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Episode 410 - The Lighthouse (2019)

New Hampshire director Robert Eggers made a splash with his 2015 film THE WITCH. It received critical acclaim and brought to horror fans the cult icon of Black Philip. After his freshman effort, a lot of attention followed where many wondered what would be the follow up for his sophomore effort. The film that he came up with was the recently released THE LIGHTHOUSE (2019) timed for Halloween and yet very unlike many more mainstream genre films.

Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) are the new wickies (or lighthouse keepers) for a small island off the coast of New Hampshire. Thomas, the veteran, shows a volatile personality where he takes full control of the operation of the lighthouse while making Ephraim do the menial tasks such as clean and house maintenance. As things begin to go get worse as supplies run low and the men’s personalities begin to grate, strange things happen that begin to make Ephraim question their daily tasks.

Small in scale, the movie is most certainly an “actor’s” film. Both Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson show off their acting talents in a movie that is filled with atmosphere. Critical praise allowed the film to get a bigger than average release for an “arthouse” film and the movie continues to have high regard. Dark Discussions takes a look at this very bizarre yet interesting film.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Episode 409 - Joker (2019)

Praised by European critics and winning the prestigious award, the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, JOKER (2019) has been targeted by the liberal American media as a right wing film. Its director Todd Phillips has been called a “metoo” villain for his comedies. The movie has been called racist and violent. And critics have said it could lead to violence by incels, loners, and extreme groups. Yet the same detractors praise Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and give great reviews to violent films like JOHN WICK (2014). And yet JOKER may be the best film of 2019.

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) works as a clown to cheer up hospital patients, hold up signs for businesses, and play at children’s parties. He also is a loner who has a laughing disorder and lives with his mother. While trying to be a standup comic, he’s regularly attacked by street thugs and treated badly by co-workers. One day while riding the subway, he along with a number of other passengers are attacked by Wall Street bourgeois. And a fateful occurrence changes not only his life but the entire city of Gotham.

The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as the title character, bringing life to the DC comic villain. Todd Phillips directs a film that when shown up to the face of those who denounce his art something they don’t like. One of the biggest successes of 2019, and considered as one of the best films of the year (by unbiased and honest critics), JOKER has become more than a movie; it has become a phenomenon. Dark Discussions takes a look at this interesting film and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 408 - 'Salem's Lot (the Novel)

After the success of his novel CARRIE (1974), Stephen King followed up with what some considered a more traditional novel, ‘SALEM’S LOT (1975), based strictly within the most popular horror subgenre of all, vampires. However, unlike the traditional vampire story, he took the DRACULA tale and placed it squarely into a small New England town; basically using PEYTON PLACE (in a sense) as a vampire setting.

Ben Mears, an unsuccessful author, heads back to Jerusalem’s Lot, a small town in Maine that he used to spend summers at. As a child, during a dare, he entered an abandoned home of a former Boston Irish mobster. Inside he swore he saw the ghost of hitman Hubie Marsten. Now he wants to write a book on the Marsten House and also face his own “ghosts” from the past.

A big success for Stephen King’s sophomore effort, the book was turned into a TV mini-series directed by Tobe Hooper and also once more in the 2004 starring actor Rob Lowe. Dark Discussions takes a look at the novel and discusses it thoroughly as only fans can.

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Episode 407 - Ad Astra (2019)

To the stars is what they say in Latin, ad astra. Not surprisingly the term is now the title of the new 2019 film AD ASTRA starring Brad Pitt in what some are saying is another award winning performance after ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (2019). The movie is considered a throwback to the hard science fiction of yesteryear where sound is not in space and aliens may not exist.

When second generation astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is called into Space Command, he learns that his father who was lost in outer space twenty-six years prior may actually still be alive. They send him to Mars to send off a communication to his long lost father to the outskirts of Neptune where he was last reported. Unfortunately, Roy discovers that there may be more to his father’s legacy and to Space Command itself.

The film was directed by James Gray, known for being a favorite at Cannes for his many award winning films (WE OWN THE NIGHT (2007), THE IMMIGRANT (2013)). His latest has received high praise from critics. It also has been discussed as high concept on its statements on society, family relationships, and the human condition. Dark Discussions takes a look at this latest science fiction film and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 406 - Mindhunter Season 2 (2019)

The Netflix original television show, MINDHUNTER, was well received when it debuted in October 2017. In August 2019, season two dropped and got even better reviews than the prior season. Based on the real life story of the creation of the Behavioral Science in the FBI, the show changes things up a bit but stays in the real world as fictional appearances of notorious serial murders appear on many episodes.

With a new boss, agents Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Tench (Holt McCallany) along with psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) grow the Behavioral Science unit within the FBI. While on assignment in Georgia, Agent Ford investigates the murders of young black minors around the Atlanta area. Soon the FBI gets involved officially with Ford using his scientific approach to try to identify a new serial killer.

Season two, unlike season one, focuses more upon the Tench and Carr characters. The program has officially been turned into focusing on an ensemble cast. Dark Discussions is joined by author M.J. Preston in their discussion of season two giving their thoughts.

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Episode 405 - The Thing From Another World (1951)

John W. Campbell’s novella, WHO GOES THERE?, published in 1938 in considered one of the greatest science fiction horror stories of all time. It isn’t surprising that it has been made into, though loosely, into at least adaptations. That doesn’t include the influence it had on other stories such as THE BODY SNATCHERS by Jack Finney. In 1951, producer Howard Hawks THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, the first adaptation, received roaring reviews and is considered a classic.

An air force base in Anchorage receives a call from scientist Arthur Carrington near the North Pole that an unusual aircraft has crashed. Captain Ned Scott and crew are sent up north to help investigate. When the scientists and the air force soldiers arrive at the crash site, they found a remarkable discovery. Taking back their findings to the outpost, they unexpectedly unleash a horror that none of them ever had seen before.

The film starred a group of well known character actors and was directed by Howard Hawks prodigy, Christian Nyby. The films box office beat such other classic science fiction films as THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951) and WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951). Dark Discussions takes a look at this film which fell right in the middle of the Cold War and said a lot about a world that recently fought a world war.

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Episode 404 - We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)

When violence from mass shootings happens because of their respective spree killers, words and phrases such as psychopath, mental illness, gun control, background checks, laws, and nature versus nurture are always bandied about. In 2011, the film WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN came out. Oddly the film still plays today. It also has more to say than just school shootings.

Eva (Tilda Swinton) is a successful travel book author and her husband Franklin (John C. Reilly) is as successful as an insurance investigator. When Kevin (Ezra Miller) is born, he is a colloquy baby and appears to torment his mother. She begins to regret her life as a mother, but one wonders whether she has a right to do so. Kevin becomes a miserable teenager and soon a tragedy occurs that ruins his mother’s life.

The film, directed by Lynne Ramsay and co-written with Rory Stewart Kinnear, is based off the best selling novel written by Lionel Shriver. Discussing more than nature, nurture, or spree killings, the narrative leaves open questions about many things including being a parent, giving up ones dreams and wondering whether one is at fault of a sociopath child. Dark Discussions discusses this interesting tale and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 403 - It Chapter Two (2019)

In 2017, after many rumors of production issues, the film, IT CHAPTER ONE, premiered its trailer and began to get positive buzz. When it was released in September, it received excellent reviews and became one of the top grossing horror films of all time. Immediately IT CHAPTER TWO was announced to great hope and finally appeared at theaters in late summer 2019.

Now adults, the “loser’s club” is called back to Derry, Maine by Mike, the only member to remain in town, when he discovers Pennywise, the evil clown, has returned. Soon more people go missing or are found dead, and the group is forced to return to their childhood haunts to find a way to kill a creature that seems impossible to kill.

The film is once again helmed by Andy Muschietti. Screenwriter Gary Dauberman is back to personally write the script. Starring award winning actors James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain, and including a cast of up-and-comers, the movie was a hugh success even though its reviews (though good) were not as positive as the first. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new horror film based off Stephen King’s novel, IT (1985).

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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 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.