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 Sep 16 - 22, 2010 
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Reel World

By Devin D. O’Leary

The Final Nightmare

This Thursday, Sept. 16, marks your last chance to see the made-in-New-Mexico documentary A Nightmare in Las Cruces in a theater. The Century Downtown 14 theater will screen the film at 11:30 a.m., 1:25, 3:20, 5:15, 7:10 and 9:05 p.m. Sportscaster-turned-filmmaker Charlie Minn will be on hand to introduce the self-distributed feature.

A Nightmare in Las Cruces uses actual crime scene footage, re-creations and eyewitness interviews to relate the story of a horrifying 1990 crime in which seven people—men, women and children—were gunned down in a Las Cruces bowling alley. Only three of them survived. The re-creations are low-key and respectful. The interviews—with survivors, relatives and police investigators—are harrowing. Minn zeros right in on the guilt and terror still being felt 20 years after the fact, and it’s this emotional honesty that gives the film its heft.

Shockingly, the crime remains unsolved. A Nightmare in Las Cruces examines a few of the “whodunit” theories surrounding the murders. But this isn’t “Dateline: Crime and Punishment.” Rightfully, the film doesn’t try to play detective and answer all the questions it raises. Though the filmmakers, the police and the families involved would certainly like to see the case closed, A Nightmare in Las Cruces keeps its focus on the victims. As a result, the film is less about a singular crime and more about the effects of all violent crimes—the emotional aftershocks that haunt victims, survivors and first-responsers.

Technically, the film is simple and straightforward. There’s certainly nothing fancy or flashy here. But with the sort of raw-nerve emotional content it boasts, there’s no need for high-tech distraction.

Minn says the film has recently been picked up for DVD distribution by Lionsgate, an event that should happen by sometime next year. In the meantime, Minn wanted to get his film in front of movie theater audiences one last time. “The police want me to get this out there as much as possible,” says Minn—who, in addition to directing, writing and co-producing the film, serves as its one-man publicity department. He, like many of the police in Las Cruces, are hoping that the film will stir up interest—and perhaps a few new leads—in the case.

For more information on A Nightmare in Las Cruces, log on to bowlingmassacre.com.

 
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