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    TV Review: “REELSIDE PRESENTS GEORGE A. ROMERO”

    Now screening on Canadian pay television is REELSIDE , a new 6-part series executive produced by veteran Toronto film critic and journalist Richard Crouse in which key Canadian performers and artists explore the creative mechanisms of their similarly Northern based colleagues. In the first beautifully shot installment, David Cronenberg favorite Sarah Gadon joined forces with Cronenberg’s photographer daughter Caitlin on an art project, and future episodes will see the likes of Seth Rogen and Bruce McDonald also discussing their own processes and struggles to make their voices heard.

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    “SALEM: Season 2, Episode 11″ (TV Review)

    One of the things this writer respects the most about SALEM is that, despite maintaining an excellent serialized narrative and visual continuity, every episode takes on a different shape based on its individual storyteller. Luckily, one of season two’s constant directorial presences, Nick Copus, has proven his episodic contributions to be among the more intense and scary offerings in the series’ history. And with Copus’ most recent (and last) episode this season, “On Earth As In Hell,” SALEM ups the fright factor by tenfold while still offer the same satisfying shocks as the shows fans have come to expect.

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    “HANNIBAL: Season 3, Episode 2″ (TV Review)

    Ever existing as the classiest chiller on television at the moment, HANNIBAL’s third episode begins to clarify the events following the season two finale in its second episode, “Primavera.” While this episode is certainly less sinister in nature, nearly completely backing off of Hannibal to focus on Will, Abigail and Inspector Pazzi, an Italian detective who previously had a run-in with a much younger Lecter. However, one might argue that “Primavera” is an ultimately scarier episode than its predecessor, focusing more on the visceral and hallucinatory side of Bryan Fuller’s surrealistic vision while exploring the depths of Will and Hannibal’s dependency on one another.

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    “DEBUG” (DVD Review)

    Out of all the iconic sci-fi cinema from which to draw inspiration for a modern take, it’s hard to choose a more solid basis than Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. The premise of lonely spacefarers trapped in a floating tin can controlled by an unpredictable, vindictive computer is an enduringly horrifying one, and something the modest new excursion DEBUG (on DVD from Ketchup Entertainment) employs to mostly engrossing effect.

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    “SALEM: Season 2, Episode 10″ (TV Review)

    After the past couple of episodes of SALEM, this writer wondered if the show would be veering through the downtrodden track it had set itself up for. With Mary facing her child’s sacrifice, Isaac missing in Marburg’s company, Cotton facing an impromptu execution and Anne facing the consequences of her own powers, SALEM certainly looked like it was setting up some sincere emotional devastation for its climax. And while that still might be the case, knowing how quickly the tide can change on WGN America’s flagship series, “Till Death Do Us Part” at least introduced a light among the dark and is certainly drawing lines between our anti-heroes and our villains.

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    “HANNIBAL: Season 3, Episode 1″ (TV Review)

    In many ways, the third season premiere for Bryan Fuller’s adaptation of the HANNIBAL mythos is much like the cannibalistic doctor himself: mysterious, unpredictable, cerebral and incredibly refined. Furthermore, the premiere’s masterful visual composition- jumping from flashbacks of multiple color palates, dream sequences, extremely methodical experimental shots and traditional lensing- earns an uneasy trust from the audience, much like Hannibal’s relationship with du Maurier as well. But following last season’s bloodbath of a finale, the audience who has restlessly awaited for HANNIBAL’s return are asked for a bit more patience in “Antipasto”, as not only is HANNIBAL unraveling the story at its own pace, but by its own unique design.

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    “THE NIGHTMARE” (Movie Review)

    Rodney Ascher’s THE NIGHTMARE (in theaters and on VOD today from Gravitas Ventures) revisits the subjective-narrative documentary form he explored in his previous ROOM 237. In that film, without comment, we are whisked into a world of tinfoil-hat theories on the “real” meaning of Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING; in THE NIGHTMARE, the subject is sleep paralysis, a medical phenomenon in which the mind becomes awake, but the body is still strapped in the atonia of REM sleep.

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    “MADMAN” (Blu-ray Review)

    Out of all the indie gems that came out of the slasher movement of the ‘80s, there are few that are as purely entertaining as MADMAN. Directed by Joe Giannone, MADMAN captures the spirit of old school summer camp urban legends, presenting the perfect amount of cheese alongside an impressive amount of technical craftsmanship as well. And despite it’s obscurity among the horror audience at large, the cult of MADMAN has grown over the decades since its initial release, many of whom have championed the film fervently as something much more substantial than its initial aesthetics may suggest.

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    “LET US PREY” (Film Review)

    The mid-’00s were a very strange time in horror; the J-horror remake movement had gone stale, while the so-called “torture porn” scene exploded side by side with the New French Extremity movement. There was a very specific theme of sadism that ran through the genre on almost every level, with horror focusing on anguish and suffering whether or not the story truly supported it. Thus, many films of this time remain far from memorable, as even though the intention to push the barriers of good taste was pursued, there was so little payoff to make the experience truly gratifying. And when watching Brian O’Malley’s LET US PREY, that era came to mind in a different light altogether: creepy, brutal and gripping, I felt as if I was watching what those films had so often sought to become yet with the substance they so often forgotten.

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