31 Days of Tales From the Crypt – The Man Who Was Death (S01 E01)

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Hello, kiddies.

So, it looks like I’m starting off the first full week of the 31 Days of Tales From the Crypt blog-a-thon at Channel: Superhero, your source for the scrutiny of Small Screen comic-book-based properties.  In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 25 years or so, Tales From the Crypt is an anthology horror series that ran on HBO from 1989 to 1996.  It also spun off two feature length films and an animated series called, Tales From the Cryptkeeper.

Today’s story–the Tales From the Crypt series premiere episode “The Man Who Was Death”–is taken directly from the pages of The Crypt of Terror #17. Thanks to some penny saving publishers and Post Office permit loopholes, The Crypt of Terror #17 is considered to be the very first issue of the Tales From the Crypt comic book.  That’s why it’s fitting that today on day 5, in true Tales From the Crypt fashion, we’ll begin at the beginning… somewhere in the middle.

#17 is the new #1.

#17 is the new #1.

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Review Grab Bag (1-12-14): Meanwhile… in Canada Edition

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It’s the first Fat Guy With Glasses post of 2014!  Woo!  New Years and shit!  It’s 2014’s first Review Grab Bag.  As you all know, a Review Grab Bag is a like a paper bag lunch, full of a few paragraphs on some things that I just wasn’t able to write a long winded, “insightful” review about.  It’s also kinda list-esque, if you squint and tilt your head a bit.

Since it’s a contractual obligation for every blogger to have their first post of any given year be either a Happy New Year post, or some kind of list, this is what you get.  Sure, it’s usually supposed to be a Best/Worst list or an “I’m certainly never doing this again” list, I think the Blog Police will let me slide with this… as long as I wish everyone a Happy New Year at some point.

As it turns out, as an overall percentage, I watched a large number of Canadian Indie Films in 2013.  Some, like One Week, or Adventures of Thunderstorm:  Return of Thor, I was able to eek out full reviews for.  Others, my impressions were not so easy to articulate.  Sorry, you’ll just have to settle for a couple paragraphs abuht each, eh?

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Watching Dead: Season 4 First Half

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So, another half-season of The Walking Dead has come and gone.  The season 4 premiere aired on AMC 8 Sundays ago to the largest audience for any cable TV show ever.  I was one of the millions tuned in, and honestly, despite being thoroughly disappointed in the Season 3 Finale, I have to say I really enjoyed it.  My excitement held up, for the most part, throughout the 8 episodes.  Only one episode could really be called “bad”, and that was a necessary evil.

Obviously, if you continue on to read this, it’s going to be full of both flavours of spoiler, comic & TV.  Don’t read any further unless you’re caught up, or give no fucks.

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Let’s Play, Nintendo

Since the advent of YouTube, there have been videos about video games, made by fans & reviewers of all types… professional, amateur and asshole.  In recent years, a type of video called “Let’s Play” videos have become increasingly popular.  These videos generally feature gameplay of the game, and overlapping commentary from the player.  They could be intended as humourous, critical or as a walkthrough of the game.  No one seemed to care very much about them for a long while… until YouTube started allowing video creators to monetize their channels and videos using ads.  It’s been a while now, and all hell has started to break loose.

Recently, YouTube has pursued video game companies like Nintendo, Mojang, Microsoft, Sony (and presumably all the others out there) to get them to cash in on the advertising revenue of videos featuring their games.  I haven’t exactly got my finger on the pulse of gaming news any more, but now that a company as big as Nintendo has jumped into the fray, with a seemingly heavy handed, Big Brother-esque stance on the issue, it’s gotten my attention.  Nintendo has apparently claimed all rights to any advertising revenue generated by a video featuring gameplay of their games.  At first glance, depending on where you stand on copyright issues, it seems either pretty shitty, or perfectly  understandable.  But like everything else in life, it’s never quite so black or white.

Okay, maybe not everything.

Okay, maybe not everything.

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Watching Dead: Thoughts on Season 3

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Well, Season 3 of The Walking Dead is over, and I’m actually pretty disappointed in the show again.  This season came out roaring like a lion back in October, and stayed strong until the mid-season finale.  When it came back in February, though, it limped in like a lame lamb and, other than a few notable exceptions, what was supposed to be tension building up to an epic final confrontation, ended up being story stalling of a calibre I haven’t seen since watching Dragonball Z every day after supper in the basement of Joy Kidd House, back in University.

Seriously, Kakarot, How many days does it take to attack a Prison?

Seriously, Kakarot, How many days does it take to attack a Prison?

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S. G. Browne’s “Breathers”

Breathers by S. G. BrowneAndy Warner lost everything after his car crashed about 5 months ago. He lost his wife, his daughter, his friends, his home, his life. That’s about when his body reanimated.

Breathers tells a story about a world where zombies are real, sentient, and seen as a gross nuisance to those they’ve left behind. They have no purpose, no civil rights, and no means of making any kind of a new life for themselves. If a zombie decides to venture out in the world, they’re mocked and shunned by day, and actively hunted by frat boys by night.

So, Andy spends his days drinking his parents expensive wine and watching terrible daytime TV. He spends most of his nights the same way. Twice a week he meets with his Undead Anonymous support group. Things stay pretty well the same, until Andy meets a new friend, and decides to start encouraging social change.

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Dead-Alive [Braindead] (1992)

deadalive2There’s an alarming trend in Zombie related media these days.  It seems that in recent years, Zombies are getting more and more serious.  I love a good, serious Zombie story as much as the next Fat Guy With Glasses, and I’ve been around the zombie block enough times to know that all this observation of the human condition that’s been taking place on shows like “The Walking Dead” and movies like “World War Z” is actually the genre returning to its preachy horror suspense roots.  None of that, however, keeps me from missing the comedy gore fests that dominated the 80s and 90s.

“Dead-Alive”, or “Braindead” depending on your location, is in this FGWG’s not-always-that-humble opinion, the pinnacle of the horror comedy genre.

 

 

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Re-Watching Dead: Tell It to the Frogs



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Melanie and I have been rewatching AMC’s The Walking Dead, and we’re now halfway done.

Read what we thought of the show’s second episode, “Tell It to the Frogs.” It’s a doozie.  As always, spoilers lie within.  If you can’t handle that, stay out.


I’m pretty confident that this will go down as being the best episode of the series.  It has everything, everything, I look for in a post-zombie-apocalyptic setting.  A racially diverse group of people barely getting along.  Great characters.  A severed head opening its eyes and gurgling.

The acting in this episode is outstanding.  Particularly by the prinicples.  Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Shane (Jon Bernthal), and Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) knock it out of the park.  Dale and Glenn also shine on the sidelines.  The performance of the hour, however, goes to Michael Rooker.  As Merle, Rooker opens the show with a rant so wild, crazy and desperate, you would almost believe he had been locked and handcuffed on a rooftop with the ominous moans and clamouring of zombies nearby.


This whole episode is fantastic.  Even the lulls are interesting.  There’s so much going on just in the eyes of the actors.  Mel and I are in agreement about the greatness of this episode, so instead of dividing what we agreed on versus disagreed, I’ll be pointing out our favourite parts.  


My Favourite Parts:

Aside from the opening sequence, where Merle goes from incoherent mumblings, to shock, to bargaining with God, to finally a self-reliant rage against God, there are several other quality moments to this particular episode.

First is when Rick reunites with his family.  The scene, which I’ve probably seen 4 times now, still gives me goosebumps (even as I write about it now).  I don’t know if it’s because I’m a (relatively) new father myself, or that I’ve always been drawn to Father-Child moments in television, but the love and relief in his eyes as he falls to the ground in joy with Carl in his arms is breathtaking.  It’s as good a piece of art as any film or TV Show I’ve watched, in my opinion.  To repurpose a line from Bill O’Reilly, there’s no words here.  We see everything that Rick, Lori, Shane, Carl and even some of the other survivors are feeling, in their eyes, and their body language.  I fucking love it when this is done, and works, like it does here.

Another favourite moment, or moments really, is the growing bond between Shane and Carl.  It’s something that wasn’t really explored in the early issues of the comic book.  And should the show ever take the same path…  it will work so much better.  Shane’s such an interesting character on the show at this point.  He’s just trying to build the family he wasn’t ever able to have in the old world.  He’s making the right decisions.  Seriously, Comic Book Shane is a fuck-up, constantly making the wrong survival choices, and letting jealousy cloud his judgement.  TV Shane makes responsible choices, and even when he loses his cool near episode’s end… he’s still doing the right thing.  In the world they’re living in, Ed needed to be beaten to within an inch of his life.  He wasn’t going to understand any other language.

I felt like destroying something that was an asshole, beautiful.

Finally, we have Lori.  I think this episode is as interesting as her character is going to get.  She’s a major part of the greatness of the reunion.  We see pretty much every high and low emotion one can have on her face in the span of a few seconds.  Throughout her interactions with Rick, we can see how much she wants to tell him about her mistake.  Then we see her fly into Shane, over his lie about Rick being dead.  At this point, we can’t tell if Shane was right to lie or not, but we do get to see in his eyes just how hurt he is, now that he’s basically lost that family that he always wanted.

Mel’s Favourite Part:

The opening with Merle was quality.  Mel said, “[he] was a fucker and I was glad to see him left up on the roof… but still, watching him writhe around and beg Jesus to show him the way was uncomfortable…”  In other words… fucking awesome.  But that’s still only second place to her high point of the show:  the ending.

The entire sequence cutting back and forth–from the stairwell and rooftop, to the banks of the quarry with Shane showing Ed what being an asshole will get you in the new world order–is fantastic.  The music is perfect, even if it is a soundalike of John Murphy’s song used during Cillian Murphy’s (or Nick Cage’s) rampage from 28 Days Later (or Kick-Ass).  The show peaks at the very end, though, as we slow pan through first the hacksaw, then the severed hand, and then the still clasped handcuffs hanging every so ominously from that random piece of re-bar as Daryl lets out a pained squeal.

In a word:  

Choice.

Final Thoughts:

This particular episode was directed by Gweneth Horder-Payton, who along with some other movies and series, worked as 1st Assistant Director on 36 episodes of The Shield, and directed 5 of them.  One of them being “Of Mice and Lem”, the second last episode of Season 5*.  I can’t praise the work done there enough, and it clearly continues on here.  She obviously knows how to squeeze even more talent out of an already talented cast.

Holy Shit.  That was fucktastic.

*If you’ve seen The Shield you know why everything leading up to the end of Season 5 is amazing.  If you haven’t… go buy the DVDs.  Now..

Review Grab Bag (10/2/11)

Welcome again to the Review Grab Bag…  the Review Free-For-All.  If it can be reviewed, it’s fair game… good, great, bad or steaming pile of shit.

As always the Review Grab Bag has an open call to any and all guest reviewers.  The rules are simple:

  1. Have an opinion on a thing.
  2. Write a paragraph or two about it, and e-mail it to me at hamwallet@gmail.com.
  3. Make her open the box.
  4. And that’s the way you do it.
In today’s Grab Bag we have 3 movies, and a downloadable XBox360 title.