Articles on this Page
- 05/21/13--11:00: _The Unseen - 'Tenem...
- 05/21/13--12:00: _Casting Begins on '...
- 05/21/13--13:00: _Watch the New Trail...
- 05/21/13--14:00: _Dangerous Games: 'T...
- 05/21/13--15:00: _Before They Were Ho...
- 05/21/13--16:00: _Vintage Horror Cine...
- 05/22/13--08:00: _TV Recap: 'Grimm' E...
- 05/22/13--09:00: _Exclusive Premiere:...
- 05/23/13--08:00: _Spiderbaby's Terror...
- 05/23/13--09:00: _A Pale Horse Named ...
- 05/23/13--10:00: _FEARnet Movie Revie...
- 05/23/13--11:00: _Red-Band Trailer fo...
- 05/23/13--12:00: _Watch the Trailer f...
- 05/23/13--13:00: _'Zombie' Art Exhibi...
- 05/23/13--14:00: _Scream Factory Anno...
- 05/23/13--15:00: _Cryptid Catalog: Re...
- 05/23/13--16:00: _Check Out the New P...
- 05/23/13--17:00: _Techland and WB Gam...
- 05/24/13--08:00: _TV Recap: 'Hannibal...
- 05/24/13--09:00: _Could 'The Walking ...
- 05/21/13--11:00: The Unseen - 'Tenement'
- 05/21/13--12:00: Casting Begins on 'Poltergeist' Remake
- 05/21/13--13:00: Watch the New Trailer for Ben Wheatley's 'A Field in England'
- 05/21/13--14:00: Dangerous Games: 'The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow'
- 05/21/13--15:00: Before They Were Horror Icons: Bruce Campbell in 'Oedipus Rex'
- 05/21/13--16:00: Vintage Horror Cinema: 'The Man Who Laughs'
- 05/22/13--08:00: TV Recap: 'Grimm' Episode 222 - 'Goodnight, Sweet Grimm'
- 05/22/13--09:00: Exclusive Premiere: The 'Hatchet III' Theatrical Poster Is Here!
- 05/23/13--08:00: Spiderbaby's Terror Tapes: 'Night of the Creeps' With Fred Dekker
- 05/23/13--09:00: A Pale Horse Named Death: 'Lay My Soul to Waste'– CD Review
- 05/23/13--10:00: FEARnet Movie Review: 'Dark Circles'
- 05/23/13--11:00: Red-Band Trailer for 'This is the End'
- 05/23/13--12:00: Watch the Trailer for Metallica's IMAX 3D Epic 'Through the Never'
- 05/23/13--13:00: 'Zombie' Art Exhibit Opens in NYC This Weekend
- 05/23/13--14:00: Scream Factory Announces 'Psycho II & III' Blu-ray & DVD Releases
- 05/23/13--15:00: Cryptid Catalog: Read the Official Government Rules on Yeti Hunting
- 05/23/13--16:00: Check Out the New Poster & Trailer for 'The World's End'
- 05/23/13--17:00: Techland and WB Games Announce ‘Dying Light’
- 05/24/13--08:00: TV Recap: 'Hannibal' Episode 108 - 'Trou Normand'
- 05/24/13--09:00: Could 'The Walking Dead' Live Forever?
I love any movie that opens with its own personalized rap song. This was commonplace during the 1980s and early 90s as soundtrack sales proved to be just as lucrative as the movies themselves. Many films were made greater by their cunning use of personalized rapster tunes - for example Ghostbusters 2, Police Academy 4: Citizens of Patrol, The Addams Family, and Kenneth Branaugh’s Hamlet (I think, but I may be confusing it with Wild, Wild West). And 1985’s Tenement (also known as Game of Survival) is no exception, opening and closing with the not-so renowned hit “Tenement” featuring some wicked beats with a rapper occasionally saying the word “tenement.” The song is surprisingly upbeat and rather perky for the disturbing carnage that is about to unfold. Yet, somehow is it is the perfect opening to this flick.
I’ll also begin by professing my love for Roberta Findlay. She made oodles of exploitation flicks with her husband Michael until his death from a helicopter accident in the late 1970s. After that, Roberta continued to film wonderful sleaze on her own, as both a cinematographer and director. Yet, regardless of her long career, many are very apt to leave ladies like Roberta Findlay and Doris Wishman out of discussions of female filmmakers simply because of subject matter.
Tenement was one of Roberta’s later films, shot in 1985, and it focuses on a dilapidated apartment building in the South Bronx. Suffering from urban decay, the area is plagued by drugs, murders, rapes and endless amounts of other crimes. The tenants of this particular building have discovered that a gang of junkies has taken residence in the basement of their building, using it as a hangout to do coke off the blade of a knife, shoot rats, and arm wrestle. A resident calls the police, and the gang is picked up. But in a pointed commentary on the NYC legal system, the gang is back on the street in a few hours. In retaliation they decide to kill everyone in the building- an idea which the gang’s leader received as a satanic message through his heavy metal music. Hey, it was the 80s and everything was satanic. Starting with the first floor and working their way up, the gang takes siege of the building, slowly killing off the tenants that cross them and forcing the others to continually battle, leading to final showdown on the roof.
Tenement is vile. It’s one of those films that make you question why you enjoy watching it, or, in my case, have watched it at least five times. Filled to the brim with bloody stabbings, beatings, a rape, and even a castration, this one may seem like a hard and rather stabby flick to swallow, but it does have some charm to it as well.
The concept of “the siege” is not a new one. Certainly this same “trapped and pushed into a final showdown” concept was happening decades prior in films like Night of the Living Dead and Assault on Precinct 13. This same concept is still proving to be a hit-maker today with flicks like The Raid, District B-13, and even the Judge Dredd remake. But there is really something endearing about the characters in Tenement that set it apart from similar movies.
This building is a rainbow of races and types. There is the elderly Jewish woman, the Puerto Rican landlord, the Mexican grandmother, the single black mother, the rich white girl forced to live there, and even a blind guy. And since this is an exploitation film, the racial slurs fly constantly. Don’t worry though, this film is an equal opportunity exploiter, slurring everyone with the same racist fervor. But what stands out about Tenement is that even though it is an exploitation film, the characters are not stereotypes. All are just people. They may call each other names, but not one person performs the implied stereotype which is what makes Tenement stand out from many other exploitation films. The tenants also band together and work as a team in the confusion. Think of it as Batteries Not Included with a broom rape. Even the street gang (whose costuming is straight out of MJ’s Beat It! video) is equally diverse - like a Benetton ad with a lot of murder and rape instead of bored models.
The film is also a strange amalgam of comedy with a shockingly violent horror chaser. This was also fairly standard in films of the time, but it can be a little awkward and uncomfortable to view today. Take for instance the original Last House on the Left. Amidst all the deplorable acts of violence, there are scenes of comically bumbling Keystone-esque cops trying to find the escaped criminals. Tenement follows this same unnatural blending of comedy with unrelenting carnage. In this movie, the comedy is more subtle - a drunken boastful landlord, people dying with their eyes crossed like a cartoon, and the gang leader’s bizarre spiritualistic speeches where he refers to himself repeatedly in the third person. All of this draws the viewer out of the violence momentarily, which only makes it more shocking and unpleasant when the next scene re-submerges him.
Though much of this column focuses on films that have been hard to see because of distribution reasons, Tenement is one that is available but never got much attention. Quentin Tarantino also took notice of this little film, later casting the most insane (and often blood-covered) gang member, Paul Calderon, in Pulp Fiction. Tenement is available on DVD through Media Blasters. It was also released by Shriek Films as part of a triple feature alongside Cop Killers and Don’t Go In the House. But I highly recommend the Media Blasters edition for its inclusion of an interview with director Roberta Findlay. This film is not a date movie, nor one to pop in some night when your parents are visiting. It’s brutal, intense, and supposedly was given an X-rating (though my DVD shows it as unrated). This film is totally 80s and is a surprisingly smart commentary on the social and economic problems of New York City during this time. But don’t get too attached to the neighborhood. This area would now cost you 6-figures for a studio.
You are a resident of the small hamlet of Miller's Hollow. You live a simple, workaday life in the quaint country town. Everything is peaceful in your town, you have a role to play just like everyone else, and all is as it should be. Until the werewolves attack! That's the setting for this card-based party game from 2001. Published by Asmodee games, The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow is a bluffing and deduction game about surviving through the night in the world's most dangerous small town.
The two players who are chosen as "Werewolves" silently convene with each other and decide which other player they kill during the night. In the morning that player (victim) is removed from the game and the other players vote on who they think the werewolves are. The suspected villager is able to make a case for himself, but when the vote is tallied if he's on the chopping block he's executed for his suspected crimes and removed from the game. The game continues on until either the werewolves have killed all the villagers or the villagers have removed the two werewolves.
This type of party game has been going around for years now. Sometimes it's simply explained as a bunch of rules called "Werewolf" - or maybe you've heard of a similar game called "Mafia." This is a classic party game and my friends and I pull it off the shelf over and over again.
Evil Dead was Bruce Campbell's first film, so you may be asking, "what could have come before?"
In 1972, Bruce Campbell appeared in a short film directed by school chum Josh Becker. Becker would go on to work on all the Evil Dead movies with Campbell and Sam Raimi, as well as writing/directing movies like Lunatics: A Love Story and Stryker's War.
But at the age of 14, Bruce Campbell appeared in Becker's first short film, "Oedipus Rex." Based on the Greek tragedy, the short was shot on a lunch break at school (evident by the chalkboard title cards and the auditorium background). It is a silent film, and is pretty much what you would expect a 14-year-old to shoot during his lunch period.
Grimm Episode 222
“Goodnight, Sweet Grimm”
Written By: Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt
Directed By: Norberto Barba
Original Airdate: 21 May 2013
In This Episode...
Let’s start in Austria. Frau Pech is mixing up a heinous-looking elixir. She has a bellhop dose Adalind’s room service, then sneaks in when Adalind passes out. Frau Pech draws some spinal fluid from Adalind, then puts it in her elixer (from a box marked “Doppelganger”) and drinks it. This switches the women’s bodies. Pech is now the crumpled woman on the floor, while Adalind is awake and plotting. This only swaps the outward appearance; the woman on the floor is still the one with the fetus. Stefania calls “Adalind” and asks her to meet. She has figured out a way to get her powers back. “Adalind” meets with her, and Stefania lays out the plan. She eats up the details hungrily - then Stefania enacts the plan. One of her sons chokes “Adalind” and gets her to the ground, while Stefania cuts out her still-beating heart. The heart of a hexenbeist is necessary to restore Adalind’s powers. Back in her hotel room, Adalind returns to being Adalind, and wakes up, refreshed and pleased to see that all went according to plan.
Now zombies. Baron Samedi has unleashed a half-dozen zombies on Portland. These are 28 Days Later zombies: fast, violent, and not too different than someone on PCP. With a number of uniformed cops missing or on the injured list, Wu needs all the help on the streets he can get, so Nick joins him in trying to immobilize some of the wackos. One of them attacks, biting Wu’s ankle, then nose-diving out a window when she lunges at Nick and he ducks. A three-story fall does nothing to slow her down, and it takes three cops to finally take her down. On his way out, Nick is attacked by another zombie. This one he knocks out, handcuffs, and smuggles him away from the fray.
At the spice shop, Rosalee finds a potential cure for their trance disease, one that can only be administered when the victim is in the violent stage of zombification. Nick leaves Alan, the unconscious zombie, handcuffed in the spice shop. He wakes, violently, as Rosalee finishes up the serum. Monroe holds down Alan while Rosalee administers the cure with an almost comically-huge injector. This knocks Alan out again, but when he does wake, he is human.
Nick returns, with Juliette in tow. She insists on learning about Nick’s Grimm life, and Nick is in no position to argue. Alan remembers very little of his ordeal. He was the tow guy who answered Baron Samedi’s call, so he is able to ID him. He remembers lots of green before being sealed into darkness, and a horn of some kind. Nick remembers seeing lots of green shipping containers on the docks (which is where Baron had dumped his car). Nick, Juliette, Monroe, and Rosalee head down there with as many doses of antidote as Rosalee can make.
It quickly becomes apparent that this is a trap. As our foursome arrives, Baron is unleashing a crateful of zombies. They manage to give antidotes to two before another wave of zombies hit, and they run for safety. Juliette, Monroe, and Rosalee hide in the car (which quickly becomes overrun with zombies, Dawn of the Dead-style). Nick separates from the group to go after Baron. The two men chase each other across shipping containers parkour-style, trade punches, even engage in a little light swordplay - all while Baron is cackling evilly. Nick chases Baron into one of the containers, where he finds a coffin. Inside is nothing but paperwork - the passport and official forms that were in Eric’s office, with Nick’s photo and a false name. Baron surprises him, spits poison in his face, and puts him in the coffin. Eric arrives - it’s time to leave the country. Good thing Nick had asked Rosalee to hold onto his key earlier in the episode.
Dig It or Bury It?
Ah, the cliffhanger is back! Once upon a time, almost all TV seasons ended with a cliffhanger. The cliffhanger fell out of vogue a few years ago, replaced with stories that were tied up, but with questions to be addressed in the next season. But Grimm is bringing it back! Respect for the end tag: “To be continued... oh come on, you knew this was coming.” I laughed.
The third installment of Adam Green's cult hit Hatchet is nearing release, and we have the exclusive debut of the theatrical poster.
Whaddya think? Victor Crowley looks a little annoyed. Hatchet III hits VOD and limited theatrical release on June 14th.
Concluding the saga begun in Adam Green's hit 2006 thriller, Hatchet III follows the vengeful Marybeth (Danielle Harris) as she continues seeking out a way to destroy Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), a hulking, seemingly-invincible sociopath rampaging through a sleepy Louisiana swamp.
While a heavily-armed team of mercenaries takes to the bayou surrounding Crowley's home, Marybeth finds herself begrudgingly teaming up with a local policeman (Zach Galligan) and his ex-wife (Caroline Williams) - an expert on the maniac who may have uncovered the secret to ending his murderous rampage once and for all.
Fred Dekker’s 1986 horror-masterpiece Night of the Creeps changed my life – and it probably change yours, too. It was the horror film that brought aliens, parasites, axe-murders and zombies together in one grand, hilarious and terrifying masterpiece. It was the horror film that wed John Hughes’ teenaged life with George Romero’s on-earth death-walkers.
Back in 1959, a meteorite crashed into Earth, bringing with it a type of parasite that feeds on human brains. When the first victim of the parasite is put into deep freeze, no one expects two teenagers, Chris and J.C. (Jason Lively and Steve Marshall) to inadvertently release these slug-like aliens onto their campus when they unthaw an infected man who has been cryogenically frozen since the fifties. Now with the help of a sorority girl that Chris is crushing on and an aging, cynical detective, they must stop the slugs from infecting their friends before the whole campus turns into murderous zombies. These zombies can only be killed by intense heat, which gives the film license to introduce a flame-thrower and various firearms into the film for extreme gore and awesome explosions. The script, also by Fred Dekker, is witty and extremely self aware, making reference to the plot's own silliness. Dekker’s dialogue is infused with infectious glee, especially during the gratuitous nudity and gore scenes. Even better, the gore is (of course) all practical effects - eaten-away skulls, face damage, intestines, bodily explosions, gun shots to the head and so many finer touches here are utilized with relative ease – it is the 80s, after all! Horror fans will also appreciate the nods to various genre luminaries, even amongst the characters’ names (Cynthia Cronenberg, Sgt. Raimi, etc). Night of the Creeps is a love story to the horror genre, and it isn’t to be missed.
Released by HBO Cannon Video in 1989, and CBS FOX internationally, a new copy of Night of the Creeps on VHS will run you $30.00, which isn’t bad as far as most collectors are concerned. You can get a used tape for even less on eBay and Amazon.com. You may prefer to pick up the DVD/Blu-Ray from Sony Pictures Entertainment, since it’s the director’s cut and it includes several great extras such as cast and director commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, trivia and more.
FEARnet caught up with Dekker himself to chat about Night of the Creeps, as well as Monster Squad, House, and the details of his filmmaking career.
You started making movies at a very early age – some as early as 12 on your 8mm camera? Do you have any memories about a favorite childhood film you made?
One of my first 8mm films was called “The Deadly Chase.” The only thing deadly about it was the acting and the shaky camera work. After college, I made a “sequel” starring Shane Black. This one had actual car stunts and was a vast improvement. Ten years makes a big difference.
You attended UCLA as an English major because you were rejected from film school – did having this heavy literature and English background help you when writing House? How did you come up with the story?
Being an English major really only taught me how to construct a critical essay. As for House, it was conceived as my directing debut. I wanted to shoot it at my parents’ Victorian house in Marin County. Very cheaply, probably in black-and-white. I had a storyline but never got around to writing the script, so my college roommate Ethan Wiley asked if he could take a shot at it. It was much more cartoony than what I was thinking about but I gave the script to Steve Miner, who loved it and said he wanted to make it.
House not only opened second to Pretty in Pink when it was released in theaters in 1986, but it also spawned three sequels. What was this success so early like for you?
I was barely paid on the first one, and had nothing to do with sequels (for which I was also not paid!). So apart from my first screen credit, and a great relationship with Steve, its impact on my life was minimal, although I did meet the editor, Michael Knue, who I subsequently hired to cut Night of the Creeps.
When it helpintWere you on the set of House during production? It’s pretty cool that William Katt, who played Tommy in De Palma’s Carrie also played the lead in House!
Yes, I was there for some of the Vietnam scenes and some stuff in the house. Both the house interiors and the Vietnam jungle were built on sound stages at Raleigh Studios across the street from Paramount Pictures.
The Monster Squad is an all-time favorite (for many). I read that you originally wrote a huge script for this film?
Shane Black wrote the first draft by himself while I was making Night of the Creeps. And yes, Shane is nothing if not, er… extravagant when it comes to putting scenes on paper. The original prologue was a movie all by itself!
Were you part of a Monster Squad growing up? There is so much horror love in this film, from the posters on the wall in the club house to the homages played to the Universal monsters and Stan Winston’s Wolf Man. I’m guessing Monster Squad was your labor of love?
Very much so. I had an older friend who turned me onto Famous Monsters magazine and the Don Post masks and all that, so us talking monster movies in a little fort he built in his backyard was the real-life inspiration for the Squad’s clubhouse. During one sleepover in the fort, my dad brought us sandwiches after dark and he did his terrible Lugosi Dracula impression before he knocked. I’ll never forget that.
What was it like working with Ashley Bank, who was so young at the time?
She was great. Kid actors are so open and easy to work with. They don’t have any of the overthinking and “method” stuff that older actors have, so it was just a matter of telling (or showing) her what to do. In some scenes, I’d actually crouch by the camera and act the scene out for her, and tell her to copy what I was doing. Try that with an adult actor and they’ll throttle you.
I’m sure you’ve been asked this a million times, but are there any stories behind “Wolfman’s got nards!”?
That was Shane’s line. Any lycanthropic genitalia obsession would be his.
Liam Neeson played a role, but it was later cut?
Yes. In the original script, the kids meet a mysterious man in the scary mansion. When Horace notices the man’s reflection in a mirror – and sees that the only thing reflected is a latex mask floating in the air, they realize it’s actually Dracula! I didn’t want the audience to guess the twist, so rather than put Duncan Regehr in unconvincing make-up, we hired Liam as a diversion. When we ran into scheduling and budget restraints, we decide to cut the scene before we even shot it.
Are you surprised by the staying power of Monster Squad?
Absolutely. It’s very gratifying, but I wish it had been as popular on release as it is today. Let’s just say it did not help my career.
Night of the Creeps was a unique and fun take on the zombie genre at the time. And the sci-fi and slasher genre! Plus, it’s hilarious! I also love that all the characters in the film are named after some of the best horror directors of the time. In writing the script, where did this idea come from?
I was paying tribute to the directors I admired who had started out in low budget genre pictures -- because that’s exactly what I was doing!
Night of the Creeps has two endings – which do you personally prefer and why?
The graveyard ending – in which we show the alien ship from the opening of the film presumably looking for their “experiment” -- was always the intention. Unfortunately, I showed the picture to an audience before the special effects shot was finished and the preview audience was confused (nothing scares movie executives more than a confused audience!. The theatrical ending with the zombie dog was a compromise, but I always hated it. It was a cheap scare, and suggests that the creeps are infecting our heroine, which feels like a violation of any goodwill toward our heroes. The graveyard ending is much more evocative and spooky. That’s the real ending.
The great makeup effects artist Howard Berger worked with you on this film – what was he like to work with? You also had Greg Nicotero play a zombie!
Greg was actually the only founder of KNB who isn’t in the movie. Howard and Rob Kurtzman both worked on David Miller’s FX team, and both played zombie frat boys. Greg and I had dinner a while back and he told me he came to the set – but it was news to me. I didn’t remember him being there at all!
After The Monster Squad, you went on to write several episodes of Tales From the Crypt, and you directed one as well. You wrote the screenplay for Robocop3 with Frank Miller – and directed the film as well. Then you kind of disappeared from the industry – was this because of the difficulties with the Orion company and the film, or did you just need a break? You haven’t directed since (which is heartbreaking for us all)!
The truth is, Robocop 3 was so loathed that my directing career simply lost its traction. I’ve been trying to get a picture up and running ever since, and have had a few in various stages of development, but the whims of fate have conspired to keep me out of the director’s chair. Believe me, it’s not by choice, and I’m always hoping the wind will blow in a different direction so I can make another picture. Cross your fingers (or call your rich friends).
There are two very broad, distinct, and (fine) obvious types of horror stories being told in the new indie thriller from After Dark Films (Originals). In one corner we have the "happy family in a creepy house they just bought to get away from the city" stuff and in the other is the "evil female specter who may or may not be real but definitely seems to covet the couple's infant" material. Adding to the patchwork feel of the premise are some touches, characters, and ideas that are inspired by a wide array of recent (mostly indie or foreign) supernatural thrillers...
To its credit, Dark Circles is in no big rush to get to the scary stuff, and when it does, it focuses on the inner turmoils that any young parent must feel: the pressures of a baby who won't stop crying; the inability to get any work done; the feeling that you're now just a support system for a baby instead of a complete person of your own. And while it's certainly not as powerful or memorable as movies like Grace or À l'intérieur, Dark Circles is interesting in that it's a full-bore "post-natal depression" horror story -- and therefore something that a lot of viewers can relate to.
Ultimately it'd be easier to dismiss Dark Circles as a whole lot of "been there, seen that, cute baby though" stuff, but between the film's unexpectedly mature tone and earnest attempts at character-building, it slowly becomes a surprisingly decent little psychological chiller. (A small but colorful performance by Jenn Foreman as a good-natured babysitter also helps a lot.) This is not a slam-bang, white-knuckle horror film or even one you'll rave about to your friends, but it's a quietly satisfying little ghost story all the same. Especially if you have a baby in the house.
Interesting note: writer/director Paul Soter is a member of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, but Dark Circles has only the smallest moments of light humor and no silliness whatsoever. Even given the two-level conventional nature of Dark Circles, I applaud the comedian for taking his horror movie seriously.
The world is ending this summer, according to movie studios. Before fall, we can look forward to This is the End, The World's End, and Rapture-palooza, three comedy/sci-fi hybrids about the apocalypse.
The new, red-band trailer (for language) for Seth Rogan's This is the End has just hit the interwebz. Celebrities like Rogan, Paul Rudd, Jason Segal, and Michael Cera are attending a party at James Franco's house when the apocalypse begins. Seems about right. The new trailer focuses on giant demons and a possessed Jonah Hill. Color me intrigued.
This is the End hits theaters June 12th.
Techland has made their mark on horror gaming with the Dead Island duo, and they look to keep their streak going with the upcoming Dying Light, set to be published by WB Games in 2014 according to a press release issued today.
They’re certainly keeping with what they know: Dying Light is billed as “a first-person, action survival horror video game with a portentous day-night cycle set in a vast open world.” Players will craft weapons to use against the omnipresent undead threat…sounds a helluva lot like Dead Island, right?
However, Techland has a few other tricks up their sleeves to flex the next-gen muscle of the next wave of consoles, including that aforementioned day-night cycle which offers some truly gorgeous and moody lighting. The daytime is spent scavenging supplies to prepare for the night, which promises more aggressive ghouls and “predators which only appear after sundown.” However, the typical FPS controls from Dead Island have been beefed up, offering up “inventive free-running mechanics [which] allow for nearly unrestricted exploration.” Sounds kinda like parkour to me, which would certainly change the creeping-running binary choices of typical horror FPS games.
Dying Light will be released in 2014 for Xbox One, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC. Phew!
Hannibal Episode 108
Written By: Steve Lightfoot
Directed By: Guillermo Navarro
Original Airdate: 23 May 2013
In This Episode...
Abigail has decided to let Freddie tell her story. Neither Hannibal nor Will think this is a good idea - especially since it is Freddie who would be writing it.
Someone has dug the body of Nick Boyle out of the frozen ground. Jack insists that Abigail ID the body, and that only Alana may accompany her. Jack still thinks Abigail is involved in her father’s killing spree, and that she killed Boyle. Alana disagrees strongly with Jack’s methods, but accompanies Abigail anyway. She identifies Boyle, then Jack grills her, turning it into an interrogation. She insists that she hasn’t seen Boyle since that night he attacked her in her house (“I thought I would die in that house after all”) and had no prior relationship to him. The girl is a mess and Jack finally relents. Alana is furious. Hannibal later speaks with Abigail alone. He knows that she was the one to dug Boyle out of the ice, and he feels betrayed. She defends her decision because now she doesn’t have to live her life worrying about if someone finds the body.
Will goes to see Hannibal. A lucid nightmare he had tells him that Abigail killed Boyle. Hannibal knows, and wants to know if Will told Jack. He hadn’t - he was hoping it wasn’t true. Hannibal admits that Abigail killed Boyle in self defense, and that he helped her dispose of the body. He didn’t tell Jack because he knew Jack would persecute her for her father’s crimes. Hannibal asks if he needs to call his attorney, but Will agrees that it needs to remain a secret. Abigail is no more a murderer than Will is for killing her father, or Hannibal is for killing Tobias (at least, in the official version of his story).
Hannibal has Abigail, Freddie, and Will over for dinner. Freddie is a self-righteous vegetarian, which, as far as I’m concerned, means she won’t make it to the end of the season. (I don’t think Hannibal has a problem with vegetarians; it is the self-righteous part that he takes exception to.) After dinner, Abigail is helping Hannibal clean up the kitchen, and she asks if Will knows about Boyle. Hannibal confirms that he does know, but assures her that he will keep their secret. Abigail isn’t comforted by this, so Hannibal continues. “No one will know the truth you are trying to avoid, the one you can’t admit, even to yourself.” She finally breaks down: Abigail knew what her father was and what he did to those girls that “looked just like me, girls that could have been my friends.” Abigail was the one who met with the girls, talked to them, laughed and joked with them, all in an effort to find out where they lived and when they would be alone. “I couldn’t say no to him. I knew it was them or me.” She sobs into Hannibal’s arms. He holds her, stroking her hair fatherly. “I was wondering when you would tell me.” He assures her she is not a monster, but a victim, and promises that he and Will will protect her.
But there is a murder tonight, too. On a beach in West Virginia, authorities have found a human totem pole. According to Will’s deconstruction, this was a monument, planned with precision. The body on the top of the totem, Joel Summers, is the only fresh kill; all the others had been dead for significant lapses of time. Seven of the dead came from unmarked graves on the beach, in which the totem was centered. Back at the lab, 17 different bodies were used in the totem. Except for the recent kill, all the bodies were apparently taken from graves. Each had died of a “natural” and unrelated cause: suicide, car accident, carbon monoxide accident, heart attack. But it seems that the first victim on the totem, Fletcher Marshall, was killed in a “crime of passion.” Much of this case was glossed over in favor of focusing on Abigail’s story, but Will puts together that all of these victims were in fact murdered. Fletcher Marshall is Joel Summers’ father - yet there is no DNA match. Four years after Fletcher died, his wife Eleanor was killed in a car accident, and Joel was put up for adoption. Again, we don’t see how they came to this conclusion (maybe my mind is too used to Law & Order-style procedurals) but Jack and Will pay an elderly man, Mr. Wells, a visit. He is waiting for them. He killed all 17 of those people, including Joel, and doesn’t have the fight in him anymore. Mr. Wells does not offer any reason for his kills, other than “I had every reason to kill them, but they had no reason to die.” With no kids and no wife, this totem of death is his legacy. So his face falls when Will informs him that Joel was his biological son. Eleanor had an affair with Mr. Wells, but decided to raise Joel with her husband, Fletcher.
Also: Will’s mental state is deteriorating rapidly. After he visits the totem crime scene, he does his crime scene deconstruction, but when he blinks, he is in Hannibal’s waiting room. He has no memory of how he got there. Hannibal is concerned. Will is sleepwalking - when he can sleep - and now he is blacking out and losing time. He worries that Will will hurt himself or someone else, and again wonders if Jack isn’t pushing him too hard. Will insists that he is saving lives.
Dig It or Bury It?
I think Hannibal is at odds with itself. On the one hand, it has all these beautiful - but heinous - murder tableaus. But the focus of each episode is on Hannibal, Will, Abigail, Jack, Alana, and their relationships. The murders each episode are secondary - tertiary, even - to the story. Tonight is another example. This totem of body parts would make a fascinating story in and of itself, but it gets pushed aside to deal with the Will-Abigail-Hannibal story. I was totally engrossed with that story, but the human totem interrupted the flow. Similarly, the human totem was a fascinating story, but I feel like it was half-assed in order to focus on the Will-Abigail-Hannibal story. I will chalk this up to season one “jitters” - the overarching story is just trying to find its way.
While dining at Hannibal’s house, Abigail takes a bite out of a thin slice of dark meat. There is almost a hint of recognition on her face, like she has had this kind of meat before....
The “monsters” under the bed are killing people - could Will have finally snapped?
At the Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference, AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan had this to say about The Walking Dead:
"We hope that zombies live forever, and we’ve just begun to find out what the post-apocalyptic world is like, so that we’ll be sitting here at the Barclays conference in 2022 discussing the fact that Walking Dead is not over … at that point, I think any one of the companies will have replaced the United States government and we’ll be in a complete free enterprise world in which there are no nations."
I think I just had a brain aneurysm.
Here's hoping that Sapan is being genuine in his love for The Walking Dead (especially because things really got good in season three) and not just feeling a little hormonal because the network's other two cash cows (Breaking Bad and Mad Men) will both be ending in the next couple of years.
Source: Hollywood Reporter