Death Note (2017)

I’ve been a casual fan and observer of “Death Note” since the mid-aughts and have always been fascinated with its premise and the moral dilemmas it props up for the audience and its characters. It’s almost like “The Box” but with a hit of adrenaline and more complex ideas and philosophies. Director Adam Wingard adapts “Death Note” for a new audience, taking the material from Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, and adding his own quirks, ideas, and dashes of dark comedy. What we get is a stark, entertaining horror movie that is very much a “Death Note” tale, but one that works in its own rhythm for a broader audience, without alienating the core fan base.

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Sheena: Queen of the Jungle Collection – The Original Movie and Complete Series (DVD)

Sheena fans are in for a treat when Mill Creek releases a collection of Sheena entertainment on DVD. Are there Sheena fans? Are there enough to warrant a big crowd surrounding the TV hoping for Sheena? In either case, for fans of pulp comics and just all around good old fashioned camp, the “Sheena: Queen of the Jungle Collection” packs a ton of content in to a small package, and spans a pretty hefty time period where Sheena was portrayed in various mediums beyond the comics. The 1984 movie “Sheena: Queen of the Jungle” is a camp and cult classic that’s managed to re-emerge over the years mainly for being such a weird and awful movie.

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Every Ghost Has an Orchestra (2017) [Oceanside International Film Festival 2017]

A paranormal researcher and music composer goes to a barn to find the Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) in the old wood as he believes objects have memories of sounds from their past.

The film about researcher and compositor Michael Esposito is directed by Shayna Connelly, the film shows Esposito as the star at the center of the subject.  He is shown as a prominent figure in the field while no others are interviewed.  This renders the exploration of the subject a bit thin and one dimensional.  Having no other experts corroborate his information or his research makes it less credible as it’s all from one point of view with no supporting evidence or opinions.  This doesn’t mean the film is not interesting, but as a documentary short, using other experts would have helped it be more powerful and feel like the makers did more research.

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Annabelle Creation (2017)

A prequel to the prequel to The Conjuring films, the story here is that of how the evil doll Annabelle came to be. Years following a tragic accident, a doll maker and his wife take in a group of orphans needing a new place to live with the nun who watches over them. As they are forbidden to go in a specific room, the young girls get curious and something is awakened.

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The Endless (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

Two brothers return to the alien cult they once fled to see the people still there.  Once at the cult’s camp, they discover that odd happenings are afoot and the cult may not be as crazy as it seems.

Written by Justin Benson who co-directed with Aaron Moorhead, The Endless is a slow slow burn of a film that takes its time to set-up the weirdness going on and creates a sort of mindfuck as it goes along.  The film takes a few known ideas such as cults and time warps and plays with them until they connect and make sense.  The co-directors having worked together on other features, they clearly know how to work together and this shows in how the film is directed, being a way that looks seamless between the two of them and what they each directed, something that is not always well done, but is great here.

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The Bye Bye Man (2017)

It’s “The Bye Bye Man,” or as I call it “Honey, We Ripped Off Slenderman.” In all honesty, “The Bye Bye Man” actually looks like a weak Senator Palpatine cosplayer who died from toxic poisoning from his face make up and became a demon who likes to rip off his shtick from The Babadook, Freddy Krueger, and your every day mime. I’ve experienced scarier stories in young adult sections at public libraries, and could come up with a monster ten times more imposing, and with a name that doesn’t automatically inspire me to chortle under my breath. A movie this bad could only inspire me to gather my thoughts of bewilderment in an itemized list.

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Five Essential Stephen King Movies, and Five You’re Better Off Avoiding

It’s a pretty interesting time to be a Stephen King fan, as 2017’s seen the emergence of King in almost all media. His works “It” and “The Dark Tower” are being adapted in to highly anticipated feature films, “The Mist” has been turned in to a series for better or for worse, and Scream Factory are re-releasing “Misery” on blu-ray later in the year for fanatics. With “The Dark Tower” coming to theaters very soon, I thought I’d ring in the occasion by highlighting five stellar Stephen King movies, and five you’re much better off avoiding.

What are some King adapted movies you think are worth watching, and what are some you think should be avoided? Let me know in the comments!

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Born of Woman 2017 [Fantasia International Film Festival]

Last year saw the first time where the programmers at the fest felt a need to have a short film block dedicated entirely to women-made short genre films as they had received a big selection of very strong titles.  This year continues this with its second edition or the 2017 edition.  Here are short reviews for each film involved in it this year (in no particular order).

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