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Episode 293 - 47 Meters Down (2017)

Though around for a bit, British director Johannes Roberts came to note to genre fans with his 2012 alien apocalypse film Storage 24. Now in 2017, he has returned with his latest horror thriller, 47 Meters Down, starring Mandy Moore and Claire Holt. Shark films re-emerged in popularity with last years The Shallows and 47 Meters Down joins the latest in a very popular subgenre.

Sisters Lisa and Kate arrive in Mexico for a vacation. Originally Lisa’s boyfriend was to attend, but right before the trip, the two split. Very blue and quite depressed, Kate decides to cheer up her sister by suggesting all sorts of fun activities. Swimming, partying, sunbathing, fancy dinners, but then some local guys they meet suggest cage diving. Kate immediately says yes but Lisa has her doubts.

Originally to be released by Dimension Films under the title In the Deep, the movie was sold off to Entertainment Studios who changed the title back to its original 47 Meters Down and gave it a theatrical release. Receiving decent reviews, the movie did make its modest budget back and then some. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new danger-in-the-water film and gives their critique.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Halloween Boutique Psychotronic Reviews Volume 005

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 I review four films and one television show. The movies include the 2002 French erotic thriller Secret Things directed by Jean-Claude Brisseau; the 1983 slasher film Double Exposure (released by Vinegar Syndrome); Tinto Brass’s 1991 classic erotic comedy, Paprika (released by Cult Epics); and the new Blue Underground release of the 1972 horror film Deathline (also known as Raw Meat). Lastly, the 12 episode Funimation blu-ray release of the recent anime Prison School is reviewed.

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Episode 292 - Berlin Syndrome (2017)

Another “arthouse” horror film from Australia. Berlin Syndrome’s screenwriting, credited to Shaun Grant, has a similar feel to his Snowtown Murders. But also it is not much unlike the recent Hounds of Love. What they all have in common is horror based in the real world where the real monsters are people.

Clare, a beautiful woman from Australia, takes a backpacking trip to Germany to photograph the unique architecture of old East Germany, specifically East Berlin. While walking the streets, she meets a handsome school teacher named Andi who shows her about the city. With a mutual attraction, the two later head to his flat and make passionate love; essentially a magnificent one night stand. But after Andi leaves for work, Clare unexpectedly gets locked in his apartment.

The movie is directed by Australian filmmaker, Cate Shortland, from a minimalist screenplay by Shaun Grant (based off the novel by Melanie Joosten). The film stars Teresa Palmer in a career defining performance as Clare, and Sense8 actor Max Riemelt as Andi. Receiving rave reviews from critics, Dark Discussions takes a look at this recently released horror thriller.

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Episode 291 - It Comes At Night (2017)

It Comes at Night, the sophomore effort by writer/director Trey Edward Shults, came and went from theaters pretty quickly. Starring Joel Edgerton along with a small cast of folks, the film is a fairly different take on an apocalyptic world. Marketed quite wrong where the film was portrayed as a kinetic action horror film with possible monsters involved, the movie is actually a very dark art house drama.

As the movie begins, the maternal grandfather of a family of four contracts a mysterious illness that has wiped out society as we know it. With his eventual death, Will and Sarah and their 17 year old son Travis are suddenly on the defensive as an intruder breaks into their house. Able to overpower him, Will is concerned that the man may have brought more bandits with him … or worse, the disease.

With its small cast and paranoid narrative, the film begins to ask questions on what normalcy should be and whether helping others in a world where justice and law do not exist is the right thing to do. Receiving critical praise while being disliked by many audience members possibly because of its false marketing campaign, the movie quickly left theaters. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new release and gives their critique.

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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.

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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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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 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.