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Fear the Walking Dead: Season One Review

Posted in Pop Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2015 by bluefall8

Fear-The-Walking-DeadSeason One of Fear the Walking Dead concluded Sunday with a gripping finale worthy of the series from which it sprung. The six episode arc imported all of the production values and continuity of the main series while it introduced viewers to an entirely different location and set of characters. Fear the Walking Dead averaged more than 11 million viewers per episode over the course of the season; AMC clearly has faith in the product as the network approved a 15 episode second season some two months ago.

I enjoyed the slow burn that this narrative had to offer — too often in post-apocalyptic television shows or films little to no time is given onscreen to witness the breakdown in the social order. Generally, this is presented as something that happened overnight or in a matter of hours. Personally, I found the approach in Fear the Walking Dead much more satisfying and quite frankly a more realistic representation as to just how exactly events would unfold under such conditions and how regular people who react.

The problem isn’t even recognized for the threat that it is at first but as the story unfolded that ignorance turned to speculation and confusion and then to panic and fear. And then there was that beautiful period of limbo in which the characters attempted to move forward with their lives as best could be expected under such conditions. After all, we inhabit a very large and complicated society — it isn’t likely that all of our systems of social order would simply crumble in a day or two. In reality the decay of our daily routine would be a persistent, steady creep.

I most identified with the characters of Travis and Nick and felt that Cliff Curtis and Frank Dillane were exceptional in their respective roles. Curtis was authentic as the father turned community leader whose aim it was to maintain the peace until order had been restored and Dillane managed to portray a troublesome heroin addict as one of the most likable characters on the entire show. I also enjoyed Ruben Blades’ portrayal of Daniel Salazar as a conflicted man who was prepared to accept the reality of the situation even if it meant he had to revisit the horrors he had committed as a younger man. His performance in Cobalt while he tortured a captive member of the National Guard had substance and provided excellent character development.

The slow but sure erosion of trust between the military and the community was handled deftly as well. Although predictable, if not outright inevitable, the pace was well measured and the viewer was treated to several scenes in which characters on both sides of the fence peeled back the stereotypes and expressed genuine humanity through doubt, remorse, hope and regret. The main characters were treated with respect and those who perished did so in a fashion that served the narrative; no one was simply discarded as a meat puppet. If I have one complaint it is that both Madison and Alicia failed to connect with the audience in the same way that the rest of the cast did. Hopefully, season two will explore these individuals more and thus allow each character to grow.

What secrets will Abigail hold and for that matter what are the true motivations of the enigmatic Stand? What impact will Liza’s shocking death have on the group dynamic? Will Chris blame his father? Will he and Alicia pursue the taboo relationship that was hinted near the end of the season? Now that Griselda’s fate is known and with the group free of immediate danger will Daniel and daughter Ofelia split from the group? Will Nick indeed embrace the madness or will his demons get the better of him and in the process jeopardize the rest of the group?

All fun and interesting questions to ponder and there will be plenty of time to do just that as Fear the Walking Dead won’t return until an as of now unspecified date in 2016.

Horrorlust Radio Episode #004

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2014 by bluefall8

Creator of the Chop Shop and horror hound, Steve, served as co-host for episode #004 of Horrorlust Radio.

In the fourth episode of Horrorlust Radio, Steve and I discuss horror films, the role of sequels and the often blasphemous practice of remakes. We also talk at length about Steve’s childhood and teenage recollections of Halloween which include his involvement in a basement home haunt and a harrowing encounter with a woodland lunatic.

This episode of Horrorlust Radio also features two fresh segments — Cauldron Questions and Pop Horror. In Cauldron Questions my co-host and I answer three burning questions and then in Pop Horror we discuss all things horror in the land of film and television such as The Walking Dead and an independent film titled The Houses October Built. 

Steve and I also explore the the history of his spooky but likable alter-ego, Uncle Dead Guy. And unsurprisingly, we have some fun with speculation regarding potential haunted house visits.

I’m actively seeking sponsors for Horrorlust Radio, if you own or operate a haunted attraction or are otherwise involved or connected to the haunt industry and are interested in such an opportunity you can contact me at the following email address: horrorlust@bluestarproductions.net

Email any questions or comments to the address above or feel welcome to post any reactions to this podcast in the comments section below.

HORRORLUST RADIO: EPISODE 004

SHOW NOTES

The book I referenced on several occasions during the podcast is called Shock Value and was written by Jason Zinoman (Penguin Press, 2011).

Required reading...seriously , go and read it.

Required reading…seriously, go and read it.

Steve and I also discussed a number of old horror comic books which included EC Comics’ most popular title, Tales From the Crypt. In addition to Tales From the Crypt, EC Comics also published The Vault of Horror, The Haunt of Fear and a slew of other non-horror related comics. The company published this style of comic from the 1940’s until the mid-1950’s when it began to focus on the well-known humor magazine, MAD.

In addition to EC Comics’ line of titles we also discussed a pair of titles that Steve was more familiar with from his youth, Creepy and Eerie by Warren PublishingThe former originally had an 18 year run from late 1964 until publication ceased in February 1983; Creepy was resurrected in 2009 and is currently published by New Comic Company LLC in partnership with Dark Horse Comics. Eerie was launched in 1966 and it too ceased publication in February 1983.

For your pleasure, I’ve included a few examples of cover art below.

Tales From the Crypt would later become a hit HBO series from 1989-1996.

Tales From the Crypt would later become a hit HBO series from 1989-1996.

 

Creepy, undoubtedly inspired by its EC Comics forerunners.

Creepy, undoubtedly inspired by its EC Comics forerunners.

 

Eerie, the sister publication to Creepy.

Eerie, the sister publication to Creepy.

The songs and audio clips featured in this episode are listed below in chronological order:

1. “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Cow Finger & Mosquito Pie, 1956)

2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Theatrical Trailer, 1974

3. “Boogie Man” by Mad Sin (Burn & Rise, 2010)

4. Kirk meets Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974

5. “Out of the Dark” by Mad Sin (A Ticket Into Underworld, 1993)

TWD Webisodes & Vincent Price Film Festival Offer Taste of Horror to Come

Posted in Pop Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2013 by bluefall8

The team behind AMC’s The Walking Dead has released another series of webisodes to promote the upcoming fourth season. The creators first launched this idea in 2011 as the show was headed into its second season. That year fans were treated to six webisodes that chronicled the outbreak of the zombie plague from the viewpoint of a mother — the infamous bicycle girl as we would later discover. Last year a four part series entitled Cold Storage was released; in that incarnation a lone survivor seeks refuge inside a storage facility only to discover that it’s no safer than the world at large.

This time around fans can enjoy a three part series called The Oath, which details the unlikely road to survival for one couple. It is, in my opinion, the bleakest of the webisodes to date. I’ve stated before that these brief forays into other areas of The Walking Dead timeline should be considered essential viewing. The webisodes are produced with all the blood, guts, and professionalism as the show itself; the webisodes are directed by Walking Dead special effects guru, Greg Nicotero. The apocalyptic thrill ride will return to AMC Sunday, October 13th at 9pm.

The Redford Theater, located at 17360 Lahser Road in Detroit, will hold a Vincent Price Film Festival this weekend. On Friday, October 4th at 8pm there will be a screening of Diary of a Mad Man and The Raven. On Saturday, October 5th at 2pm there will be a viewing of House of Wax and then at 8pm a screening of The Masque of the Red Death and The Tingler. Tickets are $5 per show or $13 for the entire weekend.

I just recently found out about this and likely won’t be able to attend. If any readers of Horrorlust happen to make it to the Redford Theater be sure to leave a comment and let the rest of us know how it was.

The Walking Dead Season Premiere, October Magic

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2012 by bluefall8

In less than an hour AMC’s marathon of The Walking Dead will be over, and the season three premiere will be underway! My love for a good undead yarn is simply undying. Through two seasons I feel that the gripping apocalyptic series has been excellent, I am at a loss to come up with a series that matches the intensity, character, and storytelling of this franchise. The season two finale that saw Hershel’s farm fall to the walkers was not only visually stunning but also one of the most action paced sequences in television history. I’m completely psyched for tonight’s premiere.

In haunt news, another young upstart has hit the radar — Dimensions of Darkness and they’re located in Maumee, Ohio — home to the Lucas County Fairgrounds and the haunt riot known as Terror Town! There’s something magical about Terror Town, it has an ethereal quality — each year it finds a way to lure me back. I first visited Terror Town during the 2008 haunt season and returned the following year. I had originally planned to take a break from it in 2010 but alas I found myself there with Richard and Brad for the final outing of the season. It was the same last year, I hadn’t planned on attending but some how the haunt fates willed it to be. Having gone to Terror Town four consecutive years and with the remainder of this year’s schedule packed, it’s less likely than ever that I’ll find time to go…and yet I feel the pull. Will the discovery of Dimensions of Darkness be enough to lure the Haunt Trinity back to Terror Town once more? It would certainly be a welcome if not improbable addition to the 2012 haunt season.

I haven’t forgotten about reviews for Deadly Intentions, Sinister, or Exit 13 either. My weekend was jam packed and I didn’t find time to write them, but readers can expect reviews starting Monday. Happy Haunting!

The Walking Dead Sneak Peek, Halloweekends

Posted in Pop Culture, Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by bluefall8

The Walking Dead has a new sneak peek posted at AMC’s website of the season three premiere. It isn’t anything earth shattering but it’s still a zombie freebie and I’ll take those all day long. Season three debuts this Sunday on AMC at 9 pm Eastern. Anybody looking to catch up on the series should tune into AMC beginning Saturday at 10 am. The network will run a marathon of episodes spanning the entire series.

In other news plans for this weekend are beginning to take shape and it looks as if it’ll be another Friday outing. This October is a little too packed with non-haunt related obligations for my liking and as a result nailing down the haunt schedule has been made that much more complicated. Regardless, I think an epic trip is in store for this weekend — on the radar is Deadly Intentions in Warren, Sinister in Utica, and Exit 13 in Mt. Morris. If we can get an early start we may just be able to shoehorn in Hazel Park’s House of Fear. Aside from Deadly Intentions we have not yet visited any of the targeted haunts and new blood is what we’re all about this season. Lastly, my brother called today and informed me that he’s received a free ticket to Cedar Point’s Halloweekends from a friend. He plans to go on Saturday, unfortunately I won’t be able to attend (see prior mentioned obligations). Halloweekends seems to be packed with haunted attractions and scare zones — the long running Club Blood will be open — as well as Eerie Estate, Eternity Infirmary, and Eden Musee just to name a few. That last one is themed as a wax museum and as I’ve never experienced quite such a haunt it, in particular, has me wishing I could attend. Safe travels, brother — you know I’ll accept nothing less than a full review!

The Walking Dead Webisodes

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2012 by bluefall8

Apocalyptic drama The Walking Dead will return to AMC Sunday October 14 with the season three premiere! Anyone who knows me or who has thumbed through the entries here on Horrorlust is surely aware of my love of the zombie sub-genre and The Walking Dead is no exception. I’ll admit that I don’t watch a lot of television these days but what I see from The Walking Dead is the most gripping hour of television on any network, period. I’m writing about it today to alert fans not merely of its eminent return but also of the accompanying webisodes featured at The Walking Dead page on AMC’s website.

As part of the build up to season two, a six-part web series entitled Torn Apart was released one year ago today. The webisodes were directed by Greg Nicotero who is a co-executive producer of The Walking Dead as well as the show’s special effects makeup artist. Last year’s webisodes told the backstory of Hannah, perhaps better known to fans as “Bicycle Girl” — the emaciated zombie who drags itself toward Rick in the series premiere. The webisodes pick up as the zombie plague begins to spread and viewers find out precisely how Hannah went from suburban mom to rotting, flesh eater. This year a four-part series called Cold Storage has been released. This time around Nicotero introduces viewers to a pair of survivors who attempt to secure a safe haven at a nearby storage facility. As you may have guessed, not all goes according to plan.

These webisodes are shot, directed, and edited with the same care and precision that goes into each episode of The Walking Dead and in my opinion add some serious substance to the overall canon. I’d recommend these webisodes to all horror buffs and consider them required viewing for any fan of The Walking Dead.

Don’t Adjust the Channel

Posted in Pop Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2011 by bluefall8

As any reader of Horrorlust knows October brings with it an irrepressible army of the scary and macabre — from haunted attractions to spooky home decor, costume parties to Halloween itself — this month is a celebration of all things that go bump in the night. And if all of that isn’t enough for you, consider the killing fields that flicker across the boob tube this time of year. Many networks feature horror, haunt, or Halloween related programming during this, the season of the witch and with the popularity of the holiday at an all time high, there’s no doubt that viewers will be ensnared by a variety of spine tingling specials.

Among some of the best programming in my opinion is Fearfest on AMC which runs October 16-31. Fearfest debuted on AMC in 2008 and is precisely that, an around the clock horror marathon that lasts for sixteen calendar days. The event will kick off this year with the Season 2 premiere of The Walking Dead. ABC Family also features a block of seasonal programming entitled 13 Nights of Halloween which runs from October 19-31. As you may have guessed from the name of the network, the type of shows you can expect are family oriented — The Addams Family, The Goonies, Beetlejuice, and The Nightmare Before Christmas is what you’ll find here.

FX debuted a new show last night called American Horror Story. It was strange, perverse, and over the top — certainly not a classic but a fun, twisted watch. American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10 pm.

Anybody around my age will certainly remember the Goosebumps phenomenon that took place during the 1990’s. Well, if you find yourself craving a fix of R.L. Stine’s particular brand of storytelling then I’d suggest The Haunting Hour which airs on the somewhat obscure Hub network. An episodic horror anthology in it’s own right The Haunting Hour is quite obviously steeped in the same storytelling that propelled Goosebumps to such staggering heights a generation ago. It airs on the Hub network, Saturdays at 8 pm.

If all of that isn’t enough to sate your seasonal yearnings then allow me to suggest a few of my personal favorites which include The Twilight Zone, Halloween, Return of the Living Dead, Paranormal State, A Haunting, and of course George A. Romero’s zombie classics. And I’d be grossly out of line if I didn’t mention another childhood favorite, Are You Afraid of the Dark?.

I came home from work yesterday and had one of those wonderfully relaxing October evenings which consisted of lying in bed watching spooky movies. I hadn’t caught 2001’s The Others before and despite the sometimes plodding narrative and the often criticized end twist I found myself enjoying it. Who knows, maybe I just like Nicole Kidman. Following that I watched The Exorcism of Emily Rose which I’m ashamed to say was the first I had ever viewed the film. This was an expertly produced horror film featuring truly frightening scenes, superb acting, compelling storytelling, and a great original score — a must for any horror fan especially those with a taste for realism, it certainly put me in mind of The Exorcist.