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Episode 414 - Calibre (2018)

Back in 2018, a low budget thriller CALIBRE picked up by Netflix premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival where it received positive buzz. Not surprising the picture was a Scottish production giving the premiere a very local experience. Shortly after Netflix released it to their VOD platform, it disappeared into their vast catalog of movies and shows. But some people came upon it and soon word-of-mouth gave it some regard.

Marcus, a successful businessman, takes his old friend Vaughn out hunting in the moors of Scotland. Vaughn has a quandary. His fiancée is newly pregnant and he is beginning to worry whether he will be a good father. Arriving at their destination, the two find out that the local townsfolk look upon them as troublemakers. The next morning they head out to hunt deer only to land up in a predicament neither ever thought was possible.

CALIBRE was a lucky pick by one of Dark Discussions Patreon supporters. Written and directed by newcomer Matt Palmer, the movie has received fantastic reviews. With its strong cast of Jack Lowden, Martin McCann, and Tony Curran, the movie’s acting makes the film appear to be a much bigger production. You co-hosts take a look at this little film and give their thoughts.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Episode 413 - Tigers Are Not Afraid (2019)

Though until recently, director Issa López was fairly unknown outside her native Mexico. However Academy Award winning composer Hans Zimmer saw something and actually scored her film CASI DIVAS (2008). When her latest film, TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID (2017), was released on Shudder in 2019, such folks as Stephen King and Guillermo Del Toro took notice.

While at school, Estrella’s mother is kidnapped by a human trafficking cartel. Alone and scared, she becomes a street kid. Soon she meets other children including Shine who lets her become part of his “family”. Unfortunately the cartel is after something that they have. But complicating the children’s survival is monstrous spirits and ghosts begin to follow Estrella wherever she goes.

TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID has received fantastic reviews all around even with its dark subject matter. Though based in the real world, there is an aspect to the movie that feels dreamlike. Dark Discussions takes a look at this highly acclaimed movie and shares their thoughts.

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Episode 412 - Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018)

Haunted locations in cinemas such as mansions, castles, and even automobiles have spooked people out for years. But one of the most spooky is probably closed down or abandoned asylums. Such films as GRAVE ENCOUNTERS and SESSION 9 are just some of the more popular. In 2018, South Korea entered the fray. The horror film, GONJIAM: HAUNTED ASYLUM, based on what CNN calls one of the seven scariest places in the world, was released.

YouTuber and paranormal investigator Ha-Joon puts together a group of five Koreans and one American to participate in a ghost hunt. Their target is Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital, an abandoned medical facility where reports state the final director murdered the remaining patients. Entering illegally the six investigators do a walk around while Ha-Joon sets up just outside his HQ. As they broadcast live, more and more strange things occur which may be more than television trickery.

Director Bum-shik Jung’s film was a huge box office success in South Korea, beating out the Hollywood film READY PLAYER ONE and earning over $10 million USD in four days. It had the largest opening of any Korean film in the month of March. Critically acclaimed, many have stated it is one of the better movies in the found footage subgenre. Dark Discussions takes a look at this interesting film.

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Episode 411 - The Zombieland Franchise

During the prime popularity of zombies, Columbia Pictures jumped into the fray with 2009’s ZOMBIELAND. Following the comedic root of such films as SHAUN OF THE DEAD, the movie was a great success and was the highest grossing zombie film (at the time) for US box office. After a ten year hiatus, 2019’s ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP, the sequel, was released to great success.

After a zombie apocalypse, Columbus (Jesse Eisneberg) randomly meets up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) who’s on a search for some sort of existence that reminds him of his prior life. On the way to Ohio, they meet up with Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) who are on their way to Pacific Playland, a California based amusement park that Little Rock always wanted to go to. Throughout their journeys through the two films, they meet up with Madison (Zoey Deutch), a valley girl, and Nevada (Rosario Dawson), a survivalist.

Directed by Ruben Fleisher, and starring top talent, the two films became international sensations. And as the sequel showed, zombies still carried some box office muscle even while on the decline as a genre. Dark Discussions takes a look at this newly anointed franchise and talks about this post-apocalyptic world.

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Episode 410 - The Lighthouse (2019)

New Hampshire director Robert Eggers made a splash with his 2015 film THE WITCH. It received critical acclaim and brought to horror fans the cult icon of Black Philip. After his freshman effort, a lot of attention followed where many wondered what would be the follow up for his sophomore effort. The film that he came up with was the recently released THE LIGHTHOUSE (2019) timed for Halloween and yet very unlike many more mainstream genre films.

Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) are the new wickies (or lighthouse keepers) for a small island off the coast of New Hampshire. Thomas, the veteran, shows a volatile personality where he takes full control of the operation of the lighthouse while making Ephraim do the menial tasks such as clean and house maintenance. As things begin to go get worse as supplies run low and the men’s personalities begin to grate, strange things happen that begin to make Ephraim question their daily tasks.

Small in scale, the movie is most certainly an “actor’s” film. Both Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson show off their acting talents in a movie that is filled with atmosphere. Critical praise allowed the film to get a bigger than average release for an “arthouse” film and the movie continues to have high regard. Dark Discussions takes a look at this very bizarre yet interesting film.

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Episode 409 - Joker (2019)

Praised by European critics and winning the prestigious award, the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, JOKER (2019) has been targeted by the liberal American media as a right wing film. Its director Todd Phillips has been called a “metoo” villain for his comedies. The movie has been called racist and violent. And critics have said it could lead to violence by incels, loners, and extreme groups. Yet the same detractors praise Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and give great reviews to violent films like JOHN WICK (2014). And yet JOKER may be the best film of 2019.

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) works as a clown to cheer up hospital patients, hold up signs for businesses, and play at children’s parties. He also is a loner who has a laughing disorder and lives with his mother. While trying to be a standup comic, he’s regularly attacked by street thugs and treated badly by co-workers. One day while riding the subway, he along with a number of other passengers are attacked by Wall Street bourgeois. And a fateful occurrence changes not only his life but the entire city of Gotham.

The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as the title character, bringing life to the DC comic villain. Todd Phillips directs a film that when shown up to the face of those who denounce his art something they don’t like. One of the biggest successes of 2019, and considered as one of the best films of the year (by unbiased and honest critics), JOKER has become more than a movie; it has become a phenomenon. Dark Discussions takes a look at this interesting film and gives their thoughts.

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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 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.

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