Pulse (Kairo) - Ghosts on the Internet
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“Pulse” (“Kairo”) (2001): A Creepy Modern Classic of Terror, Isolation, & Dread

The impersonality of modern society can lead some people to feel absolutely alone even when they are in the midst of a crowd. Writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa infuses this idea into his super creepy and disturbing modern horror tale Pulse (Kairo) (2001). Visitors to a mysterious website find themselves haunted by shadowy figures and subsequently lose […]

An injured woman lies on the floor and reaches up toward the camera pleading for help
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The Bird With the Crystal Plumage: A Near Perfect Giallo From the Genre’s Golden Age

Noted Italian director Dario Argento’s directorial debut, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (L’uccello Dalle Piume di Cristallo) (1970), is not the first giallo, but it is one of the prime examples of that genre. An American author in Rome witnesses an attempted murder in an art gallery, which may be tied to a serial […]

Madhouse
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“Madhouse” (1981): Unusual Giallo Featuring Death by Rottweiler

Madhouse (1981) is an unusual thriller that is a hybrid of an American slasher and an Italian giallo  and which features an unconventional murder weapon – a Rotweiller. A young teacher is frightened for her life when her deformed twin sister, who tormented her as a child, escapes from the local mental institution. Their twenty-fifth […]

Aylmer the monster from "Brain Damage"
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“Brain Damage” (1988): Social Commentary Served With Gore, Laughs, & A Brain-eating Monster

Writer/director Frank Henenlotter’s Brain Damage (1988) is a thoughtful and powerful exploration of the dangers of drug addiction. It also happens to be a gory horror-comedy featuring a singing, dancing, phallus-shaped, brain-eating monster. A young man awakens one day to find a strange creature somewhat attached to his body. The monster provides him with hits […]

Caltiki: The Immortal Monster - header
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“Caltiki: The Immortal Monster” (1959): Boring Blob but With Bits of Bava

There is a certain charm to 1950s low-budget monster flicks, though that charm can only take one so far. Caltiki: The Immortal Monster (1959) is an Italian riff on The Blob (1958). Scientists investigating possible causes for the fall of Mayan civilization discover a hidden cavern filled with treasure – and occupied by an amorphous […]

Dead or Alive: Final
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“Dead or Alive: Final” (2002): Lackluster Sequel Proves 3rd Time Is NOT the Charm

Sometimes, it can become painfully obvious when a filmmaker loses interest in a particular series. Dead or Alive: Final (2002), the third film in director Takashi Miike’s action series featuring Shô Aikawa and Riki Takeuchi, appears to suffer from lack of interest. Set 300 years from now in a run-down city in a post-apocalyptic world, […]

Dead or Alive - Jojima
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“Dead of Alive” (1999): Depravity, Violence, & Social Commentary

Director Takashi Miike is known for his often bizarre and violent films, but, as with George A. Romero’s zombies, the more exploitive aspects of Miike’s movies are generally in service to a broader social commentary. In Dead or Alive (1999), Miike throws his audience headfirst into the Tokyo underworld, where a gangster is waging a […]

Donnie Darko
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“Donnie Darko” (2001): Enigmatic & Slyly Funny Existential Classic

When it comes down to it, life and death can be quite funny, enigmatic, and hard to classify. The same can be said for writer/director Richard Kelly’s existential comedy, mystery, science fiction thriller Donnie Darko (2001). A teenage boy begins having disturbing visions, including ones of a six-foot skull-faced rabbit that tells him that the […]

House II: The Second Story
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“House II: The Second Story” (1987): Good-natured Comedy Sequel Swaps Horror for Adventure

Not all film sequels share strong ties to their predecessors. Sometimes, the only connection is thematic, resulting in an anthology-like feeling for the series. Such is the case with House II: The Second Story (1987), the sequel to the horror-comedy House (1985). House II: The Second Story takes the audience to a completely different haunted […]

Torture Garden
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“Torture Garden” (1967): A Horror Sideshow Where All the Acts Are Worth Catching

The fun thing with horror anthology films is that they are a bit like carnival sideshows – one is guaranteed to see a variety of oddities. Even if not all of the acts are hits, one almost always finds something one likes. With Amicus Productions’ Torture Garden (1967), director Freddie Francis and screenwriter Robert Bloch […]

The Creeping Flesh - Painting
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“The Creeping Flesh” (1973): Classic, Creepy, & Emotional Period Horror – With a Monster, Too

A healthy amount of fear is a good thing. It can help keep one out of dangerous situations and keep one focused. Unreasonable fear, on the other hand, can be a destructive force in one’s life. In director Freddie Francis’ The Creeping Flesh (1973), a man’s excessive fear leads to reckless actions and eventually tragic […]

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“Invasion of the Bee Girls” (1973): A Fun, Silly, & Sexy B-Movie (Bee Movie?)

Not all exploitation movies are created equal. While many are pure trash, there are those that are smarter than they need to be. Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973) (aka Graveyard Tramps) is one such gem. A small California town is experiencing a rash of strange deaths, men are being found dead from sexual exhaustion, […]