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Episode 290 - Hounds of Love (2017)

Australian films, when they are independent and when they are thrillers, they do all seem to be very dark. The list is amazing: Sleeping Beauty, Acolytes, Snowtown Murders, Wolf Creek, These Final Hours, The Loved Ones, and X: Night of Vengeance. Now another filmmaker in his motion picture debut, Ben Young, brings his version of the dark thriller to the big screen. The film, Hounds of Love, has been doing the festival circuit, even just a few months ago, and has been receiving rave reviews by critics.

Vicki Maloney is a seventeen year old girl whose parents have recently divorced. While visiting her mother’s home, she sneaks out the window at night to meet up with her boyfriend and girlfriends at a local party. While on her way there, she is picked up by a couple who say they have marijuana for sale. Arriving at their home, she heads inside only to wish that she never had.

The film stars Emma Booth and Stephen Curry as Evelyn and John White, based on a real life case of two folks who abducted and killed four young girls in Perth, Australia. Ashleigh Cummings stars a Vicki in a very draining role of a young woman fighting for her life. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new VOD release and gives their thoughts on the never ending dark Australian thrillers.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Episode 289 - The Ninth Gate (1999)

Back in the 1960’s director Roman Polanski was able to establish himself as a top genre director. With the horror comedy, The Fearless Vampire Killers, the horror thriller, Repulsion, and the horror film Rosemary’s Baby, he became world famous. With the success of the latter, it was a film that helped bring the “devil” films about, where Satan was an actual being that would and will corrupt you. Years later, Polanski revisited this premise with the film from 1999 entitled The Ninth Gate.

Rare book dealer, Dean Corso, is hired by mysterious businessman Boris Balkan to take his rare book, only three in the world, to Europe to compare with the other two copies. Rumor has it that the book was written by a disciple of Lucifer and could bring forth the devil. But Boris thinks his copy may actually be a forgery. Soon Dean finds himself wrapped in a mystery where a mysterious woman begins to follow him and the owners of the other two books die mysteriously. Is the myth about the book actually true?

Starring Johnny Depp along with a strong supporting cast including Lena Olin, Frank Langella, Emmanuelle Seigner, and James Russo. The movie was based on a book entitled The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. With its simple yet curious plot, and its very ambiguous ending, the film received mixed reviews by critics and audience alike. Dark Discussions takes a look at this curiosity and gives their opinions.

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Episode 288 - Donnie Darko (2001)

Donnie Darko, the 2001 science fiction thriller, has been listed as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time, one of the greatest independent films of all time, as well as one of the greatest cult films of all time. Written and directed by first timer Richard Kelly, it takes place in 1988 during the key years of Generation X. With its ennui, bleakness, and humor, the film became a fan favorite and a beacon for its generation.

Donnie, a young and troubled teenager, lives in a typical suburban town in Virginia. With its manicured lawns, happy families, and cute and fancy sports cars, nothing seems to be out of line. But looking at the high school students, we see something a bit different. Melancholy and angst makes everything less idyllic than it seems. And then Donnie begins to have visions which may lead to one young man turning the entire community upside down.

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal in a career defining role that would lead him to become one of movie’s biggest stars, the film also includes strong supporting roles by Drew Barrymore, Katharine Ross, Noah Wyle, Jena Malone, and Patrick Swayze in a part that is out of character for the actor. With Arrow Films releasing the 2017 special addition box set of the film, Dark Discussions revisits the classic movie.

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Episode 287 - The Lure (2017)

The weird tale. That can be so many things. For example, the True Blood series shows vampires, werewolves, and other entities living opening in a real world setting. Others like Tromeo and Juliet seem to play for the grindhouse and live in a world that is over the top. The new Polish language film, The Lure, is somewhere in between. It has mermaids in it. Using the mythos that Hans Christian Andersen wrote in his story, The Little Mermaid, this updated version of the tale is over the top blood, nudity, and weirdness and filled with musical numbers.

When sisters who happen to be mermaids named Golden and Silver arrive in a Baltic Sea town off the coast of Poland, they are brought to a burlesque club and become an act at the establishment. Being from a different “land”, they begin to find out the wonders of what humanity can bring to them. However, one decides that being a human is more enticing than eventually returning to the sea. Her sister however seems to be struggling to conform.

New time director Agnieszka Smoczynska brings a bizarre tale based off a script written by Robert Bolesto. The film has printed all over it the words “future cult classic”. Now available everywhere on VOD after a long run on the festival circuit, Dark Discussions takes a look at this highly anticipated film and gives their critique.

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Episode 286 - Alien Covenant (2017)

Ridley Scott’s 1979’s Alien, written by Dan O’Bannon with creature designs by H.R. Giger, may have not blown the box office away, but it became one of the greatest science fiction and horror films of all time. It was followed up by James Cameron’s Aliens which too became a classic film. David Fincher’s Alien 3, with its troubled production, still was generally enjoyed, but then afterwards with Alien Resurrection and the Alien vs. Predator films, the franchise devolved into farce.

However, Ridley Scott returned to the franchise with Prometheus, focusing on the iconic “Space Jockey” from the first film. Though the film landed more in the Alien 3 mold (enjoyable but a miss), Scott is back with a new film, Alien Covenant. The movie has created much buzz in hopes that it will reinvigorate a beloved franchise that many felt was either in need of a fresh take on the subject or a need for a worthy end.

Michael Fassbender returns from Prometheus in a dual role which has received much praise. Will fans be given the answers about the space jockeys, the engineers, and the fates of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw and the robot David? Dark Discussions takes a look at the new film, discussing where it fits into the franchise, and whether or not Ridley Scott has produced another timeless sci-fi classic.

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Episode 285 - The Devil's Candy (2017)

When the Australian horror film, The Loved Ones, was released a few years back, it received a lot of acclaim while doing the festival circuits. Having taken a few years to reach North America, the film made an impression on many genre fans. Now, the director, Sean Byrne, is back with his first American feature film. Like The Loved Ones, The Devil’s Candy also received splendid reviews.

A young couple and their teenage daughter purchase a house in the rural outskirts of Austin, Texas. The father, an artist, begins producing a giant painting with incredible detail yet doesn’t seem to remember the time spent while painting. Meanwhile, a strange man obsessed with guitar rock appears on their farmer’s porch stating that he was the prior owner of the property. Soon mysterious things begin to happen causing the family to believe that the entire property may have a mysterious past.

Written and directed by Sean Byrne, the film oddly was cut down in length from its original festival run to a quick 75 minutes. Dark Discussions takes a look at this highly anticipated follow up to The Loved Ones and gives their opinion on the film.

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Episode 284 - George Romero Focus: 1988's Monkey Shines

George Romero is considered a legend. Even if he hadn’t made another film, The Night of the Living Dead would have been enough to cement him in film history. Though many folks think the film was in some ways really more a collaborative effort (with someone’s name having to be put as director and George Romero lucked in pulling the “long straw”), Romero has shown signs of some really great story telling in other films. Dark Discussions takes a look at one of his lesser known films, 1988’s Monkey Shines.

When a medalist runner gets hit by a flatbed truck, he is left as a quadriplegic. Having essentially lost movement in all of his limbs and body, he is relegated to a wheelchair. With the help of a friend, he is given a small trained monkey as a service animal which can in many ways provide him with relief with things that normally would be too hard for him to accomplish. But as the days and weeks pass, the monkey’s personality seems to change and its behavior begins to become erratic.

Released by Orion Pictures in 1988, the film was supposed to be one of their blockbusters that would turn a struggling studio around. That didn’t happen, but what we are left with is a curious horror film that in many ways mixes dramatic moments with midnight movie hysterics. The film, a contest choice by our social media followers, is critiqued and discussed by your co-hosts.

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Episode 283 - The Void (2017)

Astron-6 is a Canadian film production company that specializes in midnight movies. With such over the top films like Manborg, Father’s Day, and The Editor, they’ve gotten a pretty large following of cult movie fans all across the globe. Two of the owners, Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie, went off to do The Void, a new 2017 horror film, that was a departure from the more comedic aspects of Astron-6 productions.

When a police officer finds a man lying on the side of the road bloody and unconscious, he immediately rushes him to the closest hospital. The facility is soon to close so only a skeleton staff happens to be on site. When an unexpected death occurs, the building suddenly is surrounded by a group of hooded cultists that prevent anyone’s escape. Yet unaware to the group, something far more dangerous lurks within the building.

The film has been called a throwback to films from the 1970/1980’s. Some mentioned include Hellraiser, Assault on Precinct 13, The Thing, In the Mouth of Madness and many more. With its strange creature effects (designed by co-director Steven Kostanski) and its ambiguous ending, the film has received quite the buzz wherever movies are spoken of. Dark Discussions podcast takes a look at this very unique film.

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Halloween Boutique Psychotronic Reviews Volume 004

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.

A wide variety of cult films are reviewed in this edition of the podcast including a throwback film that apes the 1970’s sexploitation movies; a slasher film from Poland that baths in the glories of drive-in cinema; a midnight movie take on a Shakespearian play; an insane sequel to an obscure slasher film; and a thriller that curiously was marketed as a teen sex comedy.

This edition co-host Philip of the Dark Discussions Podcast critiques five films: Anna Biller’s feature length debut film Viva from 2007; Massacre Video’s edition of the Polish slasher movie Fantom Killer; Vinegar Syndrome’s loaded disc of the 1993 exploitation horror film Psycho Cop Returns; Troma’s cult favorite Tromeo and Juliet (written by James Gunn); and Kino Lorber’s release of the Sybil Danning classic They’re Playing With Fire.

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Episode 282 - 13 Reasons Why

Suicide is a very touchy subject for obvious reasons. When folks feel hopeless and don’t know where to turn, terrible thoughts may pass through their minds. Many things from substance abuse, to personal finances, to divorce, to the loss of your job—the world can beat you down. A new series on Netflix called 13 Reasons Why shows this in a high school environment.

Hannah is a pretty girl. Maybe a bit emotional but no different than anyone else. She wants friends and a boy to like her. She wants to be happy and enjoy her life. But when a bunch of unfortunate events begin to pile upon her, she becomes depressed. Those most close to her don’t know, and others who she depends upon may be the causes. The series starts off with the aftermath of her death. Hannah has left a handful of recordings for those she feels responsible for her depression to listen to. And slowly the mystery of why a girl with nothing but great things ahead would end her life.

Dark Discussions co-hosts take a look at this very moving series. With such topics as bullying and sexual assault, the show has brought a lot of controversy including some saying it actually glorifies suicide. But what’s the real story? And is the show any good? Come join co-host Eric and Phil as they give their critique.

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Episode 267 - 2016 Year in Review

Another year passes and Dark Discussions podcast looks back at genre films of 2016. Five co-hosts, five individual lists, and one master definitive list of the best horror films of the year. We go through over 70 films and choose what we each thought were the best horror films released and then put together one final list removing any outliers. Obvious higher profile films like The Conjuring 2 or Blair Witch were considered but also critical darlings such as The Wailing and The Witch.

Also discussed were the best various subgenres of pulp films. We put together another definitive list of the best "other" genre films – those being science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, and the rest. Again obvious titles like Star Wars Rogue One and The Arrival are discussed but also The Girl on the Train and Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla are considered too.

Lastly we have our choices of the highlights (and lows) of the year including best performances, breakout stars, and goats of the year. And we include lists from some of our listeners. Where do they stand compared to the movies that Dark Discussions think were essential to genre viewing for 2016?

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Episode 266 - 2017 Genre Preview

With January 2017 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 Kong: Skull Island, War of the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman, Alien Covenant, the latest Thor film, and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. For straight horror, A Cure For Wellness is probably one of the more high profile flicks coming.

Some lower profile flicks talked about include Arbor Demon, The Dark Tapes, Personal Shopper, Dangerous People, Space Babes From Outer Space, Sky Sharks, and Safe Neighborhood. 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 259 - Patient Seven (The Critique)

Last week Dark Discussions interviewed director Danny Draven and actor Dan Lench of the movie Patient Seven. We learned a bit about the horror anthology and how the various shorts were award winning movies from the convention circuit. After being scooped up by the producers, a wraparound story was built around these films creating a cohesive movie.

A highly renowned doctor comes to a sanitarium to interview seven patients for a new book he is planning. Each patient is a very unique behavioral health case. As the psychiatrist's unconventional techniques become known, the orderlies become concerned and the patients become more enraged. Yet there may be a truth behind each patient's tale that not even a sanitarium can keep hidden.

Patient Seven encompasses seven award winning shorts with an eighth wraparound story that ties it all together. Zombies, vampires, serial killers, ghosts, demons, and murder fill out the almost two hour runtime. With its great score, its dark tone, and each tales unique twists, the movie has been getting rave reviews and has been considered one of the best horror anthologies to come along in some time. Dark Discussions does their critique and review of this new film.

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Episode 258 - Patient Seven (The Interviews)

Horror anthologies seem to be films that horror fans either love or hate. Many can be disjointed, have too many tonal shifts, or simply aren't any good. But there has been a huge resurgence of them recently led by such films as The ABC's of Death and V/H/S. A new film entitled Patient Seven suddenly appeared on VOD services and quickly became one of the top horror movies rented and viewed on such places as iTunes.

With seven individual stories with an eighth story as the wraparound tale, the film is quite lengthy and yet flows pretty smoothly. The cast includes some fairly well known folks including Alfie Allen (of Game of Thrones), actress Amy Smart, and genre favorite Michael Ironsides.

Additionally, the movie has actor Dan Lench, a star of last year's science fiction film, Circle, playing a pivotal role that is completely different than anything he's played before. Along with Dan Lench, Dark Discussions interviews one of the directors, Danny Draven, who also edited and put together the upcoming disc release. Get ready for part one of our two part episode of Patient Seven. This episode focuses on the people that worked on the film.