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    Guillermo del Toro: No PG-13 for “CRIMSON PEAK”

    In the course of interviewing genre master Guillermo del Toro (pictured above) about his upcoming robots-vs.-monsters epic PACIFIC RIM, Fango also brought up his forthcoming horror film CRIMSON PEAK, and received reassurance that this haunted-house movie will not be a restrained mood piece.

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    “BLOW OUT” (Blu-ray Review, Arrow Films)

    In the late 70s and early 80s, audiences didn’t look forward to the next movie directed by Brian De Palma, they got excited about the new Brian De Palma film. After the success of CARRIE, De Palma was able to disappear into his own imagination and create films routed entirely in his own interests. His director-for-hire phase would begin shortly with SCARFACE, but for a few glorious years De Palma was in charge of his own scripts and destiny and used his auteur power to dabble in grand entertaining thrillers that doubled as deadpan satires of filmmaking convention and self-conscious explorations of the director’s personal obsessions. Of this flock of golden age Brian De Palma, none were better than his 1981 flick BLOW OUT.

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    “BLACK SABBATH” (Blu-ray Review, Arrow Films)

    Anthology horror films are a tricky beast to pull off and more often remembered for their inconsistency than anything else. Normally only about half of the shorts in an anthology are strong if you’re lucky, although there are a few exceptions. The big one is Mario Bava’s BLACK SABBATH, a strong contender for the director’s finest outing combining everything the filmmaker did right in his early 60s groundbreaking days and tossing in one of the great late Boris Karloff performances for good measure. Sadly, the movie has never been particularly easy to track down, constantly going in and out of print and available in two distinct cuts that are surprisingly different. Well, the good news is that the good folks at Arrow Films narrowed their laser sights onto BLACK SABBATH as part of their current commitment to bring Bava to HD, and now all may drool over the disc in horror geek delight. Given that the film is not only one of the maestro’s best, but one of his prettiest “horror in Technicolor” achievements, this disc is practically guaranteed to make eyeballs bleed in the best possible sense.

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    George A. Romero’s “KNIGHTRIDERS” (Blu-ray Review, Arrow Films)

    The man who gave the world the modern flesh-munching zombie will always be remembered as a horror maestro, but one of George Romero’s finest efforts from his underground Pittsburgh days was made with no intention of giving audiences the willies (well, except for the sight of Tom Savini in a speedo). KNIGHTRIDERS comes between DAWN OF THE DEAD and CREEPSHOW in the director’s career and features roles for many of his stock company of the time like Savini, Ken Foree, and John Amplas (MARTIN). It’s an odd story involving Renaissance fair knights who joust on motorcycles, and yet it just might be Romero’s most personal movie of the period. Midst the weird world of contemporary King Arthur honor comes a story about artistic integrity amongst a group of outsider artists. It’s a pretty blatant exploration of Romero’s fears of abandoning his merry band of low budget horror movie mirth-makers for Hollywood and signaled the beginning of the end of his early career. KNIGHTRIDERS is an essential slice of Romero magic from his golden period and now that the good folks at Arrow have gone and released it in one of their marquee Blu-ray sets, there’s never been a better time to catch up with this sadly forgotten cult classic.

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    “BARON BLOOD” (Blu-ray Review, Arrow Films)

    Boutique British Blu-ray label Arrow have been very kind to lovers of Italian horror over the last few years, serving up heaping helpings of Fulci and Argento in pristine region-free HD packages. In 2013 they’ve finally turned their attention to the maestro who started it all: Mario Bava. After cranking out a definitive BLACK SUNDAY disc, the company has moved onto to some of his later, campier efforts. The latest Bava Blu-ray from the company is BARON BLOOD, a late inning horror hit for the director that’s been swallowed up by obscurity. It might not be the director’s greatest effort, but is certainly something of interest to Bava-hounds for its inspired no-budget gothic carnage.

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