American Horror Story – Asylum – S02E01


Speaking of American Horror Story, it’s back and it’s every bit as strange and bizarre as you would expect. For this story, we’re at Briarcliff Manor, which like so many of the "institutions" we’ve seen on shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, has a checkered past and high body count. At one time it was a tuberculosis ward complete with body chute and a death toll of 46,000. Then it was converted by the Catholic Church into a Sanitarium for the criminally insane where it was hoped a pious life could rid them of their demons. It house "Bloody Face" a notorious serial killer who’s fate is unknown. Finally, it has been shut down and abandoned. In essence, everything we’ve heard about institutions for the mentally ill has been rolled up into one place. And what a place it is!

Jessica Lange returns as Sister Jude, the matron who runs the asylum with an iron fist and a closet full of caning rods.

Evan Peters also returns as the supposed "Bloody Face", notorious serial killer who skins his victims alive.

More of the old cast will be forthcoming as this story unravels.

The story moves quickly and we get a barrage of characters and twists right off the bat. Sister Jude will stop at nothing to heal the mentally ill of their sins even if that means holding a reporter against her will and threatening to expose her "partner" if she doesn’t have her committed to the sister’s care.

And we have the makings of a mad doctor, who plans to experiment on his patients to find out what makes them tick. Can he cure evil through science? Can he "tap" into that evil and make it go away? Several patients without families have already gone missing since the doctor showed up, their bodies cremated before Sister Jude can look into the matter. Are their bodies as broken as their minds and they simply passed on or did they not survive the experiments? He’s been approved by the Church, so what could possibly go wrong?

The battle of wills between Sister Jude and Dr. Arden has begun and I have a feeling it will be one hell of a showdown.

But let’s not forget the present, where Teresa and Leo have snuck into the abandoned asylum as an end to their "haunted honeymoon tour" for some sexual thrills. But things go horribly wrong and the mood is ruined when Leo becomes the victim of something unforeseen as they explore the asylum just before sunset.

We’re in for a dark and sinister ride. We’ve already got sadistic nuns, serial killers, mad scientists, the criminally insane, forbidden experiments, the evil that men do and it all takes place in an asylum! And that’s just in the first episode!

I can’t wait to see the rest of this series. I loved the first one and this promises to be even more intense. The location is dramatic, the atmosphere is dark and gloomy, Sister Jude makes me cringe and Dr. Arden looks to be one evil man. This has everything I like!

So what do you think? How do you think this will compare to the first season?

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666 Park Avenue – Episode 3

I’m being drawn into this show. I like the mystery, the layers, the hints and clues at what’s to come. For the first time we see Gavin make a move to show more of his nature as the Councilman takes a nose dive. We see the influence he has over people when he pushes Henry to move forward, almost against his nature. And do we see the walls going down between Jane and Olivia discuss the tragic events surround Olivia’s passing? And clearly from the note Olivia burns, there is more to that story as well.

It’s turned into a real soap opera hasn’t it?

But I do like the way this is playing out. I like that it answers one question, but adds two more to the mix. It’s an interesting look at people and what we’re all willing to do to get ahead and if we’re willing to make a deal. I like that there are multiple stories going on, not just with the tenants, but with the past itself. Why do we have a secret room? Why was it walled up? Who used to live there? What meetings or shall we say rituals used to take place in this building all those years ago? I like the atmosphere. I like the questions. I like how everything seems to be circling, but that somehow, all of this is going to tie together.

What do you think? While not quite as dramatic as American Horror Story, it does present some of the same elements. Is anyone on board with this new show?

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The Raven – John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe

image Since I’m a fan of Cusack and Poe, I had every intention of seeing this movie when it came out in theaters last April. I went to "Abraham Lincoln" and thought this movie would make a great "double header" so to speak. But for some reason, the idea simply slipped out of my head. Before I knew it, the movie had come and gone. And when I asked if anyone had seen it, no one knew what I was talking about. It’s disappointing, because overall, I found myself liking this movie.

The plot is a bit ridiculous, as a murderer bases his crimes on the works of Poe. But this isn’t the first time a movie has been made with this premise. I seem to recall some other low budget horror movie using the same concept. See, it’s not so outrageous.

We find Poe in a rather beleaguered state. He’s on the verge of intoxication or in need of "fortitude", he’s nearly broke since he can’t get any of his reviews published and he doesn’t have another "Tell Tale Heart" in him. As the editor says, "write me something that sells." He’s also at odds with his beloved’s father who thinks he’s nothing but a drunk, opium addict and atheist. Needless to say, Edgar is down on his luck.

And then he finds himself at the center of a series of murders based on the his macabre short stories. But emulating Poe isn’t enough, the killer captures Emily and forces Poe to try and figure out who’s behind the crimes. At his subsequent murder scenes he leaves clues as to his identity and the whereabouts of Emily. The murder also forces Poe to write about the murders, blending fact with fiction so they can be told in the following day’s newspaper column. He wants Poe and himself immortalized in the press.

Are you with me so far?

I found the atmosphere, costumes and quirky nature of Cusack as Poe to be very enjoyable. I love period piece movies, and unlike some, I’m not going to throw a fit because a movie oversteps a few historical details. It claims to be a work of fiction, not a documentary, so getting a few details wrong to push the story along is alright with me. If you put a Ford Mustang on the grounds of Downton Abbey, we have an issue. If you get the wrong color of paint on a building, I don’t care.

This is a slow paced movie that makes multiple leaps to keep the story going. Not everything falls in line from one scene to the next, and the action is just as much focused on Poe writing his account of the murders as the acts himself. In same cases it almost seems like he’s relishing his new muse. He’s inspired to write. The story flows. The ideas leap to the page. He’s once again back in the limelight.

The two things I really liked is that Detective Field isn’t your usual bumbling idiot of a cop so many of these use these days. He’s smart, focused, clever and determined without being an asshole. He has skill and knowledge.

We also have Emily who won’t play the victim. She tries to escape. Uses her wits. Doesn’t give to hysterics and keeps a level head. Also, a nice change of pace from what we normally see of female lead in these kinds of films.

It seems like most people gave this movie a pass. Sadly, I was one of them. But now that it’s available again, I’ve made amends. The story is a little thin, but the atmosphere and acting help to smooth that over. It’s not the type of movie to have you jumping in your seat or scratching your head over the complexities of the killer motives. In fact, when all is said there still won’t be feelings of enlightenment. But as they say, the point of a journey is not to arrive.

Between this and 1408, you might have the makings of a fine night of the macabre with John Cusack.

Raven ~ John Cusack

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The Dead Matter

image Holy Mother of Crap that was awful!! The first five minutes should have been a clue, but I struggled to stay on until the end and look what it go me. Some times independent movies are a real gem. Some time not. Sadly, the only good thing about The Dead Matter is the soundtrack. Only “The Rage” tops Dead Matter as a craptacular movie.

This movie is plagued by the trifecta or horrific acting, completely limp plot and shockingly juvenile special effects. Some of the makeup effects weren’t too bad, if this were a remake of the Michael Jackson, Thriller video.

The plot is simple, there is an evil amulet in the form of a scarab that can control the dead. On a completely separate note there is a new synthetic form of blood for vampires. Or is it a diet drug? Or is it liquid crack rock? How the two go together is still a mystery to me. And I’m not watching it again to try and find out. But moving on. Somehow a woman who’s lost her brother will use it to try and raise his rotting corpse. But not until she’s done hanging out with the currently rotting corpse she managed to conjure during a seance out in the woods at the Cairn stones. They will go and see the sites, go to the bar for a beer and head out for ice cream. It’s such a tangled mess.

There really is no point to this movie. There story makes no sense. There is no reason to follow along with these people, and the voice of the female lead sounds like a 5 year old on helium. Was it dubbed in? Truly, there is nothing good about this movie except the soundtrack. Midnight Syndicate makes a beautiful soundtrack and they should stick with that. Produce some movies to go with the score, but for the love of god, hire some real actors. Where the hell did you find these people? This is proof that you shouldn’t have your friends and neighbors star in your movies. Seriously, what the hell is up with that blonde wig? That should have been the first clue something is wrong with this movie.

A movie this bad makes Grave Encounters 2 look like an Academy Award winner.

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