The old phrase “feels like someone’s walking on my grave” came to mind in the past 48 hours when I read news about the writer/director of an indie film in production, Gray State, being found dead in his home, along with his wife and five-year-old daughter, in what local Minnesota police are calling “suspicious circumstances.” The physical circumstances in which David Crowley and his family were found dead, apparently undiscovered for weeks, suggests David Crowley of Apple Valley, MN, murdered his wife and daughter then took his own life.

David and Kormel Crowley
David and Komel Crowley / Image credit: Instagram

For several years David Crowley’s life was focused on making an indie suspense thriller with a lot of thematic similarity to my own new indie suspense thriller, Alongside Night, of which I’m the writer/director. Both our movies focused on events following the collapse of the dollar leading to a near-future America in which constitutional rights are dead and those who resist the new fascistic order are being rounded up and sent to FEMA-run detention facilities.

Both David Crowley and myself had appeared as Skyped-in guests with Alex Jones on his radio/Internet show, and received his praise for our cinematic efforts in defense of American liberty.

Both David Crowley and myself found ourselves locked out of Hollywood studio interest for our films.

There is one difference.

David Crowley was a 20-something first-time feature filmmaker who had produced only a concept trailer meant to raise production financing. By contrast Alongside Night was my second feature film, based on a novel I wrote in my 20’s, about David Crowley’s age when he started work on Gray State. My novel was published hardcover by a major New York publisher in 1979 with major literary endorsements, positive major reviews, and several awards picked up over the succeeding decades. Consequently I found the financing to cast known stars and complete production on my movie that David Crowley, despite a successful Indiegogo campaign to raise seed money, never did before his tragic death.

The violent death of a vocal opponent to the United States government in these post-9/11 times of secret Homeland Security warrants, arrest and indefinite detention of persons who with the stroke of a pen are classified as enemy combatants, and intrusive government spying gives way to the unthinkable: what if David Crowley didn’t take his family’s and his own life but was murdered by a clandestine operation and the crime scene engineered to cover up a political murder?

I am just paranoid enough for that possibility to scare the bejeezus out of me.

On the other hand, what if David Crowley lost hope of reaching the goal of a finished movie that I had already achieved – and in his despair lost his mind?

Neither prospect makes it easier for me to sleep at night.

But when Alongside Night does achieve commercial success in its general release later this year, I now feel that I’m not doing it only for my own cast, crew, producers and other supporters, but for David Crowley’s as well.

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