Stranger Things S2 E3 -“The Pollywog”; ALT Title: I Used To Have a Role on Stranger Things


ST2

Cold Open:  Dustin brings the Wee Kaiju into his home.  Really?! Really?! If you think it crosses anyone’s mind that the Wee Kaiju came from the Upside Down, you’d be wrong.  Even though it looks like a Wee Kaiju, Dustin battled the Upside Down, it’s scared of light, and …. I give up.

Hop spends a lot of the episode trying to make amends with El with waffles.  We learn that her captivity has been going on for almost a year and SHE IS BORED.  There are a series of flashbacks of Hop finding her, taking her into his Uncle’s abandoned cabin, and an amazingly sad house cleaning montage.  I love a good montage, but this one made my heart hurt a little.  Hop establishes three rules all that involve El being under house arrest.  So, she breaks out and goes forth into the village below.

Bob tries to coach Will on facing his fears, which would be good, but here in Monsterville, Indiana – it’s very very bad advice. Then, he goes to school.  That’s it.

Mr. Clarke is trying to teach and Dustin busts in bothering everyone and Mr. Clarke tries to roll with it.  Of course, he and Cara Buono are marginalized this season and it is awful.  Dustin shows all the boys and the Red Haired Girl the Wee Kaiju and no one connects it to the Upside Down for like a while.  The Wee Kaiju escapes, they play the gremlins song, and it’s almost watchable.  Will doesn’t want the Red Haired Girl to help and she totally crushes on him.  El watches on and goes all psycho ex-girlfriend and makes her fall off her skateboard.

Will, you should really consider moving far far away and try not to date another Secular Carrie.  

Dustin finds the Wee Kaiju and hides it to keep it safe from the villagers.  Dustin — SHAME!!!!

Hop has a mini-quest and tells Paul Reiser that the rot is emanating from the lab and I guess they should check on it.

Nancy spends a lot of the episode talking about herself.  Then, she decides to spill the beans to Barb’s parents on an unsecured line.  This would be fine except for this: her mom who was all up in her business last season wasn’t even phased that she took Creeper up into her bedroom, with electronic equipment, and during school hours.

Winona also starts to believe Will is seeing a monster.

 

Will goes into the Upside Down, faces the shadow monster, and gets possessed “Supernatural” style.

All in all this season is like a chewed-on jigsaw puzzle- contrived connections and a gushy mess.

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Another Halloween Has Come And Gone


by Virgil Finlay

Another Halloween has come and gone!  Those of us at the Shattered Lens hope that all of our readers and writers have had a happy and safe holiday and that everyone got plenty of treats and not too many tricks!  We also hope that all of you have enjoyed this year’s horrorthon at the Shattered Lens!

by Virgil Finlay

Whether you got candy or a rock this Halloween, we hope you had a great October and have an even better November!

by Virgil Finlay

A Blast From The Past: Degrassi of the Dead


Well, Halloween and this year’s horrorthon are both nearly over.

Since I started things off with The Curse of Degrassi, it only seems appropriate for me to end my part of it with Degrassi of the Dead!  This 10 minute film takes a non-canonical look at what would happen to everyone’s favorite Canadian high school if there was a zombie apocalypse!

(By the way, I know what you’re thinking but this was actually made in 2007, long before the premiere of The Walking Dead.)

Enjoy watching Drake turn into a zombie!

Horror Film Review: The Stepfather (dir by Joseph Ruben)


Who is Jerry Blake?

That is the question at the heart of the classic 1987 horror thriller, The Stepfather.

Most of the people who know Jerry (brilliantly played by Terry O’Quinn) would say that he’s just a really nice guy.  He’s responsible.  He’s a good employee.  He can be trusted.  He works in real estate and spends his days selling perfect homes to perfect families.  Jerry always has a friendly smile and hearty manner.  He’s the perfect neighbor, precisely because he’s so boring.  You don’t have to worry about Jerry not taking care of his yard or throwing a loud party or … well, doing anything anyone else would do.  Sure, Jerry seems to be a little bit old-fashioned and sure, sometimes he’s a little bit too good to be believed.  But what’s wrong with that?  I mean, the man makes birdhouses!  Jerry is so dedicated to creating perfect families that he even tries to make the perfect home for the birds in his back yard!

In fact, the only person who seems to have any doubts about Jerry is his new stepdaughter, Stephanie (Jill Schoelen).  Stephanie is a teenager so, occasionally, she’s less than perfect.  Sometimes, she gets into a fight at school.  Sometimes, she talks back.  To be honest, to me, nothing she does seems like it’s really that big of a deal.  But Jerry simply cannot handle the fact that Stephanie is making his new family just a little less than perfect.  When Jerry catches Stephanie and her boyfriend sharing a very chaste kiss, he freaks out.  KISSING!?  Why that could only lead to one thing…

But it’s not just that Jerry is kind of controlling and seems to be living in a 1950s sitcom.  There’s also the fact that sometimes, Jerry goes down in the basement and just starts yelling and throwing stuff.  That’s what Jerry does when he gets angry.  He hides in the basement and he totally loses control.  When Stephanie overhears him, Jerry just gives her a bland smile and says that he was blowing off some steam.

Stephanie suspects that something’s wrong with Jerry but, of course, no one believes her.  However, we know that Stephanie’s right to be suspicious.  At the start of the film, we saw Jerry walking out of his old house, leaving behind the dead bodies of his wife and children.  At that time, of course, Jerry’s name was Henry Morrison.  Henry’s previous family disappointed him so he killed them and then vanished, changing his identity and marrying Stephanie’s mother, Susan (Shelley Hack).

Jerry wants everything to be perfect.  He’s an old-fashioned guy with old-fashioned values and, whenever anyone disappoints him, he kills them and changes his identity once again.  He’s the type who will kill you but then make sure that your seat belt is fastened when he puts you back in your car.  “Buckle up for safety,” Jerry says.

There’s a 2009 remake of The Stepfather.  For some reason, it regularly shows up on Lifetime.  Ignore the remake and track down the original.  Long before he played John Locke on Lost, Terry O’Quinn gave a simply amazing performance in the role of Jerry Blake.  Jerry is so friendly and likable that, even though we know he’s a murderer, it’s still hard not to fall under his spell.

Why, we wonder, can’t the world be as perfect as Jerry wants it to be?

Because Jerry’s world is not the real world.  In the real world, family are never perfect but they love each other anyway.  In Jerry’s world, it’s more important that things appear to be perfect than that anyone actually be honest or, for that matter, happy.

The Stepfather is a chillingly effective thriller, featuring a brilliant performance from Terry O’Quinn.  If you haven’t seen it, see it!

Horror on TV: Thriller 2.20 “The Hollow Watcher” (dir by William F. Claxton)


Here’s one final episode of Thriller for this October’s horrorthon!

In this episode, we learn what happens when you stuff a dead body in a scarecrow.  The scarecrow stalks you!

Seriously, scarecrows are so freaky.

Enjoy!

 

The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: I Don’t Want To Be Born (dir by Peter Sasdy)


“I don’t want to be born!”

“That’s too bad, kid!  YOU’RE COMING OUT!”

Now, admittedly, that dialogue is never heard in the 1975 British horror film, I Don’t Want To Be Born.  However, if I had heard that particularly exchange in this film, I would not have been surprised.  That’s just the type of movie that I Don’t Want To Be Born is.  It’s a thoroughly ludicrous, totally ridiculous movie and what makes it all the more memorable is that it doesn’t seem to realize how silly it all is.  This is a batshit crazy movie that tells its story in the most serious way possible.  This damn film is almost somber, it’s so serious.

Lucy (played by Joan Collins) is a stripper who performs her act with a perverted dwarf named Hercules (George Claydon).  When Hercules tries to force himself on Lucy, he is tossed out of the club by Tommy (who is played by John Steiner, a good actor who somehow always turned up in movies like this one.)  After she and Tommy make love, Lucy is confronted by Hercules who curses her, telling her that she will have a baby “as big as I am small and possessed by the devil himself!”

Oh, Hercules, you weirdo.

9 months later, Lucy’s life has somehow completely changed.  She’s no longer a dancer.  Now, she’s married to a rich Italian named Gino (played by Ralph Bates, speaking in a bizarre accent).  When Lucy has her baby, it’s a long and difficult delivery.  The baby is huge!  Not only is he huge, but he also has a bad temper and unnaturally sharp nails.  The first time that Lucy holds him, he attacks her.  Whenever the baby is introduced to anyone new, he responds by biting them.  When Tommy drops by to take a look at the baby that might be his son, he ends up with a bloody nose!

But that’s not all this baby can do!  Anytime he’s left alone in a room, the room ends up getting destroyed.  Eventually, he apparently figures out how to climb trees and how efficiently slip a noose around the neck of anyone who walks underneath him.  And don’t think that you can escape this baby simply because you’re taller and faster.  One unfortunate person is decapitated, even though he’s standing at the time.  How did the baby reach his neck?  Who knows?

Does this baby need an exorcism?  Lucy’s sister-in-law, Sister Albana (Eileen Atkins), certainly believes that it does!  As Lucy thinks about whether the baby’s behavior is in any way odd, she glances over at the baby and — OH MY GOD!  The baby has Hercules’s face!

And it just keeps going from there.  Again, I feel the need to repeat that this film is meant to be taken very seriously.  The script may be full of awkward and clichéd dialogue but most of the cast attempts to act the Hell out of it.  Speaking of the cast, there’s a lot of familiar horror people in this one.  Along with John Steiner, there’s also Caroline Munro and Donald Pleasence.  Those three give performances that somehow manage to remain credible, perhaps because they had the experience necessary to understand what type of movie they were in.  But the rest of the cast … you feel bad for them because they’re just trying  so hard.

It’s a terrible movie but it’s so weird that I have to recommend that everyone see it once.  If for nothing else, see it for the scene where Hercules responds to an attempt to exorcise the baby by swaying drunkenly on the stage.  It’s weird and it’s hard for mere words to do it justice.

“No wonder this baby didn’t want to be born!”

That line is also nowhere to be found in this movie.  It’d be nice if it was, though.