31 Horrifying Days- Day 5: Odd Thomas (2013)

This one isn’t a horror movie so much as a action/comedy/mystery/love story with horror elements (including ghosts, clairvoyants, demon-like apparitions and murder). 

Odd Thomas is based on a series of novels by Dean Koontz. They’re books I’ve never read because reviews and press releases left me with the impression that the novels were more serious mysteries and for an older crowd. Of course, I am getting to be an older crowd. But really I can’t imagine anyone who can stomach the bile regurgitating corpses wouldn’t enjoy the film.

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Odd Thomas (who may or may not have supposed to have been named “Todd Thomas”) can see the dead, and he uses his capabilities to help track down their murderers. The police chief, played by Willem Dafoe, knows about Odd’s powers but it’s a secret from most. In terms of personality, Odd is incredibly quirky, but not to the extent where it makes him a misfit. He’s employed, not gainfully- but employed, as a short order cook and he has a wonderful girlfriend with a weird name, Stormy, who works at an ice cream shoppe, she knows about his powers and helps him out with fighting evil. Part of their love story is that a fortune telling machine told them they’d be together for eternity, they got for a single quarter what most people could never buy. Other ladies flirt with him as well, but Odd never reaches Harry Dresden style lecherousness. 

Odd (played by Anton Yelchin, Star Trek, Terminator Salvation) and Stormy (Addison Timlin, “Californication”) uncover a conspiracy to commit a bombing and race to stop the deadly attack.

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Along the way they have a run in with a weird haired man in a pink suit surrounded by bodachs (paranormal predators that feed on pain) that leads them too a grander conspiracy. Odd races against time to save the other townspeople while dealing with a human mystery, paranormal hauntings and bodachs that might be smarter than he thinks. The grosser portions of the movie are still done up with cartoonish humor. If I had to compare this film to anything it would probably be BeetleJuice. The cinematography is bright, colorful, playful and very unique for such a tale. The chemistry between actors is phenomenal. I might be naive on this one, but the ending caught me entirely by surprise. This film made me feel so many different ways which is really rare for and Urban fantasy, love story/mystery.

Was it scary? Nah, I told you that though. It’s not really a horror film. It just has horror elements. This does come highly recommended regardless.

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These are the bodachs who prophecize upcoming carnage.

5/5

The film had a limited released in February 2014 and is out on DVD and on Netflix currently. The Odd Thomas book series is 12 books long, while this film leaves options open, there is no current plan to release a sequel.

Review! IN THE DARK a Horror Anthology

Drawn from a wide range of inspirations, stories reminiscent of childhood campfire tales, or Lovecraft-esque, or teenage action influenced and featuring creepy kids, self-sacrifice, monster hunters, petty revenge or something more existential, good people going bad, and bad kids going good from the tampering of horrific entities. What if the reason that jerk always checks his phone so much is that he needs to know when he’s going to change into a horrific beast? Nothing is as it seems here IN THE DARK.

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Among my faves:

The Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley penned story Guilloteens a punk rock Buffy homage with a Scooby gang monsterhunters and on one night they find a house being used by were-wizards for nefarious reasons. Were-wizards. So cool. Cute characters and extra blood spatters made awesome by artist Christian Wildgoose.

All Things Through Me by Mike Oliveri, artist Mike Henderson follows the son of a fallen priest who can communicate with the dead and has a knack for possession on a house call in a small town and stumbles on something local law enforcement would rather he hadn’t.

When the Rain Comes by Steve Niles is a creepfest about repercussions of fearing what you don’t understand. Damien Worm’s super creepy art is killer here, cloudy scratches, scribbled silhouettes capture the essence of the mysterious creatures that come forth to a farmhouse after a flood.

The Body by Tim Seeley, art by Stephen Green, mixes urban violence with a supernatural avenger.

Final Meal by Christopher Sebela and Zack Soto makes me glad to be vegan after reading this eerie tale about feeling like a God on the top of the food chain following a sad character who can’t get enough of sucking life from between his teeth.

The One That Got Away, written by Scott Snyder (who, y’know, writes both metropolis and Gotham’s heroic dudes) plays off our expectations when a young boy is approached by a knife wielding character.

Brian Keene’s The Lost Valley of the Dead is set in a wild West zombie plague. Tadd Galusha brings it with well drawn zombie animals sporting dripping fangs and exposed ribs. In trying to escape the disease they find a hidden entrance to a world of dinosaurs ..things get even crazier when the T-Rex ingests the zombie coyotes. Zombie freaking dinosaurs.

Swan Song by Rachel Deering takes a break from the plethora of werewolves and features a gorgeous vampire and the dashing would be hero who unknowingly unleashes a monster.

Extra treats- faux vintage ads and page 185’s horror trivia crossword! I’m thinking about sending $3.25 to get my “Creature in a Crate”.

Whether you like your villains internal, supernatural or humanly homicidal and your main characters twisted, teenaged, tragic or triumphant and your settings futuristic, realistic or rustic IN THE DARK has something for you. If you didn’t get in on the ground floor for this one order one from your local comic shop, IDW is printing and shipping this rad compilation soon.

Agents of SHIELD Episode 9

From ABC.com: A mysterious force threatens to destroy Coulson and the team!

(isn’t that every episode?)

“Jack Benson was a friend of mine.” A woman buying toiletries from a gas station is harassed by the clerk. She tries to leave but he acts aggressively towards her. Suddenly canned goods fly off the shelves and pelt the man. He asks, “Did you do that?” She shakily says she did not. The man flees as shelves knock into him, hoses from the gas pumps flood the lot and newspapers (that show the headline that 4 men died in a factory accident where the shopping woman was a manager) burn, explosions ensue.

May and Ward get the news simultaneously… since they’ve had a sleepover… AGAIN. I have to say… I like this a TON better than Ward and Skye. It was just so typical. Ward needs to be everyone’s hero -but doesn’t let himself get close to anyone (oooh), Skye as a lost youth in over her head… blah blah. Instead we get May’s icy cool demeanor to match his, an action hero all her own instead of a girl who will need saving. A match of equals… Yeahhhhh

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Ming-Na Wen retweeted this cartoon. Is that Lego Marvel Heroes? I think that’s what I see. Haha

SHIELD figures the woman is a telekinetic (her name is Hutchins). At the factory a particle accelerator exploded, they are wondering if that’s what brought on telekinesis. They show up and the townspeople in her lovely church community are already on their frigging witch-hunt. As they chuck eggs at her a Police car runs at them. Coulson tackles someone out of harms way of the careening police car. But people get more riled up. The woman says it wasn’t her, but local PD gets ready to shoot. May preemptively tasers the woman and they haul her off. Which, while not great etiquette, I’d rather be tasered than shot.

FitzSimmons lament that they never got to play any pranks because they graduated early. Then they decide that Skye is a freshman and they should prank her.

Coulson is aggravated that May tasered her and now she’ll wake up in a strange room all alone and scared. So he wants May to explain it to her.

She does and the woman is very understanding. When Coulson and May suggest that a reaction has cause telekinesis she says that it is not her… that she is being haunted by demons.

Oh boy. The team think it’s delusions of persecution caused by guilt and trauma. But in the background we see the figure of a man (who then dissipates).

May says that people believe what they want to believe to justify their actions. “Is that what you need to believe to justify you shoot first policy?” Snarky… Oooh. Coulson tells her to stay away from Hutchins as things in his office get knocked over. Skye then takes her shitty mood and judginess over to Ward and she tells him that May has a stick up her ass and needs to get laid (which she is get laid, by the man Skye is talking smack about May to… like a High school Freshman) And then she tells Ward the story that FitzSimmons told her… I thought she was a genius or something… how did she fall for this?

The… ghost? tries to pick SHIELD’s supersecure room lock with a butter knife.

Tobias Ford hard been lodging safety complaints (all founded) against Hannah’s department. 

Fitz is thinking up pranks while Simmons works hard. She’s looking over the data from the particle accelerator and finds that it opened “a door” and the ghost-man? Tobias Ford finishes, “to Hell!” and he smashes the hologram with a giant wrench. Simmons screams and Coulson enters. Hannah was telling the truth! She’s not telekinetic! Tobias cuts the power on the plane. They’re going down!

May hops into action to land the bird. Skya asks “What can I do?” and May replies, “buckle up”. Yeahhh… that’s about all you can do, Skye. Nice that the woman you talk smack about for… doing her job… can save you all. AGAIN.

Simmons is explaining that she saw a ghost. Skye wants to be the one to explain the situation to Hannah (good thing she’s good at talking). 

Fitz, locked in the broom closet for the ordeal, thinks Simmons is getting really good at pranks.

Skye does talk to Hannah, tells her that she knows it’s not Hannah and that she doesn’t think God is punishing her. That God would forgive a mistake. Agent May coldly orders Skye to go fix the frigging plane. Which she’s offended by and tells May not to hurt Hannah more than she has. (yes, getting everyone out of mortal danger should obviously come second to one person’s feelings). Anyway. May stands guard.

Fitz, Simmons and Ward get haunted while they try to fix the plane. Simmons thinks the door may have been to an alien dimension, not Hell. (which, honestly while not “religious Hell” could still be rather Hell-like and then, what difference would it actually make?) Ward gets quite a beating from the able to appear anywhere at any moment Tobias. 

Skye is STILL shooting her mouth of about Agent May. STILL. That May’s “the Cavalry” and not sensitive enough to deal with Hannah. Coulson tells her to knock it off, and he gets emotional finally telling the real story of how May got that name and how saving youths in danger from a cult changed her. There was no horse, there was no gun, there was only Agent May. 

Coulson says that May used to be a lot like Skye. And Skye surmises that is why Coulson keeps her around, to see if that person comes back. (umm… not because she’s an insanely smart and qualified agent? But because he loves her and wants her to be like Skye?)

FitzSimmons says that less and less of Tobias is coming back every time. Maybe if they wait it out, he’ll be gone for good. 

“I don’t mean to scare you, I just need to use you as bait.” May draws Tobias away from the rest of her team.

Skye has it figured out. Tobias loves Hannah, he caused safety violations in her area so that he would have to meet with her. It was all to get her attention… because he likes her. 

Aaaaaaahhhhhh

After some brawling with May where he slips through her arms, May gets wise to this, too. She asks Hannah to say that May is a friend. Tobias confesses what he’s done (going too far with sabotage and killing 3 of his friends) and thinks he’s being dragged to Hell for it. May tells him that he can never go back to being who he was… and holding on is Hell. 

And at the end; Skye plays nice with May and May pranks Fitz who didn’t expect that from her at all. So maybe the warm and youthful May is in there somewhere…

My assessment of this episode: I actually really love that it’s Ward and May hooking up. 

But what the heck is Skye’s problem with May? She doesn’t even SUSPECT much less know that May and Ward are together, since Ward and Skye have flirted with each other in the recent past, I could understand if she was jealous for that reason. But just deciding that May isn’t “nice” …fuck you, Skye. 

Because, actually, I think she has been nice. Last episode: it was “nice” of her to confront her horribly traumatic past by picking up the Berserker staff so Ward didn’t have to do it on his own. It was “nice” of her to break orders and fly in to save Ward and Fitz with Skye and Jemma (in episode 7: The Hub). It was really nice (also episode 7) when she let Coulson talk out his problems by LISTENING to him instead of interrupting him with her feelings. FUUUUUUCK

And more about that traumatic past of May’s; Skye just can’t take her word for it. She actually needs a man, Coulson, to explain that it was a horrible and hopeless situation that changed May forever. Ummm…. But if it gets Coulson so upset than it must be really really bad. So now Skye can have empathy for May. (Which, once again, why Skye just decided to hate May… I don’t know)

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Really the only good part of this episode was the pranks. Fitz and Simmons reclaim some youth. The mop + gas mask flying out of the closet scaring even Ward and Coulson? epic. And of course May getting in, her sly smile… epic. 

Also, we glorified stalking behavior on TV again. Tobias was just doing it to protect Hannah. And Hannah said gently, “No Tobias, what have you done?” He kept hurting people to right the wrong he had done to Hannah not the 3 other men and their families and the gas station attendant and his family or the fact that he tried to crash a plane with people on it (including Hannah). Even though Hannah knows his behavior is wrong she still feels bad for him. Ugh. Sabotaging a particle accelerator is not romantic. STAHP

Sleepy Hollow- Episode 9

Ichabod knows why Katrina is really in purgatory. But, now that they know Death himself is an enemy on a personal level with Ichabod, and the apocalypse is literally revolving around him, they decide that they  NEED Katrina.

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Lena Gilbert, billionaire has just purchased a house, an old house, full of history, her family’s history in fact. As she scampers in with wide eyes, she finds a closet full of vines, one grabs her and cuts her, before she can react, they entangle her wrist.

Ichabod is missing his wife “at a time when people are giving thanks.” Abbie tells him that he has lost more than any man should and she understands and doesn’t take it personal that he is lonely.Irving calls the pair into his office. Turns out Lena’s family went back to the founding fathers. She’s “missing.” Also, it turns out that Lena’s family is also Katrina’s family.

The manor was a sanctuary (and former slaves could stay there safely and earn a fare wage). Upon entering, Abbie finds the man who was with Lena dead, appearing to have been attacked by an animal.They also see bloody hand prints and drag marks across the floor. Abbie tries to call it in: no signal. Goes for the door: it slams in her face.

“We’re in a damn haunted house.” -Abbie.

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Abbie sees a ghost, typical Insidious style hauntings and creeps. Ichabod remembers a trip there with Katrina. When, in being a quaker a nurse and a witch and a debutant was she doing this? her backstory is preposterous. 

They find Lena in the closet and do their best to untangle her. And outside those trees from Evil Dead come alive. She screams at them that the house is alive (they don’t listen).

Back at Irving’s office, Jenny tries to invite him to dinner, his family shows up… nice to see some of his back story.

Apparently, in Lena’s family tree there was a warlock, he put a protection spell on the manor that got out of hand. What’s outside starts coming for them (filmed “ghostfacers” style, in the dark, choppy with flashlights for effect. It’s well done, helps the audience feel the sensation of being pursued).

Irving tries to explain to his ex-wife about the crazy things that have been going on, she accuses him of hiding from his responsibilities as a father. Macy and Jenny have a heart to heart. Jenny never really had the family thing and is nervous, it’s very endearing and it’s nice that Frank is getting a complex backstory as well.

At the haunted house, the two lose track of Lena and Abbie follows a ghost and sees Katrina birthing a son. Ichabod’s son. Then crows commit suicide smashing themselves into the windows. The second the son was born is when Groot the tree people come to life. They escape with Lena after a creepy battle by leaving in the same way the nursemaid took Katrina and the infant- but Crane goes back in and works out some rage against all those evil things that come for him and his.

At the end: Lena Gilbert sends them a gift  the documents that she found. Abbie’s ancestor brought Ichabod’s son into the world. And then they celebrate Tgiving with some rum! And toast to finding family!

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This episode was great: excellent character development for Irving, brief but awesome Jenny appearance, Macy (Irving’s daughter) was played by Amandla Stenberg (Rue from Hunger Games). Super diverse cast gets more awesome by the moment. Apparently next week Ichabod is trying to find his son… reads the line “how far will a father go” …umm… he just found out this child existed…  maybe I’m bitter, but DNA does not make you a parent. But John Noble will be back!

The live tweet got a little intense as we debated the relationship status of the Mills sisters and their friends. Any hook ups that you’re waiting for? Or are you not buying the hype? Think Ichabbie should just go the “friends forever” route?

Also, I can’t be the only one who thinks that Katrina is ridiculous: she’s a Quaker nurse debutante witch …and mother. I feel like they constantly change her backstory (and then smush them all together) to suit their needs as the story continues.

Movie Review #12- Insidious: Chapter 2

(zero-to-mild spoilers)

Did I see the first one? No.

Did it matter? No.

There was enough info to go on since the movie picks up RIGHT AFTER the first, with Renai talking to the police, so it gives you a refresher on what’s happening without infodumping all over the place. The police, obviously, say “so your husband went into the spirit world to rescue your son who was in a coma? You know that’s not a real thing, right?”

Actually, that’s not the first scene, the first scene takes place in 1986, with Josh as a young child being put into a trance by Elise and communicating with a ghost, the ghost of an old woman, who’s creeping everyone out.

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Her ghost, along with a serial killer’s ghost looking for a host body to reclaim his lost youth are terrorizing the Lamberts. The ghosts primarily haunt the children while Renai is left to wonder about the questionable state of her husband and run around wondering if ghosts are trying to steal her baby, hearing singing on baby monitors, haunted toys, someone playing the piano. It plays into the “a mother’s worst fear” thing. Fortunately Renai is smart. Josh’s mom, Lorraine, is smart, too and contacts Elise’s cohorts to help defeat the evil ghosts. Carl, Specs, Tucker and Lorraine lead an investigation that takes them to a haunted abandoned hospital (and a house where the serial killer used to live, which is still there, and still has little kid stuff. That’s not so logical.) While they’re hunting down the source, Renai is getting creeped out and Josh is going bad from the inside out. They decide that they are in over their heads and need to contact Elise for help.

There are a few moments that made Dr. Chris yelp like a frightened tween (and the theater was full of actual tweens, since this is rated PG13).

There’s layers, there’s interesting filming tactics (GhostHunters/Paranormal activity style filming here and there. Parts that look studio but aren’t touched up.) there’s some genuine laughs…

Mostly from these two:

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who run around dressed like a couple of GeekSquad CSAs. Their clumsy courage through humor reminded me of why I would never be a ghost hunter.  I would be screaming at everyone: “I HATE IT HERE AND I WANT TO LEAVE!” because they faced some creepy, corpse-y stuff.. and I was scared.

Dalton was a pretty gutsy kid.

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Overall it was relatively clever, a few genuine surprise shocks, a decent amount of tension and a couple good jokes.

BUT I have no idea why they had to make the serial killer dress in drag. This whole “A man in a dress must be psycho and dangerous!” trope must be shot dead. STOP DOING THAT it would have been scary without a wedding dress. NO REALLY, KNOCK IT OFF.

Side note, there’s also this one part where Josh/Parker is explaining the “the dead want what we have, they want life” HOW MANY HORROR MOVIES HAVE SAID THIS?

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Useless information recall: Christina Milian said it circa 2006 in Pulse “They want what they don’t have anymore. They want life.”

I like my horror movie characters to exist in a world that has horror movies, thanks. Aside from that, ageism takes a holiday, moms kick butt, and a shadowy spooky plot that sets up a potential third movie (I actually hate when movies do that)

3 STARS

Buffy the Vampire Slayer- S2 Ep6

Just watched the Season 2 Halloween episode of Buffy in which everyone becomes what ever they dressed up as for Halloween. 

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Buffy becomes a helpless 18th century noble woman, Xander is a brave soldier

And Willow:

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becomes a ghost. Luckily under that sheet, she looked totally fierce

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Anyway, various towns people turn into demons and apemen and vampires. After watching this episode about 15 years ago, it really impacted what I chose to wear for Halloween. If my costume came from a spellbound costume shop would I want to spend who knows how long as a French maid, or sexy pirate #4 or PocaHOTness? No way!

The past few years my costumes have slanted toward the superhero/super-villain variety. I know it’s a little early to start picking out your costumes (though, you can never really start too early).. But what do you go for? The scary, the sexy, the funny, the grotesque? Pop culture references? Celebrities? Classic monsters? 

The sheer number of sexy demons and ancient goddesses at most parties I’ve attended would mean havoc if this Sunnydale occurrence happened for real. 

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I would have loved to see Cordelia as a wereleopard, for the record.