Channel Zero, “Want to see something cool?” Season 1, Episode 3; ALT Title: Like cool things, watch something else.


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There are some shows like Stranger Things, Lonesome Dove, or True Detective whose audacious vision is pushed ever forward by the rugged genius of its writing and directing staff, Channel Zero is NOT that show.

On its best day, Channel Zero is burgers and fries, but on its worst days, Channel Zero is like stale bread that has become horribly crunchy, difficult to digest, and every bite reveals unending torpor.  This particular episode is not terrible just for this series, but might be the the worst episode of television.  Because it is becoming ever more awful, it could get to be fun to watch like an Ed Wood film.  Since it has some mediocre episodes, it’s not Halloween Resurrection levels of crap overall, but it was awful.  There was a quasi-torture scene without suspense, a now hand sucking tooth-monster, and not much else.

Gary takes Mike to a house under renovation.  It turns out that Gary wanted it to be his dream house, but it didn’t work out for him.  Gary ties up Mike and questions him about the dead kids from yesteryear and Gary gets visitors: Tim and Brenda.  They want to beat Mike up to find out why Mike killed their friends and relatives – in the most slow moving way possible. Mike keeps saying that it’s the Candle Cove show…blah blah blah.  At one point, Tim pulls a gun and fails to create any suspense….at all, but Mike does gets shot in the arm …. off camera.

Jessica is talking to Mike’s Mom -MM.  She explains that she had an emotional affair with Mike and then he cut it off.  She figures out Mike is being held at their never to have dream house and heads over there with Deputy Amy and MM.  They stop Tim from killing Mike and Deputy Amy takes Gary’s gun, but doesn’t seem to arrest him.  Why do that? It could have raised the stakes, led to a struggle, or anything.  

Flashback- Eddie lures the Bully Kid to the crow’s nest and uses the Tooth Monster mojo to get the Bully Kid to jump off a cliff.

Tim goes into the woods and is killed and buried by random kids.  This happens almost entirely offscreen because this show wouldn’t want to interfere with a bathroom break. If you have the stomach flu, are a compulsive knitter, or need to take smoke breaks, this is the show for you.  

Brenda goes to the Evil Teacher who feeds the Tooth Monster.  Evil Teacher kills her with a hook for some reason and then hosts a cocoa drink party with the children who killed Tim.  Is this unnecessarily ambiguous, over the top, and dumb? You Betcha!!! 

Mike is back home.  His mother has a nightmare of the tooth monster sucking Mike’s fingers.  YEECH!  Then, his daughter, who lives 452 miles away, appears outside of MM’s house.  He asks, “How did you get here?” They cut to the Tooth Monster who I guess was going to say Kayak or Travelocity, but the episode ended so we will never learn how Mike’s daughter got there or if she got the lowest rate possible.

What can I tell you other than, I will stick with this show until its inevitable cancellation and is replaced with American Ninja Warrior Baking Championship or some such shit.

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Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man”


You know what?

I’ve spent this October irritated by the lack of episodes of the Twilight Zone on YouTube.  I mean, I understand the importance of copyright laws and everything but seriously, how can you take away the Twilight Zone in October!?

However, I finally managed to find one — and exactly one — episode of The Twilight Zone on YouTube.  And it’s a classic!  (And who knows how long it’ll be available so don’t hold off on watching it!)  Here is the classic “To Serve Man” episode of The Twilight Zone!

Enjoy and bon appetit!

 

Short Film Review: 4 Quarters of Silence (dir by Cody Broadway)


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Hi, everyone!  I want to take a small break from talking about horror movie and Halloween to tell you about 4 Quarters of Silence, a short documentary film that may not be scary but is definitely very inspiring.  It’s a 16-minute film that I was lucky enough to see this weekend and, halfway through the movie, I had tears in my eyes.

And I thought to myself, “Lisa, don’t you dare start crying…”

And I kept watching the movie.  And those tears did not go away and by the end of it all, I had given up on not crying.  However, those weren’t tears of sadness.  4 Quarters of Silence tells an incredibly inspiring little story, one that earned the tears that I shed.

The film opens with a title card that informs us that there are 1,483 high school football teams in Texas.  As a native Texan, I can definitely believe that.  However, there is only one football team that is totally made up of deaf players.  That team, located in Austin, is the Texas School for the Deaf’s Rangers.  4 Quarters of Silence follows the Rangers as they prepare for and play a game against a high school from San Antonio.

However, the emphasis really isn’t on who wins the game.  For the film, if not the coaches and the players, the game is almost a secondary concern.  Instead, 4 Quarters of Silence concentrates on the players and their coach, John Moore, as they refuse to allow their disability to keep them from doing something that they love.

John Moore is truly the star of the show, a passionate and inspiring coach who expects as much from his players off the field as on.  One of my favorite parts of the film contrasts the bombastic half-time speech of the San Antonio coach with Coach Moore’s equally passionate signed speech in the TSD locker room.

The love that Coach Moore has for both the game and his players is truly inspiring and I’m glad that 4 Quarters of Silence documented it.   It’s a truly touching film and one that successfully challenges many of the common assumptions that the hearing are too quick to make about the deaf.  Keep an eye out for it!

Halloween Havoc!: Boris Karloff in THE MAN THEY COULD NOT HANG (Columbia 1939)


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Bela Lugosi ( see yesterday’s post ) wasn’t the only horror icon who starred in a series of low-budget shockers. Boris Karloff signed a five picture deal with Columbia Pictures that was later dubbed the “Mad Doctor” series and, while several notches above Lugosi’s “Monogram Nine”, they were cookie-cutter flicks intended for the lower half of double feature bills. The first of these was THE MAN THEY COULD NOT HANG, which sets the tone for the films to follow.

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Karloff plays Dr. Henry Savaard, inventor of a new surgical technique that requires the patient to die, then reviving him with a mechanical heart after performing the operation. This later became standard operating procedure during open-heart surgery, but back in 1939 was considered science fiction! Anyway, Savaard’s young assistant Bob agrees to go through the experimental procedure, but his girlfriend freaks out and calls the cops, claiming Savaard is about to murder…

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Quick Horror Review: Halloween III – Season of the Witch (dir. by Tommy Lee Wallace)


halloween-3-season-of-the-witch-movie-poster-1982-1020194512-1And then, in 1982, the story of Halloween went off the rails in what I feel was the coolest way possible. And to think, some felt Rob Zombie’s Halloween II went off the mark.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch was mostly a flop when it was released. It managed to make the money to cover the film’s budget, but the film was hurt by the lack of connection to the original series. I think most people at the time were just expecting to see more of Michael Myers and wondered just what the hell this was about. Imagine if The Force Awakens had absolutely zero ties to the main characters in the Star Wars Universe. Actually, you might end up with The Ewok Adventure, but that’s a different review for a different time. Still, Season of the Witch was just that kind of shake up when it was released.

Tommy Lee Wallace sat in the director’s chair this time around. Having actually played Michael Myers in the first Halloween film, Wallace does well here, showing he learned something about setting the scene. It all moves well, and the pacing isn’t too slow. Viewers expecting gore and attacks might find themselves sighing and fast forwarding a bit, but then again, it’s not that type of film. Season of the Witch has a slew of jump scares, though it does go a little overboard in the second half of the movie. Were it cut down to an hour, Season of the Witch could serve as a good Tales from the Darkside / Crypt episode. As a horror story, the body count is low (which is typical for a Carpenter story anyway)

From a writing standpoint, Season of the Witch is solid, though somewhat predictable. Writing duties were handled by John Carpenter (who couldn’t fully walk away from the project), Nigel Kneale, and Wallace himself. My favorite horror tales are the ones that surround the one or few individuals that have discovered something wicked, only to find that they can’t seem to get anyone else to believe what they’ve witnessed. It’s one thing to be chased by a maniacal killer or space creature. It’s another thing entirely to find out you’re the only thing standing between the creature and the rest of humanity. Films like The Wicker Man, every version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Count Yorga: Vampire are examples of this, and Season of the Witch handles this very well, particularly after everything is revealed to our hero and to the audience. Okay, the truth’s out. Who’d even believe you, if you told them? That’s always bothered me. The focus in Halloween deals more with it’s Celtic origins and the celebration of Samhain, and this honestly adds to the creep factor if you do a bit of background reading on it.

Season of the Witch starts a few days before Halloween, with a man on the run from men in black suits. He’s able to defeat the men after him, but not without taking on a few injuries. It’s in the hospital that we’re introduced to our hero in Dr. Dan Challis, played by Carpenter film alum Tom Atkins (The Fog, Escape From New York & Night of the Creeps). Challis has a pretty normal life – a good job, a wife and two kids. When the new patient warns him about some strange danger looming on the horizon and passes along a Halloween mask, Challis decides to share his information with the man’s daughter, Ellie (Stacey Nelkin). Ellie believes that her father died due to foul play, and nothing is going to stop her from finding out why it happened. Challis makes a quick call to the Missus, lies about what he plans to do (he spends a great of his conversations with her like this, as he’s basicially cheating on her), and  continues on the mission. Dan and Ellie find their way to a small town called Santa Mira and to Conal Cochran (played by Dan O’Herlihy, also in The Last Starfighter & Robocop), owner of the Silver Shamrock company.

The trailer and videos actually give away more of the film than I ever could. If you have the chance to watch it, give a try. I don’t think it’s the worst film ever, but others expecting knife wielding killers may find themselves disappointed. Besides, if you take nothing else away from the film, there’s always the catchy Silver Shamrock Jingle to remind us of the fun in Halloween. The jingle was created by Wallace and Carpenter, with Tommy Lee Wallace providing the vocals and reminding us all to get our Silver Shamrock masks.

4 Shots From Horror History: The Wolfman, Insidious, Let Me In, The Cabin In The Woods


This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 Shots From 4 Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we begin our current decade!

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Wolfman (2010, dir by Joe Johnston)

The Wolfman (2010, dir by Joe Johnston)

Insidious (2010, dir by James Wan)

Insidious (2010, dir by James Wan)

Let Me In (2011, dir by Matt Reeves)

Let Me In (2011, dir by Matt Reeves)

The Cabin In The Woods (2012, dir by Drew Goddard)

The Cabin In The Woods (2012, dir by Drew Goddard)

And now a Special Halloween Message From Doc Bowman…


Hi there!  It’s nearly Halloween, which is when humans beg for treats!  Why do humans only beg for treats one night out of the week?  Me, I get treats every time I come inside, go out, wake up from a nap, or sit in the kitchen and go, “Meh.”  That’s the power of being a cute kitty!

Anyway, I wanted to remind everyone that not all humans are nice on Halloween night so be sure to keep your pets — your dogs, your possums, your cats, and especially your black cats! — inside tomorrow night!  The flame-haired one and the nice one both say that there’s no way they’re letting me outside tonight, no matter how much I beg!  Meh!

As a reward for keeping your pets safe on Halloween, here are two horror movies recreated by kittens and our friends at the Pet Collective!

 

Halloween TV Havoc!: LIZARD’S LEG AND OWLET’S WING (“ROUTE 66”, 1962)


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The TV series ROUTE 66 followed the adventures of two young men (Martin Milner, George Maharis) as they cruised the fabled highway in their spiffy Corvette. The 1962 Halloween episode featured a special treat for horror fans, with Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, and Lon Chaney Jr. guesting as themselves. The three screen ghouls are debating the value of their old Gothic-style chillers vs the modern, “adult” horrors like PSYCHO. Karloff makes his final appearance in his Frankenstein makeup, while Lon dons the Wolf Man and Mummy makeups once again (and his dad’s Hunchback, too!). If you’re a classic horror lover, you’re absolutely gonna LOVE watching this Trio of Terror Titans (especially Chaney!) in “LIZARD’S LEG AND OWLET’S WING”:

(Also in the cast are Betsy Jones-Mooreland (Corman’s THE LAST WOMAN ON EARTH), Martita Hunt (GREAT EXPECTATIONS, Hammer’s THE BRIDES OF DRACULA), veteran Conrad Nagel (whose nephew Don co-starred in BRIDE OF THE MONSTER)…

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Halloween Resurrection: ALT Title: Big Brother in Hell, but boring


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Dearest Gentle Readers, we have reached the last installment of the Halloween review series- there have been peaks and there have been subterranean valleys. Halloween Resurrection is a valley that hides under a viaduct that is peed in constantly by drunken hobos; it’s not good.  Sorry to end on a low note, but Resurrection really shit the bed. Halloween H20 was a throwback to suspense and cleverness and Resurrection is a throwback to sitting in the DMV and hoping you’ll have a cardiac event.  It is obvious to me that the writing sunk this film.  The actors in both films were pretty good.  In fact, the second film had Katee Sackhoff of BSG fame, but terrible writing can sink the greatest performances.  In this case, Halloween Resurrection had the unholy mixture of being boring and preachy.  Not a huge shocker that the person who wrote Resurrection was Larry Brand who went on to bore us by writing the script for “Girl on the Train.”  Rick Rosenthal, the Resurrection director, is very talented, but when your script is garbage, you can’t expect miracles, but you can expect a terrible movie.

We begin by learning that JLC didn’t kill her brother; It was a setup.  BLECHHH! JLC is in an asylum and MM comes in, kills her, and gives the knife to a mental patient – framing him.  I’m not writing more than that because it sucked so bad.  This opening pissed me off because it negated the better previous film and did it in a shitty way. RAGE GROWING!!! The opening sequence deserves capital punishment and then to be dug up and shot.  RAGE!

HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS OVER LONG COLD OPEN:

rage

*Breathes into paper bag*

Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks are making an Internet reality show.  Sarah, the heroine, is ambivalent.  Katee Sackhoff plays a fame whore.  There’s a guy from American Pie.  There’s a very attractive Ginger.  A guy who looks like Booger from Revenge of the Nerds.  A guy named Rudy.  Deckar is a 15 year old who is Sarah’s Internet Boyfriend and likely the first Internet catfish who never sees Sarah, but helps her along the way like Al in Quantum Leap (Quantum Leap was a show about how Presidents practiced nude decoupage….PROVE ME WRONG … by watching the show).

Busta and Tyra have set up all of the Internet participants to stay at the Haddonfield home of MM with crazy evil props everywhere – think if Big Brother took a psychopathic, yet boring left turn.

Deckar is convinced by his friend to go to a party and get offline because then they can meet people IRL and get laid.  Deckar’s friend has a point, but it gets belaboured because this movie sucks.  They go to a Halloween party dressed like Pulp Fiction characters because their 14 year old peers would totally get the reference somehow to a movie that came out when they were 4.  Deckar – a fifteen year old boy – sneaks away from the party, goes into a room alone, shuts the door, turns on the homeowner’s computer, gets comfy in swivel chair, goes onto the Internet, and totally does NOT engage in self-abuse….OKAY, that’s his story and he’s sticking to it! He watches the Big Brother from Hell and starts to think that there might be some real murdering going on in the BB From Hell House.

American Pie guy pervs on Katee Sackhoff and nearly gets some where, but is soon killed.

Teens walk in on Deckar, seeing him on the computer alone in the room and the teen boy shouts, PERV!  Finally, some honesty in this film in re: onanism! 

BB From Hell:  Booger tries to convince Ginger to have sex with him.  We learn that she is a”Critical Studies” major.  CRITICAL STUDIES?!!! CAN’T ANYTHING BE REAL?! Seriously movie, fuck off!  You’re not even trying!  Initially, Ginger spurns Booger’s moves, but then out of nowhere, Ginger needs to pork Booger.  FINE. 

Wait…I’m calling the police:

9-1-1: What is your emergency?

Me: I want to report an ongoing theft and assault.

9-1-1: What is being stolen and who is being assaulted?

Me: All viewers of this terrible film are having their valuable time stolen.

9-1-1: Sir, who is being assaulted?

Me: Art Itself!  FIND HIM…LARRY BRAND!

9-1-1:  Oh yeah, he did that terrible train movie thing…We’re inbound.

Sarah and the others confront Busta Rhymes about the BB House from Hell.  He admits that it’s all fake.  Soon after, all of the moderately interesting people are killed: Booger, Ginger, Katee Sackhoff, Rudy, and Tyra Banks (she’s killed off screen).

Only Busta and Sarah are left to save the day.  They battle MM and electrocute him, but he opens his eyes at the end, so whatever.

There are times when writers should be failed.

Wait, I just got a letter from Larry Brand. He apologizes for being just awful.