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FEARNET.com News and Reviews

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    Declaring this their “Tenth Commandment in Metal,” UK legends (and long-time FEARnet faves) Cradle of Filth have diverged from their usual game plan of sweeping concept albums, choosing this time to divide and conquer a wide assortment of sinister subjects – everything from classics of erotic literature to creepy fairy tales, monsters of myth & legend, the timeless horrors of H.P. Lovecraft, and a few beasts of their very own creation. While all of this falls within the band's usual lyrical domain, their songwriting and production approach on The Manticore calls back to their '90s black metal origins, while retaining just enough of the band's well-known cinematic elements to keep their gothic stamp on it. “We have diversified and kept alive the spirit of this band,” says band frontman & founder Dani Filth, “and breathed it into something that I can proudly say, slays like an absolute motherfucker.” Sounds like a fairly confident statement to me.
     
     
    Now obviously there are nay-sayers who declare the band has been trying in vain to reanimate the colossal beast they once were, but they're probably not reading this review anyhow. I'm not a member of the COF haters club anyway, because I've been mostly impressed with their recent career phase – particularly Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa, which recalled many elements of Midian, my all-time favorite Cradle album. Dani and the gang have stayed in that same groove for their tenth full-length outing; if anything, they're tapping into their old vibe even more here... or maybe it just feels that way after their interesting non-metal experiment  Midnight in the Labyrinth, which focused almost entirely on the gothy theatrics alone. Even within the domain of blackened death metal, which is the musical engine behind Manticore, they're still expert at crafting mini-symphonies, even if with screeches, growls and muscular riffs at the front of all the sweetly sinister choirs and velvety keyboards, but it's refreshing to have some of that linking material pulled back a bit this time around. As the band's first non-concept piece in many years, the album also allows Dani to expand his lyrical scope and weave a distinct story with each song, indulging his literary obsessions with mythical monsters and devilish human impulses.
     
    The instrumental opener "The Unveiling of O" takes its title from the pages of Pauline Réage's The Story of O, a still-controversial novel considered one of the defining works of the modern S&M lifestyle. Not unusual terrain for a band who often style themselves as sexually ravenous Cenobite-like beings, but it's a seductive intro to an otherwise frighteningly raw and aggressive record, as you will know instantly when "The Abhorrent” kicks in. While Dani has gone down a more melodic vocal path in the recent past (starting around the time of Thornography), he takes a slightly more gruff approach in this song, and he's backed by some of the album's best riffage, along with some blazing tempo change-ups and a hurricane of drums. But that's just a warmup, it seems, because the band gets downright thrashy on "For Your Vulgar Delectation,” a barn-burner that the band unveiled a while ago to many fans' delight:
     
     
    Church organ and choirs make only a brief appearance in "Illicitus" before being dashed cruelly aside by dueling riffs and Paul Allender's smoldering tremolo picking, though there's also a sweet organ and piano break. The title track "Manticore" focuses on a specific legend, described by Dani as a “beautiful mythological horror that comes to be feared as the disfigurehead of foreign occupation in the Indian provinces.” It's also a no-bullshit slab of pure blackened death metal with an incredibly dark middle section, as you can hear below:
     
     
    Another superb entry is "Frost on Her Pillow,” which the band has chosen for their next music video, as you can see at the end of this article... and you'll also hear one of the album's hookiest riffs, making for a rock-solid single. One slight departure from the norm is "Huge Onyx Wings Behind Despair,” a semi-industrial concoction accented by buzzing sci-fi synths and rapid-fire symphonic samples... but don't be misled, it's also one of the most blistering cuts on the record. "Pallid Reflection” is one of the most melodic offerings, with cool harmonized vocals in the chorus and slightly cleaner, brassier guitar progressions. Another keeper reminiscent of the band's defining years, “Siding with the Titans" is more old-school Filth, simultaneously summoning black metal's rage and death metal's power, with a similar feel to some of my old faves like “Suicide and Other Comforts.” The album's metal content concludes explosively in "Succumb to This,” which features some of the best all-around vocal work, with Dani blending various styles in sync with female vocals. It fades into the aptly-titled "Sinfonia,” a sweeping instrumental driven by a powerful grand piano, where the bulk of the album's gothic material is gathered. It's an elegant piece on its own, but also nicely closes the museum doors on the band's latest exhibit of larger-than-life musical curiosities.
     
     
    Like I said before, there are few extreme metal bands more polarizing than Cradle of Filth, and it will probably always be that way. I've always enjoyed their weaving of different musical textures and theatrical presentation, while others might say that stuff has been overshadowing of the foundations of true metal that were so prominent on classics like Dusk and Her Embrace. I like it best when the two halves are in perfect balance, and I think it was high time for the scales to tip in favor of the mighty riffs. Maybe it's just nostalgia (after all, I first discovered Cradle on a cold, gray October day just like this one), or maybe it's the new Filth phase. Time will tell, but I like what I'm hearing so far. Check it out when it drops on October 30th and let us know if you agree. 
     
    In the meantime, check out the wicked vid for "Frost on Her Pillow"...
     

     


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    We've only got 6 days left until Halloween, and that means that we're only 6 days away from our annual "Trick 'R Treat" marathon! That's right. Once October 31st rolls around, we'll be playing Michael Dougherty’s "Trick 'R Treat" non-stop from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. ET/3 a.m. to 3 a.m. PT. “Trick ‘r Treat,” the acclaimed horror anthology film starring Anna Paquin (“True Blood”) and Leslie Bibb (“The Midnight Meat Train”), presents four interlocking stories centered around people celebrating—or shunning—the infamous holiday, and the bloody consequences they face for their actions. For the third consecutive year, the fan-favorite 24-hour “Trick ‘r Treat” marathon returns, giving FEARnet fans both old and new, thrills and chills that will last throughout the day.

    What better way to get into the Halloween spirit than with these FEARnet exclusive Trick 'r Treat videos created by writer/director Michael Dougherty. Today's countdown video is "Making Friends," a loving homage to the Universal Monster classic Frankenstein... but with Sam! Check it out below!

     

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  • 10/25/12--16:00: Gift Guide: Mummy Corset
  • It's too late to order this corset for this Halloween, but this is totally appropriate for everyday wear. It's Christmassy, right? I'm kind of surprised that no one has made a mummy-styled corset before this. After all, mummies are all about being tightly bound. This corset is made with steel boning so it is perfect for waist training.

    Approx. $230 at Etsy.com


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    With Halloween literally right around the corner, I imagine most of you will be revisiting John Carpenter's classic film, and if you're like me, I personally like to immediately throw on the sequel Halloween II directly after so that I can experience "more of the night he came home." But alas, if you're based out of Los Angeles, you can put that DVD or Blu-Ray back on the shelf for the time being and see it the way it was meant to be seen... on the big screen! This Saturday night, October 27th, the New Beverly Cinema and Horror Movie A Day are hosting a 35mm screening of the original 1981 "slasher" sequel at midnight!

    So here's the scoop - tickets are only $8 bucks and you can purchase them at the door or on-line via Brown Paper Tickets. I'd recommend picking up your tickets in advance because the last time they showed Halloween II at the New Bev it sold out! Once again, mark your calendars. The screening is this Saturday, October 27th at 11:59PM at the New Beverly Cinema located at 7165 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90036. Brian Collins will be hosting the screening and giving away some DVD's, swag and other goodies before the movie starts. And check out this sweet poster created specifically for this screening by artist Jacopo Tenani below. See you there, Los Angeles!
     



     

     


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    Continuing with our Mama set visit series (read interviews with Guillermo del Toro and Jessica Chastain to catch up) we speak with director Andy Muschietti and his sister, producer, and writing partner Barbara. They talk about making the transition from commercials to narratives, adapting a short into a feature, and casting the film.

    Are you only shooting inside for the house scenes, and otherwise you're outdoors?

    Andy: We only have one stage.

    Barbara: Because Guillermo took all the others. 

    And what are you building there?

    Andy: It's another-- well the beginning of the movie takes place in the cottage.

    Barbara: The rubble that you guys see there is not rubble, it's the cliff. So we have three sets, but only one stage, so we kind of have to take turns. 

    A lot of filmmakers make a short film and use it as a calling card. They don't have any kind of plan for what they want to do with the story. How much did you know, story-wise, what you wanted to do with a feature film?

    Andy: Actually it was a different story. We were writing a different screenplay, and “Mama” the short was sort of a style exercise, to support the project. It was a ghost story, also a horror supernatural thriller, but the story was not Mama. But the short film, it wasn't even a short. We did this as a support piece and it finally became a short film somehow, when we put the credits on and sent it to festivals. We started to raise interest, and a lot of people were asking what was the story behind it. It's a big question mark. People usually were asking how was it possible that those little girls are that thing's daughters. So that motivated us into writing the story. Usually they were more interested in seeing what happened to the girls--

    Barbara: Than in reading our screenplay.

    Andy: Which wasn't bad at all.

    Barbara: It's good, it's good! We'll shoot it someday. 

    Andy: We stole so much from our previous screenplay that we're not using it anymore. Including the wiener dog.

    How long have you two been working creatively together?

    Barbara: It's been working together for 10 years, and writing together for about 8. But we've always been siblings. 

    Andy: We lived for 10 years in different countries-- she started in L.A., and I was in Buenos Aires. And I moved to Spain while she was in London, and then together in Barcelona, where we started a company. And it was like that for 10 years.

    When did you feel ready to go from commercials to a movie?

    Andy: I'm not ready yet. I guess I was more ready to make a film 10 years ago, when I thought it was easier. And now that I'm doing it I'm encountering all the little surprises and obstacles along the way. But I guess you never know when you are ready. You have to do it.

    Guillermo told us that he has a meeting with you every morning and every afternoon. Can you tell us a little about those meetings and your relationship with him on this film?

    Andy: It's great because Guillermo is a big reference, and the good thing about him is he's very demanding. He doesn't have any problems saying "This is wrong," or "I would have gone another way." He's very honest with that. He's very generous when it comes to advice. He apparently learns a lot, too, and that's something he told us. He learns a lot from his proteges. So it's a kind of a feedback. It's great to have him every day, and having his feedback. And sometimes along the way you can get lost with the confusion of what you're doing. It's a good thing having a response from a guy like him.

    You mentioned that people were interested in what happened to the kids, and that you cannibalized another script, but how difficult was it to break this story? That original short is such a mood piece and such a great story, how hard was it to find the story that you wanted to go with?

    Andy: It happened in one day. It wasn't difficult. The outline of the story just happens. It was like a spark, you find the idea and say "Ah." How do we turn this question mark into an interesting, long story? I think it can happen in an afternoon.

    Barbara: We were in Madrid.

    Andy: Yeah. Of course, it became harder and harder when you start developing and seeing all the problems of that story because of course, in the short film, it has this impact because it's so short. It's not surrounded by anything. There is a great deal of intrigue. In the movie you need to explain a lot of things in order to tell a story with characters and drama. So I guess there's a great deal of pressure that you have to let go of when you make a feature film. One of the goals is to maintain the impact of the short. That scene is in the movie. The idea is to make that scene as impactful as it is in the movie, and of course change it, for all the people who saw the short film. When they see the movie it would be disappointing to see the same scene. So there's a couple of twists in this version.

    Barbara: But going back to the short, to writing the feature-length, it was our friend Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, he said, "You have to do this into a feature length. This is ridiculous, you have to do it into a feature length." So we sat down, we said "Let's try it. If it doesn't work for us, we'll let it go, but let's give it a try." So we did, and we wrote a treatment in ten days, because our agent was already showing people the short and the response we were getting was toward the more graphic horror. We wanted to write a treatment to access interest from people like Guillermo that would embrace something different than a classic genre movie. We wanted to do something a little more complex, with special characters. So we wrote the treatment really quickly, and after that Guillermo got in touch with us and that was it. 

    What's your background as horror or genre fans? Were these films available growing up?

    Barbara: Since we were like [gestures at small height]. That's our first memories of films. We were very lucky that our parents allowed us to watch them. It had a great influence on us. Our parents would take us to the drive-in, so we have amazing memories of what are horror stories to us - maybe not horror stories to other people, but we saw them at an age where they would scare us, like Close Encounters or Jaws. These were films that marked us. And then on TV every Friday there was this TV show in which you would see a horror film, and we saw all the classic Vincent Price films, tons of B-movies, Michael Caine obscure English horror, and I think that had a huge influence on us. 

    Andy: I'm not a consumer of horror movies just because they're horror movies. I don't like them all, to be honest. I'm kind of a baby.

    Barbara: I'm not!

    Andy: There's some really bad horror that influenced me more than others, I guess.

    I'm curious about the character of Annabel. She seems like she wouldn't be the star of a movie like this-- the punk rocker usually dies. Where did this character come from?

    Andy: That was a chemistry need I guess. For horror the needs of the story have to be first, and this is a woman who [is a mother] by accident. She has to take the responsibility of raising two little children who aren't hers. It's a reluctant hero, and you will notice when you see the movie-- now you know it, but when you see the movie she's not the hero at all. But there's kind of a twist that makes her jump into the driver's seat, just like that, and she's the least apt person for the job. 

    Do you have specific artistic references for the film? Your producer was talking about Modigliani paintings that you had that kind of inspired you. What other paintings or films inspired Mama?

    Barbara: I think Modigliani, we had a Modigliani growing up, and it scared the shit out of us. When he started drawing Mama, it was very clear that there was a big, elongated Modigliani air to Mama. It's very scary visuals.

    Andy: Yes, especially for the character. There's tons of influences that come together here. I'm a big fan of Edward Gorey, and I don't think he has been portrayed in film. Well, Tim Burton is a fan too. But the horrific part of Edward Gorey, how he frames things is very disturbing. And I think that Mama will have a lot of that. 

    Do you know the name of the painting?

    Barbara: The Modigliani? I don't know the name.

    Andy: But his portraits are all women with no eyes, the eyes are empty, they have a tendency of stretching the faces and the necks. I don't know if it's scary for everyone, but for a lot of people, it's very scary. 

    Barbara; There's also a lady that dies in the water, and I think something that had quite a bit of impact when we were younger was this painting of Ophelia in the water, floating. 

    Do you see the character of Mama as a monster or someone we can be empathetic toward?

    Andy: It's a mix. It's funny, because it's a character you don't emphasize with, because you're not on the right perspective. But if you could understand what's going on, it's the story of a mom trying to get her children back. I think we played with that. It's the displacement of the bad positioning of the point of view which makes you empathize with the human characters. If you asked the girls, actually--

    Barbara: They love her. She's a horrible hero, really. That's what she is.

    Andy: One of the elements of horror is that we are building a big question of what is the character. It's there, it's horrifying. But you learn a lot of things: you see that the girls love this thing. You're not sure if it's real or not, but they follow her, they mimic her, you see a lot of traits from the mysterious character that is reflected on the girls. And when you see it, it doesn't matter what you know about their love, because it's so horrifying that you shit yourself. Ideally. So that's the game we're playing. 

    Did you look at a couple of different actresses or actors before settling on Javier for Mama?

    Andy: No. Well, we went through a phase where I was sure that she wouldn't be human, that there would be CG, because I wanted to do very strange motion, and the proportions of the character couldn't be portrayed by any human. Then I saw Javier on [REC]. I don't know if you guys saw [REC], but at the end of [REC], I thought he was a CG characters, because the proportions were not real. You see this thing swaying around… even then, I think I still thought of doing CG. But as good as the CG is, there's always something that tells you it's CG.

    Barbara: And also when you give something so important as this character, Mama, to a company to do, even if it's with your supervision, even if you're on it, it becomes a very different thing, and you lose the ability to really mold it during your shoot.  

    How did you come to Jessica Chastain for Annabelle? Had you seen in anything before that made you think she could handle this?

    Andy: I had only seen Jolene.

    Which a lot of people haven't seen.

    Andy: Yeah. But we first thought of her when saw a trailer--

    Barbara: The trailer for The Debt, about a year and a half ago on iTunes. And we were intrigued. Especially - and this sounds ridiculous - but the gynecologist scene, where she catches him with her legs. We were like, "We like her." This was before this explosion that's happened in the past month. Then they told us she liked the script, we scheduled a Skype meeting with her, and literally 24 hours before the Skype meeting we said "Let's go meet her. Fuck the Skype." We went to meet her and we were with her in a room for two hours, and she was incredible. She's insanely good and insanely nice and helpful. I mean, we thank our lucky stars every day. 

    Andy: There's something about her that, for me, was perfect. The character has an arc, and at the beginning of that arc she should be not only an unlikely person, a reluctant hero, but she should be distant and not empathetic to the audience. I saw her and she has this... she can be really distant. She has these features where she barely has the eyebrows - but it's a beautiful thing. I wouldn't say it if I didn't think it was beautiful. She has a porcelain thing going on there. Of course, when I saw Jolene, I saw all the emotional stages and moods she had, and she was perfect. And I love her nose. 

    Does Mama talk?

    Andy: I can't tell you. It's going to be like Rise of the Planet of the Apes. [Laughs] I don't know if she does, but she does sing.  It's one of those reflections on the girls. You see the girls singing, and it's something they learned from Mama. There is sort of a leitmotif, which is a handprint on the girls-- how much we can attach to anything that is there.

    Barbara: And if you're young and open enough, which is Lily's case. 

    Andy: I don't know how much you know about the story.

    You just filled in the blanks.

    Andy: There is sort of a fracture there, because when the girls were abandoned, one was three years and a half and the other was a baby. They grew up isolated,  dominated by an entity, and they get even. But when they go back to normal, one of them is recovered by society, and the other has been raised by Mama. So there is a fracture there. 


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    There have been no less than nine different video games to bear the name of Silent Hill since the first chapter arrived in 1999, and by this point it's safe to say that the Konami franchise has built up a pretty strong fan base for their endless horror series -- but only one movie so far. By comparison, Capcom's Resident Evil, which debuted three years earlier now boasts 23 game releases and seven movie adaptations, if you're including the animated ones, but that franchise offers numerous beautiful women who kill zombies, whereas Silent Hill just has ... the world's creepiest town. The first movie arrived via Christoph Gans in 2006, and while it's a bit longer than any video-game-based horror flick has any right (or need) to be, it still holds up as a rather impressive visual display on unpleasant eeriness.

    So how's the sequel?

    Not very good, unfortunately, and I say that as a fan of the first Silent Hill movie, the video game source material, and writer/director Michael J. Bassett (whose low-budget horror flicks Deathwatch and Wilderness led to a damn good rendition of Solomon Kane). What we have here is your standard (very standard) horror sequel that seems to have been cobbled together, torn to shreds, and then spackled back together, and what we're left with is a very tedious hour of non-stop exposition of absolute nonsense, followed by a visually slick, slightly creepy, and powerfully bloody Act III. (Guess where they pulled all the trailer scenes from.)

    The plot, to be fair, tries to follow not only in the footsteps of the first Silent Hill movie, but also the third Silent Hill game, which puts the screenwriter in a major bind, and it more than shows in the final product. The Silent Hill 2 story, for example, is not a complicated affair (the girl who survived the first flick is coerced into returning to the haunted town of Silent Hill after lunatics kidnap her father), so there's no logical reason for the movie to focus on so much yammering between characters we just met who are A) trying to remind us of what happened in Part 1, which doesn't matter, and B) trying to explain to our heroine everything that just happened in the last scene and why it matters to the "story."

    I'm all for building a legitimate mythology for a horror franchise, but Silent Hill (the movie) ended with such a manic display of amusing nonsense, there's simply no reason to trudge through all the wackiness all over again. The returning actors seem to agree: Radha Mitchell has precisely one scene; same with Deborah Kara Unger; Sean Bean has maybe four whole dialogue scenes. The majority of Silent Hill Revelation is dedicated to 18-year-old Heather (Adelaide Clemens) as she discovers the secrets of her creepy youth and her (eventual) decision to visit Silent Hill, but by the time the movie gets there, we only have time for a few set-pieces featuring all our familiar freaks, and then it's a big finale full of portentous nonsense dialogue about demons this and dimensional trapezoids that.

    By the time an unrecognizable Carrie-Anne Moss and a broadly unhinged Malcolm McDowell show up for two scenes apiece, you'll have completely given up on Silent Hill Revelation making any sense whatsoever.

    Fans of the first film will appreciate that once we do get to Silent Hill, the look, the sound, and the crazy carnage manage to elevate the sequel beyond a total loss, but really, if all you're looking for are a few cool scenes with the freaky faceless nurses and the massive, hatchet-wielding "Pyramid Head," you're probably better off sticking with the Silent Hill games over the Silent Hill movies. At least in the games you can press "skip" when confronted with nine goofball dialogue scenes in a row.


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    Settle in for the latest episode of Shock Waves as Shock Till You Drop's Ryan Turek and FEARnet's Lawrence P. Raffel dig into their favorite horror sequels that don't suck. Give a listen and see if you agree (not likely!).

    We also talk about The Munsters reboot pilot Mockingbird Lane (tune in tonight!), American Horror Story Asylum, Elijah Wood in Alex Aja's remake of the William Lustig classic Maniac, haunted houses, The Evil Dead reboot trailer and much, much more! Whew, enjoy!

    Music provided by: Tomandandy (Resident Evil: Retribution, The Mothman Prophecies)


     

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    New comic book Wednesday has come and gone. The dust at your local comic shop has settled. An eerie silence descends as you finish reading your last superhero book of the week. Now it's time for something a little more sinister. Welcome to Bagged and Boarded: comic reviews of the sick, spooky, twisted and terrifying!

    Jonah Hex No. 13
    Everyone's favorite messy-faced cowboy is on the case in 1800's Gotham. Apparently a serum created by Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde is turning people crazy, and Hex is out to put a stop to it. While investigating, he and his comrades find a murdered priest with blood painted on his face matching a clown's makeup. The heroes head to the circus in town and all hell breaks loose. Killer clowns, tigers and chaos all come spilling out of the big top.

    Bag it or board it up?
    'All Star Western Featuring: Jonah Hex' (yes, that's the full title) has a lot going for it.The art in this comic is great. It's quick, rough, and colorful. The action is fast-paced and bloody. And what could be better than psychotic clowns? Answer: Nothing.

    Alan Robert's Killogy No. 1
    A shaggy punk, a mafioso hit man , and a hysterical woman are all locked in a jail cell during a zombie apocalypse. Sounds like the set-up to an awesome joke, right? Wrong! It's how 'Alan Robert's Killogy' begins. There's not much more to know, except that we go into exploring how the hit man came to know about these zombies before anyone else.

    Bag it or board it up?
    It's so hard to figure out exactly what's going on behind the scenes in this comic. The story is simple enough. Three very different people vs. the undead. But Alan Robert is basing his three characters on the likeness of living actors/musicians. And said inspirations all have bios at the end of the comic. It's a strange approach. That being said, it's a good, long read (clocks in at 24 pages of comic - awesome) with vibrant artwork.

    Artifacts No. 22
    I'm just going to quote the comic to explain it here: "The gathering of thirteen mystical artifacts destroyed the world… and created another in its image." So, in this mirror world, a defrocked priest with one of these thirteen artifacts is the only one to know that the world is not the original world. He works for the F.B.I. investigating supernatural crimes, and has to head to D.C. when a dude has his heart ripped out in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Follow me?

    Bag it or board it up?
    For as cloudy as the plot may seem, it's actually explained well in the comic and presented nicely. The artwork here is unique. It looks a lot like screenshots of a video game, which can be distracting, but adds to the overall tone of the piece. I'm interested in where this comic started and where it's headed.

    Ghost No. 1
    A couple of losers with a ghost-hunter TV show accidentally use a black market device to call forth a woman in white. After saving their lives, the woman wants to stick around to find out who or what she is. The Ghost of 'Ghost' has no idea where to begin, but she can easily rip a guy's heart out of his chest and is prone to fits that leave her feeling like every cell in her ghostly body is screaming. She and her two "pals" (term used very loosely) have to figure out the "who, where, how, why and what" of her.

    Bag it or board it up?
    My pick of the week! I reviewed the Issue 0 of Ghost a few weeks back. I've got to say, this is one of the comics I'm most excited about these days. The artwork is doing exactly what it should for the story. Ghost has awesome powers and a flaring temper. The plot is thickening with a shocking last page. All is good in the world of Ghost.


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    When is a Scooby-Doo satire not exactly a Scooby-Doo satire? When it arrives in the form of an indie horror flick like Saturday Morning Massacre, a low-budget but clever enough little concoction from a group of young filmmakers who have little besides a game cast, a creepy location, and (fortunately) some actual skills in the filmmaking department. Here we have a group of four young adults and a loyal dog who trek across the country investigating, you guessed it, mysterious paranormal occurrences, only to finally butt heads with something horrific and inexplicable. So while it's true that the premise is pretty familiar, director Spencer Parsons and his numerous co-writers find ways to subvert convention and deliver a clever little homage that's both "in-joke" funny and, eventually, pretty darn scary.

     
    Don't let the phrase "Scooby-Doo satire" turn you off; Saturday Morning Massacre is not broad wackiness or cartoony sound effects. It's more like the filmmakers realized that most indie horror films that deal with young people in an unpleasant location are little more than Scooby-Doo episodes anyway, so why not actually acknowledge the similarities? No, the dog doesn't talk and no, the characters do not act like Fred, Daphne, Velma, or Shaggy, but there's still an amusing familiarity to the caricatures that makes the first half of Saturday Morning Massacre feel novel -- even when the flick suffers through one or two egregiously dry spots.
     
    It's the off-kilter humor and the strange Scooby-Doo gimmick that keeps a viewer enjoyably off-balance in the early sections of the movie, but (and I won't spoil anything) Saturday Morning Massacre improves tenfold in its third act, which is when the secrets of the "haunted mansion" are revealed and our quartet of plucky heroes realizes that they're in way over their heads. Let's just say things get less funny in a big hurry. In addition to some crafty cinematography by Drew Daniels (I loved the "searching the house" montage!), a dash of effective scoring, and a strong acting quartet (Ashley Spillers, Jonny Mars, Adam Tate, Josephine Decker) that prevents the movie from ever getting too wacky or dry, there are also some pretty clever screenwriting touches littered across the flick.
     
    Clearly made for virtually no money, Saturday Morning Massacre may exist mainly as a "calling card" for several young filmmakers, but it's still a well-made and crafty piece of low-budget horror with a sly sense of humor. I suspect this movie was made by people who love horror films and Scooby-Doo in equal measure, and simply felt like mashing the two together for fun. And regarding those few slow spots I mentioned earlier, they're a small price to pay for the good stuff that Saturday Morning Massacre has to offer ... and I'm not just talking about the ass-kicker of an ending.

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    PJ Soles is best known for her role as Lynda in John Carpenter’s seminal classic, Halloween - and that is just fine with her. Which is good, because that is what I want to talk to her about. 

    If you are in Los Angeles, you can find her at the Aliens to Zombies convention in Hollywood on October 30th. She will appear on a panel about women in horror alongside Christine Elise, Brea Grant, Lynn Lowry, and the Soska Sisters.

    Is Halloween an extraordinarily busy time of year for you?

    It is! But it is really nice to do something in Hollywood, so I am looking forward to doing this event. And it’s nice that it is the 29th and 30th, so I get to give out candy. The kids in my neighborhood like coming to my house. Not that they know who I am, but their parents do.

    Do you often get trick-or-treating parents looking for your autograph?

    No, they’re all my friends and neighbors. They do like to hear about my adventures, though. The kids just think that I’m this “old lady,” and wonder why their parents like me.

    Have you ever tried to have a Halloween screening of Halloween for the kids?

    No. When my kids were growing up they were practically the only kids here. There were a few scattered here and there, but now there are a lot of new families and they all have really little kids. I don’t want to be the witch who lives on the hill! After all, I was the victim, not the perpetrator.

    Looking back on Halloween, do you ever get tired of talking about it, or reliving it?

    No! It’s amazing that it has a life of its own. It’s been in the last five or ten years that it has really had a resurgence. Before that, things were quiet and you didn’t hear a lot about it. Now it’s just ridiculous. Maybe it is social media and the internet, but it has gotten crazy. The fact that they are re-releasing it in theaters for five days across the country just shows the film’s staying power and  the fact that John Carpenter really opened up this genre. Obviously, the horror movie has taken on a new look, with the Rob Zombie-types and the Texas Chainsaw Massacres. Blood and gore seems to be the new way, whereas Halloween has no actual blood. It’s just thrills and chills and sound effects - and characters! Let’s not forget characters! That was an important part of it - everyone loved the three girls.

    Halloween, to this day, stands as one of only two movies that actually scared me. It may have been because I was ten years old, but I couldn’t watch it at night - I had to wait until morning.

    It is scary. It’s the music. Go see it in the theater when it comes out, and see if it has that effect after all this time. I think it will.

    I think it will, too. I still get that feeling when I watch it at home.

    They had a screening of it a long time ago - my son was 13 and he is 28 now - down in Orange County, where they had Michael Myers, in the mask and jumpsuit, walking around the theater during the screening touching people on the shoulders. My son was so freaked out, and that obviously added to it because he never knew when [Michael] would pop out. You knew it was just a guy with a mask on, but it was really scary.

    Even when I watch it, I mean, I don’t get scared, but I am still amazed at what a well-made movie it is. It was crafted by an artist, which John Carpenter and Debra Hill are. It just all came together. And the music! The music is 50% of it. You can put just the music on and be scared, and not see anything but a wall.

    It seems like in the last five or ten years, John Carpenter is finally getting the recognition he deserves.

    Yes, I think that is very true, and I think he has enjoyed going to the conventions. People say, “He must be a zillionaire, why is he doing that?” He wants to give back to the fans. People are so hungry for autographs since the Star Trekkies started these conventions way back when. Now the horror fans have taken it over. I had a very tiny scene in The Devil’s Rejects, and someone wanted everyone who was in it to sign the poster. It has become a huge phenomenon. It’s very exciting. I don’t get tired of it. It is exciting that the younger generation has taken such an interest in it. John is finally getting his due, although I think people in the business and in the horror genre all along really appreciated him. Now he gets to get out there, he has his panels, his Q&As... People can’t ask enough questions or get enough information.

    Are there a lot of new fans to Halloween, or does the younger generation see it as an “old movie?”

    That is an interesting question, but the answer is definitely no. They do not say that. If anything, I can get a 15-year-old who wants his picture taken with me, and he is shaking and sweating. Many of them ask me about the Rob Zombie remakes, and they tell me they like them but nothing will ever come close to the original Halloween

    When you first came on to Halloween, did you expect it would be this cultural phenomenon, or was this just a gig?

    It was an acting gig, but back then this was only like my third role. I was building my career, so my intent was, “I’ve got to do a really good job so I can get another part!” There was nothing about the script that indicated that. There was such a collaborative spirit on set. You were invited to ad lib or help out in any way you could. In those days I don’t think anyone was thinking box office or 20 or 30 years down the road or sequels or anything like that. We were just thinking, “Let’s make this movie really great.”

    Did you ever worry that doing a horror movie - especially so early in your career - would pigeonhole you as a Scream Queen or prevent you from getting mainstream roles?

    No. I mean, my first part was in Carrie, which didn’t really feel like a “horror movie” to me. It was a big budget, it was Brian De Palma, it felt more science-fictiony to me. After that I did a bunch of TV movies, so I didn’t really think about it because I was doing so much in between. Then after Halloween I got Rock n’ Roll High School, which is probably the farthest thing from Halloween you can get! So it definitely didn’t, but I am definitely most remembered for Halloween - especially around Halloween time, and because of the conventions. I’m sure if there were military conventions, I would be invited to those for Stripes. I think it is sweet when I am called a Scream Queen, even though I’ve had other parts.

    Are you going to be in Lords of Salem?

    No. I don’t think he likes to reuse people - he likes to get new people. But I’m sure I’ll be in another Rob Zombie movie at some point. I better be - for his 40th birthday, I gave him my original Halloween script, with all my original notes and everything. He loved it - he said it would be wrapped in plastic and put in his vault. No one was ever going to touch it but him. And that was before he did the re-imagining! 

    Do you hang on to a lot of your movie memorabilia?

    I still have my jacket from Rock n’ Roll High School with the musical notes on it. Mainly because it cost $300 which, at the time, was a lot of money. Rod Stewart and I wrestled for it. He wanted it - but I won. My red baseball cap from Carrie. It was actually my hat. When I moved from New York I wanted to protect my face from the sun. I washed it one too many times and it fell apart. But since then, fans have given me a bunch of different hats, and even remade the little pins that were on it. 

    Have you ever had any creepy fan experiences, or is everyone pretty cool?

    No creepy ones. The amazing thing to me is that I will get 15-year-olds or even 22-year-olds or 50-year-olds and they are shaking in their boots, telling me I was their college crush, or the young kids who say, “Oh my gosh I can’t believe I am standing here next to Lynda.” It’s just endearing. Definitely not creepy.

    Tell us about this convention you are doing over Halloween.

    The Aliens to Zombies convention. That should be pretty fun. I don’t know the other women on the panel, but I guess we are going to talk about women’s roles and their evolution in the genre. I think we’ve always remained victims so I don’t know that there has been an evolution. But the fact that we are getting more and more women involved in directing is exciting to me.

    Have you ever wanted to direct?

    I’ve thought about it. I’ve always written poetry and just written in general. The last few years I have been working on my book, The Totally Girl. It has been hard, but one of these days it will come out. The thing that stops me in my tracks is that everyone is writing an autobiography now. How many autobiographies can people read? There seems to be an endless thirst for it.

    I finally have some songs. I’ve always been a songwriter. My boyfriend’s band, Cheap Rodeo, a country band, I wrote the lyrics to five of their songs that I am really proud of. That [interests me] more than directing - though I might direct a music video for the band. For any big-scale project, I am more likely to be the writer. Though I have tried for 20 years to produce a film called Night Witches. It’s not a horror movie - it’s about the first women who flew in combat. They were Russian girls, aged 15 to 18, who flew in combat missions during WWII. It is still an open project at Paramount, but as our relations with Russia go up and down, so does our film. And it doesn’t have a serious male lead.


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    On Saturday, October 27th, head down to the Blumhouse of Horrors in Los Angeles. From 8pm-9pm, you can meet Adam Green and Laura Ortiz from Holliston. Take photos, get autographs, ask them to do your taxes*, whatever. Plus, mention HOLLISTON at the gate for a discount on your tickets.

     

    *Note: FEARnet does not recommend you ask Adam Green or Laura Ortiz to do your taxes.


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    We've only got 5 days left until Halloween, and that means that we're only 5 days away from our annual "Trick 'R Treat" marathon! That's right. Once October 31st rolls around, we'll be playing Michael Dougherty’s "Trick 'R Treat" non-stop from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. ET/3 a.m. to 3 a.m. PT. “Trick ‘r Treat,” the acclaimed horror anthology film starring Anna Paquin (“True Blood”) and Leslie Bibb (“The Midnight Meat Train”), presents four interlocking stories centered around people celebrating—or shunning—the infamous holiday, and the bloody consequences they face for their actions. For the third consecutive year, the fan-favorite 24-hour “Trick ‘r Treat” marathon returns, giving FEARnet fans both old and new, thrills and chills that will last throughout the day.

    What better way to get into the Halloween spirit than with these FEARnet exclusive Trick 'r Treat videos created by writer/director Michael Dougherty. Now, there are a few simple rules you need to follow if you want to have a successful Halloween. Don't worry, we've got ya covered. Today's countdown video is one of the 4 rules "Wear A Costume." Have a peek below and see how it may save your life! 

     

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    Each month, FEARnet will profile one horror fan who has amassed such an awe-inspiring collection of genre collectible, oddities, or tchotchkes, it makes our heads spin. The more specific the obsession, and expansive the collection, the better.

    Ron Salvatore’s phantasmagoria of giallo posters is what an Italian slasher fan’s dreams, well, actually, nightmares, are made of. It includes foreign versions of many giallo greats with amazingly beautiful graphics. It’s very tough to pick a favorite, but both the Italian and English versions of the Schock poster are really amazing. Salvatore told FEARnet why he is so attracted to giallo imagery.

    The Collector: Ron Salvatore

    Location: I live in southern New York, about an hour outside of the city. I wish I could tell you my place was decorated with shag carpeting and mod designer doo dads, like a flat from a '70s Argento film, but it's really just a normal house.

    What: I have a pretty large collection of movie posters. This segment is focused on Italian horrors and thrillers. I tend to lump all of this stuff into the "giallo" category, even though, strictly speaking, a horror movie like Black Sunday isn't a giallo. But, to me, these films share so many traits that it's silly to split hairs. They're part of a distinctive tradition.

    Years Collecting: I'm kind of a collector by nature. I like to hunt for and accumulate things. I think I've been doing the poster thing for about four years.

    How Many: I think I have about 70 giallo posters. My total poster count is probably closer to 1000.

    How the Obsession Started: I'm something of a movie nut, and I'm also something of an arts/graphic design nut. So it was probably inevitable that I'd end up collecting posters. The first movie poster I bought was a French one for Jerry Lewis' The Nutty Professor. I simply ran across it on eBay, thought the art was really fun, and put in a bid for it. When it arrived, I was blown away by the graphics. It was created using stone lithography, a printing technique, now mostly outmoded, which rendered deep, incredibly rich colors. After that I was hooked, and I started looking for more.

    I'm a pretty experienced collector, so I knew from the outset that I needed to focus my collecting energies on a few specific areas. The ones I picked were the French New Wave and giallo. The posters related to each of those film areas were in my price range, and I loved the graphics. The giallo posters especially were very striking, with wild, hyper-violent imagery of a kind you'd never seen in film advertising today. It's funny, by splitting my focus between New Wave stuff and giallo stuff, I've managed to cater to the two distinctive ends of my taste range: the highfalutin', arts-fartsy end, and the low-down, completely disreputable end.

    Most Prized Find: Oh, geez. That's tough. I don't really have a favorite. I guess I'll choose the Spanish poster for Your Vice is Locked in a Room and Only I Have the Key. It's by legendary Spanish poster artist Jano, and it has unusually staid (but sexy!) graphics. It also features a naked Edwige Fenech, which is always a plus. (Edwige is the Nefertiti of the trash cinema.) I also get a kick out of the Turkish poster for All the Colors of the Dark, which depicts a large hand palming Edwige's head like a basketball.

    Rarest Piece in Collection: I don't really know what the rarest item in the giallo collection is. It's hard to get a good read on rarity in a field like this. But I've never seen another example of the Italian poster for Blood and Black Lace, so I think that one can be reasonably called a pretty scarce item.

    Craziest Thing You've Done for the Collection: Mailed cash to Italy!

    The Horror Holy Grail:  This is always a tough one; answering it tends to DECREASE your chances of actually finding that item. But I don't mind admitting that I've long desired the U.S. poster for Bava's Kill, Baby, Kill! It has trippy, enormously messed up graphics. It isn't too hard to find, but it always seem to sell for more than I'm willing to pay. I'll get it sooner or later.

    What Else Do You Collect: I spent many years collecting toys, especially old Star Wars toys. I have a bunch.

    See Ron’s collection of giallo here on Flickr and a few of his posters below.

    Do you know an obsessive horror collector? Is that obsessive horror collector you? We want to know more about your obsession. Email FEARnet here and tell us about your obsession.





     


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    We are still counting down to our Halloween Trick 'R Treat marathon. While you wait, why not enjoy this adorable "animated" Sam toy:

     

    $32.99 at Amazon.com


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    We've only got 4 days left until Halloween, and that means that we're only 4 days away from our annual "Trick 'R Treat" marathon! That's right. Once October 31st rolls around, we'll be playing Michael Dougherty’s "Trick 'R Treat" non-stop from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. ET/3 a.m. to 3 a.m. PT. “Trick ‘r Treat,” the acclaimed horror anthology film starring Anna Paquin (“True Blood”) and Leslie Bibb (“The Midnight Meat Train”), presents four interlocking stories centered around people celebrating—or shunning—the infamous holiday, and the bloody consequences they face for their actions. For the third consecutive year, the fan-favorite 24-hour “Trick ‘r Treat” marathon returns, giving FEARnet fans both old and new, thrills and chills that will last throughout the day.

    What better way to get into the Halloween spirit than with these FEARnet exclusive Trick 'r Treat videos created by writer/director Michael Dougherty. Now, there are a few simple rules you need to follow if you want to have a successful Halloween. Don't worry, we've got ya covered. Today's countdown video is the second of the 4 rules "Pass Out Treats." If you don't, you can get a glimpse of your fate in the video below!

     

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    Being a fan of European metal of all stripes, I actually hadn't heard much output from Holland's death metal unit Antropomorphia until recently, despite the band having maintained a solid presence in one form or another for around a quarter century, evolving from a more Slayer-inspired sound into the blackened death mode they employ today. While they developed a strong underground following throughout the '90s (originally under a different lineup and the name Dethroned Empire), it wasn't until the release of their 1998 album Pure that the wider metal community began to take notice, although after that the founders apparently took an extended hiatus. I first heard their work through last year's Necromantic Love Songs, a compilation of the band's demos, EPs, and various obscurities; it's extreme, uncompromising and violent stuff, tapping into underground gore/death metal and more recent blackened styles, now with a more overt occult theme (as you can probably figure out from the naughty album cover below).

     
     
    The new studio offering Evangelium Nekromantia is the band's highest-profile work to date, and their first to be released internationally on Metal Blade records, which puts them in pretty damn prestigious company. Their core sound, served up by guitarist/vocalist Ferry Damen, bassist Marc van Stiphout and Marco Stubbe on drums, is based on simple but beefy riffs which are then double-timed to accelerate the heart rate, though they ease off on the expected double-kick death blastbeats, which was actually a welcome change... although their stronger emphasis on steady gut-punching rhythm comes at the cost of melodic variety. No fancy lead work here, folks: this is all about ye olde mighty riffs.
     
    While Damen's vocals, which range from ogre grunts to banshee wails, are fearsome (made even more so by some aggressive multi-tracking effects), they're occasionally overwhelmed by the rhythmic storm, but there's a consistent feeling of dread and creeping chaos that is the clear mark of a rock-solid death band... not to mention a lyrical concept torn straight from the old-school black metal handbook, described by the band as a study of “nekrophilae, murder, necromancy, and necrolesbian lust,” which probably makes for some damn memorable keyword searches. The lyrics often get lost in all the blood and thunder (a common complaint I have about old-school death metal production) but their demonic enthusiasm is infectious.
     
    A spoken-word intro track kicks off the album, which is divided into three segments in the style of an inverted liturgical ceremony; we open our hymnals to "Nekrophilian Mass,” a steadily building groove that reaches a fever pitch that continues the momentum into "The Mourned and the Macabre,” as the trio begin to exercise their chaos-making skills with frantic tempo change-ups and criss-crossing vocals. Their mastery of the thunderous beat comes though strongest in cuts like "Debauchery in Putrefaction" and "Fleisch,” while "Anointment by Sin" pushes the production envelope a bit too much for my liking; it comes off as loud and dense, instead of just plain heavy. "Impure Desecration" is probably the most “blackened” track on the album, with the strongest emphasis on demonic vocals that will send chills up your spine. The album wraps with a haunting acoustic instrumental outro (a kind of post-mass processional, if you will), which serves up a rich and effective atmosphere and proves how well these cats could handle moodier, more gothic elements or adopt a Celtic Frost type of vibe.
     
    While it's not the genre game-changer the band hopes it to be, Evangelium Nekromantia is still Antropomorphia's strongest and most confident entry from this current creative phase, and while some of their older thrash elements might have added some extra violence to the mix, they've chosen to put more emphasis on a darker, doomier and more thunderous sound, which stacks up fairly well against most big-name death metal contenders, and that itself is no small feat. A little more vocal clarity and inventive lead guitar textures could really stake out a nice piece of territory for this battle-hardened trio.
     
    See them in action in the video for "Psuchagogia,” along with a sexy blood-guzzling sorceress...
     
     

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    Grimm Episode 209
    “La Llorona”
    Written By: Akela Cooper
    Directed By: Holly Dale
    Original Airdate: 26 October 2012

    In This Episode...

    A man and his son (Luis and Rafael) are fishing at the river. Luis sees a distraught woman in a long white dress weeping and walking into the water. Afraid she is going to kill herself, Luis jumps in to save her. But Luis can’t find her. He looks around and sees her - leading Rafael away.

    Apparently Portland PD has only one Hispanic officer on the payroll, because Nick calls in Juliette to translate what Luis and his family are saying about the kidnapping. Rafael’s mother died, so this isn’t a custody case. The police have no leads, but Luis’s sister senses that Juliette was recently very ill, and that she is at war with two different sides of herself. Juliette doesn’t want to talk about it.

    In New Mexico, a woman named Valeria gets an Amber Alert on the Portland case. She books a flight immediately. Upon arrival, she meets with Nick and Hank. She has ben following this case for five years, after the same woman stole her nephew. Every year, on Halloween day, the woman would steal three children, always two boys and a girl. She drowns the children after midnight and disappears for another year. Some of the more superstitious believe this to be La Llorona, a Mexican legend about a woman who drowns her three children as revenge for her husband, who was cheating on her. It is thought that La Llorona kills these children to take the place of her own. But Valeria doesn’t believe in ghosts - she is sure this a living woman who believes herself to be La Llorona.

    A second child goes missing. Then a third. They only have a few hours to find the children. It took Nick far too long to realize that the children are each abducted along one “arm” of two rivers that flow together, and therefore it makes sense that the kids are being killed at the juncture where the two rivers meet. Nick, Hank, and Valeria race to this point, in time to see the woman walking the kidnapped children to the water’s edge. Nick tackles the woman into the water while Hank and Valeria gather the children (who don’t know how they got there.) Nick fights the woman, she tries to drown him, gets a terrifying zombie face - and disappears. No one has an explanation, but no one wants to say she was a ghost.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    I liked the La Llorona tale. It was nice to mix up the format a bit. The world of Grimm can support a certain amount of supernatural anomalies, but once they bring in, say, a vampire, it’s all over. La Llorona leaves room - a teeny bit of room - for belief that she isn’t a ghost. 

    Plus, bonus points for Monroe’s over-the-top Halloween decorations.

    Big Bad...

    ...Balam. Valeria is a Balam, a blue jaguar-like creature. To me, she looks like a Na’vi reject. We only see the Balam for a few seconds; it does not come up again in the episode.

    Prophecies?

    A serial killer comes to town, and his victim of choice are wesen. Is this a new Grimm or a copycat?


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    We've only got 3 days left until Halloween, and that means that we're only 3 days away from our annual "Trick 'R Treat" marathon! That's right. Once October 31st rolls around, we'll be playing Michael Dougherty’s "Trick 'R Treat" non-stop from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. ET/3 a.m. to 3 a.m. PT. “Trick ‘r Treat,” the acclaimed horror anthology film starring Anna Paquin (“True Blood”) and Leslie Bibb (“The Midnight Meat Train”), presents four interlocking stories centered around people celebrating—or shunning—the infamous holiday, and the bloody consequences they face for their actions. For the third consecutive year, the fan-favorite 24-hour “Trick ‘r Treat” marathon returns, giving FEARnet fans both old and new, thrills and chills that will last throughout the day.

    What better way to get into the Halloween spirit than with these FEARnet exclusive Trick 'r Treat videos created by writer/director Michael Dougherty. Now, there are a few simple rules you need to follow if you want to have a successful Halloween. Don't worry, we've got ya covered. Today's countdown video is the third of the 4 rules "Jack O' Lanterns." Make sure you never blow out those jack o' lanterns, or else... well, watch the video below to see what would happen. Almost there!

     

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    Fringe Episode 504
    “The Bullet That Saved the World”
    Written By: Alison Schapker
    Directed By: David Straiton
    Original Airdate: 26 October 2012

    In This Episode...

    Peter sneaks into town to siphon gasoline, and stops into a little curio shop to purchase a necklace for Etta, to replace the one she donated to the laser. While there, an Observer sneaks up on Peter and tries to read him. Peter does his best to scramble his thoughts, but an image of Etta slips past. Peter escapes through the sewers and returns to the lab. But the Observer isn’t done. He calls in Broyles to look at security footage and informs him that he thinks the resistance is protecting him.

    Astrid and Walter have dug out the next video, but it is badly warped and nearly unintelligible. However, Walter is reminded of his childhood and concludes that the next clue is likely hidden beneath a platform at Penn Station. Every road into the city is blocked by Observers or loyalists. Walter shows the team and even secret-er lab, beneath this one, where he stored all the evidence from all the Fringe Division cases. The hope is that there is some equipment in there that they can use to their advantage. Etta gets a text saying that the Observers were planning a raid on the lab. If they stay, they are toast. If they leave but the Observers find their stash, they can never go back again. Walter found an ambering device in the Fringe room. They re-amber the lab, protecting the precious cargo and causing the guards to blow it off as nothing. The Observer chalks this up to a deceptive brain read from one of the loyalists.

    Walter drives to the Penn Station checkpoint. With his brain swiss cheesy as it is, the Observers likely couldn’t read him. He pretends to look for his travel papers and instead comes up wearing a gas mask and shooting off a chemical weapon that causes the person’s face to become almost instantly sealed up. The rest of the team comes out from hiding. Walter and Peter proceed into the station on foot, while Etta and Olivia drive on. Beneath Penn Station, Walter finds a wall he drew on. A nearby vent yields a large blueprint tube. Outside, the girls have donned their gas masks and are shooting everyone who approaches. The guys shoot their way out of the station and the four drive off.

    Beneath a freeway overpass, our foursome unrolls the documents. Walter sees them as complex physics equations. Though they are written in his hand writing, he cannot read them and doesn’t remember ever being able to read these types of equations. In an effort to calm him, Liv suggests that September dictated the equations to him. Before they head back to the lab, Etta has a surprise for them. Broyles drives up - he is Etta’s insider in the Observers’ organization. He didn’t want Etta to tell them in case they were read, but he just had to see them. Five years ago, he saw Etta at a crime scene and before she even turned around, he knew she was Peter and Olivia’s child. He instantly had her transferred to his section, and she recruited him into the resistance. Broyles gives them all sorts of fun weapons, but the reunion is cut short when Observers start showing up. Team Fringe grabs what they can and runs, while Broyles holds them off. Etta gives Broyles the papers they recovered, instructing him to guard them with his life.

    The Observers follow Team Fringe into an abandoned warehouse. More police roll up outside. Team Fringe does what they can to keep the Observers at bay, but the team gets separated. Liv and Peter go find Walter (hiding in a dumpster) and then plan to double back around to collect Etta. Then they hear a shot. One of the Observers had Etta by the throat, and was trying to read the implications of the necklace. All he could figure is, “Love.” Etta fights back, the Observer shoots, and Etta slumps to the floor. Peter, Olivia, and Walter run to her. She insists they go on without her, that she will slow them down. Peter refuses to lose his daughter again, but Etta leaves them no choice: she has armed a bomb. The Observers, meanwhile, are trying to figure out where the rest of the team got to. The one realized that they would go back to Etta for love. So the Observers go back to Etta and are surprised to see they were wrong. Then the bomb goes off, and the entire building is vaporized. 

    Dig It or Bury It?

    On the plus side, we got Broyles back. But then on the negative side, we lost Etta. I was not expecting that - and I liked her. I’m kind of wondering when Fringe Division will head to the other universe for help. It seems like that is the only way they can beat the Observers, and that is the direction the season is heading.

    New World Order

    Peter buys Etta’s necklace with a $20 bill, which shocks the shopkeep, who is unable to remember the last time it was he saw a $20 bill. Peter informs him to keep the change, with the shopkeep shouting after him, “Do you know how much this is worth?” I would have to assume if he was asking that, it is no longer worth face value.

    Prophecies?

    Peter goes off the rails seeking to avenge his daughter’s death.


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    Dexter Episode 705
    “Swim Deep”
    Written By: Scott Reynolds
    Directed By: Ernest Dickerson
    Original Airdate: 28 October 2012

    In This Episode...

    Masuka is freaking out. An acquaintance tells him that Laguerta is running evidence through an outside lab, and he thinks he is getting fired. Deb speaks with Laguerta, who admits to finding the blood slide and worries that the Bay Harbor Butcher is alive and well. Laguerta never believed Doakes with the Butcher; neither did Lundy. Deb is inclined to agree, and Laguerta lets her in on her secret side investigation. Deb takes this to Dexter, showing him a list of a dozen or so missing that fit the Bay Harbor Butcher’s MO. Three were Dexter’s victims. Of those, only one has family in Miami. Laguerta wants to reinterview all the families; Deb makes sure she takes that interview. The victim, Barnes, was a wedding photographer who liked to lure young out-of-town guests back to his room. Naturally, they were never seen again. Deb is worried that Barnes may have snapped a photo of Dexter amongst the wedding guests; Dexter assures her it wasn’t possible. Which of course means he was. So Deb goes to interview Barnes’s wife and kid, and Laguerta, who finished with her interviews already, tags along. It is just the son who is home, and Deb is surprised to hear him say that the day his father disappeared was the best day of his life. Barnes beat him and his mother every minute of every day, and with dad out of the picture, they were free. Deb is intrigued, and perhaps it is because of this that, when the son presents them with photos from the last wedding his dad shot and Deb sees Dexter in the corner of one of them, she quickly pockets it.

    Dexter is doing a routine cleaning on his boat and he finds some blood in a corner. Pulling out his forensic toys reveals that copious amounts of blood had been spilled, enough that someone was killed there, and it definitely wasn’t at Dexter’s hand. He runs the DNA back at the lab and it comes back as Louis’s blood. “Louis is dead?” This is news to Dexter.

    Dexter heads home and instantly notices his curtains are askew. He retreats back to his car and leaves a false message on his own answering machine, telling Dexter that he will meet him at a local cafe in a half hour. Isaak is in Dexter’s house, a wide variety of torture tools laid out before him, when he hears the message. So he decides to meet Dexter at the cafe. Dex watches him leave, recognizes, and follow. He calls Isaak at the cafe and tells him he knows about Louis. Dexter thinks Isaak is a hired gun for the Koshkas; Isaak does not correct him. Instead he blames a police conspiracy for Viktor’s murder and threatens the entire department - including Deb. Dexter warns his sister and insists they stay at an anonymous motel until he can neutralize the Isaak problem. He sees Isaak follow him home from a crime scene one day. Dexter pretends he doesn’t see him and instead heads to a seedy Columbian bar. The Columbians and the Koshkas have a long history of hatred, as two warring heroin cartels. Dexter strolls in, mumbles “Koshka” and heads to the bathroom, where he slips out the window. Isaak follows him in, as Dexter is leaving, and hears gunshots from the street. He smiles.

    Dexter is part of the team that responds to shooting at the bar. What he finds is not what he expected: the three Columbians are dead; Isaak is nowhere to be seen. While walking through the likely scenario of what happened, Dexter finds some blood that didn’t come from victims. He knows it is Isaak’s blood. Deb knows it is Isaak’s blood. If they can prove it, he is done. Dexter does, in fact, match it to Isaak in Interpol records, and Isaak is arrested. Dexter visits him in lockup, and Isaak promises revenge, no matter how long it takes. (He better hurry up - next season is likely the last.)

    Hannah is back to help locate Wayne’s remaining victims. By the time she and Wayne made it down to Miami, they were two of the most wanted criminals in the country. While they waited for a cruise ship to stow away on, they stayed off the radar in various motels. Wayne would kill people so they could stay in their rooms, and made Hannah help bury the bodies. She and Dexter bond over their first crime scene, and Hannah is definitely flirting with him. They are at a dig site, and find a couple. Dexter walks through what the blood tells him about how the crime was committed. The male was killed first, but when he comes to the woman, he stops and says he will have to do further analysis at the lab. Hannah comes up to him privately. The blood tells Dexter that someone far smaller than Wayne straddled the woman as they stabbed. Hannah won’t confirm or deny, she will only smile coyly and admit that the DA gave her full immunity. 

    Dig It or Bury It?

    This was easily the least emotional episode of the season so far. It was methodical. It seemed like the characters are getting back to normal - or rather, the new normal. And that's good. Deb doesn't need to be hysterical all the fucking time. The two reminisce about family holidays together, about how Dexter was so protective of his sister, and how Deb saw him as a hero. There was a moment, with the two of them together in the motel, that I thought Deb might her feelings for Dexter. She didn’t; it passed, and frankly, she has way bigger problems to concern herself with.

    Curses!

    Deb was in rare form tonight, using a couple obscure humdingers that are apparently catching on - I have been saying them for far longer than I should: “cock monkey” and “fucknugget.”

    Flashback to the Future

    Harry keeps Dexter company while he is cleaning the boat. Dexter muses that this might be his and Deb’s new normal. Harry is not happy that Dexter has exposed Deb to his Dark Passenger. “She didn’t abandon me,” Dexter protests. “But she didn’t accept you,” Harry reminds him, “and it will eat away at her.”

    Prophecies?

    Dexter has his eye on Hannah - as his next victim. Harry suggests that she is reformed, and no longer a threat, but Dexter believes once a killer, always a killer.


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