Horror docs, festivities, and a sitcoms of various shades have been setting the tone of my December 2018...
Click "READ MORE" below to see this month's looks, sounds, vibes & flavours...
F Is For Family: Season 3 - another entertaining season for Bill Burr & Co's 1970s animated family drama. The mix of harsh humour and relatable everyday human drama remains the show's high card, and while overall the third season hasn't quite lived up to the quality of the first two, I'm crossing my fingers for a fourth season.
Screaming in High Heels: The Rise & Fall of the Scream Queen Era - a fun, informative, and revealing documentary on the VHS horror heyday when Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer, and Brinke Stevens ruled the roost as the ultimate 'Scream Queen' trifecta. The doc also features appearances by the likes of Fred Olen Ray, David DeCoteau, and other faces that will be familiar to viewers of movies like Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-rama. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the doc is getting to learn more about the lives before, during, and after the scream queen era for Quigley, Bauer, and Stevens (e.g. the latter of whom started out as an aspiring marine biologist).
To Hell & Back: The Kane Hodder Story - an intimate, revealing, and informative look into the life and career of the Jason Voorhees actor who appeared in Parts 7 through 10 of the Friday the 13th franchise. The tale of his ill-judged 'full body burn' for a news reporter - and the resulting injuries and months of agonising recovery - will leave viewer's jaws on the floor, but Hodder's resilience and strength of character shines through the harrowing dark times and explains why he's such a fan favourite icon of horror.
Psychoville - it's been quite a few years since Steven Pemperton and Reece Shearsmith's gloriously twisted dark comedy originally aired on BBC2, so I fancied a revisit. The first series is especially strong with the extraordinarily bizarre pairing of mother & son serial killers Maureen and David being the absolute highlight. Indeed, in the second episode of series two there is one moment involving the pair (and a couple of dinner guests) that is riotously over-the-top. I'd completely forgotten it happened, so the second viewing resulted in the same explosion of gasping laughter as the first time.
Bad Santa 2 (DVD) - the 2003 film is a modern classic and is pitch perfect. The sequel? Not so much. Missing the writers and director of the original film doesn't help, and while there are a few moments of laugh-out-loud comedy scattered about the film, at times it feels as if it's not quite going far enough (strangely) while at other times the kinda weak story lets the film down. Fortunately, the sense of heart hidden behind the acerbic mouth of the franchise remains. Strongly tempered expectations are the best way to go into this. If the original was a 10/10, this belated sequel is more like a 5/10.
Bob's Burgers: Season 3 - it has taken a whole ruddy year to get all the episodes for seasons 3 and 4 recorded to the DVR (Comedy Central haven't bothered showing them in sequence, and they're not On Demand either), but finally I was able to start catching up on the episodes I had previously missed.
Two Doors Down: Series 1 & 2 - finally, BBC iPlayer puts up the entire series, so I got the chance to catch up on the episodes I had missed. This Scottish sitcom about a group of middle aged neighbours has a low key set-up, but the characterisation is stellar (e.g. Kathy, the 40-something alcoholic with the personality of a toddler during their 'terrible twos'; Christine, the most senior and most coarse member of the group).
Ant-Man & The Wasp (Blu-Ray) - not quite as sharp and boldly entertaining as the first (could the absence of Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish on the script front is the reason?), but after the epic events of Avengers: Infinity War it comes as a welcome palette cleanser on a smaller and more personal scale, with plenty of 'small/big' fun along the way. The tip-top cast shines and makes up for the underdeveloped villains (although they are a little more interesting than the first flick's re-tread of the Iron Man plot). Even with some wobbles there's plenty that shines. A third helping, please!
Daniel Lanois "The Many Miles We Walk (That's The Way It Is)" - anyone who's played the climactic mission of Red Dead Redemption II's sixth chapter will get goose bumps just reading that song title.
John Carpenter "Prince of Darkness" OST
Chromatics "Night Drive"
VIBES & FLAVOURS:
Christmas - obviously ... it's December, innit.