Funny Man (1994)

To say that Simon Sprackler’s “Funny Man” is a bizarre horror film is doing no justice. It is probably one of the most bizarre horror movies I’ve ever seen, and I’m sad to admit I’ve never heard of it until 2018. I’m usually very good about horror movies and slashers, but “Funny Man” jumped right over my head, and I was finally able to see it. I wasn’t so much entertained as I was genuinely baffled most of the time, and I’m not sure if that was a bad thing or not. It’s a good enough horror movie if you’re willing to accept it’s sheer insanity.

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Reality Bites Back: “Dead Set” Ten Years Later

If any case could be made for the advantage of running zombies in the zombie film sub-genre, “Dead Set” would easily trump any argument against the device. I’m a zombie enthusiast who loves the lumbering dead, and in all honesty prefers them above all. “Dead Set” not only endorses the idea of running zombies, but makes turns them on to a world of lazy, complacent television addicts, with remorseless fervor. Like the reality shows that have become fixtures of civilization, we’re turned in to blood thirsty monsters that feed off of one another, and show little empathy for the weak.

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Heavy Trip (Hevi Reissu) (2018)

While “Heavy Trip” may not be what we call horror in the conventional sense, Jukka Vidgren, and Juuso Laatio’s dark comedy musical has a lot of the DNA of a horror movie, right down to satanic worship, blood baths, and plenty of vomit. It’s not often you get to see an underdog tale of a band struggling to make it set to the tune of death metal, but Jukka Vidgren, and Juuso Laatio tap in to a distinct crowd that’s gone woefully overlooked. “Heavy Trip” will definitely stand out in the memory of their audience who are in the mood for something wholly unconventional but surprisingly crowd pleasing.

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The [REC] Collection [Blu-Ray]

While the rest of the horror community are celebrating the big releases from Scream Factory this year like “Creepshow” and “Trick r Treat,” in comes a somewhat overlooked horror child known as the “[REC] Collection.” Shout! outdoes themselves packing together all four films from the found footage horror series from Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, and it’s a box set that should be explored if you’ve never seen the “[REC]” films or have only ever seen the original.

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Fifteen Years Ago, “28 Days Later” Altered Horror

It wasn’t until 2003 where I was truly introduced to Danny Boyle (I’d seen Shallow Grave in 1994, and admittedly greeted it with a very negative reaction. Hell I was eleven). I fondly recall going to the movies that spring and experience a teaser trailer to Danny Boyle and Alex Garland’s “28 Days Later.” The trailer, like the film, was frantic and horrifying and it piqued my interest to where it was all I thought about for months. In the summer of 2003, I managed to see “28 Days Later” finally. It happened to be an even more interesting experience than I ever imagined because I’d seen it a week before I had to have mandatory open heart surgery. To say that I was in a rollercoaster of emotions while watching “28 Days Later” is an understatement of the highest degree.

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Luciferina (2018) [Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival 2018]

A trainee nun, Natalia, goes home after an accident kills her mother and leaves her father dying. Once home, she discovers family secrets and goes on a self-discovery trip with friends. There she learns even more and puts her own soul at stake.

Writer/director Gonzalo Calzada takes the concepts of good versus bad, god versus evil, Catholic versus pagan, family, legacy, and destiny and plays with them in a dark realm tinged by demonic forces and curiosity. The story here is done in a way that works for its characters, letting them get exposed and built before throwing in the evil/demonic elements. Most of everything here works and goes towards creating a cohesive story and world. Some of the timeline and exposure may feel a bit off as it foes, but it all makes sense by the end. Calzada has a story here that he knows how to tell and he gets it out here on the screen in a way the viewer can easily watch, connect with, and be entertained by.

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