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Episode 173 - Proxy (2014)

Proxy, a very interestingly structured horror-thriller-mystery that debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), was picked up by IFC and released under their IFC Midnight department. It appeared on iTunes and other VOD services in early 2014 and various critics mentioned that it felt like a very modern take on an Alfred Hitchcock film. With it's various twists, surprising reveals, and quirky characters, the film garnered attention by both art house movie fans and genre fans alike.

When a pregnant Esther gets attacked in an alley, not only is she robbed of her money but also lands with a concussion and the loss of her child. Soon after recovering and being released from the hospital, she joins a support group for those who have lost children. There she meets Melanie, a pretty soccer mom, who lost both her son and husband to a drunk driver. The two form a common bond only to have it unravel when peculiar secrets reveal themselves. Soon Anika, a young woman who lives beyond the norm, gets involved and begins to disentangle the strange story that begins to unfold.

Picked by co-host Mike to review, Proxy is directed by Zach Parker who appears to be friendly with the group of young film makers that include Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard, Ti West, A. J. Bowen, and Joe Swanberg (who happens to be one of the stars of this film). Dark and brooding, the film with its art house feel and curious screenplay that changes the point of view of at least four different characters may not be for everyone but it is most certainly a breath of fresh air from the generic theater common to the genre fan.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Episode 172 - Neil Marshall Focus: 2002's Dog Soldiers

Werewolves and horror. It's been a mixed bag. Some classics like the Lon Chaney Jr. Wolfman comes to mind. As does a nice revival of the monster in the early 1980's with The Howling and An American Werewolf in London which has defined the careers of their directors (Joe Dante and John Landis respectively). Another cult classic can be added to the conversation with the Katharine Isabelle star making performance in Ginger Snaps. But another, Dog Soldiers, brought a director to the attention of many. Neil Marshall wrote and directed the 2002 film that allowed him the attention he needed to go on and direct such things as The Decent and Game of Thrones.

This British production is about a group of special forces on training out in the middle of the wilderness. Unfortunately for them, the remoteness is also the home to what may be a family of werewolves. Was it coincidence? Could such a monster actually exist? With a training mission now as an operation of survival, the soldiers lock down in an isolated cabin to fight for their lives against not just monsters but possibly a conspiracy that goes higher than their pay grade.

Back in 2014, Dark Discussions Podcast had a few polls where we listed a handful of films for listeners to choose for us to discuss. Dog Soldiers was one of them and swept away the competition. With our prior episode of the werewolf film Wer, it was time to release this episode to go hand in hand with a more modern lycanthrope film. Dog Soldiers, a minor classic, may not necessarily be Neil Marshall's best work, but it showed the potential of what was to come from a modern genre director.

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Episode 171 - Wer (2014)

We last heard from director William Brent Bell and screenwriter Matthew Peterman with the January 2012 release of the horror film The Devil Inside. With a trailer that got a lot of buzz, the film was highly anticipated. Though not well received by critics and with an ending that left many viewers baffled (the now infamous go-to-the-internet "for more information on the ongoing investigation"), the found footage film produced for $1M USD earned a phenomenal profit of $101.8M USD.

Their follow up film continues the latest trend of werewolf movies that have been appearing within the horror genre. Wer, released in the states in September 2014, stars actress A.J. Cook and actor Simon Quarterman. The story takes place in France where an American family is brutally murdered. The suspect that is arrested is a first generation Romanian. His international team of defendants begins to believe that both xenophobia and his family's highly desirable property may actually be the reason for his arrest and possible framing. But soon a more bizarre reality begins to form out of all the confusion.

Co-host Eric of Dark Discussions found the film on video on demand and decided to give it a viewing. What he discovered was an interesting new take on the monster we all know as the werewolf. Being a newer film, the podcast crew all rented the movie and the episode was born. Was Wer a sleeper that was missed in 2014? How does it stack up to the classics as well as the various newer lycanthropic films? Check out what your hosts have to say.

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Episode 170 - Come Back To Me (2014)

It's a new year and there are a whole list of new movies coming. Genre cinema is now mainstream with superheroes and teen sci-fi novels being brought to the big screen almost monthly. This year a lot of familiar film franchises are bringing new additions to their canon: Sinister, Insidious, James Bond, the Terminator, Jurassic World, Mad Max, Star Wars, the Avengers.

But there are a lot of small films that are coming that have been highly anticipated such as It Follows, Krampus, Rob Zombie's 31, Greg Mclean's 6 Miranda Drive, and Simon Rumley's The Last Word. Other original material includes the Wachowski's Jupiter Ascending, Neill Blomkamp's Chappie, M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit, Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea, Tom Hardy's starring vehicle Child 44, Guillermo Del Toro's Crimson Peak, and Ridley Scott's The Martian.

Dark Discussions brings a pretty large list of a bunch of films that have been on their radar for the new year. Some are films that are so low profile that they'll be new to you. Others are higher profile but we discuss the actors, actresses, directors, and screenwriters behind them and also read into the trailers and blurbs that have been discussed throughout the internet. Get a pen and paper out and start jotting down these new films that may interest any genre fan.

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Episode 169 - 2015 Preview

It's a new year and there are a whole list of new movies coming. Genre cinema is now mainstream with superheroes and teen sci-fi novels being brought to the big screen almost monthly. This year a lot of familiar film franchises are bringing new additions to their canon: Sinister, Insidious, James Bond, the Terminator, Jurassic World, Mad Max, Star Wars, the Avengers.

But there are a lot of small films that are coming that have been highly anticipated such as It Follows, Krampus, Rob Zombie's 31, Greg Mclean's 6 Miranda Drive, and Simon Rumley's The Last Word. Other original material includes the Wachowski's Jupiter Ascending, Neill Blomkamp's Chappie, M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit, Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea, Tom Hardy's starring vehicle Child 44, Guillermo Del Toro's Crimson Peak, and Ridley Scott's The Martian.

Dark Discussions brings a pretty large list of a bunch of films that have been on their radar for the new year. Some are films that are so low profile that they'll be new to you. Others are higher profile but we discuss the actors, actresses, directors, and screenwriters behind them and also read into the trailers and blurbs that have been discussed throughout the internet. Get a pen and paper out and start jotting down these new films that may interest any genre fan.

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Episode 168 - 2014 Year In Review

Dark Discussions brings you their year in review episode. 2014 seemed to start out very slow for horror films but by the end of the year, there were plenty of good films to see, all readily available and not just festival films or limited release. But co-hosts Eric and Mike had a very good point which is what is determined as other genre (sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, techno-thrillers, mysteries, and exploitation) was outstanding compared to horror itself. It could be argued that 4 or 5 thrillers and sci-fi flicks were heads and above the very best genre films of the year, even over horror as a specific category.

One of the many interesting aspects of the prior year's best horror films was the cost to make them. Out of Dark Discussions definitive top 13 horror films of the year (a 3 way tie for 10th), the total cost to make them was easily less than $30M USD. This shows outstanding small budget and independent cinema but it also is dire for wide release Hollywood horror films. And to put an exclamation point on it, only one of the films on the definitive list was a wide release film.

Films weeded down for consideration for our Top 10 horror list and Top 10 genre list were just under seventy total films. And unlike prior years, your four co-hosts were very close to having consensus with the choices on both lists. Rounding out the episode includes a quick recap of 2014's genre television, books, anime, and our breakout list and worst list.

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Episode 164 - The Walking Dead First Half Season 5 Recap

Turbulent production history, polarizing characters, changes from the source material, sometimes melodramatic, and yet its the only show in decades that has beat out the National Football League in television ratings. That show, The Walking Dead, continues to have phenomenal ratings. The program shows that zombies, indeed, are not actually dead. Walking dead, yes, but dead as a plot device? Absolutely not! Zombies as antagonists are still possibly the most viable monster in genre fiction. Yet the survival of the characters and the danger from other humans oddly overshadow the walking dead.

Now in its fifth season, the Walking Dead has flourished as a television franchise. Though it has its warts, it still has given us some fantastic horror on the small screen. Grindhouse flare, a much larger and less clichéd diverse cast, and some generally fun times, the show is a favorite of not just genre fans but even mom and dad.

Dark Discussions for the first time since way back on episode 16, we are focusing on the show. Specifically discussing the first half of season five, your co-hosts give their thoughts on the Terminus escape, the Atlanta hospital story arc, the deaths of some important characters, the DC journey, the new diversity in the cast, and the entrance of gay characters, an Episcopal priest, and of course the zombies.

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