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Episode 397 - Witchboard (1986)

Kevin Tenney may not be as famous as some of his peers from the 1980’s, but he’s had a few horror movies that have become October staples. His most famous film, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (1988), is probably one of the most famous horror films that take place on Halloween night. However, his feature film debut two years prior, WITCHBOARD (1986), is probably almost famous.

Linda Brewster and her boyfriend Jim have a weekend cocktail party. Unfortunately her ex-boyfriend Brandon seems to not get along well with her latest beau. During a “game” using Brandon’s Ouija board, something goes wrong. Brandon claims that the bad energy between he and Jim have caused Daniel, the spirit of a dead boy, has become angry. The next day, Linda tries her own summons only to find out that an evil may in the house that’s more fearsome than the ghost of a young boy.

The film got notoriety because Tawny Kitaen starred in it. Being a very popular television personality and model, she brought some cred to what was otherwise a B-movie. However, this ghost tale went against the trend of 1980’s slasher films and stood out as a fan favorite. Dark Discussions takes a look at this good hearted and fun throwback horror film.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Episode 396 - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)

It is his 9th feature length movie. And it is what he has said is the penultimate film of his career. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (2019), the latest feature length film by Quentin Tarantino, is a lengthy epic written and directed by him. Some say it is a love letter to Hollywood back in the day. Others say it is his commentary of various topics as cultural shifts in society. Yet, no matter, the movie, just like all of his films, gained much press.

The film follows actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo Dicaprio) and his best friend and stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). When Dalton gets the call to play another villain-of-the-week on a prominent western show, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and husband move next door on Cielo Drive in Beverly Hills. As tumultuous change occurs with hippies and other nonconformists moving into the city, Cliff and Rick try to navigate the turmoil of what’s to become.

Bringing in the most money on its debut than any other film by Quentin Tarantino, the word of mouth and critical response has made the movie a winner. In career defining performances by Pitt and Dicaprio, and a strong supporting cast, the movies episode nature leaves most riveted. Dark Discussions takes a look at this interesting and engrossing film.

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Episode 395 - Crawl (2019)

Animal attack films have been around for ages. When it comes to alligators or crocodiles, there’s been a load of them. Such films as ALLIGATOR (1980), ROGUE (2007), BLACK WATER (2007), and EATEN ALIVE (1977) are just a few of them. Now Ghost House Pictures has released the latest in these reptile films simply called CRAWL (2019).

Haley Keller leaves the University of Florida to go check on her father Dave. A category 5 hurricane is about to hit and neither she nor her sister has heard from him. When she arrives at his condo, she finds only his dog, Sugar. Taking Sugar along they head to his house that’s for sale, she discovers he is trapped in the waterlogged crawlspace under the house. Unfortunately for both of them, the flooding has brought with them a large number of alligators.

Produced by Sam Raimi, and directed by Alexandre Aja known for such films as Piranha 3D and High Tension, the movie has been well received by critics. The script by the Rasmussen brothers (best known for the screenplay of John Carpenter’s film THE WARD) have especially received praise. Starring Barry Pepper and Kaya Scodelario as father-daughter, they carry the movie’s quick 87 minutes. Dark Discussions takes a look at the movie and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 394 - Midsommar (2019)

In 2018 a relatively unknown director named Ari Aster had his film HEREDITARY released. Prior to its debut, the movie was getting rave reviews while playing on the festival circuit. Though the film got mixed reviews by audiences, it was a box office success. His sophomore effort MIDSOMMAR (2019) was just released and it too received fantastic reviews.

College co-ed Dani Ardor follows her boyfriend Christian and his friends Mark and Josh to Sweden for a festival. Having lost her parents and sister to a murder-suicide, her mental state has been shattered and this trip seems like an exotic escape from her troubles. When they arrive, what they expected to be similar to Mardi Gras is much more pagan. As the week goes by, stranger things begin to happen and their hosts become more erratic.

Though the film stars a cast of relative unknowns, Aster’s writing and direction move this very long film into directions that are very unnerving. Already being called the best horror film of 2019, the movie has made three times its budget. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new film and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 393 - Pet Sematary (The Book Episode)

Already a best selling author, by 1983 Stephen King had become a household name. In November, his latest novel Pet Sematary was released as a hardcover. It quickly became a best seller. Spelled wrong based off the name given to a graveyard by children in the fictional town of Maine, the book eventually was released in 1984 as a mass market paperback where it once again became a best seller.

Dr. Louis Creed, wife Rachel, and small children Ellie and Gage move to rural Ludlow, Maine where Louis takes on the job as director of health services at the University of Maine. His elderly neighbors across the street, Jud and Norma Crandall, become friendly with the Creeds. What should be a fairly stress-free job turns into a nightmare when a student is killed while jogging. Soon the Creed’s cat Church is killed by a lumber truck. Rather than have Louis break the news to Ellie, Jud takes Louis on a journey in the woods to bury the cat. Not much later all their lives will be turned upside down.

Consider one the most dark novels by King, may consider it to be his best. Back in 1989 and then in 2019, the novel was adapted into film. Even a 1992 sequel was made to follow up the original movie. With guests hosts Barrett and Kevin, co-hosts Abe and Philip take a look into the book and give their thoughts.

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Episode 392 - Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

The Conjuring Universe has been one of the more successful film franchise of recent times. Starting with the first film, the series now has spawned numerous spin off movies including THE NUN (2018) and the ANNABELLE films. After this years earlier film THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA, the third ANNABELLE film entitled ANNABELLE COMES HOME arrived at theaters.

When the Warrens, the ghost hunting duo, head out for a date night, they leave their young daughter Judy with a teenage babysitter, Mary Ellen. Her friend Daniela however arrives to hang out with the two. While left alone she sneaks off. Finding keys to the artifact room and enters. When she begins touching things, she is unaware that she is disturbing evil presences. Soon ghosts appear and the three become endangered.

ANNABELLE COMES HOME is the directorial debut of successful screenwriter Gary Dauberman. Having written or co-written such blockbusters IT CHAPTER ONE (2017) and ANNABELLE: CREATION (2017), his debut was highly anticipated. Dark Discussions takes a look at this latest movie of the Conjuring Universe.

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Episode 391 - Child's Play (2019)

The 1988 horror movie CHILD’S PLAY was not only a success but also became a fairly popular franchise. With a serial killer’s soul now possessing a child’s toy, the movie had many places to go. It also had Brad Dourif who turned the “monster” into something with a quirky personality. Now 2019, a remake of the film was released. However, the story was updated for the modern era.

Karen (Aubrey Plaza) is a single mother who works for a department store. She’s able to get a returned Buddi doll from the warehouse for her thirteen year old son Andy. Buddi is able to connect to Bluetooth, wifi, and tablets throughout the house allowing him to be used as a tool as much as a toy. Soon, Andy begins to suspect that this version of the Buddi doll may be defective. Unlike as advertised, any protective programming seems to have been removed.

Though starring Aubrey Plaza, the movie is really a starring vehicle for the young actor Gabriel Bateman who plays Andy. The movie was directed by Lars Klevberg and written by Tyler Burton Smith. Both are fairly new with little renown prior. Dark Discussions takes a look at this interesting take on the beloved franchise and gives their thoughts whether it stands out or not.

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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 365 - New Year's Bucket List Special

New Year's resolutions are a big thing for folks. Some want to lose weight, find a spouse, get a new job, work towards completing something; others have goals that they strive for. Co-host Mike said that there are a lot of genre films he hasn't seen that he wants to get to, so as a New Year's resolution, why not ask all the co-hosts to see some film they always wanted to see and then discuss. The third year doing so, each co-host chose a genre movie that they had never seen and decided to watch it and give their opinions.

Films we discuss are EYES WITHOUT A FACE (1962), THEM! (1954), THE MUMMY (1932), and VANISHING POINT (1971). A wide variety of films they are but also some important ones too that one of your co-hosts finally got to see.

With all that, Dark Discussions would like to say happy 2019 to all our listeners and patreon supporters, both new and old, and hope to hear some of the films you folks have never seen and plan to in this new year. Email us and let us know.

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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.