What’s Baking In The Blumhouse Kitchen?

Jason Blum has discovered a way to take unwanted films, produce them with a low budget, and walk away from the theater laughing with pockets filled with money. His work through his production company, Blumhouse, has become reliable enough that Universal has staked him for a 1o-year deal to balance out the blockbuster and family films they release.

Blum went into filmmaking, looking for the reaction from people. His father owned an art gallery and it frustrated Blum that “the world was tiny, and to appreciate contemporary art, [people] needed a history of art, a formal education.” Movies reach many people and, especially with the horror genre, the instant connection and reaction is visibly present, quite the opposite of what he grew up with.

With his production company, he developed a formula that helps everyone involved. The budget starts with $5 million, more for sequels. If the project stays under that budget, they keep the remaining balance as well as creative control. Blumhouse will provide a guide to filmmakers on how to get more commercially appealing results. However, the filmmaker still has the final say.

They do not provide a release date for the films until it is finished and the production company sees the final result and decides whether to move forward or to shelve it. And that is a possibility.

This works. Blumhouse has nearly $2.8 billion in box office grosses, TV studio productions, and book releases. Since they are not spending a lot, it allows them to pick up the projects no other company sees fit to do.

And Blum is proud of that: “It’s the great thing about the movie business. Most of the successful movies we’ve done, no one else wanted to do.”

So far, Blumhouse is having a good year. They’ve had two huge box office hits – M. Night Shyamalan’s Split and Jordan Peele’s Get Out, plus J.D. Dillard’s Sleight and recently premiered Akiva Goldsman’s Stephanie. And it appears this mini power house has no signs of slowing down. Let’s take a look and see what Blumhouse is cooking in their kitchen.

Truth Or Dare

Truth Or Dare comes from writer-director Jeff Wadlow (Bates Motel, Kick Ass 2). Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) is finalizing her deal to star.

The story follows a college student in Mexico who is talked into playing a supernatural version of Truth or Dare. However, the game doesn’t stop there and follows her back home.

The screenplay is adapted from a story written by Michael Reisz, Wadlow, Chris Roach, and Jillia Jacobs. It will be produced by Blum and Blumhouse’s Couper Samuelson with Wadlow and Roach executive producing.

Only You

Only You will star Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo and is written and directed by Jacob Estes (Mean Creek). The plot is under wraps; however, it has been explained to be thriller involving time travel.

Blum will produce with Oyelowo executive producing with Couper Samuelson, Jeanette Voltron, and Jay Martin.

Oyelowo was nominated for a Gold Globe for his role as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s Selma. He will soon be seen in Paramount and Bad Robot’s new Cloverfield movie. He also voices Agent Kallus in the animated series Star Wars Rebels.

Sweetheart

The upcoming survival horror film Sweetheart comes from Sleight director J.D. Dillard. It will star Hanna Mangan Lawrence (Containment, Spartacus: Vengeance), Benedict Samuel (Gotham, The Walking Dead), Kiersey Clemons (Dope), and Emory Cohen (Brooklyn).

The plot for this project is also being kept under wraps.

Blum, Bill Karesh, Dillard, Alex Theurer, and Alex Hyner will produce. The story was co-written by Dillard, Theurer, and Hyner.

Sleight was Dillard’s feature directorial debut and took in $1.7 million on it’s opening weekend. He is also currently attached to direct and co-write the remake of The Fly for Fox.

Firestarter

After the premiere of Akiva Goldsman’s Stephanie at the Overlook Film Festival in Oregon, the director and Jason Blum announced they were teaming up again for a new adaptation of Stephen King’s 1980 novel, Firestarter.

The novel is about a young girl with pyrokenisis and is used by a government agency who attempts to harness her powers as a weapon. It was made into a film in 1984 and starred a young Drew Barrymore.

Stephen King and Goldsman have had a long relationship. King has given his blessing for Goldsman to do this and will also receive a producer credit on the project.

Goldsman is writing the script with Scott Teems (Rectify). Goldsman also pointed out that they would be focusing on the original novel instead of the 1984 film adaptation. Other projects that Goldsman and Blum have worked on include Paranormal Activity 2, 3, and 4. He also wrote King’s adaptation for The Dark Tower.

No release date has been given.

Halloween

Since the last two remakes of the Halloween franchise from Rob Zombie did not pan out like expected, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green are teaming up with Blumhouse to remake the classic horror film. They state their goal is to ground the series in a more realistic state.

According to McBride:

It was just very simple and just achieved that level of horror that wasn’t corny and it wasn’t turning Michael Myers into some supernatural being that couldn’t be killed. That stuff to me isn’t scary, I want to be scared by something that I really think can happen. So, for us, we were like we have to make sure that this is something we actually would want to see or else its’ not worth doing. We came up with a take that we thought was cool, and then we actually went and pitched to John Carpenter, and he loved it. He was into it. It was like insane to have his seal of approval and to have him respond to where we were talking about taking Michael Myers next.

Carpenter will join as an executive producer on the new film with Blumhouse Productions.

The series has had its ups and downs during the last twenty years. Even with the renewed interest of horror films in the late 90’s, thanks to Scream, Halloween only received a lukewarm reception, even with Jamie Lee Curtis making a reappearance.

Maybe this time around, McBride and Gordon Green can properly scare the audiences into the theater.

Glass

Spoiler warning for M. Night Shyamalan’s Split.

At the end of the multiple personality thriller, it was revealed that the film takes place in the same universe as the 2000 film Unbreakable. Now, Shyamalan has announced that Glass will be released next year and act as a sequel to both Split and Unbreakable.

He hasn’t revealed anything about the story, but that Glass will finally answer nearly two decades’ worth of questions about a possible sequel to Unbreakable, which will feature the return of Bruce Willis as David Dunn, Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price/Mr. Glass and how they interact with James McAvoy’s Split character and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke.

Shyamalan’s script has been completed. He will direct with Blumhouse producing. Currently the released date is January 18, 2019.

The Purge

The success of The Purge franchise surprised many, showing that audiences were intrigued by the concept of a twelve-hour freedom from the law. The original film had a budget of $3 million and grossed over $89 million. The following two installments each earned over $110 million. Currently the fourth film will be released in July 2018.

However, Blumhouse has now announced they are teaming with Syfy and USA to also bring The Purge to the small screen.

Franchise creator James DeMonaco and Jason Blum spoke at the NBCUniversal’s upfront and described the series as “an entirely new chapter in America’s 12 hours of annual lawlessness.” Unlike the films, the series would focus on the other 364 days of the year and how the law affects the people.

The Purge television series will air on Syfy and USA in 2018.




HBO Heads for LOVECRAFT COUNTRY with GET OUT Director Jordan Peele

[Banner image courtesy HarperCollins Publishers/Jarrod Taylor]

If you read Mindy Inlow’s SciFi4Me article a few weeks back, you already know that HBO is preparing for the end of Game of ThronesSeveral thousand (OK, four five) GoT spinoffs are now being developed. But thanks to Get Out director Jordan Peele, there’s going to be at least one horror adaptation among the fantasy epics.

Earlier this week, Deadline Hollywood reported exclusively that Peele and HBO, working with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Warner Bros Television, are adapting Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel Lovecraft Country as an hour-long drama. According to the article, the producers are aiming to make “an anthological horror series that reclaims genre storytelling from the African-American perspective.” Misha Green, co-creator of WGN’s historical drama series Underground, will write the pilot episode and serve as series showrunner.

Lovecraft Country begins as a road trip story in a slightly off-kilter 1950’s America.  Atticus Black comes home to Chicago from a tour of duty in Korea. He discovers his estranged father is missing, and the few clues remaining lead him on a journey to Ardham, Massachusetts … and Lovecraft Country.

Matt Ruff, author of Lovecraft Country © 2006 Michael Hilliard/MHHM

If the television version of Lovecraft Country aims to tell stories in an anthology format, there’s a wealth of folklore to tap into. It’ll be interesting to see what happens after the series tells the story in Ruff’s novel. Will the series continue to explore a Lovecraftian inspired mythos specific to the novel? Or will it move into folklore-inspired stories based on the African-American experience – like the paths taken in movies such as To Sleep With Anger (1990, Dir. Charles Burnett), Eve’s Bayou (1997, Dir. Kasi Lemmons) or Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012, Dir. Benh Zeitlin)?

Jordan Peele’s Get Out maintains a 99% Fresh Rating at Rotten Tomatoes. (image courtesy Get Out Official Facebook page)

Howard Philips Lovecraft (1891-1937) has, to put it mildly, a complicated legacy in the horror genre. Alongside his undeniable imagination and creative energy is a clear record of unabashed racism.  Perspectives on HPL vary wildly; passionate defenders like anthologist S. T. Joshi (visit his blog and scroll down to the 11-24-15 entry) contrast with authors like Daniel Jose Older, who launched the petition that ultimately moved the World Fantasy Convention to drop  HPL as the image of their award in 2015.

Joshi protested the decision by returning the awards he received from the group. You can check our article on the new award design here.

Perhaps it’s easier to deal with the views of an author when they’re safely removed from our own time by a hundred years. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), my favorite Great American Novelist, created the quintessential heroine in Hester Prynne and acted as a higher-brow creator dark gothic tales along with his contemporary Edgar Allan Poe. Hawthorne also held the deeply racist views of his time.

Richard Klayman, in his essay “What Should We Make of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Racism?” quotes Hawthorne biographer Philip McFarland about the discomfort in admiring the superlative work of people who have very real faults. “We would prefer that those we admire be admirable in every way.”

Unlike Hawthorne, HPL is of our time. He is intimately connected to the changes in society in 20th and 21st century America. Books like Lovecraft Country specifically address his complex legacy and movies (like Get Out) telling socially relevant stories through the lens of the horror genre insure that we’ll be debating HPL for some time to come.

 

 




ZOMBPOCALYPSE NOW: The SANTA CLARITA DIET Season Finale!

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With The Walking Dead done for the season, #TeamZombie turn their attention to the first season finale of the darkly comedic feast that is Santa Clarita Diet! It’s Zombpocalypse Now!


Season 1, Episode 10 “Baka, Bile and Baseball Bats”

Written by Clay Graham, Directed by Dean Parisot

Timothy: Could you cough a bit more? And maybe tap on the table a few more times?

Dustin: I was sick, and you know it. And I… tap on things. Sometimes. Not all the time.

Timothy: Mmmm hmmm. You know I can’t cut all of those out, right?

Dustin: You know I don’t think about that at all, right?

Mindy: While these two descend into petty bickering, as is their wont, I would just like to point out that we did get the podcast back under 35 minutes for the first time in weeks, which would be even more impressive if the actual episode of Santa Clarita Diet we were talking about was actually over 30 minutes itself, but hey. We take our victories where we can. Also, for whatever reason, we again have a lot of air noise in the recording that fiendishly resisted removal, so maybe Mr. Harvey needs to check on the recording gear and see what the issue there is. We’ll keep you apprised, because we do want the listening part of this thing to be as pleasant as possible. 

Stay tuned for a special Movie Review edition of Zombpocalypse Now, out later this week, where Tweedledee and Tweedledum over here will explain to me what went wrong with the latest film in the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant. Be advised that they swear a lot, so bleeping will be plentiful. They really are not meant to be out among the civilized peoples. 

Dustin: Hey…

Mindy: ALSO, if you enjoy this podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes and Podcasts.com, because that helps new listeners find us, and that’s always nice. If you don’t enjoy this podcast, it’s Tim and Dustin’s fault.

Timothy: Hang on…

Mindy: AND, please listen to all the other great podcasts we have on SciFi4MeRadio, because very few of them have as many squabbling children as this one.

Timothy: Lady has a point.

Dustin: It’s a fair cop. 

Mindy: We’ll see you all next week, where we’ll talk about things and stuff, and probably American Gods. Thanks for listening!

 

 




Cancellations & Renewals Part One: What Survived for the Fall TV Schedule?

Alrighty now. These last few weeks we have been getting updates to what shows have been saved and what shows are biting the dust. Plus we have been keeping track of what newbies have been picked up by the networks that just may be interesting. So below is a list (with more coming as news comes out from the remaining upfronts) so that our readers can properly plan for their 2017-2018 TV time.

Click on the links for additional stories on those shows. And if you see that we have missed your favorite genre show, let us know so we can share it with others!

Listed below are the series pick-ups we know about:

  • Black Lightning (The CW)
    • Retired superhero Jefferson Pierce steps back into his secret identity as the wanted vigilante Black Lightning when a local gang tries to recruit his daughter, a star student with powers of her own.
  • The Crossing (ABC)
    • Refugees from a war torn country seek asylum in an American town. However, these refugees are from American and the war they flee is 250 years in the future.

https://youtu.be/4qNDIe8tcr8

  • Deception (ABC)
    • Superstar magician Cameron Black’s career ends due to a scandal. So he joins the FBI to become the first consulting illusionist, using his art of deception, illusion, and influence to help the government solve crimes that defy explanation.
  • Ghosted (Fox)
    • A skeptic is forced to work with a believer of paranormal to solve unexplained occurrences in Los Angeles for a government agency.

https://youtu.be/ubbjVowDuys

  • The Gifted (Fox)
    • Two parents take their children on the run after they discover their children have mutant abilities.

https://youtu.be/4I_htkGJAZ4

https://youtu.be/qTzW9rMcbzk

  • The Inhumans (ABC)
    • The Inhuman Royal family escape Hawaii after a military take over with the goal to save themselves and the world.

https://youtu.be/6-5aJgj3TPg

  • The Orville (Fox)
    • Set 400 years in the future, a motley crew of a not-so-top-of-the-line exploratory ship, the Orville, join the divorced captain and first officer as they navigate fascinating and sometimes dangerous adventures as well as their work environment.

https://youtu.be/Yy9sKeCE8V0

  • The Passage (Fox)
    • A girl tries to save the human race from a post-apocalyptic world run by vampires.
  • Searchers (The CW)
    • A pragmatic brother and free spirited sister team up ten years after their parents death to discover their mothers terrible and bizarre stories will guide them to discover the great legends, myths, and explainable mysteries of the world.
  • Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access)
    • New Star Trek series, plot unknown, but it’s said to take place between Enterprise and The Original Series, and may be set in the Prime universe instead of the J.J. Abrams “Kelvin” timeline.

https://youtu.be/CKuZINgyR-c

  • Big Hero 6 (Disney XD)
    • Big Hero 6 will continue where the film ended with the continuing adventures of 14-year-old tech genius Hiro, his lovable, cutting-edge robot Baymax and their friends as they protect their city from scientifically enhanced villains while also balancing out regular life as new students at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology.

https://youtu.be/lERm84raglA

  • Ducktales (Disney XD)
    • The adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his nephews as they search for treasures around the world and protect Scrooge’s fortune.

https://youtu.be/nY_xCXE0sIc

  • Ghost Wars (Syfy)
    • A local outcast in an Alaskan town must over come the towns prejudices and his own personal demons to be able to harness his repressed psychic powers to save the locals from a mass haunting that is threatening to kill them.
  • The Haunted (Syfy)
    • Four siblings reuinted after the death of their parents, trying to fix their fractured relationships so they can face the literal ghosts of their pasts in order to survive.
  • Krytpon (Syfy)
    • The show follows the Man of Steels grandfather of the house of El after they are shamed and ostracized as he fights to redeem his families honor and save his world from chaos.
  • Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger (Freeform)
    • The story of two teens with powers — she can throw light daggers, he can engulf people and objects in darkness — who are drawn together in a romantic entanglement made more complicated by the differences in their backgrounds.

https://youtu.be/411EofIqiaM

  • Marvel’s New Warriors (Freeform)
    • Six young people with powers who work and live together. However, their powers are not quite like the Avengers. They want to make a difference in the world – even if the world is not quite ready for them.
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man (Disney XD)
    • The animated story of an unsure but courageous teenage who has to learn to be a hero from the very beginning.

https://youtu.be/RmRh4o0y8Iw

  • Siren (Freeform)
    • According to legend, Bristol Cove once was home to mermaids.  A mysterious girl arrives and proves the folklore to be true which starts a battle between the townsfolk and the predatory creatures trying to reclaim their right to the ocean.

https://youtu.be/QrtY7OnVlw8

  • Castle Rock (Netflix)
    • Set in Stephen King’s fictional down of Castle Rock, each season would follow a different set of characters and storylines with intersecting themes and certain characters from previous seasons.
  • Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu)
    • A diverse group of six teenagers discover they have one thing in common: their parents are a part of an evil crime organization.

Listed below are the renewals that we know:

BROADCAST:

  • The 100 (The CW)
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
  • Arrow (The CW)
  • Exorcist (Fox)
  • The Flash (The CW)
  • Gotham (Fox)
  • iZombie (The CW)
  • The Last Man on Earth (Fox)
  • Legends of Tomorrow (The CW)
  • Lucifer (FOX)
  • Once Upon A Time (ABC)
  • The Originals (The CW)
  • Riverdale (The CW)
  • Supergirl (The CW)
  • Supernatural (The CW)
  • Timeless (NBC)
  • The X-Files (Fox)

CABLE:

  • 12 Monkeys (Syfy) – through fourth and final season in 2018
  • American Horror Story (FX) – through Season 9
  • Beyond (Freeform)
  • Channel Zero (Syfy) – through Season 4
  • Colony (USA)
  • Dark Matter (SyFy)
  • The Expanse (SyFy)
  • Fear the Walking Dead (AMC)
  • Humans (AMC)
  • Into the Badlands (AMC)
  • The Last Ship (TNT)
  • Legion (FX)
  • The Librarians (TNT)
  • The Magicians (SyFy)
  • Outlander (Starz) – through Season 4
  • People of Earth (TBS)
  • Scream (MTV)
  • The Shannara Chronicles (moving to Spike)
  • Shadowhunters (Freeform)
  • Van Helsing (Syfy)
  • Westworld (HBO)
  • Z Nation (Syfy)

STREAMING:

Listed below are the cancellations we know about:

  • Emerald City (NBC)
  • Frequency (The CW)
  • Making History (Fox)
  • Powerless (NBC)
  • Scream Queens (Fox)
  • Sleepy Hollow (Fox)
  • Son of Zorn (Fox)

 




ZOMBPOCALYPSE NOW: A Little Salt For The SANTA CLARITA DIET

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With The Walking Dead done for the season, #TeamZombie turn their attention to the final episodes of the darkly comedic feast that is Santa Clarita Diet! It’s Zombpocalypse Now!


Season 1, Episode 8 
“How Much Vomit?”
Written by Aaron Brownstein & Simon Ganz, Directed by Steve Pink

Season 1, Episode 9 “The Book!”
Written by Sarah Walker, Directed by Tamra Davis

Zombpocalypse Now: Santa Clarita Diet

Dustin: I really don’t remember recording this episode. My sinuses are trying to kill me.

Mindy: You did. We were there.

Dustin: I’m not sure I believe you. 

Timothy: Dude. Your voice is right there. You use the words and everything.

Dustin: You could have constructed it out of pieces of previous episodes. 

Timothy: I so don’t have the time for that. Are you insane?

Dustin: Mindy is a cyborg now. She could have… used her cyborg powers.

Mindy: This is true. I do have the vast and terrible cyborg powers.

Timothy: Uh huh. Sure you do. Anyway, I would like to apologize to the folks at home for some weirdness with the audio. The levels are off, so it jumps up and down a bit on the volume in places.

Mindy: You can understand us though. Well, as much as anyone can ever understand us.

Timothy: We do make sense at least some of the time.

Dustin: Do we though? Eh. Maybe. I still don’t remember recording this. My sinuses are trying to kill me. Have I mentioned that?

Mindy: You have. And I’ll just mention that we have a lot of other podcasts you can listen to on iTunes and Podcasts.com, and we would love it if you’d rate and comment on this podcast. It helps people find it and build our audience.

Timothy: That would be great, yes. Thanks for listening folks, and we’ll be back next week with more Zombpocalypse Now!

 




Folklore and Restless Ghosts Make a Haunting Mix in LORD OF TEARS

 

[All images courtesy Hex Media]

 

Lord of Tears
Written by Sara Daly
Directed by Lawrie Brewster
Produced by Hex Media, Dark Dunes Productions
Copyright 2016 (Special Edition)

 

 

 

Can a movie still be a satisfying viewing experience even if some the elements don’t quite work for the viewer? In the case of Lord of Tears from Scotland’s Hex Media, the answer is yes.

Lord of Tears isn’t without issues (more about that below). But Director Lawrie Brewster mixes classic ghost story tropes, an atmospheric setting and strong cinematography to produce a movie that creates, in the word of ghost story master M. R. James, “a pleasing terror.”

Lord of Tears was originally released in 2013 as The Owlman. Hex Media recently released a spiffed up version (including a new sound mix and brand new edit) available for a free viewing to people who sign up for the Hex Media mailing list. Lord of Tears is worth it – and crew at Hex Media look like they’re putting their heart & soul into creating interesting, original horror with a Caledonian touch.

Here’s a look at the trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReJ5rcNDRZ4

Teacher James Findlay (Euan Douglas) receives word of his mother’s (Nancy Joy Page) death. After a sparsely attended funeral supported by his friend Allen (Jamie Scott Gordon), his childhood friend who is dealing with his own father’s terminal illness, a bit of disquieting mystery seeps into the reading of his mother’s will when the solicitor (Alan Ireby) hands James a letter. Apparently, Mrs. Findlay insisted the letter be hand delivered  to her son by the solicitor upon her death.

The letter warns her son to never go to one of the properties he has inherited, a stately, desolate house in the Scottish Highlands. Which of course prompts James to make a beeline for the place.

 

Argdour House – the breakout star of Lord of Tears.

The only other person he meets at the house is Eve Turner (Alexandra Nicole Hulme), a free-spirited American claiming to live in the coach house while keeping an eye on the property.  “Evie” and James begin to fall in love as memories of his childhood resurface. Mixed in with the joy of new love are dreams of his friend Allen wielding a bloody ax, a basement cavern lit by red candles, and a man with an owl’s head and hands of long cruel talons warning of disaster.

As James learns more about his childhood, his parents and the cruel history of the house he inherited, the pasts – and futures – of Evie, Allan and James become intertwined and overshadowed by the warnings from the Lord of Tears.

What Didn’t work (for me)

*(Spoiler Alert – Don’t clink on the following link until after you’ve seen Lord of Tears). As a ghost story fan, I was already suspicious of the overly helpful Evie. But I could not get into or understand Evie as a character (instead of a trope) until she … um …  revealed a new aspect of her personality and truly came to life.

 

The only other person James meets at his childhood home is the oh-so-helpful Evie.

*I wish there’d been a clearer connection drawn between James, his friend Allen, and their connection to each other and the house James inherited. I understood enough about their relationship to make sense of the twist at the very end of the story. But for me, the elliptical nature of how their backstory was told didn’t help me connect it to events in the present. The final act in their friendship didn’t quite pack the wallop it could have.

*Some scenes took me out of the story due to their length.  In particular, a scene between Evie and James in the “living room” of the house just seemed to drag to the point where I was actually wondering is this scene going to end soon? The scene did provide clues that played out in the ending of the story – it just felt like it went too long.

 

No cable or cell reception gives everyone plenty of time to read.

What Worked

*The script by Sara Daly script contains – and uses well – all the basics of a good ghost story. In particular, Lord of Tears eminded me of how classic ghost stories like The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell and The Mezzotint by M. R. James use the setting to increase the mood of dread and tighten the suspense. The setting becomes a major character without speaking a word.

*Lawrie Brewster masterfully integrates another classic trope ghost story trope; an unsuspecting protagonist interacting with someone who is … not what they appear to be. Another good example of this is the 1995 Aiden Quinn/Kate Beckinsale movie Haunted.

*Argdour House is a perfect setting for a relaxing vacation stay – or a ghost story.  Cannot say enough of the skill Brewester and cinematographer Gavin Robertson used the magnificent isolation of the Scottish setting to build mood and tension.

*Real World Folklore  – The Owlman is an actual folk legend based in Cornwall that works just as well in the Scottish setting of Lord of Tears.

*The Owlman – Kudos to mask sculptor Angela Allan and actor David Schofield  for bringing the Owlman to life. Unlike the overly chatty Freddy Krueger, The Owlman  is an almost motionless entity. But the menacing of tone of the few lines he does utter leaves a menacing aura throughout the movie (and James’s head) that you feel even when he’s not on screen.

Those gigantic black beady eyes and razor sharp claws ….

Hex Media has some interesting project in the pipline (including another Owlman movie that’s almost reached its Kickstarter goal called The Black Gloves) So if Lord of Tears sounds interrguing, check here for more details.

 




ZOMBPOCALYPSE NOW: Live From PLANET COMICON! (Well, Sort Of)

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We didn’t just livestream from Planet Comicon, we also recorded this week’s Zombpocalypse Now in front of a LIVE audience! Listen!

Dustin: Well, we, as usual, said we were going to talk about one thing last week, and here we are, talking about something else.

Timothy: We did, and we are. We said we were going to talk about the last three episodes of Santa Clarita Diet, but instead…

Dustin: We recorded an episode in front of a live audience at Planet Comicon!

Timothy: … just like the last few years. Like the last, what, three years?

Dustin: I am trying to make this sound exciting. You are not helping.

Timothy: It was fun.

Dustin: It was. It was also kind of a greatest hits episode, where we talk about The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and Santa Clarita Diet, and take questions from the audience. Who were awesome.

Timothy: It’s always a great time talking to other fans of these shows we love to hate to love. To hate. To love.

Dustin: It is complicated. But this show isn’t. And you can actually hear the audience! Sort of. Mostly.

Timothy: And every time you tapped on the table. All the times you tapped on the table.

Dustin: I… do that, yes. It’s a thing I do. That table was loud. It’s not my fault.

Timothy: And you can hear it all its glory. We had a good time out there, and we hope you have a good time listening to it.

Mindy: Oh! Hey! Hi! And rate and comment on our podcast and all our other podcasts on iTunes and Podcasts.com! 

Dustin: Where the hell have you been? 

Mindy: Working the floor, getting interviews and SO MUCH MORE! Check out all our great Planet Comicon Coverage! Here at SciFi4Me!

 




Norman Can’t Cut THE CORD in BATES MOTEL Series Finale


Season 5, Episode 10  “The Cord”
Written by Kerry Ehrin and Carlton Cuse
Directed by Tucker Gates

[All images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron]

Here at the end of all things Bates Motel, “The Cord” features a series of events that, at least within the context of everything that’s come before on this show, can be thought of as a “happy” ending.

If you consider a carjacking, a near-death beatdown, and two fatal shootings happy.

 RELATED ~ Review – Bates Motel Season 5 Episode 9  “Visiting Hours”

Alex, Norman, and Norma

We join Romero (Nestor Carbonell) and Norman (Freddie Highmore) on the road, continuing their midnight “Take Your Stepfather to Your Mother’s Corpse” field trip. Police station receptionist turned unwilling driver Regina (Aliyah O’Brian) begs Romero not to kill her. He obliges after the unhappy trio turns off the road towards Norma’s shallow grave. Romero “frees” Regina to walk back to the highway in freezing temperatures and sets off with Norman through the woods.

Mother is still controlling Norman (and in her mind, the situation). “Norman isn’t here … you can’t touch him.” Even digging through the snow with bare hands Mother can’t resist taunting Romero before asking for help. “It would go faster if you help me.”

Being the vengeance-crazed, sleep-deprived, and grief-stricken widower that he is, OF COURSE Romero tucks his gun away and pitches in. Norman briefly overpowers his stepfather before Romero beats him bloody.

Norman sets the final tragedy in motion – killing Romero next to Norma’s corpse.

Turning away from the dazed Norman, Romero completely loses any composure he had left at the sight of  Norma’s frozen corpse, vacant open eyes staring upwards. “I’m going to get you out of here … I’m sorry I couldn’t help you.” He doesn’t notice Norman staggering to his feet. Norman has Romero’s gun in an instant and shoots his nemesis.

Before his joins Norma in death, Romero says words that doom Norman. “You killed your own mother. You can’t hide from it.” Romero’s death seems to snap Norman back to himself. Mother appears. She’s bathed in a golden light as she tells Norman, “I have to leave you now. There’s nothing for me to protect you from. Goodbye, Norman.”

What follows is a fascinating jumble of images. Norman lies in the snow next to Norma and dreams. He opens his eyes on a golden morning and tells his mother, “I just had the most horrible dream.” Norman gets out of bed, running through the house to find Norma. She’s in the kitchen making breakfast. Norma gently tells her son, “you just have to learn to wake up from them.”

We see Norman lying in the snow between the corpses of Romero and Norma. He asks his mother, “Am I still dreaming?” As Norman thinks he’s driving to White Pine Bay with Norma to start a new life, we see a bloody, beaten Norman driving through the night.

Dylan can’t NOT try to save Norman from himself. Even if it kills him.

Norman gently tucks Norma’s corpse into her bed and hurries to prepare the hotel for opening. He’s back at the beginning of their lives at the Bates Motel.

A new start means a time to repair frayed family ties. Norman calls his brother. He knows Norma and Dylan (Max Theriot) fought terribly, but he’d like to invite his brother to dinner. “We’re at the new house with the motel. I miss you and our mother does, too.” Norman doesn’t understand why Dylan’s asking him about someone named Romero.

Dylan

By the time Norman calls his brother, Dylan already put in a full day’s work. His day started with a tense discussion with Sheriff Greene (Brooke Smith) regarding Norman’s inadvertent jailbreak, moved on to a quick stop to pick up an illegal handgun from his old pot farm coworker Remo (Ian Tracey) before ending the day with a shot of liquid reflection (aka alcohol).

Dylan is surprised Norman called him, relieved he’s alive – then crestfallen as he realizes Norman has retreated into a fantasy world where Norma is still alive. He agrees to come to dinner.

Mother … isn’t herself today.

Norman and Dylan

Before entering the Bates House, Dylan takes care of a few loose ends. He warns away the mother (blonde) with two young sons (one named Dylan) whom Norman checked into the motel. Then he makes a heartbreaking call to Emma (Olivia Cooke).

She begs him not to do this – he has a child, responsibilities, a life beyond Norman. “I know I have a child. Do I have a wife?” Emma doesn’t answer that one, nor does she respond to his I Love You. She won’t give him that final goodbye.

Now to dinner. Norman has done a remarkable job cleaning up the place and removing all the crime scene tape. He’s also dressed Norma in a lovely skirt and sweater combo and seated her at the head of the table; her makeup, smearing and running down her face, does ruin the effect.

Dylan refuses to play along with Norman’s delusion. Norman hustles his brother into the dining room. “We can talk over dinner. Just sit here by Mother.” The sight of Norma’s corpse prompts a fairly normal reaction out of Dylan – he vomits.

As the illusion begins to unravel, Norman clings to it. If he just keeps pretending hard enough, everything will be as it was. He counters Dylan’s insistence that he live in the “real world.” “In a prison for the criminally insane?” Dylan doesn’t want that; as he explains to his brother, he wants a lot of things that will never happen. “I want you to be happy. I want you to be well … I want Mom to be alive again.” This is (I believe) the first time Dylan has called Norma “Mom,” and it’s one of the most heartbreaking moments in all of Bates Motel.

For a moment, it seems like Norman will go with his brother and rejoin the “real world.” But Norman picks up a long kitchen knife, sadly tells Dylan, “I just want to be with her, ” and commits suicide by brother (aka the “Kill the Ones You Love” trope).

“Thank You.” Norman lies bleeding to death cradled in a weeping Dylan’s arms. In his mind, he is running through the forest, joyfully reunited with his one true love – a smiling, loving Norma.

********

We see Dylan sitting on the house porch steps; he watches the police take Norman and Norma’s bodies away.

“Dream a Little Dream of Me” plays as we see the future in sunlight. A man and woman buy the Bates Motel. As Remo told Dylan earlier, the legalization of marijuana in Oregon has transformed the secret pot farms into booming artisanal weed growers. Maybe these two can make the place a success.

Emma leads a Katie through a crowd of people. They meet up with Dylan. He scoops up Katie in his arms. Are they still together, or now former partners who put their child first? I suspect the later even if I hope for the former.

In the sunlit graveyard, the audience makes the final pilgrimage to Norma’s headstone. Next to her name and testimonial is a simple inscription. NORMAN.  Together with Mother, today and always.

 

Psycho Notes

~ Norman liked the “cord between our hearts” line he cribbed from Jane Eyre and quoted to Norma in the very first episode of Bates Motel (“First You Dream, Then You Die”), he used it for Norma’s headstone (as seen in The Convergence of the Twain and the series finale.

~ Norman ends up killing his mother and her lover in both Psycho (simultaneous poisoning) and Bates Motel (carbon monoxide poisoning and gunshot spaced two years apart).

~ Norman worried about being committed to “a prison for the criminally insane.” Ed Gein was sent to the Wisconsin Central State Hospital for the Insane before being transferred to the  Mendota Mental Health Institute, where he died in 1984.

~ Dylan’s “drink & think” bar features the 2016 song “Magi Bullet” by the band My Morning Jacket; ironic in the light of the magic bullet that saves his life at episode’s end.

~ At the Bates home, classic easy listening of the 50’s & 60’s hold sway – on vinyl of course.

  • “Que Sera Sera” – sung by Doris Day. The actress also starred in Alfred Hitchock’s 1956 movie The Man Who Knew Too Much.
  • “You Belong to Me” (1952) by Pee Wee King, Chilton Price and Redd Stewart; first recorded by Joni James, most popular version recorded by Jo Stafford.
  • “Dream a Little Dream of Me” (1931) by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt, lyrics by Gus Kahn. Covered many, many times, including a version by Doris Day.

 

Sadly, Bates Motel is no longer airing on A&E Network.

 




ZOMBPOCALYPSE NOW: How To Lose Friends And Eat People With The SANTA CLARITA DIET

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With The Walking Dead done for the season, #TeamZombie turn their attention to the darkly comedic feast that is Santa Clarita Diet!


Season 1, Episode 6 “Attention to Detail”
Written by Leila Cohan-Miccio, Directed by Craig Zisk

Season 1, Episode 7 “Strange or Just Inconsiderate?”
Written by Ben Smith, Directed by Lynn Shelton

Santa Clarita Diet

 

Dustin: Weren’t we going to try and keep these things to 30 minutes?

Mindy: Actually, I’m kind of amazed you two have kept it under 45.

Dustin: “You two“? You’re in this thing too, missy.

Mindy: I think that if you count the number of digressions that happen on this show, you’ll find I am pretty much in the minority. By a significant margin.

Dustin: Give it time.

Timothy: Anyway. Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Zombpocalypse Now, your weekly podcast about Dead Things and More. We are watching Santa Clarita Diet, and unlike The Walking Dead

Dustin: Which has been known to be funny in all the wrong ways.

Timothy: … THIS show is meant to be funny. And it really is.

Mindy: Oh, yeah, it is. And it’s really fun to watch you two laugh so much.

Dustin: I never laugh. I am a very serious person.

Mindy: Uh huh.

Timothy: Anyway. Thanks for listening folks. Please do us the kindness of commenting and rating us wherever you’re listening…

Dustin: iTunes, Podcasts.com…

Timothy: … because that helps more people find us, and it lets us know what you think of our ramblings.

Mindy: AND, you can come see us live at Kansas City’s Planet Comicon, April 28th-30th! We’re live-streaming the Con!

Dustin: AND we’re doing a panel! Saturday, April 29th! Noon o’clock! Our awesomeness in all our glory!

Timothy: We do hope to see you there. Thanks for listening!

SciFi4Me 20% Off at HumanCharger. Use coupon code scifi4me during checkout. Expires 12/31/2017.

 




VISITING HOURS at BATES MOTEL – Emma Says Goodbye, Romero Says Hello


Season 5, Episode 9  “Visiting Hours”
Written by Scott Kosar
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

[All images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron]

Despite a little bit of filler in the RomeroWatch story, “Visiting Hours” brought this season’s three parallel storylines (Dylan & Emma, Romeo, and Norma/n) together with plenty of heartbreak all around. Emma says goodbye to a mother she barely knew while Romero adds to his lengthy list of felonies on his way to a reunion with his stepson Norman.

 RELATED ~ Review – Bates Motel Season 5 Episode 8  “The Body”

“Visiting Hours” opens with a snippy Mother (Vera Farmiga) grudgingly putting up with the indignities of being booked for multiple counts of murder in the 1st Degree. Electronic fingerprinting, mug shot — so undignified!  Over at the Bates place, Sheriff Greene (Brooke Smith) oversees a mass of crime scene techs sweeping over the grounds.

Even if Mother refuses to talk, there’s plenty of physical evidence being collected.  A deputy’s discovery of the suitcase belonging to Emma’s mother is one-upped by a tech discovering Chick’s (Ryan Hurst) body slumped over his typewriter in the basement. Poor Chick; he died as he lived — an unpublished writer.

Dylan (Max Theirot) is stunned to see Emma (Olivia Cooke) pulling into the parking lot of the King’s Motel. He embraces her tightly as Emma explains, “I want to be here to help you with this.” Her concern turns to shock as Dylan breaks the news of her mother’s death; he knows Norman is responsible.

After all they’ve been through, realizing the truth about Norman may break their relationship. Even as Emma reassures Dylan that “it’s not your fault,” her emotions rapidly shift to vengeance. She doesn’t want to hear Dylan say anything supporting Norman. At this point, Emma swears she’ll kill him herself (though she will have to get in line behind Alex Romero, of course).

In the contest of “who has the worse family member?” I’d give Dylan the edge.

Unfortunately for Norman, Mother’s strategy for resolving the “pickle” they’re in amounts to declaring “I didn’t do it – so Not Guilty!” She’s not as thrilled by Julia Ramos’ (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) news that even with a best-case scenario, a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity verdict will land Norman in a mental institution for life. To Mother, physical death or life in a mental institution mean the same thing: hell. Mother puts her Norman act into overdrive, telling her attorney, “everyone has multiple personalities, Julia.”

This interview with her client compels Julia to visit Dylan and Emma. She begs Dylan to attend the preliminary hearing. Given the amount of evidence gathered by the state and what’s she heard and seen from her client, Julia needs Dylan to be at the preliminary hearing. Dylan is Norman’s connection to humanity; she needs all the help she can get putting Norman’s illness front and center.

Mother may have to destroy Norman in order to save him.

Emma goes to White Pine Bay’s only funeral home. She arranges for a less expensive cremation for the mother she had no relationship with in life and will now never have a chance to know. Emma’s stoic act breaks down when she makes her pilgrimage to Norma’s headstone. Emma cries openly by Norma’s headstone. “I’m so sorry, Norma. I miss you.”

At least she chooses a memorable spot to disperse her mother’s ashes. In sight of majestic snow-capped mountains, Emma shakes the ashes free while “Crimson and Clover” reverberates around her.

Dylan, prompted by the photos of his mother and brother, attends Norman’s preliminary hearing. He avoids the front row seat reserved for him by Julia Ramos and sits in the back row. Both he and Madeline Loomis (Isabelle McNally) leave the courtroom after hearing the matter of fact descriptions of the gruesome deaths of Joe Blackwell, Audrey Ellis, and Sam Loomis.

Madeline angrily asks Dylan, “How did he trick you your whole life? You knew. How can you live with yourself?” She was only fooled for a couple of weeks, although the whole “giving you my dead mother’s clothes” bit should’ve been a gigantic red GET AWAY FROM NORMAN flag.

That overconfident smirk? Norman is still sleeping.

By the light of the most annoying neon sign ever, Emma and Dylan tell each other about their respective days spend attending hearings and dispersing ashes. Guys, I know that that incessantly flashing neon light represents the hell you’re going through right now, but please — those pieces of fabric hanging over the window are called curtains and they were invented to help you get some sleep.

The next morning Emma bids a sad goodbye to her husband, but does not proceed straight out of Crazytown. She stops at the White Pine Bay jail to visit Norman. As the visit proceeds Emma sees how completely the Norman she knew (or thought she knew) has vanished into Mother. Mother’s Norman act works about as well on Emma as it did on Julia — which is to say, not well at all. “It’s me, Norman. Your Norman, your friend.” Emma sadly asks “Can I talk to Norman?” Mother smirks: “He’s sleeping.” Tears welling in her eyes, Emma asks Mother to “tell him I miss him.”

Look at Norman. So harmless. Wouldn’t hurt a fly.

RomeroWatch

After a meandering conversation with a fellow gas station customer regarding differences between the 1968 and 1968 Dodge Fury models, a stop at Maggie’s (Jillian Fargey) house to use her computer and refuse her tempting offer to flee to a life on the lam in Montana, former Sheriff Romero is ready for his final act of suicidal vengeance.

Alex makes an after-hours visit to the White Pine Bay jail. He adds to his long list of felonies by taking the receptionist hostage, rounding up every deputy in the building, shooting one in the shoulder. Romero tops off the crime spree by taking Norman and the thoroughly terrified receptionist off on a field trip. Norman stammeringly demands to know, “What do you want from us, Alex?”

“You’re going to take me to her body.”

And we’re off to the Bates Motel finale!

 

Psycho Notes

~ Even in sleepy White Pine Bay, digital fingerprinting is putting the ink pad out to pasture.

~ Ever wonder why TV (and real life) crime scene techs wear those DuPont Tyvek suits at crime scenes? Here’s your answer!

~ I looked into why a tech told Sheriff Greene “the pulp’s still fresh” while collecting samples from Norma’s bed. I’m very grateful Bates Motel didn’t go into detail on how that pulp got there.

~ Norman’s journey through the Oregon criminal justice system is tracking pretty accurately with Ed Gein’s journey to a mental institution.

***Somebody snuck in a very deep reference to the infamous true crime case that inspired Robert Bloch to write Psycho. The judge at Norman’s hearing, the Hon. Sybil Meredith Gollmar; the judge at Ed Gein’s hearing? Judge Robert Howard Gollmar.

~ This week’s swingin’ 60’s Hit Parade includes

  • “Call Me Irresponsible” – Bobby Darin version
  • “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” – Beach Boys
  • “Crimson and Clover” – Tommy James and the Shondells

 

The final episode of Bates Motel, “The Cord,” airs Monday April 24 on A&E at 8/9 Central.




ZOMBPOCALYPSE NOW: Another Dose Of The SANTA CLARITA DIET

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With The Walking Dead done for the season, #TeamZombie turn their attention to the darkly comedic feast that is Santa Clarita Diet!


Season 1, Episode 4 “The Farting Sex Tourist”
Written by Michael A. Ross, Directed by Ken Kwapis

Season 1, Episode 5 “Man Eat Man”
Written by Chadd Gindin, Directed by Marc Buckland

 

Timothy: I have to admit, waiting to watch this show on Sundays with you people is getting harder.

Dustin: It’s bad enough that Mindy has already watched all the episodes.

Mindy: I regret nothing.

Timothy: I regret a lot of things. But not watching this show. It’s just really good, and I’m tempted to skip ahead, is all I’m saying.

Dustin: I have three children and I have no time to skip ahead, SO DON’T YOU DO IT, TIM HARVEY.

Mindy: He seems pretty insistent about that.

Dustin: He does. I AM NOT GOING TO BE THE ONLY ONE NOT KNOWING WHAT’S GOING ON.

Timothy: Why are you shouting?

Dustin: You’ve seen my dining room, and the mountain of laundry that is vexing me. IT IS VEXING ME.

Timothy: We shall do our best not to vex you. Speaking of reducing the vexing, we do have a sponsor for our podcasts this month, the link to which you can find directly below, at HumanCharger.com. You can get a discount if you use scifi4me as a coupon code!

SciFi4Me 20% Off at HumanCharger. Use coupon code scifi4me during checkout. Expires 12/31/2017.

Mindy: So sit back and listen as we talk about the 4th and 5th episodes of Santa Clarita Diet, and don’t forget to rate us and comment at Podcasts.com and iTunes!




THE NUN Gets Her Star Turn in THE CONJURING Franchise

[Images courtesy The Conjuring 2.com]

 

I was not a fan of The Conjuring 2 – it was the “One Dishonorable Mention” in my “Five Great Horror Movies of 2016” linked below. But I acknowledge being in the minority on this one. With an 80% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a worldwide gross of 320 million dollars (from a budget of 40 million), The Conjuring 2 had plenty of positive reviews and moviegoers worldwide who chose to pay good money to see it.

RELATED ~ Opinion – Five Great Horror Movies of 2016 and One Dis-Honorable Mention

The Conjuring (2013) didn’t just spawn a sequel, but also a 2014 spinoff starring Annabelle, the creepiest doll since Chucky. And like its parent, The Conjuring 2 has its own breakout supporting prop – a Night Gallery worthy portrait of an unquiet Sister menacing paranormal investigators Ed and Elaine Warren. As noted by the Hollywood Reporter last year, The Nun will be leaping off the canvas and into theaters in 2018.

More recent news about the director and at least one of the stars of The Nun indicate that this latest addition to the Conjuring family may turn out to be a spinoff (like Annabelle was to The Conjuring) that’s actually scarier than the movie it sprang from.

Elaine Warren vs The Nun in the mirror.

In February of this year, Corin Hardy was announced as the director of The Nun.  If you’re asking “Corin Who?” you’re not alone. Hardy is best known for The Hallow (2015) – a “Nature Strikes Back” story set in rural Ireland. The Hallow is a small indie movie that uses atmospheric locations, practical effects, and Irish folklore to create a sense of dread to go with the scares. Check out Hardy’s website to see his other work, including the short film “Butterfly.”

If nothing else, The Nun has a director who knows how to create a unique look and atmosphere – in a horror movie that is more than half the battle.

Another promising sign is the recent announcement of The Nun’s leading man. Mexico City-born Damien Bichir, besides appearing in television series Weeds and The Bridge, also earned a Best Actor nominee in 2012 for A Better Life. He’ll be playing Father Burke, “dispatched by Rome to investigate the mysterious death of a nun.”

The Nun – Another delightful resident of the Ed & Elaine Warren Souvenir Room.

Anabelle grossed  257 million worldwide (against a budget of 6.5 million) and created a fun, scary “evil doll” movie from another movie’s prop. With the creative talent announced so far, The Nun may do the same with an equally creepy supporting player from the Conjuring franchise.

 

 




THE BODY (of Evidence) Points to Norman on BATES MOTEL


Season 5, Episode 8  “The Body”
Written by Erica Lipez
Directed by Freddie Highmore

[All images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron]

Last week, Freddie Highmore made his Bates Motel writing debut with “Inseparable.” This week Highmore again pulls double duty; working behind the camera as director as well as starring as Norman Bates in “The Body.”

This third to last episode moves with intensity as it chronicles Mother’s increasingly desperate attempts to fix the awful “pickle” Norman has landed them in.

 RELATED ~ Review – Bates Motel Season 5 Episode 7  “Inseparable”

Norman (Freddie Highmore) sits in the Bates home living room, eyes shut. We hear Sheriff Greene’s (Brooke Smith)  voice as if from the bottom of a well. She asks, “Can you open your eyes? Can you look at me?” But if Norman opens his eyes, he’ll see Mother stomping furiously towards him.

He shuts his eyes – then opens them. Mother is gone.  Norman works up the courage to defy Mother and speaks directly to Greene. “I need my meds … I can’t be in this house. I’ll tell you everything.”

Dylan (Max Theriot) doesn’t even wait for the EMTs to finish stitching him up before racing out the door. Before Norman’s driven away, he promises to get a lawyer for Norman, “Please let me help you.”

In the police interrogation room, Norman may be fuzzy on the exact location of the well where Sam Loomis rests; as Norman explains, “I just was not myself that night.” Greene speculates that Norman is just acting out for attention but he’s emphatic on that point. “I am not lying about this. I killed Sam Loomis.”

Norman can’t look under the bed – or over his shoulder. Mother is everywhere.

A deputy does give Norman his meds – but doesn’t bother to stay and make sure Norman takes them. Which, surprisingly, he does. Mother senses the threat to her existence and forces Norman to vomit up the pills (Vera Farmiga’s face as Mother daintily drops the toilet paper she used to induce Norman’s vomiting? Priceless)

After the abuse comes the forgiveness. Mother takes Norman in her arms and croons,”You’re sick. You’re weak. You’re not equipped.” She’ll take care of everything.

Norman replies that this is one situation Mother can’t take care of. Mother agrees; she can’t – “not with you here.” Last episode Mother sweetly volunteered to take over if things got to be too much for Norman to handle. With so much at stake, she takes the lead and bashes Norman’s head into the toilet seat. She’ll wake him up after things are safe again.

Hope Dylan saved up some personal time at work. He might be taking care of Norman for some time.

Turns out Dylan hung on to some mementos from his Season One and Two pot-farm employee days, like business cards for local criminal defense attorneys. In a very Twin Peaks-esque diner, attorney Julia Ramos (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) finishes her eggs, bacon, and coffee. Dylan explains (or tries to) the complicated Bates family history to an outsider. Missing mother-in-law and glass-smashing brother included.

Dylan believes Norman “needs to be in a mental facility. He’s crazy … he’s not a bad person or a criminal.” Apparently Dylan’s never heard of the legal concept of “guilty but mentally ill?” At least his heart’s in the right place and he’s paying for Norman’s attorney.

Back at the White Pine Bay Jail, Mother as Norman has had enough of being cooped up like a criminal. She condescendingly informs Sheriff Greene, “Actually Jane, I’d rather leave. I’d very much like to go home now.”

OF COURSE Mother in her arrogance believes it’s as simple as that; throw a hissy fit and get out of jail. Unfortunately, calling the Sheriff’s bluff results in Norman being arrested, not freed. “Enjoy your accommodations.”

Both in the initial meeting with Julia Ramos and a later interview with Greene in the presence of his attorney, Mother as Norman manages to insult the brother providing the attorney, the attorney herself, AND make a mess of attempting to frame someone else for the many bodies showing up.

Mother takes this opening and attempts to frame Madeline Loomis for murder with it. Madeline was a lovely woman and turned to Norman for solace from the pain of her husband’s adultery. What Norman felt for Madeline was “madness.” But as his mother often said, Norman was “too naive about beautiful women, and my mother was always right.” Greene lets Norman talk, on and on, saying nothing but letting the recording device get it all down for posterity.

The Sheriff Greene interview technique; let the other person do the talking

Unfortunately for Mother, dental records trump any attempt to frame Madeline Loomis. The second body in Lake This Is Where We Hide The Bodies is identified through dental records as Audrey Ellis, Emma’s missing mother. Greene has Norman perp-walked back to the interrogation room to cool his heels. Mother reassures Norman that it’ll be over soon and he can come back when they get home. After all, she misses him.

Then Greene enters the room. Mother taunts the Sheriff – it’s nice of her to visit, but Norman has nothing to say. Greene informs Norman that since he’s also being charged with the murders of Jim Blackwell and Audrey Ellis, he doesn’t have to say anything.

Mother doesn’t realize who’s the cat and who’s the mouse just yet.

Romero Watch Featuring Chick Hogan

Yay! Chick (Ryan Hurst) Is Back!  Our favorite White Pine Bay weirdo pulls into the motel parking lot, listening to classic 70’s folk crooner John Denver with a freshly dead racoon in a sack for Norman. Stopped by the police from barging his way up to the house, Chick reveals his actual name (Charles Hogan). In return, Chick deduces that such a massive police operation could only mean one thing for Norman – a murder investigation.

Chick is sincerely relieved Norman’s not dead.  But his arrest does leave the Bates house empty and need of a caretaker …

Former Sheriff and Current Escaped convict Alex Romero continues his implacable journey to avenge Norma’s death. He steals his gun from a sleeping Maggie (Jillian Fargey) to wander the empty Bates Home. Seeing phantom visions of his wife everywhere, Romero finally falls asleep on her bed.

But he isn’t alone with his memories. Through the vents, Romero hears a muffled dialogue. He follows the voices to Norman’s cold storage shrine that formerly held the corpse of his mother.

Amid the dead flowers and candelabra, Chick Hogan listens to the tape of his demented dinner with Norman and “Mother” while he writes his masterwork. Dressed like Grizzly Adams gone mad, Chick admits, “this looks weird.”

Unfortunately for his survival odds, Chick decides to respond to Romero’s basic question -what are you doing here? – with an only-from-Chick soliloquy praising the demented magnificence of Norma and Norman.

Romero slowly loses patience with Chick’s ramblings. Chick tells him that Norman dug up his mother, put her on private display, then got rid of the body before the police showed up, building his monologue to a truly magnificent finale.

He dug her up! The artificiality of scripted drama doesn’t hold a candle to True Crime!

Alex unceremoniously shoots Chick straight between the eyes. Chick, silenced at last, falls to his keyboard and we hear the tiny “ding!” of the return bar.

Psycho Notes

~ What Dylan calls “multiple personality disorder” is more commonly known today as Dissociative Identity Disorder.

~ to his brother’s belief, in many states Norman could be found to be BOTH mentally ill AND a criminal. Oregon follows a Guilty Except for Insanity guideline, governed by a Psychiatric Security Review Board.

~ If you were wondering “Remo Who?” with respect to who gave Dylan “Julia Ramos, Attorney At Law” card, you’re not alone. Back in Dylan’s career as a pot farm flunky, Remo Wallace was a co-worker.

~ Chick Hogan, a John Denver fan? He’s listening to “Back Home Again” as he pulls into the Bates Motel for his “business meeting” with Norman.

~ Sheriff Greene’s technique is neither the old-fashioned “good-cop bad-cop” or less confrontational techniques used in other countries. Greene uses an information-gathering interview style that encourages Norman (or Mother as Norman)to  do most of the talking.

~ Mother as Norman describes  Sam Loomis as a “nasty, nasty man” and a Madeline Loomis throwing herself on Norman echoes Mother in Psycho haranguing Norman about  “young men with cheap, erotic minds,” and Norman remarking, “She might have fooled me, but she didn’t fool my mother.”

~ The next to last shot of “The Body” is Sam Loomis’s corpse being pulled out of the well. The last shot of Psycho – Marion Crane’s car dragged out of the pond.

 

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

 




ZOMBPOCALYPSE NOW: Trying Out The SANTA CLARITA DIET

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With The Walking Dead done for the season, #TeamZombie turn their attention to the darkly comedic feast that is Santa Clarita Diet!


Season 1, Episode 1 “So Then a Bat or a Monkey”
Written by Victor Fresco, Directed by Ruben Fleischer

Season 1, Episode 2 “We Can’t Kill People!”
Written by Victor Fresco, Directed by Ruben Fleischer

Season 1, Episode 3 “We Can Kill People.”
Written by Clay Graham, Directed by Marc Buckland

Timothy: We meant to review this show earlier than this.

Dustin: But we’re terrible with dates and schedules.

Mindy: Luckily I’m here now, to rescue you two.

Timothy: Yes, this week we start binge-watching…

Dustin: And binge-reviewing…

Timothy: … Santa Clarita Diet, the Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant zombie-comedy!

Dustin: Now with more Intern Without Portfolio!

Timothy: We are, in fact, joined by Miss Mindy Inlow, whose name you’ll have seen on many an article here on SciFi4Me.com, and whose voice appears on a podcast or two as well.

Mindy: Hi!

Dustin: Mindy has discovered how close we have to sit together to record this thing we do, and she didn’t run screaming or anything.

Mindy: Not yet, anyway. It’s early though. While I’m here, I’ll just plug our podcast sponsor for the month of April, HumanCharger, whose link is right beneath these very words.

SciFi4Me 20% Off at HumanCharger. Use coupon code scifi4me during checkout. Expires 12/31/2017.

Timothy: It’s good to have a responsible adult around. Anyway, sit back and listen to the three of us talk about a zombie show that is actually supposed to be funny, and please rate and comment on the show, wherever you listen to this podcast of ours!




Blumhouse and Sony Shopping For Horror Adaptations

It seems the studios have gone shopping with horror on their list. Recently Blumhouse Productions acquired the video game adaptation of Five Nights At Freddy’s and Sony won an auction for screen rights to the graphic novel, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters.

Originally, Warner Bros. and New Line had the rights to Five Nights At Freddy’s, announcing the project in 2015. It was supposed to be helmed by Gil Kenan, who directed The Poltergeist remake, with Seth Grahame-Smith and Roy Lee producing. Then all went silent, except for an update from game creator Scott Cawthon stating that “the script was being worked on, but was taking long to put together.” The film was pulled from production a few months ago and several studios started circling in. Now, game creator Scott Cawthon has posted on Twitter an image of a director’s chair with the name Freddy in front of a screen that says Blumhouse Productions.

https://twitter.com/real_scawthon/status/846749317922783237

Based on the 2014 game Five Nights At Freddy’s, the player works the midnight to 6 AM shift at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, similar to Chuck-E-Cheese. Stuck in an office, watching security cameras to monitor, they realize the life sized animatronic animal characters can roam freely at night. The player never sees them move, but they do and if (and when) they find you, they kill you. The goal: to get out alive. The game was so popular, a sequel was released a few months after the original. The third installment was released in 2015 and takes place 30 years after the first Freddy’s.

RELATED ~ Review – Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes

A partnership with Blumhouse Productions seems appropriate for this film. They have a built in audience for low-budget horror flicks, with the success of movies like the Paranormal Activity series, The Purge series, and the last two films from M. Night Shyamalan, including Split. The games gimmicky straightforward survival horror story with weird characters and jump scares makes Blumhouse a perfect home.

No one is currently attached to the project, so it appears Blumhouse will start anew.

Now for fans of a softer horror flick, then Sony’s new acquisition may be more their speed. They have won an auction for the screen rights to Emil Ferris’s graphic novel, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. Sony beat out three other studios for this project, mixing B-movie monsters, pulp horror, and a murder mystery with some Holocaust history.

The story follows Karen Reyes, a 10-year-old precocious, inquisitive girl who lives with her mother and brother in Chicago during the late ‘60s, during at time of political chaos. A social outcast, Karen spends her time drawing, watching horror movies, identifying with monsters and romanticizing herself as a werewolf girl with fangs that protrude from her lower jaw. She befriends her upstairs neighbor, Anka, a Holocaust survivor. When she is murdered, Karen sets off to find the killers, a search that leads her through Anka’s life in Nazi Germany. The story is littered with monsters, real and imagined.

Fantagraphics Press released Monsters in February 2017 and it immediately received glowing reviews. The book is not told in sequential panels like most comic/graphic novels. Instead, it is shown through Karen’s sketchbook, with intricate ballpoint pen style drawings.

Bradley Gallo and Michael Helfant will produce for Amasia Entertainment. Palak Patel from Columbia Pictures will join them. Currently, Sam Mendes is in early talks to develop through his Neal Street banner, producing and possibly even direct.

Ferris received her MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and was an illustrator and toy sculptor. At the age of 40, she became paralyzed from the waist down and lost the use of her right hand after contracting the West Nile virus. She taught herself to draw again by duct taping a quill pen to her hand. She now can walk with the help of a cane.

The book took six years to create. Always fascinated by monsters, she would watch werewolf movies as a child and find herself sympathizing with the wolf. In an interview, she states, “I’ve always felt like [monsters] were kind of heroic because they were facing something. Becoming a monster sometimes isn’t a choice that you have. We’re all that; we’re all ‘the other’ in one way or another.”

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is Emil Ferris’s first novel.