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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.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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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 382 - Train To Busan (2016)

Though late to the subgenre, TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016), the successful zombie film from South Korea swept their national box office. It also received positive reviews from critics internationally. Director Sang-ho Yeon, mostly known for fantastic animation films, took the pre-apocalypse chaos done successfully in the DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004) remake and WORLD WAR Z (2013) and ramped it up on a passenger train heading from from Seoul to the beach city Busan.

When Seok-woo, a busy fund manager, takes his young daughter, Su-an, to see her estranged mother, the train they take becomes just one more location where the zombie outbreak happens. As a group of survivors band together and cross car to car to reunite with their loved ones, each train section becomes a death trap as the infected begin to attack and take over areas of the train.

With the film’s portrayal of wealthy, working class, and homeless all trying to survive, the movie shows a strong subtext of class warfare within South Korea (as well as any other first world nation). With some critics saying it may be the best zombie or apocalyptic film they have ever seen, the movie seems to be in great company. Dark Discussions in 2016 had it as the best horror film of the year. After a re-watch, the crew critique to determine if it still holds up three years later.

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Episode 381 - Braid (2019)

The new film BRAID (2019) has received fairly strong reviews. Italian actress and model, Mitzi Peirone, directed but also wrote the screenplay for what is her feature length film debut. Her career took her to New York City to study theater at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts resulting on her focus on BRAID. The film starts off in her adoptive New York before leading to Montpelier, Vermont.

When Petula, an aspiring actress, and her childhood friend Tilda flee from a drug bust, they lose close to $100,000 of drug dealer product. Having fears of possible retribution from the dealer’s goons, they decide to head back to their home city of Montpelier, Vermont and rob their wealthy friend Daphne of enough money to pay back the drug dealer. Unfortunately to get into the graces of Daphne, the two are forced to play an imaginary game within a fantasy world that the mentally disturbed Daphne has created.

The film stars Imogen Waterhouse (THE OUTPOST), Sarah Hay (BLACK SWAN), and Madeline Brewer (THE HANDMAID’S TALE) in powerful portrayals of very desperate people. Each character has their own personal demons. Dark Discussions takes a look at this very divisive yet highly regarded horror/thriller debut feature by director, Mitzi Peirone.

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Episode 380 - Pet Sematary (2019)

When PET SEMATARY (1983) was released, Stephen King was already a best seller. Unlike some of his other books, this novel was a much smaller work in a sense. Focusing on a handful of characters and not full a crescendo of craziness until the very last act, the book was a more personal work for most readers. Its discussion of death and loss itself could fill up an entire book. By 1989, the first adaptation of the novel appeared on the big screen. Now twenty years later, the remake has arrived.

Lewis Creed and his family move to the small town of Ludlow, Maine after he accepts a position as a doctor at the University of Maine. Unfortunately a major road runs straight through his front yard where tractor trailers ride incessantly. When a tragic accident occurs, neighbor Jud Crandall decides to help out leading to unfortunate consequences which will haunt all involved.

The film is directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer in their follow up to the highly acclaimed cult film STARRY EYES (2014). In front of the camera includes Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lighgow. Originally receiving fabulous reviews on the festival circuit, the movie (upon release) suddenly dropped in prestige and has received mixed opinions. Dark Discussions takes a look at this highly anticipated adaption.

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Episode 379 - Suspiria (2018)

The 1977 supernatural horror film SUSPIRIA has risen in popularity over the years. During the internet age when more folks began discovering foreign film, the movie began entering top 10 best horror lists. And it has steadily stayed there ever since. When it was announced a remake was earmarked, folks were skeptical. How could a remake be made of such an eclectic movie? When director Luca Guadagnino’s new film began playing the festival circuits, it received fairly good reviews.

The new movie keeps the basic premise of the original. But there are some major changes. Though the film is a period piece from 1977, the dance school has been moved to West Berlin with the Cold War raging both just across the block and also in the news with the German Autumn. Also the legacy of World War 2 permeates the atmosphere of the movie.

Dakota Johnson plays the American girl that has come to study at the academy. Tilda Swinton plays Madame Blanc, the head of the school. Others in the cast of note include Mia Goth and Chloë Grace Moretz. Though at theaters for one week, general audiences mostly missed it until Q1 of 2019. Dark Discussions takes a look at this remake and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 378 - Us (2019)

GET OUT (2017) was a surprise hit that not only was a box office smash, but it also won best screenplay for the creator, Jordan Peele. Whether it was more worthy than THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (2017) is debatable, but Peele’s follow up film, whatever it would be, was most certainly anticipated by many. That film is the recently released US (2019), another horror film written and directed by Peele.

The Winston family head out to their Santa Cruz, California beach home for a long week of fun and sun. After meeting up with family friends, they head home and go to bed. Soon however a strange family appears in their driveway. When the patriarch of the family asks them to leave, the intruders soon attack the household and turn this home invasion film into something much bigger.

The film stars Lupita Nyong’o as the matriarch of the Wilson family. She along with Winston Duke playing Gabe Wilson have received great write ups for their performance. The movie received reviews as high as those as Peele’s prior film, and even topped that one as the highest opening horror film of all time. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new feature film by an up-and-coming filmmaker.

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Episode 377 - The Crow (1994)

It’s the 25th anniversary of THE CROW (1994), the film adaption of the independent comic book by James O’Barr. First published in 1989, the story became a cult success resulting in a franchise that still lives today. The movie was perfect for the era. Grunge music, goth and emo apparel, and a general alternative to the norm was spreading throughout. Up-and-comer Brandon Lee, the son of the famed actor Bruce Lee, was cast in the lead role of the film. What turned out was a brilliant if tragic casting.

On Devil’s Night (October 30th) in the city of Detroit, up-and-coming rock musician Eric Draven and his fiancé are having a quiet evening in their loft. Their peaceful harmony is soon disrupted by a group of gangsters who are trying to evict everyone from the block. When things go bad, Eric lands up dead and his fiancé is mortally wounded after a vicious attack. Soon after, something brings him back to life to carry out justice for the crime.

Brandon Lee, at the time, was beginning to get notice from Hollywood producers. With his casting as Eric Draven, he was about to become a leading man. His performance in THE CROW lets all see why he was a rising star. Unfortunately during a freak accident, he passed away during the shoot. As a result, the movie gained additional notoriety. Dark Discussions talks about the film, its legacy, and how it stands up twenty-five years later.

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Episode 376 - The Hole In The Ground (2019)

A24 Films seems to take a lot of chances. They have found numerous films off the festival circuit that have been beloved by critics and in some cases highly successful at the box office. Some of their films have included IT COMES AT NIGHT (2017), THE WITCH (2016), and HEREDITARY (2018). Their latest film, unlike those, is a straight to VOD movie in North America. Unlike the others, this one is from Ireland and by first time director Lee Cronin.

Sarah (Seána Kerslake) and her young son Chris (James Quinn Markey) head to a rural town in the Irish countryside. Her back story seems to suggest she’s running from an abusive husband. Yet, where she has landed seems to be a town with a very dark past. A strange woman begins to follow Chris and believes he is not who Sarah says he is. Soon, deep in her home’s backwoods, she discovers a sinkhole that could be something very nefarious.

Whether the film was Irish or they felt the story wasn’t something they could market for a theatrical release, A24’s new film has received fine reviews no matter. And much like some of their other films critics seem to enjoy it more so than viewers. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new horror film and gives their opnion.

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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.