Consumer (2023) [Chattanooga Film Festival 2024]

So Long and Thanks for All the Dangerous Visions Shorts Block

I wish we could have gotten a longer format version of “Consumer,” as Matthew Fisher’s horror tale is ripe for feature film potential. “Consumer” watches like a segment from “Creepshow” even packing in a wonderful synthesized score by Bethany Farnsworth, respectively. I loved the low tech, mid-eighties revenge tale that director Fisher creates, as it’s old fashioned enough, but never feels dated, or dull.

It works well within its short run time and offers some scary ambiguity in the end.

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Moon Garden (2023)

It truly is remarkable what Ryan Stevens Harris has brought to the film world with “Moon Garden.” In a year packed with big films, “Moon Garden” will definitely sneak up on audiences. It deserves a massive crowd of film goers as it’s one of the finest fantasy films I’ve seen in years. A surefire mix of Neil Gaiman, Guillermo Del Toro, and Mike Mignola, “Moon Garden” is an absolute masterpiece about the loss of innocence and a little girl’s quest to make it back home. I knew “Moon Garden” was something special going in, but I never thought it’d end up being such an emotional, heart wrenching, and inventive fantasy gem from beginning to end.

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Dark Whispers, Volume 1 (2019) [Final Girls Berlin Festival]

Megan Riakos’s anthology “Dark Whispers” touts itself as a horror film with tales directed solely by women. The last film “XX” that explored the concept was a swing a miss, so I had my doubts this time. Thankfully “Dark Whispers, Volume 1” is a very good anthology with some outstanding horror shorts that often feels episodic like “Vault of Horror” and “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie.” The gallery of female filmmakers on display here are all sharp storytellers, and bring something new and unique to the table that frighten while also evoking genuine emotions every now and then.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

Tim Burton hasn’t been delivering on quality as he once was, so it’s become a rare occasion that he’s able to deliver on something genuinely entertaining. “Miss Peregrime’s” is one of the darkest Burton films ever directed, and while it’s touted toward children, it definitely skirts the edges quite often. That’s mainly due to the creepy villains that make a point of eating children’s eyes, amounting to some of the most horrific material in an otherwise darkly fantastic drama.

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Midnight Kiss (1993)

There’s probably a very good reason why “Midnight Kiss” has never seen a DVD or Blu-Ray release, and that’s because it’s very much a cheesy nineties horror movie lacking any kind of focus. Sometimes it’s an erotic thriller, sometimes it’s a gory vampire movie, and other time it even dips in to something of a vigilante superhero movie. Fans of vampire flicks will hate its soapy late night cable porn aesthetic, while fans of erotic thrillers will dislike the gory vampire tale that ensues. I’m not sure who will enjoy the vigilante vampire cop aspect, but that’s only some of the problems behind this movie.

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Dreamscape (1984): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

Between Joseph Ruben’s “Dreamscape” and Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” arriving at just about the same time, 1984 had a keen insight in to dreams and transforming it in to compelling entertainment. Whereas the latter film is a dark horror masterpiece, “Dreamscape” is its own kind of cinematic offering. It’s an entertaining and often intelligent look in to dreams that opts more for dark fantasy with a hint of adventure. It also sparks allusions, however coincidental, Craven’s film featuring dream demons and a villain who in one instance conjures up blades from his fingers to attack hero Alex Gardner. Despite the coincidence, it’s fun to imagine these films are kind of working within the same universe.

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