The Strain- Episode 3

We open with opera and Eichorst’s freaky face. He applies silicone, makeup, hair, dentures and contact lenses to blend in as a human. He tells his reflection that he is almost done hiding. 

Eph and Nora are trying to find out what happened to the bodies. No jumping to conclusions. Did another agency take the bodies to hide the autopsy results? Was the military involved with the deaths? 

One of the survivors, Ansel, is fighting symptoms, his gums painful and bleeding, his throat sore. He has pain in his neck and ringing in his ears. His spouse is upset, she is worried for his health.

Captain Redform is in an incubator, Eph makes promises he can’t keep about how they will find out what is infecting him. And it’s Nora who recalls “the old man they had arrested at the airport.” Abraham warned them. Not sounding so crazy now.

Jim from the CDC, who was involved with allowing Augustin to leave with the coffin, meets with Eichorst who tries to pay him. Jim demands to know what was in the box. Eichorst, obviously, won’t reveal and Jim says he is going to the police. Eichorst brings up Jim’s dying wife. Ohhh, the dying wife motivation ZzzzzzzzzZzzz…. Anyway, Eichorst says that he can get Jim’s wife into a limited drug trial that could mean her salvation on top of the money. Now Jim is entirely under his thumb.

Abraham is at his hearing for the nuisance charge of tresspassing. The judge is perturbed by Abraham’s sword cane. He plays for feeble. Nora confronts him outside, Abraham says that the survivors must be destroyed. Nora is freaked out.

Ephraim’s family drama hits the fan. Zach says he wants to live with his mom, every other week with his dad. “Because his dad has a really important job.” Eph lashes out verbally (out of earshot from his son) but the ex blames it all on him, but sh says it’s not too late. That Zach and Eph can be closer, but that he has to show it, not just say it. Then it’s back to work.

Gabriel is not into rehearsal or video shoots. Apathy.

The board of health dude is visiting the home of a child who was bitten by a rat at the mouth. He catches the patriarch smoking Cuban cigars. He says that rats like cigars too. “this place has changed hands 5 times in seven years and now you know why.” Outside he hears hoards of rats.

Jim’s wife gives him the news that she’s gotten into the drug trial after all. Ansel’s dog grows suspicious of him. Then he drinks beef blood. His wife catches him. RUN FOR THE HILLS.

Gabriel’s balls are falling off. His personal doc encourages him to go to the hospital but he’s scared he’ll end up on TMZ.

Abraham employs an industrious young techie chick to find the passenger list from the plane in exchange for a video game console.

Eph and Nora are with Redform who ominously says “He’s here.”

Zach is at home watching his dad save the world on his iPad. Then he goes down stairs to see his mom. His mom is tearfully flipping through a photo album. 

Eichorst kills someone. There’s too many people on this show.

Gabriel’s hair is falling out. One of his eyes is bloodshot. Then his dick falls off.

wteq

Jim delivers news to Nora and Eph that his wife is accepted into the drug trial. They are overjoyed, but Jim cannot take the same joy; knowing how this came to be. Redform has escaped. They go on the search. Jim finds him in the basement eating raw meat. Jim alerts the others that he’s found the Captain, they rush in while the pilot attacks them, that tentacle thing coming out of his mouth. Eph bashes the vampire’s head in. But, now those at the CDC can’t deny that something truly bizarre is happening here.

Let us take a brief moment to acknowledge the stereotypes involved that allowed Eichorst to employ people to spread the epidemic. Augustin, a gang member, was bribed/blackmailed over his brother’s criminal record and his mother’s immigration status. However, a large demographic of Hispanics in NY are Puerto Rican. PR, of course, being part of the US. Why so many people forget this is baffling to me. Now, Augustin could be Central American of Cuban, I don’t know, I didn’t see that it was noted, if it was when Eichorst showed the documents then feel free to correct. But portrayals that lead to the equation: poor + Hispanic = illegal is problematic as all fuck. Because chances are they’d be Nuyorican. (And yes, I am pointing this out even though del Toro is Mexican, it’s still a stereotype regardless)

And then of course we have Jim’s dying wife. A wife invented so that feeble Jim would have motivation for betraying his title and dooming the US to vampirism. A wife that will do nothing else to advance the plot in anyway, if I had to venture a guess.

But on the good? Kelly Goodweather (Natalie Brown, 2004’s Day of the Dead) gets a bit more sympathetic. And Nora and Eph don’t have untimely makeout sessions. Wooo! 

But there are too many people on this show. And not enough Abraham. 

31 Horrifying Days- Day 4: Thinner (1996)

Visually, this movie has that creepy thing happening where everything looks clean, shiny and bright… but it all looks a little too good to be true. Billy Hallbeck might be the poster child for gluttony. The overweight lawyer’s appetite doesn’t stop with Doritos and fine desserts, he’s  pompous, self absorbed and money hungry. He’s just won a big case when a “gypsy caravan” comes to Fairview. After a date with his wife, she’s giving him road head to distract him from thinking about food when he runs over an old “gypsy” woman, the old woman dies and Billy feels no remorse, his status ensures that he doesn’t see jail time and he feels no remorse for his actions. On the way out of the court, he’s approached by a long haired old man named Tadzu who touches his face and says just one thing: “Thinner.”

And Billy does get thinner. First 2 pounds a day, then 4… then more. 40 pounds in 2 weeks. And it only becomes more rapid.

His wife who has tried to put Billy on every fad diet is at first pleased, but quickly becomes concerned. She asks him to see his doctor, who tells him “Your blood work is 5 by 5” (was that really a 90s phrase?! Faith Lehane said that all the time)

Billy gets more and more manic, constantly shovelling food down his throat to slow the effects of the curse, he checks in on his friend who helped cover up the accident and finds he is turning into a lizard man. His wife tries to check him into a clinic but he goes on the hunt for the caravan. He find them. They are not so forgiving. 

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Tadzu laughs in his face while smoking hot Gina Lempke (Kari Wuhrer, Anaconda, “Sliders”, Maria Hill in “Avenger’s Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” and the upcoming Sharknado 2:the Second One) chases him off with a slingshot. He keeps pursuing them as he drops pounds and starts losing his grip, he increasingly holds his wife responsible “Was I giving myself a blowjob?”  He becomes so thin that he is frail and sunken and enlists “Criminal Minds” actor Joe Mantegna to coerce the gypsies into lifting the curse.

The Roma relent… eventually. But there’s only one way out of the curse: pass it on. Will Billy die clean or with blood on his hands? Will he accept responsibility for his actions? For most writers, the outcome would be assured but with Stephen King behind the source material… 

So fucking obviously: “Gypsy” is an ethnic slur. And in this film the caravan are very much a scary and magical other. Which is classist, racist and bigoted. “The white man from town” AKA Billy is a parody of yuppie culture. So there are other exaggerations, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that they are completely stereotyped and repeatedly called what is an ethnic slur. Yeah, yeah, someone’s gonna tell me that no one was PC in 1996. More valid, the fact that Billy and the other lawyers are terrible people who are greedy assholes and probably bigots and racists. 

Also, the overweight main character who lives in a house full of chips and is a gluttonous asshole who can’t walk up a flight of stairs? Offensive.

But is it scary: Yeah, a little? It’s actually a bit creepy. The special effects make up and eerie lighting enhance the mood. It’s never really possible to root for Billy. He’s not a good person. And there’s no reason to feel bad for him. So as the tension ramps up… you’re never really hoping that Billy gets out alive but somehow you still get caught up in the fast pace of the film. Mostly this is due to Robert John Burke (“Rescue Me”, 2 Guns) and his crazy eyes, he and his cursed friends convincingly manic behavior keeps the intensity and creep factor alive more than the story itself. 

3.5/5

Movie Review #17: Sorority Party Massacre

This Anchor Bay released flick boasts *big names* like Kevin Sorbo (Hercules the Legendary Journeys) and adult film star and rum hawker Ron Jeremy. The plot begins with the somewhat grisly but comparatively tame murder of Holly, the daughter of Sorbo’s character. Detective Watts (Thomas Downey; Pirates of Treasure Island, Dracula’s Curse) is sent in from the big city to investigate. The first victim had been heading for a Sorority meet up where girls were to compete for an elite scholarship. They other girls, played by Eve Mauro (Zombies vs Strippers, Mirror Image), Marissa Skell (Slumber Party Slaughter), Yvette Yates (I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell), Rebecca Grant, Alison Mei Lan and Adrian Kirk (616:Paranormal Incident) are doing degrading and outrageous things to please Stella… but are they killers?

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While trying to uncover the truth Detective Watts is hampered by Sheriff Lumpkin, playing the typical bumbling small-town cop.

Thomas Downey has played Watts several times; Paranormal Incident, Mirror Image, 616: Paranormal Incident and will be filling that role again in the upcoming Bachelorette Party Massacre. So seemingly, those films all exist in the same world as this film- which shares it’s mythos with the 1982 flick Slumber Party Massacre 1, 2 & 3, Cheerleader Massacre, Sorority House Massacre 1 & 2, and Hard to Die. The only of these series I watched were the trio of Slumber Party Massacres and I can say without a doubt that this film has nothing in common with the originals. This would have been a much more enjoyable film is it stuck to it’s campy roots instead of relying on hyper glamorized camera angles and pornography premises… ie; hot nerd in bikini is ordered to clean out the horse stables.

Slumber Party Massacre is one of my all time favorites (truth? I even like the 2nd one where the killer has a drill guitar and sings and busts through walls). We saw from the killer’s perspective, stalked the girls through windows and we wanted the girls to band together, save each other and live long enough to get their pizza delivered.

This one did not measure up. It’s too bad, because while the opening scene was a little too similar to Scream the method of murder and the slow motion, boob giggling attempted escape shown over a slow ethereal Deftones track was GORGEOUS. But sadly there’s not much for scares or surprises after that. Instead of girls banding together vs an interloper, we have catty brats out for themselves, and while all these darlings were super hot, there’s something decidedly not cute about that. Sorority Party Massacre should have stuck more to the originals. Maybe it wouldn’t have been unique but Mean Girls, Scream, Scary Movie and pornography tropes did nothing to help.

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The only thing really going for it is the opening scene and the fact that there’s some serious hot girl eye candy. 1 Star.

But if you like this sort of thing check out the teaser art for the next film Bachelorette Party Massacre here:

http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/66474/exclusive-first-news-bachelorette-party-massacre-and-teaser-art#axzz2reu4YQDg