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31 Days of Dawn of the Dead (1978) #31



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Happy Halloween!



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31 Days of Dawn of the Dead (1978) #30



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Direct Beam Comms #47



TV

The Living and the Dead – Grade: B-

BBC America recently ran the six-episode BBC horror mini-series The Living and the Dead one evening back-to-back all-night binge-style. The series is available to stream on the BBC America website and I would assume will air again there at some point in the future.

tv-the-living-and-the-deadThe Living and the Dead is set in late 19th century England where Dr. Nathan Appleby (Colin Morgan) and wife Charlotte (Charlotte Spencer) have moved from the city to the countryside when they inherit Nathan’s family estate after his mother died. Nathan is a psychologist which is brand new for the time and Charlotte a photographer and hope that the move to the country will be a change to a simpler way of life. But what they’re not expecting is that something’s amiss at the estate when young Harriet (Tallulah Haddon) begins acting weirdly and speaking in voices with her being able to control people’s thoughts as well. When Harriet puts a farmhand under a spell that leads to the man’s death Nathan steps up and wants to try and help the girl before she’s thrown into the asylum forever.

I thought The Living and the Dead had an interesting concept, but I’m not quite sold on the show just yet. At times I thought the episode dragged just a bit with lots of shots of farmhands harvesting a field and Nathan and Charlotte gazing longingly into the distance. And the story of the episode, poor Harriet seemingly possessed, has been done many times before and is the current horror movie du jour too doesn’t help.

So when Nathan’s, let’s call it, Harriet “case” is solved by the first episode I was relived. I couldn’t see myself sticking around until the end of the season to watch Nathan battle Harriet doing creepy voices and killing people in mysterious ways. It seems like moving forward the main theme of The Living and the Dead will be of Nathan investigating the weirdness of the estate with each episode focusing on some weird specific thing.

In many ways The Living and the Dead is a cross between Sherlock (young/hip investigator here of the paranormal) with Downton Abby (gee, wasn’t the past before we had indoor plumbing and vaccinations wonderful?). Which is interesting in a purely British way.

That being said the episode did anything but “fly” by and the last half hour felt every bit like a half hour. There are some clues planted in the episode that there’s something even weirder happening at the estate than might be let on from the first episode. So I thing I’ll probably finish out The Living and the Dead, even if it sits on my DVR a few weeks/months before I do so.

Halloween

brandon-lee-the-crowIs The Crow (1994) the perfect underrated and forgotten Halloween movie? I think so.


I think there should be a law that requires all TV channels to air a certain amount of horror related programming each October for Halloween. I’d say that 30% of everything shown that month should be required to be horror related. Is anyone with me?


I always feel a strong sense of melancholy at the end of October. I think part of that is that by the end of October it’s hard for me to keep denying that fall’s here and summer’s over since it’s dark out where I live by seven which in a few weeks will be six, the leaves are starting to drop and the nights are getting colder. But I think a large part of that melancholy is because October marks the end of the Halloween season which means the end of lots of good movies on TV.

I don’t know what it is but the TV channels almost never air any classic horror movies throughout the year. Or, if they do it’s late at night and maybe once or twice a month. But during Halloween those same channels have no problems letting their horror flags fly and will air a bevy of new and old scary flicks throughout the month. There’s usually so much of an embarrassment of riches that at times I’ll feel like I’m not watching enough of them if I chose to watch something else.

But come November 1 all that ends. That’s when the horror movie marathons end and the channels start turning their gaze towards Christmas movies and programs.

I know, I know. With things like Netflix and Amazon Prime and all of the other streaming options out there it’s not like horror movie express ever has to end. With the click of a button I could be watching any number of scary films instantly. And while we can argue about the quality of the films available to stream, to me there’s still something special about a whole month full of horror films all airing at once and knowing that other people too are all caught up in the season of Halloween too.

The other thing is that really Halloween is the only thing I’m really interested in that has an entire month devoted to it. There’s no single month devoted to sci-fi, superheroes or action flicks, that’s solely reserved for October and horror films.

I think a big part of it is that in my neck of the woods is that after Halloween and then Thanksgiving, we move into the time of bad weather and days that are basically done by the time you get home from work. So maybe that’s it — maybe it isn’t that October and Halloween are done, it’s that once those things are over with it means that we’re moving into a new part of the year. And while moving onto just about any other part of the year is nice — Yay! Winter’s over and it’s spring… Horray! It’s summertime! … Fall is here and with it cooler temperatures! — Moving onto winter, to me at least, is dreadful.

So when Halloween’s over it means that by extension what I consider the good part of the year’s over and we’re onto the slow, cold dark time that is winter. And that’s what I’m dreading and not the end of October/Halloween?

Nah, I’m going to go with me missing watching things like Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolfman on TV. 😉


One thing I have noticed of late is that with all the horror movie remakes created over the last few years means that there’s less opportunities for the original movies to be shown on TV. I see things like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead remakes on TV all the time, but I honestly can’t tell you the last time, or perhaps ever, that I saw the original movies air.

Books

The Signature Art of Brian Stelfreeze

may161221Out November 1 is The Signature Art of Brian Stelfreeze which collects illustrations from the illustrator’s long career. I’ve been an admirer of Stelfreeze’s work for many years now especially his painted covers for various comics and now Stelfreeze is gaining a wider reckognition as the artist on the new The Black Panther comic as well.

From Boom Studios:

Brian Stelfreeze Artist: Brian Stelfreeze Cover Artist: Brian Stelfreeze ’ The definitive art collection of the quintessential artist’s artist, perfect for fans of the craft. ’ Explore the career of comics legend Brian Stelfreeze in exquisite detail. ’ An unprecedented look at never-before-seen sketches, process sections, fan-favorite classic pieces, sequential pages, covers across Brian’s career, and commentary from his collaborators, including Scott Peterson, Doug Wagner, and Cully Hamner.

The Reading List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1949: Armin Shimerman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Quark of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is born
  • 1954: Godzilla opens in Japan
  • 2009: The TV series V premiers



31 Days of Dawn of the Dead (1978) #29



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