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    “HELL FIRE” (DVD Review)

    HELL FIRE, just out on DVD and VOD from Midnight Releasing, is the latest from New York’s Insane-O-Rama Productions, and lives up to the promise of that herald. Out of its mind and bloody as heck, it’s a jolt of adrenaline into the veins of the grassroots horror scene.

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    “STONEHEARST ASYLUM” (Blu-ray Review)

    As someone who has been with the horror genre so consistently over the course of his career, it’s a surprise that Brad Anderson is still one of the more underappreciated genre filmmakers working today. This is especially so considering his versatility among his projects, handing in a kinetic, mainstream thriller like THE CALL while also offering brooding suspense in SESSION 9 and off-kilter tension in STONEHEARST ASYLUM. And with STONEHEARST, Anderson takes on a bigger challenge than he’s yet to do: adapt the period-appropriate work of Edgar Allen Poe while maintaining a unique cinematic voice of his own.

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    “THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL” (Blu-ray Review)

    PLANET OF THE APES director Franklin J. Schaffner’s chilling 1978 programmer THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL is one of those glorious international, big budget melting pot thrillers whose presence has long since ebbed, having peaked in the 1970’s before fading into oblivion. But the film, based on a wild same-named novel by ROSEMARY’S BABY author Ira Levin, is miles removed from DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, WHERE EAGLES DARE; BOYS is a horror movie, plain and simple. The film follows Levin’s interest in perverted child birth while it exemplifies Schaffner’s deft hand at wrangling massive casts (who again, speak a wide array of languages), multiple locations and managing to make sprawling pictures that are both supremely epic while claustrophobically intimate. And though it wasn’t a financial success upon release, the film has found a devoted cult via TV airings and later, the VHS rental market. And now, Shout! Factory has brought it to Blu-ray.

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    “POKER NIGHT” (Film Review)

    There’s a certain beauty in independent films that the VOD/STV market has instilled in the viewing experience that otherwise is only found around film festivals, and that’s the absence of expectation. Looking at the promotional material for POKER NIGHT, the film could be confused for a masked slasher film or a late stage addition into the torture porn subgenre. And yet with little in the way of hype or criticism before the screening, I couldn’t really nail down what the film would be and, more importantly, where it would go.

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    Exodus: “BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT” (Album Review)

    The first thing that comes to mind when listening to the opening track of Exodus’s new album, BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT, is, that unlike several of the band’s peers, age has in no way mellowed the band in the slightest. “Black 13” is a crushing example of thrash metal done to perfection, as if the band were frozen in a block of ice in 1987 and then released to terrorize the populace (like Christopher Lee’s Dracula in the beginning of Hammer’s 1968 epic DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE).

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    “THE PYRAMID” (Movie Review)

    Alexandre Aja and his cohorts have done pretty well by remakes like THE HILLS HAVE EYES, MANIAC and PIRANHA 3D, but they hit one into the sand trap with THE PYRAMID, which is ostensibly an original but plays like a redux of the many previous films in which exploratory teams enter a forbidding structure/location and live (or not) to regret it.

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    “TALES FROM THE CRYPT / VAULT OF HORROR” (Scream Factory Blu Review)

    Find us a scarier film than Freddie Francis’ Amicus-financed 1972 omnibus TALES FROM THE CRYPT, we dare you. Alright, maybe that’s a bold and fruitless dare, as fear is subjective and certainly there are other pictures that go into darker recesses of the mind. But from its first frames to its invasive final shot, this classic British creeper offers an unrelenting study in the art of the macabre. 

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    “THE BABADOOK” (Mike’s Movie Review)

    You’ve no doubt read all sorts of great stuff about THE BABADOOK at this site and elsewhere, so let me simply add my voice to the chorus of praise. Genre fans, this is the real thing—a powerfully frightening film that also exemplifies horror’s capability to address other, equally strong emotions and issues.

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    “ALTERGEIST” (Movie Review)

    If you burn for a ghost story with an extraterrestrial twist, consider your cinematic thirst quenched. The directorial debut of Tedi Sarafian, ALTERGEIST bravely attempts to mesh these two themes into one film, creating both an ambiguous, creepy and rather enjoyable paranormal matrimony. 

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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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