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    Horror From The BBC: “IN THE FLESH” and “THE SECRET OF CRICKLEY HALL” (TV Review)

    The ever-dependable English seem to always deliver quality when it comes to filmed drama—it’s in their blood, after all—and that goes for their unique, atmospheric brand of horror as well. We’ll save you the history lesson, but suffice to say that the British sensibility is so steeped in darkness, in grey, brooding, foreboding gloom and spectral skin chilling, that their genre product is almost always a cut above any other culture’s; two new small screen sculpted releases out October 8th from BBC Home Entertainment exemplify that plain truth.

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    “LOVE ETERNAL” (Fantastic Fest Movie Review)

    In the opening scenes of LOVE ETERNAL, Ian Harding (a tender, troubled Robert de Hoog) spends his formative years among the dead. As a child, he plays with his father, running out of range of their walkie-talkies. When he returns, the man lays dead, seated outdoors. Later, midst puberty, Ian finds a popular girl from school hung by her own hand out in the forest. He visits the body endlessly, converses with it– forms a bond. Between these two significant moments in Ian’s life is a main titles sequence that elegantly strides through the countryside. Trees, caves, cliffsides and soil are as much of his foundation as the corpses he finds and socializes with. His conclusion and ours is obvious. Death is natural.

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    “PSYCHO II & III” (Scream Factory Blu-ray Reviews)

    Recently, the AVClub posted a list of 1983′s “lousy” sequels, which (justifiably) pointed out that one year gave us JAWS 3-D, THE STING II, STAYIN’ ALIVE—sort of a who’s who of notoriously bad follow-ups.  However, they inexplicably included PSYCHO II (while leaving out Amityville 3-D!), which was a head scratcher. By most accounts, this was a remarkably good (some say great) sequel that deftly jumped two incredible hurdles.  One being time; it had been 23 years since the first film had broken so much ground in the genre, and thus the younger audiences that made horror such a lucrative endeavor in the early 80s might not even know about it.  The other, of course, was the lack of one Alfred Hitchcock. Who would dare attempt to follow the master?

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    “COHERENCE” (Fantastic Fest Movie Review)

    Here’s a tip for slightly sadistic event planners seeking to liven up yet another humdrum middle-aged dinner party: Pencil the soirée in for the same night a reality-refracting, modern convenience-decimating, quantum physics-substantiating comet is set to pass overhead and watch the revelers plunge into a paradox-ridden puzzle of an evening they’ll never, ever forget.

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    “GRAND PIANO” (Fantastic Fest Movie Review)

    It is not rare to find a director appropriating, or recalling, the stylistic flair of Alfred Hitchcock, Brian De Palma or Dario Argento. Just at Fantastic Fest alone, we’ve encountered director Mark Hartley employing a great deal of split diopter throughout his remake of 1978’s PATRICK. What is rare, however, is to find such influence utilized in clever, thematically appropriate and more breathtaking than endearing manner. As you may expect, this is leading to the arrival of such a film: Eugenio Mira’s GRAND PIANO, an utter joy of high concept, artfully composed and absolutely thrilling pure cinema.

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    “WITCHING & BITCHING” (Movie Review)

    Álex de la Iglesia’s last towering horror effort, THE LAST CIRCUS, was an intensely grim (but not entirely devoid of humor), wildly bizarre look at a country he loves and the struggles that threaten to tear it apart. Being the masterful genre filmmaker he is, WITCHING & BITCHING similarly has a fair share on its mind, but on the flipside is a giddy, delightful supernatural romp, probing the way men and women treat each other.

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    “BATES MOTEL” Season One (Blu-ray Review)

    TWIN PEAKS fans rejoice, for with the hit A&E show BATES MOTEL you now have the almost-as-oddball town of White Pine Bay to explore. With its mountainous backdrop, foggy rain-filled days and a populace full of mysterious folk that all seem just a little… off, the show is in many ways the logical network TV successor to David Lynch’s cult favorite.

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    “SEPTIC MAN” (Fantastic Fest Movie Review)

    Can something with as outlandish a plot as SEPTIC MAN—one seemingly conceived in Tromaville—make an attempt at being meditative?  I’d argue yes, of course. It’s an artist’s prerogative how they’d like to present their story, and if writer Tony Burgess and director Jesse Thomas Cook saw something mellow, or melancholy, in a man covered in shit, it’s up to the audience to tune in to their fecal frequency. Does a subsequent distaste then seem worse, however, if their unexpected take misses the mark? It may be more ambitious, but is it somehow more trying than if they simply filmed a wannabe cult retread? Absolutely.

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    “PATRICK” (Fantastic Fest Movie Review)

    The suspenseful opening sequence of Mark Hartley’s narrative debut, PATRICK, deals in a time honored thriller trope. A nurse, dangerously sneaking through pitch black halls and seemingly aiming to uncover something secret, uses her camera flash to help her see. It’s a device that’s perhaps most iconic in Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW, but has been utilized in countless films since. It’s certainly not employed to poor effect here, and once the opening titles reveal a score from Pino Donaggio and the film itself is decorated by gothic interiors (not dissimilar from the medical estate in Aussie great NEXT OF KIN) and vintage nurse uniforms, it’s immediately endearing what the filmmaker is striving toward.

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