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    “DOCTOR SLEEP” (Book Review)

    In mid-career interviews, Stephen King was sometimes asked why he had never delivered a conventional sequel to any of his novels, outside of a few short stories and fleeting cross-referencing of characters and locations, like the fictional town of Castle Rock. King’s deflection at that time was to tease how he would often ponder the possibility of THE SHINING’s mini-medium Danny Torrance and FIRESTARTER sparkplug Charlie McGee growing up, getting married, and discovering just what sort of children might spring out of their union. King would then cut himself off and remark that his muse (or more properly, Fornit) was unlikely to lead him any further down that path, and so it stood for decades… until the release last month of DOCTOR SLEEP, a proper sequel to one of King’s best-loved properties, 1977’s THE SHINING.

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    “HANDS OF THE RIPPER” (Blu-ray Review, Synapse Films)

    Before mulling over the merits of Synapse’s new HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971) Blu-ray, let’s take a moment to applaud Synapse’s approach to their Hammer Films licence. Instead of launching with any of the beloved Lee/Cushing classics, Synapse have instead given their famously fastidious treatment to the dustier, more obscure titles from Hammer’s twilight days. For more casual fans of the studio like this reviewer, the chance to finally slap paws on these under-acknowledged titles allows a different perspective on the storied Hammer and its long legacy of blood.

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    Stephen King’s “JOYLAND” (Book Review)

    After an uncharacteristically quiet 2012, author and multimedia brand Stephen King is resurfacing with a diverse slate of projects: From the UNDER THE DOME TV adaptation to the big-screen remake of CARRIE to the long-awaited musical theatre experiment GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY to King’s risky revisit with THE SHINING’s Danny Torrance in this fall’s novel DOCTOR SLEEP. While most of the aforementioned projects have yet to see release, it’s safe to declare that King’s new paperback original JOYLAND (out now from Hard Case Crime/Titan) will most likely be judged the runt of 2013’s considerable litter.

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    “EVIL DEAD (2013)” (Original Soundtrack Review)

    Now that the flurry of passionate yeas and nays flung over director Fede Alvarez’s EVIL DEAD remake has subsided, it’s a good time to take a deeper look at one of the more heralded changes Alvarez made with his DEAD interpretation: the score by composer Roque Baños (THE MACHINIST, SEXY BEAST), just released on compact disc from La-La Land records.

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    “THE TRIBE: HOMEROOM HEADHUNTERS” (Book Review)

    Spencer Pendleton is starting out at a new Junior High and now has to cope with all the miseries attached: cocky bullies, snobby princesses, crabby teachers, and flare-ups of his asthma. While struggling to fit in with his indifferent classmates, Spence attracts the notice of a very unique clique, former students who’ve slipped the noose of the school system by forming a stylized native gang, burrowing in behind the drab walls and acoustical ceiling tiles of their building and sourcing weapons from discarded detritus like middle school Mad Maxes. Now this clan of tween terrors wants a new recruit to share in their agenda of disruption and disobedience, and Spence must make the choice between accepting a numbingly normal scholastic career or seizing the chance to truly belong to something for once in his life.

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    “THE GHOSTKEEPERS” (Movie Review)

    Last year, writer-director Anthony D.P. Mann released TERROR OF DRACULA, a painstakingly respectful enactment of Bram Stoker’s often-bowdlerized and bastardized 1897 novel. TERROR perfectly captured the restrained pacing and hazy photography of a BBC production from decades past, and the result felt like something that might have aired stateside on public television around Halloween—a powerful fount of nostalgia for some, this reviewer included. With follow-up THE GHOSTKEEPERS set for release this year, Mann’s challenge was to try and carve out a similar impression, only now with his own original material and in a modern setting.

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    “MUTE” (Book Review)

    Leo, the protagonist of Jeffrey Hale’s MUTE (Grand Mal Press) is special. Born with the power of psychometry, he’s able to divulge past emotions and memories that may still resonate within objects or people. This talent, while admittedly handy, has gotten him locked up in a mental institution by folks not inclined to encourage psychic gifts.

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    “ROOM 237” (Movie Review)

    Maybe you hold onto one yourself? Some pet theory about a particular film’s hidden patterns, symbolism, subtext or allegory? Undertones that fly past most viewers but, once uncovered and analysed, cannot be ignored? ROOM 237 (in select theaters and on VOD today) is a unique and deceptively simple documentary that features five different people attempting to explain what they perceive to be the true meaning behind Stanley Kubrick’s film of THE SHINING.

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