The party to end all parties. When the end of the world happens, why not go out in a bang. An afternoon all day rave. That's what the new film, These Final Hours, by Australian director/screenwriter Zak Hilditch seems to focus on; a quest by the lead character James (played by genre favorite, Nathan Phillips). He wants to get to this party after a meteor strikes Europe and a ball of fire is only twelve hours away to finish off Australia and the rest of the world. Not post-apocalyptic, but completely apocalyptic.
James, a young man, depressed at the fate of himself and mankind, leaves his lover to head to his friend's end of the world party. Drink, drugs, sex ... a place to disappear into pleasure before death. But on his way he saves a young girl from a horrible end and suddenly he's put into a quandary: should he use his last hours alive essentially to pass the time or should he instead do something meaningful. Just maybe his own belief system has given him little choice.
Part thriller, part human drama, These Final Hours asks more questions about not only one man's "journey" but essentially the human condition as a whole. Nathan Phillips (Wolf Creek, Chernobyl Diaries, Dying Breed) channels James and his story of the prodigal son and the existential passage to deliverance that ultimately the character seeks. Dark Discussions along with guest host, author Kristi Petersen Schoonover, discuss their thoughts on this intense thriller focusing on the end of the world.
When people talk about the originators of the modern horror film they think of names like Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Sean Cunningham, Dan O'Bannon, George Romero, among others, but the combo of Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert are probably equally important. The influence of 1981's Evil Dead has been so immense, that a parody of the whole cabin in the woods theme was produced as its own film by Josh Whedon. After a long delay, the two returned to the horror genre with Drag Me To Hell, 1997's splatstick horror film.
Bank employee, Christine Brown, is given an opportunity for a promotion at the bank that she works at. However, to impress the boss, she has to reject an elderly woman's request for a mortgage payment extension. Unfortunately she brings upon herself the wrath of a gypsy curse that has damned her soul to hell. While trying to live her everyday life, she tries her hardest to convince her boyfriend of her horrible circumstance.
Critically, the film received fantastic reviews. Two questions were asked. One was whether the younger horror fans would come out to the theaters based off the film being directed by the same director of the popular Spider-Man franchise. The other was if the PG-13 rating would scare off horror enthusiasts. A winner of a Dark Discussions Facebook review poll, your co-hosts give their thoughts on the cult classic.
Unfortunately as we get old, there are some diseases that folks are more apt to come down with. They seem to all be life threatening or debilitating to the individual in some way. One such disease is Alzheimer's Disease, a form of dementia that can eventually cause immobilization and death. Last year's film, The Taking of Deborah Logan, uses it as a catalyst for a horror film. Alzheimer's itself in some ways out horrifies the "actual" frights within the film.
Mia, a college student working on a documentary on Alzheimer's, is given a grant for her college project. Deborah Logan, an older woman who has been diagnosed with the disease, agrees to be the subject of Mia's documentary. Mia and her crew set up at the woman's home and with the help of Deborah's daughter, Sarah, they agree to present both the disease and Mrs. Logan in a non-exploitative way. As expected when filming commences, Deborah's unpredictable behavior shows how the disease effects the everyday life on the Logan family. Yet, as time goes by, more bizarre things begin to occur that may not just be related to Alzheimer's.
Produced by Bryan Singer, the film was co-written and directed by his long time collaborator, Adam Robitel, a character actor and jack-of-all-trades behind the scenes of films. Starring Emmy Award winning actress, Jill Larson, in a career defining role as Deborah Logan, the film has received many positive reviews and has been considered one of the best examples of cinéma vérité. Dark Discussions chooses to discuss one of the sleeper films of 2014.
Our 200th episode of the podcast. How crazy is that? So what we do on "milestone" episodes, as co-host Eric has stated many times, we always do one of the classic films of genre and speculative fiction. This time we do one of our favorites and that's John Carpenter's The Thing. The film was panned when it was released. The box office was bad. And it had competition from other science fiction films including E.T. and Blade Runner (which was actually released the same day). But when a great film flounders on release, re-evaluation occurs and time has shown that the very best always "floats" to the top.
When a sled dog appears at the door of an American Antarctic research facility, a huge mystery is presented to the crew. Why was a Norwegian helicopter chasing it? And why did they try to shoot it dead? When two of the team members head to the Norwegian research facility, they discover it destroyed and everybody dead or missing. Soon the head researcher locks himself away in his room, and he begins to fear that what happened to the Norwegians may about to take root at the American facility.
Released in 1982, and based off the novella Who Goes There by John W. Campbell Jr., the film is a remake of arguably the best sci-fi film of the 1950's, The Thing From Another World. With fabulous special effects, a perfectly cast of actors, and a screenplay written by Bill Lancaster that brings out the paranoia and loneliness of the desolate wasteland of Antarctica, The Thing is now considered one of the top ten best horror films of all time. Dark Discussions gives their opinions.
This is one episode that the Dark Discussions co-hosts in no way wanted to do. At least not for these circumstances. Horror great, director/writer/producer/cinematographer Wes Craven has passed away. One of the handful of early 1970's directors that melded horror for the next three decades, his death was unexpected and surprising to many fans.
Usually the greats are remembered for one specific film, or they leave the genre and go off and do other things, but Wes Craven remained as a horror director to the very end. He is known for two iconic films and many more great ones. One time Dracula and Frankenstein were the costumes that children wanted to dress as at Halloween, but Wes Craven's creations of Ghostface and Freddy Krueger have added to the iconic monsters of horror.
From his early work with Friday the 13th's Sean Cunningham on the movie The Last House on the Left all the way to this year's MTV television series, Scream, Craven's horror career spanned forty-three years. Besides his most celebrated films, Scream and Nightmare on Elm Street, other films such as The Hills Have Eyes and Red Eye continue to be loved. Your co-hosts talk about the legend known as Wes Craven and the legacy he has left behind.
Who's Joel Edgerton? Well, he's someone you should get to know. To genre fans, he's probably known mostly as the male lead in The Thing prequel. But since then he's done parts in Zero Dark Thirty and The Great Gatsby. Back in his home nation of Australia, one of his most brilliant roles was in the 2008 Jon Hewitt film, Acolytes, where he plays a serial killer (Dark Discussions did an episode on this movie). Recently he wrote and starred in the well received police thriller Felony. Now he directs, writes, and stars in the new movie, The Gift.
When Simon and Robyn Callen move to California, Gordon Mosley bumps into them in a store. The two men had gone to school years earlier and a pleasant exchange occurs. Later a bottle of wine is left on their doorstep with a note from Gordon with pleasantries about their new house and life. Soon Simon begins to wonder if Gordon's kindness is something more. Soon suspicions arise and secrets from our three leads begin to make their appearance. And in all cases, those secrets were better off hidden.
Dark Discussions discusses this new thriller by someone who many think may be an up and coming star. Though co-host Eric states, "this is Joel Edgerton's baby", the film also stars Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall as the married couple who's life turned upside down. Strong performances all around, the movie may be this year's sleeper hit. Listen to what your co-hosts think.
Festival circuits have brought numerous independent and foreign films to the attention of both genre fans and in some cases distribution companies. Some movies that got incredible buzz in the past were You're Next, The Lords of Salem, and Red, White, and Blue to just name a handful. Last year there were two films that were overwhelmingly given fantastic reviews before the masses were even able to see them. One was the Australian film Babadook and the other was a small Michigan made film entitled It Follows.
When Jamie, a young woman, decides to consummate her relationship with her boyfriend, she suddenly discovers that something or someone is following her. No matter where she goes, she isn't able to escape from the ever present "it". Soon she recruits her friends and sister to help her flee from this unwanted threat. Yet she begins to wonder if she will ever be safe again.
Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, It Follows was to get a limited release on Friday the 13th in March 2015 but after it made over six figures in four theaters, the film's VOD release was dropped and eventually the film has expanded to over 1,600 theaters in the US alone. It Follows, one of the most highly anticipated horror films in years, is now reviewed by Dark Discussions. Will they agree with what author Kristi Petersen Schoonover says is "the best thing I've seen in years"? Listen and find out.
It's a new year and there are a whole list of new movies coming. Genre cinema is now mainstream with superheroes and teen sci-fi novels being brought to the big screen almost monthly. This year a lot of familiar film franchises are bringing new additions to their canon: Sinister, Insidious, James Bond, the Terminator, Jurassic World, Mad Max, Star Wars, the Avengers.
But there are a lot of small films that are coming that have been highly anticipated such as It Follows, Krampus, Rob Zombie's 31, Greg Mclean's 6 Miranda Drive, and Simon Rumley's The Last Word. Other original material includes the Wachowski's Jupiter Ascending, Neill Blomkamp's Chappie, M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit, Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea, Tom Hardy's starring vehicle Child 44, Guillermo Del Toro's Crimson Peak, and Ridley Scott's The Martian.
Dark Discussions brings a pretty large list of a bunch of films that have been on their radar for the new year. Some are films that are so low profile that they'll be new to you. Others are higher profile but we discuss the actors, actresses, directors, and screenwriters behind them and also read into the trailers and blurbs that have been discussed throughout the internet. Get a pen and paper out and start jotting down these new films that may interest any genre fan.
Dark Discussions brings you their year in review episode. 2014 seemed to start out very slow for horror films but by the end of the year, there were plenty of good films to see, all readily available and not just festival films or limited release. But co-hosts Eric and Mike had a very good point which is what is determined as other genre (sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, techno-thrillers, mysteries, and exploitation) was outstanding compared to horror itself. It could be argued that 4 or 5 thrillers and sci-fi flicks were heads and above the very best genre films of the year, even over horror as a specific category.
One of the many interesting aspects of the prior year's best horror films was the cost to make them. Out of Dark Discussions definitive top 13 horror films of the year (a 3 way tie for 10th), the total cost to make them was easily less than $30M USD. This shows outstanding small budget and independent cinema but it also is dire for wide release Hollywood horror films. And to put an exclamation point on it, only one of the films on the definitive list was a wide release film.
Films weeded down for consideration for our Top 10 horror list and Top 10 genre list were just under seventy total films. And unlike prior years, your four co-hosts were very close to having consensus with the choices on both lists. Rounding out the episode includes a quick recap of 2014's genre television, books, anime, and our breakout list and worst list.