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    “SALEM: Season 2, Episode 8″ (TV Review)

    After Joe Dante’s contemplative, character-building episode last week, SALEM switches gears in the best way possible with it’s eighth episode “Dead Birds”, offering one of the most wicked episodes so far this season. Under the incredibly game and skilled direction of Alex Kalymnios, the script from Joe Menosky and Adam Simon offers an episode that oozes sex, gore, surrealism and legitimately powerful drama, all the while firmly wiping the cloud of mystery from our eyes as per the allegiances and strategies of the witch war. And in doing so, SALEM also confidently opens the audience to the world around our characters, diving into the past of Increase Mather as well as the reality around the fantasy that’s so often indulged in the series.

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    “THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3 (FINAL SEQUENCE)” (Movie Review)

    At the end of the animated film RATATOUILLE, a food-critic character has the following epiphany: “…the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.” I disagree; I’ll bet this review of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3 (FINAL SEQUENCE) will offer more entertainment than sitting through the movie itself.

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    “FORBIDDEN EMPIRE” (Film Review)

    Fantasy and myth are powerful things. Not only in how they can inspire the imagination, but in how they can cloud reason and judgment, and cause horrible events to occur in a cloud of superstition.  This wary view of mythology is the ironic driving force behind FORBIDDEN EMPIRE, a dark fantasy adventure film that delivers a new take on the Ukrainian folk story “Viy” from Russian author Nikolai Gogol.

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    “SALEM: Season 2, Episode 7″ (TV Review)

    It’s not often that a series that trades so often in the sensational like SALEM slows down its action to offer something contemplative. But in the latest episode, “The Beckoning Fair One” helmed by horror master Joe Dante, SALEM takes a moment to breath while investigating the interpersonal dynamics of SALEM’s most sinister inhabitants. Luckily for the viewer, that narrative gamble pays off as the episode sets the stage well for the impending witch war while still offering every demented aspect that makes the show so endearing in the first place.

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    “AREA 51″ (Film Review)

    It’s a very curious thing to be a critic and a horror fan experiencing Oren Peli’s AREA 51 for the first time, especially given that this writer will inherently have somewhat of a different experience than most casual moviegoers. That’s not to insinuate that there is any kind of bias towards the film, but much like in taking a test, there will always be a divide between those who studied the subject and those who come in completely fresh to it. Obviously, the found footage shocker- finished in 2009 and then subject to more than five years of rewrites, reshoots and post-production work- has been one to watch for a very long time, especially considering the director’s previous effort is now a legitimate piece of horror history (and one that should be used as a free pass for a theatrical release for whatever would follow). And while there are snippets of a completely different horror film that even can be seen in stills from AREA 51’s trailer, this writer went into AREA 51 giving it the benefit of the doubt, setting the past aside as much as possible and hoping to see that the director of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY still can scare behind the director’s chair.

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    “THE FINAL GIRLS” (Movie Review)

    THE FINAL GIRLS is part of the meta-horror canon, alongside SCREAM, BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON, TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL and CABIN IN THE WOODS, in which the characters are hyper-aware of the horror-movie mythology they inhabit and are thus granted the ability to change the very structure of the trope. Not as arch as the aforementioned films, THE FINAL GIRLS (which won the Audience Award at the recent Stanley Film Festival) has a surprisingly affecting emotional core, built on the chemistry between actresses Taissa Farmiga and Malin Akerman.

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    “EXTRATERRESTRIAL” (Blu-ray Review)

    When it comes to the Tribeca-friendly filmmaking duo known as The Vicious Brothers, I have to admit that I’ll always keep a curious eye on their productions. Wherein their projects to date have a fair share of flaws, the GRAVE ENCOUNTERS films both contained an impressive amount of fun and frights to counteract said issues. So when I had learned that The Vicious Brothers would be returning properly with EXTRATERRESTRIAL, which would take them out of their found footage comfort zone with a much more ambitious story altogether, I was excited to see what they could do, despite hearing negative reviews from my colleagues. And with Scream Factory’s release of the IFC Midnight flick, I finally found a good opportunity to catch the film and see for myself what EXTRATERRESTRIAL was all about.

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    “SALEM: Season 2, Episode 6″ (TV Review)

    For this writer, there’s no denying it anymore: SALEM is by far the most satisfying horror show on television. Episode by episode, the insane writing, incredible SFX and generally perfect performances combines the individual satisfying aspects that made AMERICAN HORROR STORY, THE WALKING DEAD and BATES MOTEL so successful on their own accord. Yet SALEM has one thing those shows lack, and it’s consistency, infusing their particular brand of horror and shock value storytelling with the organic character development and satisfying reveals of a masterful drama. And even better is SALEM’s refusal to draw a line on the show either: incest, torture and stomach-turning gore have become staples of the second season, served with an unabashed and maniacal grin.

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    “MAD MAX: FURY ROAD” (Film Review)

    For fans of horror filmmaking, it’s no surprise that practically achieved cinematic magic has resonated so deeply within our sensibilities. After all, if something must be seen to be believed, then by seeing it, we believe it in one way or another. But beyond that, the ambition behind a practically achieved stunt or SFX moment is all the more convincing when we know that there’s an element of danger to the procedure, which suddenly makes the stakes much more real and makes our performers all the more believable, even in the most heightened universe.

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