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    Mario Bava’s “RABID DOGS” (Arrow Blu-ray Review)

    Long considered a master of Italian genre cinema, it’s hard to look back now and see how Mario Bava was received at the time. His movies made money, but both in Italy and abroad Bava was deemed a trashy hack. Now of course, we hail him  one of the most influential Italian directors of all time, but in the mid 70s, he couldn’t even get one of his finest achievements released. 

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    Joe Dante’s “THE BURBS” (Arrow Blu Review)

    Joe Dante hit the cultural zeitgeist hard with GREMLINS, delivering a knowing horror comedy for kids at the peak of an era in which children were swallowing up genre VHS rentals at a record pace. The film was such a hit that it afforded Dante about a decade of Hollywood freedom to make strange, self-conscious, genre-bending comedies like THE EXPLORERS, INNERSPACE, MATINEE and GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH. None of them were particularly successful as Dante’s sensibility was always too dark, sardonic, and knowing for massive crossover success beyond that inexplicable Christmas monster movie hit. However, the man’s entire canon from the period has gone on to become cult classics and one in particular seems to only grow in popularity.

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    “THE GUEST” (TIFF Movie Review)

    Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s THE GUEST qualifies as horror for lack of any other easy genre classification (well, aside from a delightfully cheeky Halloween themed climax). The duo have delivered a project that mixes their trademark dark humor and hyper cineliteracy with elements of 80s horror, thrillers, and action flicks, topped off with a light dusting of John Carpenter. It’s a movie that Cannon Films would have been proud to slap their logo across during the neon decade and yet it also feels contemporary. The film strives for nothing more than pure, unadulterated, unapologetic entertainment and so delivers on that promise, you can’t help but sit back and smile.

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    “SPRING” (TIFF Movie Review)

    You’ve got to give the folks behind SPRING credit for making a film unlike any other. One could describe the movie as POSSESSION meets BEFORE SUNRISE and certainly no one has ever attempted to pull that off before. There are times when the movie is wonderfully unpredictable. There are times when the whole thing feels like a confused mess. There’s no denying however, that the film is a fascinating original vision.

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    “CUB” (TIFF Movie Review)

    In his feature film debut, Belgian director Jonas Govaerts has delivered what can be described as a textbook horror film. It weaves together a vast swab of genre tropes into something pitched halfway between campfire yarn and 80s slasher. In this case, that’s not a bad thing.

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    “THE EDITOR” (TIFF Movie Review)

    For anyone raised on bleary-eyed marathons of VHS and DVD rentals, the five lunatics known as Astron-6 have been a delightful, new lurid pleasure. Through films like FATHER’S DAY and MANBORG, they’ve developed a signature tone, often pitched somewhere between parody and homage. They clearly love bargain bin trash movies. They just love laughing at them as well, and their movies toe the line between those two extremes. THE EDITOR is their latest and by far most ambitious feature, which applies the Astron-6 treatment to the giallo. It’s kind of a perfect mix, given that gialli tend to be stylistically gorgeous and magically, hilariously dumb in just the right ways. And the guys clearly know the genre well. THE EDITOR is not simply an Argento homage. Even flicks like HITCH HIKE get a moment in the spotlight.

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  • Takashi Miike’s “OVER YOUR DEAD BODY” (TIFF Movie Review)

    Takashi Miike is an interesting figure in the horror community. Though considered a master of the genre (hell, he had the only episode of MASTERS OF HORRORthat was banned from TV, which is essentially a badge of honor), he really hasn’t made many horror films. Sure, he’s often a gorehound’s wet dream and seems to deliver buckets of gag-inducing grew that make even the most hardened genre fan reach for the pause button and a bucket, but rarely does that ultra violence come in a package that one would honestly classify as outright horror.

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    “TEEN LUST” (TIFF Review)

    If nothing else, you’ve got to give the folks behind TEEN LUST credit for coming up with an untapped premise. There are dozens of movies out there about teenagers desperate to get laid, but absolutely none of them that have a Satanic twist.

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    “[REC] 4: APOCALYPSE” (TIFF Review)

    When [REC] first debuted back in the ancient days of 2007, Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza’s found footage zombie horror film was a shot in the arm. In combining two of the most popular horror trends of the era into a single attention-grabbing premise, [REC] was  a wildly intense and impeccably crafted 78-minute blast of terror. [REC] 2 came two years later to build and expand upon the mythology, even daring to switch genres and segue into demonic horror. For some reason Mommy and Daddy decided to split up for the third and fourth chapters and unfortunately, the franchise has never quite been the same.

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    “SHREW’S NEST” (TIFF Movie Review)

    One of the most cost effective ways to anchor a low budget feature is in emphasizing claustrophobia; making a virtue of a single location and turning it into a strength rather than cost-cutting hindrance. George Romero did it, Roman Polanski nailed it, Sam Raimi made it a cartoon, and now the Spanish directing team of Juanfer Andrés and Esteban Roel have made it their own.

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    EXCL: Writer Ed Brubaker on “MANIAC COP” Remake

    Last weekend, Fango had a chance to chit-chat with comics legend Ed Brubaker (FATALE, CRIMINAL, SLEEPER, CAPTAIN AMERICA) and of course had to ask about his involvement with the newly announced MANIAC COP remake. It’s difficult to not treat any classic horror remake with a sense of dread. However, as deliciously trashy and entertaining as the MANIAC COP franchise is, it’s not exactly a canonical classic. Remaking the movie isn’t necessarily a fool’s errand. There is room for improvement and plenty of avenues to play in that should lead to all sorts of cheap thrills and lurid entertainment.

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    Brian De Palma’s “SISTERS” (Arrow Blu-ray Review)

    SISTERS just might be the most important movie in Brian De Palma’scareer. Though his first feature MURDER A LA MOD laid down hints of what was to come, SISTERS was the first time De Palma ditched his satirical, political, Godard-influenced romps in favor of self-consciously accepting Hitchcock’s crown as a new master of suspense. That’s not to say that the movie is serious, of course. De Palma’s deep appreciation and understanding of Hitchcock extended to Hitch’s dark humor and refined sense of irony. So, what Pauline Kael’s once famously referred to as De Palma’s “alligator grin” is in full effect.

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