Review: The Walking Dead- 'Head's Up'

By: Heather Seebach

**Warning: The following contains spoilers from S6E7**

DAMN, that episode title got me excited we might see an early entrance from Negan! HEAD'S UP?! Oh well. Speaking of Negan, can I just say how pleased I am with the recent casting announcement? Jeffrey Dean Morgan is not someone I originally thought of but he will be fantastic! He has the right physical build for the part as well as that combination of charm and danger. Bring it on!

As for this pre-midseason-finale episode, well, it was pretty good! It opens with the revelation we've all been waiting for - Glenn's fate. And just as I predicted, those guts weren't his and our boy crawled under the dumpster to escape the hoard. It wasn't so much a surprise or a relief as just "GET ON WITH IT!" C'mon, we all knew he was not dead. 

So Glenn's alive and there was much rejoicing (yayyy...sorry, second Holy Grail reference in this review already). What followed was Glenn chasing Enid around (who cares) and my favorite part of this whole episode (and maybe the whole season):

THAT WAS GNARLY AS FUCK! I loved it. Possibly the only effect to ever gross me out on this show. Even now, I regret eating while writing this review. 

Then came my second favorite part of the episode, Rick's thug life moment:

Watching him abuse Father Gabriel never gets old. Everyone wants that character to die but I actually hope he keeps on living just so we can enjoy watching Rick treat him like shit forever.

Meanwhile, Ron's got an itchy trigger finger (and we comic book fans know exactly where THAT is leading); the walls are bleeding in Alexandria; and Spencer acts like a dumbass again trying to climb over the massive herd of walkers. Further proof that Alexandrian's should not breed.

The episode really kicks into high gear toward the end to get us primed for the mid-season finale. My main gal Carol uncovers Morgan's stupid little secret (get him!) and then the freaking tower collapses! Shit's about to get real and at least 1 or 2 comic book moments will likely be fulfilled. 

I enjoyed this episode overall though it's really a warm-up for next episode. I am left with only one lingering question this week: Where the fuck is Heath??

Review: The Walking Dead - 'Always Accountable'

By: Heather Seebach

**Warning: The following contains spoilers about S6E6**

It's a testament to just how bad last week's episode was that I consider this very-Daryl episode to be a significant improvement. The last thing I wanted was more focus on characters I don't particularly care about - Daryl, Sasha, Abraham - but this one was entertaining enough and teased some elements from Kirkman's comics (always the easy way to my heart).

As the aforementioned trio are luring the herd away, they are ambushed by unknown assailants in vehicles. Daryl becomes separated in the forest (a burnt forest full of crispy zombies, specifically) where he is taken prisoner by a nameless blonde fellow, a woman named Sherry, and a diabetic girl, Tina. Meanwhile, Abraham and Sasha wait out in an abandoned insurance office.

If you are a fan of the comics, the name Sherry ought to ring a bell. She was married to Dwight, who is presumably this blonde guy. His appearance and introduction on the show is very different but it's interesting that he is paired up with Daryl this episode as fans often remarked on the similarities between Dwight and Daryl (who was never in the comics). See for yourself:

As you can see, Dwight sported not only the leather vest but wielded a crossbow. Interestingly enough, Dwight steals Daryl's crossbow (twice) in this episode. One thing that is missing is Dwight's burnt face, and considering the recent forest fire and all the references to AA Pattrick Fuel Company, I'm surprised he did not show up burnt already. They may be saving that for a choice scene with Negan when he finally arrives. In any case, Dwight's entrance means that Negan & the Saviors cannot be far off. Seemingly, those guys who show up in the woods are Negan's men. Like in the comics, they force an arrangement on people that they must give them a portion of their food.  

If you listen carefully to Wade after he chops off the guy's arm, he says, "He only wanted to take this so far, and he only wants ass that's willing, you know?" In the comics, Negan was anti-rape but had many wives. Eeeeee, our first legit reference to Negan! Interesting how the director chose not to show Wade's face - I wonder if that's a casting thing, or if they want us to think these might be Wolves? 

 Daryl helps Dwight & friends escape the bad guys and offers them a place at Alexandria. I like how he used Rick's 3 questions. Attack-dog Daryl no doubt misses his master. Ultimately, Dixon's bleeding heart gets him betrayed by the people he helped, who will presumably run back to Wade (and probably Negan). I forsee an electric iron in Dwight's near future. 

"I'm sorry."   
"You're gonna be."

Meanwhile, back at the insurance office: While I find Abraham and Sasha's discussions pretty boring usually (one or the other always has a death wish, we get it), I mostly enjoyed their time together this episode. Abraham got the line of the episode as he often does: "Loose ends make my ass itch!" Plus he found cigars and RPGs! I am looking forward to when he gets the use the latter! Hopefully this episode can put to rest this pair's sub-plot. Was it implied they're gonna hook up? Ugh, come on. Can we PLEASE give Abraham something worthwhile to do with his time? It's bad enough this show wasted two of the comics' greatest bad-asses, Andrea and Tyreese, can we try to salvage Abraham? Yes, he has the occasional one-liner but he needs a good storyline, perhaps paired with Rick. 

 Lingering Questions from this Episode:  

1) When Daryl was forced to abandon his motocycle in the mud, did anyone else envision a Neverending Story/Artax moment? 

2) Who was the voice on the walkie talkie at the end? The obvious answer is Glenn but I think it's another red herring. Perhaps it's Jesus, a forthcoming character from the comic? 

Review: 'Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance'

By: Heather Seebach

The journey leading up to Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance has been an exciting one for me. As a huge fan of the original film, I nearly shat myself when the world discovered star Matt Hannon (aka: Mat Karedas) was still alive after having been presumed dead for years. When he joined the already-in-progress sequel, I happily contributed to the Kickstarter campaign and started the Keep It Warm Challenge (including my own embarrassing re-enactment of the nurse scene). I also got to be among the first folks to interview the newly-resurrected Samurai Cop himself and later had lunch with him in Los Angeles (and rode in the original car!). So frankly, how this movie turned out never really mattered to me so much as the fact it happened at all! 

With that intro and humble-brag out of the way, it's time to talk Deadly Vengeance. Being the follow-up to a perfect piece of awful filmmaking like Samurai Cop, this movie was faced with an impossible predicament: try to replicate that lightening in a bottle (you cannot) or play it straight. The final product falls somewhere in between. It's twenty-five years after the events of the original. Joe Marshall (Karedas) has been in hiding, living a life of non-violence since he suffered a personal tragedy. When the Katana gang (from the first film) starts stirring trouble again, he is pulled out of retirement and partners with cop Frank Washington (Mark Frazer) once more.

 The only chance this film ever had was to shoot for something entirely new and do it in earnest. To that end, it does try but ultimately still falls short. Too many forced references to the old film become a hindrance, including one painfully bad reference to my favorite line from the original (hint: it involves a gift). Those moments are there for fans like me but they mostly made me cringe. Other gags are a little more subtle, at least. Then there are repeat references to things I did not understand at all (kale chips??). This movie is all over the place, with a plot that makes the original seem coherent. I'm fairly certain the filmmakers were high for at least 70% of the production. It half-commits to a futuristic theme with spaceship-like headquarters and killer robo-balls - I kind of wish the whole thing had just been Samurai Cop in Space.

For those of you who were worried about Tommy Wiseau joining the cast, well, the infamous actor/director/writer almost seems normal in this company. I thought his brand of weirdness would stick out like a sore thumb but now I see he could've landed the role even if he were nobody. I enjoyed his scenes much more than expected. Meanwhile, Bai Ling is just as much an unintelligible nut-job as Wiseau, and the film is full of many other eccentric "actors." There are also so many waxy plastic surgery-altered faces you might suspect Madame Tussaud was the casting director! It's a strange movie full of strange people.

This sequel walks a delicate line between the intentional and incidental, like some of the actors who are so bad I wonder if they tried to be. This does not apply to Karedas and Frazer in the lead roles, who approach their parts with sincerity which is absolutely key. The exception is one or two forced moments of Frazer mugging to the camera. You just can't replicate those Frank Washington reaction shots, don't even try. There is also a lot of cheapness to the production - CG blood, green screens, etc - but it's hard to say whether it's a purposeful attempt to make it look tacky like its predecessor, or a genuine lack of budget. I really hope it's the latter!

I give this sequel credit for trying to make a very different film from the original. It's bad in its own way, which may very well be what the filmmakers were hoping for. Its use of music is actually quite good, and seeing some of the original cast again is a real treat for fans. There is also an assortment of other b-movie actors that hardcore cult film fans may recognize. I would still watch a third installment because I enjoy this campy world of the Samurai Cop and his many enemies. I only wish Robert Z'Dar were still with us to partake (R.I.P.). With repeat viewings, I hope this one grows on me. It has moments of batshit crazy fun but not in the same way as the original film. I really wanted Deadly Vengeance to "keep it warm" but instead it left me cold.

Review: The Walking Dead - 'Now'

By: Heather Seebach

**Warning: The following contains spoilers about S6E5**

Remember how this show made us sit through a whole episode about a character we only barely like anymore since he found Aikido Jesus, right after a giant cliffhanger? Well, now we get to sit through an episode about characters we like even less as they bicker over soup rations, while we still have no resolution on said cliffhanger! Yay! 

I had heard some criticism about last week's episode "Here's Not Here" having bad writing but "Now" makes that one look like fucking Shakespeare by comparison. Random characters giving their opinion like we give a shit. "This place IS a graveyard!" WHO EVEN ARE YOU?! And why didn't Rick have a comeback for that? I guess he was too busy telling them to keep noise to a minimum while screaming out a rousing speech right by the fence.

 So the townsfolk see a few walkers, decide the world is ending, and go all dog-eat-dog almost immediately in the pantry. But it's okay, here comes Spencer (who?) to dissuade the angry, gathering. Riveting stuff here, people! Don't you know Spencer stopped that truck? I sure didn't! "Where were you, Bruce?!" Take that, Bruce! Wait, which one is Bruce, again?

Aaron's pity-party aside, the ONLY likable thing about this episode is his and Maggie's attempt to go find Glenn. Finally some characters we actually like portrayed by actors who aren't crap. I fully expected their tunnel adventure to end with them rescuing/finding Glenn so I am actually pleased with how it turned out. Maggie has a little breakdown where she has to accept she may never see Glenn again or know what happened to him. We also get the big (but inevitable) revelation that *gasp* she's preggo! They picked a fine time to stop wearing those supply-run condoms. Seriously, though, it was a good scene and Lauren Cohan was solid in it.

 Meanwhile, Deanna continues to look and act like a zombie herself. Her best moment was going all Jefe with the broken bottle (yes, like on Ash vs. Evil Dead) on that walker. The head, bitch, THE HEAD! The dialogue that followed between her and Rick may sound familiar to comic fans:

Carl and Ron continue to have a baby pissing match over a Wolf -  I mean girl - who couldn't give a fuck about either of them. Ron is just another douchebag character whose intentions make no sense and while his mother has lost a lot already, I hope that kid eats a bullet sooner rather than later. In other news, half-doctor lady still can't doctor (whoooo caarrrresss?!?) and Jessie and Rick start to hit it off again. The ONLY reason I want those two to get together is because of the awesome moment it leads to in the comic (but I shall say no more for spoilers sake....).

Here are my lingering questions from this episode:

1) Is Sam actually the Cookie Monster or what? What is with that kid and the fucking cookies?!

2) Can we talk about that totally unexpected and erotic romance scene?

 Mmmm, Tarman says send more Maggie's!

Review: The Walking Dead - "Here's Not Here"

By: Heather Seebach

**Warning: The following contains spoilers from S6E4**

As I predicted, the show kept us hanging one more week before we find out Glenn's fate with this Morgan-centric bottle episode. Things really slowed down this week but quality dialogue and acting made "Here's Not Here" a decent episode, albeit one I likely will not revisit. It definitely has its silly moments but John Carroll Lynch and his pet goat bring it up a notch for sure! 

This episode catches us up on where Morgan went between "Clear" (when last he saw Rick Grimes) and when he re-emerged a peace-loving bo staff warrior. While on a "clearing" rampage in the woods, Morgan comes upon a cabin, where he is captured and imprisoned. He begs to be killed but his captor, Eastman, is a peaceful hippie who thinks he can rehabilitate his new friend between batches of failed goat cheese. Eastman is of course the "cheese maker" to whom Morgan referred in episode 2 of this season. 

John Carroll Lynch, or as he is better known - "that guy" - is great as usual. While he often plays serial killers, this time he's a former forensic psychiatrist who interviewed many-a killer. The backstory about Crichton Dallas Wilton is easily the best part of this episode, as we rarely hear of survivors who lost their whole family BEFORE the zombie apocalypse. Here's a rare case of a recluse who was alone even before "the world ended" which is pretty interesting. 

The second best part of the episode was the goat, amiright? She was so cute with her little baaaaaah's everytime a walker showed up, at which point she'd immediately return to eating some grass. We need more Tabitha. In fact, IF TABITHA DIES, WE RIO......oh.

By far the WORST part of this episode is that obnoxious "rage" filter that came up whenever Morgan was feeling extra crazy. Or whenever it felt like it. Just. Stop.

 So Eastman trains Morgan in the ways of Aikido and oatmeal burgers and goat-sitting. And after Morgan goes apeshit a third time, begging to be killed, all it takes is Eastman revealing he starved a man to death to make Morgan totally okay again. Who knew?

Speaking of, I call bullshit on Eastman's "all life is precious" philosophy, considering he only came to that lifestyle choice AFTER starving a man to death for 47 days! "I swore I'd never kill again." Because you live on your own in a secluded cabin in the woods, maybe?! Shit, he nearly smashed Morgan in the face for breaking his daughter's drywall painting - do you really think he wouldn't kill again if another Crichton Dallas Wilton came along and threatened his loved ones (if he had any)?

And that's exactly what the Wolves are - pure evil. So Morgan needs to forget this "all life is precious, no matter how evil" bullshit and stop leaving liabilities lying around to come back and bite other survivors in the ASS! (if you imagined me saying that like Richard Dreyfuss in Jaws, you are spot on). I think maybe this Wolf he is holding prisoner needs to tell a tale of his own. Maybe tell Morgan he killed his OWN family to prove these Wolves are pure evil, not poor souls simply suffering from PTSD like Morgan was. Eastman seemed like a nice guy but his philosophy was just as misguided as Morgan's and it's going to get more people (and goats) killed. 

Next week I assume we will find out what happened to Glenn. I'm seeing now that this whole season is about cliff-hangers and non-linear narrative. Similarly, we didn't know Morgan kept the Wolf alive until this episode (we just didn't care nearly as much as we do about Glenn). So hey, maybe we'll find out Tabitha is actually alive two episodes from now, yeah? Maybe some other goat fell on top of her last-minute, yeah? A girl can dream...

Recap: Exhumed Films' 24-Hour Horrorthon IX

By: Heather Seebach

This past weekend, cult-film enthusiasts Exhumed Films held their ninth annual 24-Hour Horrorthon at the International House Philadelphia. This event runs from noon on Saturday until noon on Sunday, screening non-stop 35mm horror films and trailers! The titles, as always, are kept secret until they appear on-screen, and the attendees are given a list of clues at the start of the event. This was my third Horrorthon and this was the most I've stayed awake for one so far! A whopping FOURTEEN films in total! This year's line-up was my favorite to date - just a really fun blend! I had seen a few of them already but I still enjoyed re-watching those (or having a chance to go get food). Here is my recap of the event:


The Clue: "Gruesome, insane Hong Kong horror comedy"

The Answer: We're Going to Eat You (1980, d: Tsui Hark)

 This one was screened first because the matting had to be changed (it was presented in Scope) but wow, what an opener! This nutty Hong Kong martial arts film is mostly slapstick fun with a healthy serving of cannibal horror. A hero called Agent 999 faces off with masked killers and weird townsfolk in this VERY crowd-pleasing comedy! I was surprised how legitimately funny this one is! This was easily among the MVPs of this year's Horrorthon - no joke, seek it out!

Trailer Break: Preview of the upcoming Garagehouse Pictures Blu-ray release, Trailer Trauma which included some brilliant, rare trailers including Death Bed, The Hex Massacre, Don't Open Till Christmas, Savage Weekend, Mean Frank and Crazy Tony, Wacko, and Hysterical. My personal favorites of the bunch were revenge thriller Dark Sunday (with the tagline, "This should have been a love story") and Dawn of the Mummy, which begs the question: "Egypt... a nice place to visit...but would you want to DIE there?!"


The Clue: "Totally awesome action/horror/sci-fi amalgam"

The Answer: Silent Rage (1982, d: Michael Miller)

Some films really can be summed up with a ridiculous over-simplification, and for this movie, it's: Chuck Norris vs. Michael Myers. That is really all you need to know. Some Frankenstein-esque doctors re-animate a homicidal nutcase who then goes on a rampage and only Walker Texas Ranger can stop him! Did I mention the psycho-killer dons a jumpsuit and cannot be killed? Silent Rage is a corny but fun mash-up, and worth every moment to see Chuck Norris battle a slasher movie villain.

 Trailer Break: Previews included Land of the Minotaur, Terror, and Highway to Hell.


The Clue: "Giant Monster Movie"

The Answer: Godzilla 1985 (1984, d: R.J. Kizer and Koji Hashimoto)

As I am not a huge fan of kaiju films (and we were quite hungry), I dipped out during this movie so I cannot give a review but basically it's a heavily re-edited American adaptation of the Japanese film, The Return of Godzilla (1984) with some additional footage and Raymond Burr in the lead. Before the movie, Exhumed also showed Marv Newland's 1969 animated short, Bambi Meets Godzilla, which interestingly enough, screened before this feature when it was in theaters back in 1985! 

 Trailer Break: Instead of trailers, they showed part of the 1974 sports documentary, O.J. Simpson: Juice on the Loose produced by George Romero (!!). While sports doc's do not generally interest me, this one was a treat if only to hear Howard Cosell say that O.J. "can kill you with a headfake, he can kill you with the swiftness of his legs..." etc. We should not laugh but we did. A lot.


The Clue: "Innovative, intellectual horror classic from a genre legend"

The Answer: Martin (1977, d: George A. Romero)

Romero wasn't all about zombies - his vampire tale was an interesting take on the sub-genre. It's about a young man with blood-drinking urges who may or may not be the Nosferatu his family says he is. He goes to live with his superstitious old cousin in Pittsburgh and falls for a local woman. This marked the first collaboration between George Romero and Tom Savini, both of whom play roles on-screen, as well. It's a moody, thoughtful tale and John Amplas is fantastic in the titular role.

Trailer Break: A selection of zombie-themed trailers including Day of the Dead, Shock Waves, Zombie Island Massacre, and Horror of the Zombies


The Clue: "Horror anthology featuring works by influential genre filmmakers"

The Answer: Shock Value: The Movie (2015, d: Dan O'Bannon, John Carpenter, Terence Winkless, and Charles Adair)

 While this one is probably the low-point of the Horrorthon based on sheer entertainment value, it's a rare treat and of great historical significance for genre film fans. It's a new compilation of the earliest works of Dan O'Bannon, John Carpenter, and others who started making movies at the University of Southern California. It includes "Blood Bath" and "Good Morning, Dan", two fascinating and occasionally tedious student films from O'Bannon, plus Carpenter's own "Captain Voyeur." Some of these films you would not even know were from the 60s and 70s - they fooled a few of us in the audience. The final segment, Judson's Release (wherein O'Bannon plays the stalker) is considered the inspiration for Halloween and many other horror films that followed. Evidently it was marked the birth of the babysitter, killer POV, and "the call is coming from inside the house" cliches. It's all really interesting, rare material and I recommend you read more about it here.

Trailer Break: Previews included Popcorn, Monster Squad, Kiss of the Tarantula, Psycho from Texas, Centerfold Girls, and The Boy Who Cried Werewolf


The Clue: "Cool Halloween-themed fan favorite from the 1980s"

The Answer: Night of the Demons (1988, d: Kevin Tenney)

 Another crowd-pleaser, albeit one many had probably seen already. This fun Halloween flick was flipping horror tropes on their head and having a great time doing it. As a special bonus for Horrorthoner's, writer/producer Joe Augustyn was in attendance for a Q&A. He talked about how Linnea Quigley's infamous "nip-stick" scene was not written quite like that, and Joe expressed his opinion of the Night remake with a disgusted groan and, "No comment!" He said the inspirations for his script were The Exorcist and Friday the 13th. He said the Evil Dead similarities were not intentional as "it came out around the same time" but I gotta call bullshit on that - 1981 vs 1988?? Regardless, a very fun movie perfect for this time of year, and a nice bonus having Joe there.

Trailer Break: Basket Case idea what else, I was in the bathroom, whoops! 


The Clue: "Strange, funny, and slightly disturbing monster movie that serves as an allegory for addiction"

The Answer: Brain Damage (1988, d: Frank Henenlotter)

Very possibly my favorite Henenlotter film (I really need to re-visit Frankenhooker), this one is just too much fun! A man wakes to find a creepy talking parasite has latched onto his brain and keeps him addicted to its "juice." While he gets high, the creature - known as Aylmer - attacks and eats people's brains. This one is schlocky, gory, and so funny, particularly little Aylmwer, whose brilliant voice comes courtesy of Philly native and horror host, Zacherle!

Trailer Break: Previews included Horror Hotel, The Tenant, and The Toolbox Murders. 


The Clue: "Surreal, cerebral science fiction film with a dash of good old-fashioned monster movie thrown into the mix"

The Answer: Altered States (1980, d: Ken Russell)

 I'd seen this one before so this was a dinner break. For the better anyway - as I recall, this is a long, sleepy sort of a film and I may not have survived the rest if I stayed for this head-trip.

Trailer Break: Previews included Shock Treatment, Asylum, The Psychopath, and House of Psychotic Women


The Clue: "Bizarro sci-fi satire/schlockfest starring a who's who of cult movie icons"

The Answer: TerrorVision (1986, d: Ted Nicolaou)

Trailer Break: Previews included Mark of the Devil and Mark of the Witch

MOVIE #10:

The Clue: "Stylish, gory, and underseen shocker that feels like a Euro-horror film, even though it was produced in the US"

The Answer: The Witch (1982, d: James W. Roberson)

 I had not even hear of this one before which is criminal because it's quite good! As the clue suggests, it feels like an Italian giallo film and the kills/gore are fantastic! I was a bit sleepy during parts of this so I am eagerly looking forward to watching it again.

Trailer Break: Previews included The Burning, Don't Go In the House, Slumber Party Massacre, and Mountaintop Motel Massacre.

MOVIE #11:

The Clue: "Infamous, goofy 1960s B-grade monster movie"

The Answer: The Horror of Party Beach (1964, d: Del Tenney)

Amazingly I was awake for almost all of this very old, very corny film that became infamous thanks in part to MST3K. 

Trailer Break: Previews included Andy Warhol's Dracula, Scream Blacula Scream, The Mad Doctor of Blood Island, and Lair of the White Worm. There was also a screening of a godawful short called Saint Frankenstein which I only had to endure a few minutes of between spoonfuls of free Count Chocula courtesy of the Exhumed folks.

MOVIE #12:

The Clue: "Quite simply one of the best vampire movies of all time"

The Answer: Near Dark (1987, d: Kathryn Bigelow)

Seen it. Loved it. Can't complain about watching it again. The film is so good I stayed in my seat and wide awake despite having seen it already. Just a great vampire flick full of bad-ass moments and characters (that bar scene, guhhhh)!

MOVIE #13:

The Clue: "Non-traditional 'Animals Attack' movie filling the traditional Horror-thon 'Animals Attack' timeslot"

The Answer: Piranha II: The Spawning (1981, d: James Cameron & Ovidio G. Assonitis)

MOVIE #14:

The Clue: "Wacky horror comedy which, shockingly, we have only screened once before over the curse of eighteen years."

The Answer: Army of Darkness (1992, d: Sam Raimi)

Review: The Walking Dead - 'Thank You'

By: Heather Seebach

**Warning: The following contains major spoilers about S6E3**

Let's get this out of the way immediately as it's on everyone's mind: He's not fucking dead! If it seems too convenient that Nicholas fell on top of him, that's because it is. If it looked like those guts were not coming from Glenn's body, it's because they were not. How the hell Glenn will get out after I am not certain, but it has been suggested he could have crawled under the dumpster. As you can see, there is plenty of room for a Glenn under there...

 Frankly, I think it's cheap and tacky writing to not reveal Glenn's fate THIS episode and to drag out the drama like this. I expected to hear Glenn's voice come across Rick's walkie-talkie toward the end there but nope. Next week's episode looks like a bottle Morgan episode so that's a whole additional week they plan to prolong this - how silly. I think that feed store will still go up in flames and divert the herd, and that's probably how we'll learn Glenn survived.

Regardless, he lives. Main, original characters do not get vague, censored deaths like this. Furthermore, Scott Gimple's deliberate ambiguity - on The Talking Dead, he said, "We will see Glenn in some form again" - just adds to my point. And what a stupid way to kill off a beloved character - Nicholas AGAIN, and knocked into a pile of zombies. How anticlimactic! Those of you who follow the comics also know that this scene contradicts a massive plot point in the books. Regardless of how Glenn's fate turns out here, I suspect that moment from the comics is not going to happen now.

Now that the Glenn business is out of the way....wait, did anything else happen this episode? Basically, we catch up to where Rick & co. have been while episode 2 played out. There was yet another nameless Alexandrian who decided Rick is dangerous (and then immediately died); some rando in a floppy hat shot one of his own people (and then immediately died); and those Wolves that Morgan foolishly let live came after Rick (and then immediately died). 

Heath also joined the choir of obnoxious Alexandrians whining about Rick's people vs his people, until he got "Mich-owned." I think the best part of the whole episode was the end with Rick in the RV. Too much of everything else felt redundant - complaining Alexandrians and Nicholas being a pussy - but those RV moments were pretty tense. Even the scene on the dumpster ultimately pissed me off because I think the writers are just trolling us. Kill him or don't - enough with trying to be clever. BUT I DIGRESS! How cool was it when Rick took the automatic rifle to those sneaky fucks? And how will he get out of there now that the vehicle won't start?!

Burning questions I have from this episode:

1) What exactly happened to Rick's hand? Was it the machete in the zombie? And why is it emphasized so much? I was hoping it would be a bite so a certain comic book fan wish would come true at last...

2) I'm no Dexter Morgan but why does Nicholas' blood spatter come from the right side of Glenn's face?

That's it for now. Until next week....

Review: "Ash vs. Evil Dead"

By: Heather Seebach

 Some folks are waiting for Led Zeppelin to reunite again. Cubs fans are still hoping for that World Series win. Sci-fi geeks are holding their breath for Firefly to come back. But for Evil Deadheads, our Holy Grail has already surfaced! It may not be the fourth official film we fans have been demanding these last two decades but it's Raimi and Campbell back in the saddle and it is everything. What follows is my review of the first two episodes of Ash vs. Evil Dead - "El Jefe" and "Bait."

 I cannot believe I am even writing this right now. I never thought this day would come. As the dork who turned the wall of her room into an Evil Dead shrine, and who traveled many States and stood many hours in the freezing rain just to shake Sam Raimi's hand, I mean it when I say this is the most personal review I have ever written. Still, despite my girl boner, I promise to be honest and unbiased in my assessment of THE MOST IMPORTANT TV SHOW EVER. 

 When Ash vs. Evil Dead was announced, the first reaction of fans everywhere (once the masturbating had subsided) was, "A television series?!" After much whining and crying for a cinematic sequel to Army of Darkness, nobody really saw that announcement coming. For some reason, the concept of MORE hours of Evil Dead material put fans off. Let's face it: most television today is better than mainstream movies. AMC and HBO alone have been cleaning up with their brilliant television series. Starz may not be as heavy a hitter as those but it has provided some fantastic originals like the wildly underrated Party Down and the brutal, bloody Spartacus. So in order to maintain the level of unbridled creativity and bloodshed we expect from this franchise, Starz is a fitting choice. 

Now that you've hopefully accepted this is not an Evil Dead movie (which, by the way, may still happen if this show succeeds), let's get down to brass tacks, shall we? Two episodes in, this show has already given me most of what I could ever ask for as a fan - gore, slapstick, one-liners, deadites, and Ash in all his glory! For those less studied in the franchise, the show is just plain fun. Ashley J. Williams is ever the selfish blowhard he was back then. Our first glimpse of the man in decades has him squeezing into a man girdle, jamming out to 80s metal in his trailer home, and picking up desperate ladies in the bar at closing time. It's exactly how I imagined him after all these years! To quote Sam Raimi, "Ash really hasn't grown as a human being. They say art imitates life."

Back in the blue denim and chainsaw limb, Campbell chews scenery as only he can. He has effectively dashed his own worries that he is "too old" to reprise the role. Try not to get chills the first time Ash grabs his boomstick and dispatches a deadite! Joining Campbell for this adventure are Ash's co-workers Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana Delorenzo). Needless to say, Ash is who we really care about here, but Pablo and Kelly are great side-kicks thus far. I imagine their roles will expand further as the series goes on but they are a likable pair already. 

There is a developing side-story with a cop named Amanda (Jill Marie Jones) who encounters deadites first-hand and sets out to find the source. Her narrative will seemingly join forces with Lucy Lawless' Ruby in future episodes but so far it's a bit of filler. In the first episode, however, it does give rise to some of the BEST Sam Raimi-directed moments! Sammy busts out all his old tricks (and some new ones) for a particularly fun sequence starring Amanda and her police partner. The pilot episode, sadly the only one Raimi helmed personally, is full of "classic Sam" moments, including the famous Sam-O-Cam through the woods - if that doesn't make you stiff, you might be a deadite. 

Raimi torturing Campbell, behind the scenes

That Raimi/Campbell humor is ever-present as well, including some delightfully familiar slapstick sequences. So too are Ash's one-liners back in force - all new ones, with the exception of one famous quotable (I bet you can guess which). Even Raimi's beloved Oldsmobile Delta 88, better known as "The Classic", is back! So the series has the laughs, the nostalgia, and the hero, but how is the gore? Well, firstly, there is TONS of it. There are a few brief moments of CG gore that may make the hardened snobs wince (I count myself in that) but mostly it is utilized for campy purposes. Where it counts, the blood is very real and abundant! Furthermore, the deadites are GREAT! The make-up is updated a bit but they look very much like the Evil Dead 1 & 2 creations. They also behave exactly as they always did, tormenting emotionally as much as physically.

What more can I say? I fucking LOVED it. For Sam Raimi to direct anything Evil Dead-related again is pretty much all I've ever dreamed of, and the pilot episode did not disappoint. I was a little worried about what would follow, without the direct contribution of Sam and his brother Ivan, but episode two was just as fun! Showrunner Craig DiGregorio and the writers seem to have a good grip on what makes this franchise so great and I trust they will do it justice with the rest of this show. 

ASH VS EVIL DEAD premieres on Starz on Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 9PM ET/PT. 

Review: The Walking Dead - 'JSS'

By: Heather Seebach

**Warning: The following contains spoilers about S6E2**

The sophomore effort of season 6 comes to us from writer Seth Hoffman (who penned such fantastic episodes as Too Far Gone and Claimed) and Jennifer Lynch (director of Boxing Helena, and yes, David's daughter). Despite lacking in many of the show's core characters (Rick, Michonne, Daryl), "JSS" is an exciting entrance for the next human menace, the Wolves.

The episode opens with a little backstory on Enid, the young lady Carl fancies. After watching her parents (presumably) get killed and eaten, the girl survives on her own in the woods by hiding and eating tortoise. She has this obsession with writing the letters "JSS" in everything from dirt to bones. JSS? More like OCD, amiright?? Her story has little to do with the rest of the episode but it's a creepy opener (I just wish it paid off later on).

Cut back to Alexandria present-day where Carol is dishing out verbal bitch-slaps to a catty housewife, Maggie is trying to make Deanna snap out of her grief, and the new town doctor is having difficulty adjusting to her new role. If you read the comics, that woman's name may sound familiar to you - Denise:

Her side-story in this episode is mostly filler but I give them credit for letting Holly die after all Tara's not-helpful screaming, "HELP HER!!" Sometimes short-comings are exactly that - Denise knew she couldn't do it, they made her anyway, and the patient died. That's a far more realistic outcome than what I expected so kudos to that. 

So, the Wolves storm the town and they are bat-shit crazy! One dude is playing in someone's blood while another is chopping off a dead person's limbs! Whaaaaaat?? Thankfully, one-woman army Carol stayed behind and once again shatters any doubt as to who is the biggest bad-ass on The Walking Dead. In no time at all, she's killed one (or five) Wolves, taken up their disguise, and sets out to protect the armory. I've said it many times before and I'll say it again: I love this fucking woman!

 I am digging the contrast of Morgan vs Carol on the moral battlefield. Last week's premiere was pitting Morgan's peace-loving ways against Rick, but the latter is still somewhere between stone-cold killer and merciful leader. Carol, however, is the polar opposite of Morgan and therefore a better showcase for the ethical contrast. For every "Wolf" Morgan tries to humanely capture, Carol puts a bullet in their skull without hesitation (as she should)! Don't get me wrong, Morgan is a bad-ass, too, but his pacifist ways will get him killed eventually, as they almost do at the end of this episode. 

In Morgan's defense, he did manage to beat and then bluff five Wolves to straight-up run away. Still, that's five breathing Wolves who pose a future threat to the survivors. 

Morgan: "You keep choosing this life, you will die."
Wolf: "We didn't choose." 

One could say the same about you, M! And what did that guy mean, "we didn't choose"? Simply that this post-zombie world has made their lifestyle necessary, or that someone is controlling them, hmmm? Toward the end of the episode, Aaron finds photographs in one of the Wolves' bag, suggesting they have been watching the town for some time. I'm not sure what to make of that yet but it is unnerving. They probably also knew the town had guns, then. Did they just not care? Were they after the guns? Time will tell, I suppose.

By the way, notice how the Wolves attempted to drive that semi into the town (which crashed and thus came the horn). It's just more proof they have trucks and that is was most likely their walkers corralled in that quarry. 

I have four burning questions to discuss this week:

1) Where the fuck is Rick?! I know he sent Morgan back to town to investigate the horn but are they really attempting to control that herd? And would Rick really not go back to Alexandria himself, considering his two children are still there?

3) What was up with the "A" on the house when Carol was sitting on the porch steps?

3)  Morgan says he learned his bo staff skills from a "cheese maker." I think he meant cheese eater. It was totally Master Splinter, wasn't it??

4) Did Morgan kill that guy at the end? I assume so, considering he said, "I'm sorry." In the final shot, he and Carol cross paths, both perhaps feeling a little sorrow about their chosen lifestyles. It was a poignant final shot but left me with some questions - namely, what's in Morgan's blue bag?! Is he leaving town??

In the end, we learn that JSS means "just survive somehow." Pretty anti-climactic, I thought. Maybe I just got my hopes up too high for another crazy girl like Lizzie. Why couldn't it have been a recipe for people? "Judith Sirloin Steak"? Just kidding....

Review: 'Bone Tomahawk'

By: Heather Seebach

So, what if 1993's Tombstone said, "Nah, I'm not gonna tell the story of Wyatt Earp; instead I'm gonna be The Texas Chain Saw Massacre!" with Matthew Fox as Val Kilmer, and Kurt Russell as, well, Kurt Russell? That bizarre bastard creation would be called Bone Tomahawk.

When cave-dwelling, cannibalistic savages descend upon a small frontier town and abduct a young doctor (Lili Simmons), four men brave the wild west to find her. Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell) is the stern but fair lawman leading the posse that includes the doctor's wounded husband Arthur O'Dwyer (Patrick Wilson), Southern gentleman/Indian killer John Brooder (Matthew Fox), and the dumb but well-meaning old deputy, Chicory (Richard Jenkins). 

The first hour is a slow ride, the highlights of which being Matthew Fox's slightly eccentric Kentucky Fried Asshole character and Kurt Russell's impressive whiskers. The film definitely could stand to lose some running time but once it gets to the bloody stuff, oh boy! There is a single slaughter in this film that out-balls every single kill in the other recent cannibal flick, The Green Inferno. Eli Roth, take note! The violence in this one is at times extreme but it's not so much the gore that unnerves as the sheer brutality and disturbing nature that is akin to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Yep, that is Sid Haig!

Aside from its excessive length, Bone Tomahawk struggles with oddly misplaced humor. On more than one occasion, very serious moments are interrupted by silly, almost-anachronistic gags. A film of this sort really should dedicate itself completely to the grittiness, and those bizarre moments of light-heartedness are very distracting from the bleak tone. 

If you are a horror fan reading this (and you probably are) and gore is what you seek, you will not be left disappointed. You will have to sit patiently in your saddle for a while but when the blood comes, it hits hard. The film also utilizes sound effects with brutal effectiveness. Even a seasoned gorehound like me felt a bit queasy after one memorable scene. 

It is not without flaws but Bone Tomahawk is an interesting blend of hard-as-nails western and survival horror flick. The characters are likable and the cast is top-notch. It is certainly worth a watch to fans of either genre, or anyone curious to see what happens when John Wayne meets Leatherface. 

Bone Tomahawk plays in theaters and on VOD on Friday, October 23, 2015. 

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