Deliciously dark drama, refreshed writing, and a chainsaw-wielding ass kicker...
Click "READ MORE" below for this month's looks, sounds, vibes & flavours...
Fargo: Season 2 - it has taken a couple of episodes to get into the groove of this new story, particularly after the spectacular first season, but once again I'm hooked. Noah Hawley, the guiding light of this show, is one talented dude. Added bonus? Bruce Campbell as Ronald Reagan!
Ash vs Evil Dead: Season 1 - ridiculously good fun! The last new Evil Dead we had was in 1993 (yes, there was the remake, but I'm talking *real* Evil Dead - O.G. Evil Dead - Bruce Campbel Evil Dead), so this has been a long time coming. When I heard that a prospective fourth movie (after the success of the remake) was being turned into a TV show I wasn't sure if it could work - but boy howdy, does it work something fierce! Preposterously entertaining - and Season 2 is already confirmed! Obviously the show is finding its feet - as all do during their first season - so out of the five episodes I've seen thus far, I'd say that episodes one, two, and four have been the best. The 'Raimi look' ebbs and flows a bit with different directors, so it'll be interesting to see which directors will be back in the next season. Even though episodes three and five aren't quite as good as one/two/four, they're still thoroughly entertaining, and I cannot wait to see the rest of the episodes and for season two to roll around!
SS Experiment Camp (DVD) - full review of 88 Films' recently released DVD here.
The Returned: Series 2 - the belated return of this French mystery drama. I've seen it referenced in numerous places as a "zombie" show, but frankly there's been nothing to suggest 'zombies' at all - these are "revenants", which are an entirely different thing. Anyway, nerd moment aside, it's more moody goodness, albeit not quite as gripping as the first series. Perhaps it's the extra anticipation the lengthy wait has created, or perhaps the pace of the episodes is just a little slower than beforehand ... that said, every episode gives us new information, new mysteries, and new revelations, so even if there are some plots that seem to evolve frustratingly slow, there's plenty going on to keep you invested.
Halloween II: Unrated Director's Cut (Blu-Ray) - Rob Zombies divisive, and rather patchy, follow-up to his rather successful (and enjoyable) remake of John Carpenter's iconic slasher flick. Listening to the commentary, it sounds as if there were various production issues: not enough time to shoot everything, and a rushed screenplay - so it's no wonder it came out as rough as it did. It succeeds as a more Laurie-focused story, delving into the psychologically broken aftermath of such a traumatic experience, but being a Halloween movie it is a bit light on Michael Myers in some regards. Production Design wise the film is very strong, and RZ conjures up numerous scenes that impress - particularly in this superior Director's Cut of the film. Sheriff Brackett's moment of grief later in the movie is handled brilliantly, for example. On the other hand you have an interesting - but disjointed - sub plot with Sam Loomis as a bit of an arrogant author; it's a nifty idea, but it feels totally disconnected to the rest of the movie. Troubled and patchy, but intermittently spot-on, H2 is a decidedly flawed yet mostly strong entry in the series. It may not be the best, and pissed off a fair number of people for various reasons, but it craps all over the abominable Halloween: Resurrection from a great height ... and let's not forget that Halloween 4, 5, and 6 aren't that great either! In my personal estimation it goes: H1/H2/RZ#1/H20/RZ#2/H3/H6/H4&5/Resurrection.
More Brains: A Return To The Living Dead - the definitive retrospective making-of documentary for the Dan O'Bannon zombie comedy from 1985. A good way to compliment another viewing of the original movie itself.
The Walking Dead: Season 6 - at the time of posting there's still the mid-season finale to go, but thus far the sixth season has been quite a ride, continuing to deliver nerve-shredding tension, full-blooded horror, and more zombies than you can shake a severed limb at.
Ted 2 (Blu-Ray) - more mucky mayhem from everyone's favourite rogue teddy bear. Thoughts on it here.
Starman - I watched it for the first time a few days before the end of November and it's been haunting me ever since. Thoughts on it here.
Rob Zombie "Educated Horses", "Zombie Live", "Hellbilly Deluxe 2", "Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor", and "Spookshow International Live"
Captain Clegg and The Night Creatures "Dr. Demon & The Robot Girl"
Francis Haines "Trioxin Theme"
Nine Inch Nails "Broken"
Power Tool "Two Heads Are Better Than One"
Ringo Deathstarr "Guilt"
Jack Nitzsche "Starman Leaves" - having finally got around to seeing John Carpenter's "Starman", consider me just a little bit smitten by it. This piece from the film's score sums up the beautiful yet melancholic vibe to the whole story.
VIBES & FLAVOURS:
"The 7th Rub" - aka "Compulsion" - some re-drafting work.
"We Should Eat Ice Cream Too" - some re-drafting work.
"A Sideline In Vengeance" - planning & research on my next screenplay. I'm getting the story mapped out, breaking down the characters, and generally working the overall jigsaw that is this writing project. A lot of work has gone into it so far, and there'll be a lot more to do before it's finished. More updates on it as-and-when.
"Sin City Volume 3: The Big Fat Kill" by Frank Miller
"Sin City Volume 1: The Hard Goodbye" by Frank Miller
"Dug Deep" - further re-drafting after doing some significant re-writes last month.