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  • “BATES MOTEL: Season 4, Episode 4” (TV Review)

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    The fourth episode of BATES MOTEL opens with Norman recounting all of the people that “mother” has killed while the voice of his dead father telling him that Norma killed him is running in his head. When Norman refuses his meds, the nurse tells him that if he doesn’t take them, he will be locked into his room until a resident nurse comes to see him. While the rules of this institution remain a bit murky, the logic here remains problematic, but that’s far from Norman’s biggest problem this week.

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  • “THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS” (Film Review)

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    As much sense as it may make to a marketing executive or producer, having the name of a horror icon attached to your film is actually somewhat of a risky proposition. By associating a film with someone who is known and beloved by genre films, expectations will understandably be raised, which could work as a double-edged sword if those standards are not met. And in the case of Nick Simon’s THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS, having that attachment be the final credit in the prolific career of Wes Craven (who served as executive producer) is an even larger shadow to shine through in the eyes of horror enthusiasts.

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  • “MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM” (Book Review)

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    Though we are steeped deep in gloriously gonzo unorthodoxy for more than 100 pages before the musclebound 20something self-described practitioner of “puke and rebuke” de-demonization turns up in Grady Hendrix’s MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM, it is nonetheless hilarious just how absurdly far from the Father Merrin tree the character falls.

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  • “DECAY” (Film Review)

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    Joseph Wartnerchaney’s feature debut, DECAY follows the romance between a middle-aged loner, and the corpse of a local teenage girl. This concept will encourage comparisons to NEKROMANTIK, but the character Jonathan, to whom DECAY devotes its full attention, has little in common with the Crimson Climaxer of the German cult classic. Instead of dissecting a crazed necro-rapist, we are shanghaied along a one-month transformation to Jonathan’s self-awareness. These abstractions make demands from the audience that will undoubtedly frustrate certain viewers – perhaps a necrophile looking to pop in a sick flick and… crack open a cold one? On the other hand, viewers who are willing to put forth the effort may find a horror greater than the rape and murder they were likely expecting.

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  • “DIARY OF A DEADBEAT” (Film Review)

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    If you’re a fan of violent low-budget genre movies, you’ve almost certainly heard the name Jim VanBebber, and you’ve probably seen his 1988 college-kid opus DEADBEAT AT DAWN. Handmade, violent as hell, and wildly ambitious, DEADBEAT AT DAWN is a reflection of the man himself, who did his own stunts, wrote, and starred in the film. His career continued from there, and he found an odd cult success, chronicled in a cleverly-named new documentary, DIARY OF A DEADBEAT.

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  • “BATES MOTEL: Season 4, Episode 3” (TV Review)

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    Although episode three has thus far been the tamest of Season 4, the installment was not short on surprises. The first one: Nobody got killed!  The second one: Norma wearing all black. In fact, I think the only other time we have seen her in all black is the very first episode of Season 1 when she and Norman are laying to rest the body of Norman’s father, Sam. So it was an interesting wardrobe choice for what would be her wedding to Sheriff Romero at White Pine Bay City Hall.

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  • “DISTURBING BEHAVIOR” (Blu-ray Review)

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    While the ‘90s might be known as a (undeservedly) derided era in the genre’s history, there’s no denying just how odd the ‘90s were in retrospect. Of all the horror films that are indicative of the style and execution of ‘90s horror, few genre flicks painted ‘90s pop culture better than David Nutter’s DISTURBING BEHAVIOR. And as a film that’s certainly gained traction as of late thanks to Netflix and, now, Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release, it’s certainly going to be interesting to see how DISTURBING BEHAVIOR plays among a new generation of fright fans.

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  • “BATES MOTEL: Season 4, Episodes 1 & 2” (TV Review)

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    Season 4 of BATES MOTEL starts with Sheriff Romero taking a good hard look at what his life has become. Sitting in a small boat in the middle of the Ocean, he watches all the evidence of Bob Paris’ murder sink before his eyes. The metaphoric irony is not lost on him but he continues to run- well, in this case, paddle away- from his problems. Meanwhile, when we first see Norman, waking up dirty and disoriented in the middle of nowhere, it really hit me how far Norman has gone. There seems to be barely anything left of the Norman that we got to know in the beginning of the series; the Norman that tried his hardest to fight his demons because he just wanted to experience life as a normal teenager.

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  • “THE SIMILARS” (Film Review)

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    Isaac Ezban’s second feature, THE SIMILARS, opens at night amidst a heavy rain. We are introduced to a man who although crucial to the story is not the focus, a powerfully voiced narrator explains. Within these first few moments, it’s pretty clear what we’re in for: a stylish old-school science fiction throwback in muted colors with a whole lot of atmosphere.

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