There's a little to enjoy. But mostly, DARK MOUNTAIN rips off THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.
FX’s American Horror Story
Season 6, Episode 3: “Chapter 3”
Directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch (Chained, Surveillance)
Written by James Wong
* For a review of Chapter 2, click here.
* For a review of Chapter 4, click here.
With Lee’s (Adina Porter) little girl disappeared, nothing in that house is going well. In the talking head interviews, the real Lee tells us about the horrifying feeling involved with a lost child, as if it’s not hard to tell just from the tears running out of her. The dramatic reenactment shows us Lee (Angela Bassett), Matt (Cuba Gooding Jr.), and Shelby (Sarah Paulson) dealing with the aftermath. Not easy. The local police aren’t too keen about helping, though they do. But that house is getting a bad reputation, as well as those living in it. Either way, Lee does her best to help with the search, along with Matt and Shelby.
Then they come across the doll Lee’s daughter Flora had, torn to bits on the ground, with a circle of blood and pig’s head to go with it. Oh, the macabre finds in those terrible woods! Naturally they’re all terrified. A ways off they find a “skeleton of a farm” where there’s more strangeness. Such as the other portions of the doll, and a pig. When the trio go inside there’s only squalor with every turn of the head. Nobody home, either.
Out in the barn, though, they find something odd and sickly. Two mentally feeble young kids left sucking on a pig’s nipples, feeding. One of the most disturbing images yet.
So now the police believe there’s a bit of horror really going on. Finally. The two boys from the barn are useless for help. They only scream: “Croatoan!” The real Matt (André Holland) explains they now, in the present day, understand what they didn’t at the time – this was a warning. Other than that the search goes on, even if Lee and her ex-husband Mason (Charles Malik Whitfield) are losing hope, plus at odds. He is not buying what’s going on, believing it a power play on Lee’s part, a kidnapping to regain custody somehow. For her part, Shelby tries defending her sister-in-law. Matt mostly keeps quiet, not wanting to get too involved until Mason near punches his ex-wife to the ground. The real Shelby (Lily Rabe) points out the obvious: “We were all on edge.”
In the night, Matt gets a call about a body. Is it Flora’s, or no?
Certainly not. It’s her father, Mason – strapped to a symbolic wheel and burned to a crispy bit of charcoal. Holy fuck. That’s rough. Well, what’s troubling is that last night the cameras picked up Lee heading out for several hours at quite a suspicious time. Now Shelby wonders about her sister-in-law. Matt believes something is urging them to leave, and they ought to listen. Just then a stranger turns up: Cricket Marlowe (Leslie Jordan). He claims to have been called there to help find Lee’s girl. A psychic who’s often helped the FBI in tough cases. When Shelby checks him out, he appears legitimate. Then he can hear something, guessing correctly about Flora hiding in the upstairs crawlspace. He also finds a bonnet and knows about Priscilla: “She died in the late 1500s.” You know what this leads to, a good ole fashioned seance.
Cricket gets a typical seance happening, dripping some blood into a candle, all that stuff, y’know. He calls out to Priscilla, but instead gets the response of a “horrible woman.” She speaks to him and reveals herself as The Butcher (Kathy Bates). Cricket tries to ward her off. She then splits a candle in two in front of everybody making believers out of them. “I shall stack the bodies high as cord wood,” The Butcher claims. She tells them they are but trespassers. Screaming out “CROATOAN“, Cricket sends the spirit fleeing – the same word those deformed boys screamed, the same spell Violet tried using unsuccessfully in Murder House.Except now Cricket is asking for $25K to track down Flora. So Matt doesn’t want to deal with his bullshit con artist tricks. Cricket’s telling the truth, but sadly this is not the time for greed. Game changes once Lee has enough, pulling a gun to get her answers. Matt talks her down before tossing the psychic out. Before leaving he whispers something to Lee quietly: “Emily says hello. She wonders why you quit looking for her all those years ago.” Hmm, the first daughter of Lee. Secrets. The real Lee explains about having a daughter at seventeen. When Emily was four, Lee went into a store only to come back and find her daughter gone; never to be seen again. Turns out that Lee later sprung for the $25K to pay Cricket.
We learn more about The Butcher from Cricket. Her “Christian name” was Thomason White – wife to governor of Roanoke, The Lost Colony. She was in charge until her husband came home from a journey. Things were getting scarce, people around her worried. Of course Lee doesn’t care about any of that, but Cricket advises not all the public’s been told about Roanoke is true. Seems that back in Thomason’s day she was overtaken. Even her own son Ambrose (Wes Bentley) is forced to turn his back on her. They left her in the forest by herself as they travelled inward somewhere better. There, a strange woman (Lady Gaga) saves her, killing a wild pig that tries to kill her, before feeding Thomason a beating heart and asking for her soul.
And thus began the revenge of Thomas White, The Butcher. She tracked down the men who left her to die, chopping them down one by one. Ambrose is the last left, whom she asks to “beg for a reprieve.” It’s only the fact he is her son that saves him; this time. Where does this get us? Cricket tells that the colony then moved inland, right to where the big house stands today. Dun-dun-DUNNNN!Out amongst the darkness Cricket calls out to Priscilla, only finding The Butcher and her people. She entertains Cricket’s questions about Flora. A moment later, Lee even says they’ll burn the house down as long as they get her daughter back.
But out of nowhere, Matt disappears. In present day he says he can’t remember ever leaving. When Shelby finds him he’s in the trees having sex with that strange woman who visited The Butcher, animal skull on her head, and two hillbillies watching, masturbating. Good LORD! Present day Shelby looks appropriately torn up.
When Matt shows up he has no clue about what Shelby saw. She’s obviously going crazy, and he’s clueless. No time to worry about that, though. Lee’s being hauled off by the police, and Matt believes it was Shelby, which it was likely. Oh, this is about to get very, very paranoid from here on in.
Another stunningly creepy episode for this season. Loving My Roanoke Nightmare, plenty of eerie, juicy, wild, weird stuff going down!
Excited for “Chapter 4” and whatever it brings.
FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 2, Episode 2: “Warts and All”
Directed by Bradley Buecker
Written by Brad Falchuk
* For a review of the Season 2 premiere, “Scream Again” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Handidates” – click here
With murder on the hospital grounds, Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) has more trouble on her hands again. Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) is being sweated by the police, even though she was stuck in the hydrotherapy tub the entire time. Lots of whodunnit already! Chanel #1 (Emma Roberts) and #3 (Billie Lourd) arrive to circle their other namesake, berating her about not getting any dick at all, especially in light of Dr. Cassidy Cascade (Taylor Lautner) and Dr. Brock Holt (John Stamos) respectively asking them out. Of course, it’s like nobody believes #5.
Back with Drs. Cascade and Holt, along with Zayday (Keke Palmer), the Chanels suffer through another consultation being insensitive as usual. This latest guy, Tyler (Colton Haynes), essentially has these tumours forming bumps like pebbles under his skin, all over. Wonder how this might play into the episode, or if it’s just a bit of background mess. In the meantime, Zayday worries about Munsch and her motives for running this hospital. Zayday doesn’t like how things sound about the latest murder, and well, she was around for Season 1. She knows what that crafty bitch gets up to now and then. “I think she wants revenge,” Zayday says re: Munsch. And she asks Chamberlain Jackson (James Earl) to help her out with a bit of low key investigating.
Out at the movies, Dr. Holt and Chanel #1 bond over being horrible people. Ironically The Hand is playing (as well as Pieces). We start seeing more of Brock’s “out of control hand” and she talks about “his hot mouth” – I can’t wait to see where this whole hand transplant thing is headed, because I love it. Meanwhile, #5 is bonding, too. With Tyler. And she comes round to deciding she’ll help him raise the money for the surgery he needs.
Late in the night, Chanel #1 is on duty at the nursing station. Power goes out. Screams. The Red Devil Killer shows up! He lifts his axe, and then removes his mask: it’s Dickie Dollar Scholar, Chad Radwell (Glen Powell), bitch. Who else?
Now that’s an interesting return. His buddy Randall can’t stop screaming, so there he is to get a bit of help. As well as discover that Dr. Holt and Chanel may be “boning.” This scene is god damn hilarious. When Brock keeps clicking the pen, showing off Randall’s exaggerated reactions. In between we find out that Chad’s started a band: “Gold–plated Nutsack.”
Zayday’s digging. Plus, Chamberlain went and got some of the microfiche for her to help, along with a machine setup downstairs. They come across the Halloween Massacre at the hospital. We zip back to 1986 with Dr. Mike (Jerry O’Connell) and a bunch of partygoers, other doctors, all rock out. When a couple of them head to take a few shots alone, they encounter the Green Meanie Killer who promptly chops them to bits. He then pulls a Michael Myers on Dr. Mike, lifting him off his feet impaled before chasing down his next victim to Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” and tossing a machete through her midsection. Wickedly nasty sequence. Dig that.
Ingrid Hoffel (Kirstie Alley) asks suspicious questions about whether Zayday might let her know where the Chanels are at all times. She makes a case, but seems pretty sketchy. I wonder what her deal is, I hope she’s got an interesting story.
In the showers, Chad tries to stand his ground against Dr. Holt. They argue over the “dateable guy checklist” and who’s most fit to be dating Chanel #1. This scene gets more homoerotic by the second, as Chad gradually works his way further and further until literally being tip-to-tip with Brock in the shower stall. I laugh way too hard at Chad Radwell. He’s the ultimate douche and he’s written as such. Powell plays the role incredibly well.
With #1 and #3 convincing #5 that Tyler won’t like her anymore if he gets the surgery, #5 is quite on edge. She kicks the shit out of two dudes who make fun of Tyler in a diner before screaming: “I do not have teeth in my vagina.” Another role played way too funny, written wonderfully, is Chanel #5. Breslin is magic.
Munsch says she could “really use a friend” and so with Chamberlain and Zayday at her door, they agree to listen to her secrets. She tells them about having awful headaches, bad joint pain, a ton of various symptoms. So it looks like Cathy may be straight up this time around. Although there’s no telling if she’s even being truthful. You know how underhanded she can get. Oh, and a lurking figure outside – is it #1? Or is that Ms. Hoffel? – hears all. A little later in the dark corridors, Munsch winds up confronted with the latest Green Meanie Killer. Luckily she has some ass kicking experience. Fighting hard she downs him. When Dr. Cascade and #3 come across Munsch, this distracts her, and the killer gets away. In a meta moment, Curtis goes off on those moments when somebody kicks the killer’s ass and nearly unmasks him but gets distracted. Fucking awesome! This episode is full of fun writing.
Still, Drs. Cascade and Holt are trying to cure Randall of his screaming. In an aside, Brock’s hand acts up again, scrawling a note; that only Chad cares to read. Funny enough it seems to be a grocery list for a fancy dinner. Hmm. Afterwards playing squash, things get tense between Chad and Brock, though the latter asserts his dominance, as well as possibly a homicidal streak? We’ll see.
You know Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) is kicking around, apparently an FBI trainee at this point. She calls Zayday a “stone cold hoe” and believes it’s likely her killing people. Even though she already barked up that tree last season to no avail. But Nash is outrageously funny and I love every time she’s allowed to let loose.
And the moment we’ve all been waiting for – or at least I have – the return of Hester Ulrich (Lea Michele). They’ve got her in a Hannibal Lecter-like cell, even talking like Hopkins a bit and there’s plenty of homage dialogue, the dungeon cell area highly reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs – a patient even throws… birthday cake mix… at Chanel #1. So the crazy Hester locked away has demands for helping with their case. One of which includes transferring to Munsch’s hospital. “Bitch, ain‘t nobody got time fo‘ dat,” Denise tells her. But I’m guessing they’ll be enlisting Hester soon enough.
So we get a good dose of story about the hand Holt has now. The guy was a world class squash player, finding people to play with and then killing them. That menu Brock wrote down is the last meal he had before going to jail. The guy was executed, a notorious serial killer, and gave up his organs for donation. Chad brings this newfound information to Dr. Holt and they have a bit of a face-off. We also see another tiny slice of that possible crazy person inside Brock.
Munsch talks of going to Papua New Guinea, which Zayday believes led to her having a disease cannibals get from eating human flesh. There’s nothing they can do: less than a year to live. Yikes. We further discover Ms. Hoffel has a bug planted in Munsch’s office, and she knows everything.
Seems as if Tyler’s been trying to help #5, finding information on the Green Meanie Killer. And then all of a sudden, his surgery is switched, someone wheels him off. Problem is that Drs. Cascade and Holt are gone home to have a “Handsome Contest.” With Tyler on the table, the Green Meanie puts an end to his prying. Tyler gets the laser all right. The Chanels are too late to stop his untimely death.
Loved this episode! Maybe one of my favourites of the entire series, honestly.
Excited for more. Next up is “Handidates” and I can only imagine what we’ll see judging by the title.
This piece of found footage takes you inside a family grappling with whether evil exists.
AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 13: “Date of Death”
Directed by Christoph Schrewe
Written by Brian Buckner
* For a review of the previous episode, “Pillar of Salt” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Wrath” – click here
Swarms of bodies are at the gates of the hotel. But not walkers: people. They’re refugees trying to find safe haven. Madison (Kim Dickens), Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Elena (Karen Bethzabe), they all stand there not knowing how to turn people away, yet having to do just that.
Then in the crowd Madison sees a face – it’s Travis (Cliff Curtis). He’s finally come back to her.
We switch back to some time before with Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) standing over the dead man he shot. This is the moment which ultimately devastates his father. For the time being, Travis sticks around to try helping James (Israel Broussard) got shot in the process, doing a bit of stitching to the best of his ability. The humanity of Travis is still there; he digs a grave for the man who owned the farm, even makes a cross to go on top: “I don‘t even know your name,” he laments over the closed up grave afterwards. Later that night everyone sits by the fire and eats chicken, enjoying the farm’s commodities, except Travis. He has no time for the way his son’s acting after having murdered a man in cold blood. I genuinely don’t like Chris. He is a “savage” just like his father says.
Cut to Travis at the gates of the hotel. Alicia asks him outright where Chris is, and the look on his face certainly does nothing to assuage any fears she might have in her heart. But again, I can’t stand Chris. He deserves whatever he gets.
Madison and Travis talk about Nick (Frank Dillane) a little. Inevitably, Chris comes up. Travis tells her “I had no choice.” And so we’re back to the farm again. The chicken is gone, then the crew are ready to move out after a week; heading to San Diego. Feeling it isn’t the right choice, Travis does his own thing around the farm a while. He searches the house to try and find the owner’s name. After finding a wallet, he’s able to carve out the name in his cross: Elias Suarez. Soon they all board the truck and leave. Not long and they have to stop because James isn’t healed enough to travel. And you know what that means – Travis is at odds with the group again, as they’re ready to leave James behind to die.
Guns are drawn and shit gets serious. Travis waits it out with James to try protecting him from the group. Chris ends up coming in and tricking his father, they hold him down and then James is murdered in mid sentence. “Your way doesn’t work,” Chris tells his father before leaving with the other two men: “I‘m better off without you.” He believes that who he’s becoming is right. He has actually become a sociopath. Much as I hate him, seeing Travis have to watch him drive off is heartbreaking.
At the hotel, Travis at least feels lucky to be at the hotel with Madison. He still feels guilt for what’s happened to his son. “I left him,” he tells Madison. She tries to reassure him things will be okay, but sadly too much has happened and right now Travis is profoundly wounded. His morality is all mixed up for having lost his boy.
Meanwhile, there’s all the refugees. They were let in because the people at the hotel haven’t become hardened, they still want to help others as much as they can. Alicia is checking people out in a makeshift medical tent, although her mother comes to get her – Madison reveals the truth about her father’s death not being an accident, and in fact a suicide. His note simply stated: I LOVE YOU ALL BUT ENOUGH’S ENOUGH. This, of course, rocks Alicia. The honest openness of Madison is enough to keep mother and daughter from any hurt feelings, even if it’s tough to digest. Alicia is strong, though, and together these women can get through anything. At the same time I can see there’ll likely be fallout from this decision of Madison’s because Alicia still feels upset deep down. And who wouldn’t be?
They’ve got worse things to worry about right now. Because at the gates, up turn the group Travis left behind. You know he can’t be in the same place as them. Will Chris pull Travis back in and will they be let past the gates? Or will someone let them through unknowingly? Is Chris even with them??
Can’t wait for next episode – “Wrath” – and I’m hoping for a big, angry confrontation! This was a nice episode. I’ve seen reviews already saying it was boring, nothing happened, same old stuff. This is the episode I’ve waited for, to see a rift open up between father and son. Again, that’s also paralleled in the troubles Madison has with her own kids, albeit less intense than Travis and Chris.
Either way, pumped for the next chapter in Season 2.
Get an up close and gory look at nationalism gone utterly wild.
Masculinity isn't always a bad thing. When it goes toxic, it's the worst thing.