Monday, September 6, 2021

WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING
(June 2021)


Most things come to an end, don’t they?”

family of four retreat to their spacious bathroom to shelter from what seems to be, at best, a passing thunderstorm, at worst, a tornado.
Tension within the enclosed space quickly takes root though, from both interpersonal dynamics, and the gradual, creeping realization that there are far worse things than a tornado…

“Mom, I think something might be wrong. Like, with the storm, something bad might be happening.”

Sean King O’Grady’s directorial feature debut, We Need to Do Something, is a nastily effective piece of apocalypse cinema in micro, as we witness the slights and stresses that tear a family asunder, even as some perhaps darker disintegration takes place outside their enforced shelter.
Max Booth III’s screenplay--based on his novella of the same name--builds the familial strife steadily but surely, punctuating the simmering conflict with a number of WTF moments that push the narrative into disturbingly surreal territory. (Not to mention that unsettling ‘80’s hit needle drop, one of those movie moments guaranteed to forever alter the way you consider a musical track.)
The film also proves to have a darkly comic streak, bolstered in no small part by Pat Healy, whose Robert is one of the most inept, contemptible cinematic fathers to stain the screen in recent memory.

So if single, enclosed settings aren’t a trigger for you (in our current, shared Global Moment), then We Need to Do Something comes with a hearty ¡Q horror! recommendation.

“I’m a good boy!”

(We Need to Do Something OS courtesy of impawards.com.)

Saturday, August 14, 2021

BRAND NEW CHERRY FLAVOR Season 1
(August 2021)


Imagine... that you're inside him.
“You feel it?
“Now, break something.”

If I tilted my head juuuuust so and squinted a bit, I could mistake Brand New Cherry Flavor for the fifth season of Channel Zero we were robbed of when SyFy chose to pack things up with The Dream Door.
And that’s largely because it’s a reunion of Nick Antosca (the principal creative force behind Channel Zero), Arkasha Stevenson (director of Season 3, Butcher’s Block), and Lenore Zion (co-producer on The Dream Door).
Sure, it’s based on the Todd Grimson novel of the same name, but it truly does feel of a piece with the dread (and sorely missed) brilliance of Channel Zero.
And for that, we really must tip our hat to Netflix and its assorted algorithms, which may or may not have had a hand in streaming Brand New Cherry Flavor into our lives.

“The road curves, but the destination doesn’t change.”

We join Rosa Salazar’s aspiring filmmaker Lisa Natasha Nova in the “Early 90s On The Way to Los Angeles” (or so the supered words in the yellow font reminiscent of Lynch’s Lost Highway tell us).
She’s on her way to LA to meet producer Lou Burke (Eric Lange), whose box office blockbuster streak has run dry of late, but who may still hold the door open for her Hollywood entry.
Things take an unfortunate turn though, forcing her to deal with Catherine Keener’s eccentrically creepy Boro, a decision that serves as the main narrative drive for the strange, enticing concoction that is Brand New Cherry Flavor.

So when you put a curse on someone, you really commit, huh?”
“What’s the point of doing something halfway? At least that’s what my Dad used to say.”
“That’s nice. Best I ever got out of my Dad was, ‘Don’t change the channel, f*ckface.’”

While I was passingly familiar with Todd Grimson (I had a copy of Stainless back in the day), Brand New Cherry Flavor was one of those titles that had eluded me.
Which, in retrospect, is good, since that allowed me to come into the adaptation with fresh eyes and a distinct lack of baggage, at least as far as Grimson and the original source material goes.
I still had high hopes given the Channel Zero reunion going on with the Antosca-Stevenson-Zion trifecta…
This ¡Q horror! recommendation should be proof enough though that they did not disappoint, and my horrorhead taste buds definitely got a welcome, tingling rush from this Brand New Cherry Flavor
You really, most definitely, should get a taste too…

Now, it’s not gonna be easy. It may get a little f*cked up. But the good news is, it’ll only get as f*cked up as you are.”

When I look out my window,
Many sights to see
And when I look in my window,
So many different people to be
Then it’s strange
So strange
--Donovan
   “Season of the Witch”

Parting Shot:
Though there are a bunch of other notable needle drops over the course of the 8 episode count (including the one above), I’d like to mention these two, both over the end credits roll: The Creatures’ cover of The Trogg’s “Wild Thing,” and Concrete Blonde’s “Tomorrow, Wendy.”

(Brand New Cherry Flavor OS courtesy of impawards.com.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

INDIEKET 2021 (ONLINE)
[Updated! With Schedule!!]

Among the Creator Connect talks scheduled for this year's online edition of Indieket on August 7, we've got one in which a half-dozen of the mighty fine artists I've had the privilege to collaborate with are gathered to talk komiks collaboration...

Thrill! At this Sneak Peek!!!


For the record, those half-dozen are:

Michael Urbano [Top Left]: URIEL: HekhalotDAKILA: Legado Issues 1 & 2A

Marvin del Mundo [Top Right]: DAKILA / Fr TRESE: Iunctura

Carl Corilla [Middle Left]: DAKILA: Makadaot

Pyotr Mutuc [Middle Center]: DAKILA: Siyudad Issues 1 to 3

Ace Enriquez [Middle Right]: BATHALA: Apokalypsis

Reno Maniquis [Bottom Center]: MASKARADO / DAKILA: Silver Like Dust

More details here.


We've got the 5th slot, from 4 in the afternoon to 5:30.
(More details here.)

You'll note from the Sneak Peek that Yours Truly was not on the Zoom call (long story short: technical issues prohibit me from Zooming at the moment).
Regardless, you should still most definitely check the talk out, coz these mighty fine gentlemen discuss komik collaboration, and I also still managed to answer questions over email, so I believe some of my answers will be read out loud during the call...
Or something.
Anyhoo, just check the talk out if you've got the time and the inclination. (August 7, 4PM to 5:30PM.
Your viewership and support will be greatly appreciated.

And please feel free to check out any (or all) of the other Creator Connect talks...

"See you" at the Indieket.

you can't drink just six,


Dave

Monday, July 19, 2021

INDIEKET 2021 (ONLINE)

Among the talks scheduled for this year's online edition of Indieket on August 7, we have Creator Connect, in which a half-dozen of the mighty fine artists I've had the privilege to collaborate with are gathered to talk komiks collaboration...

Thrill! At this Sneak Peek!!!


For the record, those half-dozen are:

Michael Urbano [Top Left]: URIEL: Hekhalot; DAKILA: Legado Issues 1 & 2A

Marvin del Mundo [Top Right]: DAKILA / Fr TRESE: Iunctura

Carl Corilla [Middle Left]: DAKILA: Makadaot

Pyotr Mutuc [Middle Center]: DAKILA: Siyudad Issues 1 to 3

Ace Enriquez [Middle Right]: BATHALA: Apokalypsis

Reno Maniquis [Bottom Center]: MASKARADO / DAKILA: Silver Like Dust

More details here.

Exact time has yet to be announced, so check in at the Indieket FB as August 7 comes creeping towards us for updates.

You'll note from the Sneak Peek that Yours Truly was not on the Zoom call (long story short: technical issues prohibit me from Zooming at the moment).
Regardless, you should still most definitely check the talk out, coz these mighty fine gentlemen discuss komik collaboration, and I also still managed to answer questions over email, so I believe some of my answers will be read out loud during the call...
Or something.
Anyhoo, just check the talk out if you've got the time and the inclination. Your viewership and support will be greatly appreciated.

"See you" at the Indieket.

you can't drink just six,


Dave

Monday, June 28, 2021

And now, for those of you who may want a viewing commitment more substantial than just a 2 hour-or-so movie (and don’t consider the reading of subtitles an annoyance), this pair of foreign-language TV horror shows get a couple of hearty ¡Q horror! recommendations.

30 MONEDAS Season 1
(November 2020)


“Do you know the best way to conceal a lie? Inventing a much bigger one.”
“That’s true. It’s par for the course in politics.”

Álex de la Iglesia serves up some pulpy religious horror with 30 Monedas, which, as indicated by its title, has the very coins which were the price of Jesus’ betrayal as the series’ centerpiece.

“We all have something we can’t manage to forget, don’t we, Father? With the Internet, there are no secrets anymore.”
“That really is an invention of the Devil.”

And while the practical make-up/creature effects are much appreciated by yours truly (the huge CGI set piece, not so much), thankfully it isn’t all po-faced horror here.
Fleeting moments of comic lightness stem organically from characters and their interactions with each other so the proceedings don’t inadvertently suffocate us with constant terror-induced anxiety.

“There is a much deeper horror. We live in the midst of a hurricane of lies and deceit. There are no truths, only a furious instinct of destruction and madness, provoked by your God.  I don’t know for what reason. Maybe it’s just for the pleasure of making you suffer.”

And then, for a change of pace…

Strip away the Biblical MacGuffins and the cause-and-effect plot mechanics, swap in a grey ash-laden mood and bleakly creepy atmosphere and a tighter focus on character and emotion, and we have…

KATLA Season 1
(June 2021)


“If you ask me, nothing here seems normal anymore. I know that you scientists don’t believe things unless it can be measured with your fancy equipment, but I can tell you that something is happening that science can unfortunately not explain.”

The eponymous Katla has been in a state of volcanic unrest for a year now, and the small Icelandic community of Vik is all but a ghost town, with most of its inhabitants evacuated, and the remaining few simply “trying to survive.”
But, as if that weren’t already bad enough, some undeniably weird sh!t belatedly hits the fan…

This one revels in its central mystery, one of dread and anticipation, as we (and the forcibly dwindled population of Vik) bear witness to the impossible and inexplicable return of individuals who really shouldn’t be among us, at least, not in the manner in which they’ve returned.
And with that sentence, it should come as no surprise that there are echoes of Les Revenants in Katla, as everyday lives are impacted by the reintroduction of… well… not the dead, exactly, as in Les Revenants*, but certainly, of individuals whose very presence flies in the face of everything we know about existence.

To its credit, Katla doesn’t overly prolong the “Why?” of its mystery.
By its final, eighth episode, it’s made clear why this is all happening. Mileage may vary, however, as to whether any particular audience member will accept the explanations, given how everything shakes out in the end.
At the very least, answers are offered, while leaving matters open for any potential follow-up season.

“Nature regularly reminds us how small we are. How everything we’ve got depends on it.”

* Though there are apparently some of those.
And hey! Lookit! There’s a creepy kid here, too!

(30 Monedas key art courtesy of impawards.com; Katla key art courtesy of twitter.com.)

Monday, June 21, 2021

THE DARK AND THE WICKED
(April 2020)


“She would sit... right beside him, just whispering. But she wasn’t talking to him. Not like she used to. It was like… there was someone else. Someone here.”

Bryan Bertino is back ‘round these parts with the upsetting, emotionally wrenching dirge that is The Dark and the Wicked.
The rural horror film sees the Straker siblings return to their family farm in Thurber, Texas, where their mother lives with their bedridden (and rapidly deteriorating) father.
Louise (Marin Ireland; The Umbrella Academy Season 2) and Michael (Michael Abbott Jr.) intend to stay for a few days, to help, perhaps to lend emotional support, in what looks, in all likelihood, to be their final farewell to their father.
But it’s clear their mother (Preacher’s Gran’Ma, Julie Oliver-Touchstone) doesn’t want them there. She says as much.
With Bertino at the helm, you can be damned certain there’s a good reason for that…

“What does it matter whether you believe? You think the wolf cares if you believe he’s a wolf? Hmmm? Not if he finds you alone in the woods.”

Anyone who’s seen Bertino’s The Strangers* knows his complete, stranglehold control over onscreen tension, and that masterly deathgrip is plainly evident here as well, so much so that painfully ordinary domestic fixtures (a light switch, a telephone) become objects of dread and revulsion.
But that’s really only just the entrée.
‘Cause the main course is the full-on assault by wicked and unholy powers on the bonds of family and love.
Decide for yourself if this is a meal you want to partake of…

“Devil, devil, devil.”

* Landing on the ¡Q horror! 2008 list, there’s a review of The Strangers here.
Meanwhile, Bertino’s third directorial effort, The Monster, crashed onto the 2017 rundown.
And, for completion’s sake (and because if you haven’t seen it, you most definitely should), Osgood Perkins’ The Blackcoat’s Daughter (on which Bertino was a producer), likewise made a spot for itself on the 2016 rundown.

(The Dark and the Wicked OS courtesy of impawards.com.)

Thursday, May 20, 2021

THE BEACH HOUSE
(September 2019)



 “I was thinking… maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to come to the beach…”

Truer words, as they say, were never spoken…

Jeffrey A. Brown’s feature debut, The Beach House, sees two couples sharing the titular abode during the off season, the four of them apparently the only humans on that stretch of private seaside real estate.
But that initial mood of isolation and low key oppressiveness soon gives way to shuddery body horror when things go horribly (and inevitably) sideways, as they are wont to do in horror movies.

And while this one definitely gets the ¡Q horror! seal of approval, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that, given our current Global Moment, a horror movie about exposure and infection and catastrophe and apocalypse might not be the right cup of proverbial tea for those of you who don’t subscribe to the idea of horror cinema as aversion therapy.
So, think long and deep before visiting this particular vacation spot…

“All other planets are too harsh for life as we know it. We are the exception. We’re delicate.”

(The Beach House OS courtesy of impawards.com)