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  • “DARLING” (Scary Movies Review)

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    When I was 24, I spent a month housesitting a mansion in Flatbush, Brooklyn. I was a young single girl, and despite having lived in or around New York most of my life, I had never really done so alone. The house spoke; it creaked and groaned with the cold. One night I couldn’t sleep, and I found myself curiously testing out the grand piano in the foyer at 3 a.m. The keys were dusty and the notes flat and mournfully out of tune—I felt a chill run through me.

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  • “FREAKS OF NATURE” (Movie Review)

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    Catching even genre fans off guard with its presence in theaters, FREAKS OF NATURE is in fact the vampires-meet-zombies-meet-aliens mashup filmed in 2013 as (the aptly titled) KITCHEN SINK. Now, after several nationwide-release date changes/delays, it has been abruptly retitled and dumped into token runs by Columbia Pictures (which didn’t even bother to print up a poster for the multiplex where this reviewer shared the prime opening-night show with maybe half a dozen people).

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  • “THE BIRTH OF KITARO” (Comic Book Review)

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    Monsters known as “yokai” have been part of Japanese folklore for as long as people have had reasons to fear the dark. The spooky creatures have proved so popular that not only are they still prevalent in modern popular culture, but have even welcomed contemporary monsters such as the Slit-Mouthed Woman or the half corpse of the Teke-teke, who first gained attention in the late ‘70s, into its fold. While comic-created Kitaro (inspired by a story card play) may not be an original yokai, he is credited with keeping the yokai spirit alive for over 55 years and has spawned numerous cartoons, shows, movies, video games, toys; basically anything you can slap that adorable little face on. Unfortunately, there’s almost no translated work for English readers… until now.

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  • “MANSON FAMILY VACATION” (Movie Review)

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    Written and directed by J. Davis and currently available on Netflix, MANSON FAMILY VACATION explores the multifaceted idea of family, as two brothers attempt to reconnect and forgive the past through radical understanding. The film also explores the semiotics of Charles Manson—the idea of an infamous clan of outcasts—and the myth of the changeling child. Merging these concepts seamlessly, MANSON FAMILY VACATION penetrates the heart and tells its audience, in a dark and humorous way, that it understands.

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  • “ARMY OF DARKNESS: COLLECTOR’S EDITION” (Blu-ray Review)

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    Fans of the EVIL DEAD franchise are among the most ardent collectors in the landscape of horror home media. Considering the various impressive DVD sets (including the lauded “Book of the Dead” packaging), the Blu-ray sets including two different editions of EVIL DEAD II and the excellent special features that come with each release, EVIL DEAD fans have spent a lot of money and raised a bar of expectations over the years. So when Scream Factory announced that they would be releasing a Collector’s Edition set of ARMY OF DARKNESS on Blu-ray right on time for the premiere of ASH VS. EVIL DEAD, many EVIL DEAD fans were skeptical about what the specialty distributor could offer outside the already impressive, studio-released Screwhead Edition Blu from years back. As it turns out, the answer is a hell of a lot, with Scream Factory offering not only the definitive home media release for the film but one that puts the Screwhead Edition to shame.

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  • “PURE TERROR SCREAM PARK” (Haunt Review)

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    While haunted attractions have long been a staple of the Halloween season, the progression of the art form has certainly gone beyond what anyone has expected. Some people search for the biggest thrill, looking for the scariest and most innovative haunts imaginable in locations far from the comfort of home. Other people want the illusion of safety taken away completely, with certain haunts willing to invade your personal space and attempt to break your resolve with sadistic delight. And other people just want something different, something bigger and something that will give them a truly nightmarish journey… and that’s where Pure Terror Scream Park comes in.

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  • “BONE TOMAHAWK” (Film Review)

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    To be honest, it’s a bit of a surprise that the western and horror genres don’t collide more frequently, considering the high-concept mythology of era-appropriate folk tales and the seedy, terrifying reality behind the myths. One could likely chalk up the lack of horror-westerns due to the commercial viability of both genres, and others could attribute it to the need for practical effects on both accounts. Luckily, BONE TOMAHAWK proves that an effective mash-up between horror stories and western aesthetics is more than possible, even if the final product settles for efficiency over excellency.

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  • “I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 3: VENGEANCE IS MINE” (Film Review)

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    It’s an odd thing to consider that one of the most notoriously brutal films of all time- Meir Zarchi’s 1978 rape revenge film I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE- would spawn a largely direct-to-video horror franchise almost 40 years after the fact. Yet with a third installment subtitled VENGEANCE IS MINE, that’s exactly what has happened with the property, even going so far as to being a direct sequel to the 2010 remake rather than the in-name-only sequel before it. However, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 3: VENGEANCE IS MINE is a decidedly strange affair from start to finish, attempting to be a female empowerment piece only to fall into strangely unfocused territory as to become a commentary on the nature of revenge.

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  • “FISTFUL OF BLOOD #1” (Comic Book Review)

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    FISTFUL OF BLOOD is exactly the type of comic you would imagine would first find its audience in the pages of Heavy Metal: Blood, vampires, zombies and a thong-clad, gun-toting woman in the middle of a desert town that may or may not be post-apocalyptic. Even the genre is ambiguously Heavy Metal, a mix of western/horror/maybe sex, sets the tone for what is perhaps, the most over the top, yet, fun read on the market right now.  Definitely a mature audience title, FISTFUL OF BLOOD pulls a no punches homage to Clint Eastwood’s FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, and, despite some creative choices, does an impressive job of keeping true to the original work.

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  • “THE LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION” (Blu-ray Review)

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    What defines a “Master of Horror” among the fright filmmakers past and present? Is it the prolific nature of the filmmaker, having had years and years of terror title under their belts? Is it the strength of the films they make, even if they work only once in a blue moon? Or is it the originality of the filmmaker, offering something completely unique and different with each passing title that can’t be seen quite anywhere else?

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