Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Audible Review: Cabal by Clive Barker

Originally released in 1988, Cabal is one of Clive Barker’s most well known stories because it was the basis for the cult classic film Nightbreed. The protagonist Boon is “a tortured soul haunted by the conviction that he has committed atrocious crimes.” According to the synopsis, “In a necropolis in the wilds of Canada, he seeks refuge and finds the last great creatures of the world – the shape-shifters known as the Nightbreed. They are possessed of unearthly powers-and so is Boone. In the hunt for Boone, they too will be hunted. Now only the courage of this strange human can save them from extinction. And only the undying passion of a woman can save Boone from his own corrupting hell…” Cabal is an inventive story, featuring wildly imaginative characters, and it has some of the most exquisite and poetic writing I’ve ever encountered.

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Movie Review: Holiday Hell

Just when I thought I had my fill of horror anthologies, Holiday Hell comes along. This Christmas-themed film stars the wonderful Jeffrey Combs as a shopkeeper who entertains a curious customer with the terrifying tales behind specific items he has for sale. Collectively, these stories comprise this entertaining movie. Aside from Combs, Joel Murray steals the show with his incredible performance as an alcoholic who is down on his luck in a variety of ways. I was completely enthralled by his performance, which was nuanced and emotive. Murray is an exceptional actor who deserves much more attention for his stellar work.

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Dionne Warwick Releases New Christmas Album

Dionne Warwick, my favorite female vocalist, is back with her second Christmas album, which is appropriately titled Dionne Warwick & The Voices of Christmas. This collection of 12 songs is comprised of 10 duets and two solo tracks by Dionne that begin and conclude the album. I positively adored Dionne’s first Christmas album, My Favorite Time of The Year, when it was released in 2004 and it was a day-one purchase for me. Dionne Warwick & The Voices of Christmas is an excellent follow-up holiday album that features Dionne tackling songs she’s never recorded before, as well as approaching ones she has from a new angle. As for those she sings with, you can expect to hear Johnny Mathis, Aloe Blacc, Michael McDonald, and others. All of the arrangements are slickly produced with the vocalists front-and-center in the mix, as they should be, making for a highly enjoyable early Christmas present.

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Movie Review: Nightmare Cinema

I’ve watched many horror anthologies over the past month or so, including Creepshow (the movies and the new Shudder series), American Horror Story: 1984, All Hallows’ Eve, and Nightmare Cinema, which is coming to Shudder on October 29.

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Shudder: November Highlights

It’s crazy to think that this time next week it will be November 1. October is flying by and Halloween is almost upon us. If you’re looking for Halloween to last all year long, Shudder has you covered. Below are highlights of the exclusives, originals, and new content that’s being released all month long in November. The addition that excites me the most is Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, which is my favorite movie of all time. The premise, acting, and score are excellent. This film was ahead of its time, and it still holds up to this day. Make sure to add it to your to-watch list, along with all of the other great content coming to Shudder in November.

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Joe Bob’s Red Christmas Coming December 13

Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thrillers and the supernatural, announced today that Joe Bob Briggs, host of The Last Drive-In, will return on December 13 with an all-new special, Joe Bob’s Red Christmas. The triple feature of holiday horrors will stream live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Shudder in the U.S. and Canada. It will also be made available on demand later in December. The special will be Briggs’ second of the year, following Joe Bob’s Halloween Hootenanny, which premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Shudder in the U.S. and Canada.

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Movie Review: Haunt

Debuting on Shudder on October 24, Haunt is written and directed by the team that brought us A Quiet Place and it was produced by Eli Roth. This 90-minute horror film is a Shudder exclusive, and it’s not for the faint of heart. This movie is about a group of young people trapped in a frightening haunted house, and it is replete with disturbing and gory imagery. It is a genuinely scary scenario, and the tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife. If you can handle the SAW movies or anything Eli Roth has done, then you’ll do fine with Haunt. The acting is solid, and the score is foreboding. The editing doesn’t hold anything back, so get ready to say to yourself or a friend, “What did I just see happen?” numerous times, as the deaths in Haunt are a punch to the gut. For big-time horror fans like myself, this is an enjoyable, pulse-pounding adventure that is worth watching.

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Review: Untitled Goose Game

When I heard about and saw a video of Untitled Goose Game for Nintendo Switch, I knew I had to check it out. First off, the name is great. Second, you get to play as a goose that causes all kinds of trouble for humans. What’s not to love?! Think of it like Hitman but with a goose, and you’re not killing people – you’re just driving them crazy! You get to pull pranks, steal people’s items, honk at them, and much more. The art style is beautiful, and the music is a character all its own. Untitled Goose Game is a charming experience that everyone should play. Whether you’re playing alone or laughing along with a friend as one of you causes havoc, Untitled Goose Game is a unique breath of fresh air that will stay with you for a long time.

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Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered

It’s October and there’s no better way to celebrate the Halloween season than by firing up Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered for Nintendo Switch, which is an updated version of the original game that was released 10 years ago. One thing to keep in mind is this is a remaster, not a remake. So, the only major improvement is that the graphics have been given a facelift. Everything looks great in HD, and the developers continue to work on updates to improve the experience. Since Harold Ramis passed away in 2014, fans won’t get a true Ghostbusters 3 movie featuring the original cast. However, this game is just as good as Ghostbusters 3 because it was written by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. Better yet, it’s set in the early 1990s and it features all of the original Ghostbusters, as well as some memorable supporting characters voiced by the original actors, including Annie Potts and Max von Sydow. When you start the game, you’ll see that it’s dedicated to the memory of Harold Ramis, which is a nice touch, and it is filled from start to finish with fan service. If you love the Ghostbusters, you need to get this game. We’re not going to get Ghostbusters 3 with the original cast, but this is an excellent substitute.

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Spectacular Opening Night For Come From Away

Last night, Come From Away, Broadway’s Tony award-winning musical made its debut in Philadelphia. Running from October 22-November 3, Come From Away is an incredibly moving, powerful, and satisfying show that had the audience crying, laughing, and clapping along throughout its tight runtime of one hour and forty minutes. Come From Away is about 7,000 stranded passengers whose airplanes were forced to land in Newfoundland on September 11, 2001 because of the terrorist attacks that took place. While the subject matter is sad, this musical is not a downer. Sure, there are some somber moments but, overall, the music is upbeat, increadly melodic, and infectious as can be. It was met with a well-deserved and thunderous standing ovation at the end, and the entire audience left the theater smiling from ear to ear. It is an excellent production of a wonderful musical that no one should miss.

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