said, I think there are plenty of decent horror movies on the way. I loved Hereditary and I thought pearl was a gem.
But there is also a lot of waste. In the same way, some of today’s garbage could be cherished in the future. I think it happened to a lot of movies made decades ago, including mine.
1428 ELM: What do you say to anyone who rejects In the heart of darkness because it took so long to get an official release?
NICK BALDASARE: I would say it’s their loss if they reject it, because there’s a lot to like in it. Are there any flaws? Sure, but I’ve always found the flaws to be part of the charm of low-budget horror. It all depends on your expectations. If you don’t like the kitsch and low-budget exploitation of the 80s, this movie might not be for you. However, if you like local horror with lots of action, gore, and nudity, this will be your alley.
1428 ELM: What other under-the-radar movies are there that people should watch?
NICK BALDASARE: I did a movie directed by Jay Woelfel called Beyond the Dream Gate which was recently published by Vinegar Syndrome. It’s more popular now than when it came out in the 80s. I also have a movie called asylum of darkness which was shot on 35mm 10 years ago. It was directed by Woelfel and stars myself, Tim Thomerson and Richard Hatch. It’s a pearl that I think is ripe to be rediscovered.
Visual revenge and physical media
1428 ELM: What can you tell us about Visual Vengeance, and how important is it to keep physical media alive?
NICK BALDASARE: I’ve been a huge collector of physical media most of my life. I went from VHS to laserdisc, to DVD, to Bluray, to 4k. Currently I have over 1000 records. I especially like what Visual Vengeance does. They show a lot of love and respect for lost or forgotten cult movies by sprucing up their releases with swag and plenty of extras.
Now is the perfect time to be a collector! Physical media is much more personal and fun than streaming. Plus, you don’t have to worry about its eventual disappearance from the streaming service.
1428 ELM: Contrary to that last question, In the heart of darkness streaming soon (like Tubi, which seems to be streaming a bunch of horror movies, including dark ones)?
NICK BALDASARE: I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up landing on a streaming service like Tubi, but I have no information on what’s going on.
1428 ELM: Could there be room for a In the heart of darkness after?
NICK BALDASARE: Personally, I would like to see the character I play in hood. But for such a thing to happen, it would involve a lot of moving parts over which I have little control. But I’m definitely up for another chance.
We would like to thank Nick Baldasare for answering these questions, and feel free to consult In the heart of darkness AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE!
Do you love discovering “long lost” horror movies and will you be watching Heartland of Darkness when it comes out? Let us know in the “Comments” section.