Saturday, September 29, 2018

AHS Apocalypse is a #TOA

In the first 20 minutes of American Horror Story: Apocalypse armageddon descends upon Los Angeles via missile strikes. Its pandemonium, the pace is of brisk, the terror is palpable as we witness our worst nightmare. It’s absolutely terrifying and there's no mistaking the mushroom cloud is happening.

The show quickly pivots and next we are deep underground in a spacious, well-appointed bunker created by a shadowy organization. The political and social commentary nods like the purple theme (red Republicans mixed with blue Democrats?), and survival of the fittest richest evoke modern struggles. “The stew is Stu” is one of the best line of the series. Joan Collins is campy. The grown up boy demon is mysterious. And there’s mutants and robots–ROBOTS!!!

Unfortunately most of this is by way of an absurd Hunger Games homage, where we’re expected to believe the world goes to hell yet somehow skilled seamstresses, costumers, and hairdressers survived to provide survivors with ornate clothing, theatrical makeup, and silly hair because people have a lot of time on their hands. Yet no one thought to fill the place with food? Really? There's also candles everywhere (no power after the apocalypse) filling the sealed cabin with copious amounts of carbon monoxide so there has to be an overworked central ventilation system that cleans and recirculates the air that is powered by... hamsters? Perhaps I'm getting too mired in details but we're not asked to suspend our disbelief – we’re asked to obliterate it. Horror depends of creating a plausible environment and then adding super elements that upset the balance.

Perhaps this place isn't a "real" place? A purgatory between worlds for these few people? The witches of Coven, who should all be dead, were finally introduced and most if not all of the characters we've seen are also now dead, so perhaps the show will pivot into something more watchable. As it stands, I’m prepared to label this silliest of seasons (and yet another squandered concept) as a #TOA (turd on arrival).

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Home Depot Wins Halloween...AGAIN

We're into the prime retail Halloween season, and while many Spirit Halloween stores are still struggling to open, the Home Depot(.com) has won Halloween... AGAIN. Whoever is working in their product development is clearly a genius who understand home haunters and Halloween fans love the orange branded home improvement center. Take a look at this years online offerings and keep your eyes open for their holiday weekend free shipping deals since most of the good stuff is online only (although they will ship it to a nearby store for free). Also, if you carry a Home Depot credit card that purchase of $299 or more can be financed for 6-months of no interest (sort of makes that $350 dragon more reasonable at $58 a month).

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Nun Does Not Keep Its Vow

The latest movie in The Conjuring universe is unfortunately a squandered effort that should have been scarier and darker given the talent behind it: from the writer of Annabelle: Creation and IT (2017), from a story by James Wan (director of The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2), and from the director of The Hallow (2015). The production values are fantastic with amazing sets, atmospheric lighting, a great cast, and some really unsettling scares. So what the hell happened?

For starters, the tone wavered from scene to scene, at times old-school horror, then punny humor, then action adventure. The two leads Father Burke (Demián Bichir) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) work well together but someone had a great idea to throw in a quasi-romantic hunk (?) for Sister Irene (??) who seems to be a different movie altogether (think Brendan Fraser in The Mummy). The rollicking tone sucks the tension and fear from just about every moment he's in. The film steadily loses coherence as it trudges along. There seems to be no rules as to what the demonic nun can or can’t do. She wanders freely among crucifixes, may have minions, can possess bodies and make them zombies, and can break any law of physics. There’s just no discernible logic. It seems the creative team came up with a bunch of individual great looking scenes first, and then strung them together into a story. And don’t get me started on that ending that seriously cheats the audience.

Nonetheless, it's still somewhat entertaining if you let go of all expectations (it’s going to be soooo scary because that nun is soooo scary), and accept this is not as good as the other films. Since this is part of horror franchise that is very closely tied, the comparison is inevitable and the results are judged quite harshly. One woman behind me in the theater literally yelled, “That was so disappointing!” Yes it was.