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. 

The Strain- episode 2

Augustin transports the “cargo”

Eph is at JFK, he finds his smashed up colleague. Did they say his name was Peter Bishop?! Nora sees that the same “white foam” that is separated blood proteins are all that remains. 

The attorney argues that they are not needed under quarantine. She works to try to get them sprung. Palmer is trying to get them sprung as well. Eichorst pays a visit to Abraham who is still being held at the airport. Eichorst refers to Abraham by the number he had tattooed on his arm at the concentration camp. Augustin returns home, tells off his lazy brother for bringing stolen goods into the house.

Eph and Nora try to find out why the quarantine is being broken. They say that a quarantine would “shut down trade” …there’s no way that’s accurate, but okay. They pay a visit to the pilot who tells them that the mysterious “box” was loaded on by “officials with badges”

Eph receives a text from his son while he and Nora are examining the parasites. He says that what they are working on Nora convinces him that he’s making his soon to be ex accurate, that his work is more important than his son. 

The rockstar and the lawyer are experiencing ringing in their ears, the lawyer is hiding that her gums are bleeding profusely. 

Eph’s wife says “I’m so glad you’re handling the emergency with the plane” while Matt is turning his office into a gameroom for Zach. Eph shakes the other man’s hand trying to keep peace just after her friend Diane tells Eph off for not remembering her name. She makes some biting comments implying that he’s self centered. Eph tries to talk to Zach about the custody hearing and that he wants joint custody. Then Eph is at an AA meeting. Trying to prove to himself and everyone else that he can be reliable… but he comes clean; that he is self centered, emotionally distant, that he’s upset about his situation, that he’s sarcastic and bitter. That he can’t lose Zach, because he’s all he has left.

Gabriel is having a foursome with three ladies but can’t get it up, he impulsively bites one, hard enough for her to drip blood as she exits, he screams at them to leave and laps the blood off the floor.

Pilot Redford is laid up, he says that his skin is crawling and he feels like he swallowed a razor. Eph sees the worms crawling under his skin.

The man who punched Eph calls him and says that his little girl came home to him. Alive. Eph thinks the man is seeing ghosts. He and Nora are heading to the morgue. Once they get there they find no signs of life… and that the body bags are empty, they find the ME’s smashed glasses.

Palmer goes to see “the box.” But it is empty except for the grave dirt. Then the master stands before him.

Gary goes to check on Emma. Emma’s becoming a creep. She says she’s hungry, then her hair starts to fall out. Gary, still in shock pretends this is par for the course and tries to get her to dry off. But she attacks him, a fleshy tentacle springs from her mouth and sucks him dry through his neck

Both Robin Atkin Downes and Robert Maillet (upcoming films Septic Man and Hercules) are credited as playing “the Master” I’, unclear as to who is under the hood. Eph leaving to have personal probs while vampires are getting loose really takes away from the suspense …but it is more realistic. This trope though, with the main protag as an addict/alcoholic… most people can’t do their jobs messed up. So Eph is the top of his field… how did he achieve this station while boozing? He doesn’t seem to make friends easily. 

Not enough Abraham. 

The Strain- episode 1

Considering all the weird ass things that have happened with planes recently, this is very… uhh… timely. On an international flight out of Berlin. A stewardess is preparing passengers for landing. She’s called to the front of the plane by the pilot, deals with a couple trouble passengers and gets to the front. The pilot is freaking out, says there is something alive in the cargo hold. The stewardess tries to calm him so he doesn’t incite panic, but then something hops through the floor.

A man that can’t have it all!!! Dr. Ephraim Goodweather of the CDC is late for his third custody counselling session. He and his wife are separated. His life is work. She’s started seeing someone. Matt, he’s an operations manager at Sears. Ephraim thinks of him as a manchild. His soon to be ex-wife says that Eph was never present enough, that he got straight A’s at his job but isn’t what she needs. He doesn’t want to give up on their marriage, but it gets all sorts of “this is what we’re talking about as his phone rings and he’s called to investigate the plane.

Old man pawnbroker, Abraham, gets a visit from two thugs looking to unload a stolen watch, they try to grab money from the counter but he grabs an arm and threatens to slit the criminal’s wrist open. The men flee and The old man sees the news about a plane from Berlin and he knows immediately that “it is him” and he goes downstairs to talk to a heart in a jar about it. He says he doesn’t know if he has the strength to do it all over again. The heart responds, beating. He asks it if it is hungry and pierces a finger tip, then he drips the blood into the jar. 

Abraham gets one hell of an entrance.

Ephraim complains to his hot partner (and former/current? lover), Nora, about how his counselling went as they suit up. They get on the plane and go through the lengthy process of searching the plane and examining passengers for clues as to what may have happened… when a handful of passengers start to wake up.

The four surviving passengers get quarantined as they decide what to tell families and the press. Attorney, pilot, rockstar …and a nerdy guy. Eph and the CDC find a huge coffin …with a latch on the inside. Elsewhere, Eph’s ex-wife, son and the new guy are watching the news. Matt tries to make light of it, Zack says, “Don’t worry. Wat ever it is, my dad will take care of it.” But he sends a text to his dad to ask if he’s ok.

Eph smiles as he texts back, reassuring his son. His partner catches him and gives him a pep talk before he addresses the public, they hug and he kisses her hair. Which is sweet but also leaves his colleague alone inside while the CDC packs up the cargo. He thinks that he hears something and goes to investigate.

He encounters a shrouded figure with bloody extra limbs that claws his neck and sucks blood through those extra arms. The man is emptied of his blood, gets his neck snapped and skull cracked in.

Completely different manner of death than everyone on the plane..

Elsewhere an old man enlists the help of a Hispanic thug (and wanna be boxer) to drive cargo out of the airport. The man has provided a truck and security badge. In exchange for this errand, the old man says that he will clear the other man’s brother’s criminal record and take care of his mom’s “immigration status.” 

206 passengers are dead and they don’t know why.  One of the parents punches him in the face. Soon to be ex watches from home.The victims have no red blood cells, white foam appears in their veins. blood proteins have been separated. 

As they are trying to find what became of the coffin, the medical examiner is examining the organs and we see bunches of those tiny worms writhing around inside. The examiner drops a heart full of a swarm of worms as they try to get under his glove. suddenly, the deceased pop up around him and attack him.

The coffin escapes. Augustin calls his mother to check in on her. The old man who hired him tells his cohorts that the cargo is safe and that those on the plane will return home to their loved ones.

And they do, we see a young girl from the plane, Emma, whose father had punched Ephraim  return home to her father alone.

Corey Stoll is incredibly cast as Ephraim. In the same way that I think Halle’s role on “Extant” is amazing at challenging domestic gender roles (Halle’s Molly doesn’t have a life centered around family or pregnancy, she thinks of her career and her own immediate safety/health) Ephraim is a good father but can’t seem to “have it all” with a demanding job and stable home life. 

Creepy parasites that turn people into vampires and the CDC comprises main characters? Well, that’s very V-Wars

Ephraim’s partner is a cliche. Men and women are never friends. She’s a spicy Latina. I imdb’d it and she only appears to be in 3 eps. 

David Bradley (Abraham) and the creepy effects are what really does it for me here.

Hemlock Grove: Season 2 *SPOILERS*

I did a video review for this

it’s posted on the youtube page for the radio show I co-host, Radio Of Horror. Watch it, subscribe (there’s clips from our show, video reviews for films and interviews that won’t usually be cross posted here) and you can give us a “like” on the facebook.

But there was a few thing I wanted to elaborate on a little more. That’s why you’re here right.
one major gripe I had was that the didn’t show the threesome

And as discussed in the video, this is NOT family entertainment. In general, there’s several murders, gore, plenty of sex. Hell, there is rape. Roman rapes someone and then erases her memory in season one. Through out the series they really play up this “bromance’ between Roman and Peter (I don’t like to read it that way, it makes sense that they get along since really no one would understand them) but when Miranda falls for the both of them and initiates a threeway… …there’s a blank space between when Roman follows Miranda and Peter upstairs that lasts until they are fully clothed the next day having coffee.
Oh fuck you, Netflix.

You think it’s okay to show a teenager being raped but not consensual polyamorous sex?
Fuck you. Fucking rape culture at it’s finest.
And a prime example of sexism. On two counts.
ONE) that we were shown a young woman being victimized, but an adult woman taking charge and insisting on what she want sexually (two hot men that she has romantic affection for as well as physical attraction to) results in something that is considered too taboo for it’s audience.
TWO) the friendship between the two creeps, the alternated jealousy and tenderness they have for eachother falls into the bromance trope. but sweet jesus forbid that we see that their male parts go anywhere near each other. Why play around like that then? We saw Clementine getting out of bed with a woman in season one, so homosexual relationships have been (vaguely) shown. But two men? better not. It would destroy the “manliness” or someshit. fuck that.

On the GIRL POWER
Destiny Rumancek plays a much larger role this season. She immediately gets involved with helping Peter get Lynda out of jail and is no longer hanging around just to weave some mystical shit and lead the MCs in the right direction. She has her own agenda, goals and relationships even if they are not central to the plot. Without her to use her psychic powers and kick some ass they’d have been screwed. Destiny is played by Mohawk actress Kaniehtiio Horn. She gets to shove a dagger in someone’s balls. She looks out for Peter. She hooked up with a (probably) hitman. It’s good.

Shelley also gets a more central role. Before she was sort of an accessory. She caused Olivia discomfort. She made Roman seem more likeable and human, he treated her with kindness and she brought out that goodness and light in an otherwise creepy and psychopathic character. This season she was really out on her own, she made friends on her own, she made decisions for herself (although she was somewhat betrayed by those around her while making them). She has a sweetness and understanding that remains uncorrupted despite the horrible conniving people around her, but it’s not (all) out of naivete, she understands why her mother is the way she is and accepts that.

Olivia gets some depth. Instead of the bored icequeen she becomes more empathetic. Famke Janssen delivers Olivia’s lines impeccably. While she is being treated after her near death she begins to become more human. And she fucking hates it. But then it becomes who she is. She decides to cause less suffering. She decides to do the maternal thing and save Shelley instead of herself. She wants to be good, but when Norman and Roman don’t forgive her previous misdeeds she quickly reverts to a baby snatching crazy lady. But hey, that’s self preservation. You don’t live centuries without that drive.

Why is “gypsy” a slur?
Ok, because I have heard “I don’t understand how ‘gypsy’ is racist” a few times. Usually followed by “how come no one is mad about it then?”

“Gypsy” is an ethnic slur towards the Romani people. They have been discriminated against since the 1500s. They were banned from England because Romani were seen as godless/devilish accused of witchcraft and they were evicted. 1700s saw the Romani hung without trial, mutilated by branding or having their ears cut off to identify Romani in Austria and the surrounding areas. They were murdered en masse, including children. They were slaves in Romania until 1856. In WWII, the Nazi regime saw them on par as enemies to the Aryan race along with Jewish people and blacks. The number of Romani wiped out is unclear because of different branches and lack of record keeping but is somewhere about half a million and below a million and a half Romani. In 1997, some Romani immigrated to Canada (legally, as refugees) and there was protest from neo-nazis. As recently as 2007 Romani children were forcibly segregated in Slovakian schools.
We’re talking about people who have been mistreated, profiled, discriminated against, victimized, denied education, maimed and killed because of their heritage.
And the word “Gypsy” is connected to the word “gypped” -meaning robbed, ripped off, screwed, fucked over. But really it’s the Romani who have been fucked over. so remember that next time you’re packing for vacation and hashtag your photo #gypsylife.
really? that’s not “Gypsy life” in the least.
So now you know.

Newsday- Nintendo, Fred Williamson, Summer TV +more

Mario Kart 8, work and training for a 5k has eaten my blogging life. I didn’t pick up my comics yet this week, so I figured I’d tell you what’s on my mind.

Penny Dreadful, which I have been loving is renewed for season 2! After 4 episodes! FINALLY a show that I like doesn’t get axed with plotlines hanging around everywhere!

Fred Williamson, AKA “the Hammer” ex-football player and total badass has a new movie called The Last Hit Man. Written, directed and starring Williamson, with Franco Nero and Gary Busey. I got to meet Fred Williamson at TerrorCon over the weekend. I attended his Q&A where he said he turns down 4 or 5 movies every week (every WEEK) because the black characters are written as spoofs or goons or idiots who die in the first 5 minutes. Kudos to him for being uncompromising and making it work on his own terms, but shame on Hollywood for presenting the choice as “don’t work” or “degrade yourself”. It’s a damn shame. 

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He’s also in his 70s and will still kick your ass.

Under the Dome is back on June 30th, Stephen King himself  releases/reads the intro to snowball some hype. We have to wait until July 9th for Extant- Halle Berry fronts this scifi CBS show… about a woman impregnated by aliens after a trip to space. +3 for diversity, +1 for Spielberg, +2 for women in science… but impregnated by aliens? yeesh. Apocalypse/saviour baby plots are not my fave. Raped by aliens is not good. 

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TRUEBLOOD’s final season kicks off in a couple weeks. Rumor mill says there will be a same sex hook-up (“from non-gay characters”) in ep2. Honestly, I can’t imagine this will be handled in a mature fashion most of the gay characters have been bogged down with tropes on tropes. Every one is still hoping that Alexander Skarsgard is involved. Honestly, I think his little brother is cuter. Which is why I’m counting the days til July 11th when Bill Skarsgard returns as Roman on Netflix original series “Hemlock Grove”. 

Official season 2 trailer, anyone?

Absolutely no one anywhere can wait for the new open world Zelda. But we have to. 2015.

 

 

Penny Dreadful: Episode 4

This episode begins in the daylight. A rare occurrence, and this time it’s not a flash back. Dorian Gray and Vanessa are out at a garden and flirt with each other. I find the topic of them becoming a couple to be rather boring. 

Lots happened and I will discuss them in no particular order: Sir Malcolm accuses Vanessa of betraying Mina, Vanessa retorts that he betrayed Mina her whole life. Which makes further clear that malcolm was abusing his daughter. He’s supposed to be the leader of this group of monster hunters fighting against the darkness and I could not be less sympathetic towards him. Dr. Frankenstein hopes to run away to Africa to help with the mummy, but Sir Malcolm declines.

Ethan on the other hand is stealing my heart. As previously established: I love Josh Hartnett. I loved him in Black Dahlia. I loved him in 30 Days of Night. I loved him in Wicker Park. His voice alone melts my vanilla… anyway, Dr Frankenstein performs a transfusion on the young imprisoned vampire Fenton. Ethan declines. Suspicious. Further evidence he’s a werewolf? Malcolm donates blood, it doesn’t work. But more on Ethan. He takes Brona to the theater (to see a play about a werewolf, no less), it happens to be the same theater company that employs Caliban. At the end of the play Ethan and Brona run into Vanessa and Dorian (who made goo goo eyes across the balcony throughout the show), Vanessa compliments Ethan more than was really needed (perhaps to play up his prowess for Brona’s behalf? Make him look like more of a catch?) but things are more awkward since Dorian has paid Brona for sex and insulted her. Brona abruptly runs off, Ethan goes to confront her and she screams at him “Don’t you realize you’re fucking a skeleton?” and then tells him that if he wants her he has to pay for it like everyone else. 

Elsewhere, the master comes for Fenton and they get the drop on Sir Malcolm. The Master is dastardly looking, yellowish white skin, bloodshot eyes and a mouth full of pointed teeth. He looks sort of like the Master from Buffy. Sir Malcolm flails the fiends off of him and Fenton ends up impaled, bleeding from the head. 

Brona slaps Ethan, races off and collapses in a coughing fit, sputtering blood. Meanwhile, Dorian comes to collect Ethan. Ethan.. rather… ummm… no one talks like this, but he asks Dorian if he ever just wants to be someone else. He says he does and he takes Ethan out for drinks and gambling (on how many rats can a dog kill) Ethan gets freaked out and ends up slamming back whiskey, some blokes pick a fight and he handles it quick. Dorian apologizes and brings Ethan back to his own mansion, with floor to ceiling framed pictures adorning every inch of wall. Ethan says “I saw some pictures I liked before” (People really think Americans are this uncultured.. they aren’t wrong) and described Native American paintings that he saw in a dwelling carved into a cliff. Animals, the sun, the moon. No people. Dorian asks why he liked those. First he says they were “primitive” then he visibly shakes himself and says that they were honest and focussed on what was important. Dorian asks if art can ever be honest. He thinks only music can be, and he plays a recording on a wax cylinder. The song causes Ethan to reflect on his time in London. Monsters, murders, Brona, waking up under the bridge (with what looks like claw marks from clenching his fist into his palm)  and then this…

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And I about climbed into my TV

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I am thoroughly enjoying this show, for the human connections as well as the monsters. But this one was rather soap operatic. I hope we get to some more blood and adventure next week, but it looks as though Vanessa is stealing center stage and we get more backstory on Vanessa and Mina. 

I wonder if Ethan and Dorian are going to wake up together. I wonder what their relationship will be going forward. 

V-Wars #2

This cover:

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I hate it. It looks like a cheesy direct to DVD horror flick. It took me forever to “see” that vamp in the corner left so it appeared to me at first that the woman in the center had her hand down lipring vampire’s pants. Who ok’d this?

A reporter is held hostage by vampires, they’re saying that she doesn’t care about the truth, that she just reads lines. He tells her that vampires aren’t getting due process, that they’re Americans too. He thinks that someone is diverting attention on purpose. He throws around stats proving that humans are more violent.He wants her to tell their side of the story. Yuki Nitobe has to decide whether or not to be their spokesperson. She’s released and calls Luthor (the man from issue 1 who was an expert on vamps, his family turned) . She confesses that she doesn’t like the ratings queen that she has become.

The next day Yuki meets with a vampire named Kyra who has been badly tortured by humans. This scenario happens all the time, “We are the new minority. People are afraid of us and they hate that they are afraid.” That would be reasonable except for that vampires are dangerous and bloodthirsty. Not Kyra, Kyra is a quaker and abstains from violence even as she is being beaten and raped. 

The go to The Red House: a church/cult for vampires to worship and form community.

The black vampire who looks mostly human uses the phrase “One that, like me, can pass” Holy fucking shite with this appropriated garbage. 

Yuki and Martyn go to stop a terrorist plot. Luthor is also there along with homeland security. But when they arrive, it’s not criminals or terrorists, just an abandoned dwelling full of squatters and vagrants, but homeland security open fire while Yuki and Martyn watch in horror. The news reports it as if Homeland busted a volatile terror cell, except for Yuki who asks viewers to question what evidence or weapons they had to show. It nearly costs her her job, but she has a solid contract and great lawyers. Kyra thanks her, but then they are attacked at the Red House. The whole plays explodes. “No one saw anything.” 

She and Luthor drink their problems away and then she goes back on air and proclaims that she is always on the side of truth and she will make sure that the responsible party -no matter who they are- is dragged into the light.