DREAMS DIE FIRST? Not On BATES MOTEL

Season 5, Episode 5 “Dreams Die First”
Written by Erica Lipez & Kerry Ehrin
Directed by Nestor Carbonell

[Images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron/Sergei Bachlakov]

 

“Dreams Die First” dives deep into two narratives. Even as he experiences flashes of his life as “Mother” in White Pine Bay, Norman (Freddie Highmore) refuses offers of help and chooses the comforts of home. And we finally meet Marion Crane (Rihanna), watching her pursue a reckless course that lands her right back at Bates Motel. Safe in Seattle, Dylan and Emma (Max Theirot and Olivia Cooke) face a crisis in their marriage. Former Sheriff Romero is nowhere to be seen, possibly because Nestor Carbonell is directing this episode.

 

 

Emma and Dylan

Emma, searching for stamps in a junk drawer, finds instead a lone earring saved in an envelope. Could it be Norma’s? Spurred by this discovery, Emma presses Dylan to discuss Norma and consider visiting her. Norma may be a “nut,” but deserves to know about her grandchild. Dylan shoots down the idea abruptly.

He later confesses the truth to Emma. His doubts about Norman and the trail of suspicious deaths that follow him. “Norman is sick. Things happen around him … bad things.” From Norman’s father, Sam Bates, to the trail of bodies in White Pine Bay. From Norman’s teacher Blair Watson, that’s a list that may include the owner of that lone earring — Emma’s mother.

Emma can barely control her anger. She tells Dylan to literally take a hike for a while so she doesn’t start screaming. Searching “Wikifinders” on Dylan’s Puget Sound Hops and Granary laptop that night, Emma learns her own secret — about Norma’s “suicide”. Will she tell Dylan?

Norman Bates, small business owner and master of he surveys – for now.

Norman

Norman wakes and reaches for Mother — her space on the bed is empty.  He is red-eyed, has scratches on his back, and races to the bathroom to vomit. Somebody had a late night? But was it Norman or Mother? Norman searches the house and motel; Mother is nowhere to be found. But Sheriff Greene (Brooke Smith) would like to speak to him at the station. Since Mother’s car is also MIA, he presumably walks to town.

Detective Arbogast Sheriff Greene politely, deliberately questions Norman about Alex Romero while he nervously drinks from a glass of water. Throughout this episode, we see Norman as a very poor liar and not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. In his version of Life With Romero, the former sheriff was “a lonely, very unhappy man” who “latched onto my mother so completely and didn’t want anyone else in her life.” Projecting much, Norman?

Back home, Norman again searches for Mother and finds only a book of matches from The White Horse Bar. He calls and asks if anyone has seen Norma. She isn’t there – but her car’s in the parking lot and about to get towed.

Madeline (Isabelle McNally) calls right after to apologize for the whole “cake and chill” fiasco of a first date but agrees to take Norman into town. Norman spills the beans about seeing Sam with a woman at the Motel. Madeline shows the first sign of spine this season, furiously demanding Norman “get the hell out of my truck.” Good thing they’re at the bar.

The bartender (Brendan Taylor) appears very concerned for Norman — is he OK? Norman most assuredly is not. Muttering “It’s all good … it’s all going to be good, Norman,” he drives through the rain in a daze, almost running over Dr. Edwards (Damon Gupton), his former therapist at the Pineview Institute.

Norman has a particularly difficult time keeping his mind on the road.

Norman has coffee with Dr. Edwards, who knows Norman isn’t on his medications since no-one has called for a refill in a year and a half. Norman begins acknowledging some truths about himself. He knows he sees his mother when she’s not really there and “sometimes, I become her … but that doesn’t happen anymore.” So thanks for the coffee but goodbye Dr. Edwards! On to the White Horse Bar.

Not a good idea. Norman’s breakdown continues. Everyone seems to know him, asks how he’s been, compliments him on his “new look.” Norman stumbles into the bathroom. A “handsome man” (Michael Doonan) follows him. From the intimacy Handsome Man displays towards Norman, they know each other very well. Norman doesn’t appear to know him, but “remembers” flashes of Norma with this man in a car.

Norman collapses against the wall. Handsome Man switches from hookup mode to genuine concern, asking how he can help. Norman mentions his mother; the man offers to call her. Norman says “You can’t … she’s dead.” He hears Norma asking, “We’re supposed to be together, aren’t we Norman?” and sees himself resting his head on her lap.

Back home, Norman trudges through the rain to the house, and we see Marion Crane, barely able to see the sign through the torrential rain, turn off the road to the Bates Motel.

Marion may not have great judgment in men or overnight accommodations, but her coat looks fabulous.

Marion

Marion Crane’s storyline tracks closely with her path in Psycho; Bates Motel makes Marion’s part of this iconic story both true to the source material AND new in the telling.

Psycho Notes

“Dreams Die First” is chock full of subtle, well-placed callbacks to specific moments in Psycho.

~ Last week, Norman remarked that he sounded “mad” to be offering Madeline his dead mother’s clothes. This week Norman describes Romero during their prison visit. “He just stared … like a madman.” Much like Norman in the last shot of Psycho.

~ Marion’s first scene echoes the first scene in Psychoanother furtive encounter between Sam and Marion. In Psycho, they couldn’t marry because of alimony Sam had to pay. On Bates, he’s too far in debt to commit (as far as he’s told Marion). So far, movie Sam Loomis is Prince Charming compared to his TV counterpart.

~ Marion works at a Seattle real estate company called R.A. Bloch Realty. I see what you did there, Bates Motel!

Marion sees the answers to all her problems in a briefcase full of money – who wouldn’t?

~ The briefcase full of cash has been inflation adjusted from the original $40,000.00 to $400,000.00. Marion is told to deposit it on Bates, not just put in the safe deposit box.

~ Marion asks to be considered for the position recently vacated by Janet. Wonder if Janet’s last name was Leigh?

~ Her boss is still named George Lowery (Raphael Sbarge) although the slimy rich guy is now named Jeff Dunn (Al Sapienza) instead of Tom Cassidy. He’s still a leering jerk. We don’t get to hear him brag that buying a house for his newlywed daughter with all that cash isn’t “buying happiness. That’s just… buying off unhappiness.

~ Fleeing Phoenix with Mr. Cassidy’s cash, Marion has the bad luck to see & be seen by her boss Mr. Lowery, crossing street at a red light.  On Bates, Norman sees Dr. Edwards crossing the street in White Pine Bay.

~ The menacing cop (Mort Mills) wearing mirrored glass in Psycho is now just as menacing but takes his glasses off (and is played by executive producer Carlton Cuse).

~ In Psycho, Mirrorshades Cop sees Marion’s car pulled over on the side of the road. On Bates,  instead of being questioned for sleeping in her car overnight, Marion is pulled over because her rear license plate is obscured by a raincoat she threw in the trunk (over the incriminating Suitcase Of Stolen Cash).

 

Other Wonderings

~ There is a lot of care taken to show the water glasses during Norman’s talk with Sheriff Greene, and a point made of showing Norman drinking from his glass. Maybe Sheriff Greene’s collecting DNA and/or fingerprints?

~ Norman has two chances to accept offers of help — from Dr. Edwards and “Handsome Man” at the White Horse Bar. Both can see his distress and offer to help. Both offers are refused.

~ Serious question. Was Norman suffering a blackout when carrying out the murder-suicide attempt last season? He describes Norma’s suicide as is he wasn’t involved at all. He has to remember something.

 

Bates Motel airs Monday at 8/9c on A&E.

 




Todd McFarlane Teases A Darker SPAWN

Twenty years ago, Todd McFarlane’s comic series Spawn was adapted in 1997 as a film that was not very well received. Written by Alan B. McElroy and directed by Mark A.Z. Dippe, the movie starred Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo, and Martin Sheen, who agreed to be in the picture because he wanted to be in a superhero movie.

Since then, McFarlane has been very open about wanting to reboot the franchise, given that Spawn 2 went into development hell shortly after being announced in 1998. Now, with Stan Lee’s support, McFarlane shed some light on where his project now sits during a panel at Emerald City Comic Con.

GeekNation’s Clare Kramer, moderating the panel, asked about the possibility of seeing a Spawn movie. His response is that he hopes to have a big announcement for a new film by the time San Diego Comic Con opens in July. He continued on with his vision for the movie, especially now that there’s a new trend of R-rated superhero films.

Listen, I’m going to paint it for you. The movie is going to be a dark R. If here’s PG-13 and here’s Deadpool and here’s Logan, we’re going to be here. It’s going to be dark. It’s going to be nasty. I’ve already talked to Stan, and he’s going for it.

And speaking of Mr. Cameo, McFarland also has a vision for how Lee can appear in the film:

Stan Lee is in this building, and it’s a rundown building, and you kick open the door, you catch him by surprise, and he’s dressed in a wife-beater shirt. He hasn’t shaved for four days. He’s got a beer in one hand, and he’s got a big stogie in the other hand. That’s just the set-up. He always looks nice in his movies – I just want to do that crusty old curmudgeon. Basically, what his wife sees in the morning when he wakes up. The real Stan Lee. I want you to come into that movie and really act. I want you to just be nasty. It’d be awesome.

Of course, Lee is all for appearing in movies, as long as it’s a minor bit. He states, “I don’t get roles that are too big in movies, because everyone is afraid I’ll get mistaken for Clark Gable.”

Spawn was created in 1992 by McFarlane after his split from Marvel Comics. It’s the story of Albert “Al” Simmons, a Black Ops soldier whose soul is sent to Hell after he’s killed in the line of duty. There, he makes a deal with a malevolent being called Malebolgia. For a price, he is promised the opportunity to see his wife and child one more time. He returns to Earth as a hideously disfigured being, finding that five years have passed and his wife has moved on with another man. He mistakenly thinks this is the price he had to pay, but soon finds that per his contract with Malebolgia, he has become a Hellspawn, a weapon for Hell.

Columbia Pictures was the first production company to approach McFarlane about a live action movie, but he said no, feeling they wouldn’t give him enough control over the project. He finally sold the rights to New Line Cinema’s Michael DeLuca, who promised him a dark gritty film that was true to the comic. However, the final project ended up with too much cheap humor and genre clichés.

Since then, McFarlane has not given up hope for a new film. In the early 2000’s, he did have some legal issues over Spawn trademarks and characters. But that didn’t stop him. In 2011, McFarlane gave a little update about the story, saying that “in this new version, there are no super-villains, archenemies or any of that. It’s just a spook movie, something scary going bump in the night.”

Now it appears he has a game plan and he wants to stay in charge. Last year in an interview with ComicBook.com, McFarlane stressed he wanted to direct his vision, but he knows that Hollywood will not simply hand over $100 million to a first-time director. He simply wants $10 million “make a little horror movie and see if we can scare some people.”

And maybe he will.

Based on the comments at Emerald City Comic Con, it looks like he may have a big (small budgeted) announcement this year at San Diego. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

 




ZOMBPOCALYPSE NOW: THE WALKING DEAD Takes You To “THE OTHER SIDE”

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Sasha and Rosita make some questionable travel decisions on The Walking Dead, and Mr. Adair and Mr. Harvey have thoughts on this week’s Zombpocalypse Now!

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Season 7, Episode 14 “The Other Side”
Written by Angela Kang
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis

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Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene, Tom Payne as Paul ‘Jesus’ Rovia (Gene Page/AMC)

Dustin: I see what you did there.

Timothy: You mean posting a picture that is from the scene we didn’t talk about this week? The scene where Jesus offhandedly confirms that the TV version of the character is, like his comic counterpart, a gay man? Where he and Maggie talk about the need to connect with the people around you, and make a community stronger by those connections?

Dustin: Yeah, that scene. How did we not talk about that scene? It was handled really well.

Timothy: I honestly don’t know. I had planned to, and then somehow we didn’t. It was a good scene though, and there are lots of people all over the internet talking about it and saying so. Not us, apparently, but still.

Dustin: I suppose we just did. 

Timothy: Better late I suppose. We also didn’t talk about the confrontation between Jesus and Gregory, and the undercurrent of impending violence.

Dustin: You mean the way that Gregory is sabotaging himself, and all but pushing Jesus into backing Maggie in taking over Hilltop, something that Jesus is already inclined to do? 

Timothy: That, yes. We didn’t talk about that either. What did we talk about this week?

Dustin: All the other things, Tim. ALL THE OTHER THINGS. In fact, weren’t we going to be aiming for the 35-minute episode length for these podcasts? Wasn’t that the plan? 

Timothy: Yeeeaaahhh. Kinda hit and miss there, aren’t we?

Dustin: Kinda. A bit.

Timothy: Yeah. Anyway, thanks for listening folks, and please share, rate and comment wherever you listen to this thing we do. Comments, ratings and likes help us grow the audience, and that’s always a cool thing.

Dustin: And don’t forget to listen to our other SciFi4MeRadio podcasts! They’re pretty cool too!

 

The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.




Legendary Artist Bernie Wrightson Passes Away

Bernie Wrightson’s wife, Liz, sadly announced the passing of the legendary comic artist on his official website, stating he had lost his battle with brain cancer on March 18, 2017. He was 69.

Wrightson, who announced his retirement this past January due to disease, was best known for his work on horror comics and being the co-creator of DC Comics iconic horror hero Swamp Thing with writer Len Wein. Throughout his career, he worked with both DC and Marvel, drawing characters such as Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange.

Born in 1948, he was raised reading EC horror comics. At 18, Wrightson began working at The Baltimore Sun as an illustrator and after meeting artist Frank Frazetta at a comic-book convention in New York City, decided to create and illustrate his own stories. In 1968, he presented his work to DC Comics editor Dick Giordano and was given his first freelance assignment.

His first professional comic book story, The Man Who Murdered Himself, appeared in House of Mystery No 179. After that, he became the “go-to” illustrator for both horror and mystery anthology comics at DC.

In 1971, he and Wein co-created Swamp Thing for DC Comics, which also became the first DC film outside of Superman: The Movie. He continued to work with DC until 1974, when he left to work for Warren Publishing, creating black and white adaptations of tales by H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe. He also formed The Studio, with fellow artists Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta, and Barry Windsor-Smith, to pursue work outside of comic books.

Wrightson began his relationship with horror king Stephen King in 1983, when he collaborated on the comic book adaptation of the horror film Creepshow. Other adaptations include Cycle of the Werewolf, The Stand, and Wolves of the Calla, the fifth book of the Dark Tower series.

He also worked as a conceptual artist on another of film, which include the original Ghostbusters, Galaxy Quest, Serenity, and Land of the Dead.

Friends have taken to social media, remembering the legend.

https://twitter.com/joss/status/843341293065457665

https://twitter.com/neilhimself/status/843385245529489413

He is survived by his wife, two sons, and a stepson.

 




IT Makes An Impression At SXSW

Who doesn’t enjoy a good clown show? Especially the fun dancing type who are out to murder children? Apparently, Stephen King. This year Warner Bros. is releasing It: Part One – The Losers’ Club, the first of two movies based on King’s 1986 novel It. And if recent reports are any indication, director Andres Muschiette’s version will make the 1990 miniseries seem like a kid’s show.

Originally the studio wanted to make It a single film; however, producer Dan Lin announced it would be split into two shows, one following the group of children known as The Losers’ Club in the 1980’s and the second revisiting the group as adults as they return to finish It off. Muschiettie wanted to expand the story, adding plots and scenes that didn’t appear in either the book or the miniseries but still using the town of Derry. He wanted to tap into the dread he felt watching the miniseries and take the story in a new direction. He states:

My first instinct was to basically be true to my own emotional experience with the book. I read it when I was a kid, so it was all about me trying to hit the core and the heart of the story, and the characters, too. I don’t want to spoil the plot, but you will notice that the story swerves into different directions. The arc of the Losers’ Club is a bit wider in range, and you will notice there are things that happen to them in this movie that weren’t in the book or in the 1990 miniseries. So, I think it’ll be a refreshing experience for fans, and a terrifying one, too

The story follows a group of outsider kids who call themselves The Losers’ Club in Derry, Maine. They join together to hunt down a shape-shifting child-killer they call It, who emerges every 30 years for a killing spree. It changes its appearance to prey on the fears and phobias of the victim. Its most regular guise is Pennywise, The Dancing Clown. When It kills Georgie Denbrough, it prompts his brother Bill to gather his friends for revenge.

This time around Swedish actor Bill Skarsgard is playing Pennywise, with a cast of Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, and Finn Wolfhard as The Losers Club.

Not only did Muschietti want to expand on the It universe, he also wanted to have Skargard’s Pennywise stand separate from Tim Curry’s portrayal from the miniseries. His clown was a cartoonish nightmare who needed some good dental work. Skarsgard’s has a more sinister edge, marked by piercing yellow eyes and contorted movements.

The new-look Pennywise from the new-look It, getting a first sneak peek at SXSW

Wanting to keep Pennywise’s secrets, Muschietti has kept very quiet about the character, even to the young cast. This proved to be very effective. They did not think they would be afraid of their co-star, however, “The day that he showed up on the stage, they f—ing freak out” said Muschietti. “Bill is like, seven-foot high, and I can’t describe how scary he looks in person. He’s a wiry man, crouching, making sounds, snotting, drooling, speaking in Swedish sometimes. Terrifying.”

Now after nearly seven years in production due to numerous rewrites, re-castings, and a change in directors, Muschietti debuted a teaser at the South By South West film festival this week. The trailer is not available online but horror website Bloody Disgusting gave a report from the event:

The trailer opens with footage of Bill Denbrough making a paper boat for his little brother Georgie. We then move outside, where Georgie is chasing his boat in a rainstorm as it floats next to the curb.

Suddenly, Georgie runs right into a street barrier, which knocks him down on the ground. He then watches as his boat sails into a gutter. He runs to the gutter and tries to see if he can see his boat.

Then we are shown the members of the Loser’s Club meeting each other and realizing that they’ve all been seeing the same entity, before one of them finally says ‘The Clown.’

Once that happens, the teaser then moves into its centre-piece, which shows the members of the Loser’s Club looking at pictures on a carousel slide projector that suddenly acquires a life of its own and begins moving through the slides at an increasingly alarming speed.

The pictures are of Georgie and his parents, and each slide zooms in on Georgie’s face before cutting to his mother, whose hair is covering her face.

As the projector moves from slide to slide, the hair moves out of his mother’s face, and her face is revealed to be that of Pennywise himself.

The teaser ends with Bill walking down into his flooded basement, where Georgie’s ghost taunts him by repeatedly screaming… before Pennywise rises from the water and rushes at him in a moment that had the entire audience screaming.

Not only is this promising, but the fact that King himself has given the film his stamp of approval must make the team feel good about their project. Especially since in the past he has been critical with projects, like The Shining and Dreamcatcher.

https://twitter.com/StephenKing/status/839233720280309761

The first It movie will be released on September 8, 2017.




PHOENIX FORGOTTEN Teases On The 20th Anniversary Of The Phoenix Lights

On March 13th, 1997, three teens disappeared in Phoenix, Arizona after an unprecedented and inexplicable phenomenon known as “The Phoenix Lights.” Twenty years later, an unseen video from their expedition has surfaced and Cinelou Films is releasing it, titled Phoenix Forgotten, in theaters for audiences to join in the search for answers to what happen that night.

The film is produced by the team behind The Martian and 300: Wes Ball, T.S. Nowlin, Ridley Scott, Mark Canton, and Courtney Solomon. This will be Justin Barber’s feature directorial debut, which he co-wrote with Nowlin.

Actors Florence Hartigan, Chelsea Lopez, Justin Matthews, Luke Spencer Roberts, Cyd Strittmatter, and Jeanine Jackson star.

On that fateful night, there were reports of two different incidents from hundreds of people in the Phoenix area. The first was a triangular formation of lights that moved across the city from the Northwest to the Southwest. Those who witnessed this said it was on huge V-shaped ship, the size of several football fields, producing no sounds except something similar to rushing wind, and it had five spherical lights leading to the edges. The second incident was a series of stationary lights that simply hovered. This was claimed by the United States Air force later as a training exercise, flares that were dropped by am A-10 Warhog aircraft.

Phoenix Lights

The film follows the investigation of a documentary filmmaker and the younger sister of one of the missing teens. Using the newly found footage and other documentation of the night, they try to figure out what happened that night when the three kids disappeared in the desert, investigating the UFO sighting and discovering some alien horrors.

Nowlin wanted the movie to have an authentic feel, what really could have happened with this unsolved case. He also stated they researched as many real-life accounts as they could, looking for people who witnessed the lights.

The crew behind the new movie PHOENIX FORGOTTEN recreated the “Phoenix Lights” UFO phenomenon at South by Southwest on March 13, 2017. Courtesy Cinelou Films

They debuted the teaser trailer at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin, Texas this past week, which is the twentieth anniversary of the disappearance. Drones were used to recreate the sudden appearance of the lights in the night sky.

Phoenix Forgotten will be released April 21, 2017.

Watch the teaser and tell us what you think!

https://youtu.be/w_CybW-Ym90




HIDDEN Cars, Homemade Cakes and a Nervous Norman on BATES MOTEL


Season 5, Episode 4 “Hidden”
Written by Torrey Speer
Directed by Max Theriot

[Images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron]

Dylan Massett is off camera this week, safe and sound in Seattle with Emma and baby Kate. But Max Theriot, the actor who plays Norman’s half-brother, makes his Bates Motel directorial debut with “Hidden.” We also get to see a lot of Madeline Loomis (Isabelle Mcnally) wearing Norma’s old clothes; maybe that’s why she veers dangerously close to “Too Dumb to Live” territory for her own good.

“Hidden” picks up right where “Bad Blood” ended. Mother (Vera Farmiga), Norman (Freddie Highmore), and Chick Hogan (Ryan Hurst) gather around the bloody, lifeless body of Caleb Calhoun (Kenny Johnson) lying on the road.  Chick checks the body and declares Caleb deceased with a gruff “Yup.” He continues his campaign for Permanent Houseguest status by doing as Mother recommends (via Norman) and “taking care of” the Caleb’s corpse.

Chick may be the weirdest resident of White Pine Bay (which is saying a lot), but he seems to have missed his True Calling as a Beatnik Shaman/Viking funeral director. Considering how little Chick did to help Caleb out before accidentally killing him, Chick sends Norma’s brother off with dignity. He assembles a White Pine Bay version of a Viking Funeral Boat at the edge of what looks like the same lake where Norman dumped Jim Blackwell’s corpse a few episodes back.

Chick Hogan revealed another hidden talent this episode – Impromptu Viking Funeral Shaman!

Norman deals with having to subcontract the disposal of yet another body by – getting rid of Norma’s old clothes. When  Mother asks “What got into your pants?” Norman snaps (well, figuratively at least). “Nothing every happens the way I think it should, Mother!” They argue over Chick staying in the house until she snaps back “Well, make up your mind!” If only it were that simple.

An unwelcome visit from the new Sheriff delays Norman’s trip into town. Detective Arbogast Sheriff Greene asks about Jim Blackwell – Norman’s name was found written down among his effects. Turns out Blackwell had just gotten paroled from the same prison Romero just escaped from! What a coincidence!  Throughout this and the other encounters between the Greene and Norman in “Hidden” we learn the Sheriff is quite a sharp, subtle interrogator – and Norman is a terrible, easily flustered liar.

Norman finally makes it to a donation kiosk outside the only church we’ve seen in five seasons of Bates Motel. A few items get tossed in before Norman pauses and looks towards Main Street and Downtown Hardware. Even Madeline Loomis’ professional charm cracks a bit as Norman notes “I must be mad” when he offers her Norma’s old clothes. At least his order of shower curtains is in. “You must go through a lot of these.” Oh if you only knew, Madeline.

Norman regrets spending money for a playground nobody uses.  He needs that money for more shower curtains.

Norman’s golden mood is shattered as he pulls into the motel parking lot. Chick’s unloading his car at the base of the steps. Norman stammeringly tells Chick that having another person in the house with himself and Mother would just be too much. Chick counters,”I’m going to help you with a lot of things, Norman … Help you out with everything.” Amazingly enough, Norman stands his ground. Chick leaves in a huff but leaves the chicken he brought for dinner.

Detective Arbogast Sheriff Greene stops by again for a chat. She’d like to go over the guest register in the motel office. Norman can’t stop eating candy while she looks for a clue regarding Jim Blackwell. Stammering, Norman slips up and mentions the name listed on the dead hit man’s license – Canyon City. Sheriff Greene finds that odd, since she never mentioned where the late Mr. Blackwell was from.

Sheriff Greene, you’re a super smart detective. For your own safety, don’t go near the grand staircase in the Bates house.

Norman is so rattled by the questions about Blackwell, he insists Mother must help him hide Blackwell’s car. Despite all the care Mother took to hide it – removing the plates, erasing the VIN number – Norman insists.

A miserable Dead Mother and Son midnight hike gets even worse after Norman accuses Norma. “Maybe you want us to get caught, Mother.” Mother responds by shrieking at the top of her lungs,”Please catch us! We’re right here!”

Norman lunges at Mother, smothering her cries until her eyes film over – is it possible to kill an imaginary mother? Apparently not, since she pops back to life, scuttles away from Norman while warning him not to do that again.

Norman Bates – always the perfect, if socially awkward, gentleman.

Fortunately, Norman has plans for the evening. First, he tells Mother that he’s having dinner with Madeline Loomis and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. Then a quick stop at the local junkyard/squatter’s camp to ask a still-peeved Chick for help permanently disposing of Blackwells’ car before confessing “It’s not me … it’s her, Mother … I don’t know how to reign her in.”

So when Madeline asked Norman to help her “make a cake” after dinner, she actually meant preparing a cake.

Madeline must’ve gotten over the weirdness of wearing Norma’s old clothes; she appears at the door dressed in a lovely blue dress that fits “like a second skin.” After a lovely dinner of coq au vin, Madeline not-so-innocently asks Norman to help her bake a cake they can eat while watching a movie later. Baking leads to making out in the kitchen before Norman sees Mother’s reflection glaring at him in the window. A bloody vision of Madeline with a slit throat sends Norman fleeing into the night.

He finds nothing at the Bates home but a kitchen table neatly set for breakfast. “Mother?” Our last image of the episode is Norman gazing into the camera with Mother’s gaze.

Romero Patrol

Former Sheriff Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) continues his relentless path back to White Pine Bay. Nothing will come between him and his self-appointed task to “take care of” his stepson Norman.

Despite just getting shot, in this episode Romero manages to:

~ Persuade the kid who shot him last week to get a first aid kid (did nobody in the nearby farmhouse hear the very loud gunshot?). Romero staggers to his feet and escapes.

~ Walk all the way back to WHP, spies the only working public phone booth left in America (helpfully labeled PHONE) next to (what looks like) the Kings Motel.

~ Use said phone to call 911 and report a fake emergency, steal medical supplies and cast from a conveniently out-in-the-open wallet, then

~ PERFORM DIY SURGERY ON HIS GUNSHOT WOUND

~ Lurch to the home of a woman named Maggie (Jillian Fargey) who appeared in one episode back in the first season.

Hope he finally gets some sleep. The guy’s had a busy day!

 

Psycho Notes

~ We have our Detective Milton Arbogast! The scene with Norman at the motel was an amazing version of an almost identical scene in Psycho.  Freddie Highmore does an amazing job with the same mannerisms (stammering and nervously eating) that Anthony Hopkins created for Norman in the original film. Let’s hope Sheriff Greene avoids the main staircase in the Bates house – or she may share Det. Arbogast’s fate.

~ Madeline is wearing a dress that looks very much like a shade of “periwinkle blue.” Is Bates Motel (as I noted here) echoing the moment from Psycho when Mrs. Chambers remembers she helped Norman pick out a dress just that shade for Norma’s funeral?

~ In the final second of the teaser for next week’s episode we see Marion Crane pulls into Bates Motel parking lot on a rainy evening.

~ Chick mentions that his suspense novel would “make quite a good little movie.”

~ Again no sign of Emma, Dylan, or baby Kate. Good news if you picked them in your “Bates Motel Survivor Pool.”

 

Bates Motel airs Monday at 10/9Central on A&E.

 




ZOMBPOCALYPSE NOW: “BURY ME” Among THE WALKING DEAD

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Mr. Adair and Mr. Harvey have things to say about doomed characters on this week’s The Walking Dead! It’s Zombpocalypse Now!

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Season 7, Episode 13 “Bury Me Here”
Written by Scott M. Gimple
Directed by Alrick Riley

Lennie James as Morgan Jones, Karl Makinen as Richard (Gene Page/AMC)

Dustin: We need to get the rights to the Invader Zim “Doom” song, and play it whenever The Walking Dead introduces a character that is clearly doomed from the beginning.

Timothy: You know that would require this podcast to have a budget, right?

Dustin: Pffft. I’ve got three kids, I don’t have a budget for anything that isn’t clothes and food.

Timothy: That’s what I’m saying. Hi folks! These two poor fools are back again this week with another episode of Zombpocalypse Now

Dustin: Your weekly dose of things things Dead. Ish. We did talk about The Wolves Who Are Teens. And the Preacher Man. And some other stuff.

Timothy: Yes. It is, in fact, The Walking Dead this week, and we’re back in The Kingdom!

Dustin: With Carol! And a tiger!

Timothy: And Morgan. And Ezekiel.

Dustin: Carol! And a Tiger! Oh, and poor, doomed Timmy.

Timothy: Benjamin. His name is Benjamin. There is no character in the show named Timmy.

Dustin: Right. Billy. That’s what I said.

Timothy: Benjamin.

Dustin: Benji?

Timothy: Close enough. Anyway, check out our latest episode, and please, rate and comment on our podcast wherever you listen to us. We get download numbers from some places that carry the show, and some don’t give us that info, so your feedback is a very helpful thing.

Dustin: And check out all the other cool podcasts we have on SciFi4MeRadio, because we have a bunch of them. Lots, even.

Timothy: Thanks for listening!

 

The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.

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BOMB SHELTER Drill #2: DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW

Episode 2 ~ Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

Jay McDowell and Kevin Schumm are back to talk about the next film pulled off the shelf for watching on the drive-in screen of your mind: Dark Night of the Scarecrow, a CBS made-for-TV movie (remember those?) that aired back before anyone had ever heard of Pumkinhead… In fact, this movie was the first feature length horror film with a scarecrow as its centerpiece, according to Aaron Crowell at HorrorHound Magazine.

In a small town in the Deep South, the mentally challenged Bubba befriends a young girl, causing some consternation among some of the town folk, including the mean-spirited mailman. After an accident leaves the girl injured, several men assume she’s dead and seek revenge on Bubba, killing him in a field while he hides by pretending to be the scarecrow.

In the days following, the men who killed Bubba are themselves victims of terrible acts of violence. Is the mysterious scarecrow Bubba’s ghost? Or is it an elaborate hoax?

 




Down Home Horror HARROW COUNTY Wins 2016 Ghastly Awards

[Banner image courtesy Ghastly Awards Facebook page]

 

Harrow County is a small patch of Americana overflowing with witches, haints, gods, and monsters, brought to life since 2015 by writer Cullen Bunn and artist Tyler Crook in the Dark Horse comic of the same name. Harrow County was nominated in 2016 for an Eisner Award in the Best New Series category (losing out to Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang).

 

 

On the eve of the 2016 Eisner Award nominees announcement, Harrow County just won several Ghastly Awards, including Best Ongoing Title, Best Writer (Cullen Bunn) and Best Artist (Tyler Crook). The Ghastly Awards began in 2011 to honor the best in horror comics and are named after famed horror comic artist Graham Ingles. If you’ve ever seen stories from The Vault of Fear, Tales from the Crypt, or The Vault of Horror, you’ve seen the signature Ingles style – full of “swampy surroundings, mutilated cadavers, and vengeance-seeking zombies.”

 

Blood, snakes, and broken glass on the cover of  Harrow County Issue 21 (Image courtesy DarkHorse.Com)

Until Syfy actually makes a series based on Harrow County, the comic (both single issues and four collected editions) are the best introduction to this rural, haunted world. Harrow is one of the comics I make a point of buying in single issues as soon as they hit our Local Comic Store. Bonus content, including extra “Tales of Harrow County” and stories of “true life” hauntings sent in by fellow readers, make this title feel like a group of friends relating tales around a campfire.

The Skinless Boy – Emmy’s loyal friend and protector (image courtesy Harrow County.com).

Emmy Crawford, a young woman protecting both the supernatural and human worlds that co-exist in Harrow County, lives with her Pa in a rural farmhouse. But like everything around her, Emmy is more than she appears. From The Skinless Boy to her beloved Pa, her home is full of terror and wonders. We’ve only begun to learn the mythology of Harrow County, and I can’t wait to see where Bunn and Crook’s Americana horror story goes next.

If you’re intrigued by Harrow County, here are a few resources (in addition to the newest issue at your LCS) –

Harrow County.com– not updated recently, but full of great art and links to the Harrow County soundtracks.

Dark Horse Comics – official site

 




New Line Enters The Horrific World Of Oz

The flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz were scary as a child. They wanted to kidnap Dorothy. However, what if they wanted to kill her instead? Or the Munchkins were not really that excited about the fact that she killed the wicked Witch of the East and Glinda had something else up her sleeve?

New Line Cinema has decided it’s time to put a dark spin on what is behind the curtain. The Warner Bros. owned studio has acquired a horror pitch from Black List screenwriter Mike Van Waes. The unnamed project is reportedly in the early development stages and connected to the 1900 L. Frank Baum novel, and first in a series of 14 books, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. There is also a rumor it will also have ties to the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz, staring Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale. Since no specific story details have been revealed, it is uncertain if any of the characters from the book will appear or if the plot will simply take place in Oz.

The original movie followed Dorothy as she was “transported” to Oz by a tornado, killing the Wicked Witch of the East in Munchkin City. She then travels to the City of Oz to find a way back home to Kansas, befriending a Scarecrow, Tin-Man, and Lion while avoiding the Wicked Witch of the West.

The movie was a huge hit at the box office, spawning several more reboots and different adaptations. Others include The Wiz (1978) with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross and Oz The Great and Powerful (2013) with Mila Kunis and James Franco. In 2016, NBC debuted the show Emerald City, which uses lore from all the novels in the series. [You can read recaps here.]

The first book was also turned into a Broadway musical in 1902 and, in more recent years, the musical Wicked opened in 2003 is still currently enjoying a popular run.

New Line already has their fingers in the horror genre, producing the Conjuring films, which have been hits at the box office. In August they will releases the highly anticipated sequel Annabelle 2 and in October, an adaptation of Stephen King’s killer clown book, It.

No dates have been provided for when production will begin, or an anticipated release date.

 




Netflix Orders Korean Zombie Brains For A KINGDOM

It seems that zombies are ready to take over the world today. But, how about in the past? And in Korea? Of course! Brains have existed for quite some time now and Netflix wants to bring those zombies to life. The streaming network has picked up their second Korean original television series, Kingdom.

Kim Seong-hun will direct the zombie period piece. His film, Tunnel, earned nearly $50 million at the Korean box office last year. Kim Eun-hee (Signal) will write the eight-episode series. Korean production company Astory will produce.

Kingdom will be set in Korea’s medieval Joseon period (1392-1910). The crown prince discovers a brutal truth that threatens the kingdom when sent on a suicide mission, investigating a mysterious outbreak.

Blending the popularity of costume dramas in Korea and the booming zombie genre is almost a guaranteed hit, especially since two of 2016’s highest-grossing films, Train to Busan and The Wailing, featured the undead.

Eun-hee states, “I have been working on Kingdom since 2011. I wanted to write a story that reflects the fears and anxiety of modern times but explored through the lens of a romantic fascination of the historical Joseon period. Working with Netflix helps us to unlock this creative vision for Kingdom and I am excited to further build this unique story with the director for whom I have tremendous respect.”

Erik Barmack, vice president of International Originals at Netflix, shares Eun-hee’s enthusiasm. “Kingdom captured our imaginations from the moment we read the script with its visual feast of historical drama blended with supernatural fantasy. We are incredibly honored by this rare opportunity of pairing two premier creative minds in Korea- film director Kim Seong-hun and television writer Kim Eun-hee.”

This is the second original series from Korea that Netflix has signed on to this year, following the romance Love Alarm.

Kingdom will premiere exclusively on Netflix to its members in 190 countries in 2018.

 




ZOMBPOCALYPSE NOW: THE WALKING DEAD Asks Us To Say “Yes”

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Sadly, Mr. Smith is away this week, but Mr. Adair and Mr. Harvey still have things to say about this week’s The Walking Dead! It’s Zombpocalypse Now!

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Season 7, Episode 12 “Say Yes”
Written by Matthew Negrete
Directed by Greg Nicotero

WORST DRIVER’S ED LESSON EVER.  (Gene Page/AMC)

Dustin: We are Curtis-less tonight.

Timothy: We may be Curtis-less for a few nights, as he has theater rehearsals.

Dustin: It was nice to have him back, though.

Timothy: It was, and I’m sure he’ll join us again, but for now, it’s you and me, buddy.

Dustin: Buddy?

Timothy: Pal? Chum? Friend? 

Dustin: Uh… sure. 

Timothy: Fine. Anyway, hi folks! Dustin and I are back again with another episode of Zombpocalypse Now, and more The Walking Dead!

Dustin: For your listening pleasure or something that resembles pleasure!

Timothy: I am so not touching that one.

Dustin: Shut it, you. As always, if you’re listening to us on the iTunes or the Podcast, please rate us and make the comment thing. Not enough of you make the comment thing. TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!

Timothy: That would be grand, yes. Also, check out our other podcasts, like Level Eleventy-Seven, GRIMMly Speaking…

Dustin: H2O, Rogues Gallery, SciFi4Chicks… we have A LOT of cool podcasts.

Timothy: Like this one here, for example. Take a listen.

 

The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.

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A Little BAD BLOOD and a Lot of Mind Games on BATES MOTEL


Season 5, Episode 3 “Bad Blood”
Written by Tom Szentgyorgyi
Directed by Sarah Boyd

[Images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron]

 

Last week’s episode of Bates Motel (Convergence of the Twain) set a couple characters on collision courses back to White Pine Bay and their common enemy – Norman Bates. Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) received a thorough beat down in prison, then used that to finagle a transfer to a work farm. Caleb Calhoun (Kenny Johnson) actually arrived in town, learned of Norma’s suicide and wept at her grave. His Worst Day Ever ended with Norman as Mother knocking him into Dreamland.

“Bad Blood” sees some delays for Romero on the road home, while Caleb encounters everyone at the Bates place – Norman, Norma Louise, and Chick – before a final hit and run with Destiny. The most interesting part of the episode belongs to creepy off-the-grid bon vivant Chick Hogan, who makes himself at home in the Bates House of Hallucinations.

 

 

Firstly – Caleb. He wakes handcuffed to a pole in the basement of Chez Bates and sees Norma (Vera Farmiga) in a golden halo; she apologizes for hitting him. Caleb relates the happy news about Dylan and Emma’s baby, but as his vision clears Caleb realizes he’s talking to Norman (Freddie Highmore) as Mother. Caleb plays along, telling his “sister,” “You know you can let me go now Norma.” Mother sadly replies that Caleb can’t leave, since he knows Norma is faking her death.

Caleb finds out Norman isn’t the only one seeing Norma Louise.

Norman as Mother goes upstairs and finds Chick (Ryan Hurst)  tapping away on his phone. Mother observes that Chick has been a good friend to Norman, and wonders why. Chick’s disingenuous reply is completely unbelievable to anyone not named Norman Bates – “I like helping people.” Mother asks Chick if she can trust him. Chick answers with another whopper – “You can trust me, Norma.”

By end of this scene Chick talks his way into Permanent Houseguest status; Norma will need him to protect her and Norman if Caleb is in the house (and still alive).

Norman wakes up in his mother’s bed, remembering nothing of the night before. After Mother urges his to get some rest and “stay out of the basement,” Chick appears at the door with breakfast and a matter of fact admission that plays one way to the audience and another to Norman. “I know about her … I’m not here to judge you. We’re all in this sideshow together and then we die.”

Mother likes to wear a snappy business suit when haunting watching over Norman.

Basement-bound Caleb dreams of childhood – huddled and clinging to Norma while their parents raged in another room. Travis Breure and Mira Eden, the young actors playing Norma and Caleb, are wonderful in this snippet of memory. This brief, heartbreaking moment gives us the roots of the Bates family dysfunction and indicates the greatest monsters on this show have never been seen – the maternal grandparents of Norman Bates.

Chick arrives in the basement with some food, which he eats while pressing Caleb for information about Norma and their horrible childhood. Chick declines to interfere in whatever Norman and Mother have planned for their prisoner because “I’m just an observer between you and Norma.”

By the time Caleb’s coughed up enough information for Chick, he’s slamming his head into the pole, weeping that Norma was his “everything.” Yup, Chick certainly loves “helping” people.

“Bad Blood” manages to top last week’s Norma/Norman bar scene with a quietly deranged dinner between Chick, Norman and Mother. Turns out that in addition to being “useful and discreet” Chick is a pretty good cook (curry and naan bread for dinner) AND can pretend to “hear” what Norma says to him; all it takes is manipulating Norman into “repeating” what Norma just said.

Caleb’s imaginary Norma delivers a harsh message with a loving embrace.

Basement Caleb miraculously manages to free himself. He sees Norma in the cold storage room, again lit by that hazy golden glow. She’s so happy to see him – “You can always find me.” As they embrace, her body transforms into a corpse and Caleb awakes still chained to the pole.

Norman watches Caleb, then talks to Caleb as Mother. Caleb attempts to free himself, playing along and talking to “Norma.” “If you unchain me, I promise I’ll help you take care of Norman.”  He wishes it could be like when they were little, “in that pure place … I love you Norma Louise.”

Mother sends Chick into town for shopping. While Chick dawdles over manual typewriters, Mother instructs Norman to kill Caleb with the shotgun she helpfully loads for her son. “Fast and true, right through the brain, right? That’s my boy!”

Norman chooses to free Caleb only for Mother to take over as he flees, chasing him down the stairs to the motel.  Chick is so preoccupied with dictating his true crime novel into his phone, he doesn’t notice Caleb fleeing across the road until Caleb is smashed against the windshield. At least Chick doesn’t flee the scene.

Out of the jail and into the gun stealing and carjacking for Romero.

Former Sheriff Alex Romero makes semi-good on his promise to “take care” of Norman. His escapes from the custody of the two cops (Cameron Forbes and Panta Mosleh) transferring him to the work farm using a convenience store restroom break excuse to steal the male cops gun, then targetes a schmuck named Jason (Joshua Hinkson) for My First Carjacking by Former Sheriff Alex Romero.

Problems set in after Romero ditches Jason (who begs for his life by mentioning his wife, child and mother) several hours walk from the highway. The stolen car develops a flat, forcing Romero to walk himself. Romero attempts to steal a car left out in the open with the doors unlocked and the keys on the inside only to have a pimply-faced farm kid (Malcom Craig) shoot him in the gut.

Psycho Notes

~ Last week Chick was scribbling out a story that paralleled (or maybe created?) the current Bates Motel storyline. In “Bad Blood” we see him dictating text and buying a manual typewriter. The sales clerk asks Chick what he’s writing. “A novel … True Crime.”

~ Chick name drops manual typewriter-using authors Ernest Hemingway, (Raymond) Chandler, and (Dashiel) Hammett. It’s a bit puzzling that he neglects to mention the writer of one of the first and most influential “true crime novels” ever written – In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

~ Like Petyr “Littlefinger” Beylish of Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire fame, Chick may be in danger of outsmarting himself. While he’s got the upper hand on Norman and Mother now, it remains to be seen if Chick really understands what he’s gotten himself into.

~ While we know a lot of details about Chick – he can cook, fancies himself a writer, likes to wear a kimono. What we don’t know – why is he so intent on insinuating  himself into the Bates family?

~ Madeline Loomis (Isabelle McNally) takes up some time with a useless appearance to bring cookies, complain about Sam, and ask Norman “Can we be friends and hang out, even though I’m married?” I’m sure Mother will be JUST FINE with that idea.

~ No Dylan, Emma or baby Kate this week, thank goodness. The less we see of them, the more hopeful I am about their survival past the last episode.

 

Bates Motel airs Monday night 10/9c on A&E.




Sparkle Motion Lives: DONNIE DARKO Returns to Theaters

 

[All images courtesy Arrow Films]

Fifteen years after its original theatrical release, Donnie Darko returns to theaters this month in a new 4K restoration courtesy Arrow Films and Cartilage Films.

The anniversary re-release begins March 31 in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Columbus, Pittsburg, Phoenix and San Francisco. Throughout March and April lucky moviegoers in Jacksonville, Austin, Dallas, Honolulu, Lubbock, Baton Rouge, Sioux Falls, Oklahoma City, Tucson, Durham and Stamford should keep an eye out for screenings.

Donnie Darko is often classified as science fiction, or horror, or scifi-horror. I’d place it alongside films like Pi (Darren Aronofsky 1998), Eraserhead (David Lynch 1977) and It Follows (David Robert Mitchell 2014). Like those fever dreams, Darko creates a weird, off kilter world that bears a surface resemblance to ours, but develops in to a new landscape, unique to itself.

“Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion.”

 

“Donnie is a troubled high school student; in therapy, prone to sleepwalking and in possession of an imaginary friend, a six-foot rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. During that time he will navigate teenage life, narrowly avoid death in the form of a falling jet engine, follow Frank’s maladjusted instructions and try to maintain the space-time continuum.”

 

Jake Gyllenhaal, Jenna Malone, and a rabbit named Frank watch a movie.

If you don’t happen to live in a city on the Donnie Darko 15th Anniversary 4K release schedule (sigh), let’s hope the good folks at Arrow have a 4K BluRay release in the works.