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This Week's Podcast:    

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Episode 261 - Snowpiercer (2014)

The film had fantastic "daily's", or scenes shot for an unfinished film. Harvey Weinstein thought so too, so he bought the US film rights to the film Snowpiercer, by Korean director Joon-ho Bong. But when he saw the final product, he asked for some changes. His impression was that it was more an arthouse science fiction film than he had thought. Bong refused, so the film sat on the shelve for months before Weinstein dropped it on his smaller distributor for a quick release to salvage some of his money. Either way, the film received glorious reviews from critics.

When the world tries a scientific fix to global warming, everything goes to hell. The world turns into an ice planet and the remaining survivors live on a train that circles the globe. Unfortunately, a class system ensues and for the last 18 years, the poor that live at the back of the train have had enough. With horrible living conditions, they attempt a revolt where they plan to not only head through the train cars, but they also plan to take over the train itself from the elites.

Some have called the film quite a ride. With its bizarre story, strangely unique look scene to scene, and its international cast, the film may not quite gel for some, but it surely is something to behold. Dark Discussions takes a look at this interesting film and gives both their review and their opinion of what the film was trying to say.

Prior Podcast Episodes:    

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Episode 260 - Recovery (2016)

Social media has become the main communication method for many people, especially the younger folk known as the millenials. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, among many other online tools have become online meeting grounds. Posts filled with pictures and updates about one's life can include mundane things as a day at the park all the way to a high school graduation bash. The new 2016 film, Recovery, uses as the subtext to its tale social media, cell phones, and this new way of connecting.

Jessie is graduating from high school. When she attends her boyfriend's graduation bash, she sees him making out with another girl. As she is about to confront him, another girl, Kim, tells her its not worth it since the same girl broke up her relationship too. Two girls scorned decide to head off to a downtown techno club. Unfortunately, Jessie loses her cell phone but her brother Miles has a recovery app that allows him to trace where her phone may be. Unfortunately for Jessie and her friends, where they head to find the mobile phone may be a place of nightmares.

Starring newcomer Kirby Bliss Blanton (who already has received rave reviews for her turn in the 2016 horror film Tell Me How I Die and Eli Roth's Green Inferno) and Rachel DiPillo (tv star of Chicago Med) lead a likeable cast who give depth to what could have been generic characters. Released to VOD on November 11th, 2016, Dark Discussions takes a look at this new horror movie.

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Episode 259 - Patient Seven (The Critique)

Last week Dark Discussions interviewed director Danny Draven and actor Dan Lench of the movie Patient Seven. We learned a bit about the horror anthology and how the various shorts were award winning movies from the convention circuit. After being scooped up by the producers, a wraparound story was built around these films creating a cohesive move.

A highly renowned doctor comes to a sanitarium to interview seven patients for a new book he is planning. Each patient is a very unique behavioral health case. As the psychiatrist's unconventional techniques become known, the orderlies become concerned and the patients become more enraged. Yet there may be a truth behind each patient's tale that not even a sanitarium can keep hidden.

Patient Seven encompasses seven award winning shorts with an eighth wraparound story that ties it all together. Zombies, vampires, serial killers, ghosts, demons, and murder fill out the almost two hour runtime. With its great score, its dark tone, and each tales unique twists, the movie has been getting rave reviews and has been considered one of the best horror anthologies to come along in some time. Dark Discussions does their critique and review of this new film.

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Episode 258 - Patient Seven (The Interviews)

Horror anthologies seem to be films that horror fans either love or hate. Many can be disjointed, have too many tonal shifts, or simply aren't any good. But there has been a huge resurgence of them recently led by such films as The ABC's of Death and V/H/S. A new film entitled Patient Seven suddenly appeared on VOD services and quickly became one of the top horror movies rented and viewed on such places as iTunes.

With seven individual stories with an eighth story as the wraparound tale, the film is quite lengthy and yet flows pretty smoothly. The cast includes some fairly well known folks including Alfie Allen (of Game of Thrones), actress Amy Smart, and genre favorite Michael Ironsides.

Additionally, the movie has actor Dan Lench, a star of last year's science fiction film, Circle, playing a pivotal role that is completely different than anything he's played before. Along with Dan Lench, Dark Discussions interviews one of the directors, Danny Draven, who also edited and put together the upcoming disc release. Get ready for part one of our two part episode of Patient Seven. This episode focuses on the people that worked on the film.

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Episode 257 - The Howling (1981)

It's basically a running joke with vampires and zombies. Almost every other horror film or television show seems to have them in it. Yet werewolves, probably one of the most popular horror monsters of all time seems to be overlooked. Yet there are a few classic horror films starring them. The Universal monster films are some. American Werewolf in London is considered a classic. Even Emily Blunt starred in the remake Wolfman a few years back. But also, Joe Dante arguably may have made the best one of them all. The Howling, now thirty-five years old, is considered a horror classic.

News anchorwoman Karen White is covering a story about a serial killer known only as Eddie. When she is contacted by him to meet up in the red light district of Los Angeles, a police shootout occurs leaving Eddie dead and Karen in psychological turmoil. Dr. George Waggoner has Karen and her husband head to his retreat to recoup from her shock. Soon, however, things turn bizarre as their marriage becomes strained and the community around them begins to show signs of eccentricity.

Released in 1981, and based on the best selling novel by Gary Brandner, the film made Dee Wallace a top horror screamqueen and broke out Joe Dante as one of the era's top genre directors. With master Rick Baker as a consultant on the film and Rob Bottin doing the work, the movie is considered one of horror's groundbreaking films for special effects. Dark Discussions does a critique of the film and talks all things werewolves.

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Episode 256 - The Secrets of Emily Blair (2016)

Many folks of note have come through Roger Corman's various film companies. Some of the bigger names are Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, and Jonathan Demme. Other folks of note include Bill Paxton and Joe Dante. Joe Genier is another and this year his production company released a film directed by him called The Secrets of Emily Blair. Appearing on Netflix, the film immediately was pushed hard by the VOD service and soon a positive buzz followed making the film be considered by many a hidden gem.

Emily Blair (played by Ellen Hollman) is a well respected RN at a hospital who's life seems to be perfect. Over the weekend she became engaged to her boyfriend and everything seems like it can't get any better. However, during a strange encounter with an ER patient, things begin to unravel and soon those around her may begin to have to worry about their life.

With exorcism films being some of the most beloved subgenres of horror films, this new take adds a bit of originality to the topic while paying homage to some of the more popular movies. Ellen Hollman, known for her work on Spartacus, brings a remarkable performance to a woman that has become possessed. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new film and gives their opinion.

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Episode 255 - Paul Schrader Focus: 1976's Taxi Driver

Some say the 1970's were the golden age of cinema. Censorship was lax, society was (not much unlike today) angry, and moviemakers began making more controversial films that hit not only modern issues but also the time period's emotions. One young filmmaker named Paul Schrader hit the ground running. From the midwest, with a background completely different than his contemporaries, he brought with him tales of ennui, harshness, and fury. His second screenplay was turned into the film Taxi Driver which became one of the most important and greatest films in cinema history.

With Martin Scorsese directing, the tale is about Travis Bickle, played by Robert Deniro, who becomes a cabbie that is willing to work late night hours. As he drives and sees the seedy side of New York City, his thoughts turn to anger and rage. Unfortunately he may be more than just angry. He may actually be mentally unstable. As he unsuccessfully asks for help, he turns his attentions to two young women. One named Betsy, played by Cybill Shepherd, is a campaign worker that seems happy in her everyday life. The other named Iris, played by Jodie Foster, is an underaged streetwalker that has fallen under the spell of a pimp, played by Harvey Keitel. Travis inserts himself into their lives on a mission to save both from the two sides of the "machine" that they happen to be stuck in.

Other cast members include Albert Brooks, Peter Boyle, and a young Joe Spinell. The film was also the last score of Hollywood legend Bernard Hermann before his passing. With its success, Paul Schader would go on to write multiple screenplays and direct critically acclaimed films. Dark Discussions turns their attention to the 40th anniversary of the release of this masterpiece and talks about their feelings about this important film.

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Episode 254 - Sun Choke

There's been a lot of low profile genre films that have popped up and gained critical responses. Sun Choke, a new film by director Ben Cresciman, seems to be another receiving a high score on the review site, Rotten Tomatoes. Starring television actress Sarah Hagan, and costarring screamqueens Barbara Crampton and Sara Malakul Lane, the cast is a three piece character driven film that has the three actresses collide in a shocking conclusion.

We are introduced to Janie (played by Sarah Hagan) recovering from some sort of mental breakdown. Irma, her caretaker played by Barbara Crampton, uses a form of complex holistic therapy to bring Janie back to normalcy. When given some independent freedoms, Janie heads out about town and meets a pretty young woman named Savannah (played by Sara Malakul Lane) who she begins to follow. Soon, Janie's recovery becomes stunted and her fragile mind once more deteriorates.

Technically the film is beautifully made. The score by Bryan Hollon is magnificent and the editing, cinematography, and set design are fantastic. Dark Discussions takes a look at this low profile horror film and digs deep into the symbolic nature of the storyline. Does the positive critical response to the plot equal the strong technical aspects around the film? Listen to find out what your co-hosts think.

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Episode 253 - Rob Zombie Focus: 2016's 31

When a rock musician's love of horror movies merges with his music, you get some pretty good material. Rob Zombie, the lead singer of White Zombie who also has had a very successful solo career, moved into film making in the early 2000's. His early pictures, House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects, were a throwback to old drive-in films before the faux-grindhouse film was even hip. Now in 2016, he has returned to his horror film roots with the new exploitation horror film simply entitled 31.

When a group of carnival employees head off to the next gig, their way is blocked. A group of Halloween scarecrows sit in the middle of the road. Getting out of their RV to examine, they soon are kidnapped and brought to a large industrial building where they are entered into a game entitled 31. On the run from a group of psychopath killers, they are told one thing. If they can survive the night, they will be granted their freedom and also their lives.

After unsuccessfully having some other films brought to fruition, Rob Zombie opened up a crowd funding page for his new film, 31. As a result, the film was almost entirely funded by horror fans. Set in 1976, and with a throwback feeling, with subtext of the exploitation of the poor, the film received fairly good reviews by critics. The question is would the fans agree. Dark Discussions talks about this new film by one of horror's most talked about filmmakers.

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Episode 221 - Dan Lench Focus: 2015's Circle (Redux)

Back in November of 2015, co-host Philip discovered a new video-on-demand science fiction film entitled Circle had been released. After recommending it to co-host Eric, the two convinced the crew to do an episode on this little film that had to say a lot.  It talks about society, social structure, and the human psyche in, if not an original way, a very unique way. A group of strangers find themselves locked away in a dark room with each standing on a orange-red circle upon the floor. Get off, you die. But more horrific, every two minutes you have to vote a person to die; if you don't, someone randomly dies a horrifying death. The film asks, what would you do?

With episode 209 of Dark Discussions released, actor Dan Lench, playing the oddly titled character Rich Man, heard the episode and not only gave feedback but twittered the link to the show to his followers. Soon, his agent, Lisa Berman, did the same. Dark Discussions reached out to Dan and asked him to appear on the show so we could not only learn about him, but for him to give us his comments about the film as well as give us more details on its production.

Things learned include behind-the-scenes facts such as how the soundstage was made, its location was in the same building as a Chinese laundry, an actor on the final day (having been on the Broadway stage production of the Lion King) sang a magical song, how parts were cast, and how Dan himself almost lost his role to the biggest star of the film! Get ready for a unique episode of the podcast and meet the great, funny, and talented Mr. Dan Lench.

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Episode 214 - 2016 Genre Review

Okay, a new year has arrived and now being mid-January, the first genre films have reached theaters and VOD. Films like Body, The Forest, and The Boy have had their January release. Yet going forward, more films are already on their way including some big budget flicks, independent cinema, as well as festival films that are now making it to wide release.

Do you like super heroes? Well some humongous films (both DC and Marvel) are coming. Zack Snyder's Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil Wars, Doctor Strange, Deadpool, and Suicide Squad are only a handful. Sequels and reboots? How about Star Wars: Rogue One, The Conjuring 2, Independence Day: Resurgence, Godzilla: Resurgence, and Annabelle 2 to name a few. New festival circuit horror? Films like Vvitch, February, and the Devil's Candy are coming. And intense thrillers? They include Triple 9, The Green Room, and Jack Reacher 2.

As co-host Mike has said, many of the best films to come we may not even know yet. Independent flicks, low budget horror, and foreign films just appear on VOD or theaters and overwhelm everyone. What is the next Ex Machina, These Final Hours, or It Follows? Dark Discussions tries to figure out all this while giving their thoughts on what we know. Get a pen and paper ready and start writing down the titles we go through.

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Episode 213 - 2015 Year in Review

2015 is over and depending on your viewpoint with horror and genre films, it was a great year or a good year. It certainly wasn't a bad year. Films, with their variety, seemed to have something for everyone. We got disaster movies like San Andreas, post-apocalyptic films too, many being low budget like Z for Zachariah and These Final Hours, to big budget ones like Mad Max: Fury Road. Strong as always, the non-horror genre flicks such as science fiction, fantasy, and so forth were dominated by Hollywood while horror, as in recent years, has been more small budget and independent flicks, even with M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit.

Dark Discussions co-hosts saw numerous films with co-host Mike probably able to see the most. With seeing so many flicks, your co-hosts were able to compile their top 24 horror films of 2016 and their top 11 2016 other genre flicks (sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, mystery, exploitation, action). No matter what list we discuss, there were some obvious choices that appeared such as Star Wars, Mad Max, Jurassic World, It Follows, and The Martian. Some surprises too made the top of the lists including low profile flicks like Bone Tomahawk, Creep, Zombeavers, and Predestination. But some of the littlest of films roared to the top too, like Ex Machina or The Gift.

Other things discussed include a whole group of listener opinions, their top films, and what they thought of 2016. And your co-hosts also discuss some of the most prominent and successful scenes, characters, and stars from both the best and worst. What a year it was and with so many films to consider, listen up and see what the podcast has to say.

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