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    “SCOOBY DOO! AND KISS: ROCK AND ROLL MYSTERY” (Film Review)

    Ardent fans of Hanna-Barbera’s ludicrous and legendary 1978 TV movie KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK (of which this writer is one) love it unconditionally; the film (directed by recently deceased genre filmmaker Gordon Hessler), is absolutely one of the strangest, inadvertently hilarious and patently ridiculous cult films of all time and there’s truly nothing else quite like it, anywhere, anytime, anyplace. But for the band, PHANTOM is of significant historical relevance. By the time the film began production, KISS was at their commercial peak and, with of co-founder and self-confessed pop culture junkie Gene Simmons’ enthusiastic blessing, had found its garish painted visages stamped across every sort of mass-marketed merchandise known to man. And, after the success of STAR WARS the previous year and the pomp of their literally blood soaked Marvel Comics appearance, it made sense to push the KISS phenomenon into the realm of cinema.

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    “DEATHGASM” (Fantasia Movie Review)

    The metalhead helped make the horror genre strong. That Manpower LP cover with devil ladies and lightning, a parental nightmare during the Satanic Panic hysteria, and the power harnessed by rolling the die as a Chaotic Neutral Dwarf that would annihilate your enemies: This spirit existed in horror cinema’s heyday, meaning the ’80s. The real stuff. Denim warriors. Studs.

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    “SCREAM: THE TV SERIES: Season 1, Episode 3” (TV Review)

    Although my prediction about the format was correct, SCREAM has finally been elevated in episode three, “Wanna Play a Game?”. The opening kill brings us back to a murder from the past, a scene from the notorious mid-’90s Brandon James murders. And to get catch up for tonight’s episode, this is who we’ve got in our SCREAM: THE TV SERIES clique of victims and suspects:

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    “THE STRAIN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (COLLECTOR’S EDITION)” (Blu-ray Review)

    Following the massive success of THE WALKING DEAD, one of the coolest announcements to come from the flood of horror coming to cable was that of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s THE STRAIN. Having been a fan of the book trilogy (which actually helped this writer keep his sanity when electricity and heat were absent in the wake of Hurricane Sandy), the idea of del Toro and Hogan bringing their unique vision of vampirism and anarchy to serialized television was especially enticing. However, when the pilot hit, this writer found the intriguing and technically wonderful pilot episode to not quite have been the home run he was looking for, and after 4 episodes of the series, I felt that the need to cover every aspect of the book (and then some) had grown tiresome. So when the opportunity arose to revisit and finish the series in a brand-spankin’-new collector’s edition, complete with a miniature bust of The Master’s head, this writer tempered his expectations and jumped in headfirst.

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    “SCREAM: THE TV SERIES: Season 1, Episode 2” (TV Review)

    Episode two of SCREAM: THE TV SERIES, titled “Hello Emma,” picks up right where the pilot episode ended by clumsily wrapping up a few loose ends and demonstrating a predictable format I expect every episode to follow. Open with a kill. Exposition. Build up to what you expect to be another kill, but is actually nothing. A new suspect. The end!

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    “CONTAMINATION” (Blu-ray Review)

    As any hardcore horror fan can tell you, old school Italian horror has a very fascinating dynamic. On one hand, it’s provided some of the most elegant, transgressive and flat-out gorgeous cinema in the history of the genre. On the other hand, it has also provided some of the most hilariously inane and obvious rip-offs of all time, often times approached with a go-for-broke attitude. One-time video nasty CONTAMINATION definitely finds itself in the latter category, but once seeing the film, there’s little question as to why the fright flick managed to get the Arrow Blu-ray treatment: it’s next level bonkers, and it offer neither explanation or apologies for its insanity.

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    “THE HOWLING II: YOUR SISTER IS A WEREWOLF” (Blu-ray Review)

    No one will ever mistake Philippe Mora’s suicidal sequel HOWLING II: YOUR SISTER IS A WEREWOLF for a “good” movie. But really, when it comes to our obsession with weird fantasy and trash cinema, what the Hell does “good” mean, anyway? One of Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definitions of “good” is “pleasant and acceptable” and certainly, no one wants a horror film that’s pleasant and acceptable, do they? In fact, HOWLING II is so wonderfully unpleasant and defiantly unacceptable that it becomes an almost art-house study in wrongness; a freefall of atonal edits, alternately outrageous and listless performances, oddball grab shots and screen wipes, strange, rubbery gore, perverse costumes… and boobs. Tons of boobs. Almost all of them which belong to co-star Sybil Danning…

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    “SCREAM: THE TV SERIES: Season 1, Episode 1” (TV Review)

    The pilot episode of MTV’s Scream opens with a familiar source of terror in teen horror as of late: the horror of embarrassing social media. A video of two girls making out in a car is uploaded to Youtube, leaving one of the high schoolers mortified. Played by Bella Thorne, the hot blonde teen who committed the act of outing the lustful car lesbians returns home after boasting about her bullying to her boyfriend, immediately takes off her clothes and blasts some modern alternative MTV pop music. The newly-designed Ghostface wastes no time at all, texting her puns and acting out a lame modernization of the original Scream’s iconic opening without any of the meta horror movie contexts that made the original so endearing and clever.

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    “SALEM: Season 2, Episode 13” (TV Review)

    As fright fans may be able to tell you, you can’t have the devil on Earth without expecting a little damnation. And damnation there was on SALEM’s second season finale, a relatively busy and brutal episode that spans only the short time since John Jr. became Lucifer’s vessel at the hand of Countess Marburg. While the repercussions of said damnation won’t be entirely clear until SALEM’s (presumed) third season, there’s enough death, and fates worse than death, in “The Witching Hour” to satiate even the most bloodthirsty SALEM fan, with accompanying practical effects to boot. And considering the thoughts and images that SALEM leaves us to contemplate over the next few months, no character is going to come back to season three untested as this chapter in the series had anything but happy endings.

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