In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Horror On The Tube: Fall '08

When NBC’s ill-fated anthology show Fear Itself died a quiet death in July, the airwaves became a little less bloody. Fortunately, as summer came to a close, genre television made a comeback in a big way. Here’s what’s been keeping me in front of the idiot box lately.

Everyone’s favourite serial killer Dexter is back for a third season of vigilante justice. Six episodes in, I’m likin’ it. The storyline is definitely moving faster in the top half than it did in previous seasons. The direction the show is going with the inclusion of Jimmy Smits’ character is an intriguing one. I’m not really crazy about the relationship side of things and where that’s headed, but that’s a minor gripe. Word came out a few weeks ago that Showtime has ordered two more seasons, so it looks like Dexter Morgan isn’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

True Blood, the new vampire show from Alan Ball (creator of Six Feet Under), started up this September on HBO. Much like SFU, it is quietly gathering followers in its inaugural season. True Blood didn’t grab me at first, but has grown on me quite a bit over the following seven episodes. I liken my initial reaction to that of Dexter in 2006. I liked the main character (played by Anna Paquin in True Blood’s case) but thought everyone around him/her were just thinly veiled caricatures. Then, as time went on and the characters were fleshed out, I warmed to them. Over the first few episodes of True Blood, it became apparent that they were setting up their own ‘Buffyverse’, which is an exciting notion indeed. In this reality, vampires are real, which means all things that go bump in the night could also be real and waiting to be revealed in future episodes. I’m not crazy enough to say that True Blood is as good as Buffy, but I will say that it is a serviceable replacement for the void left by Joss Whedon in 2004. The whole vampires ‘coming out of the coffin’ and integrating into society thing is rife with all sorts of racial subtext to explore. I find the format – where every episode starts where the last one left off with no recap – refreshing, as well. You know, even if I didn’t like True Blood, I’d still have to stick around just to find out what the deal is with that freakin’ dog!

The five part miniseries Dead Set just bloodied up televisions in the UK. This zombie yarn further reinforces how much better British TV is than ours. Not only do the Brits cast more ordinary looking people, thus adding an extra sense of realism, they also aren’t bogged down by puritanical censors. Dead Set is best described as Big Brother Meets 28 Days Later. In fact, it has so much in common with the latter – with its sprinting undead and gritty camera – that I was SHOCKED to find that Danny Boyle and Alex Garland weren’t involved somehow. So, it comes as no shock that I enjoyed the hell out of this. This shit is my bread and butter and I loved every minute of it. The only question that remains is whether it will be imported or remade for North American consumption as it is certainly good enough to grab an audience over here.

Lastly, there’s a little program that came out of nowhere and quickly ensnared me called Scream Queens. Reality television is a heartless beast that has been with us in the mainstream for almost ten years now. I was an avid watcher for ages, but did eventually manage to break free of its empty embrace. Then, a few weeks ago, VH1 hit me with a low blow and (ahem, insert Pacino voice here) PULLED ME BACK IN! Ten actresses vying for a major role in Saw VI compete in several horror themed challenges judged by Saw stalwart Shawnee Smith, acting coach John Homa and writer/director James Gunn. This show is just so entertaining, that my initial feelings of guilt fell by the wayside very early on. I can’t describe it to you; you just have to see it for yourself. I’m in awe of how something so bad, can be soooo good. You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe; you’ll wonder how they got these girls to do some of this stuff. Yet you won’t be able to stop watching. I certainly couldn’t. That is the plague of reality television, isn’t it?

I can’t wait for the next episode.

1 comment:

Melissa Helwig said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one who likes Scream Queens.