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RNRF X Salem Horror Fest 2024: “Local Mass Hysteria”, Liminal

“I think there’s something magical about being trans”

Right off the bat, Liminal is out of this world and when Dash Kwiatkowski (Creator, Co-Host, Paranormal Investigator, They/Them, Providence) makes the above statement within two minutes of the film running, we think the film is going to be pretty magical too. Continuing on, Kwiatkowski compares being trans to the belief in the paranormal and beyond… just because something doesn’t fit into what you were taught doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And they’re right!

Directed by Andy Hawkes (Film/Audio, He/Him, Nashville) and edited by William Head who also did the fantastic score (Think Jim Jarmusch and Dead Man or The Dead Don’t Die), Liminal follows Dash and a team comprised of Rosa Escandon (Paranormal Investigator, She/Her, Brooklyn) and Rockette Fox (Pagan Witch, She/Her, St Louis… And also self-proclaimed “bi-racial Korean-American Queer BiFurious Witchy Woman”) as they head to Adams, Tennessee to investigate the legend of the Bell Witch. You see, Dash believes that the paranormal is drawn to liminal places (hotels, schools, prisons, train stations, etc) and also believes that the paranormal might also be drawn to liminal identities. With Dash being non-binary trans and of mixed race this presents the perfect opportunity to test this theory out.

And what does “Liminal” mean exactly? According to the Oxford Dictionary, “occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold”. So you can see where they might be onto something. Viewers get to witness the entirety of the operation over the span of three days where they start by meeting Tim Henson (Official Town Historian, He/Him, Adams) who, for an old white guy in the South, seems incredibly open minded (At one point mentioning how there are “spirits in the bible” in reference to his belief in the paranormal) and via video chat Caroline Moore (“Bell Witch Enthusiast”, She/They, Jamaica Plain… or as we call it “JP”) who help bring the group and viewers up to speed on the legend.

We won’t get into it too much here as it’s more entertaining and enlightening to watch the investigation unfold over the course of the film but trust us, there’s some spooky shit. There’s also a side trip to Nashville to talk with local queer-identifying residents on their experiences with Southern magic and spirits and in between all of that there’s synchronicity, unintentional spells, tarot readings, strange occurrences & coincidences, and yes, channeling spirits. Whether or not you believe in the paranormal and related mysteries of the unknown there’s no denying that the trio here make a compelling case in the plus column. Hell, there’s even a stinger! In a documentary! Well, we can’t wait to see what’s next after this.

Liminal from Superhuman Productions/Strange Bird Film Company stops by Salem Horror Fest on Sunday, May 5th at SATV. For all the details on that and the rest of the Weekend II screenings, head here. For more on Liminal, head here. And for more from Salem Horror Fest, including info on all the rest of the screenings and events happening this year, be sure to follow the socials by heading here, here, and here.

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