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Episode 431 - The Furies (2019)

Australian cinema continues to put out very graphic horror films. Yet unlike the regular grindhouse film, they seem to dabble into the thriller and drama genres. The 2019 horror film, THE FURIES, originally shown on Shudder, happened to land on a number of top 10 horror film lists at the end of the year. Its intense violence, interesting twists, and set design was a perfect mix for any modern genre fan or those who loved old school midnight movies.

A young lady is kidnapped along with her friend to find themselves trapped in a large acreage wooded area where masked men begin to hunt them. Sounds like any horror film, but soon the women discover they can’t run away into the desert or mountains when a sonic boom keeps them “locked in”. Eventually as some of them are picked off, they begin to discover they may be in more than just a violent hunting game.

The film stars all Australian actresses. In what is his first time feature length direction, Australian Tony D’Aquino is also the writer. THE FURIES has a quick running time and leaves the exposition behind for the viewer to figure out what is actually going on. Dark Discussions takes a look at this 2019 release and gives their thoughts.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Episode 430 - Dark Encounter (2020)

Aliens and alien abduction has been done a number of times during film. But many are quite familiar. Some say that the sub-genre needs a change or something to spice it up. DARK ENCOUNTER (2020) seems to try to mix it up a bit. Released through the festival circuit in 2019, the movie became generally available to all through VOD in Q1 of 2020.

DARK ENCOUNTER is filmed as a period piece. In 1982, eight year old Maisie disappeared. Returning home from errands, her parents find that she is gone and some things out of order. A year later, the Pennsylvania town has been torn apart with little to no information. However, on the one year anniversary of the disappearance, lights appear in the woods and something unexplained may help solve her disappearance.

Curiously, the movie was filmed entirely in the United Kingdom with all UK performers. Leading the cast is Laura Fraser, best known for her starring role in the later seasons of BREAKING BAD. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new science fiction film and gives 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 428 - The Invisible Man (2020)

H.G. Wells, the great English author, wrote the novel, THE INVISIBLE MAN, in 1897, and all these years later it still resonates today. First adapted by Universal in 1933 to a very successful film starring the up-and-comer Claude Rains was a big hit. After their Dark Universe didn’t take off, they took their IP and decided to make them individually. Leigh Whannell (UPGRADE (2018)) takes the writing and directing reigns and brings the Blumhouse-Universal film, THE INVISIBLE MAN (2020).

Cecilia Kass (Elizabeth Moss) is trapped in an abusive relationship with brilliant engineer and business man, Adrian Griffin. One night after escaping his estate, and with the help of her sister, she hides away with a childhood friend and his daughter. Soon she finds out that her ex has died by suicide leaving her a sum of five million dollars. Yet as the days go by, she begins to think there is something more to the story. Strange things begin to happen, and her life is suddenly turned upside down.

Leigh Whannell, prior to being a director, has been a phenomenally successful screenwriter having written such movies as SAW (2004), INSIDIOUS (2010), and COOTIES (2014). After his success with INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY (2018) and UPGRAGE (2018), he was given THE INVISIBLE MAN as his next feature. Getting rave reviews by critics and fans alike, Dark Discussions take a look at this new adaptation of a classic story.

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Episode 427 - Fantasy Island (2020)

FANTASY ISLAND was a very successful television show that ran on ABC between 1977 to 1984. Starring Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize, the show had guest stars that played characters that came to the island to live a supernatural fantasy that they had always hoped for. Some would learn a lesson while others would get closure from their demons. Now in 2020, Blumhouse has released a re-imagining of the TV show into a horror film.

A group of folks won a contest for a trip to Fantasy Island. When they arrive, the are met by their host, Mr. Roarke (Michael Pena). After his guests inform him of their wish, he sets them off on their fantasy. Soon each guest is surrounded by wonders they could only dream of, however, soon things begin to turn darker. And they begin to wonder if there is something more going on than just a vacation.

FANTASY ISLAND is directed by Jeff Wadlow, most known for the Blumhouse film TRUTH OR DARE (2018). His latest Blumhouse film received rotten reviews but FANTASY ISLAND all the same was profitable. Was it as bad as the critics said? Dark Discussions takes a look and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 426 - Joe Begos Focus: 2019's Bliss

New England director Joe Begos is suddenly the “it” director with his latest film VFW (2020) making the rounds on VOD. In 2019, however, his film BLISS actually got a lot of praise from critics, receiving even better reviews than VFW. Outlets such as Variety, RogerEbert.com, Los Angeles Times, and the AV Club all reviewed it. And the movie holds a 90% on RottenTomatoes.

Dezzy (Dora Madison Burge) is a semi-successful artist who’s had album covers and large showings of her work. She’s sold paintings for large amounts, but recently she’s had an artistic roadblock. Her agent is hounding her, and many clients are concerned that their investments won’t be produced. One night she gets involved with old friends and rejoins the drug culture that she had been trying to avoid. Soon she discovers a horrible secret that may change her life forever.

With its psychedelic mood, and the apt amounts of blood and nudity, the film has become an acquired taste for some even if many feel it is well made. It most certainly a throw back to the crazy films of the 1970’s midnight theaters. Dark Discussions takes a look at this well received “grindhouse” film and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 425 - The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

Though written in 1927, H.P. Lovecraft’s horror novel, THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD, was not published until many years after his passing. Being somewhat disappointed with the work, Lovecraft did little to publish it. And when he came down with cancer, the work would be put further on the back burner. However, in 1941, the story was released as a two part anthology in WEIRD TALES and only to be fully published in 1943 from Arkham House Press by Lovecraft’s friends, fellow authors August Derleth and Donald Wandrei.

The year is 1928. The young bourgeois Charles Dexter Ward discovers in his family tree the existence of a less savory character on his mother’s side of the family. The ancestor, Joseph Curwen, who’s origins came from Salem, Massachusetts, died mysteriously in a torch-and-pitchfork attack upon his property in 1771 in Providence, Rhode Island. While researching the history behind the black sheep of his family, Charles soon finds a dark secret that will change his life forever.

Being one of his largest works, THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD is often overlooked by the casual reader since it usually isn’t included in his short story collections. But it may actually be his greatest work. The same length as Stephen King’s CARRIE, the novel shows a more interesting side of Lovecraft more known for his lengthy short stories. Dark Discussions takes a look at this magnificent work and gives their thoughts.

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Episode 424 - Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (2020)

When a miscellaneous character was added to the DC animated series, BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, in September 1992, no one knew that anti-hero/villain Harley Quinn would take off and become one of their most popular characters. Since then, the character has starred in numerous comic books, spin offs, and was featured in the film SUICIDE SQUAD (2016) and its upcoming sequel. However, a spin off movie now titled HARLEY QUINN: BIRDS OF PREY (2020) was released to excellent reviews.

After Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is dumped by her longtime boyfriend, the Joker, she is now off on her own. After blowing up a chemical plant as revenge for becoming a woman scorned, all of her enemies are now out to get her. When she discovers that a highly regarded diamond has more value than she original thought, her goal is to give it to Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) so his henchmen will leave her alone.

Originally thought to have high box office potential, the movie surprisingly underperformed quite a lot. Some think it was the R rating while others felt it was the original name not highlighting the main character. Other issues may have been its very odd marketing. Either way co-hosts Mike and Phil along with guests Kevin and Barrett give their thoughts.

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Episode 423 - 2019 Year in Review

We are already 1/6th into 2020 and some good films have come out. Yet did last year start out with bang or a whimper? Dark Discussions puts together their review of all that was good and bad in 2019. Included is the consideration of 84 different films that were worthy enough to be considered as a top 10 film for genre and horror films.

Each of your 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 2019. Some obvious films like Midsommar and Us appear but also little known films like The Dead Center, The Furies, and Satanic Panic 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 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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Cinema A La Carte - Episode 001 - Hostiles (2017)

Director Scott Cooper is well known for his award nominated films such as CRAZY HEART (2009), OUT OF THE FURNACE (2013), and BLACK MASS (2015). His movies have had their detractors, but generally have been received positively. His last film, 2017’s HOSTILES, was no different. Showing his fluidity, this movie was a Western.

Captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale) is assigned to escort the pardoned Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family back to Montana, his homeland. When he and his crew come upon Rosalee Quaid (Rosamund Pike), a survivor from a Comanche massacre, she joins their group. As the two former enemies begin to see the others humanity, Blocker has a change of heart about his mission and becomes friends with Yellow Hawk.

The film was released late December 2017 hoping for Oscar buzz, but unfortunately both its box office and Academy Award hopes floundered. Now Cinema A La Carte, in its debut episode, takes a look at this overlooked movie and gives their thoughts on a modern Western in this new social age.

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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.