If you’ve ever seen an Ulli Lommel film you know that there is a certain subject matter that he loves to tackle. That subject, in case you were wondering, is real life serial killers. Per IMDB, Lommel has 60 titles under his belt as director. Of those 60 titles you’ll find the likes of D.C. Sniper, Manson Family Cult, Baseline Killer, Son of Sam, Curse of the Zodiac, Black Dahlia, Green River Killer, B.T.K. Killer and Zodiac Killer. All of these movies are somewhat based on either a real life serial killer or a real life crime. Are these films all accurate to the true crimes that inspired them? I’m guessing not, but I haven’t seen many of them so I can’t really be the judge of that. I do find it incredibly interesting however, that Lommel keeps drinking from the same well. Now all the films I listed are pretty recent, haven been released from 2005 onward, but if we jump all the way back to 1973 we learn that this isn’t a new fascination of Lommel’s.
In 1973 Lommel directed his third and arguably best film, Tenderness of the Wolves. Much like his recent work, this effort was based on a real life serial killer named Fritz Haarmann who terrorized Germany for a 6 year period in the early 1900’s. In the film world Haarmann is likely more known for being one of the 3 German serial killers that served as inspiration for Fritz Lang’s masterpiece M, but here Lommel does a better job actually focusing on the heinous crimes committed by the man known as The Butcher of Hanover. And I assure you, they were quite heinous.
Tenderness of the Wolves is one of those movies that isn’t overly graphic but it kind of feels filthy. It just has a nasty darkness to it and why wouldn’t it? Fritz (Kurt Raab) is one of the most sadistic individuals to ever live and have his story adapted to film. In Lommel’s take on the story, written by the film’s star Raab, Fritz has a special relationship with the police. Basically he watches over the train station and chases off anyone who loiters there. First he just makes them leave but if they keep coming back he eventually arrests them. At least that’s what the police think.
In reality most of those hanging out at the train station are young boys who are running away from home. Fritz takes them back to his place by seducing them and then kills them. He drinks their blood and chops them up. Some of the body parts go into a nearby river and the rest are sold to local restaurants. See Fritz doesn’t only work with the police but he also works in the black market selling meat. Oh and he also runs a variety of scams with his partner Hans (Jeff Roden). Fritz most certainly lives an interesting life.
Fritz is a scary individual in large part due to the fact that he doesn’t seem like a scary individual. At first glance he may seem a little odd, but for the most part harmless. Most of his neighbors know him as someone with a good heart. He works with the police, goes out of his way to assist troubled youth and gives the local restaurants good deals on meat. On the surface he’s the type of guy you want in your community. Not everyone thinks so fondly of him, however. Some neighbors have their concerns.
Fritz isn’t living one secret life but rather multiple secret lives. Not only does he have this violent murderous side, but he’s also a gay man. This is a gay man in the early 1900’s. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that couldn’t have been easy. I wouldn’t say Fritz is completely open about his sexuality, but he doesn’t really keep it a secret either. He’s sort of in this weird in between stage. My guess is he wants to be more open but society doesn’t allow it. Fritz and Hans have a relationship that is sexual, but Hans also hooks up with various girls and makes fun of Fritz in public for liking boys.
The connection Fritz and Hans share is one of the most fascinating aspects of the film. Fritz is able to manipulate his victims and yet throughout it all Hans seems to do the same to him. Hans comes off as a straight man willing to sleep with Fritz in exchange for money and a place to stay. Fritz clearly sees it as something more serious. He loves Hans.
Tenderness of the Wolves isn’t your typical narrative. You don’t get any backstory that goes into detail about what caused Fritz to kill. The film is more like a snap shot in the life of a serial killer, a look at the last stretch of killing before Fritz is finally caught and arrested. Like most films based on true stories I expected this to be a pretty big exaggeration of the truth, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Raab seemed to do his research when writing the script. After watching the film I did some reading up on the real life Fritz Haarmann and I think Tenderness of the Wolves is a pretty accurate telling of what happened. And that’s the truly scary part.
Tenderness of the Wolves is out now on Blu-ray from Arrow Films.
We have a new clip from Twentieth Century Fox’s own version of Frankenstein, based on the 1818 Marry Shelley novel, which is being resurrected this Thanksgiving (November 25th, 2015).
In this footage from Victor Frankenstein, James McAvoy has a candid chat with a religious figure who appears fearful that Victor’s experiments could have an adverse effect on his beliefs.
Harry Potter, Horns and The Woman In Black‘s Daniel Radcliffe stars as the newest Igor, the hunchback assistant to Dr. Frankenstein.
“Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) and his equally brilliant protégé Igor Strausman (Daniel Radcliffe) share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But Victor’s experiments go too far, and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation. ”
Victor Frankenstein, directed by Paul McGuigan, also stars Mark Gatiss, Jessica Brown Findlay and Andrew Scott.
After summoning a demon from the Necronomicon (who looks incredibly cool in action), Ash and team follow a clue from the demon Eligos, but Kelly pays a price. Also in next week’s “Ash vs Evil Dead”, episode 104, ‘Brujo,’ Ruby helps Fisher and reveals her family’s connection to the Evil Dead.
Check out this new clip from this Saturday’s “Ash vs Evil Dead” in which Ash, Pablo, and Kelly are pursued by Evil in the Delta.
Now that we’re nearly a third of the way through the inaugural season, I think it’s safe to say “Ash vs Evil Dead” has exceeded expectations. The 30-minute episodes provide perfect pacing and allow for non-stop action. And the violence? Holy shit. I still can’t believe some of the stuff they’ve shown on television. The main thing I keep thinking to myself is, “I can’t wait to binge the first nine episodes leading up to the finale.”
Legend tells of an indie developer who, after realizing it’d be a super cool idea if someone made a video game inspired by the slasher film genre, set out to do just that. That developer was Elastic Games, and come December, it will have been a full year since they raised about $86k to fund a horror fan’s dream project called Last Year.
Last Year is an asymmetrical multiplayer horror game that’s headed to PC next fall. In it, a team of five teen archetypes must work together to survive an entire night with a masked murderer who’s exclusively interested in poking people with sharp objects.
As if $86k in public support wasn’t enough to show how badly the world needs a game like Last Year, the two big donations they’ve received in the last 5-6 months ought to do the trick. Elastic might’ve had to invest in some elastic pockets to make room for the gargantuan $260k investment they secured from the Canada Media Fund this summer, as well as the $17k they received this week from Epic Games.
Epic is the creator of Gears of War, a franchise that doubled as an incredibly effective commercial for the Unreal Engine. In an effort to get more developers to use their engine, Epic launched a program to that rewards the most promising Unreal-powered projects with money that I like to think gets crammed into a briefcase that’s been handcuffed to an Epic intern so it can be hand-delivered to a sleep-deprived developer. Or something like that.
“I’m extremely proud to share that Epic Games, creator of the Unreal Engine, has contributed $17,000 USD towards the development of Last Year,” reads a celebratory post on the Last Year Kickstarter page.
“The team at Epic has been keeping an eye on Last Year and it’s incredible to have such a powerhouse developer backing us with their support. We’ve been fairly quiet about our tech and engine plans till now but I’m happy to say with Last Year you’ll be seeing Unreal 4 pushed to the fullest extent. I want to express a huge thank you to the team at Epic for their continued support and believing in us.”
I really haven’t given enough attention to Gray Dawn, even though I was made aware of it two months ago by a friend who referred to it as “a horror game about a priest and his altar boy.” That unnecessarily brief synopsis set me up for an entirely different game. Alas, there’s no scathing cultural commentary to be had here.
Set in 1910 Sweden, Gray Dawn follows a priest who’s been accused of murdering an altar boy he had tried, and failed, to perform an exorcism on. The demon did it, obvs. I suspect it was either Belial or Angry Freddy Krueger, but I’ll need to dust off my copy of Diablo III — for research — before I can be sure of who, or what, is behind this.
To learn more about this promising new indie horror game, check it out on Facebook.
Daniel Kaluuya (Sicario), pictured above, has been locked down as the lead male in Jordan Peele’s upcoming horror film Get Out, according to Deadline. Kaluuya will star opposite Allison Williams.
While plot details are being kept under wraps, the site provides a brief synopsis, saying the movie is about, “…a young African-American man who visits his white girlfriend’s family estate.”
Peele says that a film like this hasn’t been done in nearly five decades, claiming that the film, “…takes on the task of exploring race in America — something that hasn’t really been done within the genre since Night Of The Living Dead 47 years ago.”
Honestly, I’m very interested to see how this plays out. What made the racial dynamics in Night of the Living Dead so fascinating was how little attention was paid to it by the actual characters of the film itself. The issue of race never was an actual issue, even with all the heated arguments and horrific violence that was going on. Ben being black was never brought up and he wasn’t treated any differently because of the color of his skin. That being said, it’s impossible to deny that there is a commentary, whether intended or not, in the film that is still incredibly relevant to this day.
Milla Jovovich has been having a lot of fun posting behind-the-set pictures from Cape Town where they’re filming Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the sixth and seemingly final film in this franchise, via her Instagram. Now she’s posted another one that’s quite interesting, one where she’s been aged dramatically using makeup and prosthetics.
Jovovich makes sure to note that this is not a spoiler, explaining, “…for all those who think this look is for the end of the movie, it’s not!” You can see the photo below.
So, knowing that there is going to be an aged Alice in the film, what thoughts are running through your head?
Ali Larter returns as Claire Redfield, while Milla Jovovich has always been attached as Alice. Iain Glen will return as Dr. Isaacs, with Shawn Roberts playing Albert Wesker once again. New additions also include Ruby Rose as Abigail, Eoin Macken (The Night Shift) as Doc, Cuban American actor William Levy as Christian, Fraser James (“Law & Order: UK”) as Michael, and Japanese model and TV personality, Rola, as Cobalt.
Picking up immediately after the events in ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’, humanity is on its last legs after Alice is betrayed by Wesker in Washington D.C. As the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead hordes, Alice must return to where the nightmare began – Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.
In a race against time Alice will join forces with old friends, and an unlikely ally, in an action packed battle with undead hordes and new mutant monsters. Between losing her superhuman abilities and Umbrella’s impending attack, this will be Alice’s most difficult adventure as she fights to save humanity, which is on the brink of oblivion.
Sony Screen Gems has Resident Evil: The Final Chapter slated for release on January 27, 2017.
#nomakeup JK! thank you to @christinaslashes, @andredinoboy, #federicacastelli and @kerry_skelton_ who worked for over 4 hours at 5 am this morning to create "Old Alice" for our scenes today! I will post more pics of the process later! Plus a sexy selfie(not for the weak of heart!) btw, for all those who think this look is for the end of the movie, it's not! #residentevilthefinalchapter #capetowndiary
A photo posted by Milla Jovovich (@millajovovich) on Nov 18, 2015 at 8:19am PST
It’s hard to believe how quickly time flies, especially as one grows older. As children, summer vacation felt like a lifetime while the school year leading up to it felt like an eternity. I remember lazy summer days where I would run in the backyard and climb my treehouse for hours at a time. I remember riding my bike to the park and hanging out with my friends. But you know who never got to really experience anything like that? Georgie Denbrough. He’s too busy doing some “floating”.
That’s right, folks! Today marks the 25th anniversary of the premiere of the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s “It“, the film that instilled a terror of clowns into an entire generation.
Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace (Halloween III: Season of the Witch) the two-part film event premiered November 18th, 1990 on ABC and was based off of Stephen King’s 1986 novel of the same name. The film followed the “Loser’s Club”, a group of seven kids who were essentially the school outcasts as they dealt with the tragedy of losing one of their own. But the tragedy wasn’t some act of nature. Rather, it was the work of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, who was played by veteran actor Tim Curry (Rock Horror Picture Show, Legend).
The first part of the two-part television event focused on the Loser’s Club as children, seeing their formative years shaken and rattled by the eponymous monster that haunted them at nearly every turn. They decide to strike back to ensure no more loss of life occurs, all while having to deal with the school bullies that seemingly won’t leave them alone. After they manage to strongly wound Pennywise, they make a pact that they will return to their hometown of Derry should the evil ever arise again, fighting to save the souls of the children there.
Part two takes place almost 30 years later, when a vicious murder causes Mike, the only member of the Loser’s Club to stay in Derry, to call the rest of the crew up to return and finish what they started. It’s then that things really start to spin out of control as they are all forced to face their greatest childhood fear.
While King’s novel didn’t get the full treatment that it probably warranted, it’s understandable why so much had to be excised. “It” runs over 1,100 pages, which meant that a faithful adaptation would’ve only worked as a two to three season TV series, at the very least. Even then, a bunch of liberties would’ve had to have been taken because King’s writing is oftentimes very adult in nature and that wouldn’t have flown on TV.
Still, even with all the edits and creative liberties taken, the film was generally well received, although critics and much of the cast and crew felt that the second part wasn’t as strong as the first half. The two-part event was also incredibly well received by viewers, the first part being the fifth-highest rated program upon airing and the second part being the second-highest rated program, each being viewed by nearly 20 million households.
Even with only one movie appearance Pennywise has become a horror icon. Much of that can be attributed to the outstanding performance of Tim Curry, who rumor has it used his real hair for the performance, simply dying it red and going through makeup and hair styling each day. His mixture of pleasant charm with gleeful terror has cemented the character in our minds, filling our slumbers with nightmares.
“It” is in the process of being remade and we’ve been bringing you tons of coverage on what’s been going on there. Admittedly, it hasn’t been pretty and the process has gone through a great deal of turmoil, although now it’s apparently set to begin filming in Summer of 2016. And while we hope that the remake gives something fresh and interesting with more of the terror from the novel, we can always rest comfortably knowing that we have the original.
Funko has a Pop! Vinyl figure for just about every cool movie character you can think of. Freddy? Check. Beetlejuice? Check. Sam from Trick ‘r Treat? Check. The selection is enough to drive anyone insane, especially if you’re trying to build a collection. We’re here to offer a little help by giving away a figure to five lucky winners, and you get to pick which one you get!
We’re giving away 5 Pop! figures from fun.com and you get to pick your character! To enter 1. Follow @bdisgusting 2. Repost this image 3. Tag your post with #bdpopgiveaway Check the link in our bio to browse the selection, good luck! Winners will be picked at random on 11/26, US only.
A photo posted by Bloody Disgusting (@bdisgusting) on Nov 12, 2015 at 8:23am PST
Entering is simple:
- follow us on instagram here https://www.instagram.com/bdisgusting/
- Repost the image above
- Tag it with #bdpopgiveaway
We’ll pick the winners at random on 11/26, open to residents of the US only. Good luck!
Syfy has given a greenlight to “Channel Zero,” the limited anthology series from “Hannibal’s” Nick Antosca and Chronicle and Victor Frankenstein writer Max Landis.
The network put on fast track development back in June for its latest order from sibling Universal Cable Productions, adds Deadline, who reports that the network has ordered 12 episodes, which will air in two self-contained, six-episode seasons in fall 2016 and fall 2017 and be the centerpiece of the channel’s annual 31 Days of Halloween programming event.
“The first six-episode installment, ‘Candle Cove’ is based on the tale written by Kris Straub that gained notoriety online as a popular “creepypasta” (user-generated horror stories that are published and passed around the Internet). It centers on one man’s obsessive recollections of a mysterious children’s television program from the 1980s, and his ever-growing suspicions about the role it might have played in a series of nightmarish and deadly events from his childhood.”
Antosca wrote the pilot and is serving as executive producer alongside Landis.
Steven C. Miller’s (Under The Bed, Aggression Scale) new thriller Submerged opens in LA and NYC on November 27th.
EW landed the first clip that shows two armed men shooting out a tire of a limo, sending the car and its passengers over a cliff and into the water.
“A limousine joyride goes berserk in this breathless, pulse-pounding thriller. Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls) stars as an ex-soldier turned bodyguard hired to protect a young woman. But while cruising with a group of friends one night, their stretch limo is run off the road and underwater by a gang of ruthless kidnappers—who then dive in to finish the job. Suddenly it’s sink or swim, as the bodyguard must fight to keep the vehicle from becoming a watery grave.”
Starring Tim Daly, Jonathan Bennet, and Rosa Salazar, Submerged was written by Scott Milam (Mother’s Day).
Shut In, the latest horror thriller from team that brought you Delivery: The Beast Within, has been retitled to Intruders and will open in limited theaters and on VOD platforms January 15, 2016 through Momentum Pictures.
In Shut In, “Beth Riesgraf stars as Anna, a woman who suffers from agoraphobia so crippling that when a trio of criminals breaks into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. But what the intruders don’t realize is that agoraphobia is not her only psychosis.“
The film also stars Rory Culkin (Scream 4), Martin Starr (Dead Snow 2, HBO’s “Silicon Valley”) and Jack Kesy (FX’s “The Strain”).
Shut In is the debut feature from Adam Schindler, one half of LA based film collective Type AB, which was behind last year’s festival favorite Delivery: The Beast Within. That film also World Premiered at the LA Film Festival back in 2013, where it secured US distribution through Salient Media/Tribeca. TJ Cimfel and David White penned the screenplay.
Steven Schneider (WER, Insidious, Paranormal Activity) is producing with Jeff Rice (Lone Survivor), Lati Grobman (The Iceman) and Erik Olsen (The Book of Eli, Orphan). Executive producers are Christa Campbell (Texas Chainsaw 3D, Leatherface), Matthew Lamothe, Tommy Vlahopoulos, Brian Netto and Rob Van Norden.
The minds behind ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” will soon be bunking with ABC Family.
The network on Wednesday announced a straight-to-series order for “Dead of Summer,” a summer camp-set horror story written and executive-produced by “Once” creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis, along with “Once” writer Ian Goldberg, says TVLine.
“Set in the late 1980s, school is out for the summer, and a sun-drenched season of firsts beckons the counselors at Camp Clearwater, a seemingly idyllic Midwestern summer camp, including first loves, first kisses – and first kills. Clearwater’s dark, ancient mythology awakens, and what was supposed to be a summer of fun soon turns into one of unforgettable scares and evil at every turn.”
“Dead of Summer” is part coming-of-age story, part supernatural horror story,and said to be a bold, new series that mixes genres as it examines the light and dark of a summer like no other.
If you still haven’t gotten around to indulging yourself with a trip to the perpetually grimy world of Resident Evil Revelations 2, now is the time to atone for your sins.
The first chapter in the episodic spin-off is available free-of-charge on the PlayStation Store — for PS3 and PS4 users — as well as on Xbox Live. This way you can get a taste of what it has to offer without the risk of feeling $5 worth of buyer’s remorse.
In related news, the Resident Evil Revelations 2 Deluxe Edition arrived earlier this week for the Xbox One. With a $29.99 price tag, it’s really more for the most elite of us. To qualify, you must’ve been using an EpiPen in the place of a “traditional” alarm clock for at least 5 years, and your K/D ratio must not have ever fallen below 1.5. Not ever.
Capcom did a bang up job with Revelations 2, even if it does make the same mistake The Evil Within did by relying too much on a stereotypical understanding of what’s scary.
Scary visuals only go so far, and I think we’ve seen enough humanoid monsters with faces that resemble dirty pork chops wrapped in barbed wire to not be that intimidated by it. Aside from that, this game is definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of the series, the horror genre, or if you’re just fond of shooting ugly guys in the dick.
Starz has uploaded a behind-the-scenes video for their horror comedy series “Ash vs Evil Dead” that is a great glimpse into how the creators are all about practical FX over CGI! The video shows interviews with star Bruce Campbell and executive producers Sam Raimi and Bob Tapert as they laud the realism and necessity of practical FX in creating the right kind of tone of the show.
There are also clips of the makeup and FX teams creating the Deadites, so if you don’t want that kind of “breaking the fourth wall” experience, I’d stick away from watching this. But if that kind of stuff revs your engines like it does mine, absolutely check it out!
We all know that sinking feeling of disappointment, despair, and sadness when a film that we’re looking forward to is put in developmental hell or is shoved to the side with an unknown release date. After all, it took years for Trick ‘r Treat to be released and look what we’d been missing that whole time! This wouldn’t be a problem had we simply not known about the movie being made in the first place, am I right? But then, to quote the great Bob Ross, “Gotta have opposites dark and light… It’s like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come.” I’d rather know about films that are planned on being made and then never see them than not know about them at all. It makes me appreciate what I do have all the more.
It’s the same with music and bands. Having had them, I find myself always wanting more and more, especially from artists whose music is fascinating and takes you on a journey. Alas, just like any project, things can simply come to an end and we, the consumers, are left with what exists and a dream of what could be.
Below are five bands that I desperately miss. After checking them out (and hopefully really giving their discography a shot), let me know some of the bands that you miss and wish would come back to release new music!People in Planes
If you’ve never heard of this Welsh alt-rock band, I won’t blame you. They weren’t huge but MAN did they create some stellar and exciting music. Their album As Far As The Eye Can See is one of my favorite albums and is one that I can put on and not skip a single track. The band officially broke up in 2013 but they hadn’t released any new material since 2009, so their loss reaches further back.A Perfect Circle
We’ve been gifted one new song in 2013 and that’s it since the two new tracks offered on 2004’s eMOTIVe. The last real album that they’ve released was 2003’s Thirteenth Step, which was simply incredible. There have been talks that the band is working on new material but that’s been the rumor for a while now. Until something solid comes out, I’m not holding my breath. I’ll simply dream of a day when it comes true.
Speaking of APC, if guitarist Billy Howerdel could also release another Ashes Divide album, I wouldn’t object.The Haunted
Okay, so this one technically isn’t fair because they’re still a band. However, the current formation is nowhere close to what it used to be. And personally – god, I’m so ready to catch a ton of flack for this – I prefer the Peter Dolving-era over anything that Marco Aro offered. Yeah, it’s heavier and more vicious with Aro but with Dolving it was far more interesting and complex. It was the kind of metal that I could play for people who don’t like that style of music and yet they’d appreciate it and want to know more.Porcupine Tree
Again, I’m slightly cheating here because they never said that they’ve broken up. However, it’s been over six years since The Incident, which is twice as long as the longest time between two of their albums. With that kind of distance and seeing each member going off and doing their own thing – drummer Gavin Harrison is working with King Crimson, bassist Colin Edwin has several projects, including O.R.k. and Metallic Taste of Blood, Richard Barbieri recently reissued his Jansen & Barbieri album Stone to Flesh, and guitarist/vocalist Steven Wilson has several solo albums under his belt – it’s hard to imagine them all forming together to create something new. That’s a shame because many of their tracks are absolute masterpieces and even their mediocre work is leaps and bounds above most music released today.Rage Against The Machine
In times such as these, I think that a new RATM would be more relevant than ever. I may not agree with their views and politics on every matter but they brought a lot of issues to light and created discussions where none were being had. That alone is something that makes me crave their presence.
Considering it’s been just over 16 years since The Battle of Los Angeles, their last album with original music, and taking into account that seemingly none of the band have any interest in getting back together, any hope for something to come from the LA-based rap metal group is pretty much wasted. But that doesn’t mean we can’t wish upon a shooting star every once in a while.
How many of us can think of a horror movie and pull a quote out of thin air whenever needed? Hell, how many of us say a line from a horror movie just because we can? Some lines have just ingrained themselves into our brains due to their iconic status.
Artist Ian Simmons decided to take those lines and give them some serious love by creating amazing hand drawn quotes that are themed after the movie they come from. While he does all kinds of movies throughout the year, October saw him focus on horror movies such as The Ring, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser, and more. Below is a gallery of some of these images.
James Cameron’s 1986 Aliens is the best action-horror movie ever made. And part of its charm are the realistic products hidden like easter eggs throughout.
Her Reebok “Alien Stompers” were sold in limited quantities back in 1987, and have since been reissued, and even custom made by various shoe artists.
While you’ll need to break the bank to get your hands on those, there’s a new opportunity that’s just presented itself.
Seiko is reissuing its Giugiaro 7A28-7000 watch, most famous for being on Sigourney Weaver’s wrist for much of the running time of Aliens, reports The Verge. The original watch was conceived by Italian car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro in the early 1980s, and is known for its blocky panel that houses chunky chronograph buttons to the right of the watch face. It was also the world’s first watch to use an analog quartz chronograph movement.
The new “Seiko X Giugiaro Spirit Smart” reissues aren’t quite identical to the 7A28-7000, adds the site; there’s no crown or extra button on the left side.
The grey SCED035 and black SCED037 watches are limited to 3,000 pieces each, and will cost ¥32,000 (about $260) and ¥36,000 ($292) respectively.
“Abra Cadaver” did something that iZombie hasn’t done since last season: make the mystery-of-the-week fun and interesting. There wasn’t much in the way of advancing the season arc this week (though some progress was made and a new mystery woman was introduced), but it wasn’t as noticeable since the aftermath of Sid Wicked’s murder led to such fun.
This week’s mystery centered around Goth magician Sid Wicked, who was murdered with a sharp-edged playing card in the middle of a magician’s convention (named Presto Fest, of all things). While the eventual reveal was a bit silly (was it not obvious that Meers was a woman?) the journey getting there was a lot of fun. Until Meers was introduced, it was a constant guessing game of whodunit. All of the magicians and their tricks made the investigation supremely entertaining to watch, and Meers’ identity as Irina the maid was a clever, if slightly goofy, payoff.
Maid in hotel screams. A Goth guy has a card in his throat. A magician walks away. Sid Wicked is victim. Presto Fest. There was a rotten fish with a note under the welcome basket. He was yelling at the angels and his assistant was named Angel. He was mad she was at the bar with another magician. Houdina calls Liv to be her assistant and throws bladed cards. She was engaged to Sid. Magnificent Magnus was having sex in a room without cameras. Smoak and Meers. The mid did it and she’s in the hotel. Meers is the maid. Irina is the killer!
The highlight of the episode had to be Liv and Blaine playing Scooby-Doo with their investigation into the zombie killings. It’s only a matter of time before they find out Major (and thus Vaughn du Clark) is behind them, but watching them reluctantly work together was a real treat to watch. Blaine coming across a picture of Minor the dog was a great gasp-worthy moment. It’s one of those near-misses that iZombie has become so good at doing.
One big surprise was the mystery woman (who is actually credited as “Mystery Woman” on IMDB) leaving the envelope marked “Occupant” on Bozzio’s doorstep. She is also credited as Regina Sumner, though that doesn’t tell us much. While nothing was learned from her appearance, it provided a nice tease for what will hopefully be addressed next week.
Given less screen time this week was Major and Liv’s budding (or crumbling?) relationship? After beginning the episode with some optimism and a little bit of mutual masturbation (at least I think that’s what they had just done), Major slowly started to become bothered by Liv’s personality traits on Sid’s brain. His choice to go upstairs rather than approach Liv in the episode’s closing moments was puzzling, as it’s unclear why he s just not realizing he might not be able to handle her shifting personalities. This isn’t a new development, but maybe Sid’s brain was just a little too intense. Still, Major’s aggravation at Liv’s behavior came out of nowhere.
Ravi and Peyton had some relationship issues of their own as well, with Ravi breaking things off with Steph and Peyton flirting with Blaine. Steph seems like a pretty pointless character that was brought in an abandoned attempt by the writers to cause friction between Ravi and Peyton. This may prove to be a good thing for iZombie, since that could have gotten old real quick. It is a much wiser move to bring Blaine into the mix since he is already an established character for the series (and a lot more fun to watch than plain Jane Steph).
Television seasons can sometimes sag a little bit in the middle, but iZombie doesn’t seem to be following that trend. It was more slowly paced than the previous two episodes to be sure, but it was by no means a slog to get through. “Abra Cadaver” provided a highly entertaining mystery-of-the-week and nudged many plots forward to their eventual endgame.
- Chapter Titles of the Week: Heavy Petting; Trompe Card; Presto Mortem; Strange Deadfellows; The Lady Materializes; A Rose By Another Name; An Ace Up the Sleeve. Call me immature, but I liked Heavy Petting.
- Brain Recipe of the Week: Honestly, I couldn’t tell. First it looked like stir fry, and then it looked like meatballs. Any ideas?
- Seriously, where have Gilda and Vaughn du Clark been? I’m guessing iZombie is saving them for the third act of the season, but their absence has been glaring.
- “This is the best brain ever! I almost want to start killing magicians so it never ends.” -Ravi really is the best, isn’t he?
- “She’s rolling hard on ‘death-obsessed magician.’ It’ll pass.” -I like that he calls it “rolling,” as if the effects are similar to that of MDMA.
- “There was that time her eyes turned red and she killed someone. Thinkin’ that was probably a one-off.” -I love how Peyton nonchalantly delivered this line.
- “Did you eat Edgar Allan Poe?” -Blaine, saying what we’re al thinking.
- Ravi has twenty thirty Twitter followers, which is admirable.
- “Got a big night of British stuff ahead of us! Throwing darts, apologizing!” -Is apologizing a British stereotype? I’ve never heard that before.
- “I performed the autopsy! He is dead!” -Liv having to constantly reiterate this to Houdina was golden.
- “You’re bumming me out man.” -Blaine, after one of Liv’s goth monologues.
- “You killed the fourth man to walk on the moon?” “Please nobody cares about the fourth person to do something!”
- “…so is that a ‘yes’ you want a quesadilla? Or a no?”
- iZombie takes a break next week for Thanksgiving. See you all in two weeks! But first, a little preview of coming events:
A person learns a lot when they put together a list such as this. For instance, apparently, back in the 1960s, prominent lady filmmaker Ezra Stone directed twenty-seven episodes of The Munsters, more than any other person in the entirety of the show. Around the same time, Lela Swift directed a massive 588 episodes of Dark Shadows, a remarkable figure that would be impressive even in today’s world. However, some other shows that are currently on the air proved to be far less compelling, as American Horror Story, Scream Queens, Hannibal, Supernatural, and From Dusk Till Dawn (the T.V. series) are all listed as having zero female directors for their entire runtime. Luckily, since most of these shows are still running, there’s still time for them to fix the error of their ways, but isn’t it odd that television programs that aired about fifty years ago were more progressive in the advancement of female filmmakers than many of the programs that we all watch today?
Regardless of the reasons, it’s an interesting and important topic to shed light on, because it shows that just because a show is newer, or may rely on a large female demographic, doesn’t mean that it’s doing anything for ladies in Hollywood. Also, another point that needs to be mentioned is that although some of these other shows may feature a female director here and there, doesn’t mean that they’re branching out to find new, upcoming lady filmmakers in that particular field. Many of the same names kept popping up for multiple shows, which, although is undoubtedly exciting and well-deserved for those women, winds up being slightly disappointing in its variety of ladies standing behind the camera, since there are still so many worthy names that could be called upon for a shoot.
Despite the fact that some titles have chosen to forgo female directors, or simply haven’t hired one for work yet, it’s still thrilling to see women’s names pop up on so many shows that we genre fans have come to love, proving that there are still plenty of programmers out there getting it right. Although there are still far more male names that are credited than females, the foundation for the advancement of ladies in the industry has been cemented, and the only direction to move is forward. Women are finally starting to level out the workload behind the scenes, and that’s something to celebrate. Read on below, and help pay respect to the ones who are laying the groundwork for years to come, and then maybe, one day, hopefully, female filmmakers will become so prominent that they will have directed just as many episodes of television as their worthy counterparts.
1. “Zombo” (The Munsters) directed by Ezra Stone S2E22
There comes a moment in every father’s life when he has to accept that he is no longer his son’s number one role model. Herman Munster knew that eventually this would happen with Eddie, he just didn’t expect it to be so soon, or hurt him so badly. Herman may be nearly seven feet tall, but inside of his oversized chest is the heart of a child, which is why when he comes home from work, and the little boy who once ran to hug him now stares blankly into the boob tube at his new idol, Zombo, Herman falls back into old habits and winds up throwing a temper tantrum, stomping his feet like a little monster on the living room floor. Zombo is a television personality, who could possibly roped into the same circles as Elvira and the Crypt Keeper, with his macabre appearance, and playful, exaggerated speech. Grandpa tries to pull Herman out of his hole of self-pity through his usual magics, giving him a potion that temporarily alters his body to look more like Zombo, but when he presents his new “adorable” facade to Eddie and his friends, they make him feel even worse, by poking fun and calling him embarrassing. Adding insult to injury, Eddie has just won a contest to gain a bunch of prizes and meet Zombo in person, and take part in a live telecast of the show. It seems that Herman has officially lost the battle for the admiration of his son. That is, until Eddie visits the set of his favorite show and realizes that the creature he’s been looking up to is nothing more than a mere mortal in heavy makeup and a fancy looking cape. This is an interesting episode, not only because it shows a touching connection between Herman and his son, but also because it’s touching in an oddly sort of meta way. As Herman explains to Eddie how the duty of an actor is not necessarily to lie, but to entertain audiences in the art of make believe, it almost seems as if Herman is talking to us, the audience, and any young viewers who may be watching, and think of Herman as a real, living, breathing monster that just happened to stumble into their television sets.
Although Riley never quite penetrated the heart of Buffy fans quite like Angel or Spike did, in the end, he proved to be a crucial character. Buffy needed a big push to get over Angel and move on into adulthood, and while Parker only worsened her situation by furthering Buffy’s fear of opening herself up to the idea of love, Riley provided the tools needed to usher Buffy into a state of greater confidence, through her first truly healthy relationship. In this episode, Buffy, with Spike’s help, discovers Riley cheating on her with a vampire he paid to suck his blood; an act clearly meant to mirror a cheating man using drugs and prostitution. Once the honeymoon phase between Buffy and Riley is over, and the lingering problems start to truly bubble to the surface, an interesting perspective prevails that is rarely shown on dramatic shows of this nature: sympathy for the cheater. Marti Noxon takes a mature stance on a broken relationship by showing how more often than not, relationships don’t end because one person is downright evil, but because two people are driven to commit questionable actions as a result of trying circumstances. It’s certainly not okay that Riley cheated on Buffy, but this episode suggests a reason why he might have done it, and painfully, but intelligently, shows how the two were heading down separate paths already, and Riley’s betrayal merely sped up the timeline. The two weren’t right for each other, even if for a brief moment in time, their love for one another provided the necessary positive nourishment for each person’s inner growth.
3. “The Suicide King” (The Walking Dead) directed by Lesli Linka Glatter S3E9
This episode opens with a vicious battle scene, as an angry mob of Woodbury folk swarm around the Dixon brothers, while the Governor orders Merle and Daryl to “fight to the death”. Andrea stands on the sidelines and begs the Governor, a.k.a. Phillip, to stop, but he ignores her and continues to rally the crowd. The citizens even bring out biters on chains to up the ante, eyes roaring red with bloodlust. It seems that one of these men will not leave this ring alive, but just as they begin to fight, gunshots puncture the brains of the surrounding zombies, and tear gas floods the area, while Rick and his crew emerge from the fog, swooping in and stealing back their men back before escaping into the forest. Upon their rejoining with Michonne, Glenn, and Maggie in the woods, not everyone is happy to see Merle again. Merle offers up the secret that Andrea is with the Governor, but this little tidbit of information isn’t enough for the battered gang to roll out the welcome mat at their prison for their longstanding foe. Daryl says he understands, but he can’t let Merle go out into the world on his own again just when they’ve been reunited, so he takes off with his brother, and leaves his newfound family behind. Still unsure of Michonne’s intentions, the group tells her that she can accompany them to the prison to get Hershel to patch her up, but then she has to leave. All of the calm down and cautious dialogue has proven to be too much for a fed up Glenn to handle, and the next walker they come upon dies not by a gunshot wound to the head, but by the power of Glenn’s heel, as he stomps the zombie’s brains into a gooey pulp. Glenn has nearly gone mad with anger after the Governor sexually assaulted his girlfriend Maggie, and screams at Rick that he should have killed the lunatic when he had the chance. It’s an intense moment, and although Rick doesn’t understand exactly what happened to Maggie, he sympathizes with Glenn’s frustration over not being able to protect the one he loves. After all, Rick just lost his own wife, Lori, to the horrors of the apocalypse, and has yet to fully recover himself. That’s why when Tyreese and his crew show up at the prison asking for a place to stay, Rick terrifies them and sends them running, after he completely loses his marbles and begins hallucinating that Lori is staring down at his from the cells above. As Andrea tells the riled up camp back at Woodbury, they have to find the strength within themselves to carry on, just as they’ve always done. Unfortunately, Rick seems far too damaged from all of the trauma he’s endured as of late to open his heart to any newcomers, or even, at this point, the possibility of finding the strength to carry on.
Big things are happening down in Bon Temps, Louisiana. For starters, Bill in in the midst of making his very first prodigy, although it is against his will. Soon to be born baby vamp Jessica is kicked into a dirt hole by the heel of Pam’s pump, as Bill climbs in next to her, ready to be buried and complete the transition from Jess’ human life to her new one as a creature of the night. After staking Longshadow, the vampire who previously worked for and betrayed Eric at Fangtasia, Bill is ordered by the Authority to make a new vampire in his place, an act which he deems to be more of a curse than a gift of eternal life. As he wraps his arm around his unborn offspring, Bill broods deeply, only wishing to return to his lover Sookie and be done with his punishment. Meanwhile, Sookie sits at home on her couch next to Sam, who has agreed to protect her in Bill’s absence. The unmasked killer is hot on Sookie’s trail, and she has no idea where Bill is, or when he’ll return. Despite Sam’s recent romantic ties to Tara, it’s as clear as ever that he’s deeply in love with Sookie, and is going to use this opportunity to get as close to her as possible. Although Sookie recently skirmished with the killer face to face, it was under the shadow of darkness, and in her panic, Sookie failed to identify her wicked pursuer. However, in her sleep, Sookie remembers a detail from the inside of the killer’s brain, thanks to her trusty telepathy. Sook tells Sam that there was a brief memory that she picked up from the killer, of him attacking a woman wearing a name tag that read ‘Big Patty’s Pie House’. The two agree to investigate, and upon their arrival, meet a man who fills them in on the murdered waitress from Sookie’s visions. Apparently, the woman was notorious for hanging with vampires, and shortly after her death, her brother disappeared from sight. With a little struggle to remember, the man devouring pie after pie recalls that the brother’s name was Drew Marshall, and that the girl was killed by strangulation. On their way back to Bon Temps, the two stop by the local sheriff’s office, where they persuade a slow-minded deputy to fax a picture of Drew Marshall to the police station back home. While all of this is going on, Jason and his girlfriend Amy engage in less honorable activities through their shared V-addiction, as Amy tightens her hold on Jason through keenly-worded manipulation and home cooked meals. Just as it seems that their toxic relationship is plowing full steam ahead, however, the unknown killer strikes again, killing Amy in her sleep as she lies peacefully next to Jason. Believing himself to be the assassin, Jason thinks that he might have been the one to hurt Amy while he was in his drug-induced state, and immediately turns himself in to the law. Back at Sookie’s house, Bill finally returns to his loved one, after dumping the newly turned Jessica off onto Eric, and telling him that he’ll be in his debt. Sadly, this is not a happy return, as Bill stumbles upon Sam and Sookie kissing in her living room, and promptly attacks Sam, and infuriates Sookie. Fed up with men, Sookie swears them all off, and decides she’s not ready to dive into any relationship while the killer is still on the loose. Jason may be the one sitting in jail, but as the episode draws to a close, we see the picture of Drew Marshall has finally reached the police station in Bon Temps, as the killer is finally revealed as Rene Lenier, the man who changed names, moved towns, and continued his murderous rampage against all those who would dare dance with a vampire. It’s thrilling that such an integral episode would be placed in the hands of Nancy Oliver, the woman who not only directed this crucial moment in the True Blood timeline, but also wrote this important entry, as well. Through clever writing and an intriguing, slick vision, Nancy creates sympathy for Sookie and Jason, who manage to feel like two good southern kids just caught up in a bad situation.
Sleepy F.B.I. agent John Doggett wakes up in an abandoned warehouse in unknown Mexican territory to find a man stealing his shoe, but that’s not the only thing he’s lost. He chases the man down the street and the police get involved, but when they ask for the sleepy man’s papers, he doesn’t seem to have any. Instead, they ask him for his name, but for some reason, he can’t remember what it was. The police have no choice but to throw the man in jail while they figure out what to do with him, but as he sits there, he gets tiny bits of evidence of his past as he begins to experience small, scattered flashbacks involving a little boy. A stranger he meets in his cell offers to pay his bail if he helps with an unspecified job, and although reluctant, the man figures he has nothing left to lose, and agrees. Even though he made a deal, as soon as his bail is paid the man takes off to track down the homeless man who stole his shoe and see what he can learn about his true identity. He finds the man drugged up and dreary, but just coherent enough to discuss how the man came to forget all of his memories and wind up alone, without identification in the middle of Mexico. The man doesn’t learn much for his troubles, but it’s not a completely useless journey, as the homeless man calls him “desaparecido” and hands him a tiny silver skull. Since he’s run out of options, the man returns to the one who freed him from jail, and agrees to start working for him immediately. Meanwhile, in America, the F.B.I. tries to expand its task force in Mexico to find their lost agent, but are turned down. Apparently, agent John Doggett was investigating a case in Mexico before he abruptly disappeared without a trace. Agents Dana Scully and Monica Reyes are told that they can help find Doggett as much as they want, as long as they act solely from the northern side of the border. Ignoring their orders, Reyes treads into foreign territory to find her lost partner, relying only on her intuition, her Mexican background, and a tip from the Marine Corps about an unknown man calling about the details of his wartime tattoo. While she searches, John Doggett fixes a broken bus for the man and his friend, Nestor, who helped him get out of jail. John complies with any requests for small odd jobs to be done here and there, but he refuses to get involved with any criminal activity that might be going on. Little does he know, he’s right in the heart of it. Once the two are alone, Nestor attempts to take out John, foolishly calling him “F.B.I. right before he pulls the trigger. John manages to outwit his attacker, and learns that he is “desparecido” — one of the disappeared ones. Apparently, the Cartel erased his memory, just like all of the other stragglers, and plans to use him to run illegal immigrants and drugs across the border under he gets caught or killed. Agent Reyes finally arrives, ready to rescue John, but of course, he doesn’t remember her, so it takes some time before he trusts her. Doggett tells Reyes that he keeps having a strange memory play out of a little boy in his head, who he assumes must be his son, and asks where he is. Reyes’ eyes well with tears as she carefully informs John that his son was abducted and murdered years ago, and that’s how the two of them came to meet, since she helped him on the case. John suddenly remembers, and soon becomes too wrapped up in his own broken emotional state to fight back against the Mexican police outside of the barn, who are now shooting at them, assuming that they are merely workers for the Cartel. Reyes begs John to carry on, and he finds it in himself to push past the pain and help them escape. John tracks down the man responsible for erasing his memory, and leads the F.B.I. to his door, claiming now that he remembers everything. The Cartel leader, a strange sort of memory vampire, seems less defeated, and more confused, as he asks John in a genuine manner, why he would fight so hard to remember that pain when it has caused him so much grief. John simply responds, “Because it’s mine”. In one of the most impactful episodes of the final season (written by the brilliant Breaking Bad helmer Vince Gilligan), director Michelle MacLaren relays an important message through the medium of horror: in the end, we have no control over our life, and all we really own are our memories, and good or bad, they belong to us, and make us who we are.
Eddie and his buddy Hat have been dying for a chance to scare little Miss Goodie-two-shoes, Courtney King, for as long as they can remember. For their latest educational project, Courtney has written up a piece on the Mud Monster of Muddy Creek, a fictitious monster that supposedly haunts the local swamp not too far from school grounds. Courtney claims that through her research, and facing her fears, she has overcome her obstacles, and now she’s not afraid of anything. Threatened by her academic success and her holier-than-now attitude, the boys decide to put this claim to the test, and begin taunting Courtney in the hopes of making her scream, and for once, letting her look like the foolish one, instead of them. It starts somewhat small, with the boys putting a harmless, although frightening, little garden snake in Courtney’s lunch bag, but their attempt to find a weakness in their pristine classmate falls flat when Courtney picks up the snake and coos at it like it were one of her very own children. Next, the boys decide to bring out the big guns, and opt for a tarantula this time, which they plan to drop in Courtney’s hair, and watch her shriek with horror as they point and laugh. The plan seems solid, but when they enter the school laboratory and box the spider up in a plastic container, they hear footsteps and chatter, and realize that the teacher is coming. Quickly, the boys run and hide in the classroom locker, and watch through the shutters as Courtney begs for more schoolwork like the bookworm that she is. Suddenly, the boys realize that the lid to their container has popped open, and the hairy tarantula is slowly and silently crawling its way up Eddie’s pant leg. As soon as the teacher leaves, the boys holler and shout for help, and of course, it is Courtney who frees them from this death trap, opening the door and picking up the tarantula with ease as she gently pets it and explains that the tarantula, like the snake, is merely a misunderstood creature. Angrily, Eddie obsesses over a new plan to frighten Courtney, and Hat decides that the best option is to go bigger, with a real life Mud Monster of Muddy Creek. Well, at least, he can throw some mud on himself and jump out and scare her. Eddie and Hat dare Courtney to meet them at the swamp after school, and as she rolls her eyes, Courtney agrees, hoping that these boys might finally learn their lesson. The boys await Courtney in the muddy swamp, as Hat covers Eddie in the sticky pale brown substance, and tells Eddie to hide while he fetches Courtney. Their plan backfires, however, when a real Mud Monster shows up, and chases them through the fog. It seems that all hope is lost, but just then, Courtney shows up and saves the day, as she lectures the Mud Monster for scaring the little boys, and goes on and on and on with her speechifying until the looming sun dries the monster into a solid, immovable beast, while the boys cower behind her, unable to believe their luck. In one of the more hilarious episodes of the Goosebumps television series, the audience gets to sit back and watch as stereotypes are switched, and the two boys wind up scaring themselves far more than the pretty girl that they intended.
Jonas has been working consistently for forty-seven years. Not a single sick day taken, not a single absent week day, not a moment to breathe or notice his loving wife and her odd habits, until now. After nearly five decades of dedicated work, unforgiving hours, and little pay, Jonas is finally – unwillingly- retiring. Perhaps it was the constant grind of employment, or the distance that’s stubbornly grown between them, mostly due to pure negligence, but it wasn’t until Jonas hung up his old routine that he finally started to realize what was going on in his very own home. Apparently, while Jonas has been on the clock, his wife bided her time by keeping company with neighborhood animals. Lots and lots of neighborhood animals. In fact, she’s grown so accustomed to sharing space with four-legged beings that when it’s her husband sitting at the kitchen table, she winds up feeding him cat food in his sandwich. Anita hides Jonas’ pill in a brownie, serves steak to the dog, and rests comfortably on the front porch with a squirrel atop her head. Things have clearly gotten out of hand during his many busy years, but now that he can devote his energy to the problem, Jonas has found a way to kill two birds with one stone, by discovering a new hobby, and tackling his wifes’ hysteria, all through the same method of execution: taxidermy. To her horror, Anita descends into the basement to find all of her children in the same stiff state. Cats, chipmunks, fish, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and dogs, all with the same fixed expression, staring back at her with lifeless eyes, as Jonas stands there grinning, proudly presenting his complete collection. Little does Jonas know, paybacks are hell, and he’s about to join the ranks of Anita’s stuffed friends, as she exacts her revenge upon the man who stolen her only joy, and drowned it in his ever-growing misery. Interestingly enough, the director of this episode is Mary Lambert, who prior to directing a segment of Tales From the Crypt, had only released her other project featuring the reanimation of animals, Pet Sematary, a few months before.
The trouble starts when Darrin sprains his ankle late one night. He’s on his way to double check that the back door is locked before he heads to bed, when he takes a tumble down the stairs that lands him in bed with his foot elevated for the next few days. While he’s resting, Samantha decides to make life a little easier on him (and honestly, herself, too), by arranging it so the house will cooperate with him during his recovery. For the very first time, Darrin gets a taste of witchcraft. It starts out small, as Darrin uses magic to make himself a sandwich in the kitchen that he then floats upstairs to reach him in bed, but soon, Darrin grows greedy, just like Samantha’s mother Endora warned Samantha he might. Once a man entirely against Samantha practicing witchcraft under his roof, Darrin now uses the wriggle of Sam’s nose to put the laundry away, make a fur coat appear on her shoulders, and even go so far as to quit his job and live off of Sam’s magical powers forever, traveling the globe with the aid of spells. It isn’t until an anniversary present that Darrin bought weeks prior for Sam arrives in the mail one afternoon that Darrin realizes his mistake. The fact that Darrin put in the hard work to buy Sam a thoughtful little watch and a bouquet of flowers meant more to her than any fur coat that he could make appear out of thin air in a quick, effortless motion. As Darrin says, “It might be a good idea to worry about where your next meal is coming from”. Using magical powers all the time might ensure an easy, worry-free life, but in the end, cutting corners doesn’t always equal happiness. Darrin realizes that the struggles, worries, and challenges at work weren’t the things keeping him from living his life, those were the things that made up his life, and without them, he wasn’t really living. This is such a sweet little episode that shows how although Samantha’s powers may seem advantageous, being a regular human has its perks, too. Also, interestingly enough, although many of the episodes lay heavy on the humor, and this one has its jokes, too, it’s a bit more grounded and sympathetic in its portrayal of Samantha, and the life she’s chosen. Darrin’s not the only one who comes to understand just how hard it must be for Sam to not use her powers all the time, but the audience learns what it must be like for her, as well.
After being bludgeoned with the killer right before he dragged off Will to an unknown location, Piper awakens to find herself alone in the abandoned warehouse that she came to with Will to confront Brooke’s father. A little later on, Piper arrives at the local high school, and takes the gang to see the writing on the wall, a.k.a. the bloody message left behind by the killer in the warehouse. Piper, Brooke, and Jake go outside to give Emma a moment to herself, and Emma receives an obscene phone call from the killer himself, as he offers up clues concerning Will’s whereabouts. With Noah’s help, Emma tracks Will’s cell phone to an abandoned bowling alley, and Emma has no choice but to walk straight into the trap set up and waiting for her. Meanwhile, Brooke visits her dad at his place of business, and confronts him again about her mother and the videotape of him dragging what looked like a bagged body to a cooler in the garage. She also tells him that Will has gone missing, and she knows for a fact that he was the last person that Will spoke to before he disappeared, since Piper was there hiding in the corner and watched it all go down. Suddenly, Jake steps out from behind the door, pressuring Brooke’s father further to confess, but he still denies any guilt over her mother’s departure, or Will’s disappearance. Frustrated, Brooke storms out to meet up with Emma, and Jake follows suit, bearing a sinister look of achievement all the while. Once reunited, Brooke and Jake promise Emma that they’ll help her find Will, and Noah is coerced into tagging along. The four join together to embark on this dangerous mission, and walk up to the abandoned entertainment center like little soldiers determined to retrieve their prisoner of war. After searching around and finding nothing, the gang heads back to the guts of the alley, where they find Will tied up, stabbed, and out cold. Emma manages to wake Will up, and the four are quickly confronted by the killer, who terrorizes them into submission, swinging his sword through the opening in the door, in the hopes of grazing a victim in his wild attack. The group is separated and stalked, and although police arrive in time to save them all, they don’t escape completely unscathed. Jake is stabbed with a large Bowie knife (which oddly enough, he brought along), and Will can barely stand, but they fall under they fall under the protection of the men in uniform, and find temporary peace in their rescue. As the camera slowly moves from circle to circle in the parking lot, we are given a glimpse of each character in their fragile state, and almost asked to decide, “Is this person the killer?” “Is this person capable of murder?” “Could it be her?” “Could it be him?” in one of the most Scream-esque moments of the entire series. While the majority of the show is decent in its portrayal of a slasher flick, this episode, above all others (aside from the finale just because of the big reveal) feels the most like a Wes Craven story. Everyone is equally suspicious, and it’s harder than ever to predict who the killer really is, it features some of the scariest moments in the season, and the final scene purely echoes the opening shot of the original film, while still keeping its own identity, in a splatter fest that’s just as unhinged as some of the more brutal moments in the filmography. Also, hats off to Leigh Janiak for actually giving the actors things to do with their hands while they’re stating their lines, instead of standing still like hot little statues. It’s refreshing to watch these people act like people.
A boy needs his mother. At least, that’s what Norma Bates wants her favorite son, Norman, to wholly and firmly believe. The minute that Norma learns that Norman has gained interest in a pretty, popular girl from his high school, named Bradley, Norma’s lack of control over the situation drives her mad, she as wildly drives all over town, gaining gossip from Norman’s less threatening female friend Emma, and spying on Bradley as she participates in her weekly yoga class. The idea that Norman could be better off without her is infuriating to Norma, and if she can’t prove it herself that Norman doesn’t need anyone but her, she’ll simply have to drive away any creature that shows Norman the least bit of love and affection, whether it be a hot young thing from school, his older rebellious brother Dylan, or a sweet little stray dog that Norman’s taken a liking to that’s been hanging around the motel. Some mothers may look at these creatures and express gratitude for getting their loner sons out of the house, but Norma only sees them as the wedge that will undeniably drive her and her baby apart, and that’s just unacceptable. Despite Norman’s initial rejection to his mother’s suffocating parenting skills, in the end, he comes to see things through her sick, lonely eyes, after the dog dies in the road and the girl he’s been pining after rejects him. It seems that everyone has betrayed Norman in some way, shape or form, but when he drags his feet back home, eyes wet with tears, you better believe his mommy is waiting at the doorstep with open arms, ready to forgive his temporary independence, and welcome Norman back into his old sheltered life.
Jean Louise McArthur wasn’t exactly society’s idea of a stand up model citizen. Brought under the care of Fisher family after accidentally electrocuting herself in the bathtub with the help of her devious cat, Jean was a notorious porn star. Famous for appearing in a myriad of adult films, Jean gained a reputation for the impressive amount of work she had done in her lifetime, and the lengths to which she’d go for her art. Upon learning who she was, everyone in the funeral home is quick to judge Jean for her provocative ways, but the fact is, Jean lived her life in an open and loving manner, which is more than many members of the Fisher family can say. Ruth and her daughter Claire haven’t seen eye to eye on anything since the father of the house, Nathaniel, passed away recently. As Claire staggers through her later teenage years, she pulls away from her mother more and more, as a result of the inevitable distance that grows between them as a result of Claire’s blossoming youth, and the pain that the two women still feel in the wake of Nathaniel’s death. Ruth keeps reaching out, but Claire can’t help but shy away from her advances. Meanwhile, Nate and Brenda start to encounter trouble in their relationship just as things start to really get serious. As the daughter of two probing therapists, Brenda is done being examined, and finds it difficult to expose the inner workings of her heart to Nate, because she can’t stand to be so vulnerable. They aren’t the only ones having a lovers’ quarrel, though. For every step that Nate’s brother David takes forward in his relationship with Keith, he regresses with a giant leap backward. Although David finally, excitedly comes out to Nate, he disrupts his progress by telling Keith that they can’t attend the same church together, because David isn’t ready to let the whole world know that he’s gay. Keith has been patient, but for two grown men in their forties, this romance is moving pretty slow, and Keith isn’t sure how much longer he can put up with the pace. Although they all vary in context, all three of these relationships struggle to move forward because one person is pulling away. Claire, Brenda, and David are all afflicted with fear and self-loathing, unable to open themselves up to the one thing in their lives that could possibly end all of their suffering, or at least make it easier to bear. In the end, some of these people may have frowned upon adult film star Jean Louise McArthur, but she loved herself, and lived her life the way she wanted to — happy and accessible. Jean laid it all on the table, with complete honesty. She was, as the title of the episode suggests, an open book, and there’s something to be learned from her ways, even if from a distance they may appear less than tactful. Kathy Bates displays the Fisher family as imperfect beings, but still completely deserving of love, and does it with such compassion, humility, and grace, that it becomes a real head-scratcher as to why she hasn’t done any directing gigs since 2006.
12. “Blood Brothers” (The Vampire Diaries) directed by Liz Friedlander S1E20
The twentieth episode of the series marks a monumental moment in the show, as Elena learns how Stefan and Damon were originally turned into vampires, and why Damon still holds a grudge against Stefan after all these years. As Stefan wallows in his own misery in the present, locked up and sweating out the human blood in his system, his mind flashes back to the past, where he remembers the time that he and Stefan tried to rescue Katherine from her captors, but were shot dead as soon as they lifted her from her imprisonment. Well, at least the two brothers believed that they died that night. Stefan awakens the next morning to find that although he wears a blood-stained shirt, the skin beneath is completely healed. Confused, Stefan speaks with Emily, Katherine’s second in command, who informs him that Katherine had been feeding her vampire blood to Stefan for weeks, and merely compelled him to forget. She had also been feeding Damon her blood, but he drank it willingly, so there was no need to conjure away his memories. Emily also tells Stefan that she used her magics to conjure up two rings for the immortal boys, which would forever protect them from sunlight, and allow them to walk around during in the day and blend in with the breathers. It may seem that all of Stefan’s problems are temporarily solved, but upon speaking with Damon, he learns that his eternal life will be cut short, as Damon lets him know that there’s no reason to go on living because Katherine is dead. Damon woke up and watched her being burned alive in a church by her kidnappers the night before, a horrible fate for the one he loves that has left him unwilling to go on. Stefan agrees to end his life, too, but first, he pays a visit to their father, who only shows repulsion towards his undead son, and reveals that it was he who shot him in the dark on that horrible night, willfully killing his own two sons. Unable to cope with the fact that his boys were running around with vampires, Giuseppe Salvatore exclaims that Stefan and Damon were dead to him the minute that they began courting Katherine. A heartbroken Stefan still attempts to bid farewell to his father, but Giuseppe attacks Stefan, causing a skirmish that quickly ends with unintentional bloodshed, and a weak Stefan feeding off of his father’s wounds. Newly, fully turned, and desperate for his brother to join him, Stefan kidnaps a young girl, whom he bites in front of Damon, and pushes the two together, knowing full well that Damon won’t be able to resist his ignore his hunger pangs any longer. Back in the present, when Elena finally learns the whole truth about what happened, she’s shocked, but not enough to turn her back on Stefan, who grows more self destructive by the hour. Many lifetimes worth of guilt have caught up to Stefan, who is now ready to end it, once and for all, and rid the world of him and his heinous ways. It is only through Elena’s love and relentless urging to carry on that Stefan finds the strength within himself to keep fighting, and agrees to not give up just yet. Although Elena and Stefan have certainly grown closer in this episode, she has become more aware of the man and the monster within her beau, and also, grows more sympathetic of her constant pursuer, Damon.
In this episode we get a look into Frankenstein’s Creature’s backstory, and learn that Victor Frankenstein abandoned his first creation upon his birth. Sparking a story that resembles The Hunchback of Notre Dame as much as it does Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this portrayal of Victor’s creation features him cursed to endure an isolated existence in an empty apartment complex, peering out of a high window at a buzzing city below. Apparently, when the Creature was first born, he reacted so violently to the pain of new life that he frightened a naive little Victor, who ran away and never returned to see what had become of his first born. Surrounded by mountains of poetry novels, the Creature found eloquence in the empty hours alone up in that flat, immersed in the works of the only mentors he knew. After he felt he had a strong enough grasp of the English language, the Creature finally braved the streets of London, and was promptly beaten to a bloody pulp. However, this horrid act leads to a gesture of kindness, when a stranger stumbles upon him in an alleyway, treats him to dinner, and offers him a job as a stage rat in the local theatre. At first, the Creature performed his duties with glee, tinkering with ropes and pulleys backstage, all while watching the actors die onstage, and come back the next evening to die again. The creature finds comfort in their shared resurrection. However, as time passes and the Creature watches stories of romance acted out in the theatre, he begins to long for a love of his own, and approaches his old creator with the wild idea of creating an undead companion to keep him comfort. Director Dearbhla Walsh beautifully captures the romanticism of the Victorian era, and the Creature’s idealized notion of an undead companion, and the inevitable love that he honestly believes would blossom between him and his reanimated bride. Not only do we get a glimpse into the Creature’s backstory, but into Victor’s, as well, as we learn that his obsession with death grew out of the loss of his mother at an early age. Both the Creature and the creator, in their own ways, attempt to express love and improve love through the use of resurrection, and both learn that the consequences of their actions far outweigh their good intentions.