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Episode 448 - The Perfection (2019)

Last year’s Netflix original, THE PERFECTION, starring Allison Williams and Logan Browning, received some general buzz after the station promoted it robustly. Its interesting twists and turns as it dabbed its toes in various horror subgenres gave it some legs and a larger audience that included thriller fans. Either way the film was very polarizing as a result.

Charlotte (Allison Williams), a cello prodigy, had to quit training to return to take care of her mother. While away, Bachoff Academy and its headmaster, Anton (Steven Weber), took on a new sensation, Lizzie Wells (Logan Browning). During a new recruiting mission to Shanghai, China, Lizzie and Charlotte become close and decide to take a trip across China as a vacation. Soon secrets are revealed that may show each isn’t who they say they are nor is Bachoff Academy as it may seem.

Directed by television director Richard Shephard, the film appeared in Q2 of 2019 to fairly good reviews. With its change of theme at least three times, the movie did confuse some while appearing quite different in tone to others. Dark Discussions decides to take a look at this contentious movie.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Episode 447 - Sea Fever (2020)

Infectious diseases are in the news today and horror and thriller films have been using them as a plot device for years. One of the most popular was THE THING (1982). Since then there has been a lot of movies that have copied it quite nicely including ALIEN RAIDERS (2008) and THE THAW (2009). Now in 2020, the internationally produced film SEA FEVER has arrived and it is getting positive reviews.

Siobhán, a young marine biologist, joins an Irish fishing boat with a crew of six to study the traveling patterns of their latest catch. While aboard, they discover a strange molluscan like cedphalopoda that attaches itself to the port side of their boat. When a deserted Portuguese schooner brings with it a deadly secret, the seven crew members must make a decision that will determine their fate.

The film stars an international cast including Connie Nielsen, Dougray Scott, and Hermione Corfield. Irish television director, Neasa Hardiman, wrote and directed the film. Getting fair to good reviews by most critics, Dark Discussions takes their own look at the movie and gives their take.

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Episode 446 - Little Joe (2020)

Plants in horror have been few and far between. There has been THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960), THE RUINS (2008), while many others included alien invasions such as INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) and THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951). Now genetics and the changing of the DNA of plants has entered the horror world with the British film LITTLE JOE (2020).

Scientist Alice Woodard (Emily Beecham) works for a commercial genetics company that works in making plants better for garden and home. Her groups new idea is the plant called Little Joe (named after her son). Red and beautiful, the plant has been genetically changed to let out a beautiful smell that should make its owner feel more relaxed and happy. Yet Bella (Kelly Fox), a competing scientist, feels something isn’t right with the Little Joes and begins to believe people are being negatively influenced by the plant.

Austrian director Jessica Hausner works with longtime collaborator, French screenwriter Géraldine Bajard, on a film that received praise at Cannes Film Festival. The film has received generally good reviews even if some felt it was a slow burn. Dark Discussions takes a look at this interesting picture and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 445 - Color Out of Space (2020)

Though very prolific and considered one of the best, H.P. Lovecraft’s works have rarely been adapted to film, and if so, very loosely. Director Richard Stanley, a very talented director who was derailed earlier in his career by producers, is back with the new film COLOR OUT OF SPACE (2020) based off the story by Lovecraft entitled THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE.

The Gardner family move to a rural farm that has been in the family for years. One day a meteor crash lands into the backyard near an old well. Soon it dissolves and some alien being moves into the down its chute. As the days go by, plants and trees begin to grow strangely, and the family starts to act erratically. The Gardners begin to wonder if something evil has taken over their homestead.

The film stars two well known character actors as the parents, Nicolas Cage and Joely Richardson. New comer Madeleine Arthur plays the pivotal role of the daughter who may have a connection to what is going on. Receiving very good reviews, the movie has been considered a cult gem by many who have found it. Dark Discussions takes a look at the movie and give their thoughts.

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Cinema A La Carte - Episode 002 - Baby Driver (2017)

With one of the worst titles in movie history, BABY DRIVER (2017) was released world wide. With such a title many folks thought it was a comedy or a family film and as a result the target audience may have ignored it during its theatrical release (including one of your podcast co-hosts). The film, directed by Edgar Wright, received positive reviews and still was able to make a large profit at the box office on top of its meager film budget.

Baby (Ansel Elgort) has been forced to work for a local crime boss since he was sixteen to pay back for doing a car jacking. Now he is a driver for various robberies. When he meets Debora (Lily James) at a local diner, his life seems to finally be moving to a new phase of respectability. Unfortunately for him, the crime boss may not let him out of his debt.

Besides the nominal leads of Ansel Elgort and Lily James, the film has a cast of big names including Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, and Eiza González. Somewhat a cult classic after it was able to be viewed at home, your co-hosts take a look at this very interesting and pulpy film.

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Episode 444 - The Whisperer in Darkness

When Massachusetts native Albert Wilmarth, a college professor of folklore, reads about strange things floating in the great floods in Vermont, he enters the fray to try to calm the fears of the locals. Soon a well-educated well-to-do farmer named Henry Akeley sends Albert a private letter showing that there may be more to the stories than he thinks. Albert is suddenly intrigued about this mystery. Now involved, unbeknownst to him, he may be a target of a wicked evil.

A man named Goreng volunteers to enter a “prison” allowing folks to gain awards such as college degrees, and various other incentives. However, it being a prison, actual criminals are there as well. When he arrives, he discovers that there are 333 levels and a platform containing food travels down to each level to feed the jailed. Unfortunately the lower you are, the less food is left leaving many desperate and fraught.

THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS originally appeared in the magazine Weird Tales in August 1931. Years later, the story, even with its novel length is included in most collections of the author’s best stories. With its blend of rural horror, alien invaders, and well paced mystery, the story has remained one of his most popular. Dark Discussions takes a look at this tale in their latest book episode.

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Halloween Boutique Psychotronic Reviews Volume 011 - AWOL (2016)

June is LGBTQ pride month, and for the second time, Halloween Boutique Psychotronic Reviews heads to the arthouse to deliver part two of our June episodes that focus on LGBTQ cinema. This second episode is on the film AWOL (2016), a movie that debuted at Tribeca Film Festival before playing a limited run at arthouse theaters. This piece of cinema stars Lola Kirke (GEMINI) in her breakout role as well as a powerful performance by costar Breeda Wool (MR. MERCEDES).

Joey (Lola Kirke) is a recent high school graduate living in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Poor and not sure of her future, her mother suggests the U.S. Army. While working at a country fair, she meets Rayna (Breeda Wool), a free spirit wild child who catches her eye. Soon they begin a passionate affair. With an age difference of fifteen years and Rayna married with two children, Joey wonders whether the love and passion between them will last.

The film was co-written and directed by Deb Shoval from a short she made six years prior. She fought to keep Breeda Wool in the movie who would reprise her role from the short. During a casting process, she found Lola Kirke who she felt would be pivotal to play the complex Joey. First time cinematographer, Gal Deren, shot the film. Your co-hosts take a look at this quiet yet heartrending film and give their thoughts.

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Episode 443 - The Platform (2020)

Art house horror, or science fiction, is not that uncommon. Some recent examples are THE LIGHTHOUSE (2019) or MIDSOMMAR (2019). Spain has had their share including ERREMENTARI (2017). Now in 2020, THE PLATFORM has come also from Spain. More fable than horror or science fiction, the movie has drawn notice being available “free” on Netflix.

A man named Goreng volunteers to enter a “prison” allowing folks to gain awards such as college degrees, and various other incentives. However, it being a prison, actual criminals are there as well. When he arrives, he discovers that there are 333 levels and a platform containing food travels down to each level to feed the jailed. Unfortunately the lower you are, the less food is left leaving many desperate and fraught.

The movie is the directorial debut of Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia. Many critics call it a masterpiece and some movie viewers call it a potential cult classic. This very odd and eccentric movie has left a polarized viewing audience though little have said it is a bad movie. Dark Discussions takes a look at this very interesting movie and gives their thoughts.

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Halloween Boutique Psychotronic Reviews Volume 010 - My Summer of Love (2004)

June is LGBTQ pride month, and once again Halloween Boutique Psychotronic Reviews heads to the arthouse to deliver the first of two June episodes that focus on LGBTQ cinema. This first episode is entitled MY SUMMER OF LOVE (2005), a British film showcasing award winning director Pawel Pawlikowski in one of his early movies. Also on display is the cinematography of Ryszard Lenczewski. However, most importantly is the feature film debut of Emily Blunt that would lead to her international acclaim as one of today’s most beloved actresses.

Mona (Natalie Press) lives with her ex-con brother Phil (Paddy Considine) in a rural town outside of Manchester, England. During the summer, she meets a wealthy and beautiful boarding school girl, Tamsin (Emily Blunt). With her free spirit attitude, Tamsin entrances Mona and the two become best of friends that may lead to even more. But as the summer winds down, Mona’s blinded expectations clashes with the bourgeois worldly life of Tamsin.

MY SUMMER OF LOVE is a highly regarded arthouse film that has many themes drenching its fabric. Besides the obvious LGBTQ aspect of the movie, the differences between the classes, the coming of age, and the inevitable indirection of many of the characters is apparent. Nominated for numerous awards, your co-hosts take a look at this “cult classic” and give their thoughts.

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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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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.