I've done reports on the After Dark horror series, the Asylum assembly line, and the monumentally moronic Maneater collection -- so I see nothing all that strange about throwing a little genre love towards Magnet's new Six-Shooter Series. (The only difference this time around is that we're going to be talking about GOOD genre films.)

To those who demand to know what the hell phrases like "Magnet Six-Shooter" mean, here's an explanation: Magnolia Films recently kick-started a genre-intensive division (called Magnet Releasing), and the guys are pretty psyched about their next six flicks. There, I've just demystified the phrase "Magnet Six-Shooter." You all owe me three dollars. And here's what's coolest about a six-flick genre series that's run by Magnolia Pictures: You'll actually get something EXOTIC out of the mix.

To use the finest example imaginable, it is Magnet Releasing that was lucky enough to land U.S. distribution rights for the stunningly awesome Let the Right One In, which is dazzling people all over the festival circuit. (And that was a great roll of the dice, as Magnolia grabbed it well before it was earning 5-star reviews across the board.) The film will open in limited release on October 24, but be sure to keep an eye out for the DVD as well. This flick is a keeper for sure.


The second film is a really strange yet entirely engaging fantasy / comedy called Special. I saw it two years ago at Sundance and was getting scared that nobody liked it enough to distribute it. Glad to say I was wrong. The film -- which stars Michael Rapaport as a nobody who slowly starts exhibiting "special" powers -- opens on November 21, although there will also be an on-demand option on November 7.

Next up is the wonderfully twisted Spanish thriller Timecrimes, which somehow combines slasher flicks and time travel into a movie so nifty it practically begs to be seen twice. Darling of several film festivals over the past twelve months, Timecrimes is scheduled for release some time in December. And yes, there are rumblings of an American remake, so be sure to see this one FIRST. (Actually, the same holds true for Let the Right One In.)

Then in January of next year we'll get that stylishly nihilistic UK chiller you've been hearing so much about: Donkey Punch. Suffice to say it's a cross between Scream and Dead Calm, only with more sex, gore, and profanity.

The fifth of the six shooters will be Franck Vestiel's Eden Log, which is sort of like a nightmare that Terry Gilliam might have if he went to bed directly after eating an entire stick of pepperoni. It's a bleakly fascinating and visually impressive little subterranean nightmare -- and while it's not precisely a horror flick, I still dug it.

And closing out the Six-Shooter Series in February will be the undeniably insane Japanese import known as Big Man Japan -- a film so wacky it inspired Alamo chief Tim League to schedule a super-secret screening the minute he got his hands on a print. It's a faux-doco about a normal man who swells to the size of a stadium whenever a new giant monster invades his homeland. Yes, seriously, that's what it's about.

And no, I don't have stock in Magnolia / Magnet. Matter of fact, each of these films (save the first one) were distributor-less when I happened to see them. (Is it my fault that the Mag buyers have such good taste?) Oh, and here's one more: It's not part of the Six-Shooter Series, but in late October, Magnet will offer a solid little bio-horror flick called Splinter. And yeah, I dug that one too. (Just to prove I'm not a Magnolia shill: I recently saw their upcoming DVD release Return to Sleepaway Camp -- and it's hilariously bad, accent on hilarious.)

So with Lionsgate seemingly sick of the horror business (aside from the Saw movies, of course), I say it's time we begin to look elsewhere for consistently impressive genre fare. (I still love Lionsgate and all, but it's tough to adore a distrbutor that treats The Midnight Meat Train, Dance of the Dead, Repo! The Genetic Opera, and The Burrowers so lamely.) At this point I find myself strangely attracted to Magnet, which is weird because as far as I know I'm not made of metal.