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    “THALE” (DVD/Blu-ray Review)

    THALE is a lovely film, epitomized by its titular creature, which is a gorgeous one indeed. Written and directed by Aleksander Nordaas and based on Norwegian folk tales of cow-tailed temptresses called Huldra, THALE (on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo from XLrator Media) takes a classic-monsters approach to its story, evoking empathy for the sheltered, experimented-on beauty (Silje Reinåmo) as well as the best-friend duo who discover her.

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    “DOCTOR MABUSE”: Ansel Faraj and the Return of German Expressionism (Movie Review)

    FANGORIA #322 featured my interview with Ansel Faraj, the young writer/director of the new thriller/noir film DOCTOR MABUSE. The no-budgeter, literally shot in the filmmaker’s backyard, attracted a good deal of attention due to the  casting of three major players from the classic horror-themed soap opera DARK SHADOWS.

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    “BARON BLOOD” (Blu-ray Review, Arrow Films)

    Boutique British Blu-ray label Arrow have been very kind to lovers of Italian horror over the last few years, serving up heaping helpings of Fulci and Argento in pristine region-free HD packages. In 2013 they’ve finally turned their attention to the maestro who started it all: Mario Bava. After cranking out a definitive BLACK SUNDAY disc, the company has moved onto to some of his later, campier efforts. The latest Bava Blu-ray from the company is BARON BLOOD, a late inning horror hit for the director that’s been swallowed up by obscurity. It might not be the director’s greatest effort, but is certainly something of interest to Bava-hounds for its inspired no-budget gothic carnage.

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    “MR. JONES” (Tribeca Movie Review)

    Seemingly the most divisive midnight/horror offering at the Tribeca Film Festival this year, MR. JONES has garnered reaction across the spectrum. What’s odd though is how in polite conversation, most have refrained from mentioning just how admirably weird Karl Mueller’s sort-of found footage feature debut gets in its second half. MR. JONES is a strange beast and for better or worse—or however you come out of it—refreshing in that it’s a fairly unique, Lynchian addition to the current glut of docu-style terror.

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    “BIG BAD WOLVES” (Tribeca Movie Review)

    Two years ago, Israeli writer/directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado provided an out-of-nowhere highlight of the Tribeca Film Festival with RABIES, their multiple-twisty variation on killer-in-the-woods standards. Now they’re back at the fest with the world premiere of BIG BAD WOLVES, which isn’t quite as narratively knotty but proves the duo equally adept at a more brute-forceful brand of thriller.

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    “THE MACHINE” (Tribeca Movie Review)

    Some films just look cool. Caradog James’ future-set cold war tale THE MACHINE is massively so. From an aesthetic standpoint it is slickly designed and beautiful on what’s surely a modest budget. Temperature-wise, it exists in a seeming eternally harsh space of overcast skies, nighttime and enormous, often barely-holding up warehouses and labs. Star Caity Lotz is fluid and incredible in her movement. But what’s truly coolest is the ensuing warm, radical spirit that reveals itself throughout it all.

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    “FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY” (Tribeca Movie Review)

    Fans old enough to have unsuspectingly walked into NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD or THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE during their original runs have described feeling like they were in the hands of madmen, directors who had gone off the deep end and were taking the audience with them. I won’t make claims to future similar classic status for FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY just yet, but parts of it gave me a similar lunatics-have-overtaken-the-asylum sensation.

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    “DARK TOUCH” (Tribeca Movie Review)

    In DARK TOUCH, European director and provocateur Marina de Van transfers her now recurring theme of identity crisis and unsure footing from grown women to a young girl still in pre-pubescence. It’s this pre-pubescence that’s taken terrifying advantage of; the repercussions of which manifest themselves in a fury of psychic power and telekinesis. Of course, CARRIE will be and is a touchstone for many in the case of this Ireland-set horror story, but whereas that tale explores the fear of oncoming womanhood, DARK TOUCH is an unnerving look at it forced on someone far, far too young.

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    “SCARY MOVIE V” (Movie Review)

    First there were SCARY MOVIE and SCARY MOVIE 2, in which a few good laughs got mired in endless crudity and bodily-function gags. Then there were SCARY MOVIE 3 and SCARY MOVIE 4, in which things improved under the stewardship of AIRPLANE/NAKED GUN vet David Zucker. Now comes the latest installment, which feels very much like parts of SCARY MOVIE 5 and SCARY MOVIE 6 were slapped together into one movie.

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    “ANTIVIRAL” (Movie Review)

    [This review was initially published out of the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2012, it is reposted below in light of the film’s theatrical and VOD release.]

    Any film bearing the surname Cronenberg on its credit block will be of interest to FANGORIA, and ANTIVIRAL—which had its North American premiere at the current Toronto International Film Festival following its world premiere at Cannes this past summer—is indeed a Cronenberg joint. Specifically, it’s the first picture from David’s son Brandon. Does the apple fall far? 

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