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Episode 439 - Black Summer (2019)

The zombie TV show, Z NATION, was almost a midnight movie take on the zombie genre. With its crazy over the top episodic storytelling, it was a curiosity. Now, in 2019, the creators of the show have created a new series, loosely connected to their original series. BLACK SUMMER (2019) appeared on Netflix with a very different tone. It had its genre elements, but any dark humor or over the top scenes disappeared and were replaced with more horrific elements.

After parts of the world have become uninhabitable, people are reassigned to neighborhoods that are clear of the pandemic. When an outbreak occurs in a newly established community, a group of survivors that miss the scheduled evacuation buses must fight to break out and escape from the infected while trying to prove they themselves are not infected.

The show stars actress/model Jamie King along with an ensemble cast of actors. After its first season, a second season was announced. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has made the release and production of season two pending. Dark Discussions looks at this eight episode season of the series and gives their thoughts.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Episode 438 - We Summon The Darkness (2020)

Cults have been portrayed many times in horror films as the final antagonist. These movies include the comedic SATANIC PANIC (2019) or darker films such as 1BR (2020) or THE INVITATION (2015). And many do follow similar themes and plot developments. Some change it up a bit such as THE SACREMENT (2013) using found footage, and the new horror film WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS (2020) actually even changes up the protagonists.

It’s 1988, and three girls head to a heavy metal concert. When they arrive in the parking lot, they meet up with three boys who seem to want to “party” with them after the show. Unfortunately, a string of kidnappings by Satanists have occurred around the area. Heading back to one of their houses, what was supposed to be a fun extended evening turns out to be a horrific nightmare.

Director Marc Meyers is known for the docu-drama MY FRIEND DAHMER (2017). WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS, his latest, stars Alexandra Daddario, Logan Miller, and even the great Taylor Swift’s brother, Austin Swift. In a star making performance, Maddie Hasson steals the film. Dark Discussions takes a look at this well received horror movie and gives their thoughts.

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Halloween Boutique Psychotronic Reviews Volume 008

Welcome to the latest edition of Halloween Boutique Psychotronic Reviews (or HBPR for short) – a podcast that reviews and critiques genre films, midnight movies, and boutique label discs. With this latest episode, we take a look at the Tim Constible directed/written film VOODOO (2018) starring actress Samantha Stewart before discussing some news and new releases.

VOODOO: Dani Lamb (Samantha Stewart) heads to Los Angeles from her native New Orleans to visit her cousin, Stacy (Ruth Reynolds). When she arrives, the two head out on the town to have fun. But Dani admits the real reason she is there; she had been dating a man who had been married. Though he had lied to Dani about his marriage, his wife began stalking Dani and threatening her at work. Unfortunately, the wife may be more than she appears to be. Is she a practitioner of the black arts?

Prior to playing the festival circuit, the film was released on disc and VOD in early 2018. Though getting mixed reviews, the film got notice form a variety of big newspapers and websites with some praising its story and practical effects. HBPR podcast takes a look at this potential cult classics and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 437 - Swallow (2020)

Pica is a behavioral health disorder in which a person will non-food items. So things that would be swallowed would be marbles or coins but also in extreme cases, things such as paperclips or tacks. Sometimes this condition is related to issues much more inherent in the individual, including depression and melancholy. That’s what the new 2020 film SWALLOW tackles.

Hunter (Haley Bennett), a once working class woman, has married into a wealthy Hudson Valley family. Seeming to be ignored by her husband Ritchie (Austin Stowell) and treated indifferently by her in-laws, she begins to unravel while alone at home. After watching a self-help documentary on television, she begins to swallow various objects. When she discovers she is pregnant the issue persists leading to dark secrets in her past that may finally catch up to her

The film is written by first time director Carlo Mirabella-Davis that has been received well by critics. Haley Bennett, with her stunning beauty and strong acting chops, may finally have the breakout performance that has seemed to escape her even with her many high profile performances. Dark Discussions takes a look at this dark character study and give their thoughts on the film.

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Episode 436 - 1BR (2020)

Having played larger festivals, the new film 1BR (2020) has received much more press than most. The movie, directed and written by newcomer David Marmor, has collected extremely good reviews and is slowly gaining popularity among horror and genre fans alike. Now available everywhere for viewing, it has ranked high among many VOD sites.

Sarah (Nicole Brydon Bloom), a costume designer from out-of-state, arrives in Los Angeles to seek out her dreams in movies. First finding the “day job” as a paralegal, she next heads out looking for an apartment. After applying for a one bedroom place in a fairly cute complex, she is unexpectedly chosen as the new resident. With barbeques and a handsome neighbor, she finally feels no longer like a fish-out-of-water. However, when the unexpected happens, her world is turned upside down.

In a star-making performance, Nicole Brydon Bloom leads a fantastic cast of fine performers in what may be one of genre’s most surprising films of 2020. Dark Discussions takes a look at the movie, but also interviews producer Alok Mishra, director David Marmor, and future starlet Nicole Brydon Bloom. Take a listen to our extended episode and enjoy.

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Episode 435 - Villains (2019)

So there is a list of scripts on a list called the “Black List”. These films are considered the most liked scripts by movie folk that have not yet been made into motion pictures. Some of them turn out to be gems (THE FIGHTER (2010), THE REVENENT (2015)) but many either never get made or turn out as mediocre adaptations. The new film VILLAINS arrived in late December 2019 with some buzz. The film was led by Bill Skarsgard after his performance as Pennywise the clown and Maika Monroe, a horror favorite.

Mickey (Bill Skarsgard) and Jules (Maika Monroe) are small time robbers. On the run, their incompetence leaves them with their vehicle out of gas. In the middle or rural Florida, they come upon a house and decide to find gas. But instead, what they find in the basement is fairly disturbing. But Jules conscience causes them to delay their escape leaving everyone in danger.

VILLAINS also stars well known performers Kyra Sedgwick and Blake Baumgartner in roles that allow them to chew up the scenery. With strong reviews by critics and Skarsgard coming off his Pennywise performance, the movie never caught on with audiences. Dark Discussions takes a look at this film to determine if there is a hidden gem in our midst.

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Episode 434 - After Midnight (2020)

In 2012, the film THE BATTERY was released during the middle of the zombie subgenre craze. Director/screenwriter/actor Jeremy Gardner’s film received a strong cult following and even had a Scream Factory release of the film. Gardner has gone on to acting in fellow indy director films such as Joe Begos’ film BLISS (2019) and Justin Benson/Aaron Moorhead’s film SPRING (2014). Finally coming back to the directing chair, his latest film AFTER MIDNIGHT (2020) was also produced by Benson/Moorhead.

Each night after midnight an unseen monster attacks Hank’s (Jeremy Gardner’s) northern Florida home. All this occurred only after his longtime live-in-girlfriend Abby (Brea Grant) had left him mysteriously. His friends think he’s going mad, but he’s defiant that an unknown creature keeps attacking. He’s not sure what to do, but as he tries desperately to get in contact with Abby, he holds up with shotgun as the unseen threat continues to attack each evening.

AFTER MIDNIGHT has received fairly positive reviews by critics. Its quirkiness however has given it a mixed reception from viewers. Some feel it is more a drama than a horror film, but either way, its word of mouth has been fairly alive. Dark Discussions takes a look at this polarizing film and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 433 - VFW (2020)

New England director Joe Begos is a curiosity. He’s one of the handful of independent genre cinema directors that keeps getting solid reviews for his movies. And yet he’s still not well known outside of horror film aficionados. With ALMOST HUMAN (2014), THE MIND’S EYE (2016), and BLISS (2019), critics have continued to give Joe Begos’ positive feedback, and his latest VFW (2020), he’s finally getting more notice.

In a not-too-distant future, where a new drug has turned many people into addicted automatons, across the street from a gang lords lair, the local VFW opens up where a group of old and clever veterans come together for companionship. When a young punk woman named Lizard enters their lounge with a bunch of the gang leaders drugs, a “war” breaks out between the army of punks and the former soldiers.

Getting some of the highest number of reviews for any VOD release, including from major publications, the movie also has received a lot of buzz through social media. Though somewhat of a “bottle” film (one location shoot), the movie shows that Joe Begos can stage an action film. Dark Discussions takes a look at this latest release and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 432 - Stuart Gordon Tribute: Dagon (2001)

Rest in peace, Stuart Gordon. The director of such classic horror films as RE-ANIMATOR (1985) and FROM BEYOND (1986) passed away on March 24, 2020 at the age of 72. His passing hurt deeply for many fans but also some performers such as Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs who were staples in many of his films. His most famous films were those loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft’s horror films though he directed thrillers and stories from Edgar Allan Poe, too. Dark Discussions takes a look at his 2001 horror film DAGON in our latest episode.

When Paul Marsh and his girlfriend Barbara take a vacation off the coast of Galicia in Spain, a storm shipwrecks their pleasure boat. Looking for help in the fishing village of Imboca, not only are the town folk acting strangely, but the storm won’t end. After the two are separated, Paul must find his girlfriend as quick as he can while trying to get out of the town alive.

The film was originally to be the director’s third feature film, but the topic of “fish” monsters scared away production people even after the success of his other films. Years later, with funding from the Spaniard government, he was able to make the movie. Receiving fairly good reviews, its success was limited because it was released only one month after the terrorist attack of 2001. This episode is our tribute to the late director.

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Episode 429 - Ozark

Showrunners Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams released the television show OZARK on Netflix, July 21, 2017. After two seasons the series received prominent praise and recognition during award season. Starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, the show is lead by a solid cast and with a third season to arrive on March 27th, 2020.

Marty Byrde, a self employed financial advisor out of Chicago, took on an undisclosed drug cartel as a client. When his partner messes up, Marty and his wife Wendy convince the Mexican cartel to give them another chance. With millions of dollars of drug money, they move to Missouri to the Lake of the Ozarks to “clean” the money. But soon they have to deal with complications including other criminal elements by in their new town.

Sometimes compared to BREAKING BAD, the show only has crime being its only likeness. Instead a bourgeois family lands up in a rural and tourist town. It’s a true tale of the “fish out of water”. Jason Bateman executive produces the show and also directs many of the episodes. Dark Discussions takes a look at this television show and prepares for season three.

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Episode 421 - 2020 Preview

With January 2020 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, genre films seemed to be lacking in quality. There were many gems but not the large amount seen in prior years. This year however there seems to be a lot of great fils coming. Plus also new seasons of some quality TV series.

Dark Discussions once again takes a look at all that’s on the calendar. Some of the more high profile flicks spoken of include GODZILLA VS. KONG, WONDER WOMAN 1984, A QUIET PLACE 2, as well as the sequel to the South Korean movie TRAIN TO BUSAN.

Some other flicks talked about include VFW, THE LODGE, SWALLOW and television series such as SNOWPIERCER and DEVS. And then at the very end we list off what is remaining as well as discuss some of the latest news about movies and genre cinema.

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Cinema A La Carte - Episode 001 - Hostiles (2017)

Director Scott Cooper is well known for his award nominated films such as CRAZY HEART (2009), OUT OF THE FURNACE (2013), and BLACK MASS (2015). His movies have had their detractors, but generally have been received positively. His last film, 2017’s HOSTILES, was no different. Showing his fluidity, this movie was a Western.

Captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale) is assigned to escort the pardoned Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family back to Montana, his homeland. When he and his crew come upon Rosalee Quaid (Rosamund Pike), a survivor from a Comanche massacre, she joins their group. As the two former enemies begin to see the others humanity, Blocker has a change of heart about his mission and becomes friends with Yellow Hawk.

The film was released late December 2017 hoping for Oscar buzz, but unfortunately both its box office and Academy Award hopes floundered. Now Cinema A La Carte, in its debut episode, takes a look at this overlooked movie and gives their thoughts on a modern Western in this new social age.

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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.