Happy Friday the 13th From The Shattered Lens

Happy Friday the 13th, y’all!

Usually, I am inevitably seem to end up spending Friday the 13th up at the Lake, sitting out on the deck of the lake house and suspiciously looking over at the nearby woods for movement.  This week, however, I’m spending Friday the 13th at home so I should be safe!

(For the record, the Lake is next week.)

Anyway, everyone knows that Tuesday the 13th is a far more dangerous day than Friday the 13th but, for whatever reason, Friday the 13th is what gets all the attention.  In fact, I’ve written several posts all about Friday the 13th.  Here they are, for your reading enjoyment:

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th Part 3

Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Friday the 13th: Jason Lives

Friday the 13th Part VII: A New Blood

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday

Jason X

Freddy vs Jason

Friday the 13th: The Pointless Remake

12 Thing You May Not Have Known About Friday the 13th

My review of Camp Crystal Lake Memories!

Anyway, have a good Friday the 13th!  I would tell you to stay out of the woods but …. you know what?  We, as a society, need to be willing to take more chances.  So, go into the woods.  Skinny dip in the lake.  Ignore the signs that say stay out.  Make love in a deserted cabin.  Smoke weed at the deserted summer camp.  Laugh at the camp fire stories about Jason.  Strip down to your underwear and then wander around in the rain as if that’s the most sensible thing that you’ve ever done.  Yes, Jason might get you.  But you also might have a lot of fun.  It’s worth the risk.

TV Review: The Walking Dead 11.9 “No Other Way” (dir by Jon Amiel)

Well, so much for The Reapers.

The Walking Dead‘s 11th season returned last Sunday.  As you can probably guess from the fact that it’s taken me until Friday to get around to watching and reviewing it, it didn’t exactly arrive with the type of fanfare that previously greeted every premiere of The Walking Dead.  Not to belabor a point that I’ve been making since this season began but it’s been a while since The Walking Dead was really a big deal.  It definitely had a good run, especially during the early seasons.  However, I don’t think anyone will deny that the later seasons have been frustratingly uneven.  Season 11 is the show’s last, though the future does hold the promise of Walking Dead movies and perhaps a Walking Dead anthology series.  The Walking Dead may be coming to an end but it’s definitely not dead yet.

When Season 11 started, it appeared that the majority of the episodes were going to center around the Alexandrians battling The Reapers.  I wasn’t particularly looking forward to that, as the Reapers weren’t really that interesting.  Beyond all of the babbling about religion, there wasn’t that much to separate them from The Whisperers or the Saviors.  So, as you can imagine, I was happy that this episode featured what appeared to be the nearly complete and total destruction of the Reapers.  Maggie and her group ruthlessly and systemically destroyed every Reaper that they came across, with the exception of Leah.  Gabriel killed a sniper, which leads me to wonder why Gabriel still wears his collar when its obvious that it means nothing to him.  Negan watched as Maggie killed every Reaper that she saw and he wisely decided that it was probably time for him to head off on his own before Maggie got around to killing him.  Indeed, the interesting thing about Maggie is that we really only cheer for her because we know her and we’ve been conditioned to be on her side.  She’s just as ruthless as the show’s bad guys and she uses the exact same justifications that were previously used by everyone from The Governor to Negan to Pope.  Even the fact that she’s mourning Glenn doesn’t really make her all that different from those she’s attacked.  In the world of The Walking Dead, everyone has lost someone.

(And really, it was pretty much Rick’s fault that Glenn died.)

Meanwhile, Alexandria was hit by a violent storm and a walker invasion but, as usual, everyone there managed to survive.  Afterwards. Maggie, Darryl, and the gang finally returned home.  However, also approaching Alexandria were Eugene and the Commonwealth.

The show then jumped forward 6 months.  Maggie was still in charge of Alexandria but it was impossible not to notice that Alexandria no longer looked as clean and peaceful as it once did.  Surrounding the town were the soldiers of Commonwealth.  And leading the soldiers was …. DARYL DIXON!

Now, that is an effective cliffhanger!

So, what’s going on here?  Is this yet another case of Daryl going undercover (booo!) or has Daryl truly changed sides?  I’m hoping that he actually did change sides, just because the whole undercover Daryl thing has been done to death and I think that Maggie and Darryl have a more interesting dynamic as rivals than as allies.  Given the history of the characters, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where Daryl might chafe at Maggie’s leadership style.  Or perhaps Darryl truly believes that the Commonwealth is offering up a better society than what’s going on at Alexandria.  I mean, honestly, Alexandria does require a bit of commitment on the part of its citizens.  I probably would chose not to live in Alexandria.

So, which is it?  Is Daryl a friend or a foe?  We’ll find out over the upcoming weeks!

International Film Review: Don’t Kill Me (dir by Andrea De Sica)

Don’t Kill Me, an Italian film that is currently available on Netflix, opens with two teenagers in a car.  Robin (Rocca Fasano) is driving.  His girlfriend, Mirta (Alice Pagani), is in the passenger’s seat.  Robin is driving fast and erratically.  In fact, he nearly crashes the car more than a few times.  This is because Robin is driving with his eyes closed, forcing Mirta to shout directions at him.  It’s almost as if Robin wants Mirta to come to a violent end.

Eventually, they end up in a quarry.  Having taken a break from attempting to crash the car, Robin wants Mirta to take a drug with him.  Mirta’s never tried the drug before.  She’s nervous, even though Robin assures her that it will be a wonderful experience.  Mirta finally agrees but requests, “Please don’t kill me.”

Yeah, good luck with that.

Of course, Mirta dies.  Mirta’s body is sealed up in her family’s vault.  A few hours after the funeral, a very confused and angry Mirta smashs her way out of the vault.  Dazed, she wanders back to her old house.  She’s definitely not alive but she’s not completely dead either.  Instead, she is one of what the film calls “the Overdead.”  She’s nearly immortal.  At one point, she gets shot several times and, while it’s not a pleasant experience, it also doesn’t come anywhere close to killing her.  She still has her memories of what life was like before she died and, to judge from the other members of the Overdead who she meets, it appears that she won’t ever age.  Unfortunately, being one of the Overdead also means that if she doesn’t regularly drink the blood of the living, she’ll start to decay.  Starvation is the only way to destroy a member of the Overdead.  There’s a secret group of men who have spent centuries tracking down and starving the Overdead.  Those men are soon chasing after Mirta.

Don’t Kill Me is at its strongest during its first half, when the film skips through time and the emphasis is on atmosphere and ennui.  The scene where Mirta breaks through the crypt carries hints of Jean Rollin’s Living Dead Girl and, much like Rollin’s best films, the first half of Don’t Kill Me often focuses on both the importance and the mystery of how we recall things.  Meanwhile, the scenes of Mirta wandering through the countryside and prowling the clubs for food are reminiscent of Jess Franco’s Female Vampire.  The first half of the film feels like a tribute to the wonderful Eurohorror of the past.  Unfortunately, the film starts to lose its way once Mirta is captured by the secret society that’s trying to destroy her.  In its second half, it just becomes another film about escaping from a military base.  Don’t Kill Me is based on a YA novel and it’s obviously meant to be the first in a series of films about Mirta’s life as one of the Overdead.  As a result, the film’s ending is a bit unsatisfactory.  For all the build-up, it sputters to a “to be continued” style conclusion.

That said, there was enough that worked about Don’t Kill Me that I’m willing to forgive what didn’t work.  I may be alone in that as most of the online reactions that I’ve seen towards this film have been overwhelmingly negative.  Well, so be it.  There was enough atmosphere to keep me interested.  Alice Pagani gave a pretty good and sympathetic performance as the conflicted Mirta and Fabrizio Ferracane, as the man determined to capture and starve her, was enjoyably villainous.  Don’t Kill Me may not be for everyone but it worked for me.

TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead 7.3 “Cindy Hawkins” (dir by Ron Underwood)

I finally watched the latest episode of Fear the Walking Dead earlier today and, believe it or not, I’ve actually come to like this show.

Considering that I originally stopped watching Fear the Walking Dead because I got bored with it during its first season, I’m as surprised as anyone to realize that the seventh season of Fear The Walking Dead has won me over.  But what can I say?  The first three episodes of the show’s final season have been so weird that it’s been impossible not to enjoy them.  Everything, from the radiation-scarred landscape to Colman Domingo’s wonderfully odd performance as Strand, has come together to make this show a rather lively look at a world dominated by the walking dead.  It also helps, of course, that most of the boring characters from season one are no longer on the show.  AMC figured out that audiences didn’t care about an emergency room doctor and her drug addict son.  They cared about Morgan and nuclear fallout.

Morgan showed up during the final minutes of the latest episode of Fear the Walking Dead, just long enough to discover that two of his allies had been, depending on how you look at it, either rescued or abducted by Strand.  He and Strand had a little argument over the radio.  Strand says that he’s going to remake the world, something that Morgan could never figure out how to do.  Morgan and Strand both appear to be batshit insane, which is what made the scene so compelling.  Would you want to live in a world created by either of them?

The majority of the episode revolved around John Dorie (Keith Carradine) and his daughter-in-law, June (Jenna Elfman), living in an underground bunker.  (Before I go any further, I should mention that is the first season of Fear the Walking Dead that I’ve regularly watched since the first one.  So, if I misinterpret anything that was established in a previous season, feel free to correct me in the comments but be kind about it.)  The bunker was formerly the lair of Teddy, who I assume was a serial killer who John pursued and framed during his previous life as a cop.  With June insisting that it was too dangerous to leave the bunker and John suffering from DTS, John became very interested in a hidden room that he and June discovered in the bunker.  The room was where Teddy used to embalm his victims and John soon found himself having conversations with the spirit of one of his victims, Cindy Hawkins.  Cindy’s body was never recovered and John became obsessed with finding it.  Apparently, he made a promise to Cindy’s mother,  The fact that Cindy’s mother was probably dead either as a result of zombies or radiation did not seem to matter with John.

The show left it ambiguous as to whether or not Cindy’s spirit was real or just a product of John’s delirious state.  But ultimately, it didn’t matter whether or not Cindy’s spirit was real.  Cindy was a symbol.  Finding Cindy’s body would bring John some sort of peace.  It would be a sign that there was still a place for men like John in the world of the walking dead.  Keith Carradine did a great job of portraying John’s torment and his single-minded determination to find some shred of hope, even while trapped in a combination of a zombie and a nuclear apocalypse.

It was a good episode, full of enjoyably weird imagery and distinguished by fine performance from both Keith Carradine and Jenna Elfman.  Both John and June ended the episode as guests of Strand.  Hopefully, they’ll both survive.  It’d be a shame for either one of them to exit the season early.

AMV of the Day: Monster (Various)

And with Halloween and the annual horrorthon nearly completed, how about one last AMV for the month of October?

Anime: Another, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, Tokyo Ghoul, School Days, Ib Witch House and Mad Father, Shiki, Elfen Lied, Hell Girl. Umineko No Naku Koro Ni, Corpse Party, Happy Sugar Life, Gakkou Gurashi ,Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni, The Promised Neverland, Mononoke

Song: Monster (Meg and Dia)

Creator: グリッチュ

(As always, please consider subscribing to this creator’s YouTube channel!)

Past AMVs of the Day

A Bonus Horror Scene That I Love: Conal Cochran’s Speech From Halloween III

With horrorthon coming to a close for another year, I figured why not allow Conal Cochran to get in a word or two.

This is from Halloween III: Season of the Witch.  Playing Conal Cochran, of course, is the great Dan O’Herlihy.

We hope you’ve all had a wonderful Halloween.

Horror on TV: Friday the 13th: The Series 2.26 “Coven of Darkness” (dir by George Bloomfield)

Well, with Horrorthon coming to a close, it’s time to share one final episode of Friday the 13th: The Series. Coven of Witches is the final episode of the second season. The third season would see John D. LeMay leave the show and Steven Monarque taking his place as Robey’s main co-star. So, this is perhaps the last classic episode of Friday the 13th: The Series.

I’ve really enjoyed sharing this series here on the Shattered Lens. In November, I’m going to sit down and the binge the entire show. Every episode is on YouTube, for anyone else who may want to catch up on it.

This episode originally aired on June 17th, 1989.

The TSL’s Grindhouse: Satan’s School For Girls (dir by David Lowell Rich)

Have you ever wanted to enroll in a private school so that you could investigate a murder and maybe uncover some sort of occult conspiracy?  Sure, we all have!  Well, don’t worry …. there’s a place for you!  Welcome to Salem Academy, an exclusive all-girl’s college where students learn all the basic subjects, along with taking courses in art and human sacrifice!

Salem Academy is overseen by the feared and intimidating Mrs. Williams (Jo Van Fleet), who keeps a close eye on her students and tries to make sure that they aren’t distracted or corrupted by any outside influences. However, not even Mrs. Williams can keep Martha Sayers (Terry Lumley) from fleeing the school and going to her sister’s house in Los Angeles. When Martha’s sister, Elizabeth (Pamela Franklin), returns home, she discovers that Martha has been hanged. The police say that it was suicide. Elizabeth believes that it’s something else.

So, Elizabeth does what any vengeance-seeking sister would do. Using an assumed name, she enrolls in Salem Academy herself. She meets and befriends three other students (played by Kate Jackson, Jamie Smith Jackson, and Cheryl Ladd). She gets to know two rather suspicious teachers, Prof. Delacroix (Lloyd Bochner) and Dr. Clampett (Roy Thinnes). She also manages to raise the concerns of Mrs. Williams, who doesn’t like the fact that the new girl keeps asking so many questions about why so many students at Salem Academy have died recently.

Still, Elizabeth continues to investigate. Perhaps the secret can be found in a mysterious painting that she comes across, one that appears to be of Martha? Perhaps the teachers and the students know more than they’re telling. But who can Elizabeth trust?

A made-for-television film from 1973, Satan’s School For Girls is frequently as silly as its name.  Fortunately, the film, which was produced by Aaron Spelling and directed David Lowell Rich, seems to understand just how ludicrous it is and it totally embraces both the melodrama and the silliness of its plot. This film is totally product of the time in which it was made, from the dialogue to the hairstyles to the fashions to the ending that you’ll see coming from a mile away. At the same time, that’s also why this film is a lot of fun. It’s such a product of its time that it doubles as a time capsule. Do you want to go back to 1973? Well, go over to YouTube and watch Satan’s School For Girls.  After you’ve watched it, step outside and ask anyone who the president is and they’ll probably say, “Richard Nixon.”  And if you ask them who they’re favorite Brady is, they’ll look at you like your crazy because everyone know that Marcia is the best Brady.  If you even have to ask, it’s obvious that you don’t really watch the show.  After that, you should probably try to find a way to get back to 2021 before you change the future or something.  You know how tricky time travel can be.

As for Satan’s School for Girls, it’s just a really fun movie so check it out and be sure not to be late for class!

What Lisa Marie Watched Tonight: The Love Boat 2.7 “Ship of Ghouls” (dir by Roger Duchovny)

Today, after I finished up Halloween, I switched over to MeTV and I watched a Halloween episode of that very 70s series, The Love Boat!

Why Was I Watching It?

A special Halloween episode of the silliest television series ever!?  And one featuring Vincent Price as an illusionist!?  How couldn’t I watch?

What Was It About?

For the ship’s Halloween cruise, the Amazing Alozno (Vincent Price) has been hired to do his act.  He’s quite the illusionist.  Through a combination of hypnotism and magic, he transforms the ship into a magical wonderland where people turn into donkeys and the pool briefly appears to be a giant ice cream sundae.  But will Alonzo also be able to conjure up love or will he continue to ignore his devoted fiancée and instead, only worry about keeping his fans happy?

Meanwhile, a model (Barbara Anderson) who is recovering from a serious car accident has absolutely no use for illusion.  She just wants to stay in her cabin but her friend, who also happens to be the cruise director, demands that she enjoy the cruise.

What Worked?

Vincent Price as an illusionist!?  Hell yeah!  Okay, the illusions were kind of dumb and never really made sense and the show never actually explained how he could turn Gopher and Doc into donkeys but …. well, isn’t the silliness kind of the point?  The important thing is that he was Vincent Price and he appeared to be having time of his life.  Good for him!

Barbara Anderson actually gave a pretty good dramatic performance as the model.  Admittedly, it did feel a little strange to have this extremely dramatic story playing out beside scenes of Vincent Price turning people into donkeys and transforming the ship’s pool into a giant ice cream sundae but again, I guess that was kind of the appeal of the show.  It’s all weird and somehow, it works.

The boat, incidentally, looked really nice.  I’m going to take a cruise now.

What Did Not Work?

On the Love Boat, everything works!

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I could relate to the model and before anyone rolls their eyes, allow me to explain.  When I was 19, I was in a pretty serious car accident.  The car that I was in flipped over and I basically ended up upside down in the driver’s seat, surrounded by broken glass.  Later, I was told that, when people saw the damage the car, they assumed that I had to have died.  Instead, I only got a few scrapes, bruises, and cuts.  I ended up with two permanent scars — a small one on my hand and then another one on the side of my neck.  And for years, I was so self-conscious of that scar on my neck, even though it faded quickly and I now realize it was barely noticeable.  I obsessed on it, though, both because I disliked having it and also because it reminded me of a traumatic event.  All the angst and worrying that I did about it seems kind of silly now.

Lessons Learned

Love won’t have to hurt anymore.  It’s an open smile on a friendly shore.

Afraid of the Dark (1991, directed by Mark Peploe)

Lucas (Ben Keyworth) is an 11-year-old boy who lives in London and who enjoys watching the neighborhood through his telescope.  Because Lucas’s mother is blind, Lucas is concerned that there is a serial killer who is going around and attacking blind women.  Lucas is determined to help his father (James Fox), an inspector with Scotland Yard, capture the killer.  Lucas starts to sneak out of the house, visiting cemeteries and spying on the same blind women that the killer is stalking.  Investigating on his own, Lucas discovers who the killer might be.

Or does he?

Outside of the imaginary world where he spends most of his time, Lucas is a shy boy and his father is not a detective but instead a florist.  While Lucas’s mother actually is blind, Lucas himself is starting to lose his eyesight as well.  Lucas is scheduled to undergo an experimental surgery.  He’s due to go under the knife, just as surely as the victims of the serial killer that he thinks he’s hunting.  Meanwhile, his mother is pregnant and the increasingly unstable Lucas is both obsessed with his older stepsister and jealous of all the attention that his new baby sister is already getting.

Afraid of the Dark is a British psychological thriller that deserves to be better known.  Intelligently written and directed Mark Peploe, it’s both a poignant and a frightening look at a child who, due to being forced to deal with something that few others can understand, has retreated so far into his own imaginary world (where he can be the hero) that he can no longer tell what is real and what isn’t.  Lucas is both frightening and sympathetic and the movie will keep viewers guessing as to what is real and what isn’t.  James Fox and Fanny Ardant are perfectly cast as Lucas’s parents and David Thewlis, Paul McGann, and Robert Stephens all make an impression as the men who Lucas investigates in his search for the serial killer.  Tense, intelligent, and surprising, Afraid of the Dark is a film that is worth discovering.