Phantasm (1979): Remastered [Blu-Ray/DVD]

I first saw “Phantasm” thirteen years ago and it’s one of the more mind blowing horror films I’ve ever seen. It surely holds up better than the sequels, all of which I’d seen way before ever watching the original film. While “Phantasm” is still a bit of a goofy horror film in some instances, it’s also an entertaining one with some great moments of atmosphere and eeriness. Director Coscarelli is never afraid to stretch the limits of his premise, making “Phantasm” feel like some surreal nightmare that our characters are stuck in. There’s the demonic fly, the dwarf drones, and of course one of the best scenes involving character Mike watching the Tall Man stomp through his small town.

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Stake Land II (2016) [Blu-Ray]

Once called “Stake Lander,” the follow up to the fantastic 2011 apocalyptic vampire film may be just a TV movie, but it’s thankfully a pretty excellent follow up to the original vampire thriller. “Stake Land 2” reunites just about everyone from the original film to extend the mythology of the original film and continue the epic journey of the enigmatic Mister and his young sidekick Martin. Except now, Martin is an experienced apocalyptic hunter who has managed to settle in to a life he loves, even in the midst of the end of the world. Despite Mister venturing out on his own, Martin has established a farm as well as married and had a son.

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Phantasm: Ravager (2016) [Blu-Ray]

It’s a shame that this is the only movie that patient fans of “Phantasm” will be getting since “Ravager,” the apparent final film in the series, isn’t that much of a horror film. Despite David Hartman’s best efforts, “Ravager” feels more like a fan film for the “Phantasm” movie series than anything else. I went in to the movie expecting pretty awesome and big things and sadly only got the bare minimum. When the movie ended, I literally muttered “That’s it?” to myself. Even Angus Scrimm in his final role appears for a few minutes here and there, and is mostly seen in the prologue through flashbacks.

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The Bootleg Files: A Place to Stand

BOOTLEG FILES 587: “A Place to Stand” (Academy Award-winning 1967 short).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No perceived U.S. commercial value.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.

Fifty years ago, Montreal became the center of international attention with Expo 67, a World’s Fair that attracted more than 50 million visitors. And one of the most popular attractions at that event was a short film exhibited at the Ontario Pavilion called “A Place to Stand.” While mostly forgotten today, “A Place to Stand” was briefly influential in changing the visual style of late 1960s and 1970s film and television productions – and it even won an Academy Award.

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Vision Room (2017)

It feels like Director Phillip Stainsby has a large premise ahead of him that’s just way too big for a twenty minute movie. “Vision Room” has a short time to unfold its story and a large narrative that only has so much space to breathe. Thus what we’re left with is a movie that’s mostly captions and subtitles that establish the mythos, the concept, and the world, and only visits the actual characters sporadically. The movie feels almost like nothing but captions most of the time, and I wanted to see so much more characters doing things and moving the film forward rather than having director Stainsby explain everything to us.

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Love The Original Way (2016)

I really like what writer Keldamuzik and director Hassan Leo bring to the table in the realm of romance comedies. “Love the Original Way” is a short film with big screen potential that deals in ideas about romance and how tough it can for a recovering alcoholic. While the film itself is steeped in the classic tropes of the romance comedy, it also charms with a relatable protagonist named Sissy, who is trying to find a way to navigate love and life without the crutch of alcohol.

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8 Mile: Dealing with Pain through Music

It’s hard to believe that “8 Mile” arrived in theaters fifteen years ago and took the world by surprise. That’s essentially what Eminem’s career has always been about: Surprising people who have always doubted him. After the stigma of white hip hop artists permeated music for years, Eminem stomped on to the world of hip hop. He didn’t just make a name for himself, but he challenged everything about the world he was in, the music he performed, and the people he ran across every single day of his life. Here was a man who kind of tore through the façade of fame, and also challenged the conventions of hip hop, which by the late nineties, was more about fame and wealth than hardships and confronting a harsh society.

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