Ex-Pentagon speechwriter says not even his new horror film is 'scarier than Washington'
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A Pentagon speechwriter-turned-filmmaker says there’s nothing as scary as Washington — not even his new horror movie.

Alston Ramsay, who worked as a speechwriter for former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, calls “Midnighters” a “Hitchcockian web of deceit and madness,” or, as he quips, “pretty much the same thing as Capitol Hill.”

The film follows a young couple who accidentally runs over a man while driving home on New Year’s Eve. After trying to stash his body in their car, they learn the stranger’s not actually dead — and was part of a wicked plot against them.


Ramsay, who spent a year in Afghanistan as a senior policy writer for now-retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, says that after graduating from business school four years ago, he made the choice to head westward rather than return to D.C.

“I decided It would be more interesting to do what so many have done before me, and throw my stuff in the back of my trunk and drive across the country to Los Angeles,” he says.

The 37-year-old writer and producer created “Midnighters” with his brother, Julius Ramsay, who’s directed episodes of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and MTV’s “Scream.”

Despite his move to L.A., “Midnighters” is getting a Washington-area reception. Ramsay will be on-hand Thursday night for a Q&A and screening of his thriller at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse in Northern Virginia.

Asked if his political background played a role in writing the independent film, Ramsay replies, “There is an element, I think, of the fact that I follow politics closely, and one of the bigger themes in the film is about perhaps otherwise good people making catastrophic decisions in the name of self-preservation.”

So between horror movies and the political battles in the nation’s capital, what’s more frightening?

“Is there anything scarier than Washington, D.C.?” Ramsay replies with a laugh. “I mean, it’s hard to beat.”

“I worry that people won’t be scared from our film in D.C.,” he says, “because you see much more nightmarish headlines on a daily basis.”