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Episode 363 - Fractured (2018)

Home invasion films and ghost house films are pretty derivative. That doesn’t mean they won’t be fantastically done and quite entertaining but usually something is done to spice them up a bit. The new horror film from the UK entitled FRACTURED may have done it quite right. Keeping you guessing if there is an intruder or a ghost or maybe something quite different keeps the movie moving in its eighty minute run time.

Rebecca (April Pearson) and Michael (Karl Davies), a young energetic couple, head for a getaway to a remote property. When they arrive, Rebecca begins to feel as if something isn’t quite right. Bizarre sounds, missing items, and small appliances seem to turn on by themselves. Michael seems unperturbed by the oddly strange happenings, but soon something or someone could be behind what may be more than innocuous ambience.

First time director Christian Hearn puts together a strong debut movie. Both Karl Davies and April Pearson have had high profile television roles prior to this film, with beauty April Pearson having a strong three years in genre cinema with this film as well as CAUGHT, DARK BEACON, and TANK 432. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new film and gives their thoughts.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Episode 362 - Xavier Gens Focus: Cold Skin (2018)

In the early 2000’s, the French extreme movement turned the independent horror world upside down. Some of the most popular films of the era were MARTYRS, INSIDE, HIGH TENSION, and Xavier Gens FRONTIER(S). But now, years later, the talent behind these films have moved onto other subgenres including COLD SKIN (2018), a period piece film, that Xavier Gens has adapted from successful novel by Albert Sanchez Pinol.

In 1914, a young man sails to a remote South Atlantic island as a weatherman; someone to chart the conditions of the isolated British territory. The only other resident is a lighthouse keeper named Gruner. Gruner explains the prior weatherman passed from typhus leaving him alone for many months. As Friend sets about his work, the second night of his one year term, his cabin is attacked by something extraordinary from the sea. Fleeing, he holes up with Gruner in the lighthouse only to find out the threat may be unending.

Receiving strong reviews from the festival circuit, the US distribution to the film was picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films. Unlike his prior films, COLD SKIN is a new direction for Xavier Gens. Though dark, it seems quite unique for his filmography. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new movie and discuss not only the movie but the film trajectory for Gens himself.

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Episode 361 - Radius (2017)

One genre trope that seems to be used often is amnesia. What if our lead protagonist doesn’t remember anything at all. Was he or she a criminal or a hero? Such films as Total Recall among others have played with this quite well. A little seen 2017 Canadian film entitled Radius takes this idea and makes it its own.

A man wakes up in a ditch by the side of the road remembering nothing about himself. Walking down the road, he arrives at a local diner. Unfortunately for him, not only does he find the place littered with dead bodies, but others who arrive begin to die around him. Searching his wallet, he finds his license and heads back to his address. Locking himself in his house, he suddenly receives a knock on his door. A woman, just like he, is there who remembers nothing

The film is written and directed by the duo Caroline Labreche and Steeve Leonard and stars Diego Klattenhoff and Charlotte Sullivan. Though mostly unknowns, the film was one of the handful of surprises from independent genre cinema in 2017. Part horror, part thriller, and part science fiction, the film was rated as the second best speculative fiction film by co-host Philip. He and the other Dark Discussions co-hosts take a look at this film and give their critique.

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Episode 360 - Overlord (2018)

Nazis were one of the worst villains in world history, but have taken a life of their own in B-movies. The latest horror film OVERLORD (2018) is about a Nazis and the very common theme of trying to make the super soldier. In JJ Abrams’ latest produced film, not only is such a threat imminent but also somewhat grotesque.

As the Allies ready for the D-Day invasion, American paratroopers are sent behind enemy lines to take down German communication towers. A local church that towers over a French village has been used as a beacon for the Schutzstaffel communiqué. With most of the squad killed after a brutal attack, Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell) must lead a group of survivors to the small farming town in hope to finish the mission.

The film stars Wyatt Russell, Jovan Adepo, and Pilou Asbaek. Originally planned as part of the CLOVERFIELD film universe, the movie became a standalone after the failure of the earlier release CLOVERFIELD PARADOX. Receiving fairly good reviews by critics, the movie quickly died at the box office with barely any press. Dark Discussions takes a look at this modern drive-in movie and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 359 - Cargo (2018)

Director Yolanda Ramke made a seven minute short film entitled CARGO that took the old zombie trope and made a very unique and interesting little film. Getting much buzz on the internet, she along with Ben Howling co-directed an expanded version of the short, where they were able to get actor Martin Freeman to star in it.

After the zombie apocalypse, survivors struggle to survive in rural Australia. Andy (Martin Freeman) and his wife Kay (Susie Porter) and infant daughter Rosie travel on boat down river hoping to arrive at a known safe zone. When unexpected tragedy hits them, the three land up on land having to survive against rugged terrain, zombies, and suspicious human beings.

Whether the film hits its mark or not, almost everyone has stated Martin Freeman’s performance may be one of the best of his career. Taking the outback, the rugged Australian settler, and the culture of the Australian Aborigines, this new take on the zombie film at the least is quite unique. Dark Discussions takes a look at the latest in large zombie subgenre and gives their thoughts.

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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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Episode 357 - Halloween (2018)

Though there were many slashers such as gialos, Black Christmas, and Psycho prior to 1978’s HALLOWEEN, this was the movie that made this subgenre of horror one of the most popular. Spawning many more films, it has been pretty hit or miss in quality for most of the sequels that followed. In 2018 with the production company Blumhouse taking the lead, a follow up to the original was released on October 19 simply entitled HALLOWEEN. Rather than following the direction of the sequels, this new movie ignored all that came before and instead picks up 40 years after the plot of the original.

Present day, Laurie Strode has become a recluse. Not a day has gone by that Michael Myers has not been on her mind. Divorced and estranged from her extended family, Laurie’s daughter must balance a life between her own family and that of her eccentric mother. While Michael Myers is transferred to a new psychiatric facility, an accident occurs allowing him to escape. Now forty years later, he’s heading back to Haddonfield, Illinois to finish what he had begun.

As the last twenty-four months have shown, straight out horror has become a huge success at theaters. And many of these films have also been critically acclaimed. HALLOWEEN (2018) is no exception. Made for around $10 million USD, the film has already gone and grossed $174.5 million USD world wide. Critics, too, have given much praise to this latest movie about one of horror’s most iconic monsters. The co-hosts of Dark Discussions take a look at this new interpretation and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 356 - Summer of 84 (2018)

Nostalgia is a thing that drives a lot of people. Whether it is toys or television shows, moviemakers have found a source that sells. Examples of this are blockbusters like the TRANSFORMERS movies, Netflix’s STRANGER THINGS, new films in the HALLOWEEN series, or faux-grindhouse films like GRINDHOUSE. One group of filmmakers from Canada released TURBO KID in 2015, another faux-nostalgia sci-fi flick, but in 2018 they are back with SUMMER OF 84, a horror film made as if it was from 1984.

In Oregon 1984, teenager Davey Armstrong lives across the street from police officer, Mr. Mackey. When he believes he sees some clues that lead to the possibility that Mr. Mackey may actually be the serial killer, the Cape May Slayer, he recruits his three best friends (nicknamed Eats, Woody and Curtis) and also his former babysitter Nikki to help investigate. As evidence mounts both for and against his investigation, another victim disappears.

TURBO KID was considered a big surprise for genre fans but this new film fits perfectly for those that have been into shows such as STRANGER THINGS and CHANNEL ZERO. Receiving generally critical praise, SUMMER OF 84 has entertained much buzz on social media. Dark Discussions takes a look at this latest VOD sensation and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 355 - Burt Reynold's Tribute: 1972's Deliverance

When DELIVERANCE appeared in theaters at the end of July in 1972, the buzz around it was most certainly contagious. Two years prior, the book that the film had been based on had been a best seller. Not much later, the source material itself would be considered one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. But the movie, itself, became something of note. It too would land up on awards lists.

Ed (Jon Voight) is convinced by his friend Lewis (Burt Reynolds) to help set up a canoe trip down the Cahulawassee River. To fill up the trip, Ed recruits his other friends Bobby (Ned Beatty) and Drew (Ronny Cox) to come along. With the Cahulawassee River valley soon to be flooded by the construction of a dam, this will be their last opportunity. Unfortunately while stopping on the river’s edge for lunch, a horrible circumstance transpires, changing all their lives forever.

Today DELIVERANCE is considered one of the greatest films of all time. John Boorman, though not necessarily prolific, showed why he was one of the era’s best directors. James Dickey, the author of the novel, wrote the adaptation of the film himself. Leading the cast, Jon Voight was only three years removed from his Oscar performance in MIDNIGHT COWBOY. DELIVERANCE also stars Burt Reynolds. Dark Discussions gives tribute to him and his recent passing.

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Episode 354 - A Simple Favor (2018)

What’s hip? Films like GONE GIRL and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN are. And so when you bring in a director like Paul Feig in to direct the next such thriller, you may get some of the comedy you saw in his movie BRIDEMAIDS. So when the novel A SIMPLE FAVOR is turned into a movie, you get one dark film. Yet the movie may have a bit of dark humor to it.

Single mom Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), who runs a vlog and is very much into her son’s school, becomes friends with another mom, Emily (Blake Lively). Emily, unlike Stephanie and her cheery demeanor, is cool and lives with an attitude. When she takes Stephanie into her world, Stephanie is amazed at how such a stylish person like Emily has befriended her. Shortly later, Emily disappears and Stephanie is dragged into something more than it may seem.

If not A-listers, Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick are sure becoming some of the most sought after actresses out there. A SIMPLE FAVOR has received fantastic reviews. The audience word of mouth has brought it to triple its budget of $20 million USD. Dark Discussions takes a look at this dark yet quirky thriller.

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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.

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Episode 318 - 2017 Review

We are already four percent into 2018 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 2017. Included is the consideration of 75 different films that were worthy enough to be considered as a top 20 film for genre and horror films.

Each of your five co-hosts put together a list of movies they thought were good enough to be seen by audiences. This included both a list of horror films 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 2017. Some obvious films like Wonder Woman and Get Out appear but also little known films like The Evil Within, Radius, and Berlin Syndrome 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 316 - 2018 Preview

With January 2018 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 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Annihilation, the two X-Men films, Slender Man, The Nun, and Game Night.

Some other flicks talked about include Fashionista, The Bad Man, the critically praised Norwegian film, Thelma, and a few sequels to Dead Snow and Halloween. And then at the very end we list off other films and talk about some of the latest news about movies and genre cinema.