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    “HANNIBAL: Season 3, Episode 1″ (TV Review)

    In many ways, the third season premiere for Bryan Fuller’s adaptation of the HANNIBAL mythos is much like the cannibalistic doctor himself: mysterious, unpredictable, cerebral and incredibly refined. Furthermore, the premiere’s masterful visual composition- jumping from flashbacks of multiple color palates, dream sequences, extremely methodical experimental shots and traditional lensing- earns an uneasy trust from the audience, much like Hannibal’s relationship with du Maurier as well. But following last season’s bloodbath of a finale, the audience who has restlessly awaited for HANNIBAL’s return are asked for a bit more patience in “Antipasto”, as not only is HANNIBAL unraveling the story at its own pace, but by its own unique design.

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    “THE NIGHTMARE” (Movie Review)

    Rodney Ascher’s THE NIGHTMARE (in theaters and on VOD today from Gravitas Ventures) revisits the subjective-narrative documentary form he explored in his previous ROOM 237. In that film, without comment, we are whisked into a world of tinfoil-hat theories on the “real” meaning of Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING; in THE NIGHTMARE, the subject is sleep paralysis, a medical phenomenon in which the mind becomes awake, but the body is still strapped in the atonia of REM sleep.

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    “MADMAN” (Blu-ray Review)

    Out of all the indie gems that came out of the slasher movement of the ‘80s, there are few that are as purely entertaining as MADMAN. Directed by Joe Giannone, MADMAN captures the spirit of old school summer camp urban legends, presenting the perfect amount of cheese alongside an impressive amount of technical craftsmanship as well. And despite it’s obscurity among the horror audience at large, the cult of MADMAN has grown over the decades since its initial release, many of whom have championed the film fervently as something much more substantial than its initial aesthetics may suggest.

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    “LET US PREY” (Film Review)

    The mid-’00s were a very strange time in horror; the J-horror remake movement had gone stale, while the so-called “torture porn” scene exploded side by side with the New French Extremity movement. There was a very specific theme of sadism that ran through the genre on almost every level, with horror focusing on anguish and suffering whether or not the story truly supported it. Thus, many films of this time remain far from memorable, as even though the intention to push the barriers of good taste was pursued, there was so little payoff to make the experience truly gratifying. And when watching Brian O’Malley’s LET US PREY, that era came to mind in a different light altogether: creepy, brutal and gripping, I felt as if I was watching what those films had so often sought to become yet with the substance they so often forgotten.

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    “SALEM: Season 2, Episode 8″ (TV Review)

    After Joe Dante’s contemplative, character-building episode last week, SALEM switches gears in the best way possible with it’s eighth episode “Dead Birds”, offering one of the most wicked episodes so far this season. Under the incredibly game and skilled direction of Alex Kalymnios, the script from Joe Menosky and Adam Simon offers an episode that oozes sex, gore, surrealism and legitimately powerful drama, all the while firmly wiping the cloud of mystery from our eyes as per the allegiances and strategies of the witch war. And in doing so, SALEM also confidently opens the audience to the world around our characters, diving into the past of Increase Mather as well as the reality around the fantasy that’s so often indulged in the series.

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    “THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3 (FINAL SEQUENCE)” (Movie Review)

    At the end of the animated film RATATOUILLE, a food-critic character has the following epiphany: “…the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.” I disagree; I’ll bet this review of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3 (FINAL SEQUENCE) will offer more entertainment than sitting through the movie itself.

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    “FORBIDDEN EMPIRE” (Film Review)

    Fantasy and myth are powerful things. Not only in how they can inspire the imagination, but in how they can cloud reason and judgment, and cause horrible events to occur in a cloud of superstition.  This wary view of mythology is the ironic driving force behind FORBIDDEN EMPIRE, a dark fantasy adventure film that delivers a new take on the Ukrainian folk story “Viy” from Russian author Nikolai Gogol.

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    “SALEM: Season 2, Episode 7″ (TV Review)

    It’s not often that a series that trades so often in the sensational like SALEM slows down its action to offer something contemplative. But in the latest episode, “The Beckoning Fair One” helmed by horror master Joe Dante, SALEM takes a moment to breath while investigating the interpersonal dynamics of SALEM’s most sinister inhabitants. Luckily for the viewer, that narrative gamble pays off as the episode sets the stage well for the impending witch war while still offering every demented aspect that makes the show so endearing in the first place.

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    “AREA 51″ (Film Review)

    It’s a very curious thing to be a critic and a horror fan experiencing Oren Peli’s AREA 51 for the first time, especially given that this writer will inherently have somewhat of a different experience than most casual moviegoers. That’s not to insinuate that there is any kind of bias towards the film, but much like in taking a test, there will always be a divide between those who studied the subject and those who come in completely fresh to it. Obviously, the found footage shocker- finished in 2009 and then subject to more than five years of rewrites, reshoots and post-production work- has been one to watch for a very long time, especially considering the director’s previous effort is now a legitimate piece of horror history (and one that should be used as a free pass for a theatrical release for whatever would follow). And while there are snippets of a completely different horror film that even can be seen in stills from AREA 51’s trailer, this writer went into AREA 51 giving it the benefit of the doubt, setting the past aside as much as possible and hoping to see that the director of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY still can scare behind the director’s chair.

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