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Takashi Miike’s ‘Blade of the Immortal’ slices and dices, but it could use a trim

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Takashi Miike’s been one of the biggest shock jockeys of Japanese cinema for eons. Ichi the Killer (2001) was a high-splatter mark for lovers of extreme gore, and Miike’s output has been an extraordinary arterial gusher. Blade of the Immortal is billed as Miike’s hundredth film, and while one could quibble (glancing over his Wikipedia bio, I count somewhere in the mid-nineties), the fact is the guy’s made an astonishing number of films. And he’s only fifty-seven!

Blade of the Immortal finds Miike plying his grisly gonzo in the service of a long-running samurai manga. Is the legendary director finally in danger of becoming a hack, or does his blood-slicked blade cut through one more time?

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‘Mudbound’ is a fascinating, moving film

Roots

Mudbound is a fascinating, moving film from director Dee Rees. Set in the deep south during the forties, this adaptation of Hillary Jordan’s 2008 bestseller is deeply affecting but not without its own contradictions, a sprawling literary epic that feels somehow too contained.

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‘They Remain’ Provides Dread and Frustration


Starring William Harper Jackson and Rebecca Henderson, They Remain is about two scientists that are helicoptered into a remote location to study strange animal behavior and environmental changes where a Manson-style cult had committed a brutal atrocity. Director Philip Gelatt weaves themes of paganism, sci-fi, and horror into a dread-filled and beautifully shot film. It’s an effective slow burn thriller that works on every level, to a point.
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God’s Own Country

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Francis Lee’s debut feature God’s Own Country finds its soul in the rugged English countryside, bleak and affecting. Getting raves on the indie circuit, it’s a stark romance about a young farmer discovering his sexuality. But is it Brokeback UK, or is there more to it?

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31 Days of Horror: 78/52


The new documentary 78/52 dives deep into the technical aspects, meanings, anecdotes, and impact of Alfred Hitchcock’s notorious shower scene from his landmark 1960 film Psycho. (The film’s title refers to the 78 camera set ups and the 52 cuts in that scene.) Many industry luminaries lend their opinions and insights  in the film, like Peter Bogdanovich, Elijah Wood, Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Danny Elfman, Bret Easton Ellis, Mick Garris, Richard Stanley, and even Janet Leigh’s body double Marli Renfro.
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31 Days of Horror: Alone in the Dark (1982)

“All right, they’re crazy. Isn’t everybody?” – Dr. Leo Bain, Alone in the Dark

I’m a horror fan, but I’m not that crazy about slashers. That’s what makes 1982’s Alone in the Dark so special. Directed by Jack Sholder (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge), the film mixes black humor with genuine scares, both of which elevate it far above the average slasher.
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31 Days of Horror: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

This article is part of Biff Bam Pop’s ongoing “Now Streaming on Shudder” series.

The reputation of a horror film can often loom so large that even the thought of watching it elicits fear. Such is the case with Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. After years of hearing it was one of the most realistic and shocking cinematic depictions of a serial killer, I purposely avoided it.

After growing fond of Michael Rooker as an actor over the years, I was also worried that he would be so believable I wouldn’t be able to watch him in anything else. I finally got the nerve to tackle Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer a few weeks ago.
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The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

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Noah Baumbach knows families. Not feel-good crap or five-hankie manipulated drama. Baumbach families are a lot like the ones we share, with real awkwardness, back-handed affection and incidental trauma wound up together in the loving bonds of our flesh and blood. Despite its precious title, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) captures its titular extended clan with a disarmingly frank gaze. Debuting on Netflix today, it’s among Baumbach’s best films.

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31 Days of Horror: The Asphyx (1973)


Although reminiscent of the films in the Hammer Horror canon, The Asphyx was not made by that renowned studio, which makes this 1973 film an underrated curiosity from horror’s hallowed halls.
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31 Days Of Horror: Halloween III

The Halloween franchise is near and dear to my heart as Part 4 was just coming out at a time when I was jumping into horror with both feet. Michael was on the cover of Fangoria and I read my friend’s copy with much excitement. I was least familiar with Halloween since I’d only seen Part 2 on TV in pieces, but still I felt that The Return Of Michael Myers was a pretty big deal and I’d need to rent it the moment it hit my local video store. In the meantime, I had three other films to catch up on.
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