Aragne: Sign of Vermillion (2018) [Fantasia 2018]

Saku Sakomoto’s “Aragne” is a real stab at anime horror that embraces its nonsensical story, and never actually delivers a narrative at any point during its run time. “Aragne” is thankfully a merciful hour long film, but one that’s a disorienting, and incoherent experience. And not in the artistic way. More in the realm that Sakomoto seems to have half assed a lot of the film and kind of took it in to the realm where he makes it looks intentional the whole way through.

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John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness (1994): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

John Carpenter has always been about transcending what ever form of storytelling he pursued. Even when paying homage toWesterns or remaking something like “Village of the Damned,” Carpenter never approaches it conventionally. With “In the Mouth of Madness,” he had every chance to repeat the same meta-beats as “They Live,” but he ends up delivering a genius, beautifully loony, often brilliant piece of cinema that’s both a tribute to literature, a meditation on the power of the imagination, and our own state of being and reality.

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Abominable (2005): Special Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD]

It’s pretty tough to find a good Bigfoot horror film these days, and whenever one really good title for the subgenre comes along, you have to hold on to it and appreciate it. Ryan Schifrin’s “Abominable” is a fantastic entry in to the sub-genre that takes Hitchcock’s “Rear Window,” injects a little lunacy, and rather than Raymond Burr, we have a hairy, vicious, super strong abominable snowman terrorizing a group of girls. While on paper that sounds like the formula for a potentially silly movie, “Abominable” is stellar. It’s creepy, darkly funny, gory, and has one of the best final scenes I’ve ever seen in a horror movie, barnone.

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Species (1995): Collector’s Edition [2 Blu-Ray]

If you’re going to watch “Species” for any reason, you have to see it for Natasha Henstridge. Surely, the cast is dynamic with the likes of Michael Madsen, Forrest Whitaker, and Ben Kingsley respectively, but Henstridge is a pretty great scene stealer rivaled only by Marg Helgenberger. I vividly recall “Species” grabbing a ton of attention back in 1995 mainly for the fact that “Species” was such a unique and erotic bit of horror and science fiction, and for the most part, it’s an okay movie. But what saves it is Henstridge and the great effects.

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Of Unknown Origin (1983) [Blu-Ray]

It’s Peter Weller vs. clunky allegory in George P. Cosmatos’ “Of Unknown Origin,” a veritable contemporary take on “Moby Dick” that pits man against nature in an urban setting and sea of bricks and mortars. “Of Unknown Origin” quite obviously fancies itself a wink wink nudge at the famous novel, that Weller’s character Bart even threatens the film’s beast with in his hand while pounding on a ceiling. In “Of Unknown Origin,” the world is a rat race and Peter Weller’s character Bart is so anxious to claw his way to the top of his corporation that he’ll even sacrifice a weekend with a young, taut Shannon Tweed (her first role) so he can get ahead.

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Revenge (2018)

Corealie Fargeat’s “Revenge” is kind a new chapter in the rape revenge sub-genre of thrillers and horror films. It deconstructs an often very controversial and polarizing sub-genre to make it less about the exploitation of women and more about the empowerment of a woman who even views herself as a sex object when we meet her. “Revenge” is a grueling film to endure, but one that is also quite fantastic in its imagery and depiction of men as less cunning sexual predators and more slimy snakes that prey on a woman who proves she is a pure force of vengeance to be reckoned with.

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Drag Me to Hell (2009): Collector’s Edition [2 Blu-Ray]

After almost twenty years not making horror movies, fans were excited to see Sam Raimi getting back in to the genre that introduced him to us originally. While we might have wanted another “Evil Dead” rather than a PG-13 horror film, with Raimi you never get just a PG-13 horror film, after all. After many years of working on the big budget spectacles of the “Spider-Man” movies, Raimi blasts in to the horror world once again to deliver what has been a very thoroughly analyzed and appreciated little gem. Leave it to Raimi to throw in a smaller film that packs a punch over time.

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Solutions (2017)

Derek is a man who can do big things for big people, and one night he meets with a politician who wants to become the next president. With a lot of money at hand, Derek begins fixing operations for Derek and investigating his rivals. The only catch this time is that Derek has his son Damon alongside him and is showing him the business of getting to know people, and not trusting anyone. Zachary Halfter’s “Solutions” is a fine movie that mixes “Roger Dodger” with “The Sting” in that it’s about a teacher imparting some tough lessons on an apprentice.

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