Mystic Night Pictures was created in 1993, originally called “After Dark Productions” by Mike M Burke (writer, filmmaker, actor) . It was the production company that represented Burke’s comedy television show “Comedy After Dark starring Mike Burke” when the show moved to a bigger broadcasting platform. It was a talk/variety show featuring guests, live music, and many comedy skits. Burke was 16 years old and in high school when he co-created the show with John Landolfi. The show was very successful during their two year run producing 100 episodes between 1992 to 1994. “After Dark Productions” remained the same until 1998.
In 1998, long after the show had ended, Mike began production on his first two feature films “Murder After Dark” and “Murder After Dark part 2.” In the editing process Burke was creating the logo for “After Dark productions” for the opening of the film and just didn’t like the looks of it. He felt the name needed more and needed to really pop. After a few different names and research “After Dark Films” really clicked. In 2006 it was discovered we were not the only After Dark Films in the world of show biz.
In the summer of 2006 it was discovered, through a trailer for the film “An American Haunting”, that the company who produced it was “After Dark Films”. Mike Burke explains “I was very shocked to see this. This was not my company. I couldn’t believe that in this day in age, with the internet so accessible, that someone would take the name and use it worldwide without checking to see if someone else was using it. I was very angry at first.” Mike tried to contact them without success when finally in early fall of 2006 he received a letter from the other “After Dark Films” attorney who was interested in obtaining the rights from Burke who had previously Trademarked “After Dark Films”. After a few conversations over the phone and negotiations with their attorney and agreement was made.
Mike made the decision to grant them the right to use the name for a decided royalty fee. Mike would remain the legal owner of the name. Both companies would co-exist and continue to make movies, etc.
In October, 2006 the other “After Dark” started a horror film festival called “After Dark Horrorfest.” It was this that would convince Mike that both companies could not co-exist with similar names. Mike was bombarded with emails from fans and non-fans of “Horrorfest”. Everything from questions about the festival to complaints and even nasty messages. When the festival premiered, people who didn’t like the movies in the festival were writing rude emails blaming Mike for the bad films and accusing him of stealing the “After Dark” name. Mike had enough and knew he could longer use the name he had been using for a decade and a half. A change was the only choice.
With the license signed and delivered it was now time to make the big change. After much research, Trademark searches, and many combination of name ideas, one was finally chosen. On Tuesday, January 23, 2007 “Mystic Night Pictures” became the official name. “I wanted to stay with something that was in the same ballpark as After Dark. I wanted mystical, dark, and something that had some meaning. After Dark was a tribute to my television show of the early 1990’s and to all of those who helped me make it. So with Mystic Night I chose Mystic not only because it’s very fitting in definition (look it up) but it also is the name of one my favorite towns in Connecticut. Although I am not from there, I have spent a lot of time there, and my favorite pizza place is there (Mystic Pizza, yes the same place in the movie!) I have a name that fits with dark qualities but also represents the state I grew up in. This way it at least has some meaning to me.”
In 2008 the co-creator of the show “Comedy After Dark” , John Landolfi, sadly passed away at the young age of 33. John had a big part in helping Mike start all of this and he, along with Mike, and Mike’s youngest brother Chris came up with our original name in 1993. In early 2010, Mike sold all rights of the “After Dark” name to the new owners. Mike Burke is no longer the owner of the name.
From 2008 – 2010 Mystic Night Pictures experimented with film making by making a series of short films. It was great to branch away from the format of a feature for a bit and try to tell a story in less time. The films we have produced are all available on DVD.
In recent years Mystic Night Pictures has been expanding outside of films by publishing books, producing stock videos and photos, and Sound Effects CD collections. The future is open wide as we plan to grow into something much bigger. Our film productions will be much bigger as well.