Candy Corn (2019)

The odd thing about Josh Hasty’s “Candy Corn” is that it feels like the first chapter in an anthology or movie series. I don’t know how far they’ll take this concept, but I’d love to see more Halloween based tales of revenge as coordinated by this traveling carnival and its vindictive ring master. I’m not going to say that “Candy Corn” is a masterpiece, but as far as Halloween movie treats, it’s a very good horror film soaked in the Halloween aesthetic.

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For The Sake of Vicious (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2020]

The visceral raw energy and violence of Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen’s “For the sake of Vicious” is bound to be compared to the masterpieces like “The Green Room” very soon. The set up at least conjures up memories of “Assault on Precinct 13” except in a smaller scale. In either case, it’s a classic white knuckle home invasion siege thriller that spares no one, even when it successfully builds on empathetic and fascinating protagonists.

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A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio (2019)

“On this stormy night, we are going to tell horror stories, because horror stories never end.”

I’m a big fan of the concept where studios or a collective of directors take various short films from indie directors and create anthology horror films in the vein of “Tales from the Darkside” or “V/H/S/.” The idea is a great one and opens up a broader audience, and allows them some great exposure. “A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio,” is one of the many that’s come along, mixing seven stellar horror shorts told by a lone radio DJ in the middle of the night.

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Gutterballs (2008) – The Plotdigger Collection: Limited Edition [2 Disc Blu-Ray]

Director Ryan Nicholson’s slasher throwback is thankfully a horror film that, while imperfect, has managed to appreciate in value since its release in 2008. While we may be well past the age of the eighties revival in horror cinema, “Gutterballs” is a nice look at the fad done well and with some semblance of substance over style. It’s still not a masterpiece, but it’s definitely midnight movie fodder that should be appreciated with its cinematic contemporaries. Frankly I’m surprised slasher BBK’s signature look never caught on with the horror community, but I digress.

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TV On DVD: Creepshow: Season 1 [Blu-Ray]

After many, many years in limbo, “Creepshow” is finally revived by Shudder/AMC Networks for a modern generation bringing the love child of George Romero, Tom Savini, and Stephen King back for more terror. Premiering exclusively on the Shudder streaming service (then later on AMC), “Creepshow” is led by legendary Gregory Nicotero, doing everything to pay tribute to the EC Comics and the 1982 horror masterpiece. With six episodes featuring stories by Joe Hill (NOS4A2), Joe Lansdale (Bubba Ho-Tep), Josh Malerman (Bird Box), and Paul Dini et al., “Creepshow” is a great companion to the original pair of classic anthology films.

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Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)

Harley Quinn has been one of the most popular DC Comics anti-heroes of the last twenty years, and for good reason. She went from an abused spouse who served her partner thanks to years of mental abuse, gas lighting and Stockholm Syndrome, to someone who cast off the shadow of the Joker to carve out her own niche. Harley Quinn should be an easy adaptation but DC and Warner haven’t quite mastered it yet. After stealing the show in “Suicide Squad,” she steals the show again in “Birds of Prey” but still never quite comes out unscathed thanks to what is an imperfect and brutally flawed, albeit balls to the wall entertaining action movie.

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