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FEARnyc 2016 Retro Movie Review: John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  


Halloween – 1978
Available now on DVD, Blu-ray, and Amazon Video
Written by John Carpenter & Debra Hill
Directed by John Carpenter
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, P.J. Soles, Kyle Richards, Nancy Loomis, Nick Castle
Original release date: October 25, 1978
FEARnyc screening: October 27, 2016

There is almost nothing left that can be said about John Carpenter’s Halloween. It is widely recognized as a classic of horror, one of the scariest movies ever made, and the film that inspired and jump-started the slasher sub genre. What I can offer is perhaps a fresh perspective. You see, on Thursday night, at the final night of the weeklong FEARnyc horror film festival, I took my 12-year-old son Brandon to see Halloween on the big screen for the first time.

Introduced by FEARnyc director John Capo, Halloween starts with a long uninterrupted take tracking the killer arming himself, heading upstairs, putting on a clown mask, and stabbing a girl to death. We find out this was 6-year-old Michael Myers, and the victim was his older sister Judith. “That’s him?,” Brandon whispered. A few seconds later, when a 21-year-old Michael leaps on top of Loomis’s station wagon to escape, “That was him?” Sitting next to him, you could feel his body tense up when Carpenter used one of his taut musical cues. Having seen Halloween countless times, I was enjoying my son’s experience more.

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TV Review: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency 1.1 “Horizons”
Empress Eve   |  @   |  

Samuel Barnett as Dirk Gently, Elijah Wood as Todd

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Episode 1.1 “Horizons”
Created by Max Landis
Written by Max Landis
Directed by Dean Parisot
Starring Samuel Barnett, Elijah Wood, Hannah Marks, Fiona Dourif, Jade Eshete, Mpho Koaho, Dustin Milligan, Miguel Sandoval, Neil Brown, Jr., Richard Schiff
BBC America
Air date: Saturday, October 22, 2016

If you watched the series premiere of BBC America’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and you’re highly confused about what went on, you’re not alone. A lot of characters and scenarios were introduced during the first episode, titled “Horizons,” which brings writer Douglas Adams‘ title creation to American television audiences. Max Landis (Chronicle) created the television series and wrote all 8 episodes of this first season, which stars Samuel Barnett as Dirk Gently, a holistic detective who believes in the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things,” and Elijah Wood as his highly reluctant new sidekick Todd.

Here, Landis is not giving an adaptation of Adams’ Dirk Gently novels, but instead expands upon the universe created with Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, the former of which was birthed from two Doctor Who serials the author penned, hence why Dirk is very Doctor-like. The new TV series takes Dirk Gently from his native Britain and transplants him to America’s rainy equivalent, Seattle, Washington. (The series was actually shot nearby at our neighbors to the north, Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada.)

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Movie Review: The Prequels Strike Back: A Fan’s Journey

The Prequels Strike Back: A Fan's Journey

The Prequels Strike Back: A Fan’s Journey
Amazon Instant Video
Directed by Bradley Weatherholt
Official Website | Ministry of Cinema
Not Rated | 80 Minutes
Release Date: September 14, 2016

Midichlorians. The Trade Federation. Watto. The coarseness of sand. Jar-Jar freakin’ Binks. Oh, and you can’t forget…. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!”

George LucasStar Wars prequels comprise what is possibly the most controversial motion picture trilogy of all time. Despite grossing hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office and selling countless DVD and Blu-ray copies, Episodes I through III remain a serious bone of contention for ferociously devoted fans of the Star Wars universe for many reasons.

Bradley Weatherholt’s Indiegogo-funded documentary The Prequels Strike Back: A Fan’s Journey provides — through a series of insightful and provocative interviews with open-minded admirers of the films and their thematic elements and links to the original trilogy –- a pointed critical analysis of the prequel trilogy’s multitude of perceived narrative and technical flaws. Rather than serve as the set-up for a rude, feature-length rebuttal of the faults that have fueled many a furious blog post or chatroom discussion, detractors of these unjustly-derided intergalactic adventures to look at those faults once more, but placed in different contexts and interpreted through a series of unbiased points-of-view.

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TV Review: American Horror Story 6.7 “Chapter 7”
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

American Horror Story 607 review

American Horror Story
Season 6 Episode 7 “Chapter 7”
Directed by Elodie Keene
Written by Crystal Liu
Created by Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy
Starring Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Wes Bentley, Chaz Bono, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, Cuba Gooding Jr.
FX Network
Air date: Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 10pm

Spoilers for American Horror Story: Season 6

Last week, the creators of American Horror Story flipped the script in a way rarely, if ever, done before in television history. For five episodes of Season 6 we watched “My Roanoke Nightmare” showing the re-enactments of the Miller family and their harrowing ordeal in a haunted North Carolina colonial mansion. Actors Audrey (Sarah Paulson) and Dominic (Cuba Gooding Jr.) played the roles of Shelby (Lily Rabe) and Matt (Andre Holland), and they were stalked by vengeance-seeking ghosts led The Butcher, portrayed by Agnes Mary Winstead (Kathy Bates). That story we discovered was actually the highest TV show of the year and now producers want a sequel. So director Sidney James (Cheyenne Jackson) has the perfect pitch, “Return To Roanoke: 3 Days In Hell,” where the real characters and the actors who played them come together “Big Brother” style in a haunted reality show. Of course staging the show at a real haunted house does not end well. We are informed by graphic that only one person survives the ordeal and everything recorded is found footage. Already one of the new cast was killed as Rory (Evan Peters) was murdered by the nurse ghosts, fulfilling the “R” for their MURDER wall…

More below.

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Movie Review: The Hollow (2016)

The Hollow

The Hollow
Amazon Instant Video
Directed by Miles Doleac
Starring William Forsythe, James Callis, Miles Doleac, Christiane Seidel, William Sadler, David Warshofsky, Joseph VanZandt, Lindsay Anne Williams, Jeff Fahey
Uncork’d Entertainment | Historia Films
Not Rated | 128 Minutes
Release Date: October 7, 2016

The rural Mississippi community of Cutler County is one where the alcohol runs dry, but the crystal meth and Christianity are plentiful and right smack in your face the moment you cross its borders. In this town, Big John Dawson (William Forsythe), the county’s charismatic crime boss and resident legal genius, rules its humidity-soaked stretches like a feudal lord and uses the services of the underworked local law enforcement to peddle his crystal meth to Cutler’s bored citizenry.

The shocking murder of a young eloping couple in Cutler brings the humble little hamlet to national attention when one of the victims is revealed to be the daughter of an Illinois congressman in actor-turned-filmmaker Miles Doleac’s second feature The Hollow – a gritty, downbeat thriller cut from the mold of neo-noir classics like the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple and No Country for Old Men and the modern Southern Gothic suspense of the first season of HBO’s True Detective and Jeff Nichols’ Mud.

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FEARnyc 2016 Movie Review: Lost Creek (2016)
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

Lost Creek - Oliver Stockman

Lost Creek
Written by Colin Adams-Toomey & Dan John Witherall
Directed by Colin Adams-Toomey
Starring Oliver Stockman, Henry Stockman, Brynna Bartoo, Lisa Caruzzi, Matthew Lovlie
91 minutes
New York City Premiere (FEARnyc): October 23, 2016

Spending my weekend at FEARnyc film festival at the Cinema Village in New York City has given me the chance to fill up on horror this Halloween season. The festival, directed by John Capo, is featuring 65 horror movies ranging from the all time classics to NYC and world premieres. In the three days so far that I spent at FEARnyc, I took in 10 films, and the one that felt the most genuine and authentic was a low-budget, small-town ghost story, that’s labeled on IMDb as a “drama, fantasy, horror.” The film is Lost Creek directed by Colin Adams-Toomey, and co-written by him and Dan John Witherall.

Lost Creek is a horror movie because it features ghosts and monsters, but in reality it’s a story about childhood, friendship, and imagination. Peter (Oliver Stockman) just moved to his mom’s old hometown after her messy divorce, the particulars of which keep his mother busy and distracted. He walks around town alone, through the woods where he finds the old “lost creek.” There he meets and befriends a young girl, Maggie (Brynna Bartoo). Their instant connection reminded me of my own daughter, who at almost 6 years old will walk up to random kids in the playground and call them “best friend” within seconds.

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Book Review: Bionic by Suzanne Weyn
Olympus Athens   |  @   |  

Bionic Suzanne Weyn Header

Hardcover | Kindle Edition
Written by Suzanne Weyn
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: October 25th, 2016

Mira has a great boyfriend, is in a band, and may be in line for a lacrosse scholarship after high school. A car accident seems to destroy all those dreams when she is in critical condition, and loses her arm and leg. Innovative technology grants her bionic limbs, and a chip to integrate her brain function with her movement. The chip also enhances her from the inside out, causing her hair to be long and her skin to look fantastic. She gets offered a modeling contract, and can suddenly play guitar like an ace. What comes up must come down, and soon all the positives begin to be negatives in Bionic by Suzanne Weyn.

More below.

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Book Review: Star Wars Propaganda: A History Of Persuasive Art In The Galaxy
Empress Eve   |  @   |  

Star Wars Propaganda review

Star Wars Propaganda
A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
Hardcover | Kindle Edition
Written by Pablo Hidalgo
Publisher: Harper Design
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Cover Price: $40.00

At first glance, Star Wars Propaganda looks like exactly what you’d expect it to be — an oversized art book with full-color graphics based on the Star Wars universe. But if you look more carefully, you’ll notice that not only is the artwork unlike what you’d usually see in Star Wars canon, but there’s also a very detailed history behind it all.

This slipcased hardcover book from Harper Design, subtitled A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy, weaves a narrative of little-known Star Wars history that begins with the Republic and moves on to the Clone Wars as seen in the events of the Prequel films, until the Galactic Empire takes over, prompting the Rebellion and the creation of the Alliance we know so well from the original trilogy. The book ends with a section on the New Republic, the First Order, and the Resistance, which were all introduced in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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Retro Movie Review: The Shining (1980) – Fathom Events
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

The Shining Fathom Events

The Shining
Available now on Blu-ray
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers
Warner Brothers
Not Rated | 146 Minutes
Original Release Date: June 13th, 1980
Fathom Events Screening: October 23, 2016

October is horror movie month. If you ask horror fans to rank the scariest movies of all time, one movie guaranteed to make almost every list is Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Controversial in his “loose” adaptation of Stephen King’s source material, Kubrick’s film was under-appreciated at the time of its 1980 release, actually procuring two Razzie Award nominations, including one for Kubrick himself. Over time though, The Shining has found its rightful place in horror’s pantheon of greats. This month, Fathom Events, Warner Brothers, and Turner Classic Movies came together to bring The Shining back to movie screens near you for one more day only, Wednesday, October 26th, as part of TCM’s Big Screen Classics series. The first of two days showcasing The Shining was Sunday.

More below.

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Blu-ray Review: The Exorcist III (Collector’s Edition)
Adam Frazier   |  @   |  

Blu-Ray Review: The Exorcist III (Collector's Edition)

The Exorcist III
Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
Director: William Peter Blatty
Screenwriter: William Peter Blatty
Cast: George C. Scott, Ed Flanders, Jason Miller, Scott Wilson, Nicol Williamson, Brad Dourif
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated R | 110 Minutes
Release Date: October 25, 2016

“I have dreams of a rose, and falling down a long flight of stairs.”

Written and directed by William Peter Blatty (The Ninth Configuration), The Exorcist III is the latest cult curiosity to receive a two-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray from Scream Factory. Released in 1990, the film is based on Blatty’s 1983 novel Legion, which picks up several years later. The “true sequel” to William Friedkin’s 1973 film, The Exorcist III ignores the events of Exorcist II: The Heretic completely, despite its sequential title – the film was originally titled Legion, but was changed by studio executives to make the movie more commercially appealing.

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