“No great talent without an element of madness.”
– Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Elements of Madness is an entertainment website focused on cinematic releases past, present, and future. With so many channels to watch films, and more arriving every day, EoM seeks to help cut through the clutter by focusing on not just the big studio pieces, but also the smaller indie pictures hitting theaters and streaming services. Though our team is small, the combination of their particular talents and view of cinema is the mixture that leads to madness.
Douglas Davidson, Founder
It’s of little surprise that Douglas found himself drawn to studying film in undergrad and graduate school after growing up in a household that loved watching movies. Though his professional vocations took him in a myriad of directions – even all the way to Johns Hopkins University to earn an M.A. in Communications – he’s always found a way to work his love of cinema into his life. Created in 2012 as a means of keeping busy, Elements of Madness is now a vessel for Douglas to pour every ounce of geekdom into reviews of upcoming releases and a monthly Coming Soon series. His greatest pride as a writer is his June 2016 induction into the NC Film Critics Association, for which he is an active member. In October 2018, he was approved as a Rotten Tomatoes approved individual critic. In April 2019, he was inducted into the Southeastern Film Critics Association. In September 2019, he was inducted into the Critics Choice Association.
In addition to running EoM, he’s a Senior Contributor Film Critic for Charlotte-based arts and culture blog CLTure and co-host of The Cine-Men podcast via Poprika Reviews. He is formerly a freelance critic for newspaper Mountain Xpress, a contributing Film Critic for entertainment website Pretty Vacant One, and a contributing Film Review Member for online film community FilmFed.
Douglas is always open to new contribution opportunities.
Crystal Davidson, Head Editor
Cinema was something Crystal enjoyed but never dove into intellectually until taking classes in undergrad where she wrote numerous papers – including one on the interconnectedness of characters and references within the Tarantino cinematic universe – and engaged in debates over films new and old. Though her background in multimedia, science test assessment, and earth and space sciences might initially seem unrelated to film, it enables her to evaluate the aesthetic, intended audience, and narrative reason of a film, three aspects just as critical as the narrative within. Utilizing this attention to detail along with her copy editing experience, Crystal edits everything Douglas publishes – from EoM originals to contributions to other sites – to ensure that the writing is sound and the arguments are clearly articulated.
Noel T. Manning, Partner
Manning’s love of cinema transcends genre, culture and language.
Film, television, music and pop culture journalist since 1989. Member of the Critics’ Choice Association, Online Film and Television Association, Southeastern Film Critics Association, and the NC Film Critics Association. Founder and member of film festival boards and host for entertainment shows for TV, radio and online audiences. Adjunct professor of film & new media studies at Gardner-Webb University and Cleveland Community College.
Manning worked on the Oscar-winner Last of the Mohicans; he’s produced documentaries including an award-winner on independent filmmaker Earl Owensby, and he’s served as a consultant for indie filmmakers and film fests since 1998. He currently hosts the weekly TV and radio show Meet Me at the Movies on WGWG and C19 TV , and Manning interviews filmmakers on a regular basis.
Manning has served on the nominating committee for the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, the Critics’ Choice Television Awards and has spent time on the North Carolina Film Critics executive committee. He’s worked several years with the Arts and Faith Ecumenical Film Jury, and is a contributing partner to Elements of Madness.
Hunter Heilman, Senior Film Critic
Hunter thought that film was an escape from his everyday life during his formative years, but it turned out that film was simply an enhancement for the life that he failed to appreciate and a means by which he would gain that appreciation. His first review, an analysis of the Jordan Scott film Cracks, was an accidental essay originally started as a Facebook status simply looking to comment on the film’s profound themes. It blossomed into a full-fledged review when Facebook told him his status was too long to post. After this review and with the support of his peers and family, Hunter’s deep dive into the world of film criticism began. During his college years at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Hunter became Chief Film Critic for the Arts & Entertainment section of the Niner Times (a campus publication). Even while serving as Editor-in-Chief during his junior and senior year, Hunter wrote about film more than ever before. In August 2015, he was accepted into the North Carolina Film Critics Association, becoming the first college writer to be inducted. In April 2021, he was accepted into the Southeastern Film Critics Association.
In addition to his work as a Contributing Film Critic for EoM and his bylines under the Niner Times, Hunter reviewed for CLTure, a Charlotte-based online arts publication for which he was an intern during his senior year of college.
Hunter resides in Durham, N.C., drinks far too much coffee, loves video games, and has a goldendoodle named Harper that he would love to show you pictures of. His favorite film is Black Swan and will die for his convictions that Jameson Irish Whiskey is the only drink one would ever need.
Hunter is always open to new contribution opportunities.
Thomas Manning, Senior Interviewer
Thomas Manning is a member of the NCFCA and SEFCA, and also the co-host of the television show and radio program Meet Me at the Movies. He has served as a production assistant and voting member on the Film Selection Committee for the Real to Reel Film Festival. Additionally, he manages his own film review and interview site, The Run-Down on Movies.
Manning is a graduate of Gardner-Webb University with a double-major in Communications and English. His passion for cinema and storytelling is rivaled only by his love for the music of Taylor Swift.
When he isn’t watching or talking about movies, you can usually find Manning drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee, going on spontaneous road trips, and running dozens of miles as he searches for the meaning of life.
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