Psychological Suspense set in 1960. Filmed and released in 2016. Theatrical premiere was April 7, 2016.
Written, Directed, and Produced by M. Jason Allen. Look below for outstanding critics reviews.
Written, Directed, and Produced by M. Jason Allen. Look below for outstanding critics reviews.
Listen to the soundtrack album sampler below.
"It is November of 1960 and retired theremin player Sid Kottler has been living alone in his over-sized home for the past 13 years. His severe case of anthropophobia prevents him from entertaining the company of anyone... or even the slightest of human interaction. When he awakens one morning with an unforgettable character he recognizes from a very recent encounter of sorts, he realizes that he may not be alone anymore. In fact, Sid may even play party host to an ensemble of friends... but not by invitation".
NOMINATED - Best Ensemble Cast - 2017 Utah Film Awards
SEMI-FINALIST - Best Feature Film - 2017 Hollywood Screenings Film Festival
This movie features a theremin based music score by Kip Rosser accompanied by the string orchestrations of Ehron VonAllen.
Press release for the film at the popular horror/sci-fi website Horror Society.
Well, this film was absolutely incredible. It’s hard to recreate the atmosphere from a particular era in film-making, but this new movie from He Said She Said Productions is spot. An Idle Mind is the Devil’s Playground is the perfect time capsule of subtle horror, flawlessly capturing the 1960’s in the most invigorating way since The Twilight Zone. Based on the screenplay by Michael Jason Allen, the film follows a reclusive musician with a fear of human contact, who finds himself in the unexpected company of several ghosts from his past. Whether the figures are figments of his fragmented mind or full-bodied apparitions from beyond is up to the viewer to discover. An impeccable combination of mystery and science fiction, An Idle Mind is the Devil’s Playground stars Ben Lokey, Laura Mestas, Kip Rosser, Michael Jason Allen, Nadine Jackson, Amy Atkins, Raymond Scott and Rhett Crosby. Boy, this one was great!
Going back to my original sentiments, An Idle Mind is the Devil’s Playground is the most foolproof throwback to the 1960’s and will immediately take you back to the time when The Twilight Zone reigned supreme. I can only assume that this production was inspired by the iconic television show which ran from 1959 to 1964. The clothes, the furniture, the phones, the props – including all the depression glass – appeared to be plucked from antique shops across the country and situated in old, cozy houses that featured architecture from the time period. It was startling, the representation was so on point, that Reel Nightmare Films could have marketed this as a lost movie, discovered five decades later and I think viewers would have believed it! An Idle Mind is the Devil’s Playground is, of course, shot in black and white, but cinematographer Chuck Harding did such a great job behind the camera, which would be the only way people would know this was a modern movie. The camera work is too good!
The interchanging elements of science fiction, mystery, drama, suspense and a little bit of horror were so subdued and calculated, that they also emulated the time period in such a realistic way. Back then, being scared and frightened wasn’t all about blood effects and jump scares. Film-makers relied on a slow-burning, slow-creeping atmosphere of suspense and terror, and director/producer/editor Michael Jason Allen understood this and used the concept to its full advantage. Absolutely masterfully writing and film-making, Mr. Allen. Throw in incredibly fitting original scores and An Idle Mind is the Devil’s Playground is an astounding throwback that old school horror fans will adore. Hell, even the acting was right where it needed to be. Classical. The talented entertainers in this flick, especially Laura Mestas, perfectly captured the manufactured training of the 1960’s and pulled off performances that were exactly what was needed to bring it all home. This was such an important piece of the puzzle, and they too nailed it on the head.
I cannot rave about this one enough. I have no complaints what-so-ever. It surprised me and knocked my socks off. Despite the generational time-gap, the theme still remains the same – you never know what your neighbors are capable of, and what danger lurks behind their perfect, white picket fences. The perfect storm of exceptional film-making, classical acting, maximum effort behind-the-scenes, and a homey, retro story-line, An Idle Mind is the Devil’s Playground is a sleeper hit; one of the best science fiction releases of 2018. I highly – HIGHLY – recommend watching it today on Amazon Prime and Vimeo if you’re a fan of The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. Final Score: 9 out of 10.
- MGDSQUAN, HorrorSociety.com
"An Idle Mind Is The Devil's Playground is an entertaining and well made film with solid performances, a sharp screenplay, distinctively fine music, and award worthy cinematography. The quality of the finished image and audio is so sparkling and compelling that they rival the crystal clarity of the old original 35mm negative television productions from TV's Golden Age -- The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Outer Limits, to name just a few -- the very era that this film is set in and salutes so lovingly. It is a unique film and well worth the attention of any audience.
Rod Serling, creator and dominant writer of The Twilight Zone, was my friend, TV co-host, college writing professor and mentor. The film successfully reeks of that era and style and, knowing him as well as I did, I think I can safely assume and assert here that Mr. Serling would have totally appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed this motion picture".
- Spats White is an award-winning film maker, television writer, producer & performer. He has worked at WPIX Television, WWOR-TV & The ABC Network where he created, wrote & produced TV series & specials for Rod Serling, Milton Berle, Victor Borge, Gloria Swanson & many others. In the publishing field, White served as Arts & Entertainment Editor for Show Magazine, Editor-in-chief for ScriptWriter News & Contributing Editor & columnist for Sassy Magazine. He has lectured on pop culture & show business history at Cornell University & Ithaca College where he also served as professor of communications.
"An Idle Mind is the Devil's Playground is an obvious homage to the style of The Twilight Zone, in fact it even has the endorsement of Spats White who was a friend and collaborator of Rod Serling who created that show. What works best for this film is that despite being made in 2016 it looks to all intents and purposes like a lost TV episode from the 1960's.
The pacing and style of acting in Devil's Playground is very reminiscent of the time period it is aping, it really did feel like a lost episode of The Twilight Zone which is no bad thing as I love that show. I couldn't get over how authentic this felt, even after watching the end credits I felt that this couldn't have been created in modern day, aside from the smooth directing! Everything from the costumes to set dressing and even the style of film work just felt like something out of time, all wonderful stuff, and of course this was shot in black and white to complete that feel.
This is horror in the old sense, there isn't really anything implicitly horrifying, yet there is a slow burning bit of dread that is helped massively by the creepy as hell soundtrack that feeds a lot into the film itself as Sid is a musician who plays this weird instrument that consists of wires coming out a box. It has a mournful sound that a side character; new next door neighbour Anne Devoroux (Laura Mestas) describes as 'an opera singer crying'. All the actors gave performances that fitted the tone well, and Michael Jason Allen who also wrote and directed this has a part and he fits in very well, playing the mysterious Mr. Snatas with the creepy laugh. It was good to see even the child actors worked well, though the couple with the brief inclusion in the real world segment didn't add much, would have been better if they had stayed in their dream.
This was a great little movie that at an hour long was the perfect length, any more and I feel it may have started to drag, but as it is there is just enough going on to keep you entertained. I haven't seen anything like this for a long time, people wanting a more modern take on horror could well be disappointed with the lack of thrills, I loved this though, it was a real pleasure to watch".
- Daniel Simmonds, TheRottingZombie.co.uk
"Here is an example of a film that entertains & is well constructed with a fine cast that gives good performances set against a lovely soundtrack & I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by these qualities in a small film. Because of the nature of the plot, I cannot share much with you for to do so would ruin the viewing experience.
We are reminded of the golden age of television by the style of the film. I must say I enjoyed every moment but since I cannot share more about the plot".
- Amos Lassen, ReviewsByAmosLassen.com
"A reclusive old man wakes up to find the people who have been occupying his dreams are now a part of his living nightmare. No, this is not an episode of The Twilight Zone but rather Michael Jason Allen’s 2016 thriller An Idle Mind is the Devil’s Playground. Ben Lokey stars as Sid Kottler, a masterful composer with a fear of human interaction.
Shot in sultry black & white, An Idle Mind is the Devil’s Playground feels like a charming homage to the classic 1960’s series. Hints of Hitchcock & Vincent Price throughout the film also seem like apparent influences to writer/director Michael Jason Allen as he approaches Idle Mind tactfully with an eerie atmosphere.
Ben Lokey is cast perfectly in the lead role. He feels genuine as the lead & would fit perfectly in any classic episode of The Twilight Zone. Michael Jason Allen also inserts some rather trippy dream sequences for the ghosts that make for some truly memorable scenes. But perhaps the best part of Idle Mind is Kip Rosser’s original score. The use of the theramin throughout the film enhances the scenes beautifully & tips the movie off as being as eerie & creepy as it intends to be. It is the perfect accent to this 60’s horror throwback. The score alone makes the movie worth a watch".
- Holly Glinski, SpoilerFreeMovieSleuth.com