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Episode 392 - Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

The Conjuring Universe has been one of the more successful film franchise of recent times. Starting with the first film, the series now has spawned numerous spin off movies including THE NUN (2018) and the ANNABELLE films. After this years earlier film THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA, the third ANNABELLE film entitled ANNABELLE COMES HOME arrived at theaters.

When the Warrens, the ghost hunting duo, head out for a date night, they leave their young daughter Judy with a teenage babysitter, Mary Ellen. Her friend Daniela however arrives to hang out with the two. While left alone she sneaks off. Finding keys to the artifact room and enters. When she begins touching things, she is unaware that she is disturbing evil presences. Soon ghosts appear and the three become endangered.

ANNABELLE COMES HOME is the directorial debut of successful screenwriter Gary Dauberman. Having written or co-written such blockbusters IT CHAPTER ONE (2017) and ANNABELLE: CREATION (2017), his debut was highly anticipated. Dark Discussions takes a look at this latest movie of the Conjuring Universe.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Episode 391 - Child's Play (2019)

The 1988 horror movie CHILD’S PLAY was not only a success but also became a fairly popular franchise. With a serial killer’s soul now possessing a child’s toy, the movie had many places to go. It also had Brad Dourif who turned the “monster” into something with a quirky personality. Now 2019, a remake of the film was released. However, the story was updated for the modern era.

Karen (Aubrey Plaza) is a single mother who works for a department store. She’s able to get a returned Buddi doll from the warehouse for her thirteen year old son Andy. Buddi is able to connect to Bluetooth, wifi, and tablets throughout the house allowing him to be used as a tool as much as a toy. Soon, Andy begins to suspect that this version of the Buddi doll may be defective. Unlike as advertised, any protective programming seems to have been removed.

Though starring Aubrey Plaza, the movie is really a starring vehicle for the young actor Gabriel Bateman who plays Andy. The movie was directed by Lars Klevberg and written by Tyler Burton Smith. Both are fairly new with little renown prior. Dark Discussions takes a look at this interesting take on the beloved franchise and gives their thoughts whether it stands out or not.

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Episode 390 - The Ranger (The Interview) (2019)

With the arrival of the highly acclaimed horror film THE RANGER (2019) on Shudder (and disc), actor Jeremy Holm has been brought to the attention of the horror fan community. He starred as the title character of the film. In a long line of slasher and sociopathic characters, his take has been called refreshing many times, almost as much as it has been called frightening.

While at Scare-A-Con New England, some members of the Dark Discussions crew were able to meet Jeremy as he mingled and met all his many fans. The convention was oddly the first horror convention he attended but the experience left him aware of the impact he’s had in the present horror film era.

Last week, Dark Discussions reviewed and critiqued the movie. However, this week we were able to get Jeremy Holm to join us for an interview to discuss his perspective on the film, some behind the scenes aspects, and some upcoming horror projects he is participating in.

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Episode 389 - The Ranger (The Review) (2019)

Another surprising Shudder exclusive, the film THE RANGER dropped earlier this year. A prototype throwback to the 1980’s slasher films, the movie changes it up a bit with some back story that is not expected in such movies. Actor Jeremy Holm who stars as the title character met members of the Dark Discussions Podcast at New England Scare-A-Con in June. Their interest in the film grew and they decided to take a look at it.

When Chelsea and her four friends flee a punk rock party when law enforcement raid it, her boyfriend Garth stabs a police officer. Now on the run, they head to a state park where her family has roots. Unfortunately for them, a local park ranger is there who has other things on his mind. And the results bring back Chelsea’s personal history that she has been running away from since she was a child.

Receiving fairly good reviews, the movie was directed by first time director Jenn Wexler. With a strong cast including Chloë Levine, the movie’s real star is Jeremy Holm in a dominating performance that has been drawing positive accolades from both critics and fans alike. But is the film solid? Dark Discussions gives their critique.

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Episode 388 - The Devil's Advocate (1997)

1997 was an interesting year for some performers. Both Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves were on a run of rejuvenating their careers. Charlize Theron would suddenly become a leading actress, and Connie Nielsen would do her very first English language film which would put her on the radar for many years. The film that brought them all together was the 1997 horror film, THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE.

Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) is a defense attorney out of Gainsville, Florida. When a Manhattan law firm asks him to come to the city to help pick a jury for an important case, not only does he shine but he’s offered a full time position. His wife (Charlize Theron) pushes him to accept. But when they move there, Kevin’s new boss may be someone more than he lets on to be. And soon the Lomax’s life begins to spiral downwards.

The movie is directed by Taylor Hackford best known for such films as AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN (1982) and DOLORES CLAIBORNE (1995). And the screenplay was co-written by Tony Gilroy who directed such films as MICHAEL CLAYTON (2007) and THE BOURNE LEGACY (2012). Dark Discussions takes a look at this cult classic and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 387 - Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Kaiju monster movies or their kin have been around for over 90 years. KING KONG from 1933 may be the very first. While there were a number of “one off” films starring various monsters, one creature, Godzilla, has sprung a number of films in its franchise. As of 2019, the latest in the so called Monsterverse was released entitled GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS.

Monarch, an organization that tracks the giant monsters, is hit by a terrorist attack. Some of their technology is hijacked. Soon a number of kaiju are revived and begin to attack throughout the world. With his daughter disappearing, former Monarch doctor Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) is brought back in to help track why this new wave of monster aggression is occurring. A question is presented whether or not there was an inside job that has caused the entire bedlam.

A follow up to the 2014 film GODZILLA, this new movie stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Charles Dance, and Ken Wanatabe. Unlike its predecessor, the movie has reviewed mixed reviews and its box office has been uneventful. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new film and gives their opinions.

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Episode 386 - Brightburn (2019)

Last year, at San Diego ComicCon, James Gunn was all set to announce his latest upcoming project. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, he had to pull out of the convention and the announcement never came. The latest film, though, was getting prepared for a 2019 release. That film turned out to be BRIGHTBURN, a film directed by David Yarovesky and written by screenwriters Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn.

After failing to conceive, the Breyers are blessed with an alien child that crashed landed on their Kansas farm. Not sure where he was from, they adopted the boy and brought him up as their own. Now twelve years old, Brandon suddenly discovers that he may have abilities not like other folks. Hidden away in the family barn, the spacecraft begins to transmit messages to him which may cause him to lose self-will.

The film is being compared to such movies as CHRONICLE (2012) as well as SUPERMAN (1978). With its plot of a young boy that actually may have super powers, the question is asked what would happen if he was bad? In excellent performances, the Breyers are played by Elizabeth Banks (SLITHER) and DAVID DENMAM (THE OFFICE). Dark Discussions takes a look at this new sci-fi horror film and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 385 - Terrified (2018)

The “ghost story” is such a generic term. Does it mean phantoms, or poltergeists, or demons, or all of them together? Some of the defining moments in modern ghost cinema are THE RING (1988), THE CONJURING (2013), INSIDIUS (2010), and THE OTHERS (2001). The 2018 Argentinean film TERRIFIED became a Shudder exclusive and turned out to be one of the channels top Halloween films.

A small neighborhood on the outskirts of Buenos Aires suddenly becomes a hot bed for deaths and strange occurrences. A husband is arrested for the brutal death of his wife, a young boy is killed by a commuter bus, a neighbor locks himself up in his house and refuses to see anyone, and the body appears to have been dug up from the locally cemetery and left in the kitchen of a grieving family. A police inspector and three paranormal investigators team up to figure out what is going on.

Considered one of the more terrifying ghost stories in some time, the movie was named by many as one of the top horror films of last year. Dark Discussions placed it upon their own top ten best genre films of 2018. Your co-hosts have chosen it as their latest discussion topic. Join us and hear what we have to say.

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Episode 384 - The House That Jack Built (2018)

There is no doubt Lars von Trier is a fantastic director (and screenwriter). His movies, though falling more towards the arthouse, have always been solid works of art. The issue with him is he seems to say silly things or alienate folks that are supposed to critique his movies. With his latest film, THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT (2018), some critics felt the film was a symbolic attack on them. Even with that, the movie generally has been able to overcome such criticism.

Jack is a serial killer. But to him, his murdering is a form of art. However, he is smart enough to know what he is. The need to kill keeps coming back, and his issues, including OCD, seem to haunt him. When he picks up a woman who has a flat tire, her rudeness causes him to snap. This is the beginning of his treacherous ways. In numerous acts, Jack is portrayed doing his dirty work while explaining to an unseen man his thought process as he goes about his day.

In a career defining performance by Matt Dillon, the movie once more shows why such critics like Roger Ebert had considered him one of his generation’s best actors. Almost having to carry the film all by himself, the role was assuredly worth award recognition. Dark Discussions takes a look at this very controversial film and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 383 - No Country For Old Men (2007)

In 2005, the novel NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, written by Cormac McCarthy, was released. Oddly, the novel received mixed reviews since it was a departure from the author’s usual prose. Unlike his other works, this one had originally been written as a potential screenplay prior being turned into a novel. Almost immediately the Coen brothers took the property, writing the screenplay and adapted it into the 2007 film.

Llewelyn Moss, while hunting pronghorn in the desert of Southern Texas, stumbles upon the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong. When he leaves the scene with a million dollars of drug money, he soon has a group of cartel men and bounty hunters after him, including the peculiar Anton Chigurh. Sheriff Bell is soon piecing together what has happened and is on a journey to save Llewelyn before he lands up dead.

The cast includes Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem in leading roles. Considered by many to be one of the greatest thrillers of all time, the movie went on to win a number of awards. Now considered a classic, the movie continues to be listed on “best of” lists. Dark Discussions takes a look at this amazing film and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 369 - 2018 Review

We are already a month into 2019 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 2018. More than 75 different films were worthy enough to be considered as a top 20 movie in genre cinema.

Each of your five co-hosts put together a list of movies that were worthy of their own personal top films of the year. This included both a list of horror movies 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 2018. Some obvious films like A Quiet Place and Hereditary appear but also little known films like Housewife, Mon Mon Mon Monsters, and Terrified 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 367 - 2019 Preview

With January 2019 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 IT CHAPTER 2, PET SEMATARY, GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS, as well as the new ANNABELLE film.

Some other flicks talked about include VELVET BUZZSAW, THE HOLE IN THE GROUND, UNDER THE SILVER LAKE and BRIGHTBURN. And then at the very end we list off other films and talk about some of the latest news about movies and genre cinema.

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Episode 365 - New Year's Bucket List Special

New Year's resolutions are a big thing for folks. Some want to lose weight, find a spouse, get a new job, work towards completing something; others have goals that they strive for. Co-host Mike said that there are a lot of genre films he hasn't seen that he wants to get to, so as a New Year's resolution, why not ask all the co-hosts to see some film they always wanted to see and then discuss. The third year doing so, each co-host chose a genre movie that they had never seen and decided to watch it and give their opinions.

Films we discuss are EYES WITHOUT A FACE (1962), THEM! (1954), THE MUMMY (1932), and VANISHING POINT (1971). A wide variety of films they are but also some important ones too that one of your co-hosts finally got to see.

With all that, Dark Discussions would like to say happy 2019 to all our listeners and patreon supporters, both new and old, and hope to hear some of the films you folks have never seen and plan to in this new year. Email us and let us know.

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Episode 358 - Dan Lench Special

Since the inception of Dark Discussions Podcast, not only have your co-hosts become good friends, but they have met many of the listeners, sometimes in person, but also online on social media. With topics including smaller films and independent cinema, writers, actors, and directors have come aboard to the Dark Discussions Podcast community. One such person, Dan Lench, star of such films as CIRCLE and THE LURKING MAN, has become an important part of the “family.”

Having done splendid work in genre cinema including playing a scoundrel banker, an insane mental patient, and a demon from the underworld, Dan has proven not only to be one fantastic actor, but also a true fan of genre cinema and all its scares.

The man himself has been interviewed by your co-hosts a number of times to discuss his work and what’s next. While presently working on the stage in an adaption of Oscar Wilde’s THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, Dark Discussions has asked him to appear once more to give his thoughts of some of his most favorite horror films.

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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.