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    “THE CANAL” (Tribeca Movie Review)

    THE CANAL begins. David addresses the camera directly (us). Within the film however, he’s speaking to an audience of children. As a cinema archivist, David is attempting to convey the importance of what these schoolchildren are about to witness. Introducing footage from the early 1900s, he tells them they’ll see ghosts, that everyone onscreen is now dead. To the viewer, it’s foreshadowing yes, but something more. Writer-director Ivan Kavanagh is engaging the dread in inevitability, as well as—through David’s profession and a host of unmistakable horror references to come—why we tell domestic horror stories: they keep occurring.

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    “13 SINS” (Movie Review)

    Never mind the fact that it’s a remake; 13 SINS, through a coincidence of release timing, is also in the unfortunate position of begging comparison to E.L. Katz’s masterful recent CHEAP THRILLS, both being films exploring the deep, dangerous lengths their characters will go for promised fortunes.

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    “HOLLISTON: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON” (Blu-ray Review)

    Few genres are as subjective as comedy. Since tastes are defined by culture, shared experiences and one’s threshold for silliness, comedy is rarely considered to be as inclusive in terms of subject matter or execution. To this point, one could look at horror as the flip side of the coin, an inclusive genre that often leans more on technical skill to achieve universally effective frights. Therefore, when horror and comedy mix, the filmmakers must carefully gel these aesthetics in order to appease both the objective lovers of horror and the subjective fans of comedy.

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    “WAR OF THE WORLDS: GOLIATH” (Blu-ray Review)

    The decision to review a 3D animated sci-fi epic on this, one of the most celebrated horror movie websites may seem odd, but not to this writer. The film in question, WAR OF THE WORLDS: GOLIATH is a dark, ambitiously designed film whose soul not only belongs to its source—HG Wells literary masterwork—but to Jeff Wayne’s cult phenomenon double LP concept album, 1978’s “Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of War of the Worlds.” That platter was a favorite of this writer during his childhood and remains so. Like that album and its accompanying, graphically illustrated book, WOTW: GOLIATH (which was released overseas some time ago) is evocative, violent and epic in scope, and firmly dependent on sound to deliver its grim thrills.

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    “ALIEN ABDUCTION” (Movie Review)

    This deep into the resurgence of found-footage horror, most contemporary fright fans have already made up their minds regarding the subgenre. To some, the approach is a fresh way to apply a first-person perspective to otherwise tired genres while presenting a challenge to resourceful filmmakers. To others, it’s a cheap, frustrating method for directors to present jump-scares at the cost of well-constructed storytelling and convincing performances. However, as with most hotly debated subjects, the reality lies somewhere in the grey area between the two.

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    “JINN” (Movie Review)

    According to the ads, JINN is “The secret half the world has been keeping”—and they’re not the only ones. The movie opened today with no advance screenings, and in such situations one can hope for an unheralded surprise, or at least maybe a new trash classic. Unfortunately, one hilarious highlight aside, neither is the case here.

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    “THE STUFF” (Arrow Video Blu-ray Review)

    Like all movies by the great Larry Cohen, the logline for The Stuff sounds hopelessly stupid, while the film itself is surprisingly intelligent. It is of course, a film about sentient alien goo that becomes America’s most popular snack food. Pitched somewhere between THE BLOB and a satirical McDonalds advert, there’s really nothing else like the movie that works far better than it has any right to. Even though he’s long been a cult figure in the genre community, writer/director Larry Cohen is one of those filmmakers who has never quite attained the respect he deserves. His finest movies like THE STUFF are wholly unique, surprisingly intelligent, cleverly written, well-acted, messy, campy, and endlessly entertaining. Those are the qualities that tend to breed cult film and over the years THE STUFF has steadily built a fanbase of loveable lunatics who share Cohen’s uniquely cracked worldview.

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    “LOCKER 13″ (Movie Review)

    Anthology films often have a higher potential as entertainment, as a bad anthology may still be creatively wealthy or have solid segments to counteract other weak entries. Alternately, a good anthology contains enough surprises, finesse and variety to keep the audience engaged and thrilled from start to finish. Best of all, the low-budget of each segment poses a challenge to the filmmakers to operate in specific confines and often offers cinematic voices at their most raw.

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