30 October 2014

October 30th

The Walking Dead 4.14: "The Grove" (2014) directed by Michael Edison Satrazemis
An incredible episode and one of the show's best ever. Having discovered a seemingly idyllic cottage complete with hand-pumped well and plentiful pecan trees, Carol, Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika, and baby Judith consider staying there permanently. Lizzie's young mind, however, has been broken by the zombie apocalypse and she insists on considering the undead as just different kinds of people. She so wants to convince Carol of this that she stabs her little sister Mika to death in order to show that zombie Mika is just the same.

I was surprised the show went this dark. This is as dark as the comic series gets. Carol is forced to decide what to do with the little girl. She can no longer trust her around Judith. That means they can't possibly travel with her. They can't even sleep without worrying she'll do something. Life's already hard enough with the constant threat of zombies and human bad guys without having to worry about an insane child who may slaughter a baby. In the real world, we'd send the girl off to a care facility and visit her on the weekends. In zombieland, Carol is forced to a devastating conclusion. Excellent performances all around convey the hard reality the characters live in.

The Walking Dead 4.15: "Us" (2014) directed by Greg Nicotero
A bit of prep episode before the final episode. Glenn and Tara have a Stand-esque scary experience in a dark tunnel while Daryl learns how brutal his new companions are. I do kind of like Eugene's zombie dinosaur idea, though.

The Walking Dead 4.16: "A" (2014) directed by Michelle MacLaren
Wow, the last half of season 4 has been the absolute best this show has ever been. The lazy writing has been slowly replaced by tension, high emotion, and a tight focus on the theme of what the apocalypse is doing to children and their parents. This episode contains one of my favorite scenes from the comic series, when Rick and Carl (and Michonne and Daryl in the show version) are ambushed by nasty people on the side of the road. They plan to rape Carl and kill them all. Driven into a complete frenzy of parental protection, Rick viciously tears out the leader's throat with his teeth to save his son. It's gory and brutal and exactly what I would do to protect my own girls. That it also makes Rick, at that point, only little bit different from the walkers is both intentional and, I think, brilliant.

I wasn't sure if Terminus was going to end up being the community the comic characters currently live in or something more sinister. Seeing Denise Crosby frying meat at the entrance to the city in the previous episode seemed too Texas Chainsaw to be a coincidence and the piles of bones in this episode confirms these are the cannibals. They've got quite a nice setup here compared to their suburban comic versions. I didn't think I'd feel this way, but I can't wait to watch season 5 next year to see how Rick's group tears these folks near assholes.

The Fog (1979) directed by John Carpenter
Unexpectedly, the wife suggested this one as something to watch. She usually wants movies with more action in them, like 28 Days Later... or The Thing. So, I popped it in and she slowly grew more and more confused. "Is this the old version?" she asked. I wouldn't touch the remake with a 10-foot pole, so yep. "This is different that the newer one," she said. Where had she even seen the remake? I don't even own it. It took a little while, but I finally realized she had really wanted to watch The Mist and got things all mixed up. "Does this tie into The Mist?" she asked. Nope, nothing to do with that other movie in the least.

Despite not being The Mist, I was surprised when she liked the film. It doesn't have the precisely timed roller coaster scares of Halloween, or the pervasive paranoia of The Thing, or Kurt Russell's one-liners in Big Trouble or Escape from New York. It just has atmosphere. Literally and figuratively all at once. I can understand why some dislike the film. It's pure mood with a few faceless ghosts thrown doing a few slasher-kills thrown in. But when you're a little sleepy, bundled up in a blanket on cool night, it's just fine.

1 comment:

  1. "The Fog" is one of those films that I like more and more whenever I watch. When I first saw it, years ago, I considered it to be a lesser Carpenter. Now, I probably put it in the director's top five. It makes for perfect October material too. Just the right kind of spooky, like the fireplace ghost story it was designed to be.