Posted in americana, COMICS, FILM, HORROR, TV

The Walking Dead: Big Mid-Season Shock

The Walking Dead: Big Mid-Season Shock

February 21st, 2016 | by Craig Caudill
The Walking Dead: Big Mid-Season Shock

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The Walking Dead has returned from its mid-season hiatus, and ComiConverse’s Craig Caudill is here to get us all up to speed. Warning, spoilers abound!

Now if you have not seen The Walking Dead‘s mid-season opener, I suggest you watch it first before you read this review. And then come back, or maybe watch a Golden Girlsor JAG marathon. I call it a JAG-off. Then we can discuss and talk shop.

Now I am a little peeved at some would-be The Walking Dead fans who in the past was hoping for an early death for Carl. I find the trend of hoping that children die on tv shows appalling. I know that the networks when they want to add a level of cuteness they bring in the kid or another younger kid to maintain the cute factor. The weirdest example was Oliver on The Brady Bunch, who I thought was alienating and ruined the dynamic of the show. I hated the show so much, and yet I watched every single episode — because with three networks there wasn’t much else to watch. So you’re at the mercy of any network whims to lure you into viewer submission. Oliver was a weird kid. He even looked like John Denver. But that’s where the insults end, because he is a human being. He’s not acting anymore. And I hope he’s married employed and happy somewhere. The same as Charlie Bucket, who owns a farm. Yes, I’m talking Willie Wonka.

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Now about Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl. I’m sure he is a good kid. His acting is fine and I wish he has a prolific career. I hope he’s a fine young man. But over the years I’ve read nasty memes on Facebook cheering for the character to die because they found him to be an annoying kid.

Now I know when a kid is annoying. But this wasn’t the boy Anakin in The Phantom Menace, flying star-fighters all on his own. This kid was accused of single handedly accused of ruining the whole Star Wars franchise. But I may confess that initially, afterThe Phantom Menace, while everyone applauded lightly (perhaps they were just so desperate for a new Star Wars), me on the other hand? I booed. I’ve never booed in a crowded movie theater in my life.  But I did that uncontrollably, only to be shushed by my brothers. We were pissed when we drove home. Our day was ruined.

I will bring up one Wil Wheaton, who was a source of consternation for many Star Trekfans. Myself, I didn’t watch the show until many years later, and although it was OK I wasn’t really a fan. Although I watched Deep Space Nine in the wee hours late at night — because there was nothing else on but an episode of The Twilight Zone.

But I do remember one literature student had a meltdown, in the student lounge over the relevancy of some kid on Star Trek: The Next Generation who never does anything important. God, what I’d give to remember what he screamed. All I do remember is one guy being like “Wil Wheaton Sucks I hate him.”

Mr Meltdown: “Shut up. F**k you. Leave Wil Wheaton alone. He’s a good kid, he’s important to the story…” it went something like that. But my point being, I worry about how kids are kind of abused in real life and in Hollywood and somehow people project their emotions on kids and they get cast aside or chewed up and spit out.

So now Carl gets shot in the head.

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I was prepared to write a eulogy for Carl. Now after a dramatic moment of hack-and-slash we’re taking back the town again. On one level this was pure cheese, but I liked it too, because it was the most action I’ve seen all this season.

Well, I said my piece about Carl. You got what you want but he’s going to be Snake Plisken with a patch on his eye? Don’t know.

What irks me about the show now

Michael Traynor as Nicholas and Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

I want to say I don’t like short-season shows. Five episodes here and then nothing for three months. Thank God I write or play music, otherwise I’d be bored. I hate sports so I’d be screwed for entertainment.

Last season was kind of just filler, but I liked when they brought back Morgan Jones (played by Lennie James) with his Zen philosophy. That was cool. But watching Daryl seemingly putting on a chopper while dead people were just dragging their feet was tedious. Then the anger I felt when I thought Glen died. I wasn’t cool with that because he’s the character I like most. I swore I’d never watch it again if that were the case. Unless of course that’s how the comic book went. I remember reading half of it on the hardback graphic novel edition. The death I must bring up, because we never really saw it happen — we just assume she’s dead — is of course Andrea Harrison, played byLaurie Holden.

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I would like to trade her back onto the show, and you can have the supposed genius with the mullet who turned out to be a fraud in exchange. I’m not amused about this. Yeah we all have our thing. Tom Waits had his Soul Patch Sailor on Wild At Heart, had his Snake Skin jacket. Unless your mullet is the source of your magic power… you’re a pointless character. I get the joke, but I would like for Andrea to come back instead. Nothing personal. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and this is not a hate on him.

By now the second episode of the season opener promises a big shocker. Maybe the Governor is alive, or Rick Grimes’ wife followed them from the prison? Questions, questions… But I guess I have to force myself to watch. I hope this gets better.

Just leave Carl alone!

The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sundays at 9pm (8pm Central). Craig Caudill is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter @craigcaudill.

Posted in FANTASY, FILM, HORROR, MOVIES, TV

CRIMSON PEAK REVIEW

Film Review: Crimson Peak

February 15th, 2016 | by Craig Caudill
Review of: Crimson Peak
Price:
Exciting
Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On February 15, 2016
Last modified:February 15, 2016

Summary:

Guillermo Del Toro’s latest film, Crimson Peak, is a horror film with thrills, twists, strong acting, and an exciting bloody conclusion. The cast is lead by a delightful Tom Hiddleston who is equal parts charming and creepy.

ComiConverse Contributor Craig Caudill reviews Guillermo Del Toro’s latest film, Crimson Peak.

My first reaction to viewing Guillermo Del Toro’s latest work, Crimson Peak, was that it was either the sequel to 28 Days or Devil’s Back Bone. Right now, I’m not sure. All I can say is, it’s a glorious blur. But the impression has left a mark on me to last a life time. After watching Del Toro’s latest supernatural thriller, I am reminded of the Simpsons episode where Montgomery C. Burns is itching to have a biopic film of himself. He tells Mr. Smithers “Get me Steven Spielberg.” Mr. Smithers reminds him that Spielberg would be unavailable. To which Mr. Burns says, “Fine, then get me his cheaper Mexican equivalent.” I’m paraphrasing here, but I think Mr. Burns would have been happy with the results if he hired Mr. Del Toro.

Quick Take

Crimson Peak worked on many levels. It was an edgy film complete with nods to silent era scene transitions, slightly steam punk gadgets, and optic photography wall projections. I often feel I’ve seen it all and read it all. In a world were production companies rely heavily on pop cultural referencing as a safety net or crutch, Del Toro handles his subject matter with more nuance. There is no Tarantino-esque dialog or endless references to Star Wars. In Crimson Peak, I feel as if he is creating his own frame of reference while drawing on the aesthetic of Jane Austin. Based on this film, I would love to see Del Toro’s take on a space opera like Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers. I feel he would maintain the old swash buckling of matinee theatre, with a modern twist rather than creating a hyper-CGI remake.

The Story

Mia Wasikowska as Edith Cushing in Crimson Peak, directed by Guillermo Del Toro.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Crimson Peak is about a young woman, Edith Cushing, who dreams one day of becoming a writer.  She is specifically interested in ghost stories and all thing that go bump in the night. In her dreams she is visited by a ghost, and throughout the whole movie. Which we shall find out later.

Unfortunately for Edith, she is a female writer in an era when many women writers were not taken seriously. Edith is discriminated against because of her penmanship, which is deemed too florid. Her next course of action is to switch to a typewriter.  Eventually, Edith finds herself being courted by a smooth British gentleman, Thomas Sharpe, played by Tom Hiddleston, best known for his turn as Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sharpe is visiting America with his sister to try and secure funding for a clay mining invention.

Soon after, we find Edith being wooed after her father’s passing. Though his death is ruled accidental, it comes after he refuses Thomas Sharpe and his sister Lucille money for the invention. Edith is whisked away by Thomas to England to live with him and his sister in a castle, which appears to ooze a red clay substance. I will refrain from going into too much detail here to avoid spoilers, however, I will say: spectral warnings, Thomas’ money troubles, his easy manner with women, and his (too?) close connection to his sister combine to create the foundation for the film’s bloody climax.

Charlie Hunnam: A Bit Out of Place

Charlie Hunnam, best known for his role as Jax in Sons of Anarchy, as Dr. Alan McMichael in Crimson Peak.

Credit: Universal Pictures

I also want to mention Charlie Hunnam, best know for his portrayal of Jax in Sons of Anarchy. Hunam portrays Edith’s childhood friend, Dr. Alan McMichael. While Hunnam is a fine actor, he does not seem to fit in the time period of the movie. Hunnam did not have an easy time making this film. He had already accepted the role in Crimson Peak when he was offered the lead in Fifty Shades of Grey. Part of the reason he left Fifty Shades was because he had already committed to Crimson PeakThough I don’t feel he was right in this role, I loved his work on Sons of Anarchy and hope that he finds more work that suits him better.

Since I don’t want to spoil anything from this movie, which has more than a few twists and turns, I just want you to prepare yourself for a good flick. I was impressed with the steam punk gadgets and the fact that they didn’t feel like an overload. I particularly enjoyed the gramophone player and another device which played recorded journal entries of people important to the story.

Overall, this was a great film. I’m always excited to see what Del Toro is up to. I’ve read his Strain novels, which were awesome, and I can’t wait for the second season of that show. I will also be looking for his next projects, like the long awaited Carnival Row which will be coming out soon on Amazon. Based on how well Del Toro engaged with the texture of an era while retaining his fresh directorial perspective inCrimson Peak, I can’t wait to see what he does with Pinocchio. That should be very strange.

Craig Caudill is a contributor to ComicConverse. Follow him on twitter: @craigcaudill

Posted in DREAMS, HORROR, speculative fiction, TV, Uncategorized

Southbound Review

Film Review: Southbound

February 20th, 2016 | by Craig Caudill

Horror anthology film Southbound is in theatres now, and Craig Caudill has ComiConverse’s review.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Southbound. I think some of the collaborators worked on the film V/H/S. I remember V/H/S had one story that left a deep impression on me. I felt was filmed very well; it had a strange girl who turned out to be some sort of harpy or siren. She obsessed over one of the party goers, kept repeating “I love you, I love you” over and over. Until she ran off with him and took off flying this was all shot on cameras on his body, befitting the “found footage” genre. I intend to talk about this at great length in another article, but I thought it was very well done and a good moment of suspension of disbelief — it looked real. I loved the abduction caught on tape; it almost felt like a viral video, leaving me to wonder how they filmed that without CGI magic, and still maintain the feel of raw video footage. This is one of my fantasies, being kidnapped by a babe — who would complain?

Now Southbound belongs in the realm of the horror anthology genre. One could argue it’s a vast improvement on the V/H/S concept; this was much better. Much like The Grudge was the best adaptation from a Japanese story to an American story. There hasn’t really been a good short film horror anthology since Creepshow — and yet I’ve seen them all, despite my better judgement. This movie expertly crafted a group of short stories that blended into each other so wonderfully you might possibly, if you weren’t paying attention, think it was all one story that didn’t make sense. This film uses a team of directors and different casts. It’s always good to see Dana Gould in anything; he is so funny. I don’t have the space to do him justice.

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Things I Liked:

What was undoubtedly refreshing in this movie was the casting. Especially the female roles — now, yes, they were pretty, but in a realistic way. I actually thought they were actresses, instead the same old scenario of producer goes to a strip club and promises girl he’ll make her a star. Which is something that been pissing me off these last fifteen years. I’ve seen a lot of B movies so bad no one takes it seriously and it’s like bad joke. You see it on the actor’s faces and how they act. Back in the day, no matter how bad the movie was, the passion and seriousness the actors put into the film is what gives B movies their charm and lets you enjoy them.

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I liked the music by the Gifted. Now I can’t find their albums anywhere but I’m going to look hard to track down the sound track.

The Stories:

We begin with two men on the road at night, covered in blood, trying to get home. On the radio is some cheeseball 80’s retro synth which is music I love. As the credits begin to roll,  the music brings me back to Claudio Simonetti and Argento and Giallo Cinema. It was really a great opening. Perhaps a subtle triumph for the jaded. And for those who do not, know Giallo Cinema is Italian for Yellow Cinema, so named because many Italian directors would shoot with a yellow filter because it made colors look more intense — especially blood.

We find our two bloody protagonists making a stop in a diner. There is a subtle pop cultural reference that wasn’t rubbed in your face: the movie Carnival of Souls was casually playing on a small TV-VCR combo. It was a nice little touch. And I loved theTwilight Zone feel to the whole production; I loved how when one story ended it segued into another. Usually stories are interrupted with introductions and credits but this film went for a more fluid approach, which I applaud very much.

One thing that comes to mind: who is writer/director Radio Silence?

Could someone be pulling an Allen Smithee?

I casually surfed the net and to find they are a team of filmmakers. I need to learn more about these guys and this screams to me, interview. If possible?

I’ll try to make it happen.

One story sticks out the most. The one about Lucas, played by Mather Zickel, who appears to traveling home talking to his girlfriend going on about which dress she looks good in judging by cell phone photos. Now he’s wearing headphones to free his hands, but he’s distracted. Suddenly he hits a girl with a car, but I can’t spoil the how and why because that would ruin the story for other viewers. And I don’t want to do that — I want you to watch this movie. He then calls 911 who encourages him to get her to the hospital and the rest of the segment plays like a WTF moment. A seemingly nice guy trying to do the right thing in a world where most people would have driven off. It’s almost like he’s punished for doing the right thing.

He winds up taking her what turns out to be a Chernobyl-like hospital which is creepy as hell. I don’t want to ruin anything, but I can say I love how it all came full circle. It’s open-ended enough to explore the story further. Although V/H/S was more of a found-footage anthology, I felt this was tight like a well-crafted Mötörhead song — when it’s good, it’sreally good. This plays closer to Creepshow.

Check out Southbound when it plays in your town.

 

Craig Caudill is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter @craigcaudill.

Posted in COMICS, FANTASY, HORROR, MOVIES, POLITICS, speculative fiction, TV, Uncategorized

Speculative Yahtzee

We ComiConverse With Mather Zickel

February 15th, 2016 | by Craig Caudill
We ComiConverse With Mather Zickel

BOOKS
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Review of:
Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On February 15, 2016
Last modified:February 15, 2016

Summary:

Craig Caudill begins a new Q&A series at ComiConverse today: Speculative Yahtzee. His first victim is actor Mather Zickel.

It is a goal of mine to spark a dialog with creative individuals in various fields and ask them what is entertaining to them. And I hope these answers are an indication of what gives us meaning in our downtime, and what inspires us to dream in story, in music, and in the arts. No medium has allowed us to dream that more than fiction. And perhaps everyone’s favorite in many cases is generically referred to as “speculative fiction.” But this umbrella term treads many genres: horror, thriller, supernatural, noir, science fiction and countless shades of fantasy. With that I aim to ask someone who works close to the medium or works in the field. I ask them various questions — some silly, some serious. Some of the answers may surprise you.

My first participant is Mather Zickel, starring in the new horror flick Southbound, which sounds very promising to me.

Mather Zickel

So I welcome Mather Zickel in my first Q&A exchange.

Let’s begin!

CC: What novel changed your life? and who is your favorite author?

MZ: My favorite author? Hmm. Tough. I don’t generally get fixated on one particular author. Books just come into my life for some reason or other, and I like to think that there’s a reason for why they do when they do. I find I keep returning to Robertson Davies’ novels. I really enjoy his quirky Canadian world of academics, artists, priests, and eccentrics. I like his odd humor. I think he really tries to reconcile the life of the mind with the life of the spirit. And he seems to actually love humanity.

On the darker side, I also like Robert Cormier’s young adult books. Several of his novels were lauded and won awards, while simultaneously being challenged in many school libraries around the country. I went to boarding school at 14 and the first book I happened to grab out of the library was called I Am the Cheese. It really gave me the creeps. Then I read The Chocolate War and I felt completely justified in my paranoia regarding institutional structure, indoctrination, or any kind of groupthink in general. I distrust crowds.

CC: Is Wonder woman Sexy to you — specifically Lynda Carter — and why?

MZ: Yes, I find Lynda Carter/Wonder Woman sexy. The reason being, I’m not blind.

lynda-carter-as-wonder-woman

CC: You are a superhero. What is your name, power, and costume, and who is your arch-enemy?

MZ: My super hero is called Osrick of Mantos. He wears a white cloak over studded leather armor, has a pronounced limp, an eyepatch, and three ragged scars across his face, a shock of white hair by his right temple, and carries a quarterstaff. He is a sorcerer of the mind (can read minds, control minds, knock people unconscious with his mind, move things with his mind, cause horrible bodily wounds with his mind, etc.). His arch-enemy is his doppelgänger, known as Osric (spelled without a k), who appears in a black cloak and looks about 10 years older than himself.

CC: What is your preference — cosplay or LARPing?

MZ: I don’t cosplay or LARP myself, but the LARPers truly seem to go for the gusto. I think the cosplay folks are looking for a date, but the LARPers really don’t want to come home from the Faire.

CC: Can you name a trendy drink named after a superhero?

MZ: The Human Torch. 2 oz Bacardi 151, ½ oz Goldschlager, ½ oz Campari. Pour contents into shaker over a cube of sugar, shake well, pour onto bare chest, light on fire, have friend slurp contents off, Uber home.

CC: Who is your favorite villain?

MZ: My favorite villain is Julie Newmar.

Julie_Newmar_Catwoman_Batman_1966

CC: Good answer. Are vampires ruined? Not scary? Played out?

MZ: I think we’ve heard enough from the vampires for a while, particularly the attractive and tortured ones. I exclude the vampires from What We Do in the Shadows. Those guys are funny.

CC: Could we coexist with vampires in a True Blood scenario?

MZ: If Donald Trump becomes president I don’t think there will be much hope for peaceful human/vampire coexistence. I believe he would try to deport all the vampires to China. If Bernie Sanders wins, I think he will try to break up the banks.

CC: Are you high on V right now?

MZ: V? Never touch the stuff. Reminds me of Winston Churchill’s fingers.

CC: Stephen Hawking warned everyone not to interact with aliens if you meet one. But if you did, would you talk to him? And what would you talk to him about?

MZ: I’m not a very social person so I don’t think I would approach an alien — or Stephen Hawking. Obviously, I would help either one if they needed directions. I’m from New York. I like to give directions.

CC: Do you believe in life on other worlds?

MZ: I’m no statistician, but life on other worlds sounds entirely probable. I’m guessing most of that life resembles bacteria more than Leonard Nimoy, but you never know.

CC: Did you cry when E.T. died?

MZ: At the time I saw E.T., I was reading Orwell’s 1984 and was terrified about the dominance of a Soviet-style totalitarian superstate. And, yes, I cried when that little puppet died.

CC: Roger Moore or Sean Connery?

MZ: Sean Connery.

CC: Does working for Roto-Rooter qualify anyone to be an expert on the paranormal?

MZ: I don’t know if working for Roto-Rooter qualifies you per se, but it would help to have some expertise in plumbing. I think we all know that when you flush the toilet the contents are sucked down straight to Hell.

CC: Do you fear a Zombie reality?

MZ: Yes. Every time I go to a mall or amusement park.

CC: If your significant other was a zombie would you let them eat you?

MZ: Why does my significant other have to be a zombie to do that?

CC: If someone you knew was made out of chocolate would you eat them?

MZ: Are they solid chocolate or hollow like an Easter bunny? I’m just asking because too much chocolate makes me break out.

CC: If there is an election between Emperor Kang vs. Emperor Kodos who would you vote for?

MZ: I’m not familiar with either of those candidates, but I definitely don’t believe in voting for Emperor.

CC: Who would win in a fight — Sawyer from Lost or Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead?

MZ: Once again, not familiar with those two characters, but Daryl Dixon kicked some ass in The Boondock Saints so I’m going to go with him.

CC: Same question — the original Ricardo Montalbán, Wrath of Khan vs. Benedict Cumberbatch in the Star Trek reboot?

MZ: Ricardo Montalbán.

Ricardo-Montalban-Khan-Star-Trek-2

CC: OK. True or False? There is only one Batman, Adam West.

MZ: True.

CC: OK. Bigfoot has been discovered and he’s booked on your talk show. But everything he says is outdated — racist, sexist, homophobic — but he’s Bigfoot. How would you handle this situation?

MZ: I would expect that from Bigfoot.  He’s a 70’s celebrity.  I would let him smoke and drink Chivas on my program and ask him about his time in Alaska.

CC: What superhero would like to portray?

MZ: I would very much like to portray Harry Greb, The Pittsburgh Windmill.

CC: Final question. You can refuse to answer for noble reasons. God gives you permission to kill one person.

MZ: I never let my enemies know when I’m coming for them.

Yahtzee,

Mather Zickel

Yes Mather, you won this round of Speculative Yahtzee. But you may not be so lucky next time. When I see Hail Caesar… Bwa ha haaa!

 

Craig Caudill is a Contributor to ComiConverse.  Follow him on Twitter: @craigcaudill

Posted in ALIEN ABDUCTION, DREAMS, FANTASY, FILM, HORROR, MOVIES, NEWS, speculative fiction, TV

Rhys Darby on X Files

Rhys Darby on X Files

 

 

If anyone knows me I am a big Rhys Darby Fan and to my delight I just saw him on the latest X files Episode. Which was hilarious. Rarely does the show go into the comedic realm  but have done so quite a few times and has worked. TV in the 90’s I thought sucked and was the only show worth watching of course I was a heavy book reader reading 3 novels a week. I hated TV then and I never thought it would improve. The X files was The Fox Network Answer to ABC’s Twin Peaks which  was a on an episodes in Drag

So far I’m enjoying this miniseries and I hope they continue with more shows in the future.

But back to Rhys Darby who made the Flight of the Conchords hilarious. I think he is one favorite comedians of all time. His characters are just relaxed effortless fun. Recently Jemaine Stewart and Rhys teamed up for What We do in the Shadows. Horror Doc Spoof about real vampires and Rhys Darby as the rival leader of a Werewolf Gang…. That were Track Suits so they don’t ruin their denims.

I can never get enough of his humor if I was a comedian I’d want to be as subtle as he is. But knowing me I’d probably go over the top like a second hand Will Farrell. I’d also like to point out that Rhys will notably wearing an outfit very similar to Darren McGavin from the night stalker days. He wore the same jacket a blue striped jacket and the same hat. I don’t want to ruin the whole episode. I assume that maybe this will lots a mixed views. At first I wasn’t enjoying it because it seemed too tongue in check.gillian-anderson-27

Things to consider Gilian Anderson is still a Goddess and it still hurts to look at her after all these years. She is like fine bottle of wine and I feel drunk just looking at the bottle.

I  would like to say last was a shitty year for entertainment I don’t remember much except for Guardians of the Galaxy and that’s it. AHS was cool and Saul was a blast but last yeast was a blur and I hated it.

I just want to know when is cool stuff going to happen if at all? I haven’t been writing about anything because I have been distracted and not inspired. And on top of that I some really cool people have passed on. Man… I am pissed.