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Episode 351 - The Meg (2018)

Shark movies are once more in vogue. With the success of such films as 47 METERS DOWN and THE SHALLOWS as well as the more tongue-in-cheek film series of SHARKNADO, sharks have been added to the top of many movie fans “monster” list. For years, Hollywood has been trying to get Steve Alten’s novel MEG to theaters, based on the discovery of the prehistoric shark, Megalodon, still alive and well.

When Jonas Taylor (played by Jason Statham) leads a rescue team to free sailors from a sunken submarine, something large and dangerous destroys the lost ship. With little time available, only a handful of sailors are rescued. Considered a failure, the operation leaves Jonas a broken man. He retires to Thailand to be a fisherman, but soon James Mackreides, an old colleague, appears at his home. A research sub has been disabled and those inside need a quick rescue.

Even after finally being green lit, the movie had various production issues. Gore scenes were cut, the film was pushed back, and then released earlier than expected. Though the movie has a strong cast, the real star was the Megalodon. And that surely brought in folks. Even with mixed reviews, the movie has become one of the summer’s biggest successes. Dark Discussions takes a look at this film where all of us were together in Mystic, Connecticut for our yearly group outing.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Episode 350 - Creepshow (1982)

Before TALES FROM THE CRYPT and MASTERS OF HORROR, George Romero and Stephen King teamed up in the early 1980’s and put together CREEPSHOW. The film, written by King, using both original and new tales, and directed by Romero, some say is the high point of the horror anthology film. Whether that’s true or not, the hype around it made it a film any horror fan would want to see.

Its legacy was huge since it did spawn various copycats including a sequel and the aforementioned television shows. Still holding a solid rating on Rottentomatoes, the film is receiving a special edition blu-ray release by Scream Factory this year. With its eclectic mix of stories and gore effects by Tom Savini, the movie is a beloved film for most horror fans.

Dark Discussions reaches its 350th episode. After running a poll of ten possible films to discuss for this special occasion, our Facebook members chose this classic treat overwhelmingly. All five co-hosts take a look at this iconic genre movie and even talk a bit about the last 349 episodes, Creepshow 2, and a whole bunch more.

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Episode 349 - Slender Man (2018)

It seems it has been awhile, but Slenderman indeed is almost a decade old. Created originally as a doctored photograph for a contest looking for creepy images, the “monster” has become an internet phenomenon. Entire web series, fan fiction, independent films, and “fake” sightings have all been produced over the years just adding to its “legend.” Now, Hollywood has taken a stab at making a film on the Slenderman. It arrived late summer to theaters everywhere.

In a small New England town, a group of four high school girls between drinking, smoking, and watching adult films decide to watch a sensational clip on the internet of the Slenderman. Days later when one goes missing, the other girls begin seeing a mysterious thin faceless man in a suit wherever they go. Have they summoned the Slenderman from the beyond and are their lives in danger?

The movie was originally to be a tentpole horror film for Sony Pictures, but with some backlash from folks related to a real crime that used the Slenderman in its act, the movie was first cut down, then shopped to other studios, and finally released early with little fan fair. Though reviews have been negative, the film earned back its money quickly from diehard Slenderman fans. What once was thought to be the next IT instead was a moderate success. Dark Discussions gives their take on the film.

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Episode 348 - Bad Match (2017)

After his little scene directorial debut back in 2013 entitled 616: PARANORMAL INCIDENT, David Chirchirillo made a name for himself when he co-wrote the horror/thriller CHEAP THRILLS (2013). After what seemed like a few year hiatus, he’s rebooted his directorial career with the 2017 movie BAD MATCH, a highly rated dark thriller that seemed to get little buzz late that year.

Harris (Jack Cutmore-Scott), a marketing employee, goes out after work to meet his latest match from Tinder, the dating app. Unlike some, his only intentions are focused on just one night stands. When his latest match, Riley (Lili Simmons), wants more of him, Harris begins to worry whether he’s being stalked. After his computer accounts are hacked and a very sick practical joke is played upon him, his life begins to spiral out of control. With everything bad happening to him, he makes a decision to confront Riley, only to find out that it was a very unwise move.

With fantastic reviews from such publications as Variety, Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Report, among others, some have considered the movie a hidden gem. Co-host Philip honored the film as one of his favorite horror movies of 2017. Along with the other Dark Discussions cohosts, in our latest episode the group takes a look at this little seen film.

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Episode 347 - The Unfriended Franchise

Festival circuit films may likely be low budget, but a good many of them turn out to be hidden gems. To gain film rights, some even cause bidding wars between movie companies. One such film, UNFRIENDED, appeared at Fantasia Fest back in 2014 to positive reviews. The movie was picked up by Univerasal/Blumhouse and shown again at SXSW before receiving a general release in 2015.

In 2018, a follow up film, UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB, was released to fairly like-minded reviews. Unlike the first, however, this one removed the supernatural twist and went “real world.” The original made huge money for its smaller budget, yet the second oddly didn’t do as well, probably because of Blumhouse’s new release model. This rollout includes showing smaller productions on less screens as well as giving them a minor marketing campaign. The film however did make a profit.

Both movies, with their interesting computer screen presentation, made each more than just a found-footage film. It also gave them an interesting gimmick that mirrored real world social media. Dark Discussions takes a look at this franchise and give their thoughts on the movies.

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Halloween Boutique Psychotronic Reviews Volume 008

Welcome to the latest edition of Halloween Boutique Psychotronic Reviews – a podcast that reviews and critiques films released by boutique labels that have taken old and sometimes forgotten midnight movies and re-releases them in special editions where the quality of the picture is fully remastered, usually from onetime lost or privately owned negatives or prints.

This month is a bit different. This volume rather than doing an episode on midnight movies, I instead have focused on a subject. With June being LGBTQ Pride Month, I have searched about and found seven films specific to a lesbian theme. But unlike the typical exploitation films released by boutique companies, I’ve focused exclusively with arthouse films of the serious type.

The seven movies reviewed are of various quality, with a few being outstanding, and a handful being wonderful surprises. The films include alphabetically AWOL (2016), BARE (2015), BELOW HER MOUTH (2016), BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (2013), DUCK BUTTER (2018), ROOM IN ROME (2010), and SUMMERTIME (2015). Sorry for the long delay between episodes, but I am now back.

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Episode S02 - C.H.U.D. Lives! A Horror Anthology

April 27th, 2018 release of horror anthology C.H.U.D. Lives!: A Tribute Anthology. Dark Discussions interviews some of the authors of this new horror book including Ross Baxter, Chad Lutzke, and Philip Perron.

C.H.U.D. is a genre defying, cult classic film featuring monsters living in the sewers below New York. The stories in this anthology expand the world created by the film and add depth to the C.H.U.D. universe like never before. From stories of apocalyptic horror and all out monster action, to tales of underground parties interrupted by uninvited guests and evening strolls that end in death, this anthology will leave you both smiling and breathless.

Relive the fear as these original stories take you beyond the movie to events that occurred before, during, and after the scenes we remember so well.

Includes C.H.U.D. related stories by Jonathan Maberry, Tim Waggoner, JG Faherty, Mort Castle, Michael H. Hanson, Martin Powell, Ben Fisher, Jason White, Chad Lutzke, Ross Baxter, Philip C Perron, David Bernstein, Nick Cato, Alex Laybourne, Christopher Fulbright, Angeline Hawkes, David Robbins, Robert Waters, Greg Mitchell, Ryan C. Thomas, and Eugene Johnson.

With an introduction by David Drake. Compiled by Eric S. Brown.

C.H.U.D. Lives! also features in-depth interviews with Andrew Bonime (producer) and Parnell Hall (screenwriter), as well as never before seen behind-the-scenes photos from the classic 80s horror film.

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Episode 318 - 2017 Review

We are already four percent into 2018 and some good films have come out. But last year was a heck of a year too. Dark Discussions puts together their review of all that was good and bad in 2017. Included is the consideration of 75 different films that were worthy enough to be considered as a top 20 film for genre and horror films.

Each of your five co-hosts put together a list of movies they thought were good enough to be seen by audiences. This included both a list of horror films and a list of other speculative fiction films. Afterwards we then combined them and came up with Dark Discussions definitive lists of the best of 2017. Some obvious films like Wonder Woman and Get Out appear but also little known films like The Evil Within, Radius, and Berlin Syndrome were considered.

Also included are some of our listener choices and what they felt were the best of the year. And don’t forget our top and worst scenes, scream queens, breakout star, and anything else you can think of. Dark Discussions wraps up last year in a nice tight bow and gives their listeners a good many films to go out and search for.

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Episode 316 - 2018 Preview

With January 2018 underway, it is time to visit what is coming this year to cinemas, video-on-demand platforms, as well as those genre films that are going straight to disc. Last year, horror seemed to dominate genre and there were a lot of great flicks. This year once again there seems to be a lot of great ones coming. Plus also more superhero flicks. Reboots and remakes and sequels are also arriving too.

Dark Discussions once again is back with their look forward to the new year and which films seem to interest them most. Some of the more high profile flicks spoken of include Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Annihilation, the two X-Men films, Slender Man, The Nun, and Game Night.

Some other flicks talked about include Fashionista, The Bad Man, the critically praised Norwegian film, Thelma, and a few sequels to Dead Snow and Halloween. And then at the very end we list off other films and talk about some of the latest news about movies and genre cinema.