Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) [Blu-Ray]

I’ve come to appreciate “Let’s Scare Jessica to Death” more and more over the years, as it’s managed to separate itself from the other vampire films in the sub-genre. While other of its ilk manage to flaunt the concept of the vampire without much substance, John Hancock and writers Sheridan Le Fanu and Lee Kalchiem take an opportunity here. Here, the monster is brilliant used as a means as a dread filled allegory for paranoia, fear of unraveling sanity, and our latent fear of infidelity.

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TV on DVD: Forever Knight: The Complete Series (DVD)/Supernatural: The Complete Fourteenth Season [Blu-Ray/Digital]

From Mill Creek Entertainment comes the perfect Halloween treat, The Complete series of “Forever Knight.” If ever there was a nineties series, it’s a show that takes a procedural cop drama and pairs it with vampires. One of the precursors to cult shows like “Angel” and “Blood Ties,” the syndicated series lasted for a total of three seasons and became obscure for many years after its run. This is shocking considering the series has its faults, but is genuinely a fun and Gothic vampire series. This was the decade where a lot of radical concepts were posed for television (Ahem—“Cop Rock”), but “Forever Knight” plays the whole premise with a straight face.

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Shorts Round Up of the Week: Halloween Horror Month Edition

It’s October once again! Finally! It’s our favorite time of year, a time where we can drown in horror and genre cinema without coming up for air. For the return of “Shorts Round Up of the Week” I bring you the Halloween edition, where I review short films of the horror, thriller, and dark fantasy variety. Hopefully we can dig up a second edition of this column before the month is up.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers. 

Happy October, boils and ghouls.

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John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

“They don’t sleep in coffins lined in taffeta. You wanna kill one, you drive a wooden stake right through his fuckin’ heart. Sunlight turns ’em into crispy critters.”

I love John Carpenter. I love John Carpenter just as much as Spielberg, and that’s saying a lot as anyone who knows me knows I’m a big Spielberg nut. In either case, even Carpenter’s lesser efforts in the late nineties to early aughts are somewhat entertaining, if only because even when he never quite sticks the landing, he’s at least going for something different. With “Vampires,” Carpenter tries his best to rethink and remold the modern vampire and make them terrifying again. While the movie isn’t great, its ambition and ability to make Vampires primal monsters again is admirable and worthy of an audience.

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Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

Hammer always approached their version of Dracula with a serialized attitude, making every chapter of his emergence as something unique and entertaining. After 1958’s “Dracula” which shown his battle with Peter Cushing, he is defeated and left to basically stay as ash in his old castle in England. Of course, as we learn with all of Dracula’s Hammer exploits, he eventually is revived by some human error or devotion to his powers that amount to his re-emerging in “Prince of Darkness.”

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The Return of the Vampire (1943) [Blu-Ray]

Although Universal eventually did follow up Tod Browning’s “Dracula” from 1931 with their own “Dracula’s Daughter” and “Son of Dracula,” the unofficial sequel has always been 1943’s “The Return of the Vampire.” When Columbia Pictures sough to revive Dracula for the big screener, Universal halted their efforts, prompting Columbia to basically deliver the follow up to Dracula but under a variety of different names and different circumstances. With “The Return of the Vampire” we have a great spiritual sequel that stars Lugosi returning as Dracula, but–not Dracula.

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