Horror on TV: Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction Episode 3.13


Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction aired off-and-on for about five years on the Fox network.  A sign of just how randomly this show was scheduled can be found in the fact that season 3 started in 2000 while season 4 didn’t start until 2002.  Reruns of the show currently air on the Chiller Network which is where I recently discovered it.

Hosted by Jonathan Frakes, each episode would present the viewers with five different stories.  Each story would appear to defy logic and then, at the end of the episode, Frakes would reveal which of the stories were fact and which were fiction.  The show was often incredibly silly and yet, it occasionally had an odd charm to it.  A lot of this was due to Jonathan Frakes, who always seemed to be rather amused with it all.

Even more importantly, as bad as this show often was, it’s the perfect type of show to watch in October.  It’s the television equivalent of a scary story being told around a campfire.

Below, you’ll find the final episode of the third season.  Can you guess what’s fact and what’s fiction?

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Horror Review: The Walking Dead Season Two


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The Walking Dead by Telltale Games scarcely needs any introduction. Widely agreed to be one of the best games of 2012, its narrative dictated by your choices punched at the player’s gut with its strong emotional content in a subtle sidestory of atonement, fatherhood, and of course, survival, in the zombie universe of The Walking Dead.

Clem does keep that hair short, whether you like it or not.

Clem does keep that hair short, whether you like it or not.

However, the gameplay and its difficult choices were an illusion. A magic trick. As long as you looked at the story you didn’t notice how much you didn’t make a dent at the course of the storytelling. Two playthroughs will prove that the story is almost exactly the same, even if you interpreted protagonist Lee Everett two polar opposite characters. Not that it mattered, since it was made to play once; to become emotionally involved and keep your little saved game until next time, for the next season, much like the TV Series.

And so it came to pass that Season Two came out. Through the emotional roller coaster we go again, load your season one save for vaguely rewarding shoutouts to your playthrough of season one. This time the story is set two years after the its predecessor. You play as Clementine, Lee’s (now) eleven year old protegé. Having survived through the hell zombie apocalypses tend to dish out, young Clem is not the the little girl up in the treehouse anymore, having become sullen and untrusting, used to the bedouin life of scavenging and killing after society breaks.

The story does progress ostensibly slow at first. Episodes One and Two may appear as uninspired reflections of the original game and may be hard to tolerate for some, but it’s worth it. Seeing the full game, they are justified. The magic trick was being set up again, with more flair this time. As you start interpreting this little girl’s choices and behavior, you start to become emotionally involved again. Her persona becomes an extension of your own (Verily, in a way, you become an eleven-year old, which is super fucking weird). By episode three it’s all set, and you’re looking at the magic hand again, while the other supposedly weaves a defined scenario.

Reminder: Eleven years old.

Reminder: Eleven years old.

This time is different though. If in the first game you (Lee) took the role of leadership, in Season Two, you (Clem) are the pivot character. People want to do what’s safer for the child, she is the motive of concern of every survivor group, and being forced to take sides ultimately creates different paths that don’t end the same way, in contrast to Season One. The multiple endings pay off. Enthralled by this story, you’re encouraged to follow through it as if you were a wildly different person, with feelings and thoughts. You feel the weight of being Clementine.

From the beggining of episode three to the end of five, the last one, Clem is swept in a crescendo of intrigue. The group is trying not to break and she is often encouraged to voice her opinions, except when she disagrees with someone, in which case it doesn’t matter because adults know better. But that may also mean that she’s agreeing with another person, and her opinion is defended as the most important because the weakest needs to feel safe. You can’t seem to fix this group, driving it further into discord in fact. You may take one side entirely or try to keep things nice and easy for everyone, and in the end you are responsible for Clem’s fate. For better or for worse. The subject “Clem” and the subject “you” are sort of interchangeable in this paragraph.

The new season is more emotionally complex and more morally ambiguous. Really, it’s about the evil that men do rather than zombies. Though not an entirely original concept, Season Two does create a very nice example of it. It’s difficult to say if it’s better or worse than the first one. It’s just different. However, it shows improvement in its immersion and narrative, and proves that Telltale is capable of carrying on the quality of their own version of The Walking Dead.

Horror Artist Profile: Bernie Wrightson (1948- )


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Horror fans know who Bernie Wrightson is even if not by name, but by the work he has done in the horror field.

Born in October 27, 1948, Bernie Wrightson has made his name creating some of the more recognizable horror illustrations since the 1970’s. Wrightson would have his break out work in conjunction with Len Wein in co-creating the character Swamp Thing for DC Comics in 1971. In time, Wrightson would move on from DC Comics and the character he created for Warren Publishing that were well-known for producing black-and-white horror titles.

Throughout the years, Wrightson would end up producing some classic images for horror stories ranging from Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein right up to several Stephen King novels (The Stand, Cycle of the Werewolf and Wolves of the Calla).

Here’s to hoping that Wrightson has many more years of horror work ready to fire up the imaginations of horror fans everywhere.

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Horror On The Lens: The Night Flier (dir by Mark Pavia)


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For today’s Horror on the Lens offering, we present you with The Night Flier, a 1997 adaptation of a Stephen King short story.  Miguel Ferrer plays a sleazy tabloid reporter, named Richard Dees, who is pursuing a serial killer who could very well be a vampire.

I have to admit that I’m not quite as big a Stephen King fan as some of my fellow writers here at the Shattered Lens.  In fact, I’ve been meaning to write a “10 Reasons Stephen King Is Overrated” article for a while.  Far too often, it seems like Stephen King adaptations manage to capture all of King’s weaknesses without making use of any of his strengths.  However, The Night Flier is one of the more effective King adaptations.  It’s no Shining but it’s still better than The Shawshank Redemption.  Plus, it features a great lead performance from Miguel Ferrer.

Enjoy!