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An Interview with Dustin Tamplen, Director and Star of Lights Over Montgomery County

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2023

Dustin Tamplen on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Lights Over Montgomery County - in a few words, what is it about?


It's about a public access TV show that once aired a special broadcast about a phenomenon that has taken place for over a century due to a very disturbing event that took place in the 1800's. The real reason behind the phenomenon is far more sinister than the host of the show imagined and the broadcast gets scrapped and never shown again. Now a bootleg, dark web, leaked copy exists that is being passed around digitally and physically. 


The titular "lights over Montgomery Coutny" - is that an actual phenomenon, and what kind of research did you do on it and/or similar phenomena?


So, there are no lights phenomena here in Montgomery County that I'm aware of. There is an old story about Marfa Lights that takes place in West Texas every so often. I've only briefly read about the occurrences. My movie isn't meant to reflect those events.


(Other) sources of inspiration when writing Lights Over Montgomery County?


As previously mentioned, I think it's pretty awesome that there are actual known events that take place right here in Texas, so I'm glad Iwas able to draw inspiration from that. But mostly, I'm just a huge fan of famous films such as Fire in the Sky, Alien Abduction, The McPherson Tape etc. 


Your personal opinions on UFOs and UFO research?


I personally believe UFOs exist. The universe is far too vast to think we're the only beings in existence. I think UFO research is being done in secret and will hopefully be more welcomed and accepted one day.


You chose to go the mockumentary route with Lights Over Montgomery County - so what prompted that choice?


I think mockumentaries are most convincing when dealing with cryptid, paranormal, alien phenomena. I also grew up in the 80s and 90s when public access shows and special presentation style mystery shows were very prevalent. That's the vibe I was going for anyway.


What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


I wanted to give people an opportunity to kind of get lost in the wild and crazy aspects of the film. I want people to question whether what they're watching is real or not. I'm still so new to filmmaking, that I just wanted to have fun and play with some fake blood and guts while trying to deliver what I hope is, at the very least, a fun ride.


You also appear in front of the camera in Lights Over Montgomery County - so what can you tell us about your character, what did you draw upon to bring him to life, and have you written him with yourself in mind from the get-go?


My character is just a normal, husband and father that gets curious about new technology and decides to purchase this new addition for his family to use. He soon regrets that decision. I drew upon the basic human experience to have access to the newest and coolest technology available in 2023. A lot of people prefer a simpler type of lifestyle, myself included, which is why I chose to incorporate that into the project. 


I always had myself in mind to play the character, but mostly out of necessity. I'm not a well known filmmaker with access to huge sums of money to pay trained actors. Plus, I enjoy being in front of and behind the camera with all of my friends and family involved.


Do talk about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?


Well, as mentioned above, I enjoy having my family and friends involved. It's important to me to have folks I know and care deeply about have fun and take part in all of this with me.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


It didn't take long to shoot, because I had an idea set in my mind for a really long time, so once the opportunity to shoot presented itself, it was pretty easy to get it done quickly. Most of the project was filmed either at my house, my friend's house or through virtually self shot scenes that were sent to me to add and edit into the final cut.


The $64-question of course, where can Lights Over Montgomery County be seen?


It's currently not available to stream anywhere. It's tentatively scheduled to be released on Scareplex on Friday October 13th.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Lights Over Montgomery County?


So far, the feedback has been mostly positive. I always try to advise people to keep in mind that it's a very micro-budget project that hasn't been funded by studio money, and that it intentionally has a very dirty, gritty and raw feel to it.


Any future projects you want to share?


I have, on average, about 9,753,676 thoughts going through my head at any given time, so do I have one thing set in stone right now? No. But Iam working on a short segment for an upcoming anthology project for Hunter Nino at Horror Dadz Productions. I also have a podcast available (Hot Death Horror Podcast) - And I'm currently writing something, but it's a ways from being put to film.


What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I absolutely love watching movies and TV shows. Some people are car people, some are crafty, some like to hike and be outdoors. I'm an entertainment guy. I love horror specifically, but I can also be caught watching some rom-coms and food documentaries from time to time. l've had zero formal training. I'm just learning as I go and taking the advice of some awesome men and women I've met along the way. Ash Hamilton, Dillon Brown [Dillon Brown interview - click here], Mike Rock, Josh Brucker, Hunter Nino and Bil Howard especially all hold a very special place in my heart for their love and support. I can't speak highly enough about these people!


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Lights Over Montgomery County?


I have one other feature called The Spoken that's available on POV Horror and a few other apps in their catalog. It's not very good though. It's my first attempt at filmmaking. Lol.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


Very new, very eager and very open to suggestion. I engage with all of the actors to gain their input in the project.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Horror Dadz (Dillon Brown, Josh Brucker) and Bil Howard, to name a few. There's tons of others that I admire a bunch also, but we'd be here all day. Lol.


Your favourite movies?


A Nightmare on Elm Street-series,"> A Nightmare on Elm Street-series, Friday the 13th-series, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Hateful Eight, Holes in the Sky: The Sean Miller Story, Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County, Devil's Weekend, Tahoe Joe. Like I said, I'm a movie guy, so I have a ton that I love. Those are just some that come to mind right off the top of my head.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


I can't think of any that really fit that bill, but most recently, I'd have to say The Wendigo and The Dark and the Wicked were about as disappointing as rain on the 4th of July.


Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?


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I primarily hang around Facebook and Instagram: - that's my profile. - that's the horror group that I run, it's also where I post about the podcast, production status etc.

No websites, yet, that's coming soon with any luck.


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Not particularly. Just thank you for doing what you do, providing great reviews on things we as fans may not have seen yet, and allowing us little guys to have an opportunity to get eyes on our stuff.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD