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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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    “DIRECTOR’S COMMENTARY: TERROR OF FRANKENSTEIN” (Stanley Film Festival Review)

    When you have a legitimately fantastic and unique concept for a film, making said movie can feel like a game of basketball. You can hold on to the ball tight, you can show off fancy moves just because you’ve got a leg up on the competition, and you can exude a true show of confidence in every step you take with that ball. However, at the end of the day, all that matters is that the ball makes it into the net, and that you get credit for the points that you make. And other times, you can drop the ball, and perhaps someone else might pick up the ball one day and deliver on that promise that you had.

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    “VALLEY OF THE SASQUATCH” (Film Review)

    One of the oldest North American myths of all time, it’s no surprise that the Sasquatch (a/k/a Bigfoot, Yeti, etc.) is still prevalent in the imagination of so many today. Living in the forests within our suspension of disbelief, the Sasquatch can take on any form we’d like it to, and therefore not only can it exist in our wildest dreams, but also our darkest nightmares. And while some films, like WILLOW CREEK and EXISTS, provide a painting of the Sasquatch as a territorial and animalistic monster, VALLEY OF THE SASQUATCH offers something much more benign and conscious, even if it’s similarly terrifying in its own way.

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    “BATES MOTEL: Season 3, Episode 9” (TV Review)

    After their strongest run to date, this writer must admit that he’s disappointed in the narrative decisions made in the ninth episode of BATES MOTEL’s third season. All the character development, tension and wickedness of the previous eight episodes have all but been cast aside for the generic in-town drama that brought down and frustrated horror fans throughout the first two seasons. And of course, it’s no coincidence that this just happens to come about when Bradley inexplicably enters the foray, a character who not many missed and whose fate is all too apparent.

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    “MAD MAX” (Blu-ray Review)

    To call the MAD MAX franchise “diverse” would be one hell of an understatement. While all the MAD MAX films exist plausibly in the same demented, post-apocalyptic universe, the changes in tone and content has been in leaps and bounds. From the insane road games of THE ROAD WARRIOR to the cartoonish pulp of BEYOND THUNDERDOME to the breathtaking fever dream of FURY ROAD, George Miller’s incredible universe has always felt as twisted, unique limbs attached to a singular body. And atop of that body is the head where it all began, with the simplistic, rough-and-tumble MAD MAX.

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    “SUN CHOKE” (Stanley Film Festival Review)

    To be honest, the particular brand of psychological horror that SUN CHOKE provides isn’t necessarily going to be for everyone. On one hand, it’s a unique and nightmarish look into a young woman whose struggle for internal and external freedom leads her to utter darkness and depravity. On the other hand, it’s a often-disorienting and logic-bending slow burn that requires patience and more than a little cinematic masochism. In any case, however, SUN CHOKE is an undeniably surreal and disturbing vision, with a rare aesthetic that will likewise please fans of both gruesome fare and art house horror.

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    “THE HALLOW” (Stanley Film Festival Review)

    Once in a while, the horror genre just needs a damn good monster movie. Thanks to trends in studio horror, fright fans are often saddled with gritty exploitation-adjacent genre films, minimalist ghost stories or psychologically taxing tales of psychopathia on a regular basis. So when a movie like THE HALLOW comes along, to call it refreshing would be an understatement, especially one as effectively scary and gorgeous as Corin Hardy’s creature feature.

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