“Malarkey” #4 Establishes November Garcia As The Premier Autobio Cartoonist Of Our Time


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I just knew something was up.

When word hit that November Garcia had found a publishing “home” for Malarkey #4, the latest issue of her ongoing comics ‘zine, and that said publisher, Birdcage Bottom Books, was putting it out in full color, I got the feeling that she was through knocking on the door and was ready to fully announce her presence as a cartooning force to be reckoned with. It’s something that’s been building for some time, of course — we certainly don’t hear the Julia Wertz comparisons much anymore, do we? — yet it’s also worth considering that indie comics history is littered with any number of  artists who were plenty skilled at the art of revealing, and sometimes even reveling in, their own neuroses, but who had the stereotypical “pretty good run” for a few years and then moved on to pastures that were hopefully greener, but…

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Another Halloween Has Come and Gone…


Another Halloween has come and gone and with it, another Horrorthon.  Thank you to everyone who read and commented this month!  We hope you have had a wonderful October and that you’re November brings you much to be thankful for!

And remember, just because you didn’t see the Great Pumpkin this year, doesn’t mean that he won’t be there for you next October.  I think Linus can explain it best:

To all of our readers and from all of your friends at the Shattered Lens, thank you.

Film Review: Doctor Sleep (Dir. by Mike Flanagan)


 

If I asked you about Stephen King’s The Shining, would the book or the film come to mind?

DoctorSleepPosterWhen it comes to adapting Stephen King’s stories to film, it’s not an easy feat. King himself had a problem turning his own short story “Trucks” into something good when he directed Maximum Overdrive. For every great film like Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, or It-Chapter One, we occasionally get a misstep like The Dark Tower or It-Chapter Two.  As King can sometimes get wordy in his books, I’ve felt the best adaptations were the ones where the director’s own vision came into play. Kubrick made a number or changes to King’s story, including the Grady twins and the hedge maze, which were never in the novel. The film is so widely recognized that most people recall events in the movie, rather than the book. That’s the effect Kubrick had. 

With Doctor Sleep, Mike Flanagan once again proves he’s a fantastic fit for King. The film moves at a great pace, with great performances by Rebecca Ferguson and newcomer Kyliegh Curran. In an age where audiences are typically quiet, the applause that occurred in scenes during last night’s preview screening were great to hear. The film manages to pay homage to Kubrick’s The Shining and King’s Novel of Doctor Sleep while still completely showcasing Flanagan’s vision. Of course, we already knew this from Flanagan taking on King’s own Gerald’s Game and Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House.  One might even argue that for this film, we may in time recall Flanagan’s tale more clearly than King’s.

Doctor Sleep takes place after the events of The Shining, with Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) suffering from the same demons that plagued his father, Jack. Although the keeps to himself, he drinks too much, gets into brawls, and is unable to hold down decent work. Dan is also haunted by the Overlook Hotel, and the power that drew the souls to him known as The Shining. The Shining (or just the Shine) is a coveted power in King’s lore. When a group of nomads that feed on the Shine (in a way that’s reminiscent of Mick Garris’ Sleepwalkers) discover a girl with the same ability, Dan is brought out of hiding. 

Fans of the original Kubrick film will see there’s a lot of love here. You’ll be able to count some of the references to The Shining, from objects in a room to different locales. For casting, Flanagan uses a mixture of old favorites and new faces. You’ll recognize some of them right from the start, such as Bruce Greenwood and Violet McGraw. Others, like Jacob Tremblay (The Predator) are welcome additions. Rather than relying on footage from the original Shining, Flanagan recreates certain elements with new cast members, which I felt worked extremely well here. I’m not sure how others will take it.

Ewan McGregor is good in the role of Dan Torrance, which feels more like his Mark Renton character from Trainspotting than anything else to me.  This isn’t a bad thing, but it works. The film truly belongs to both Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Fallout) and Kyliegh Curran. Ferguson’s Rose the Hat is a wicked villain, and she carries the role with a sinister, yet stylish flair. Ferguson has some of the best scenes in the film, particularly when paired with Zahn McClarnon (Midnight, Texas and Westworld), who plays Crow Daddy. Kyliegh Curran chews up the scenes she’s in, easily handling screen time with McGregor and Ferguson like a pro. Rounding out the cast are Cliff Curtis (Sunshine), Carl Lumbly (Mantis) and Emily Alyn Lind (The Babysitter). 

Doctor-Sleep-1

Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) can’t run from his past in Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep.

As for the fear factor, there is some terror in the hunt for Abra and the way that the group interact. Doctor Sleep doesn’t have much in the way of jump scares, but makes up for it with some tense moments. I didn’t feel as scared as I did with It-Chapter One, but I cared enough about the characters to worry about how the story was going to turn out. That might be a turn off for those expecting to watch the movie from between their fingers or run out of the theatre screaming. If you enjoyed Flanagan’s other works, such as Hush or Oculus, you’ll be fine.

Speaking of Hush, Doctor Sleep lacks a Kate Siegel cameo. Flanagan is Siegel’s partner in crime (and husband). Together, they’ve been in almost every film they’d done. I’ve gotten used to going “Oh, there’s Kate!”, while watching his films. It’s not an issue at all, but it would’ve been cool to see her.

The camera work for Doctor Sleep is very even, though there are a few special effects scenes that really stand out and picked up some applause (or gasps) once they were over. The one main drawback I had with the film was that it was a little difficult to keep up with all of the locations and time periods early on. Even though everything’s clearly labeled, it took me a moment to recognize just where and when things were occurring. Not a terrible thing, though.

Overall, Doctor Sleep is an easy film to recommend. It has some great performances, and manages to be a great follow up to The Shining, while showing a lot of love for the source material.

Doctor Sleep hits cinemas on Friday, November 8th, and I’ll make a return visit.

 

 

 

Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man” (dir by Richard L. Bare)


“It’s a cookbook!”

During the month of October, we like to share classic episodes of horror-themed television.  That was easier to do when we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens because every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.  In fact, there is exactly one episode of the original Twilight Zone on YouTube.

Fortunately, that episode is a classic.  In 1962’s To Serve Man, an alien (Richard Kiel) comes to Earth and invites people to return to his home planet with him.  He leaves behind a book.  When everyone learns that the title of the book is To Serve Man, they excitedly decide that the book must be an instruction manual on how to help mankind.  The truth, as we learn in the episode’s classic finale, is something a little bit different.

Here’s the episode!  Watch it before YouTube yanks it down.

(This episode originally aired on October 2nd, 1962.  It was directed by Richard L. Bare from a script by Rod Serling.  It was based on a short story by Damon Knight.)

Enjoy!

Here’s The Trailer For The Witcher!


To be honest, I had my doubt about this project but the trailer actually looks kind of good.

The Witcher, which is based the series of books by Andrzej Sapkowski, tells the story of Geralt of Rivia, who hunts monsters at a time and in a land where it can often be difficult to tell the difference between who is truly a monster and who is not.  Heny Cavill will be playing Geralt in the series and Adrzej Sapkowsi swill serve as a creative consultant.

So, let’s hope for the best when The Witcher drops on Netflix on December 20th!

Here’s the trailer.

Jamie Lee Curtis Tweets A First Look At Halloween Kills!


Well, everyone, Halloween will soon be over for this year but we’ve got 2020 to look forward to!  That’s one good thing about Halloween.  It may have to end but it always returns, resurrected like an angry ghost or vampire.

Or like Michael Myers!

Yes, that’s right.  Michael is returning next year, in a sequel to David Gordon Green’s Halloween.  David Gordon Green’s Halloween, of course, should not be mistaken for Rob Zombie’s Halloween or any other Halloween that came out after the original.  I swear to God, it’s so hard to keep all of these continuities straight.

Anyway, Halloween Kills is coming out next year and everyone’s really excited, even though Halloween Kills is a TERRIBLE title.  Today, in honor of the holiday, Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted out some first-look footage of the film.  And, because we love all of you and like to share, here it is!

To be honest, there’s not much there so it’s hard to say for sure what to make of this footage.  I will say that this is still far superior to the teaser they released for the next Bond film.

Mac Attack: The Good Son (1993, directed by Joseph Ruben)


“Hey, Mark, don’t fuck with me,” 12 year-old Henry (Macaulay Culkin) says to his cousin Mark (Elijah Wood) in The Good Son‘s signature scene.  But fuck with him Mark does because Mark knows that evil exists and that Henry’s evil.  Henry killed his brother and he tries to kill his sister, Connie (Quinn Culkin), by throwing her onto thin ice.  When Mark, whose mother has recently died, decides that Henry’s mother, Susan (Wendy Crewson), is going to be his new mom, Henry gets jealous and tells Mark that he would rather kill Susan than allow her to have another son.  Eventually, Mark and Henry both end up dangling from a cliff with Susan holding onto them.  Susan has to decide who to save, her evil son or the distant relation that she barely knows.  She makes her choice and the camera lingers on the corpse of the less fortunate child on the rocks below.  For most mothers, it probably wouldn’t even be a difficult decision.  Of course you would save your own child!  But Susan has to think about it.  Maybe she can see the future and knows that Elijah Wood has the Lord of the Rings to look forward to while Macaulay is destined for something much different.

The Good Son caused a lot of controversy when it came out in 1993, not because it was about a murderous child but because that murderous child was played by the then-biggest star in America.  How would people who loved watching Macaulay seriously injure two burglars react to watching Macaulay kill people?  The movie actually did well at the box office but it also revealed that the Macaulay Culkin was a limited actor.  Elijah Wood was a good actor but Mark still comes across like a little creep.  Trying to steal his cousin’s mother?  What did he think was going to happen?

Finally, The Good Son was written by Ian McEwan, of all people.  In McEwan’s defense, he only wrote the first draft and that was long before Macaulay Culkin was miscast as Henry.  Apparnetly, Macaulay’s father and manager, Kit Culkin, demanded that his son be cast as a psycho murderer before he would allow Maccaulay to appear in Home Alone 2.  I guess Kit thought making his son look evil would be a good career movie.  If only someone had been willing to say, “Hey, Kit Culkin, don’t fuck with the movie.”