Monday, July 8, 2019

The Horror of Food: Figs & Wasps

Fresh figs are just about in season and it's time to delve into the pulpy, sweet fruit high in vitamin A, C, potassium and fiber. Here's some great recipes from TheSpruceEats.com.

Unfortunately, this delightfully exotic fruit was forever ruined by a post on Apple News. I cannot unlearn the following info, so if you are a fan of figs, you might want to skip this post.

First, there are male figs that are inedible and female figs that we eat. Second, a fig wasp that's no bigger than a gnat enters the base of the male fig to lay her eggs and DIES. Males hatch, breed with the females, chew tunnels out of the fig and DIE. But female wasps use those tunnels to emerge and start the process all over again. If the fig she enters is a female fig, the wasp DIES, and is absorbed by the fig eventually resulting in a juicy, plump fig. Coincidentally, for this reason, many vegans and vegetarians refuse to eat figs.

The following video from BrainStuff gives you the full explanation:


YouTube Link

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Quick Takes: Knife+Heart, Nightmare Cinema, Man Who Killed Hitler...


Knife+Heart is expressionist film at its dandiest, indulging in titillating & giallo color-saturated imagery. Vanessa Paradis is stunning as an obsessed porn producer in the 70s being stalked why a leather-faced baddie. Its roots are firmly embedded in the horror of gay trauma.







Nightmare Cinema gives the horror anthology a fresh take with segments that take on slashers, body horror, possession & in the most impressive turn, mental health anguish. The cast and the production are superb & shows #Shudder is really stepping up their game as producers.





The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then Bigfoot is a surprising & often touching drama, thanks to Sam Elliot, with a kooky & original premise. It stumbles with tonal/genre shifts but exciting as a hybrid experiment. Ultimately it’s too syrupy for genre fans & too weird for drama fans.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Los Espookys is Offbeat, Genius & Hilarious

Los Espookys is the show that I didn’t know I needed and absolutely love. I’ve laughed to the point of having a white outs, and find it fascinating that these wacky characters are all too similar to weird people I know in real life. The situations they put themselves are surreal and I imagine humorless home haunters rolling their eyes at the implausibility of the effects they create, but that’s not the point.

A reluctant entrepreneur Reynaldo (Bernado Velasco), teams with his friends, the droll tech whiz Úrsula (Cassandra Ciangherrotti) and the orphan chocolate prince Andrés (Julio Torres) to use their horror proclivity for pay. Whether boosting the demon-fighting allure of a parish priest being replaced by a younger, handsome, and glossy-lipped priest, or an heiress who wants to ensure her family’s fortune doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, Los Espookys are called to set up scenes of terror to fool the superstitiously-inclined dummies while managing their escalating personal problems.

I’d like to call out Ana Fabrega who plays the quirky, soap-licking Tati who goes from an illustrious job of fan-spinning to possessed girl. She’s also one of the two writers of this show (along with Julio Torres). Those familiar with the irreverent At Home with Amy Sedaris will recognize her as Esther who lives with the lady in the woods. Fabrega has impeccable comic timing as well as a gift of highly expressive face acting. Face acting, of course, is the rare skill to communicate boatloads of character with zero spoken dialogue and one look. Just ask Norma Desmond.

Los Espookys is created in the kindred spirit of shows like 30 Rock (this show is also executive produced by Lorne Michaels) and Arrested Development where quick line deliveries, absurd situations, and extremely clever wit swirl into comedy gold. It’s mostly in Spanish, and yes, there are subtitles but don’t be afraid. I will admit that as a bilingual, the show seems somewhat funnier in Spanish. I'm not sure if its the colloquialism or sensibility of Latin America, but the jokes land harder in my native Mexican tongue. Of course most of the humor is universal, like Andrés' vapid Instagram boy toy Juan Carlos, a hypnotized news anchor who seeks the truth because the public demands it, or the telenovela-like mysterious dame dressed in red and running around a mansion looking perplexed. Guest stars like Fred Armisen as Tico, and Carol Kane add to the crossover appeal.

With only six 30-minute episodes, this will be a very quick binge when it hopefully makes its way out of HBO and onto other streaming platforms, which I hope it does for the sake of a second season. Los Espookys is a tough sell of horror, comedy and Spanish that may limit its broader appeal stateside but I admire HBO’s commitment to diversity. Putting Mexicans at the forefront of the show, setting the show in Mexico, and having the actors actually speak Spanish (because that's what it should be) is exactly the kind of representation needed on American TV.