Danny! and Tim are joined by Ryan Oliver of Deathblow Productions to talk about a very curious pair of films on this month’s episode of Double Murder: High Tension vs. Intensity!
High Tension (2003) is Alexandre Aja’s breakout slasher film. While the well-known twist can be very polarizing among horror fans, it is still a highly respected and launched Aja’s career. In it, a young woman finds herself stalking a killer who has taken her friend captive and murdered her family. It features some impressive and inventive kill scenes and lush cinematography.
Intensity (1997), though, is not as highly respected. It was a 2-part made-for-TV movie based off a book by Dean Koontz. It is notable in that it it stars Molly Parker and John C McGinley (who puts on an IMPRESSIVE performance as the antagonist), but other than that, it is a not particularly well-aged artifact of the 90’s. So why would we bother to review it here?
Because High Tension and Intensity have the same plot. Almost exactly.
Is this a case of horror plagiarism? Tune in to DOUBLE MURDER to learn more, and give us your thoughts below!
It’s been fifteen years since writer/director Alejandro Amenabar terrified audiences across the globe with his gothic ghost story The Others. The prolific filmmaker has found success in several other genres, as he’s responsible for such gems as The Sea Inside and Abra Los Ohos (Open Your Eyes), a.k.a. the original Vanilla Sky, but after all those years, something called him back to the darker side of cinema. Now, with his new film Regression, Amenabar takes on the task of telling the tragic tale of a young girl named Angela Gray (Emma Watson), who was abused by those close to her in an ongoing series of satanic rituals. With police officer Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) on the case, and Professor Kenneth Raines providing help to the victims through regressive therapy, the truth is bound to surface. However, the facts are uncovered, the results turn out to be even more outrageous than anything anyone involved in these horrendous acts could have ever imagined.
“Right after my last period movie I wanted to try a horror movie, and I thought about the devil, and why not try to explore the world of satanic cults?” Amenabar inquired. “I started to read a couple of books, but I couldn’t find an interesting approach, something that made the movie sort of special so I put it aside for awhile. Then, I read about satanic ritual abuse, and the psychological techniques that were used in the ’80s and ’90s, which is something I never heard about. So, I thought that would allow me to make a movie about the devil, but secretly a movie about our mind, and how our mind shifts and plays with us, and that’s something that always interested me”.
As for star Ethan Hawke, his initial interest in the project was less about the world of the occult, and more about the man behind the camera. “I have a lot of respect for Alejandro Amenabar, I took him incredibly seriously” Hawke explains. “I didn’t really understand the script or the character, and I went to meet with him to tell him so, and he was such a compelling person, and the desire to make the movie seemed so sincere and interesting to me that I decided just to take a chance on him”.
Not only does Hawke hold a certain appreciation for Amenabar’s work, but the Sinister star also possesses an affinity for filmmakers that emerge from different cultures than his own.
“I like anything about working with directors from other parts of the world” Hawke says excitedly. “I got to work with Alfonso Cuaron when I did Great Expectations, Jean-Francois Richet when I did Assault on Precinct 13, and Pawel Pawlikowski when I did The Woman in the Fifth. I love working with different filmmakers; filmmakers that come from a different education, because I tend to learn more. You know, people who grow up in the U.S. kind of have a one-film vocabulary, and people who grow up in other countries have a different film vocabulary and they live differently, and they think about images differently, and they think about performances differently, and it’s fun to be a part of it”.
2016 seems to be the year of the devil, with films like The Witch, February, and The Devil’s Candy coming out, and even a TV show titled Lucifer airing on Fox. All of the films, each having to do with Satan, deal with the darker aspects of religion in their own ways. For Amenabar, Regression “was about portraying the world of the occult and about the rituals”, as he drew inspiration from books like Making Monsters, Satan’s Sirens and Satanic Panic, exploring and researching as much as he could about the followers and their forbidden religion.
Regression seems to fit right in with the year’s new trend, but popular horror sub-genres come and go, as Amenabar explains. “Sometimes in terms of horror, we go like in waves, so there’s been zombies, and after that there were vampires, and I think it’s about the devil again”. However, according to Amenabar, he simply sought to personify his own vision, and just happened to capitalize on a flourishing angle. “In my case, like I said, I was just trying to find the proper approach, and I thought it was right for me”.
Still, coincidental as it may be, it’s admittedly a pretty exciting time for horror, as it seems to be delving more and more into the taboo subject that made so many ’70s films so memorable. Amenabar’s new film, however, plays more on the engaging, tension-ridden aspects of the decade’s thrillers, pulling from movies like All the President’s Men, Marathon Man, just as much as he does from The Exorcist. “We wanted to get some of the style and the flavor from hose American thrillers from the ’70s,” says Amenabar. “We wanted to keep some of the gravitas or the seriousness of those movies”.
To Ethan Hawke, the film is less about religion, and more about the curious actions that people take once real fear sets in. His character Bruce starts out the film as a logic-based non believer, but as the case carries on, and he begins to suspect that members of the cult he’s investigating may be following him, he turns to the ancient artifacts of the bible and the crucifix as a way to cope with his concerns.
“I think what Alejandro’s saying is it’s not the idea of religion necessarily, but everybody, people start getting superstitious and they’re scared to get superstitious” Hawke emphasized. “I don’t think it’s religion that’s oriented in any kind of real faith, or pure exploration of his inner life, but more based in superstition. And I think that’s what Alejandro was most interested in trying to say at that moment in the movie”.
Through the film, Hawke and Amenabar collaborate to set out on an expedition to find what drives people to religion, and how everyone, whether religious or not, comes to believe their own superstitions and personally-based theories.
“I think that in general people like to be right, and one of the things that’s most interesting to me about the movie is that people, we all want to be right all the time, and even though sometimes this truth starts lining up that we might be wrong, but we still persist in not wanting to let go of the idea that we’re right” Hawke comments. “It becomes very important to us to stick that ground, and I think one of Bruce’s problems in this movie is, he thinks he’s right about Angela, and he starts being blind to certain facts because of his own desire to prove himself right”.
It’s always harder for people to see themselves as clearly as they can others, but as the film suggests, part of this self-serving bias is due to the iffy nature of psychotherapy, which is still to this day, and will always be, mostly based on theories. While Officer Kenner approaches the case through files and interviews, his partner Professor Raines tackles the issues through his own process, as he uncovers locked away memories of the victims through hypnotherapy.
Therapists, although seeking to help their patients, can sometimes point them in the wrong direction, especially because the mind is such a fragile thing. As Amenabar says, “One thing for sure is I would never submit myself to hypnotic therapy. I’m afraid of what I could find there”.
The process of how the mind interprets inspiration, coercion, and submission is a fascinating, endless journey of self-exploration. People often think of the factors that influence the mind as merely being interactions with other people, but in actuality, people are affected by every daily correspondence we encounter, whether that be with friends, family, or even the movies we watch for fun. Although shy to be a patient of hypnotherapy himself, Amenabar doesn’t deny the fact that the act of sitting down to watch a movie is just as much hypnosis as any session with phototherapy or use of a metronome. In an interesting way, his movie seeks to hypnotize the audience just as much as it seeks to explore the effects of hypnotherapy.
“Well the idea was something that has to do with movies, that also has something to do with hypnosis” says Amenabar. “People sit down in a theater and start watching the movie, and even we as filmmakers, we use that expression, we try to hypnotize them. So like that process, exploring it or portraying it in the movie itself, the process of hypnotizing, the images you see in the movie, you can see what is my approach to that”.
Was Angela abused by satanic cults? Is Professor Kenneth Raines extracting memories that ought not to be tampered with? Is Officer Bruce Kenner being stalked by the same cults that have tortured Angela for so long? Find all of the answers to this terrifying exploration of satanism and psychotherapy when Regression hits theaters on February 5th, 2016.
Bloody Disgusting is giving away (2) Blu-ray copies of Alchemy’s Hangman (review), directed by Adam Mason (Broken, The Devil’s Chair, Blood River) and starring Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect, Crank, Road Trip), Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn, TV’s “Wicked City”) and Kate Ashfield (Shaun of the Dead, The War Zone, Secret Smile).
Enter using the form below. Contest open to U.S. readers only. No PO boxes accepted. Winners chosen at random.
“Returning from vacation, the Miller family find their home has been broken into. After cleaning up the mess they continue with their lives, shaking off the feeling of being violated. Little do they know the real nightmare has just begun.“
The film will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on February 9, 2016.
After premiering at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, the trailer is now online for the sci-fi anthology Embers, directed entirely by Claire Carré.
Embers features five interwoven stories each explore a different facet of life without memory in a future that has no past.
“After a global neurological epidemic, those who remain search for meaning and connection in a world without memory.”
It stars Jason Ritter, Iva Gocheva, Greta Fernández, Tucker Smallwood, Karl Glusman, Silvan Friedman, Roberto Cots, and Dominique Swain.
Two lovers struggle to stay together, afraid that if separated, they will forget each other forever.
A boy loses his guardian and searches for a new home beyond the limits of the city.
A violent young man takes what he needs to survive, no matter the cost.
A professor researching a cure makes a connection that is not what he expected.
A girl living with her father in an underground bunker safe from the virus must decide whether to risk infection to regain her freedom.
Thanks to Fabien M. for the tip.
Calvaire, Vinyan and Alléluia director Fabrice Du Welz is heading to EFM with Message From the King, which now has some market art, courtesy of Fabien M.
Luke Evans (High-Rise, Dracula Untold), Tom Felton (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies), Natalie Martinez (End of Watch) and Chadwick Boseman star in the thriller in which, “A mysterious outsider named Jacob King from South Africa arrives in Los Angeles to avenge his younger sister’s death.”
There’s no other info at this time. We’ll update you with any stills that come out of the Berlin market.
Thank to Bloody regular Fabien M. we have market shots of Fast and the Furious and Resident Evil star Michelle Rodriguez in Walter Hill’s gender-swapping action movie Tomboy, a Revenger’s Tale, which also stars Anthony LaPaglia and Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Aliens, Ghostbusters).
“The script, written by Hill from a story by Denis Hamill, centers on an ace assassin who is double-crossed by gangsters and falls into the hands of rogue surgeon known as “The Doctor,” who turns him into a woman. The hitman (now a hitwoman) sets out for revenge, aided by a nurse named Johnnie, who also has secrets.”
Rodriguez is to play the hitman while Weaver is the scalpel-wielding doctor. Here’s our first look!
Zelda Williams (“Teen Wolf”), Alberto Frezza (“Charlie’s Angels”) and Eli Goree (“The 100”) have joined the cast of Freeform’s “Dead Of Summer” horror drama series, reports Deadline.
“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.”
Williams will play a counselor at Camp Clearwater who is a mysterious loner with no interest in bonding with the rest of the group. Frezza is Deputy Garrett Sykes, a young deputy who has ties to Camp Clearwater and who grows immediately suspicious when events at the camp don’t add up. Goree will play Joel, an aspiring filmmaker who is returning to Camp Clearwater as a counselor and begins to buy into the idea that something weird is happening.
In addition, the network announced that series creators/executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (“Once Upon A Time”) will direct the first episode. Williams, Frezza and Goree join previously announced cast members Mark Indelicato (“Ugly Betty”), Ronen Rubinstein (“Orange Is The New Black”) and Paulina Singer (“Gotham”).
Production will begin in March.
High school archetypes have a rough year ahead of them what with all these murderers loose and walking about in search of something soft to poke. Behavior Interactive has finally pulled the sheet off their next game, and it seems those curious red stains were blood, after all.
Dead By Daylight joins Friday the 13th: The Game and Last Year as the latest teen stab ’em up to put a handful of stereotypical teens in mortal danger for our amusement. With procedurally generated environments and multiple bad guys — not all of them human — this 4-on-1 asymmetrical multiplayer horror game promises to be anything but predictable.
As a survivor, you’ll make use of your surroundings to survive against an unknown threat. This threat could be flesh and bone, or it could be something else. Each match has been designed so “you’ll never know what to expect, what you’re facing and how to get away,” and with limited time to think and even less time to react, your survival depends on outwitting your hunter.
An emphasis on character progression leaves room for each character to be tailored compliment your specific play style so neither team will know who or what they’re going up against. Dead by Daylight will release on PC, through Steam, as soon as it’s ready.
Come Tuesday, Harran will be unrecognizable from what it is today. Dying Light: The Following and the free enhancement patch will overhaul the game with new features and environments, in addition to some long overdue endgame content for those of us who beat it last year.
After a few failed attempts at liking its “Be the Zombie” mode, I hadn’t even thought to consider what this imminent renovation would mean for it. This trailer makes it look like it’ll be the best kind of bonkers, with tendril monsters raining down from the sky and onto speeding dune buggies encased in electrified metal cages. That may be what finally makes this mode click with me.
And to all you achievement/trophy hunters out there, these are your new targets.
May 13th, 2016.
Mark that date on your calendars, folks. That’s the day the new Doom arrives, and you’re going to want to have your trigger fingers properly limbered up before then. You may also want to grab a shotgun so you can practice that twirly, one-handed reload maneuver from Terminator 2, because that’s just a generally useful life skill to have.
Doom will hit everywhere at once with a worldwide release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, ensuring no one will have to wait to take on its “avalanche of demons.” And if you’re still on the fence about it, a public beta will kick off prior to the official launch so you can give it a test drive first.
Bethesda shed some light on the game’s pre-order incentives, if you’re still paying for those. All pre-orders will come with a half dozen consumable “Hack Modules,” to give you an edge in the multiplayer, and the Demon Multiplayer Pack. That includes three variations of a set of demon armor, six paint colors, and three id Software patterns for you to slap on your gear.
The Doom $120 collector’s edition comes with a limited edition metal game case and a 12″ Revenant statue designed by TriForce that comes perched atop an LED-lit base, since everyone needs a flying demon with dual rocket launchers on their desk. Did that sound sarcastic? It wasn’t. Everyone really does need one of those at the office. Or at least I do.
Today a unique time-lapse video showcasing the evolution of zombies in works of popular culture – from the classic movies of the 1930s to modern video games – has been released.
Techland is proud to share the video as it features, among many recognizable pop culture icons, the Volatile – a trademark zombie from Techland’s game “Dying Light.” This is also the very first time the Volatile has been portrayed in real-life by an actor.
“Dying Light: The Following” – Enhanced Edition launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 9th, 2016.
Dutch filmmaker Ate de Jong is likely most known for 1991’s Drop Dead Fred starring Phobe Cates and Rik Mayall but it was just before that film that he made his Hollywood debut with Highway to Hell. Highway to Hell has a little bit for everybody as it’s a sort of an adventure/horror/comedy/fantasy hybrid about a young girl who is off to elope with her boyfriend when she gets kidnapped and taken to Hell. The film is now out on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber and its a fun film full of interesting characters and cameos. In support of the release de Jong has released the following short promo video to tell you why exactly you should check this one out:
Chad Lowe (Life Goes On) and Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) star in this horror-comedy-action-adventure as young lovers, Charlie and Rachel eloping to Las Vegas for a secret wedding. Standing in their way is Satan, who taken a liking to the lovely Rachel and has sent his Hell Cop (C.J. Graham, Jason from Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI) to bring her down to Hell where she can satisfy his devilish lust. When Charlie follows, he’s thrust into an unexpected world of living satanic bikers, cannibalistic blondes and a coffee shop where the only thing living is the food. The stellar cast includes Patrick Bergin (Patriot Games), Richard Farnsworth (The Straight Story), Pamela Gidley (Cherry 2000), Kevin Peter Hall (The Predator from Predator 1 & 2), Jerry Stiller (Seinfeld) with his wife Anne Meara as Medea, his son Ben Stiller as Attila the Hun and his daughter Amy Stiller as Cleopatraâ! Also featuring rocker Lita Ford and comedian Gilbert Gottfried as Hitler. Directed by cult director Ate de Jong (Drop Dead Fred) with a screenplay by Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential).
-Audio Commentary by Director Ate De Jong
-Interview with SFX Make-up Artist, Steve Johnson
-Animated Montage of Stills
-Original Theatrical Trailer
There is a handful of actors that pop up fairly frequently but almost always in small roles or cameos that I really love. Occasionally they may have a larger supporting role and every so often they even land a lead gig. One of my favorite actors that fits this bill is Clint Howard. He’s a guy I just love to see on screen. He has a presence and a special persona about him. No matter how big or small the role, you always remember him. One of Howard’s first (and really one of the few) starring roles came in 1981’s Evilspeak, from writer/director Eric Weston. It’s without a doubt the perfect movie for Howard.
Howard stars as Stanley Coopersmith. Just think about that name for a moment – Coopersmith. Outside of a pub in Colorado, Coopersmith isn’t that common of a name. Cooper, sure. Smith, absolutely. But the two combined as one? That’s sort of odd, isn’t it? Then you see a young Clint Howard screwing up in a big soccer game, ultimately costing his team a victory and you’re like “Yeah, that’s Coopersmith.” Add that with Stanley, which is no winner either, and you’ve got the perfect name. Of course most of the time he is referred to as Cooperdick, but that’s another thing all together.
Young Stanley is basically an orphan. His parents died and now he’s attending a military school where he is most certainly an outcast. He’s picked on by the cooler, jock-like bullies, led by the horrible Bubba (Dan Stark). These kids are a bunch of assholes and pick on Stanley at every chance they get. Bubba is a major prick with this cocky arrogance and a stupid face you just want to punch. Stark gives a great performance which is why I wanted to punh him so bad. Then there are the girls in the school. They don’t pick on Stanley so much but they kind of view him as a pathetic joke and enjoy the other boys picking on him. The school staff, from the soccer coach to the teachers to the reverend and all the way up to the colonel are no better. They all treat Stanley like he’s worthless and act like he’s responsible for everything that goes wrong. It’s pretty sad.
There is one kid, Kowalski, that stands up for Stanley when he’s getting picked on. So he does have that but the relationship between the two is never really explored. Kowalski just kind of shows up just in time to prevent Stanley from really getting pummeled. Joining Kowalski is the school’s cook, who befriends Stanley and actually gives him a puppy.
While being punished for whatever reason, Stanley is ordered to clean the cellar of the school church. While doing his cleaning he discovers a secret room that formally belonged to Father Estaban (Richard Moll). Estaban was a Satanic leader and Coopersmith finds one of Estaban’s books on black magic. The book instantly intrigues Coopersmith who sneaks a school computer down to the cellar and begins to translate the book from Latin to English. Eventually the black magic takes over, first starting with the computer and then moving onto Coopersmith. Now controlled by Estaban and the black magic, Coopersmith seeks revenge on his tormentors.
Evilspeak is an awesomely fun movie. It’s very, very gratifying when Coopersmith gets his revenge on Bubba and all the other jerks in his school. This vengeance comes in one incredibly chaotic and violent scene. Decapitations, fire, mad man-eating pigs, the finale to Evilspeak has it all. From the audience perspective this is all pure joy because those on the receiving end of all this madness are completely deserving. It’s very reminiscent of Carrie in this way.
What’s really cool about Evilspeak is how it deals with technology. Estaban rises to power through the computer. How he does that exactly, I’m not entirely sure, but that’s hardly the point. Just the idea in 1981 is incredibly impressive. Plus the way Coopersmith uses the computer is pretty cutting edge. He basically does Google searches to gather information on black magic and the like. Was anybody else doing that back then? I don’t think so. Except for Richard Moll who plays Estaban and aslo played in a similar forward thinking role a few years later in The Dungeonmaster.
My most recent viewing of Evilspeak came courtesy of the region B Blu-ray release from the UK’s 88 Films. This was my first experience with 88 Films, and I think it was quite fitting since Evilspeak was one of the infamous video nasties banned in the UK during the 80’s. The film has also been released stateside via Scream Factory, but I haven’t seen that release so I can’t compare the two (though Patrick Cooper did write an awesome review of the Scream release and you should read that). I can say, however, that the 88 Films release is fantastic. The transfer looks great. Just watch the trailer and then take a look at the film and you can see the clear improvements 88 Films made.
The special features are what really make this release shine. I haven’t had a chance to make it through all the special features yet, but I checked out the various interviews (Clint Howard, Don Stark, Joseph Cortese, Allan A. Apone) and they’re all fantastic. I highly recommend listening to the Howard and Stark interviews. It’s interesting hearing the two of them talk about their experiences on the film and how they feel about it all these years later. Howard has a few really interesting notes on working with the various actors and just his career in general. Also included is an extended SD cut of the film, audio commentary with Weston, Howard and location manager Warren Lewis and a making of featurette.
We all like to see jerks get their comeuppance. It’s enjoyable to see the bully get taken down and the picked-on-kid rise to the top. That’s exactly what Evilspeak is. What makes this better though is there’s Clint Howard, man-eating pigs and a good chunk of gore. What’s not to like?
Evilspeak is now available on region B Blu-ray from 88 Films.
Chillermama’s Adam Rifkin took to the Slamdance Film Festival with Director’s Cut, which is being hyped as a very creative genre-bending horror/dark comedy movie-within-a-movie.
It was written by and stars Penn Jillette and also stars Missi Pyle, Harry Hamlin and Hayes Macarthur, and was directed by Adam Rifkin.
Check out these first clips featuring (a talking) Teller and Gilbert Gottfried.
The ultimate ‘meta movie’, DIRECTOR’S CUT is an insane, cinematic sleight of hand trick that reflects on itself, much like the stage persona of its co-star and creator, world famous illusionist Penn Jillette. Here, teamed with acclaimed Director Adam Rifkin, Jillette conjures a mind bending, genre-defying movie-within-a-movie mash-up that’s part narrative thriller, part docu-mental-case. Starring Missi Pyle, DIRECTOR’S CUT is about a cineaste stalker who kidnaps his favorite actress and forces her to star in his amateur movie. The madness that unspools behind the scenes will leave you reeling.
Here’s the film’s official festival one-sheet and trailer.
Cavu’s The Final Project is the debut film from indie filmmaker Taylor Ri’chard and hits theaters beginning February 12th in Atlanta and Houston, and March 4th in New York and Los Angeles.
Check out a new clip from the found-footage horror that catches a glimpse of something in the window.
“Six college students have organized the ultimate graduation project… a documentary film about one of the most notorious haunted houses in America, the Lafitte Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana. A Civil War landmark with a dark past, complete with stories of mutilated soldiers, murdered families and restless shadows roaming its abandoned corridors… no one has entered Lafitte in years- until now. Outfitted with high-tech recording equipment in order to capture every moment of their great adventure, these intrepid young filmmakers bravely venture deep into the misty backwoods of Louisiana. But on this plantation that time has forgotten, something evil still waits and watches. When darkness falls, their deepest fears come to life, as one by one they’ll learn the horrifying truth that awaits all who dare seek the secrets of the Lafitte Plantation. The dead are awake, and there are some places the living should never go.”
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ABOUT THE PLANTATION: Utilizing real locations in and around Georgia, THE FINAL PROJECT features a crew and ensemble of dedicated locals well acquainted with the haunted history of the South. Combining the “found footage” genre with authentic local folklore, it updates the classic American ghost story by tapping into a history too chillingly real to deny. The backstory of THE FINAL PROJECT combines an Old Hollywood touch with a real-life twist. Chretien Point Plantation in Sunset, Louisiana, the real-life model for the film’s Lafitte Plantation, was also the inspiration for the interior of the legendary “Tara” from Gone with the Wind. Its true claim to fame, however, lies closer to home. The site of a pitched and bloody battle between Union and Confederate soldiers at the height of the Civil War, with a bullet hole still embedded in one of its front doors, Chretien Point has long been rumored to be one of the biggest supernatural “hotspots” in North America. Ghostly sightings have been reported for decades, with stories of buried treasure, a vengeful “house mistress”, and even a nearby haunted bridge.
iZombie comes back swinging! When iZombie’s last new episode aired three weeks ago, I mulled over the idea that it served as more of a filler episode to bridge the two halves of the season (it was the middle episode of the season, after all). “Fifty Shades of Grey Matter,” easily the best episode of the season thus far, proved that theory, as it showed the writers setting up the endgame for the final eight episodes to come. Helping matters was that the case of the week, while predictable, was consistently entertaining throughout (it was one of the show’s more quotable episodes) and even brought in the indispensable Kristen Bell, whom some of you may recall was the lead character on Rob Thomas’ other female detective series.
Reviewing an episode of iZombie can be a tricky thing because, as I’ve mentioned before, even a mediocre episode of it is still an above-average episode of television. To this day, iZombie has not aired a truly bad episode, which is why it’s never earned anything less than a 3-skull rating. Sure, there have been a few that relied on the procedural elements a little too much and suffered from wheel-spinning, but the writing and acting is always top notch. So a 3.5- or 4-skull iZombie could be considered a weaker episode. This entire tangent of a paragraph is just to help you understand my thought process when scoring each episode. Now let’s get to “Fifty Shades of Grey Matter.”
What makes “Fifty Shades of Grey Matter” so important to the series is that the stakes finally feel real. For the first time this season, scenes created legitimate suspense (Major going to pick up Minor from the groomer before Clive and Dale caught him, Peyton granting Blaine immunity before realizing the monster he really is, etc.). It is an intensity that has been lacking from some of iZombie’s previous episodes and was a welcome addition to this latest episode.
What started off as a fun and harmless episode abruptly yet seamlessly turned into a heartbreaking series of revelations between Peyton and the rest of the cast. It was a night of choices for Liv and Peyton. At first, Peyton’s scene with Blaine seemed to come out of nowhere (when was the last time Peyton was on the show?), but it all came together in the end. Both characters chose to have sex with their suitors, and while Peyton was shown the light about Blaine, Liv is still in the dark about Drake.
Ail Michalka hasn’t had much in the way of dramatic scenes since she found out about Liv last season, but this week she had plenty of them. Michalka is a talented actress and she has felt severely underused in the past. “Fifty Shades of Grey Matter” is a step in the right direction for the character the hopefully won’t see any backtracking next week.
The highlight of the episode may have been the final 10 minutes, but that doesn’t mean the first 50 weren’t of high quality. Dale is quickly becoming one of the best characters on the show and her chemistry with Clive is palpable. Their scenes together are legitimately fun to watch and it gives Malcolm Goodwin something to do besides act so stoic all the time. It would be awful if Bozzio became a casualty from their investigation into Blaine, but we will have to accept that as a possibility unless Jessica Harmon gets brought on as a series regular.
As soon as they mentioned turning on Minor’s GPS tracker, you knew it would only mean trouble for Major. While it’s only a matter of time before he gets caught (whether by Liv, Ravi or Clive), he was able to get by unscathed this week, albeit short one dog.
Liv’s brain of the week (that of a sexually-starved erotic fiction author) provided plenty of laughs. It was nice to see Liv get a brain that let her play fun and loose without damaging her relationships as some of her recent brains have. “The husband did it” is an old trope, but it worked out here if not surprisingly, then at least satisfyingly. At the very least this week’s mystery gave us a small dose of Kristen Bell as the celebrity reader of the victim’s audiobook.
“Fifty Shades of Grey Matter” showcased iZombie at its strongest. It dramatically raised the stakes while still moving the plot forward at a surprisingly brisk pace (I’m still astounded that Peyton found out about Blaine and told Liv about it in the same episode that Clive and Dale caught up with Blaine). If the remaining eight episodes this season can keep up the pace, we may be in for a stellar back half of iZombie’s second season.
- Chapter Titles of the Week: If Books Could Kill; Bookworm Food; Lord of the Files; Talk Dirty to Me; Bringing Sexy Back; The Hem-Locker; Arrested Development;
- Brain Recipe of the Week: Brain-Stuffed Peppers! Those looked delicious!
- How sad was it watching Minor in the bus window? I got legitimate tears in my eyes. He’s going to have some major abandonment issues.
- Is it kosher for the police to tell a suspect that the husband of the victim pointed them in her direction?
- “I’ve always felt a kind of connection to her.” -A subtle nod from the writers connecting Liv to Veronica Mars.
- “You’ve been a bad little bitch haven’t you?” -Kristen Bell, reading the audiobook Grace’s novel.
- “I’m going to show you why they call it a cockpit!” -More Kristen Bell. I wish I could have just transcribed the entire monologue but I figured that would be excessive.
- Seriously though, if you’ve never watched Veronica Mars, do it now. It’s a fantastic show (and if you’ve only see the movie but none of the show, your opinion is void).
- “I’ve been a baaaad morgue attendant. I’ll understand if there are punitive damages!” -Liv’s first inappropriate line of the night.
- “And then victory sex. High five!” -I’m totally shipping Clozzio.
- “He’s got a scar on his face that speaks his sin.” -Liv describing Drake.
- “Hey, I’m pre-ordering this book. You’re not the only one in a dry spell.” -Peyton, after hearing an excerpt from Grace’s novel
- The flight attendant is named Alissa Trammell. Nice nod to Basic Instinct.
- Never knew Julian’s fake last name was DeWeed. I laughed unreasonably hard at that. Blaine DeBeers and Julian DeWeed would sell teenagers beer and weed. It’s perfect!
- “Seems pretty unlikely.” “Yeah! That’s what a coincidence means.”
- No brains for Liv next week! Let’s see how the episode pans out with “normal” Liv.
Jason Flemyng, best known for his collaborations with Matthew Vaughn and roles in such pics as X-Men: First Class and Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, is sinking his teeth into directing with vampire thriller Eat Local, reported Deadline.
Filming is underway “Daredevil‘s” Charlie Cox starring alongside Mackenzie Crook (Pirates Of The Caribbean, “Game Of Thrones”), actor-writer-director Dexter Fletcher (Eddie The Eagle), Freema Agyeman (“Doctor Who”) and Eve Myles (“Doctor Who,” “Torchwood”).
“Eat Local revolves around unwitting Essex boy Sebastian (newcomer Billy Cook), whose promise of a night of passion with a ravishing cougar quickly turns into a fight for survival after she decides to introduce him to some of her friends — a coven of hungry vampires — at a remote farmhouse. Added to the mix, a heavily armed band of mercenary vampire hunters crashes the party.”
Danny King, a BAFTA nominee for Wild Bill, penned the script.
Ruth Jones (Gavin & Stacey), Annette Crosbie (Into The Woods) and Vincent Regan (Lockout, 300) also star.
Rod Smith of Evolution Pictures is producing, along with Jonathan Sothcott and Neil Jones of Hereford Films.
A warning, an invitation or a death threat?
Emma Watson narrates a clip from Regression, in limited theaters on February 5th, in which Ethan Hawke drives through the streets and seemingly is being watched for nefarious purposes.
“Minnesota, 1990. Detective Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) investigates the case of young Angela (Emma Watson), who accuses her father, John Gray (David Dencik), of an unspeakable crime. When John unexpectedly and without recollection admits guilt, renowned psychologist Dr. Raines (David Thewlis) is brought in to help him relive his memories and what they discover unmasks a horrifying nationwide mystery.
David Thewlis (The Fifth Estate, Harry Potter), David Dencik (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo) , Dale Dickey (Winter´s Bone, True Blood), Lothaire Bluteau (The Tudors) and Devon Bostick (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) also star.
They ain’t afraid of no ghost.
Ghostbustersnews.com released a series of new character shots from Paul Feig’s modern Ghostbusters, which display the brand new ghost-busting crew that includes Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, as well as Chris Hemsworth – thus completely flipping the role reversal from the 1984 original.
“Dead criminals from all eras of New York’s underbelly past have returned to roost among the living,” EW recently stated revealing more of the plot. “Pilgrims, old-timey sailors, Revolutionary War spirits, and even a couple of zoot-suited gangsters are ready to take on four formidable female busters looking to rid the city of its phantasmic filth.”
Feig has filmed cameos (in new roles) for many of the original Ghostbusters cast, including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and even Sigourney Weaver.
Andy Garcia, Michael Kenneth Williams, Matt Walsh and Pat Kiernan also star alongside Chris Hemsworth in Ghostbusters blasting into theaters July 15, 2016.
“SNL” vet Neil Casey is the main Ghostbusters villain. He is rumored to play the ghost of a murderer (sort of like Wes Craven’s Shocker, actually) who resurrects a ghost army based on historical characters.
It looks like the long-gestured adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand will have to wait even longer as director Josh Boone is instead moving forward on another King story, Revival.
Variety writes that Boone has already penned the script with Michael De Luca attached to produce.
The film is currently not set up at a studio, but sources indicate that Universal will get a first look, since De Luca does have a production deal with the studio.
Published in 2014, “the book follows a preacher who loses his faith when his wife and child are killed in an accident. He soon becomes obsessed in his experimentation into the healing power of electrical current, positioning him to act as God-like faith healer.
Intertwined with the preacher is a young man with demons of his own, who has benefited from the preacher’s talents and becomes a reluctant accomplice to his deadly obsession.”
Boone is still attached to direct The Stand, which is currently set up at CBS Films, and is also attached to helm The Vampire Chronicles for Universal.
The Stand has a long, weathered history that can be documented here on Bloody Disgusting. In June Showtime was said to be in talks to create an 8-part miniseries, while the last we really talked about the potential game-changer franchise (which had Matthew McConaughey pegged for the role of Randall Flag; although he’s now rumored to be attached to Stephen King’s The Dark Tower), it was set to be a 3-hour long epic.