Found Footage Frenzy:
Well, we all knew I’d fall behind on this shit eventually. So, in an effort to catch myself up, I’m going to cover my entire found-footage week in one, mind-expanding all be it long as fuck entry today. We’re gonna cover 5 movies folks. All of them amateurish and poorly shot to instill that fear of: “hey, this is real” as aliens and/or zombies and/or ghosts fuck your day up royally.
The Blair Witch Project:
So what happens when 3 hapless college students stomp around the backwoods of Maryland with no means of communication with the outside? About 2 hours of scare-less arguing coupled by a non-sensical plot about a bullshit witch that’s told just as poorly on its color home video recorder as it is on its inexplicable 16mm Black and White film camera. Editing this shit must’ve been a pain if they combined film and actual video. And there’s no sound recording to speak of, so these three film students totally suck at their craft and deserved to have their souls eaten by a witch and their skin used as a creepy cloak or a lampshade or something. But if I hate this flick, why’s it on here? Well, iI had to mention it if I’m going to talk about its sequel (that is infamous for being bad but is superior in countless ways), and this thing pretty much kick-started the whole found footage genre. Technically “The Last Broadcast" is the first but that movie is about as enjoyable as an in-depth colonic administered by your parents.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes:
Did I talk about this yet? I don’t think I did… Well, it’s not like you read it before if I did so let’s talk about it anyway. This one’s pretty creeptastic. The low budget definitely shows in a few of the scenes but it’s put together with great care and respect for the genre that it gets creepy from the start. It’s a great premise too- the house of a prolific serial killer gets raided and police find a box of 200 8-hour VHS tapes the killer made of his freaky-deaky lifestyle choices. This one is worth the watch. Hands down. Prepare in advance by buying some depends- they have superior protection against leaks. But not straight out peeing. Unfortunately, I know from experience. (Please don’t ask).
This one is almost completely unheard of it’s so obscure. And why the fuck is that the case? This one’s great. It’s shown in the style of a family’s traditional home movies- with the twist of: “what if my kids are fucking psychotic and trying to kill us?” It’s just so perfect. It’s creepy on levels most movies don’t have the scrote to pull off. And without spoiling too much, throw that happy ending shit right out the god damned window. And if you were thinking of having kids, right about here is where you’ll reconsider.
Okay let’s sum it up because we’ve all seen it. Giant monster go rawr. Giant monster smash. A handful of 20-somethings flea in terror. Giant monster go rawr. Nothing happens. Rawr. Boom. MOVE MOVE MOVE MOVE MOVE, Boom, Rawr, GO GO GO GO GO, Rawr, Boom, Death. Credits.
I think I covered it just fine.
Paranormal Activity (series)
Make a low budget horror movie that relies more on what you don’t see, and your imagination to scare you than big budget CGI? Cool.
Make a sequel that slightly ups the budget and expands the backstory, introduces new plot elements that work, and an overall great continuation of the story? Cooler.
Make a prequel that goes back to the fucking 1980s and is shot like it’s on a craptastic VHS camera, introduce cults, witchcraft and genuinely terrifying moments that make the first look like that shitty haunted house at adventure land? Fucking I’ll buy whatever you’re selling.
Make a fourth one that takes place now, with a cast of devastatingly unlikeable characters in a mind-bending attempt to retcon some shit and continue the story at the same time? Yeah, no.
Hopefully the TWO that are coming out next year will fix things for us.
Next week, We talk sequels that you didn’t really know about.
Another successful Comic Con. I’ve found a new epic tradition.
Oh yeah. Ohhhh fuck yeah. This is the real shit right here. Imagine if yesterday’s entry, Are you Afraid of the Dark? Was darkened up for adults by the real master of horror, and king of all things zombidom, George A. Romero. I’ll give you a minute to clean the poop out of your pants.
Tales from the Dark Side (or Tales from the Crypt’s hot-looking cousin) was a near-perfect blend of funny, scary, and genuine fucking manic insanity. There was no such thing as a straightforward scary-pants story. There was always some twist that provoked a “…wait, what?”. This show has more “WTF’s” per second than any show I’ve come in to contact with.
Like how about a kid that invents a sentient vacuum that hunts you down based on noise and eats your soul? Or how about a comedian that gets hired by the government to go talk to a fucking alien? Weird isn’t the word. Each episode of this show is like a hit of acid. Watching an entire season might fry your brain to SLC Punk levels. Is it a perfect show? Oh lord, by all means, no. But this show at least had something behind it- heart. All-be it a dripping, pulsating heart most likely ripped from someone’s chest.
My first experience with this show was a perfect introduction. I was in college, and I was sick with typhoid or black lung or some such shit. In my delirium I missed the bus to campus and was stranded on my off-campus apartment unable to leave my bed. We also had the most basic of cable packages so I flipped to one of the four watchable channels- Syfy. (Then called Sci-Fi like it should be). I watched 9 episodes (no joke, 9) and maybe it was because I was so sick I had no idea what was happening, maybe it was because I genuinely might’ve been hallucinating and the TV wasn’t even on, but I knew this was a good show then and there.
Famous people were all over this god damned show. It seemed they aimed for at least one recognizable name per show. Like Seth Green, Kareem Abdul Jabar, and Jerry Stiller. Is there a more random assortment of names? That’s like “I want to make an animated comedy about badgers in space starring Mel Brooks, Arnold Schwarzenegger and DMX.”
This show was creepy for adults, and nightmare-inducing for children. There were several knock offs, like Monsters. Never heard of such a generically titled show? There’s a reason. It sucked a whole big bag of dicks. That’s why. Writing is what makes this show work, despite some of the premises being pretty goofy. It’s like if the twilight zone took a pile of ecstasy and kept a dream journal.
To up the fucked up factor, they made a Tales from the Darkside Movie. Which makes this shit look like Elmo in Grouchland. But don’t worry, we’ll get to it. We’ve got a whole fucking month, after all.
Okay! let’s talk about one of the few shows on this list that aims to scare and does anything but.
Hop into the wayback machine with me and dial that shit back to what was hopefully your early childhood (if not… you’re so too young to be following me and should thus expunge yourself from my sight). Saturday night rolls around, and you’re not doing anything. Why would you be? You’re a fucking kid and shit. Kids do nothing. And Nickelodeon knew there was a nation of kids sitting around on their entitled asses demanding entertainment geared towards their tiny young minds. So instead of keeping us happy, they scared us until a little poop came out.
Are you Afraid of the Dark started in 1990 and had one of those weird “wait. how many seasons was that?” tenures on television. It told the story of a group of completely unsupervised and decidedly lame pre-teens that go into the woods every night not to drink or smoke copious amounts of weed, but to tell mildly unsettling scary stories. That’s a way better choice, maybe we can do our homework out here, too.
The stories feel a bit like a knock-off Twilight Zone/Night Gallery crack baby. It was Goosebumps before Goosebumps was even a thing. Only instead of ridiculous plot lines like a mask that won’t come off, or tales of monster blood and such, we get real tales of horror like “I think a clown ghost is following me” and “the phone police mentioned in Weird Al Yankovic’s ‘Don’t go makin’ phony calls’ are real, and they took my best friend”.
The best plot lines they had on this show were stolen from other, better stories/shows/movies- and they dumbed it down so we couldn’t tell the difference.
Even though this show was about as scary as a trip to the grocery store, it was enough when you were a kid. Today? Doesn’t really hold up. You want my advice? Eerie Indiana is way better.
Bought what I thought was an old Avengers comic and tuned out to be a collection of old covers. I made the best of it.
Hey folks. Come on down to the Bellmore train station and buy some supercool paintings at a steeply discounted rate at our all day “it’s not raining don’t be a fucking baby” sale.
Well folks, today I’ve got a great big ball of “what the fuck?” for you. But seeing as I enjoy this show I’m going to avoid shitting on it (for now, anyway. This “Coven” shit looks disappointingly goofy). This is a show I happen to enjoy. Why however? I honestly don’t know. I might be because I have a hard on for shows that kill off main characters (yet oddly enough I’m not nearly as big a Game of Thrones fan as you’d think). But I think it’s because this show doesn’t even know what the fuck it’s doing. Season 2 in particular balances so many different unrelated story lines, that what resulted is a beautiful trainwreck of imagery (i say train wreck in the nicest way) that assaults you visually and leaves you panting barely audible breaths in a puddle of what you hope is just piss.
Confusing description? Seems fitting. Because this show is guaranteed to confuse as much as it wows. Let’s take a look at this fucker shall we?
Season 1: Our first outing follows a small family moving into a haunted house. Sounds like your lame stereotypical “Someone call cousin It” bullshit right?
So instead of Uncle Fester or Grampa Munster, we get Angry, bitchy, vengeful Jessica Lange as the neighbor. We get Evan Peters who’s every bit as dreamy to the ladies as he is psychologically damaged, we have a spiteful gay couple of ghosts played by Spock and what’s his face from… that thing. And we have some dude in black pleather running around raping up a storm. Oh, and we have the gross old lady maid that turns into the single hottest female on TV whenever in the presence of a man.
This must be that new Boner-vision I heard so much about.
There’s so many different plot lines, reveals, and just genuine “holy shit I can’t believe that just happened” moments that I honestly don’t want to give them away. This is worth a watch, even for people who hate horror. They even somehow tie in the real Black Dahlia murders somehow. Gee, I wonder if they’ll do anything else that’s based in history.
Season 2: Okay. Whoah. This season has the feeling of being told a really long (but entertaining) story from a kid with ADHD who gets so excited about every detail of what’s happening.
"OKAY SO THERE’S THIS SERIAL KILLER THAT’S AROUND IN PRESENT DAY BUT HE WAS ALSO AROUND IN THE 60S AND THIS GUY THINKS THERE’S ALIENS AND BLAMES THEM FOR KILLING HIS WIFE WHEN IT WAS THE KILLER GUY AND HE GETS SENT TO THE ASULUM AND THEN THERE’S THESE LESBIANS AND THE KILLER KILLS ONE AND THE OTHER GETS SENT TO THE SAME ASYLUM AND THEN THERE’S THIS NAZI GUY RUNNING EVERYTHING WITH JESSICA LANGE AND SOME HOT NUN THAT’S ALL HORNY AND POSSESSED BY A DEMON AND THE ALIENS WERE REAL, THE POSSESSION WAS REAL, THE KILLER IN THE FUTURE IS THE KILLER IN THE PAST’S SON AND OMGOMGOMGOMG"
Do I disagree with this method of story telling? Not in the least. This show is proof you can spin as many plates as you want as long as it makes some kind of coherent sense, and you can keep spinning them.
Let’s hope we don’t jump the shark in a fridge sent airborne from a nuclear explosion with Season 3.
Let’s talk about the Simpsons for a second. Remember when the movie came out? And you were like “wow, trapped under a dome, I wonder why/how they came up with such a silly premise”. Perfect for the Simpsons to showcase their gigantic cast in paranoid-induced hysteria.
Now let’s talk about Mr. Stephen King for a second. The man’s a brilliant author, we know this. But some mathematic equation pretty much guarantees that a Stephen King miniseries, no matter how good the source material, will slurp anus through a straw. This will not be our last visit with Mr. King this week, but let’s try to get this over with as quickly as possible because you probably have things to do and this show is a god awful piece of shit.
So in 2009 King put out his book Under the Dome (totally not copying part of the Simpsons movie). After its resounding success, it made the jump to TV mini-series. Then, three episodes into said miniseries, CBS upped it to a full blown TV show. Now, you might be asking- “Matt, do you really think I’m reading this shit?” But you’re probably also asking “Matt, how do you make a show from source material that’s only relegated to one book? Doesn’t that mean they’ll run out of story to base it on?” And the answer is: Fucking don’t follow the book. Let’s just take a few names and characters and do whatever the fuck we feel like. And y’know what? The characters should do completely inexplicable things.
So Under the Dome is about a bunch of poor fuckers from Chester’s Mill in (what other fucking state would it be?) Maine. One day when everyone’s going about their oddly sociopathic and deceptively evil behavior when an Invisible dome descends over the entire town (making for the only cool sequence in the entire god damned show). And we follow their lame attempts to get out.
Hank Schrader wasted no time tarnishing his rep from Breaking Bad as the villian “Big” Jim Rennie. Who the show is having a hard time telling us if we should hate or sympathize with. His son’s a fucking nutbar that kidnaps his girlfriend and chains her in a basement (cue Meatloaf’s I would do anything for love) only to just… kind’ve… randomly let her go. I mean, his Dad lets her go, but he never gets her back, or even tries to. This is an instance of trying to write part of the book into the show and the writers saying “ehhh let’s see if we can drag this out another 12 episodes into another season.
Our hero, rugged army-man Barbie (Yes. Barbie) and his girlfriend (I don’t know, GI JOE?) attempt to bring the dome down with the help of a bunch of shitty teenagers that can’t act. There’s no explanation as to why the dome was brought down, no resolution to any problems, the season finale is left on a needless cliffhanger, and more or less runs out of gas 2 or 3 episodes into its 13 episode first season.
Is it Stephen King’s fault that this show sucks on ice? No. Is it the writers of the show? Partly. But I think we have to blame the Stephen King book to film adaptation shittiness factor. I’m not kidding, you could make an equation out of how shitty adaptations result from such great source material. And this month will be LITTERED with proof.
Okay. So if I had posted this a few years ago it would’ve been met with stirs of hatred and calls for my blood. Now, it’ll receive its usual wave of apathy. Before we go into this, I should state that you’re talking to one of the biggest fans this show ever had. No, seriously. I read all the books (not recommended) and I even named my dog after the titular character-
That being said, let’s dive in.
So for those clueless about the premise of what we’re studying today- I’ll fill you in. Dexter Morgan is a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Homicide Division, but because of a traumatic childhood experience (either his mom is murdered in front of him or he doesn’t get to play pokemon Blue… not sure) he moonlights as a serial killer. (Not really much money in that, but whatever). His sister Deb is his rock that grounds him in sanity, and his “girlfriend” Rita is his metaphorical serial killer “beard”. Every season usually has Dexter going after a “big bad” or a main villain. Who would’ve known that eventually the “big bad” of the last season would just be some shitty writing.
Season 1 follows Dexter as he studies the new serial killer on the block, the Ice Truck Killer. Here’s this dude hacking up hookers in an icebox, and transporting them places in neatly dissected chunks to random destinations. What fun. Let’s see Horatio Cane solve that shit.
As the season progresses, we come to learn that the Ice Truck Killer knows Dexter. He breaks into his house and paws through his photo albums and leaves him creepy messages like naked headless barbies with well manicured nails. What, you don’t do that?
In the end, it’s revealed that the ITK is Dexter’s biological brother Brian “Biney” Moser. Who has somehow sauntered his way into Deb’s panties almost effortlessly. After an epic altercation and narrowly escaping the police, Dexter kills his brother and things go back to normal. No one suspects a thing. Except for one dude.
Meet Doakes. Everyone in Miami Metro is a gullible fucktard. But not Doakes.
Season 2- Shit hits the fan in the first 5 minutes. Dexter’s underwater burial funland is discovered by some Scuba Divers and the season is about the hunt for The Bay Harbor Butcher (you know who). At the same time, to cover his ass about his fucked up night habits, Dexter tells Rita he does heroin, so this season is about Dexter evading police and trying to recover from his “addiction” to killing with the help of his super hot and super british sponsor, Lila- whom he starts fucking. Don’t blame you.
But, turns out she’s insane. SHE FUCKING BLOWS UP DOAKES IN A FIREY EXPLOSION OF DEATH. Fucking if I had a 40 I’d pour it in the street.
Dexter frames Doakes for the murders, kills Lila in Paris (you bought a 1200$ plane ticket for a 2 hour trip to Paris?) and the season leaves your fucking out of breath.
Now, right there? That’s a great last season. Why isn’t this the last season? Why shoot your wad on the Second one? We’re not at season 8 yet, but when we get there, you’ll almost surely agree that they should’ve been swapped.
Season 3- Weddings and shit, Rita’s Pregnant, Jimmy Smits is Dexter’s best buddy/worst enemy, and there’s some dude skinning people in the background. This one was okay, but it’s only okay because of what happened next:
Season 4 is probably the best fucking thing that could ever happen to television… other than Breaking Bad. We introduce in the very first episode, that dude from 3rd Rock from the Sun, naked; killing some chick in her bathroom, also naked.
No questions are answered. None. Only that the FBI dude calls this guy “The Trinity Killer” because he kills in threes. Cryptic as fuck, until Dexter goes after him a few episodes later. And we find out exactly why he’s batshit insane- this dude’s a family man. Wife, kids, nice house, he’s a Deacon or some shit. There’s your first “I think there’s shit in my pants” moment.
Then, the pressure builds even more when Dexter makes an alias, gets in good with Trinity and his family, and gives himself away at what might be the coolest thanksgiving ever where he threatens to kill the fucker in front of his family. This is check your pants moment number 2. So, fuck. What happens now?
Trinity finds Dexter, and meets him at his home base in Miami Metro. Calls him by his real first and last name. Just as you’re about to go get another new pair of pants for good measure, the final showdown begins. You’re unsure of what will happen for the entire episode. Until Dexter gets Trinity alone, kills his ass, and the day is saved.
Oh, by the way, Trinity kills Dexter’s wife. Yup. and he finds out after the fact, after Trinity is already dead. So there’s no revenge, there’s no one to blame, there’s nothing. And his kid saw the whole thing, just like him.
That’s TWO amazing ways to end this series. Just saying.
Then, Dexter hit a severe shit streak from which it wouldn’t recover. So let’s plow through real quick, shall we?
Season 5: False hopes of the FBI looking into Dexter (that might’ve been *gasp* interesting!), Dexter finds, saves, and regularly bangs Julia Styles, and hunts down the dudes that kidnapped and tortured her. Meh. That’s how I walked away from this one, Meh. If only I knew.
Season 6: Julia Styles who? Let’s just toss that plot line out the window in favor of creepily religious Colin Hanks, and the 6th Sense rip-off premise of being followed by his ghostly professor from Stand and Deliver. Bullshit, Bullshit, Bullshit, is this over, holy shit this su-
In the season finale, Dexter murders Colin Hanks in an abandoned church he used as his hideout. Just as he does, Deb walks in. Sees Everything. And that’s the end of the season.
Oh man, that must be the apology for 2 incredibly poor seasons. Next season will be epic, right?
Season 7: Well…. yeah it’s pretty fucking epic. And that’s why I hate this season the most. It’s great. It’s as great as the older episodes. The story’s perfect, the tension is great, It’s amazing. But it’s just sprinkles on a turd sundae.
Deb (noticeably upset that her brother is a serial killer) helps Dexter cover it up, and we watch how their relationship changes now that she knows the truth. Meanwhile Lt. Laguerta finds one of Dexter’s blood slides at a crime scene, and (after what, 4 fucking years?) suspects that Doakes was framed and (after 6 fucking years) starts to suspect Dexter.
Things heat up, intensely. So much so that we get to the finale and we’re totally unsure of what will happen. Dexter is about to kill Laguerta and make it look like an incident with one of his victims, Deb walks in. And shoots Laguerta in the motherfucking head. Bad. Ass.
And you’re left on this cliff hanger, not knowing if they made it.
Season 8: They shouldn’t have fucking made it. No one knows nor cares what happened to Laguerta we just throw that shit right out the window in favor of Drunken drugged up Deb, Emo Dexter, Random Psychiatrist lady that worked with Dexter as a kid and as being introduced now (why?), a romantic interest introduced halfway through last season and isn’t interesting enough to carry into this one, and his kid Harrison is even terrible by acting standards. Fucking Anakin in Episode 1 was better, and that’s saying something.
This season, was a mess. Randomly introducing its big bad with 3 episodes left in the entire series. All of those interesting things they set up are just…sort of… forgotten.
Deb eventually gets shot, and becomes a Vegetable. Dexter kills the bad guy with a pen (right, good, whatever) and takes Deb off life support (would’ve been more symbolic if this wasn’t a shitty cop out ending) making her his last victim, and then he fakes his death to become a lumberjack in Canada. I’m not kidding.
It leaves a bad taste in my mouth to write about this shit. Much less watch it. So when watching Dexter, either pretend it ended after 4 seasons, or follow the map of: 1, 2, 4, and 7. When it comes down to it, maybe Dexter was a terrible show that just got lucky. Or maybe it was too great for its own good like the roman empire (with less boy touching). Either way, one thing’s for sure. Ending at the same time as Breaking Bad? Terrible Idea. Because by contrast, we see just how dumb the writers really think we were.
Okay Mr. King, let’s see if you’ve still got the goods.