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DVD Review: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Singles Collection
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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DVD Review: MST3K: The Singles Collection

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Singles Collection
DVD
Cast: Joel Hodgson, Kevin Murphy, Trace Beaulieu
Distributor: Shout! Factory
Not Rated | 540 Minutes
Release Date: May 22, 2018

“Tonight, I’m a space pirate! Permission to come aboard!”

Featuring Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes that were among the first to be released on DVD, now long out of print, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Singles Collection showcases episodes that were only released individually and not included in the numbered Shout! Factory volumes that would collect episodes for nearly two decades.

Joel Hodgson, Tom Servo, and Crow T. Robot endure unspeakable cinematic horrors like The Crawling Hand, The Hellcats, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Eegah, and I Accuse My Parents. Also included is Shorts Volume 3, which features the shorts Speech: Using Your Voice, Aquatic Wizards, Once Upon a Honeymoon, and many more. Shout! Factory has done a great service to MSTies and DVD completists by putting these hard-to-find episodes back in print and in one collection. Continue reading for detailed synopses for each episode in this eclectic collection!

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Blu-ray Review: Of Unknown Origin
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Of Unknown Origin Scream Factory Blu-Ray Review - Peter Weller

Of Unknown Origin
Blu-ray
Director: George P. Cosmatos
Screenwriter: Brian Taggert
Cast: Peter Weller, Shannon Tweed, Jennifer Dale, Lawrence Dane, Kenneth Welsh, Louis Del Grande, Maury Chaykin
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated R | 89 Minutes
Release Date: May 22, 2018

“If it can’t scare them to death, it will find another way.”

Directed by George P. Cosmatos (Rambo: First Blood Part II, Cobra, and Tombstone) and written by Brian Taggert (V: The Final Battle, Poltergeist III), 1983’s Of Unknown Origin is based on the novel, The Visitor, by Chauncey G. Parker III. The film stars Peter Weller (RoboCop), Shannon Tweed (Hot Dog… The Movie, Meatballs III: Summer Job), and a giant, man-eating rat.

Bart Hughes (Weller) is a Wall Street executive caught up in the rat race of corporate America. While his wife (Tweed) and young son (Leif Anderson) leave for a vacation, Bart stays behind to work on a project that should earn him a promotion. Alone in his newly renovated Manhattan brownstone, Bart discovers that he isn’t alone at all, but rather an unwilling host to an unwanted houseguest.

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Blu-Ray Review: It’s Alive Trilogy
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Blu-Ray Review: It's Alive Trilogy from Scream Factory, featuring It's Alive Again

It’s Alive Trilogy
Blu-ray
Director: Larry Cohen
Screenwriter: Larry Cohen
Cast: John P. Ryan, Sharon Farrell, Frederic Forrest, Kathleen Lloyd, Michael Moriarty, Karen Black
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated PG/PG/R | 91/91/95 Minutes
Release Date: May 15, 2018

“There’s only one thing wrong with the Davis baby… IT’S ALIVE!”

A genuine auteur of low-budget horror and science fiction films, writer/director/producer Larry Cohen has made a career out of making audiences exclaim “holy fucking shit” in unison during his movies. Known for blaxploitation films like Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem, and horror flicks like Q: The Winged Serpent, The Stuff, and God Told Me To, Cohen is one the last true mavericks of cult cinema.

Cohen’s most beloved contribution to cinema, perhaps, is a series of films about monstrously deformed babies with razor-sharp fangs and claws. It’s Alive (1974), It’s Alive Again (1978), and It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987) are inbred triplets hanging off one particularly fucked up branch of the Creepy Kid Family Tree™, the same gnarled oak that contains movies like The Bad Seed, Village of the Damned, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Omen. And like those classic films, they’re cautionary tales packed with scathing social commentary… and demon babies.

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Blu-ray Review: The House That Dripped Blood
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Blu-ray Review: The House That Dripped Blood

The House That Dripped Blood
Blu-Ray
Director: Peter Duffell
Screenwriters: Robert Bloch, Russ Jones
Cast: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Ingrid Pitt, Denholm Elliot, Jon Pertwee, Nyree Dawn Porter
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated PG | 102 Minutes
Release Date: May 8, 2018

“Vampires! Voodoo! Vixens! Victims!”

The 1971 horror anthology film, The House That Dripped Blood, promises more than just alliteration. In addition to the vixens and vampires, there’s a lot to appreciate about this portmanteau production, namely Hammer horror icons Peter Cushing (The Curse of Frankenstein), Christopher Lee (The Satanic Rites of Dracula), and Ingrid Pitt (The Vampire Lovers). And if that isn’t enough, it also features Denholm Elliott (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Jon Pertwee (Doctor Who).

Written by Russ Jones and Robert Bloch, the author of Psycho, The House That Dripped Blood comes to us from Amicus Productions, the purveyor of horror anthologies like Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), and Vault of Horror (1973).

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Movie Review: A Quiet Place
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Movie Review: A Quiet Place. Left to right: Emily Blunt plays Evelyn Abbott and Millicent Simmonds plays Regan Abbott in A QUIET PLACE, from Paramount Pictures.

A Quiet Place
Director: John Krasinski
Writer: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, John Krasinski
Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Rated PG-13 | 95 Minutes
Release Date: April 6, 2018

Co-written and directed by John Krasinski, the horror-thriller A Quiet Place is set in a dystopian 2020, in the aftermath of an extraterrestrial attack. The planet’s population has been decimated by a race of blind, bloodthirsty creatures that hunt their prey with a heightened sense of hearing. In New York, the Abbott family learns how to survive in complete silence after their youngest son, Beau (Cade Woodward), falls victim to the sound-sensitive invaders.

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Movie Review: A Wrinkle In Time
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Movie Review: A Wrinkle in Time, starring Reese Witherspoon and Storm Reid

A Wrinkle In Time
Director: Ava DuVernay
Screenwriter: Jennifer Lee, Jeff Stockwell
Cast: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peña, Storm Reid, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Pine, Deric McCabe, Levi Miller
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Rated PG | 109 Minutes
Release Date: March 9, 2018

“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” — Tzu, Chinese

26 different publishers rejected Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time when she began shopping the book around in early 1960. The science fantasy story was seen as too complicated or “too adult” for children to comprehend, and publishers of the era believed there wasn’t an audience for books with young female leads. They were wrong. The children’s novel was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 1962, and has since become a beloved classic, praised for encouraging young girls to embrace their love of speculative fiction and pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Now, 55 years later, Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, a film adaptation directed by Ava DuVernay (Selma, The Thirteenth), hopes to inspire young girls of color similarly. Known for championing diversity and inclusion in Hollywood, DuVernay is the first woman of color to direct a live-action film with a production budget over $100 million. In keeping with her goal to create a more diverse representation on screen, DuVernay chose to stray from L’Engle’s description of the characters and cast actors of all ages, ethnicities, and genders to ensure the timeless story resonates with today’s audiences.

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Blu-ray Review: The Strangers (Collector’s Edition)
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Scream Factory's The Strangers Collector's Edition

The Strangers
Blu-ray (Collector’s Edition)
Director: Bryan Bertino
Screenwriter: Bryan Bertino
Cast: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman, Glenn Howerton, Gemma Ward
Distributor: Scream Factory
R/Unrated | 86/91 Minutes
Release Date: March 6, 2018

2008’s The Strangers, written and directed by Bryan Bertino, was inspired by two real-life events: the Tate murders, a series of killings carried out by members of the Manson Family in 1969; and a string of break-ins that occurred in the Texas filmmaker’s neighborhood as a child. One night, while his parents were out, somebody knocked on the front door of Bertino’s house, and his little sister answered it. The strangers on the doorstep were asking for someone who didn’t live there. Later, Bertino found out that these uninvited guests would knock on doors throughout the area; if no one was home, they would vandalize the property and take what they wanted.

As for the mask-wearing, knife-wielding sickos in The Strangers, the fact that someone’s home doesn’t discourage the intruders; it emboldens them. After a long night at a friend’s wedding reception, James (Scott Speedman, Underworld) and Kristen (Liv Tyler, The Lord of the Rings trilogy) return to James’ childhood summer home in rural South Carolina. Just after 4 a.m., there’s a knock at the door. A young blonde woman (Gemma Ward), whose face is obscured by shadow, asks for Tamara. When James tells her that she has the wrong house, the woman leaves with an unsettling utterance: “See you later.”

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Blu-ray Review: Drag Me To Hell (Collector’s Edition)
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Drag Me To Hell #1

Drag Me to Hell
Blu-ray (Collector’s Edition)
Director: Sam Raimi
Screenwriter: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi
Cast: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, Adriana Barraza, Octavia Spencer, Ted Raimi
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated PG-13 | 99 Minutes
Release Date: February 13, 2018

“You’d be surprised what you’ll be willing to do, when the Lamia comes for you.”

In 2009, Sam Raimi, the filmmaker behind low-budget cult classics like The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness, returned to the horror genre with a vengeance with Drag Me to Hell.

Produced by Raimi and Rob Tapert‘s Ghost House Pictures and distributed by Universal Pictures, Drag me to Hell is like an off-the-rails dark ride at a demonic carnival – a gloriously over-the-top slapstick splatter-fest that delivers seismic shivers to the central nervous system.

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Movie Review: The Shape Of Water
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones in the film THE SHAPE OF WATER. Photo by Kerry Hayes. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

The Shape of Water
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Screenwriter: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Rated R | 123 Minutes
Release Date: December 15, 2017

A native of Guadalajara, Mexico, Guillermo del Toro was fascinated as a child by fairy tales, ghost stories, and monster movies that ignited his imagination and compelled him to tell his own stories. When he started writing and directing films, those influences laid the foundation for del Toro’s uniquely expressive approach to genre filmmaking – a return to the dark romanticism of Universal horror films like 1931’s Frankenstein and Dracula.

Best known for his three Spanish-language films that upend conventional genre storytelling, Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone, and Pan’s Labyrinth, del Toro weaves vivid phantasmagorias that capture the beauty and the horror of the human experience. His supernatural epics are equally as inventive, from Blade II and the Hellboy series, to Pacific Rim and his gothic romance, Crimson Peak. His new film, The Shape of Water, is the culmination of del Toro’s career thus far – the summation of everything the filmmaker has learned, refined and perfected.

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Movie Review: The Disaster Artist
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Movie Review: The Disaster Artist, starring James Franco as Tommy Wiseau

The Disaster Artist
Director: James Franco
Screenwriter: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, Jacki Weaver
Distributor: A24 | Warner Bros.
Rated R | 105 Minutes
Release Date: December 8, 2017

“Everybody betrayed me! I’m fed up with this world!”

In 2003, an aspiring actor and filmmaker became a cultural phenomenon with one of the worst movies ever made — The Room, a torrid melodrama about a love triangle between a banker, his deceptive fiancée, and his conflicted best friend. The film was written, directed, and produced by Tommy Wiseau, an enigmatic outsider with dyed-black hair and an impenetrable foreign accent who also stars as the lead, Johnny.

Hollywood’s curiosity in the independent film was piqued when Wiseau erected a billboard to promote his six million dollar passion project, promising a drama on the level of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. Now, the unbelievable true story behind The Room — often referred to as “The Citizen Kane of Bad Movies” — is chronicled in a movie-about-a-movie directed by James Franco, who also stars as Wiseau.

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