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Episode 276 - Johnny Frank Garrett's Last Word (2017)

Back in 1981, in Amarillo, Texas, there was a rape and murder of an elderly nun that left the community in fear. With the deaths of a few other women prior, it appeared there could be a serial killer on the loose. But soon the justice department and law enforcement zeroed in on a young man named Johnny Frank Garrett. Though poor and with a low IQ, some evidence pointed towards him as the perpetrator.

He was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. After years on death row, he was given the lethal injection. On the day he died, he cursed all who were involved including jurors, law enforcement, the justice system, and any others he thought did him wrong. Soon afterwards many folks did in fact die or had nefarious things happen to them. Coincidence?

The long awaited film, Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word, has arrived to all VOD services. Directed by the highly regarded film maker Simon Rumley, the based-on-fact movie may remind folks of such films as In Cold Blood, but has traits of possession films, thrillers, and police procedurals. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new entry of true crime horror films and gives their opinion.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Episode 275 - Get Out (2017)

What happens when you are finally about to meet the significant other’s parents? You know it was inevitable. In the new horror film, Get Out, Chris Washington’s girlfriend, Rose Armstrong, suggests a weekend trip just to do that: to meet her parents. However, Chris is an African-American and he isn’t quite sure what to expect from Rose’s Caucasian family. Will he be greeted with love or suspicion. Interracial relationships aren’t anything new but what about an older generation’s opinion?

When Chris and Rose arrive, awkwardness is in the air even if her family’s hospitality is genuine. He’s a smoker and they aren’t fans of the habit. They have black servants which feels a bit too unbecoming. And their progressive values seem just a bit too overbearing. But Chris is a champ and works through the uncomfortable moments like someone who has had to his entire life.

The new film is directed by the comedian Jordan Peele. Yet it is as far away from a comedy as one would imagine. Critically loved and a huge box office success, the movie seems to be hitting the right beats for a scary film while still having enough of an interesting subtext allowing the movie to say much about today’s world. Dark Discussions discusses this new Blumhouse production and gives their opinions.

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Halloween Boutique Psychotronic Reviews Volume 003

Welcome to the newest 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.

A wide variety of cult films are reviewed in this edition of the podcast including films that try to follow in the footsteps of more widely known movies like Last House on the Left and The Exorcist. Also, an interesting Blaxploitation film from a director more known for his horror thrillers. Another is by a one time director that has lived a very interesting life. And another that is so surreal, the film can be consider “weird cinema” even more so than arthouse.

This edition co-host Philip of the Dark Discussions Podcast critiques five films: Arrow’s newly released Mexican horror film, We Are the Flesh; Code Red’s remastering of director Lee Frost’s Black Gestapo; Blue Underground’s blu-ray release of the 1975 Italian horror film, Night Train Murders; Severin’s release of the Italian possession film, Malabimba the Malicious Whore; and both versions of Don’t Answer the Phone (released early 2017 by Vinegar Syndrome and prior by Scorpion Releasing).

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Episode 274 - Ray Harryhausen Focus: 1963's Jason and the Argonauts

The imagination? Whether it be George Lucas, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert E. Howard, or L. Ron Hubbard, legends are made when their "seed" of an idea blossoms into tales about Conan or Sherlock Holmes. Ray Harryhausen was another such legend. Starting with monsters from outer space to fantasy mythos of Europe and Asia, Ray Harryhausen brought to life some of the greatest and intense creatures in movie history. His brilliant stop motion animation was the place many genre fans got their first glimpse of the "fantastic".

Last year, Dark Discussions did a poll on social media asking listeners to choose a film to review based on your co-hosts suggestions. Co-host Abe listed Jason and the Argonauts as a possibility and not surprisingly, the movie won the poll. With this new episode, we go into the film, some background about Ray Harryhausen, and our own experiences with his work.

The movie came out in 1963 to critical acclaim. Directed by Don Chaffey, co-written by playwright Alan Beverley Cross, and scored by Bernard Herrmann, it continues to delight audiences new and old alike. Yet this is only the tip of Ray Harryhausen's filmography. Is it a great place to start? Dark Discussions gives their opinions and what they think.

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Episode 273 - Gore Verbinski Focus: 2017's A Cure For Wellness

Horror films come in many different forms. There's the exploitation films and there are the arthouse gothic films and then there are the nominal jump scare paint by numbers films. And all have their gems. When a director like Gore Verbinski, who's done such genre classics as The Ring and Pirates of the Caribbean, gets the ability to make what he wants, some may call the end result either a vanity project or artistic flourish. Either way, the product will definitely be something interesting.

2017's A Cure for Wellness is Gore Verbinski's latest flick, a horror film that contains the characteristics of a Hammer horror movie throughout yet with a last act that seems more like a drive-in exploitation film. Reviewed with mixed results, the film has quickly left theaters with little notice.

Dark Discussions takes a look at this very interesting film, from its symbolic nature, its subtext, its entertainment value, and its structure. The leads include up-and-coming actors Dane DeHaan and Mia Goth along with dependable character actor Jason Isaacs who all shine in their performances. Whether one comes away in love with the film or thinking it to be nothing more than excessive, the picture is incredibly well made and has much to say.

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Episode 272 - Patrick Rea Focus: 2017's Arbor Demon

If you don't follow your dreams, you will wither and die? Isn't that what your school teacher said when you were a little kid? But what about the fact when you follow your dreams and you suddenly look back and see that you missed out on other things ... that you didn't compromise ... that you didn't even reach your goals anyway. Movies have subtexts, and the new horror film Arbor Demon seems to have many. Directed and co-written by Patrick Rea, known for his prior horror film Nail Biter, the movie seems to try to say a lot this sophomore effort.

When a young photographer finds out she's pregnant, she panics since she and her husband had not planned on children. Prior to her husband leaving on a one month tour with his garage band, she decides to keep the news to herself. Before his trip, the two head out for an anniversary camping vacation only to be terrorized by a bear, hunters, and an unknown terror that may have been haunting the woods for centuries.

This new effort by the young filmmaker Patrick Rea did the festival circuit last year and was eventually picked up by Gravitas Ventures. New on VOD, the film has received some buzz across the internet. Not on many folk's radar, some have said it is a pleasant surprise. Dark Discussions takes a look at the movie and does a critique on the film and the many things it seems to be saying.

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Episode 271 - Jim Wynorski Focus: 1986's Chopping Mall

Director Jim Wynorski appeared on the horror and exploitation scene in the early 1980's with a number of films that are now considered cult classics. His work includes films for such luminaries as Roger Corman and the Woolner Brothers. Some of his most love movies by midnight movie fans include Hard to Die, Sorority House Massacre II, The Haunting of Morella, Not of This Earth, Scream Queen Hot Tub Party, and The Lost Empire. Many highlighting some of the most famous 1980's scream queens of the era. His second film, 1986's Chopping Mall, is always mentioned as one of the top horror classics of the 1980's.

When a large Los Angeles mall replaces their night watchmen with a group of robots, a malfunction occurs when lightning strikes the building causing the security-bots to become homicidal. During the same night a group of co-eds gets the opportunity to party it up all night at one of the department stores, but unbeknownst to them, their lives may be in danger as what should have been a night of nookie and fun turns out to be terror and murder.

Chopping Mall has been reintroduced to younger audiences with its brilliant remastering on blu-ray by Vestron. Filled with interviews, commentaries, and a picture that looks as good as the day it was released to theaters, the film is beginning to find new fans. Dark Discussions takes a look at this cult classic and gives their opinions on the movie and where it stands against other 80's horror.

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Halloween Boutique Psychotronic Reviews Volume 002

Presented by Dark Discussions Podcast is the new monthly Halloween Boutique: A Psychotronic Review podcast where co-host Phil reviews his various special edition blu-rays and DVD's from boutique companies such as Mondo Macabro, Severin Films, Synapse Films, Redemption Video, Code Red, Arrow Video, and all the rest.

What's the purpose? Well, co-host Phil figured that if he purchased a special edition of a cult or horror film home release with extras and remastering of the motion picture, why not give his 15 minute opinion of each film right after he watches them. Similar to the Dark Discussions Terror Tantrum segment by Patrick Lacey or the Bloody Bits podcast by Jason Lloyd of Horrorphilia, Halloween Boutique takes some of the recent releases and obscure titles and goes into the background of the movie, how is the film itself, what the presentation and remastering is, and discussion on the extras upon each disc.

This second edition of the podcast includes reviews of Russ Meyer's 1965 film Motorpsycho, Mondo Macabro's release of the 1984 slasher Don't Open Til Christmas, Vinegar Syndrome's disc of the mashup 1982 film Raw Force, the 1969 Radley Metzger epic Camille 2000 (released by Cult Epics), Redemption's definitive release of Jess Franco's 1973 The Demons, and the Blue Underground disc of the Italian giallo Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye.

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Episode 270 - M. Night Shyalaman Focus: 2017's Split

When a new talent appears, not many have the bang that M. Night Shyamalan did. With The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs, he was the new big director. When his name was attached to a film, it was a must see phenomenon. He became so popular, even though he was behind the camera, that he appeared in commercials. But then ... well ... things went downhill. With five bombs in a row, he suddenly showed that like most folks, he too was human.

Then in 2010, he wrote a little film called Devil that put him back on the map, and then followed that with a found footage horror film called The Visit, and it seemed like he was back on track. Finally in 2017, his new film, Split, has shown that indeed, the director we saw with his first three films, was back. An interesting film starring James McAvoy in what some would call a career defining performance.

Dark Discussions takes a look at this critical darling and box office sensation. We discuss and give our critique. Is the film as good as many have said? Listen to find out. Also starring the small cast of Betty Buckley, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula, the film has led the box office for three weeks yet only cost nine million dollars to make. Maybe Shyalaman is back.

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Episode 269 - Christopher Smith Focus: 2017's Detour

Six years ago ... did you just say six years ago? That's right, Dark Discussions did a four episode retrospective of British director, Christopher Smith, and his four horror films back six years ago. However, afterwards, he disappeared from genre cinema to make a well received Christmas film and then a T.V. miniseries. However, now, 2017, he is back with a brand new thriller simply entitled Detour.

Harper, a young law student, has his world turn upside down when his mother and stepfather get into a car accident which leaves his mother in a coma. When evidence points to foul play by his stepfather, he gets involved with a low level hitman who is willing to put things right.

Starring three young up-and-comers, Tye Sheridan, Bel Powley, and Emory Cohen, the film is a showpiece for not only the three, but also Christopher Smith who wrote and directed the film. Detour is a throwback to the Pulp Fiction run of films but includes some interesting fresh ideas within a subgenre of thrillers that continue to surprise filmgoers everywhere. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new film and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 267 - 2016 Year in Review

Another year passes and Dark Discussions podcast looks back at genre films of 2016. Five co-hosts, five individual lists, and one master definitive list of the best horror films of the year. We go through over 70 films and choose what we each thought were the best horror films released and then put together one final list removing any outliers. Obvious higher profile films like The Conjuring 2 or Blair Witch were considered but also critical darlings such as The Wailing and The Witch.

Also discussed were the best various subgenres of pulp films. We put together another definitive list of the best "other" genre films – those being science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, and the rest. Again obvious titles like Star Wars Rogue One and The Arrival are discussed but also The Girl on the Train and Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla are considered too.

Lastly we have our choices of the highlights (and lows) of the year including best performances, breakout stars, and goats of the year. And we include lists from some of our listeners. Where do they stand compared to the movies that Dark Discussions think were essential to genre viewing for 2016?

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Episode 266 - 2017 Genre Preview

With January 2017 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 Kong: Skull Island, War of the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman, Alien Covenant, the latest Thor film, and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. For straight horror, A Cure For Wellness is probably one of the more high profile flicks coming.

Some lower profile flicks talked about include Arbor Demon, The Dark Tapes, Personal Shopper, Dangerous People, Space Babes From Outer Space, Sky Sharks, and Safe Neighborhood. 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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Volume 001 - Halloween Boutique Psychotronic Reviews

Presented by Dark Discussions Podcast is the new monthly Halloween Boutique: A Psychotronic Review podcast where co-host Phil reviews his various special edition blu-rays and DVD's from boutique companies such as Mondo Macabro, Severin Films, Synapse Films, Redemption Video, Code Red, Arrow Video, and all the rest.

What's the purpose? Well, co-host Phil figured that if he purchased a special edition of a cult or horror film home release with extras and remastering of the motion picture, why not give his 15 minute opinion of each film right after he watches them. Similar to the Dark Discussions Terror Tantrum segment by Patrick Lacey or the Bloody Bits podcast by Jason Lloyd of Horrorphilia, Halloween Boutique takes some of the recent releases and obscure titles and goes into the background of the movie, how is the film itself, what the presentation and remastering is, and discussion on the extras upon each disc.

This first edition of the podcast includes reviews of Redemption's 1978 English slasher, Killer's Moon, the Indonesian cult classic Lady Terminator, Mondo Macabro's definitive edition of director Jess Franco's Sinner: Diary of a Nymphomaniac, Severin Film's special edition of director Jess Franco's She Killed in Ecstasy, and Arrow Video's release of director Walerian Borowczyk's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne. Included is Patrick Lacey in a new Terror Tantrum discussing the Vinegar Syndrome release of the monster flick Hobgoblins.

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Episode 259 - Patient Seven (The Critique)

Last week Dark Discussions interviewed director Danny Draven and actor Dan Lench of the movie Patient Seven. We learned a bit about the horror anthology and how the various shorts were award winning movies from the convention circuit. After being scooped up by the producers, a wraparound story was built around these films creating a cohesive movie.

A highly renowned doctor comes to a sanitarium to interview seven patients for a new book he is planning. Each patient is a very unique behavioral health case. As the psychiatrist's unconventional techniques become known, the orderlies become concerned and the patients become more enraged. Yet there may be a truth behind each patient's tale that not even a sanitarium can keep hidden.

Patient Seven encompasses seven award winning shorts with an eighth wraparound story that ties it all together. Zombies, vampires, serial killers, ghosts, demons, and murder fill out the almost two hour runtime. With its great score, its dark tone, and each tales unique twists, the movie has been getting rave reviews and has been considered one of the best horror anthologies to come along in some time. Dark Discussions does their critique and review of this new film.

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Episode 258 - Patient Seven (The Interviews)

Horror anthologies seem to be films that horror fans either love or hate. Many can be disjointed, have too many tonal shifts, or simply aren't any good. But there has been a huge resurgence of them recently led by such films as The ABC's of Death and V/H/S. A new film entitled Patient Seven suddenly appeared on VOD services and quickly became one of the top horror movies rented and viewed on such places as iTunes.

With seven individual stories with an eighth story as the wraparound tale, the film is quite lengthy and yet flows pretty smoothly. The cast includes some fairly well known folks including Alfie Allen (of Game of Thrones), actress Amy Smart, and genre favorite Michael Ironsides.

Additionally, the movie has actor Dan Lench, a star of last year's science fiction film, Circle, playing a pivotal role that is completely different than anything he's played before. Along with Dan Lench, Dark Discussions interviews one of the directors, Danny Draven, who also edited and put together the upcoming disc release. Get ready for part one of our two part episode of Patient Seven. This episode focuses on the people that worked on the film.

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