Broadway Review: 'American Psycho: The Musical'


By: Heather Seebach

In 2013, Bret Easton Ellis' controversial novel-turned-movie American Psycho became a musical stage show on London's West End. Doctor Who star Matt Smith took on the role of the unhinged Wall Street investment banker Patrick Bateman along with an original collection of songs by Duncan Sheik.

Now, American Psycho: The Musical has come to New York City with a Broadway production starring Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). The story follows the life of a 27-year-old Wall Street elite who grows weary of his life and is taken over by thoughts of torture, depraved sexual acts, and murder.

The concept may seem bizarre but Psycho is certainly not the first horror tale turned musical - productions of Evil Dead the Musical are still popping up across the US and Canada. Whereas that one turned the source material into an all-out comedy, this one sticks to the dark, existential mood of Ellis' book and Mary Harron's film adaptation.


The songs are a bit jarring in their cheesinest at first but the production soon lulls you into its dark sense of humor. Psycho is a hyper-zeitgeist of 1980s culture and Wall Street narcissism. When pinstriped-suited investors start strutting across the conference room table as they brag in song about business cards, it becomes apparent just how well-suited to a musical this story actually is. 

The original songs are enhanced by eclectic and impressive dancing (often robotic in nature, as you'd expect of this decade). Between the original numbers, there is a fantastic synth score that just screams 80s horror! Furthermore, the show incorporates 80s classics like Phil Collins and, of course, Huey Lewis and the News. 

Even more impressive than the musical numbers is the set design. From Bateman's sterile white apartment to the neon explosion of a NYC nightclub, it all nails the world of Wall Street vice and 80s pop culture. The stage incorporates a rotating floor which is used to great effect when creating tableaus, as human beings become mannequin-like in the eyes of Patrick Bateman. 


Much of the set is made up of digital screens, giving off not only a very 80s vibe but also allowing for a better glimpse into Bateman's disturbed mind. When his mental tether finally snaps, the white set becomes a horror show with panels awash in red. 

So too are the costumes and the color scheme deliberate and effective. From Armani suits and Gucci dresses to blood-spattered tighty-whities, it all brilliantly captures the deranged brain of a man fueled by vanity, cocaine, and bloodlust.

In the lead role, Benjamin Walker does a fine job. He uses a bit of Christian Bale's take on the role (as fans will want) without completely copying the performance. He has the cold deadness in his eyes in just the right moments as Bateman should.


Still, some of Walker's co-stars often steal the show away. Patrick's girlfriend Evelyn has a much more expanded role in this show than she did in the film, and actress Helene Yorke is amazing. Her comedic instinct steals every scene she is in. So too does Theo Stockman as Patrick's douchebag colleague Tim Price leave the audience in stitches. 

American Psycho: The Musical will not be everyone's cup of tea but for fans of the book and/or movie it should not be missed. Blood and music will always blend well - Little Shop of Horrors and Sweeney Todd are classics, afterall. If you like your blend with a sick sense of humor and some nihilistic philosophy, too, then there is an ax with your name on it. Return those video tapes and get yourself to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater.


Review: 'Hardcore Henry'

By: Heather Seebach

In 2013, a music video called "Bad Motherfucker" by Biting Elbows went viral online. The first-person-perspective video featured everything an action fan could ask for: explosions, boobs, parkour, and gallons of blood. Lucky for the universe, director Ilya Naishuller got to turn that 5-minutes of awesomeness into a feature-length film known as Hardcore Henry.

The plot is new but the gimmick is the same: we the viewers see everything through the eyes of our faceless hero. In this tale, he is a cyborg soldier on a mission to save his wife from the clutches of a telekinetic psychopath named Akan (who may actually be albino Tommy Wiseau). Along the way, Henry has help from a mysterious man named Jimmy (Sharlto Copley).

Much like the Biting Elbows music video, Henry knows what the audience wants and delivers on it in spades. There are elaborate stunts, over-the-top gore, and a healthy dose of humor. Copley in particular chews the scenery with ease and delight. It is always fun watching that man toy with his range, and Jimmy is the ideal role for that (but to say more would spoil the fun).

The POV format is often dismissed as a gimmick. Let's face it: it IS a gimmick but when utilized properly, it can also be crazy fun. As oversaturated as the horror genre was with it, we still got fantastic entries like [REC]. Henry uses first-person-perspective to immerse the viewer in the action, not unlike most FPS video games. 

If you seek meaningful dialogue and deep characterization, obviously you need look elsewhere, but for action fans who want proper action, do not sleep on this movie. It is brutally violent, occasionally clever, and full of surprises (two words: Tim Roth). In short, it is a film that knows how to not take itself seriously and just have a bloody (literally) good time. 

Review: The Walking Dead - "Last Day on Earth"


By: Heather Seebach

**Warning: The following contains spoilers about the Season 6 finale**

As some of you may have noticed, I took a break from reviewing this season of The Walking Dead for personal reasons. I'm here now with this S6 finale review not because it's important, but because it pissed me off enough to actually bring me out of semi-retirement. Yeah, that much.

Now, AMC's Negan may not be able to unleash his colorful vocabulary of expletives like in the comics but I fucking can and fucking will in this rant so if that offends you....piss off!

I....am....LIVID!

Considering how watered-down the Governor was compared to the books, Negan is the first genuine, terrifying villain this show has gotten. Everything was riding on this. Fans of the books and show alike have been salivating for fucking MONTHS over this introduction, and hanging on the mystery of who would be the unlucky bastard to meet Lucille. Would it be Glenn? Daryl? Carol? There has been SO much build-up and frankly we fucking EARNED a proper resolution!

Most of the finale was fantastic - Jeffrey Dean Morgan makes a good Negan and the tension was damn palpable. I was starting to feel nauseated just waiting for the big closing scene. And then the writers dropped the ball on the single most important fucking scene ever. Here I was waiting on pee-pee-pants city and instead we got shit-the-bed city. What the fuck was that?! 

All that build-up to absolutely NOTHING. What a goddamn, barbed-wire-wrapped slap in our fucking FACES! How can these show-runners disrespect their own fans SO much? What's worse is how this is the second time (at least) they have done it this season. ENOUGH with the cunting cliffhangers!! 

By not showing who dies, they effectively took ALL the wind out of what may be the single most important moment of the Walking Dead narrative. And for what? To keep fans lingering, eager to see what happened? NO! I have already witnessed the backlash on social media - I am not the only one who is pissed off. If anything, they will lose viewers this way. Hope you're fucking happy!

I have not forgotten what a tense episode it was - primarily thanks to the Negan dialogue that was ripped directly from Robert Kirkman's pages - but that final moment is un-fucking-forgivable. I would have understood if they needed to rein in the gore, or if they copped out and killed off a lesser character. Disappointed, yes, but understanding. THIS, however, is gutless bullshit and it's not the first time and I for one am SICK OF IT. And I am not alone. No matter who died - whether they stuck to the books or not - I would have been down for it. Thats what I found so exciting. Instead they did literally the ONLY thing that I could hate.

Thanks for the blue balls, AMC. Take Lucille and shove it up your asses. 

Current Mood: 


**UPDATE**

Okay, now that I have calmed down a bit, I can discuss the other aspects of this finale. We've clearly covered the "ugly" already, so here are the good and the bad....

The Good:

- Negan's mind games while the gang tried to get to Hilltop were great. For the first time in a long time we saw Rick Grimes out-witted, out-gunned, and terrified. Sure, it was tedious watching them drive that RV in circles across 4 commercial breaks but the tension was there all the same.

- Steven Ogg! Better known to many as Trevor from GTA V, though he also had recent memorable roles on Better Call Saul and Broad City. I love this guy! He got to play a menacing creep here, with the titular line, no less.

- Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan. I've always been a fan, and he was a damn fine choice for this role. The costume is right from the page, as was his evil monologue. He's not quite as physically imposing as I hoped he would be but JDM makes up for it with his sadistic smile.

- The final scene with everyone in their knees is perfectly tense. The terror and hopelessness in their eyes, especially Rick's, sells it. And when Negan played eeny-meeny-miny-moe, my stomach was in my throat. 

- The Kingdom is coming! Fans of the comics recognize those dudes with the horses and the padding. A nice little tease of whats to come.


The Bad:

- The Carol storyline that just won't die. I have LOVED Carol since she developed her bloodthirst back at the prison but this latest character arc is plain silly. So, she says she cannot kill and is therefore useless to her loved ones. Um, she had no problem killing all those guys on the road. Enough with the forced melodrama please, just let Carol be Carol.

- They are pretty certain of an Alexandria attack and yet every single capable fighter leaves. It's cool though, they got a priest and a baby to hold down the fort!


As I stated previously, this was a pretty good finale overall, albeit ruined by an infuriating ciffhanger. I have already heard some people argue, "Well, are you surprised?" No, but that doesn't mean I can't also be disappointed and irate. Or am I expected to roll over and just accept insulting mediocrity? There are cliffhangers, and then there are complete cock-ups like this. The moment is incomplete, interrupted, and ruined. They may do this often but this is the ONE time it absolutely cannot be done. We were robbed of completion and its downright criminal.


Review: The Walking Dead - 'Start to Finish'


By: Heather Seebach

**Warning: The following contains spoilers about S6E8**

The mid-season opened on a creepy note, albeit one lifted right from James Wan's Insidious, with the ever-eerie "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" playing. I don't care how dead the world is, what little kid listens to 1920s music?! That cookie monster has a serious screw loose. Or perhaps he's been possessed by Darth Maul? 


The ants were a creepy touch, I'll give them that. Presumably foreshadowing the zombie swarm. I get it now -  WE ARE THE WALKING COOKIE!

Anyway, so the tower came crumbling down and let in the zombie hoard, sending everyone fleeing for the nearest home. Naturally, all of Alexandria's mortal enemies end up stuck together - Morgan and Carol; Carl and Ron; Rick and Gabriel; etc. Grimes was actually sort of nice to the priest this episode so that was the disappointment #1.

Secondly, STILL nobody cares about Ron's grudge against Carl. They have another fight and Carl inexplicable pulls a Glenn and defends his attempted murderer. Wtf! Clearly, the apple has fallen far from the tree! On the other side of town, Carol makes a run for Morgan's place in an attempt to kill the captured Wolf but gets her ass kicked by Morgan (dammit). Why is she suddenly so shaky now? She usually would not hesitate to kill Morgan if she had to. Hell, she barely knows him. Ever since her last encounter with cookie boy, she's been "off" and I don't like it!

I do, however, love, love, love this Romero-esque shot in the garage:


Morgan's Wolf buddy gets loose and takes a hostage. I'm predicting he'll be overtaken by the hoard and that will be the end of the whole Wolves subplot that went nowhere.  Meanwhile, the walker-bitten Deanna goes all granny Rambo again and (presumably) dies facing down the walkers. That bite improved her aim, did you notice? I did have to LOL when Rick nearly ax'ed her head for touching Judith - "STILL ME!"

 Finally, Rick, Michonne, & co. cover themselves in zombie guts again and make their way dangerously through the crowd of walkers. I know the guts trick worked before when they Shaun of the Dead'ed their way through the streets but to squeeze through like that?! Eeek!


Once outside, the cookie monster starts whining, "Mom?" and we KNOW what's coming. Comic book fans were predicting and expecting at least one of two major events to go down this episode - and neither happened. In fact, nothing happened. The episode ends on...well, it's not even a cliff-hanger...it's set-up. Nothing but set-up! Fans of the books know what is coming and can at least get a tiny bit of satisfaction from that but I imagine everyone else was left feeling completely cold. How are you gonna end a mid-season finale like that?! 

Overall, this was not a bad episode but the lackluster ending leaves such a bad taste in your mouth that it kinda ruins the whole thing. They couldn't give us SOMETHING?! 

After the episode ended, there was a prologue involving Daryl, Sasha and Abraham. If you missed it, watch it right here. The trio encounters some men on motorcycles blocking the roadway. If this looks familiar to you, it may be because....


The men demand everything they have, saying it does not belong to them anymore. And for the first time, Negan is officially name-dropped! HURRY UP!!!!


Burning Questions from This Episode:

1) Why the hell did Morgan and Carol leave the doctor alone with the psychopath??

2) What the fuck did Carol trip over? Look, just because you have Jamie Lee Curtis' hair doesn't mean you have to fall down like a final girl, k? 

3) You're telling me...Deanna wasn't a zombie all this time? 

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, er....displeased...mob...er...small 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:

MOVIE #1:

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?!"


MOVIE #2:

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.


MOVIE #3:

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.


MOVIE #4:

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


MOVIE #5:

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


MOVIE #6:

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 and....no idea what else, I was in the bathroom, whoops! 


MOVIE #7:

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. 


MOVIE #8:

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
 

MOVIE #9:

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)



Also find us here: