May your Halloween night be full of as many treats as tricks.
May the Great Pumpkin bring you everything you wished for.
And may you never get a rock.
May your Halloween night be full of as many treats as tricks.
May the Great Pumpkin bring you everything you wished for.
And may you never get a rock.
Needless to say, this week was more about movies than it was about TV. Here’s what I did watch.
Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)
“Some you may be wondering what I am doing in my office, bricking myself up.” Oh, Rene …. I’m sure you have a good reason. In this case, it was because Rene was concerned that the Germans were looking to arrest him. It’s far more probable that Rene just wanted an excuse to get away from all of the drama in the cafe. Eventually, Michelle showed up to give Rene both a medal to honor his bravery and a suicide pill for him to take once he was captured. Fortunately for Rene but unfortunately for the Resistance, the attempt to send all of the German generals to England failed and Rene was in the clear. The Resistance took back both the suicide pill and the medal.
Eventually, this all led to Rene pretending to be a member of the clergy, Michelle pretending to be in love with Rene, Mimi pretending to be s baby, Herr Flick also pretending to be a baby, and a group of Italian soldiers running around the village with bayonets.
It was all very odd but rather funny.
Dancing With The Stars (Monday Night, ABC)
It was horror night! All of the dances went pretty well, in my opinion. I did have to smile a bit at the dance that was described as being “an homage to The Purge,” as if the Purge is some decades-old classic. And I groaned when one of the dancers said he was “dressed as Hellraiser,” when he was clearly dressed as Pinhead. JoJo’s It-inspired dance was good. The judges were too hard on Melora Hardin. To be honest, the judges remain the worst part of this show.
Degrassi: The Next Generation (DVD)
Fear the Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)
Firing Line (Sunday Night, PBS)
On this public affairs show, Margaret Hoover was interviewing a woman who was very concerned about Donald Trump’s policies. It was a new episode but no one was interested in talking about Joe Biden’s policies. In its way, this episode was actually a perfect reflection of what politics is like in America right now. We have a president that few people take seriously and an ex-president who everyone either fears or loves.
Friday the 13th: The Series (YouTube)
Discovering this series has been one of the true pleasures of this year’s horrorthon.
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Sunday Night, PBS)
Erin and I watched this classic on Sunday. Two years ago, Erin wrote an essay about why we love this special and it’s still relevant today.
Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)
Arkwright’s attempt to set up a mobile food truck nearly killed Grandville. All of the neighbors were, as usual, upset at being inconvenienced. No one seemed to have too much of a problem with Grandville nearly dying. Poor Grandville.
Seinfeld (Every Day, Comedy Central)
I watched two episodes on Friday. One featured Jerry dating a Miss America contestant and Elaine getting a job with a cranky old man. The other featured Elaine ordering a “Big Salad.” I relate to Elaine. Big salads are the best!
Survivor 41 (Wednesday Night, ABC)
Toy Story of Terror (ABC, Thursday Night)
Erin and I watch this Halloween special every year. Though it may not bring me to tears like the movies do, it’s still nice to see all of the toys together and looking out for each other.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond (Sunday Night, AMC)
I’ve actually reached the point where I’ve gone from being totally indifferent to kind of liking this show. The idea of teenagers trying to enjoy their youth in a world that will probably not allow them to grow old is actually more compelling than I thought it would be. Plus, it’s not quite as slow as the other two Walking Dead shows. I still spend a good deal o this show feeling confused but still, it does mange to consistently hold my interest for the hour that it’s on. That may be a long-winded compliment but …. well, so be it.
How about a bonus installment of Horror on TV?
This is a special episode of my favorite TV show of all, Degrassi! Originally airing on October 28th, 2008, The Curse of Degrassi features Degrassi’s main mean girl, Holy J Sinclair (Charlotte Arnold), getting possessed by the vengeful spirit of deceased school shooter, Rick Murray (Ephraim Ellis). Chaos follows! Fortunately, Spinner (Shane Kippel) is around to save the day. As any true Degrassi fan can tell you, only Spinner has a chance against the forces of the undead.
What I like about this episode is that, in the best tradition of Degrassi, it goes there. Holly J does get possessed. Just about the entire cast end up dying horribly. Spinner has to battle the undead spirit of Rick Murray and he has to do it without the help of Drake. And, as far as we know, this episode is canon. So, yes, Rick Murray’s ghost actually does haunt Degrassi Community School and yes, only Spinner can save us all.
Tonight, for our horror on the lens, we have the twenty-third episode of the 2nd season of Friday the 13th: The Series!
Yes, I did pick tonight’s episode specifically because it was about dancer and an insane choreographer. Sometimes, you just seen an episode of a show and you immediately relate. Colm Feore gives a great and menacing performance as this week’s villain.
This episode originally aired on May 27th, 1989.
Episode 2 of The Martian Chronicles ended with Sam Parkhill (Darren McGavin) helplessly watching as Earth was consumed by nuclear fire. Episode 3 opens with Col. John Wilder (Rock Hudson) returning to Earth in 2006 and discovered that the entire planet is dead. He had hoped to find his brother and rescue him but instead, all Wilder finds is a video of his brother being vaporized by an atomic blast.
Back on Mars, the planet is nearly deserted. Most of the human colonizers were ordered to return to Earth before the war broke out and, as a result, they died in the atomic inferno. Only a few humans remain on Mars. One of them, Ben Driscoll (Christopher Connelly), is excited to discover another survivor named Genevieve (Bernadette Peters) but he abandons her when he discovers that she’s too high-maintenance for him. He decides he’d rather live alone. (Too mean-spirited to really be funny, this was the weakest short story in Rad Bradbury’s collection and it’s also the weakest segment of the miniseries.) Wilder and Father Stone (Roddy McDowall) visit another survivor, a scientist named Peter Hathaway (Barry Morse). Peter lives with his devoted wife and daughter but when he dies of heart attack, they barely notice because they’re robots.
The first hour of the final episode of The Martian Chronicles is considerably weaker than the two episodes that proceeded it. After the effective scenes of Wilder exploring Earth, the series is suddenly taken over by Christopher Connelly, playing a character that we’ve never seen before and who isn’t very likable. The Ben and Genevieve sequence is weak and never that funny, despite Peters’s skill with comedy. The sequence with Dr. Hathaway and the robots feels like a dry run for something Ray Bradbury would have written for The Twilight Zone.
Fortunately, the final segment of The Martian Chronicles swoops in to save the series. Col. Wilder and his family spend the day camping at the same ancient Martian city where, during the first episode, Spender tried to convince Wilder not to allow Mars to be colonized. While walking around the ruins of the city, Wilder meets what is either the ghost or the future projection of a Martian. They have a friendly and philosophical conversation. They talk about how The Martian doesn’t know if he’s from the past or if he’s from the future but it doesn’t matter. Returning to his family, Wilder looks at their reflection in Briggs Canal and he say that, with Earth gone, they are now the Martians. With Earth in ruins and only a few humans left, it’s up to the survivors to combine the ways of Earth with the ways of Mars and create a new world. Though Hudson is usually held up as being the epitome of a stuff actor, when he made The Martian Chronicles, he had the right amount of gravitas to make the final scenes work.
The Martian Chronicles is an uneven miniseries. The first episode is so good that the two that follow struggle to keep up. But just, as in Bradbury’s book, the ending is perfectly realized and it still work, ever after all these years later.
Mention the name Ubisoft to most people, and most responses are about their videogames. Assassin’s Creed, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, and my personal favorite, Tom Clancy’s The Division. Ubisoft also has a movie production arm to it, along with an effects division called Hybride. With all that, I’m surprised Ubisoft hasn’t tried to develop their own films before. “Werewolves Within” may be one of the better Videogame adaptations around.
Earlier this year, the film premiered on the Tribeca Film Festival’s “Tribeca at Home” digital offering. I was able to watch the film there (a total of 3 times – two because I enjoyed it, and a third to showcase the film to my cousin, who also liked it), along with a few other films.
Werewolves Within is the tale of Finn Wheeler (Sam Richardson, Veep, We’re the Millers) a Ranger taking on new duties in a snowy Vermont town. He’s a pretty nice fellow – he rides under the speed limit and is considerate of others. While he’s getting to know his new neighbors, they are all forced to hunker down during a major storm. Of course, things become a little weird in the form of power outages and quite possibly a werewolf running around town, but who better to have around you than your neighbors in such stressful times? Can Wheeler survive in the town and discover the mystery? The film moves like The Thing or The Beast Must Die in that the members of the town begin to suspect each other is the killer (or killers, like Scream) in question.
The film is peppered with familiar faces, such as Milana Vayntrub (NBC’s This is Us), Harvey Guillen (FX’s What We Do In the Shadows), Glenn Fleshler (HBO’s Barry), Wayne Duvall (The Hunt), & Catherine Curtin (Netflix’s Stranger Things). The banter between them all is fun to watch and each one brings a bit of comedy to the table. Richardson & Vayntrub in particular are the stand outs, though.
Where Werewolves Within really shines is the pacing. Most of the films at the Tribeca Film Festival have an average running time of about 100 minutes. How those minutes are used are important. Don’t believe me? Pair Tenet and WW84, which both have a running time of about 2:30 minutes (about as long as Avengers: Endgame) Werewolves Within moves from scene to scene at a pretty brisk pace. Fans of Ubisoft’s The Division may recognize the New York Shortbows in the movie, which officially makes them canon in the tale.
If the movie has any drawbacks, while there’s horror, the focus is more on the comedy. This isn’t terrible, but if you’re walking in expecting something like Dog Soldiers, Werewolves Within isn’t exactly that. It does handle it well. One other nitpick is that there’s an overused camera technique where the someone on screen does a really slow pivot, bringing their subject into our view. The first time is nice, but after about 3 times, you almost expect it. Again, not horrid, but a little odd. The movie also has it’s share of gore, but it’s a bit light compared to some other films.
Overall, Werewolves Within is a great late night treat that’ll have you laughing, with some nice jump scares.
What Heart Heard Of, Ghost Guessed is an entrant in 2021 Interactive Fiction competition. Browse and experience all of the games by clicking here.
First, I need to warn you that there’s a SPOILER in this review. It’s not a huge spoiler but it might effect how you react to certain things that you discover while playing this game.
In What Heart Heard Of, Ghost Guessed, you discover yourself in a large gothic mansion. You have no memories of how you came to be there. You also have a very limited set of actions available to you. This is because, and this is the SPOILER, you’re a ghost and you no longer know how to communicate with the world of the living. Fortunately, if you were smart enough to accept the game’s opening offer of “helpful information,” you’ll have a list of a few verbs that you can use to escape the room that you’ve found yourself in and explore the house. As you explore, you learn how to do things in your ghostly form, which in game terms means that you learn new verbs. You also start to remember the disturbing circumstances of what led to you becoming a ghost in the first place.
This is a long but rewarding game, a throwback to the type of Interactive Fiction that balanced solving puzzles with telling stories instead of favoring one over the other. The game’s unique command system takes some getting used to but it pays off. Fortunately, there’s not only a very helpful Hints system but there’s also a walk-through, in case you really get stuck. I got stuck but I always struggle with IF puzzles. This is a well-written and thought-provoking game and one of the best of the entrants that I’ve played. I highly recommend it.
For today’s scene that I love, here is the classic scene from 1980’s Inferno, Dario Argento’s follow-up to Suspiria. In this scene, Irene Miracle takes a fateful swim. I’ve seen this film several times and this sequence still creeps me out!
4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!
Today, we pay tribute to the amazing Dario Argento! It’s time for….
4 Shots From 4 Dario Argento Films
Well, we’re nearly done with October and, traditionally, this is when all of us in the Shattered Lens Bunker gather in front of the television in Arleigh’s penthouse suite, eat popcorn, drink diet coke, and gossip about whoever has the day off.
Of course, after we do that, I duck back into my office and I watch the classic 1962 film, Carnival of Souls!
Reportedly, David Lynch is a huge fan of Carnival of Souls and, when you watch the film, it’s easy to see why. The film follows a somewhat odd woman (played, in her one and only starring role, by Candace Hilligoss) who, after a car accident, is haunted by visions of ghostly figures. This dream-like film was independently produced and distributed. At the time, it didn’t get much attention but it has since been recognized as a classic and very influential horror film.
This was director Herk Harvey’s only feature film. Before and after making this film, he specialized in making educational and industrial shorts (some of which we’ve watched on this very site), the type of films that encouraged students not to cheat on tests and employees not to take their jobs for granted. Harvey also appears in this film, playing “The Man” who haunts Hilligoss as she travels across the country.
Enjoy Carnival of Souls!
And remember, don’t stop for any hitchhikers!