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Holiday Hack’em Ups on VRV!

It’s that time of the year again when there isn’t a single holiday worth a damn in sight. July 4th is a distant memory, the fall and winter festivities are a dot on the horizon, and does anybody really care about Labor Day? But hey, it’s always a murder holiday in our hearts, and in the realm of horror, the holidays have long played host to murder…

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Epilogue of a Lonely Man: Light Sleeper (1992)

“You start to see the connections between what they call luck and what we call grace. You start to see what they’re struggling for is some kind of divine magic that will protect them. That’s not different from a kind of spiritual longing.”

Part of Paul Schrader’s “man in a room” trilogy, Light Sleeper (1992) tracks the wanderings and goings-on of insomniac John LeTour, played by Willem Dafoe. The film, more of a tone poem, revels in nostalgia, from the melancholic soundtrack to the shots of a dirty decrepit New York. The film tracks LeTour as he delivers drugs to young white yuppies, but unlike other dramas dealing with drugs and the trajectory of street level dealers during the 1990s there is nothing celebratory or manic about the story’s presentation. LeTour, like many of Paul Schrader’s characters is Bressonian in psychology, alienated, isolated, and in spiritual conflict with himself.

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Expectations Vs. Reality: Hunter x Hunter

In a world where anime is bigger than ever… one woman hasn’t actually seen much of it.

Can she successfully piece together the premise of a popular series based on knowledge she’s absorbed from being online? Or will she endure the shame of believing that there is a talking dog which merely turns out to be an extremely hairy man?

Placing a poll on Twitter dot com, she puts her fate in the hands of the many. Whatever show they choose, she is honor-bound to describe what she thinks she knows, watch several episodes, and compare her knowledge to the cold truth.

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My Brother, My Brother, and My Original Character, Do Not Steal: MBMBaM’s Top Ten OCs

My Brother, My Brother and Me (MBMBaM for short) is an “advice show for the modern era.” But that doesn’t quite get across the charm, hilarity, and heart of the podcast run by the three McElroy brothers, Justin, Travis, and Griffin—or its television counterpart, which is available in its entirety right here!

Of all the gags and goofs MBMBaM has generated over its long run, my favorites are the characters the McElroys happen to develop in totally unexpected ways. Some of them are recurring, while most are one-offs. There are too many to count, so in a celebration of comic creativity, I give you my highly scientific top ten McElroy original characters.

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Barf Bags Not Included: Italian Zombies Invade VRV!

Zombies: I’m sick of them, you’re sick of them. The only thing that could possibly make me cringe harder than a zombie is a pirate — and if you make a zombie pirate joke, I will stand up and walk away. But it’s not just a mere case of overexposure. They’ve become too safe; they’ve become Sunday night TV with the fam. And zombie movies should be like porn: you watch them alone or with a group of like-minded companions, but never with your family.

Frankly, they belong in the gutter. I like the gutter, you like the gutter. The Italians, they LOVE the gutter. Pick any disreputable film genre, and the Italians have not only dragged it down into the gutter, but tossed a bucket of maggots on top and bathed it in an overturned port-a-potty. They’re a beautiful people.

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No Matter Where You Go, Everyone’s Connected…Serial Experiments Lain (1998)

Made during the sci-fi anime renaissance, Serial Experiments Lain (1998) is a hodgepodge of 90’s tropes that, even 20 years later, is still relevant.  The first of Yoshitoshi ABe’s cyberpunk projects and directed by Ryūtarō Nakamura, the series revolves around Lain Iwakura, a typical middle school girl living in suburbia. Representative of most 90’s thrillers and sci-fi dystopias, Lain slowly starts to become undone as a shadow organization working for something called the “Wired”, a Matrix-esque version of the internet, that is slowly bleeding into the real world.

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Hope, Change, and Monsters: The Legacy of Digimon Adventure

I’ll be honest—when I first encountered Digimon Adventure during its original US broadcast, I had the same response as a lot of kids: “what a ripoff!” While the animation was eye-catching, it seemed like a much slower-paced story than I was used to, you had to follow it closely to know what was happening, and the monster designs weren’t always cute—sometimes they were downright scary. But I gave it a chance, because back then we didn’t have Crunchyroll or Cartoon Hangover. We didn’t have much choice—we just hunkered down in front of the TV every Saturday morning, scarfing down a bowl of sugary cereal and dutifully watched whatever cartoons happened to be on the air.

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Midnight Void: I Drink Your Blood

Hippies, man, with their crummy homemade deodorants and annoying bongos and jam bands with songs that never end (and don’t even get me started on the various hemp products). You know what happens to hippies in The Midnight Void? They get rabies. That’s right, and if you’ve never seen a hippy with rabies, well then that means you’ve never seen…

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The Better Angels of Our Nature: Haibane Renmei (2002)

Beginning life as a short-lived dōjinshi before being adapted into an anime, Haibane Renmei (2002) is a story about loss, pain, and redemption couched in Christian symbolism and a complex mythology. Set in the walled off town of Glie, the world is populated by humans who live in the town proper, the Haibane, angel-like humans with wings and a halo, and from outside the walls, the Toga, a group of mute traders who is the only group that can move in and out of the town freely. For bookworms the show is replete with references to the work of Japanese author Haruki Murakami. From the concept of a walled off city, animals as guides towards epiphany or transformation, the site of a well being an important setting, and the magical realist aesthetic all make Haibane Renmei a cousin to Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World or The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

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Freakazoid! A Lesson in Internet History

Way way back in the 1990s, Bruce Timm and Paul Dini created a cartoon about a superhero. No, not that one. In contrast to the Caped Crusader’s brooding pathos, this was to be an off-the-wall comedy. While Timm and Dini wanted a straight superhero show, Steven Spielberg—coming off the success of Warner Brothers’ Animaniacs—wanted another comedy. Thus was born Freakazoid!

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Habit Forming, Mind Controlling, Life Absorbing: The Films of Larry Cohen on VRV!

Larry Cohen is a genre unto himself. A movie is no longer horror, comedy, action, or thriller when Larry Cohen is involved, it’s simply a Larry Cohen film. Who is Larry Cohen? Why do I insist on writing “Larry Cohen” over and over?

Larry Cohen is a writer. Larry Cohen is a producer. Larry Cohen is a director. Often, but not always, Larry Cohen is all three at once. Starting out in television in the early 1960s, he created The Invaders, Branded, and Coronet Blue (which heavily inspired The Bourne Identity), while simultaneously cranking out scripts for the top shows of the era, such as The Defenders and The Fugitive. In 1972 he made his directorial debut with Bone aka Dial Rat for Terror, a scorching racial satire about a black thief/rapist invading the home of an upper-class white family in Beverly Hills. It also contains a scene where someone slips on a banana peel.

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Midnight Void – Prom Night II: Hello Mary Lou

Canada: a country best known for its free Medicare, hunky Prime Minister, maple syrup porn, and, during the ’70s and ’80s, a much-abused film industry tax incentive program that sent The Great White North spiraling into a little place we like to call… The Midnight Void.

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Dracula Cage Match!

Start unpacking the decorations and stocking up on candy—because folks, there are less than five months to Halloween.

As we approach the spook season, one’s thoughts turn naturally to the creatures of the night. The mind ruminates on Frankensteins, goblins, killer tomatoes, and so on. But on what does it linger? Only the most sinister, mysterious, and alluring of monsters: Count Dracula.

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Second Look, Second Chances: Repo! The Genetic Opera

Did you know that over a dozen films come out every year? That means that even if you saw a movie a month, you wouldn’t see them all. And it only gets worse when you consider that movies have been around for exactly fifty years, which means there’s another 600 movies to catch up on! Now that’s a lotta movies, film buffs!

With that many motion pictures, some are bound to fall through the cracks and fail to achieve the kinds of success their creators dreamed of. Today I’d like to revisit one of those movies. So come with me on a journey through time to a land I call 2008.