A Ghost Story (2017)

Many filmmakers have spent decades examining the meaning of life and the state of existence, but we don’t often get the chance to explore the idea of existence after life. True, films like “Ghost” and whatnot have taken a more dramatic idea toward existence after existence, but what if the after life is nothing? What if there is no darkness or hell or heaven? What if there is simply the essence of what we once we lingering on and on after we reach some kind of conclusion and then cease to be for all eternity? Much of what David Lowery wants us to focus on is only important within the context of where the ghost of our protagonist is and what he chooses to focus on. A lot of M’s life is left for the character within the narrative to deal with and to hold on to, all the while Lowery focuses on the now.

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The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

What a lot of horror directors fail to understand about filmmaking is that sometimes what we don’t see can be more terrifying than what we can. That’s why Robert Wise’s “The Haunting” is still so impeccably terrifying, while the remake is such a lemon. There’s no room for imagination or perhaps the concept that what is menacing these characters is too horrendous for our minds to comprehend. The main reason why “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is so incredible is because director André Ovredal is brilliant about restraint and time and time again introduces us to a villain who remains a specter in our imagination. “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” genuinely spooked me, and that’s because director André Ovredal combines all the strongest elements of a horror tale and creates one of the most unlikely horror villains of all time.

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“Warlock” Collection [Vestron Video Collector’s Series] [Blu-Ray]

It’s ironic, and perhaps not incidental, that Vestron would release the entire movie series for “Wishmaster” and “Warlock.” They’re two weak attempts at movie maniacs in a pretty stale decade for horror, and deep down while they have potential to be menacing and terrifying horror villains, they’re poorly realized, and potentially trail off in to absolute nothingness. “Warlock” is not as bad a slope as “Wishmaster,” as it managed to gain some momentum in the nineties, even sporting a Sega Genesis video game in 1995 which involved platforming, and fighting off zombies and demonic beasts with magic spells. 1989’s “Warlock” is a tonally confused movie that wants sorely to be a horror film, but ends up sliding in to dark fantasy territory by the time it draws to a close.

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Buckout Road (2017) [Blood In The Snow 2017]

 

A road at the center of local urban legends, young people trying to debunk its mysteries, and a few surprises along the way…

Based on a story by Johnny Pascucci and written by Shahin Chandrasoma and Matthew Currie Holmes, with the latter directing as well, Buckout Road is an interesting take on urban legend movies in how it approaches the urban legends and how the characters are not just plain victims with no background. The characters are decently developed and have relationships between them that make sense and make them care about one another. The way the film develops its story through flashbacks that have their own style depending on the era they are set in, giving the film visual interest each of their own. The story evolves in a way that keeps the interest and has some mystery to it. The ending is interesting and offers not exactly a twist but not exactly the ending one might expect from an urban legend film.

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The Child Remains (2017) [Blood In The Snow 2017]

Inspired by the Butterbox Babies case, The Child Remains follows a couple as they stay in an inn with a dark past and an uncertain future.

From writer/director Michael Melski, The Child Remains is a haunting story of sorts that crosses with investigative story and a few other things. This leads to a film that is a slow burn but an interesting one. Those who are familiar with the Butterbox Babies case will see connections which are of course a bit stretched here but still make some sense. The characters built for the modern day people who stumble into this dark past are well developed. They are a basically just one couple who get haunted in one way or another and slowly work towards making sense of things for themselves with a few side moments into level of insanity or madness or something that actually makes sense in the film. These characters are very human, even frustrating like real people are at times.

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Deathdream (1974) (Blue Underground) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

Bob Clark’s “Deathdream” is one of the most sought after horror films ever made, one of those films that has been inexplicably out of print constantly and very much prized as a genuine horror gem. I’m one of those people that having seen “Deathdream” twice just can’t like what Bob Clark brings his audience. One of the reasons why is because “Deathdream” is so relentlessly bleak and dark. It’s an immensely depressing and viciously grim movie. And while that’s one of the main elements it’s been propelled it in to cult status, for me it’s just a major hindrance. I remember watching Bob Clark’s horror film the first time and just leaving it in a state of sadness.

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

How do you solve a problem like Thor?

Despite Thor, The God of Thunder being one of Marvel’s most iconic characters and virtual co-founder of The Avengers, making him a compelling action hero has been a tough task. Even with some great directors and sleek scripting, “Thor” hasn’t quite been as exciting as Iron Man or Captain America. He’s barely risen to the Hulk who, so far, has only had one movie and a hand full of appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With “Thor: Ragnarok,” Marvel has reached the point where audiences are familiar enough with the character that they can begin to change his identity a bit. In the end, he’s still Thor, the God of Thunder, but he also comes in touch with his god like abilities when he allows himself to embrace humility once and for all.

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Treaters (2017)

From Treehouse Digital and director Peter Stanley-Ward, “Treaters” is a short film that I would love to become the basis for a horror anthology somewhere down the road. “Treaters” is a surefire Halloween treat that works with a sense of whimsy but also has an admirably demented sense of humor that I was sucked in to from minute one. One thing that’s always menacing about Halloween are trick or treaters, because you just never really know who, or what, are wearing those dreaded masks and whatnot.

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