When Rocks Off sat down to review Liisa Ladouceur's Encyclopedia Gothica the first thing we did was flip through it to see if any of Houston's own had made it in. The answer was unfortunately no, and to us the most glaring omission was that of model and musician Dana Dark. Dark, with her pale skin, bangs, and distinctive tattoos, has been a fixture and arguably the face of Houston goth for many years, modeling for fetish sites and performing with her band Psychoaut75. Since the birth of her daughter she's gone somewhat underground, but recently she resurfaced with an exciting new avenue of expression, filmmaking.
"I have been dabbling in film making for quite some time but have recently decided to peruse it more from behind the camera which allows me to take more creative control of the overall end product," said Dark.
Her debut is a brilliant short film called All Hallow's Lost. The grainy, non-linear short is hauntingly atmospheric, like very early or modern Internet-age David Lynch. It travels slowly through odd angles and a distinct childlike perspective across the trappings of the recent darksome holiday. Such as it stars anyone, Dark's own daughter Mirabella playfully cavorts in a disturbing mask.
However, the real protagonist of the film is Halloween itself. Specifically, the way it is viewed by children as both terrifying and exciting. Mirabella may as well be any child, and we join her in a quest to fully understand the transformation of suburbia into a macabre exhibition hall. Dark states that she was attempting to document how she viewed Halloween before she existed, her childhood, and her own imagination.
One of the techniques used by Dark to capture the particular viewpoint of children is a distinctive twisting perspective shot. The camera will iris in on an object such as a cheap hanging witch, or homemade ghost decorations at a 90 degree angle then turn the way a puzzled child would turn their head in order to try and better grasp exactly was the object is. Using this particular trick Dark manages to make her viewers re-live the constant confusion growing up trying to understand society's rituals.
Though there is no dialogue in the film, sound and music are ever present in the form of an ambient soundtrack provided by Dark's boyfriend Ashe Ruppe and his band the Elysium Façade. It's droning, ethereal soundtrack injects each shot with an impatient tension, such as you might get from standing in a haunted place just a bit too long.
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"I have just recently started working with Ashe with The Elysium Facade and found that this music has a better fit to what I am trying to portray in this film," said Dark. "I believe that the musical aspect of the film is just as important as the visual to enhance the emotions that visuals create. What I have started doing with Ashe in the Elysium Facade does just that by bringing sight and sound together to create a full experience."
Currently, Dark plans to begin work shooting music videos for Elysium Façade, something that our alternate personality over at Rocks Off is tremendously eager for. Dark promises many more works to come, and stories and images that she can't wait to share with an audience.
"This is only the beginning," she said. Check out All Hallow's Lost below.