Double Decker: Doug and Kiril is from the same studio and creative team who brought us Tiger and Bunny – a series that I’ve only seen in part, back when Neon Alley was a Thing That Existed. So, I can say, with a degree of confidence, that you need to know nothing about Tiger & Bunny to get into this series.

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When I heard about the upcoming release of Gundam NT (or Gundam Narrative) the thought I had coming in was that the film was going to be the kickoff point for the next chapter of the saga of the Universal Century. That, after the conclusion of Gundam Unicorn set up something of a new status quo, this would start a series of films that would basically lay the groundwork for eventually reaching F91, Crossbone Gundam, and Victory Gundam.

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These past few years have been interesting for anime and manga re-imaginings of Tokusatsu series. There’s been the Netflix Godzilla anime series of films, there was the Ultraman short that was part of the Japan Animator Expo, and there’s the Ultraman reboot manga that is also getting adapted to an anime this year (2019). And there’s S.S.S.S. Gridman, from Studio Trigger in a co-production with Tsuburaya Productions, based on the live-action Gridman: The Hyper Agent from the ’90s (released in the US as Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad).

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When it comes to horror and documentaries, in the sense of horror films that are deliberately planned to be documentaries, you have two main stripes represented by two big names. On one hand, you have Legend of Boggy Creek, a historical reenactment heavy documentary about a Texarkana cryptid that effectively recounts a variety of local myths and legends in an uncritical manner. On the other hand, there’s Haxan, the film I’m covering today, which is not only a very early work in the documentary genre, it’s also a work that is also very critical of historical accounts of witchcraft.

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Roger Corman is widely recognized as a producer who launched the careers of numerous writers, actors, and future directors. He’s also widely recognized as a producer who churned out numerous exploitation films of a wide variety of stripes almost like clockwork, on the cheap, and without much concern about the craft.

This leads to the problems with Humanoids from the Deep. Part of this film is a very well done horror creature feature, with incredibly suspensefully shot sequences, and is a film that is willing to straight up kill off a kid and several dogs very early in the film. It’s also a film where Roger Corman decided to fire the film’s original director, Barbara Peeters, because he wanted the film’s rape scenes to be more explicit – so he handed those sequences off to the second unit director, and the film is lesser because of this. (more…)

It’s been a while since I watched what I’d call a “Weird Japan” movie – a Japanese film with a degree of creativity and un-reality that is uncommon in Western cinema – and indeed is generally rejected outright in Western independent cinema (see Dogme ’95 and Ethan Hawke’s comments about superhero films). Instead, these films openly embrace science fiction, fantasy, and horror concepts in a way that Western independent cinema (outside of horror) fails to do.

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Invoking the name of Sherlock Holmes sets a lot of expectations for a series. It sets the expectations that your series is going to be a mystery series, where the way the mysteries will be solved will be through the detective using deductive reasoning and through keen powers of observation – and also that the detective will have an audience-perspective sidekick who is intelligent and perceptive, but not as much as the detective. Holmes of Kyoto is, occasionally, that. However, just as much of the time, it’s a relationship drama, and not necessarily a well-executed relationship drama. (more…)

The Visitor is a very different animal where Italian horror films are concerned. It’s not a giallo or an offshoot of giallo like The Black Cat or Argento’s Three Mothers series. It’s not a zombie film at the least. I’d describe it as fitting closer to Italian Satanic horror films – films inspired by or seeking to mimic Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, The Omen, and other similar films. These films rely less on plot cohesion and more on mood and tone. It doesn’t quite matter if the motivations of the characters are clearly spelled out or the narrative beats are coherent so long as the emotional beats are. (more…)

Altered Space is something of a horror film that isn’t quite a horror film. In a way, it’s difficult to describe – this is my first time watching a film by Ken Russell, but his reputation has preceded him. Specifically, his reputation for psychedelic, religious, and psychosexual imagery. All of those things are present in Altered Space in spades – with subject matter that is fundamentally horrific but is never presented in that manner. (more…)

Almost 20 years after Dario Argento released the middle installment of his “Three Mothers Trilogy” he made the final installment of the series – Mother of Tears. As with most series that take this long between installments, there is a sense that what you’ll get with the final installment can never live up to what expectations you’ve set for it. However, even then, Mother of Tears is particularly disappointing. (more…)

One of the interesting things I like about the boom of interest in Exploitation film after Grindhouse, along with the rise of DVDs as a media format is the rise of the Trailer DVD – a DVD chock full of trailers for various exploitation films from the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. They make for a great snapshot of a moment in time, showcasing both how films were sold (and what you could get away with in trailers), along with the movies being sold. (more…)

One of the issues with modern horror films, particularly those with a human antagonist, is the filmmakers feel the need to give a grounding to their villain’s methods that they feel believable, and they have the same need to make the protagonists just unlikeable enough that when bad things happen to them, things don’t feel overly cruel. The problem is that when this goes wrong it comes across to a degree like victim-blaming – and leads to a toxic message like the one put forward in your standard ’80s slasher film. Don’t Breathe manages to avoid that – barely. This review will contain a few spoilers. (more…)

Suspiria was what I’d describe as one of the best films Dario Argento ever made, with a tremendous visual esthetic, particularly through the use of color in the film, combined with the excellent score by Goblin. So, it’s not surprising that Dario made a semi-spiritual sequel. The second film, Inferno, introduced the thematic series that Argento named “The Three Mothers” trilogy, with the films based around three witches drawn from Thomas De Quincey’s Suspiria de ProfundisInferno aims to basically be “like Suspiria but more so,” but it doesn’t quite work. (more…)