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    “ROOM 237” (Movie Review)

    Maybe you hold onto one yourself? Some pet theory about a particular film’s hidden patterns, symbolism, subtext or allegory? Undertones that fly past most viewers but, once uncovered and analysed, cannot be ignored? ROOM 237 (in select theaters and on VOD today) is a unique and deceptively simple documentary that features five different people attempting to explain what they perceive to be the true meaning behind Stanley Kubrick’s film of THE SHINING.

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    “DARK BLOOD” (Movie Review)

    “If you want something enough, you must will it. If you’re obsessed enough, you will get the object of your desire.”

    So declares a tortured desert eccentric named Boy—portrayed by a fiery River Phoenix in his final screen role—to the pair of marooned Hollywood jetsetters he’s holding captive in a pivotal scene from DARK BLOOD, but the character might as well have been whispering through the celluloid ether to director George Sluizer, who recently (and with an effort that can only be described as herculean) plucked the film from the purgatory of fractional incompleteness in which it has lingered unseen for twenty years and made it a (qualified) whole.

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    “Strange Frame” (Movie Review)

    I really wanted to like STRANGE FRAME. It has a cast that’s made up of some of the best known names in the exploitation and voice acting field – Tim Curry (ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, LEGEND), Claudia Black (FARSCAPE, STARGATE SG-1), Ron Glass (FIREFLY), Tara Strong (almost every superhero cartoon show), Cree Summer (ditto those superhero cartoons), George Takei (the original STAR TREK), Juliet Landau (BUFFY, ANGEL), Alan Tudyk (FIREFLY, V, DOLLHOUSE), Michael Dorn (STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION, DEEP SPACE NINE) and Claudia Christian (BABYLON 5, HIGHLANDER).

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    “COME OUT AND PLAY” (Movie Review)

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

    On the surface, COME OUT AND PLAY is simply a flat, soulless remake of one of the killer kid greats, WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? Coupled with one-named director Makinov’s bullshit, it’s a joke.

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    “PLUS ONE” (SXSW Movie Review)

    Were you a different person 45 minutes ago?  Is it wild to suggest you may have been? At an age like 18, 19 or 20, a significant time of development and personal understanding, it might not be. Kids are ever changing, ever evolving and often, not so organically. They revolve interests, style and friends in an effort to grasp themselves and impress others. All the while, they hemorrhage mistakes and spew nervous energy with little time to understand what’s working and what isn’t. PLUS ONE, the latest from Greek filmmaker Dennis Iliadis (THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT), forces surreal reflection on the youth at a lavish house party, in a pop art-horror spin on one-night-can-change-everything teen movies.

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    “THE CALL” (Movie Review)

    Rushed into its release slot today after Sony’s next-to-last-minute bumping of CARRIE to the Halloween season, THE CALL, which only began filming late last summer, feels neither rushed nor like a throwaway substitute. It’s an accomplished suspense/psychothriller in many ways, let down only by unfortunate lapses in the home stretch.

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    “EVIL DEAD” (Chris’ Review)

    Leonard Maltin’s 2.5 star review of Sam Raimi’s original THE EVIL DEAD in his pre-IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes printed reference book summed up the picture’s plot like this: “Five kids at mountain cabin chop each other to pieces when demons possess everything.”

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    “KISS OF THE DAMNED” (SXSW Movie Review)

    KISS OF THE DAMNED will most often be referred to as throwback. Its dreamy score, its opening titles, its visual flair and just how swooning the cast is all hark to the Roger Vadim, Jean Rollin Eurohorror aesthetic beloved by so many. More than a call, though, Xan Cassavettes’ vampire tale is a refresher. Entrenched in supernatural high society, its heightened senses, from ample bloodshed to melodramatics to lips that smash hard when they come together has found a way to make vampirism exhilarating onscreen again.

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    “REWIND THIS!” (SXSW Movie Review)

    Partway through director Josh Johnson’s VHS doc,  Alamo Drafthouse programmer Lars Nilsen explains, in his summation, culture hasn’t yet reflected on the impact of the dead (or not so) format. That impact, when looked at historically is where REWIND THIS! shines. Filmmakers like Frank Henenlotter, Charles Band, JR Bookwalter and Roy Frumkes (who very humorously hates the format), whose movies lived and found audiences on VHS, offer fantastic context and insight on being at the forefront. Anecdotes about shining to tapes before studios and the early days of sell-through prices make for great stories, while arguments about just what VHS did for low budgets, both on the distribution and filmmaking ends, are just a few buzz words away from sounding incredibly similar to the current pro-talk for digital revolution.

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    “HOLY GHOST PEOPLE” (SXSW Movie Review)

    While not exactly the type of film where one ends up asking themselves just who the title refers to (that line is drawn pretty clearly), there is a unifying trait in the entire ensemble of Mitchell Altieri’s thriller HOLY GHOST PEOPLE. The past haunts, and subsequently seems to catch up no matter how deep you embed yourself in something else; be it snake-handling backwoods church, be it isolation, be it alcohol, be it whatever it is you can sell yourself.

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