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    “EVIL DEAD (2013)” (Original Soundtrack Review)

    Now that the flurry of passionate yeas and nays flung over director Fede Alvarez’s EVIL DEAD remake has subsided, it’s a good time to take a deeper look at one of the more heralded changes Alvarez made with his DEAD interpretation: the score by composer Roque Baños (THE MACHINIST, SEXY BEAST), just released on compact disc from La-La Land records.

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    “BLACK ROCK” (Movie Review)

    BLACK ROCK is not the first film to focus on a woman or women who strike back against male violation, but it’s one of the few that neither exploit their female characters nor wear their feminist leanings on their sleeve. It’s a taut, lean and mean little survival thriller that nonetheless leaves time to get to know the heroines at the center of the mayhem.

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    “AMERICAN MARY” (Movie Review)

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

    Full Disclosure: This writer was not a fan of the Twisted Twins’ maiden cinematic voyage, DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK. Made on a budget by Vancouver’s Jen and Sylvia Soska, the cheapie action comedy is scrappy and full of indie energy but is also shrill, choked with gratuitous, numbing profanity and–outside of the twins themselves—generally poor performances. But what did appeal was the maverick way the sisters managed to push their product using social media, forums and general upbeat fan-friendly enthusiasm to build a legacy as not only burgeoning filmmakers, but masters of entrepreneurial business sense, whipping up a mass frenzy about their next project, something called AMERICAN MARY….

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    “BLACK SABBATH” (Blu-ray Review, Arrow Films)

    Anthology horror films are a tricky beast to pull off and more often remembered for their inconsistency than anything else. Normally only about half of the shorts in an anthology are strong if you’re lucky, although there are a few exceptions. The big one is Mario Bava’s BLACK SABBATH, a strong contender for the director’s finest outing combining everything the filmmaker did right in his early 60s groundbreaking days and tossing in one of the great late Boris Karloff performances for good measure. Sadly, the movie has never been particularly easy to track down, constantly going in and out of print and available in two distinct cuts that are surprisingly different. Well, the good news is that the good folks at Arrow Films narrowed their laser sights onto BLACK SABBATH as part of their current commitment to bring Bava to HD, and now all may drool over the disc in horror geek delight. Given that the film is not only one of the maestro’s best, but one of his prettiest “horror in Technicolor” achievements, this disc is practically guaranteed to make eyeballs bleed in the best possible sense.

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    “DEXTER: THE SEVENTH SEASON” (DVD Review)

    Stabbing its way onto shelves this week, all wrapped in plastic and ready for purchase (sadly, with no special features of any kind save for the pilot episode of the new series RAY DONOVAN) is the seventh season of DEXTER, the mainstream-yet-still cult Showtime TV sensation that needs no introduction and yet–oddly –is rarely charted in the pages of FANGORIA, nor mentioned much here on our sister site. Much of that is due to timing and the fact that DEXTER veers between thriller and soap opera, with a dash of Ian Fleming on occasion and isn’t viewed exclusively as a horror property, which is silly considering the level of violence and the fact that, y’know horror fans tend to love it.

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    “THE GHOSTKEEPERS” (Movie Review)

    Last year, writer-director Anthony D.P. Mann released TERROR OF DRACULA, a painstakingly respectful enactment of Bram Stoker’s often-bowdlerized and bastardized 1897 novel. TERROR perfectly captured the restrained pacing and hazy photography of a BBC production from decades past, and the result felt like something that might have aired stateside on public television around Halloween—a powerful fount of nostalgia for some, this reviewer included. With follow-up THE GHOSTKEEPERS set for release this year, Mann’s challenge was to try and carve out a similar impression, only now with his own original material and in a modern setting.

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    George A. Romero’s “KNIGHTRIDERS” (Blu-ray Review, Arrow Films)

    The man who gave the world the modern flesh-munching zombie will always be remembered as a horror maestro, but one of George Romero’s finest efforts from his underground Pittsburgh days was made with no intention of giving audiences the willies (well, except for the sight of Tom Savini in a speedo). KNIGHTRIDERS comes between DAWN OF THE DEAD and CREEPSHOW in the director’s career and features roles for many of his stock company of the time like Savini, Ken Foree, and John Amplas (MARTIN).

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    “TORTURE CHAMBER” (Movie Review)

    Horror is a base genre in many respects, as it taps into our anxieties about what’s beyond the door for us all, about death and what–if anything–lies beyond. Shame then, that most genre movies get bogged down in pedestrian plotting, exasperating exposition and trivial twists. The greatest horror films are not steered by their scripts; rather, they are works of sensual alchemy.

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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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