FEATURED FEARMAKER: Dominic Wieneke
It’s a dark and stormy night. The usual soft silence of the night is replaced with aggressive storms raging all around; howling winds, clapping thunder, rain smacking the ground like bullets. Just ahead is a cabin, only visible briefly from the quick flashes from lightning bolts traversing the moonless night sky. It is a beacon. You must make it to the cabin. Each step is in deafening agony, bones iced over, nearly impossible to move, but you must. He is close. Step by step you muster the strength, eventually finding yourself before the old, rain-soaked wooden door between you and the sanctity of the cabin inside. As the door creaks open, you sense something is not right. You didn’t open the door. CUT TO BLACK
Stories are always fun, especially when they are dark and dreary. We love hearing about old creaky cabins and the ghosts who haunt them. Or maybe a pack of cannibals just outside town. There are traits that are prevalent within all FearMakers, and some are intrinsically different. While most FearMakers are given the love of the darker genres from loved ones or friends, this week’s Featured FearMaker found it all on his own. Dominic Wieneke has loved horror since youth and has shaped his life around telling stories and bringing fear.
Growing up in the very small rural town of Lismore, Minnesota, there wasn’t much to do for young Dominic. Watching movies, reading books, comics, anything he could get his hands on to help pass the time. By the fourth grade, he was reading Steven Kings Pet Sematary and writing his own short horror stories. To Dominic, a copy of Christine in his hands was magic. Once Gremlins came out in theaters, he was officially hooked on horror. “Fangoria was my bible for seeking out movies.” Said Dominic Wieneke. “Thankfully the local video stores didn’t care how old you were.” Having grown up through the slasher craze of the 70’s and 80’s, Wieneke is no doubt a big fan.
Dominic Wieneke graduated St Cloud State University with a Mass Communication degree and minor in Film Studies. He then moved to Vermont for 2 years to gain some life experience. Then Texas for a year, before eventually back closer to home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he currently resides. Through all this time he was writing screenplay after screenplay hoping that one he could shoot one of them.
Wieneke toyed with writing a few shorts, getting his feet wet. Finally, after his script Death Rot was a quarter-finalist at Scriptapalooza he took the leap and turned it into a feature through his production company Warwolf Productions. “It was a huge learning process.” Said Dominic about making his feature. “Basically a crash course in filmmaking with all the trials and tribulations that we encountered.”
He has since completed his feature film Death Rot, and it is scheduled for a DVD release on February 14. The film is a tribute to the 80′ slasher films. It follows a heavy metal band whose van breaks down and encounter a group who have a rather “specialized” diet. Death Rot stars Lena Howe, Jason Yapp, Jason Hegg, Snip Jackson and Kevin Kunkel. Dominic Wieneke acts as both the director and writer, as well as producer along with Snip Jackson, Jesse Yost and Ari Show.
His short film, Casefile 293610, is currently traveling the festival circuit and has picked up a few awards. Constant planning and old-fashioned hard work are still the way to go according to Dominic, who is currently working on a new short film currently titled Sticks. “My advice is to be true to yourself. Be supportive and be open to collaboration. Find people that can do solid work and treat them with respect. Encourage them, get them on the same page and things will go smoothly.”