Extra Terrestrial Visitors (1983) [Blu-Ray/CD]

Full Disclosure: This title was purchased at our own discretion from Severin Films.

Wackiness ensues as an alien meteor housing crash lands in to a forest. Then there’s a weird little boy named Tommy who collects bugs all day. Then there’s a pop band that goes on vacation in the woods. And there’s an old couple in the woods living in a cabin. The aliens are now on the loose in the forest. And there are these armed poachers hungry to kill some animals. And then Tommy (Óscar Martín) finds an egg that he realizes is an unborn alien. Said alien, nicknamed “Trumpy,” is desperate to get back home. How will these hilarious storylines converge? Will Trumpy consume mankind?

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Influencer (2022)

One of the best things about “Influencer” is about how absolutely unprepared I was for it. I didn’t know what was getting in to with Kurtis David Harder’s film, as I knew almost nothing going in to “Influencer” and I ended up with what amounts to a pretty slick and tense crime thriller. “Influencer” is a movie that is absolutely disarming and completely out of left field, as director Kurtis David Harder successfully subverts a lot of expectations with thrillers of this ilk. The movie is set in a foreign, mysterious land, centered on two gorgeous American women that are traveling abroad. From that smaller concept, Harder uses this as a launch pad to introduce us to one of the more sociopathic and cunning movie villains that I’ve seen in years.

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You Have to See This! Shiva Baby (2020)

Streaming on Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max

It’s unreal that Emma Seligman is a newcomer director when watching “Shiva Baby.” She manages to build and introduce us to what is easily one of the most chaotic and absolutely uncomfortable movies I’ve ever seen. “Shiva Baby” is a master class in making its viewer absolutely uneasy and anxious as Seligman just revels in amping up the anxiety to every single bit of her narrative every minute. Seligman, despite making “Shiva Baby” her work of absolute love, is not one who ever lets her characters off the hook. Despite focusing the entirety of “Shiva Baby” on her central protagonist Danielle, Seligman has a great time making her squirm, panic, and just about heave in sheer horror as she twists the screws on her throughout “Shiva Baby.”

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Blame (2018)

It’s hard to believe that “Blame” is a debut feature, as Quinn Shephard manages to develop a drama that’s so richly layered and filled with so many themes about consent, sexual abuse, and the boundaries between mentors and their protégés. “Blame” is by no means a perfect drama, but as a debut it sure manages to be a compelling character study through and through. Quinn, who also writes, edits, and stars, manages to explore the whole dynamic involved in grooming and the inherent power play that arise from them. “Blame” is a lot about the idea of groomers and the entire interplay between adults and younger people that can tend to cross lines often.

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Women Talking (2022)

“What follows is an act of female imagination.”

Sarah Polley has always been a wonderful actress who turned in to an Oscar worthy director. It’s just a shame she’s yet to be recognized as one by the Academy. “Women Talking” is a potent indictment of modern civilization where women are gradually losing not only bodily autonomy, but the clear power to punish those that do harm to their bodies. “Women Talking” and its release does not seem like an accident, as Polley, a staunch activist manages to create a very tense tale of women grappling with their duties to themselves, their community, and their faith.

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Evil Dead Rise (2023)

Sam Raimi perfected the cabin in the woods formula with “The Evil Dead” and as a series it’s managed to grow and evolve in to something different but just as good. The new sequel to the “Evil Dead” series places us in to an urban setting now, turning a dilapidated apartment complex in to pure hell. It’s amazing what Lee Cronin pulls off, carrying the torch for Sam Raimi and turning this new setting in to an absolute hellscape for the Deadites. You can seriously sense Sam Raimi’s company had their hands in the development of “Evil Dead Rise,” as this sequel is everything we’ve come to expect from the franchise, only with just a little more spice added in.

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Martha (2019)

Director Christopher Haydon’s short film is both a compelling drama, and a rather captivating mystery. In its own way it’s a horror movie, but more a horror movie about loneliness, isolation, and repetition. The entirety of “Martha” is meant to be cryptic, as Haydon begins the film on a single scene of a woman sitting in a hall with a single red balloon.

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House of 1000 Corpses (2003): 20th Anniversary Edition [SteelBook] [Blu-ray/Digital]

Rob Zombie making his own horror films was only a matter of time. The rocker turned filmmaker has always implemented horror movies in to his music and general content, so “House of 1,000 Corpses” is a culmination of all that creativity. Suffice to say I wouldn’t particularly call “House of 1,000 Corpses” a masterpiece. It’s rough around the edges, and often times feels like a film school project more than a feature film. But there’s no denying Zombie has a real love for horror. Even more he has a real love for the characters he’s created, all of whom are a beautiful hodgepodge of various pop culture facets.

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