What could be spookier than a scary movie shown at midnight in Palm Springs?  Well, just about anything.  That’s what worried Canada’s newest horror film director, Maurice Devereaux, when his film End of The Line was slated to run on a weekend Midnight showing at the 18th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival.  With most of the Festival’s attendees being gray-haired movie fans, the Montreal director feared most would opt for a good night’s sleep over seeing his film.

But, as he found out, if Palm Springs has a dark underbelly, its inhabitants certainly come out at night. 

“At every show, there’s usually a few people who are the real horror connoisseurs, the ones who buy magazines like Fangoria, go to horror conventions, who are very passionate about horror,” Devereaux said after signing autographs.  “If these people enjoy it, that’s why we do it.”

End of the Line is about a group of subway riders who find themselves trapped underground by heaven-bent, knife-wielding religious fanatics.  The film does for subterranean transit what Jaws did for oceans.  “My friends in Toronto, who saw the film, said to me after, ‘Great: how are we supposed to get home now?’”

Canada was well-represented at the 11-day fest, with ten of the more than 250 films featured.  Other Canadian films included the visually stunning Sharkwater documentary exposing excesses in the shark fin trade and a profile of hockey legend Maurice Richard called The Rocket, nominated for 13 Genie Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Academy Awards).


But, festival organizers chose End of the Line for its Super Charged Cinema program of films that push the envelope.  It took less than 30 seconds for Devereaux to shock people physically out of their seats.  “In horror, yes you can have gore and people dying, whatever; there’s not really any subtext to it.  But with this, it’s the fact that it takes a stab at religious extremism.”  Devereaux continued, “It touches on a very touchy subject.  As soon as you touch on religion, it can be controversial.  And, when you mix [horror and religion] together, it’s going to strike a nerve.”

Jim Holt studied journalism in Canada at Carleton University and Ryerson Polytechnic University. He covered crime for 10 years in the steel-producing city of Hamilton, near Toronto. His investigative work earned him many awards and nominations including a National Newspaper Award nomination for having exposed a wife-beating police officer. In 1997, he moved to Los Angeles where he began working as a stringer for the Canadian Press (CP) wire service. As a freelance field producer he produced crime-related TV stories for KABC-TV and KCBS-TV. In 2001, he was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Serious News Story (multi-part) for his profiling of a terrorist. In 2007, the Canadian Association of Journalists named him in a team award for outstanding investigative reporting, specifically a story of wrongdoing by the CBC's The Fifth Estate. The team is also nominated for a Michener Award in Canada for the same story.