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Testament (1983)

During the mid-1980s, there was a brief output of productions that focused on what life would be like in the aftermath of a nuclear war. These films were fueled by anxiety from the left that President Ronald Reagan was recklessly pointing the world into an apocalyptic arms race. Of course, that didn’t happen, but the legacy of that fear did create some provocative works of art.
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Ahockalypse (2018)

Some horror movie premises are just ripe for comedy gold. Cockneys vs. Zombies, strippers vs. zombies, Brits vs. Zombies, et al, but “Ahockalypse” which pits hockey players against a zombie apocalypse is a swing and a miss. It’s not a complete miss overall, but in the end there was just so much that could have been done with the premise. The hockey themed horror comedy’s lack of budget is one of the elements that hinder an otherwise clever idea, as well as a clear lack of tonal consistency through and through.

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The Bootleg Files: Care of Hair and Nails

BOOTLEG FILES 649: “Care of Hair and Nails” (1951 educational film about good grooming).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube and Archive.org.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: In anthologies of old instructional films.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The copyright may have expired.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

From the late 1940s into the 1970, American schoolchildren were bombarded with a series of 16mm educational films designed to encourage proper behavior. By contemporary standards, the films are rather hokey – and one would imagine that the smarter kids of a distant era were quietly snickering at these well-intentioned but daffy cinematic efforts.

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The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

I’m very disappointed that it’s taken me so long to watch “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez,” a Robert M. Young Western drama that has gone shockingly under mentioned for years. A mix of “The Ox-Bow Incident” and “Rashomon,” in many ways it’s a very history accurate and groundbreaking example of the genre. Young’s drama pictures a hideous crime and paints it in the shades of people’s prejudices and how we can perceive certain events when emotions and biases play a big hand.

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Santa Jaws (2018)

If you think “Santa Jaws” sounds bat shit nuts and bonkers, then you’d be correct. I don’t typically check out Syfy original movies anymore but what with “Santa Jaws” I had to give it a fighting chance. It’s not often we get a Christmas themed killer shark movie, that’s also a movie about reclaiming the Christmas spirit. No seriously, that’s what “Santa Jaws” is about. “Santa Jaws” has its large tongue firmly planted in its cheek and at no point considers itself a serious horror movie in the vein of “Jaws” or even “Piranha.”

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The Coolest Guy Movie Ever (2018)

John Sturges’s “The Great Escape” is easily one of my favorite action movies of all time, and one of my top five McQueen pictures (“The Getaway” takes the number one prize). It’s legacy and influence on pop culture and action cinema as a whole has been lasting, with John Sturges presenting a slew of brilliant actors at the top of their games in what is a very intriguing tale about escaping Nazi clutches, and fighting for freedom. “The Coolest Guy Movie Ever” is a fine and entertaining historical documentary for anyone that fancies themselves a fan of the movie. It’s exhaustive, meticulous in its detail, and we even get some candid stories about the cast.

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The Tingler (1959): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

“The Tingler” is one of my first introductions to William Castle and the art of his theatricality when it came to horror movies and making them an experience. As a kid, “The Tingler” and “House on Haunted Hill” were constant rotation at my home, and I loved how Castle’s films sucked you in. To this day I remember being very riveted in the brief moment during “The Tingler” where the movie breaks the fourth wall asking you, the audience, to scream loudly to avoid being attacked by—dramatic pause—the Tingler!

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Slender Man (2018)

I think the time for Slender Man to become a modern horror icon has passed. He had his period after 2009 where he rose to popularity as a genuine boogey man so authentic people still believe there’s a basis of truth behind his creation. I think with horror moving at such a fast pace, we likely won’t see a good Slender Man movie at all. Which is a shame, because Slender Man could be fodder for how horror and technology has evolved, but now he’s just a fourth tier movie monster behind Jigsaw and Bughuul from “Sinister.”

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