Advertisements

Welcome to Riverdead! A Review of Afterlife with Archie

Somebody thought it would be a good idea to take the beloved Archie teens and have them get eaten by zombies. Strangely this formula works quite well. Afterlife with Archie is by far the most disturbing and twisted Archie comic of them all, except maybe for the Archie-Glee crossover, however. If you cherish characters like Jughead Jones, you might want to stay away from this comic because it get’s pretty brutal. Afterlife with Archie begins with a distraught Jughead Jones bringing his injured dog, Hotdog, to Sabrina Spellman (yes that Sabrina), who despite her aunt’s wishes, manages to bring Hotdog back from the dead. As you may have guessed, Hotdog returns as a demented zombie and unleashes (get it?) a zombie plague upon the world. Sure the plot of Afterlife with Archie is your pretty standard zombie story, but watching these normally chipper teens fight off the undead is actually a fantastic change up.

The darker tone of Afterlife with Archie works quite well because it allows all most of the beloved character (those who weren’t eaten) to develop in a way that’s heartfelt.  Characters like Kevin Keller and Reggie Mantle are given some serious edge. Betty and Veronica are still fighting over Archie as usual, but a zombie apocalypse actually manages to add some serious depth to this time old battle. Archie is faced with some serious challenges that make his dilemma of choosing between Betty and Veronica, less superficial. They become his confidants in a time of desperation.

While the long-term fans of the Archie comics might not enjoy seeing their favorite characters get brutally slaughtered on the page, horror fans will find this comic to be especially delicious. Afterlife with Archie shakes things up by combining the sickeningly perfect world of the Archie gang with a nightmare, the result, a badass cornucopia of awesomeness.

Hooky: Excerpt #1

hooky1

SCENE 1
EXT-LOVER’S LANE,TERRIDALE,ARKANSAS-1959
[FADE IN]

Lover’s Lane, an eerie desolate patch of woods that overlooks a large cliff. The moon shines over like a dimly lit beacon.
ALAN, an African-American teen, about 16 years old, is fleeing from an unknown force. He looks like a deer staring into headlights; blood is dripping from his chin. The sound of footsteps is coming from behind him, but his loud breathing overpowers the sound.

ALAN:
Please, please don’t hurt me.

No response. A shadow of a hook appears on the side of a tree.

ALAN:
I can you give you
whatever you want.

He sees the light of a parking lot and runs towards it.

EXT:THE TERRIDALE DRIVE-IN
A hand reaches in front and grabs Alan. BOBBY, a teenage football player, is standing in front of him, snarling like a bull.

BOBBY:
I got him guys, you can come out
now.

Several other football players emerge from the woods, LIAM, JACK,GERALD,DONALD And DAVID. Liam grabs Alan and throws him to the ground. The other guys form a circle around him. Donald has an umbrella in his hand. “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” is playing on the movie screen.

LIAM:
Now I thought this was supposed to
be a white’s only theater?

He kicks Alan in the chest.

ALAN:
I’m sorry, please, I just wanted to
see the movie.

LIAM:
You just wanted to to see the movie?
This isn’t New York boy. Just because
they’re letting your kind into school’s
now, does not give you the right to walk
wherever you please.

Alan tries to look away, Gerald brutally smacks the back of his head

GERALD:
Now you listen to him boy! Listen good!

LIAM:
There are rules to help separate us lions
from the other zoo animals and you broke
them. You know what they do to people
like you in Missouri? There was a boy
just like you.Now he talked funny to
a white woman and guess what they
did to him?
ALAN: (BEGGING)
No, please!
LIAM:
They took ‘im and dragged his body
from the back of a pickup truck.

ALAN:
Somebody, help me!

Alan gets up, he takes a swing at Liam, hitting him square in the forehead. Donald throws Alan down again and gives him a solid smack in the ribs with the umbrella.

LIAM:
Now that’s not very nice,
you got blood on my varsity
letter.Momma ain’t gonna
like that.

He punches Alan several times. Then he spits on him.
GERALD:
Jack, why don’t you take
a kick?
JACK: (ANXIOUS)
I don’t want to scuff
up my shoes.

ALAN:
Help! Someone please
help me!

LIAM:
I’m not gonna kill you boy,
that goes against the good book.
Besides I don’t wanna see
your momma blubbering on
my television set.

A beautiful girl, MARY, emerges from behind the crowd.

MARY:
Hey, you boys leave him alone!
Do you want to go to prison?

LIAM:
No mam.

JACK:
Mary, stay out of this.

MARY:
No Jack, I won’t and if
you want a ride home,
you best stop picking on him.

The other guys laugh, Jack is extremely embarrassed.

MARY:
You,(points to Alan) go home.
Go home and don’t look back.

Alan gets up and runs away, the other guys leave as well. The movie ends, all the cars in the lot begin to drive away, leaving Jack and Mary alone.

EXT-FRONT OF DRIVE-IN
Gerald stands in front of the drive-in smoking a cigarette. A darkened car pulls up to him. The window rolls down, a figure waves to him. Gerald walks slowly to the car.

MAN:
Excuse me sir, do you know how
to get to Maple street from here?

GERALD:
Yeah, just keep goin’ straight
down this road and take a left
on Bowdoin street. You’ll see
another sign on your right.

MAN:
Thank-you sir.

Gerald is left alone in the parking lot. Another shadowed figure emerges from behind him, and plunges a hook straight through Gerald’s stomach. The killer eyes an old tow truck sitting at the corner of the parking lot.

[PAN ON TOW TRUCK BACK]
[CUT TO OPENING CREDITS]

Film Review- It Follows

It-Follows-Movie-Poster

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the bedroom, It Follows comes to make you relive the most horrifying moments of your adolescent youth. The ultimate game of tag, except in this game you get an STD and the “D” stands for demon.

After an alarming opening, the film kicks into motion with Jay, an average teenage girl (played by Maika Monroe),  who is on a typical date with her typically douchey boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary). All seems normal, they go see a movie, go to dinner at an inexpensive joint. Then the two have consensual ex in Hugh’s car, real classy, this is when he chloroforms Jay and dumps the ultimate burden on her. Upon waking, Hugh explains to Jay that he has just passed on a demonic entity that will continue to follow her until she passes it on to someone else via sexual intercourse and so the games begin. Man what a guy, you don’t get that experience from Tinder.cannesitfollows

As the film progresses Jay and her friends try an innumerable amount of tactics to get rid of this entity. What makes this film work so well is the relatability of the characters and settings. There is extreme potential for all the usual tired out tropes to emerge, but somehow It Follows manages to dance around them. Everything predictable that could happen doesn’t. Jay is not the “over sexed bimbo” that the horror genre has come to love, she is an intelligent hero. She is willing to take chances to rid herself of this entity, but she likes to carefully strategize before doing so. She doesn’t make the oblivious mistakes like running upstairs to the only unsafe bedroom, she doesn’t fight the monster alone, infact she gathers her friends to help her in her endeavor.

It Follows is a rather unconventional conventional horror film that gives many nods to horror supremes like Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho) and John Carpenter (Halloween).  It doesn’t rely on cheap gimmicks or overused jump scares to bring on the goosebumps, it simply relies on its realistic atmosphere and paranoia. Just like Jay, the audience will not know when, where or what form this entity will emerge as, until it is too late. Often scenes are shown with Jay and her friends walking down a street with a few civilians walking in the background. Could any of these bystanders be the entity? Who knows.

What the film does best is presenting its actors in a manner that feels too close for comfort. The director of this film makes the decision to have actual young  20 or something people play teenage characters. Horror movies haven’t really done this since the 80’s. For the most part, modern films like Michael Bay’s hideous Nightmare on Elm Street remake, have had  thirty years olds playing fifteen year olds, the effect is inauthentic. But It Follows manages to show a believable group of middle class teenagers.

The most interesting character out of the Scooby gang would have to be Jay’s socially awkward friend Paul (played by Keir Gilchrist). At first Paul is the butt of everyone’s jokes. All his friends make fun of how pathetically awkward he is, but all Paul wants is love (and mostly sex). The only way he can get it is if a girl has a demonic entity attacking her soul or by paying a prostitute. He is not model handsome, he represents the average teenager.

Sure It Follows isn’t the first movie to make a statement about sex, but it is one the first films to accurately address this subject. This movie is far from having the kinkiness of Fifty Shades of Grey, that’s what makes it so scary. If not for its use of suspense, this movie would fall into the trash pile of modern horror failures. It Follows offers a fresh spin on horror and lots of fun.


THE VERDICT: **** (Four stars)  Catch It Follows in theaters before it catches you.

Eight More Days Til Halloween: Revisiting Halloween 3: Season of the Witch

“It’s time, It’s time, gather around your tv sets, put on your masks and watch the magic pumpkin” Too much tv can rot your brain, John Carpenter and Tommy Lee Wallace prove that point in their third installment to the Halloween franchise.  When Halloween III: Season of the Witch was released, fans went into a murderous rage over the loss of their beloved horror icon Michael Myers. John Carpenter wanted to take the film series in a new direction by having each Halloween movie tell a different story, but fans were about as ecstatic as Annie Wilkes was when Paul Sheldon killed off her literary idol in Misery. Since it’s release in 1982,  Halloween III has been criticized by horror fans  for being too boring and too meek. Over the years this film has been overlooked because it deters so heavily from typical slasher conventions, rendering it weak in the eyes of horror fans alike. If John Carpenter had released this film under a different title, it may have been regarded as a decent film. 32 years have passed since its release,  the time has finally come for Halloween III to get the respect it deserves.

Halloween III tells a new story about a doctor (played by Tom Atkins) investigating the murder of one his patients. His investigation eventually leads him to Santa Mira, a quaint village dominated by a large toy company called Silver Shamrock. Doctor Challis’s investigation leads him into unnerving discovery more horrifying than anything he could imagine. With a very shocking twist ending,  Halloween III has more a Twilight Zone vibe to it, which is why fans were so angry about it. These types of horror stories require an appreciation for classic macabre story telling. This movie relies more on narrative than it does on stabbings and jump scares.

Sure Halloween III is not as psychologically jarring when compared to its predecessors, but its plot is still creepy and dare I say more sophisticated than Halloween? You will not see a continuous chain of horny teenagers being murdered, nor will you see an overabundance of jump scares and gore.  Halloween III isn’t about psychopaths killing off morally corrupt teenagers, its about the evils of capitalism, It’s what happens when a society becomes too materialistic and forgets to look around at its surroundings. What  makes Halloween III so unique is its central theme of capitalism and its effect on society. Tommy Lee Wallace depicts business men as cold robots who go around murdering the less fortunate, if that’s not enough, Halloween III has enough Halloween imagery in it to make you puke, which is kind of the point. Many scenes are saturated with Halloween masks, candy, decorations and a very annoying in your face Silver Shamrock commercial, all this to emphasize how materialistic society has become societies need to have to newest thing is what leads to it’s horrific undoing in Halloween III. This is what horror movies are really about: Exposing the flaws in society that people are just too damn afraid to talk about.

Halloween III does have some very edgy scenes in it. In the opening scene, Doctor Challis’s patient has his eyes gouged out by one of the robot businessmen in a very Oedipus style, the business man then douses himself in gasoline and sets himself on fire. The businessmen later return in another scene where they rip of the head of a homeless bum who threatened  to burn their factory down. Robot businessmen are not the only scary additions to this film. The ending of the film (featuring a brief cameo appearance of Jamie Lee Curtis) is very similar and just as horrifying as the ending of Invasion of the Pod People. It’s ending is so shocking, so unexpected and very Hitchcockian.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Halloween III is the connection to Michael Myers that is later made in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. Halloween 6 is regarded as being the worst movie in the franchise due to it’s stock characters and ridiculous narrative, but it’s connection to Halloween 3 makes it also worth a watch, that is if you have a stomach for shitty horror movies. In Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers it is revealed that an evil Celtic curse was placed on Michael Myers, causing him to resurrect each Halloween and attack people to fulfill a ritual sacrifice, sound familiar? This is the same type of sacrificial ritual that is performed in Halloween 3, just in a different way. Both films are influenced by the same Celtic folklore.

Unfortunately Halloween 3’s biggest fault is it’s inclusion of Irish culture because it does so in a way that comes off as racist against Irish people . Anyone who is Irish, might find this film’s portrayal of Irish people to be highly offensive. The filmmakers decisions to depict the main antagonist, Conal Cochran, as an evil,corrupt, kid killer makes Halloween come off as Anti-Irish. There are many other scenes that depict negative stereotypes.  The citizens of Santa Mira are  poor, overly pious, violent drunks, all of the most offensive Irish stereotypes imaginable. But Halloween III isn’t as offensive as say Leprechaun.

If you like horror movies that rely on plot, and can overlook it’s racism, Halloween III is definitely worth checking out. What it lacks in jump scares, it makes up with a creepy plot.  Halloween III: Season of the Witch is more than the typical horror fare, making for a rather enjoyable watching experience, especially around the Halloween season. Halloween III has its own je ne sais quoi and if it had been released under a different title, it probably would have received more praise than it did.        

Just so you know:

     

DISCLAIMER: I am not a communist!