Good News: IFC Midnight Acquires Gritty Revenge-Horror Movie ‘Reversal’

Good news! IFC Midnight has picked up the brutal revenge thriller from director José Manuel Cravioto‘s “Reversal” after it screened at Sundance. We’ve read reviews that really hated it (Variety did not have even the hint of one positive thing to say about it) and others that enjoyed the ride (such as Big Shiny Robot, who said while the movie did have its flaws but called it “a hell of a ride) and many others recommended it to horror fans (well, those who can handle some pretty intense horror). Here’s a link to Film Threat’s positive review, for instance.

The movies starts out where plenty of similar movies often end: a woman in chains in the basement of a man who has kidnapped, tortured, and done God knows what else to her suddenly surprising her captor by vigorously beating the living shit out of him with a brick and coming out on top. However, she’s not going to kill him off completely, and she’s not calling 911. Instead of hastily taking off and getting as far away from him as she can, she is enraged enough to turn the tables on him and force him (using violence when she needs to) to give up the location of the other victims he has locked up. So yeah, we’re in.

Good to know the wait won’t be too long to see it. If only IFC Midnight had picked up the rights to Green Inferno…

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Variety Calls Spanish Horror-Thriller ‘Shrew’s Nest’ Effective, Disturbing – Watch The Bloody Trailer

Click “view original” in the lower left to read Dennis Harvey’s entire review.  You can check out the rather bloody, very intense trailer for Shrew’s Nest (original Spanish title: Musarañas) below…

Variety TV Review: ‘The Knick’ is “Bloodstained Drama…Grisly” – Read More Here

If you’ve seen the trailer for “The Knick”, then you probably noticed that plot has strong elements of horror. Medical ‘care’ in this period of history (1900) was pretty gruesome and often disturbing. Even though the review is mixed, we plan to check it out! Hit “View original” in the lower left-hand corner to read Variety’s entire review.

Spooky-Ass Imaginary Friends: When You Were A Kid, Did YOU Know Any This Damn Scary?

 

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Dread Central ran a great piece back in January 2014.  KW Low (DC Staff Contributor) found a collection of very creepy anecdotes on Reddit. We personally don’t spend that much time on Reddit, but we’re thinking on the basis of this Dread Central piece that maybe we should look into that, because there’s some great material to mine and pass on to readers (giving credit where credit is due, of course).

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So apparently, someone–a new parent– posted a question or topic on Reddit asking if other parents had ever had any experiences with their children having creepy imaginary friends. Whenever we hear this brought up, our mind goes straight back to the time we saw the scene from the original Amityville Horror on TV when we were way too young. You know, the one with …JODY?  Jody was supposed to be a pig of some sort (we think), but all we can recall–quite vividly, even decades later–is the scene where the mother (played by Margot Kidder) looks out the window after the kid mentions something about “Jody” being outside the window and there’s a HUGE music sting as you see a red, glowing pair of eyes before they dart away. In case you don’t recall…

Anyway, there were a ton of answers that varied from “a little spooky” to “pretty creepy” to “a nightmare that sound like something out of a fucking James Wan haunted house/demonic entity movie”. As you can see, we’ve included examples…

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Some are from readers who remembered things as kids,  in their own experience. This one was even written by a teacher as told from a parent:

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Some are childhood memories from the actual kids, grown up now (but still freaked out… understandably) :

Fuck!  I might end up in therapy if I experienced something like this as an ADULT.

Fuck! I might end up in therapy if I experienced something like this as an ADULT.

We didn’t have imaginary friends as kids (that we know of, and now both of us are scared to ask our parents because we don’t want to hear anything remotely like this that’ll no doubt keep us awake). Just reading some of these in the middle of the night will probably get your imagination going a little…

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Here’s the one (below) that James Wan might want to think about adapting…

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Do you want to read them all? The link to the original piece on Dread Central is below:

21 Creepy Things Kids Say About Their Imaginary Friends – Dread Central.

 

Christ!

Christ!

Have you had enough chills or do you want some more? If you do, you’re in luck! They ran a follow-up a few weeks later with even more creepy stories, and here’s the link to that one. Some of the latter ones are actually kind of touching, such as visits (nice ones) with dead relatives who loved them.

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If this particular “imaginary friend” shows up outside your kid’s window, pack some suitcases and head to a motel, then call a realtor in the morning about selling the place you just bought in Amityville.

 

Sources: DreadCentral.com, Reddit

Ten F*cked-Up Things That Happen On Deadwood (Warning: Explicit Content)


Seth Bullock: There’s a blood stain on your floor.

Al Swearengen: Yeah, I’m… I’m gonna get to that.

 

Here at Horror Boom, we’re all pretty sure I’ll never run dry on premium cable dramas when it comes to these lists.

Deadwood is being re-run on HBO right now every weeknight at 8:00 PM PST. However, the show is halfway through it’s three-episode series run, so I really urge you to watch it from start to finish (Comcast now offers the entire series —with any HBO subscription— should you feel like a serious binge). This is preferable to watching on HBO GO, since you get to see it on your TV, not a device.

I’m going to try to warn you of spoilers, though I’ve tried to avoid them and not used names of characters. This is because I cannot praise, rave over, and recommend Deadwood enough. The writing, the acting, the characters, and the production values (not only did they more or less build the town for exteriors, but any scene taking place during dusk or after dark is lit by some kind of fire; usually torch, candle, or lamplight, and takes on a gorgeous, buttery, warm color palette that makes watching on HD (preferably a large set) a must.  Every single character looks like they just stepped out of a time machine from 1876. Ditto every single prop. Perfect, beautiful (other than the fucked-up things listed below, those ain’t pretty) period detail graces the series. The production design crew takes the same pains to make sure everything is authentic and true to the late 1800s time period as Mad Men does with the 1960s.

Unfortunately, after three seasons, HBO cancelled the show in 2006. Warning: Rant about Deadwood’s cancellation coming up. Even though it was critically acclaimed and had a ton of die-hard fans (including both of us at Horror Boom), the greedy cocksuckers money men at HBO yanked the series with no warning given to, say, you know, the writers or actors after season three had wrapped. It was handled in a really shitty way,  according to nearly all the creative talent, cast, and crew. One actor got pretty vocal—I think justifiably— about the fact that they stumbled upon the news that the show was ending when they went to visit the set after hearing some vague rumors, and saw it being dismantled. There WAS supposed to be two feature-length HBO movies to wrap up the show, then there was talk of a very abbreviated final season (say 4-6 episodes), but David Milch (the creator and showrunner) and HBO never were able to work this out between them (one of them refused to back down *cough*Milch*cough* and it backfired). We are pissed off to this day about it (most Deadwood fans are very loyal, and are also still pretty bitter about it. End of rant (before I get all worked up). If you’re interested, you can read more about the controversy here in a piece from 2006, here’s one with star Ian McShane (who portrayed unarguably everyone’s favorite character, Al Swearengen) from around the same time period, and here’s the Wikipedia entry. You can Google around if you want to know more; there’s plenty. Just who is mostly responsible varies according to whose account you read.

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The series takes place from 1876 to 1877 .This show will make you very, very glad you didn’t have to live back then (specifically 1876-1877).   Plenty of women (as well as the men) had drug habits or drank almost constantly just to get through every shitty day.  Life for all is very cheap; if you’ve read some of Larry McMurty’s Westerns, you’ll be very familiar with that fact.  Several characters on Deadwood shoot/stab someone or blow their own head off just to emphasize a point. The guy who attacks in the below video was just pissed off, and the other unlucky dude was just minding his own business, hanging out at the saloon for a drink, but in the wrong place at the wrong time:

 

Back then, if you got an infection, were in an accident, ate something that poisoned you, got cancer or anything there wasn’t a vaccine for?  You just died. There’s no hospital out there, or antibiotics. On Deadwood, they’re lucky enough to have a reliable—and very entertaining—town Doc (played to perfection by Brad Renfro—I see he shows up at horror conventions every once in a while; if I’m ever lucky enough to meet him, I’m going to be asking him about Deadwood, not Child’s Play).  He was a “sawbones” in the Civil War, and had to deal with ghastly, blood-curdling duties around the clock, so he drinks on his off-hours. He can dig out a bullet and sew you up (if you got hit in a non-vital area), wrap your ribs in plaster if someone kicks the shit out of you, give you stitches, check whores for social diseases, deal with a pregnancy that needs to be terminated if it had complications that would cause her to die in childbirth. Oh, and amputate. Other than that, you’re on your own.

Anyway, I repeat: can’t recommend the show enough, unless you are easily offended …especially by profanity. According to IMDB, The word “fuck” and its derivatives are used 2,980 times throughout the series. I see they didn’t do a “cocksucker” count, which I think may have been used just as much. Also, two characters–who run brothels, but still– use another word starting with “C” as a casual synonym for women in general.

So, what is a Deadwood list doing here? During the show’s first season, I recall reading a specific a Fangoria article about some new gory horror flick. The filmmaker said he wanted to use (makeup and prosthetic effects professional’s name that I cannot recall here) for practical effects for their horror movie, but there was a schedule conflict because they were doing make-up and gore FX for Deadwood at the time.* A Western period-piece drama mentioned in Fangoria? That’s a big-ass hint right there: no shortage of disturbing, fucked-up things that happen on this show.* Let’s kick it off with…

1. Two large, burly men have a showdown in the thoroughfare (AKA, main travelling road for the town, consisting mostly of a combination of mud and puddles, animal shit, plus several types of human waste that just get tossed out a window when there’s no indoor plumping yet; on good days there’s enough dry dirt to walk on) that turns into a fight to the death. This is all done with their bare hands, no knives or guns involved. It escalates quickly (think of the fight Bobby and Tony get into on the Sopranos episode “Sopranos Home Movies”, only uglier and longer) into complete brutality until one of the men, desperate because he’s being choked from above, reaches up and uses his fingers to pull one of the other man’s eyeballs out. No “tasteful” cutting away here; the eyeball is completely out of the socket and hanging out by its optic nerve as the victim screams like a woman at the top of his lungs. The actor who performed the eye-gouge admitted on the commentary that he still has to close his eyes during parts of it.

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2.  A black man starts to get hot-tarred when he happens to be handy when an angry, drunken mob (who are pissed off about something else the man has no involvement in, and just go for the first black guy they see) attacks. Fortunately, the sheriff intervenes after they’ve tarred only one shoulder, so he survives. Unfortunately, the only method back then for removal of boiling hot tar (which burns like a motherfucker just being applied in the first place) is to peel it off a strip at a time, and the skin underneath comes with it. Even very drunk for the removal, he’s in agony. Getting “tarred and feathered” may sound sort of whimsical until you think about it, because it often killed people back then. (I say ‘back then’ because people seemed to have stopped doing it to each other these days; at least I hope to God they stopped).

Al:  Now THAT’s how you scrub a fuckin’ bloodstain!

 

3. A man frequently talks to a severed, rotting head he keeps in a sturdy wooden box in his office (we never see it in the box, but it’s fucked-up, trust me).

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4.  We do see the head earlier in the series shortly after it’s cut off; a man on his horse rides into town, whooping it up, and swinging the severed head around by its long hair like the head is some kind of festive party favor (see featured image) .  Pretty sure that’s one of the things they needed the horror practical effects guy for. Oh, and the previous owner of the head just happened to be in the wrong place in the wrong time.

5. A character played by Powers Boothe (who has to be one of the top ten misogynistic characters in the history of TV, unless you count, say, the really horrible rapists/killers on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) says this:

Cy Tolliver: Don’t believe there’s no good women… ’till you’ve seen one with maggots in her eyes.

On the DVD commentary for that episode, both Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant stop their joking around when this line comes, and say, “That was completely uncalled for.”  Shit, I could easily make a list of TF-UT consisting of nothing but Cy Tolliver’s dialogue/actions.

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6. Dead bodies—usually those of someone murdered by a certain major character—get tossed to pigs belonging to Mr. Wu’s (a businessman in the Chinese district) pigs,** who then hungrily gobble them down until the remains are unrecognizable as humans.  Somehow the sound effects accompanying these scenes this are worse than the visual. In one scene, a man cuts another man’s throat, then calls in his muscle to take care of the mess. He’s done it so much by then that he simply says, “Wu,” to them and walks out of the room.

Al Swearengen: Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh.

7.  Speaking of murder, a man cuts the throats of two young higher-end prostitutes (and their madam). His arrest for murder isn’t even a remote option, because the awful piece of shit  in question works for one of the richest men in America . When the Madam senses something is wrong and asks him what he’s done, he answers casually, “Something very expensive,” and takes out his money.

Al Swearengen: Sometimes I wish we could just hit ’em over the head, rob ’em, and throw their bodies in the creek.
Cy Tolliver: But that would be wrong.

 

8. Two young kids (the girl played by a young Kristin Bell) who are undercover con artists come to town posing as brother and sister, claiming they’re looking for their Pa. The young girl takes a job in a brothel, gets a little too greedy and they both get busted. They try to run but only make it out the door before they are beaten so brutally (in public; the only person in the crowd that says anything complains for them to “take it inside”, probably because it’s bad for business) that their visages look horrifying, then later they are shot in the face.

Seth Bullock: Jack McCall!
Jack McCall: [With his back to Bullock] I’m done, I don’t wanna play no more.
Seth Bullock: [Speaking to others] Bein’ a loud-mouthed cunt I guess sometime since he’s been here this fella who “don’t wanna play no more” probably spoke of killin’ Wild Bill Hickok… well, we’re Bill Hickok’s friends. [Everyone scrambles out of the room]

9. A character suffers (and almost dies from) “gleets”, which we first thought were kidney stones, but a family member who happens to be a retired nurse told us what a “gleet” really is. Here’s the definition, but it’s even worse on the show; the gleets*** are thick enough to infect and block up his bladder so urination is impossible) The agony causes blood vessels to burst in his eyes. When the doctor comes to insert sharp thin metal tools into his urethra (hoping to remove them that way) he screams so loud and long that the entire camp can hear it …and he is arguably the toughest, and one of the most feared, characters on the show.  Another character remarks tearfully later that say he’s so blocked up, “there’s piss in his lungs”.

Steve: Fuck you, fuck the institution, and fuck the future!
Hugo: You cannot fuck the future, sir. The future fucks you.

10. This may be at the top of the fucked-up list; not just because it’s horrible, but because David Milch, who researched extensively and continuously for the show to make sure he got every detail right (he did—and by the way, historians have verified that they really did swear like that back then) says it actually happened. Chinese women who have been sold into slavery as prostitutes are not just treated like dogs, they are treated much worse than dogs. Most people feed their dogs, and don’t rape them. They probably have the most wretched existence of anyone on the show, and they’ve got some stiff competition as far as most miserable characters go.  They are brought in by the big business who want to take over/buy out a gold bonanza, to “entertain” the workers. Most prostitutes on the show who work in a brothel make between 5-7$ an …act. These women cost a dime (which I doubt they get to keep), are kept in wooden cages in the really bad part of town, starved, and given no medical care even when they’ll die without it (the town doctor, who is enraged by their treatment, goes to the owners with the offer to treat them for free and gets turned down). Often, when one of them dies, no-one bothers to take her corpse out of the cage with the other poor women until it draws flies (or a customer complains). Their bodies are disposed of by being unceremoniously tossed in a fire and burned along with the trash. Almost everyone but the most vile, racist, misogynistic characters in the town is disgusted by their treatment.  Hell, I’ve watched the series… well, so many times I’m actually embarrassed to say how many, but the scenes involving those poor women still infuriate me when they come up. On the bright side, Jerry Bryant, research curator and resident archaeologist at Deadwood’s Adams Museum, says there were no Chinese prostitutes kept in cages and treated like dirt, because the good folks back then wouldn’t have allowed it. Let’s hope he’s right.

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*Maybe I should check that show out, I recall thinking at the time.

**Fun Fact: Apparently there’s a band called “Mr. Wu’s Pigs” which I learned while doing a Google image search for this piece.

***and do not, I repeat DO NOT, do a Google image search for “gleet”. You’ve been warned. Many of the photos are severe cases in chickens and goats–who for some reason are prone to this, though they don’t have STDs (that I know of). Even those are revolting.

More trivia I might as well include, since this list is already on the verge of turning into a novella-length essay:

  • In the actual town of Deadwood, the murder of Wild Bill Hickok by the coward Jack McCall is re-enacted fourteen times a day in Saloon #10, the actual site of the event.  David Milch says this happens every day, but I think it’s just during the town’s annual “Deadwood Days”.  Click here for the official site for Historic Deadwood, South Dakota that includes tons of information on tourist attractions (and photos of the cast visiting the town).
  • The grueling fight scene mentioned in item #1  took three days of rehearsals to choreograph and practice. Actor W. Earl Brown suggested the ‘eyeball pop’.  A relative of the actor had gotten into a horrible fight, and… well, you’ll have to listen to the commentary, but it was based on a true incident.
  • There’s many mentions about the high number of actors who appeared on Deadwood later being cast members of Kurt Sutter’s biker crime drama Sons of Anarchy.  We’ve been patting ourselves on the back all these years for recognizing them, but turns out we didn’t know the half of it. Plus, it took one of us an entire season to recognize Ally Lowen, Robin Weigert’s Sons of Anarchy character, as the same actress who portrayed Deadwood’s hard-drinking, very butch “Calamity Jane”.  Here’s the complete list (official source: IMDB’s Deadwood trivia page):
Fourteen members of the cast of Deadwood (2004) also starred in Sons of Anarchy (2008). The list includes Tony Swift (Prospector/Biker), Tim De Zarn (Townsman/Nate Meineke), Kevin P. Kearns (Pasco/Luke), Dan Hildebrand (Shaughnessy/Tim Driscoll/Sean Casey) , Julie Ariola (Countess/Mary Winston ), Cleo King (Aunt Lou Marchbanks/Neeta), Dayton Callie (Charlie Utter/Chief Wayne Unser), Paula Malcomson (Trixie/Maureen Ashby), Robin Weigert (Calamity Jane/Ally Lowen), Titus Welliver (Silas Adams/Jimmy O’Phelan), Jamie McShane (Ned Mason/Cameron Hayes), Ray McKinnon (Reverend H.W. Smith/Lincoln Potter), Jim Cody Williams (Terrence/Uncle Vinky). Kim Dickens (Joanie Stubbs/Colette Jane).

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UPDATE: While we were poking around fact-checking, we also found out that there’s a new, quite recent retrospective documentary on Deadwood (10th anniversary) titled A Lie Agreed Upon: David Milch’s Deadwood. Here’s the link to watch it. Obviously, it’s packed with spoilers, so if you do plan to watch the show, watch the documentary afterwards.

Film Review: ‘Proxy’

This looks pretty horrifying. If you don’t think so, you haven’t seen the opening, which is BRUTAL and I advise you not to watch if you’re pregnant or you’re a loved one of someone who is. Then again, I read a series of posts on the IMDB boards for INSIDE that basically said this:

Guy #1: Hey, my wife is pregnant and about 6 months in, but we want to rent and see this movie together, would you recommend it in our case or is it too potentially upsetting?
Me: Hey, guy #1, when it comes to watching Inside when your wife is due to give birth in a couple months HOW ABOUT NO? I saw it when I was not pregnant (never been pregnant or plan to) and I was so scared that the last 5 minutes I actually started to cry, OK? And you’re talking to a very, very jaded horror fan who owns copies of some of the most fucked-up movies, from all over the world, ever made. You COULD watch it now, but I would not recommend it, in fact I literally cannot think of a worse movie to watch when you’re pregnant (and yes, I’ve seen the rare uncut version of “A Serbian Film”. That’s my advice.
Guy #2: yeah, I’d say it’s fine. Go ahead and watch it together. I saw it when my sister had just found out she was pregnant, and it didn’t bother me.
Me: No, seriously, unless you’re popping Xanax, which you can’t because you’re pregnant. Oh, and just to let you and your third-trimester pregnant wife know, even without the whole “woman attempting to cut out the heroine’s baby with a giant pair of shears” plot line, it’s one of the bloodiest, most gory movies I’ve ever seen. By the last half hour of the movie, everything/everyone that can be covered with blood, IS covered in blood. When I watched the “making of” extra, several times the main actress (in her 20s) had to take a break because she couldn’t stop crying when a scene was being set up. Just wait. Even the R-rated version is very brutal.
Guy #1: Yeah, I’m gonna rent it now, she says it won’t bother her.
Guy #2: Cool, dude. Hope you guys enjoy the movie!

So anyway, yeah, well be watching this when it comes out on VOD April 18th. I’ll post the link to the opening some point soon– if you must see it RIGHT NOW then Dread Central has the clip posted in HD (with a bunch of warnings prefacing it).

Racism, Sexism, and Hannibal: Eat The Rude

This interesting post by Hettienne Park (Beverly Katz on NBC’s Hannibal, whose character came to a tragic, fatal, and grisly end recently) is not only worth a read, it has also been re-blogged all over the net (well, with most people who enjoy Hannibal and have blogs, anyway) so I thought I’d just jump on the bandwagon and pass it on as well. Hettienne Park wrote the articulate, thoughtful piece on her personal blog to respond to the anger from fans that her character was killed off. These people were ANGRY at Bryan Fuller, accusing him of killing off her character because she was a female of color and therefore expendable. Read Ms. Park’s very well-written side here! The debates in the Comments section get pretty intense ..and also worth a read if you have the time (there are pages and pages).

Eat This

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I’m an American actress and I play Beverly Katz on NBC’s HANNIBAL created by Bryan Fuller. (Spoiler Alert coming right now!!!) And she dies in episode 4 of Season 2. That episode got a lot of positive reviews, but it also incited an on-line storm of vitriol directed to Fuller himself for killing off Katz, or more specifically, for being racist and sexist. I caught wind of this myself via Twitter from our beloved Fannibals. And I thought maybe it’d be productive to talk about rather than ignore it.

Fuller cast me in a role that I didn’t think I had a chance in hell of getting. I rarely if ever see minorities, women, minority women, let alone Asian women, get to play characters like Beverly Katz. I rarely if ever see characters like Beverly Katz period. And her last name is Katz for Christ’s sake. Pretty open-minded, non-racist, pro-feminine…

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Film Review: ‘Killers’

OK, we’re not sure whether this review is an endorsement to horror/gore fans (sounds like you damn well better be into both if you plan on seeing it) or a warning. When a review describes a J-horror slasher/action movie as “utterly depraved” and “profoundly sleazy,” that’s going to get it in our watch list. On the other hand, the VERY red band trailer on Dread Central (which you can watch here on their site, there’s no You Tube link) does look sort of torture porn-y (even very ‘cinematic and sophisticated’ torture porn, as Variety’s reviewer Rob Nelson tells us). Every female in the trailer is a victim; though men are the victims of burnings and throat-slashings, the female victim’s deaths shown are more lingering and focused, with a little bit of the what the hell is wrong with me, purposely sitting through this?‘ vibe of self-disgust that certain graphic Japanese horror movies can give you. On the other hand, when a review actually tells you (in a one-word sentence) “Beware”, and is talking about the horrifying content rather than the worthlessness of sitting through the film, we’re not going to rule it out. Since the Sundance premiere on February 1st (we’re willing to guess at least a few moviegoers were heading for the exits during the brutal opening scene), North American distribution has been picked up by Well Go USA.

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Ten–No, Fifteen Spooky Things We Learned From American Horror Story Coven Episode Four, “Fearful Pranks Ensue”

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Better late than never. The reveals and new characters have been coming so quickly, we picked a really bad season of American Horror Story to slip behind in our episode coverage! So, without further ado, let’s dive into the list, which we tried to pare down to ten but would have left out too much information, so the hell with it… fifteen it is.

Who doesn’t love a surprise?

 

1.  Well, so much for The Minotaur being “this season’s Bloody Face”* At the very least, the Minotaur–or Bastien, as Marie Laveau called him–is out of commission for a while. Fiona dispatched him in the greenhouse …off camera. Took care of him pretty goddamned fast, too; in the scene where she’s asking for Cordelia’s help with the badly injured Queenie, Fiona wasn’t any more rumpled than she’d been when she discovered Queenie. His head –still living– got delivered to Cornrow City in a cardboard box by Spalding (“Some freak dropped it off and didn’t say a word”). This did not have a beneficial effect on Marie Laveau‘s already-serious resentment towards Fiona.

2. Kyle’s not home. No Kyle. Zoe realized, sadly, that he’s just a collection of sewed-together frat guy parts, with Kyle’s head on top. With a heavy heart, Violet Zoe makes him a snack with rat poison in it… but in the time she took to put his last meal together, he vanished. On Halloween night, where he’s going to blend in.

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3. Fiona was able to somehow breathe life into Queenie when Cordelia told her that Queenie’s heart had stopped. If this is one of “The Seven Wonders” that a Supreme must demonstrate before it becomes official, Zoe and Misty are definitely in contention.

Me? I was a monster.

 

4. We saw in the heartbreaking cold open that Marie Laveau can summon and command the dead, if some serious revenge is called for. These aren’t your mainstream zombies that want to eat you and then you wake up wanted to eat people. They want to rip their master’s enemies apart limb from limb when summoned. They can also use tools, unlike mainstream standard zombies. This season, the cold opens just keep topping each other; the scene where Laveau gave those evil, racist assholes the fate they deserved was not only satisfying, but perfectly executed. I especially like the confederate soldier voodoo zombie with the bayonet – and the shot of Laveau in the featured image for this piece.

I must confess, I’ve always enjoyed our little talks together… particularly since you lost your tongue.

 

5. According to Cordelia, Madison couldn’t have been the next Supreme; one of the hallmarks of a rising Supreme is excellent health, and Madison had a heart murmur. If you didn’t catch Jessica Lange’s oh shit! facial expression the first time you watched, it’s priceless enough to re-watch for that alone.

6. Hank is not only a cheater, he’s a cold-blooded killer. In an extremely upfront way.

Yeah, their blood. I used it to paint my day room brick-red.

 

7. The Council is in town! The council is composed of Myrtle Snow (you remember her- she didn’t have much screen time, but definitely made an impression in the season premiere), Quentin (who Fiona greets, not unkindly, as a “vicious old queen”), and the plain, monotone Pembroke. Nan summoned them because she couldn’t hear Madison anymore and was afraid she was dead.

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8. The first rule of Witches Council is never talk about the Wi– whoop, sorry, wrong secretive group!  We find out that the Council on Witchcraft assembles “only under the gravest of circumstances”.

9. We learned another very important law of The Counsel: the penalty for inflicting grievous bodily harm on a fellow descendant of Salem is …death. By fire!

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10. Spalding’s batshit rituals (ar the start of act one. he was hosting an elaborate tea party in the attic, with just him and what looked like 100  at last china dolls dressed to the nines).** just seemed eccentric (and hilarious) at the start of the episode. It started being not even mildly amusing when they gave us the reveal that Spalding had NOT in fact buried Madison as Fiona instructed him to, but had added her body to his doll collection. Forget the fact that he’s wearing a baby bonnet; creepier yet was the fact that though he’d obviously dressed her up (with a strategically-placed, pretty scarf to hide her slashed throat), she was just wearing her bra and panties.

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11. Myrtle really, REALLY hates Fiona. Fiona’s not too fond of her either, but Myrtle has hated her for roughly 40 years – mainly because she figured out Fiona did something terrible to Anna Leigh (murder, specifically), back in 1971, followed shortly by Spalding being discovered with his tongue laying on the bathroom floor a couple of feet away from him as he lay yelling in horrible pain (and a spray of blood on the mirror …after Myrtle enchanted it to speak only the truth. Also, Fiona was a mean-spirited little bitch to Myrtle. Fiona also sort of took off (all over the world; I think the word Myrtle used was “jet-setting”) after being officially named the Supreme, and didn’t do any of the paperwork (three unsigned ‘Winter Petitions’) or participation in official witch duties and meetings that a Supreme is supposed to.  The last forty years she’s thought that Fiona didn’t deserve to be the Supreme, and now she want to get her convicted by the council and burned at the stake ASAP.

Tonight I’m gonna let the whole world in, get a good look at me.

 

12. We also learned via flashback (1971) that  Spalding voluntarily cut out his own tongue to protect Fiona. The night before he was to testify officially, he sent young Fiona note to meet him in some upstairs bathroom. He thanks he politely for coming, then told her, “These are my last words, Miss Fiona. I have always loved you.” Then he used a straight razor to slice his tongue out. Maybe Myrtle should have looked around at dinner earlier that night to make sure that Spalding wasn’t, oh, standing directly the fuck behind her before confiding to a friend that she put a spell on his tongue so he could speaking nothing but the truth.

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13. Unfortunately for Cordelia, she has a low alcohol tolerance (though more than three shots of Maker’s Mark and I’d start feeling like I might need to run to the nearest ladies room to puke, too).  She was enjoyed a nice Halloween night out for cocktails with Fiona, and they were even getting along fine. After she was done being violently sick she went to splash some water on her face, and got taken off guard by a hooded, robed figure in black who tossed sulphuric acid at her face… right in her eyes. She shrieks in horror and pain at the top of her lungs, as loud as… well, probably as loudly as any of us would if we were minding our own business in what we thought was a safe restroom and had blinding acid tossed directly in our eyes. Eeeeek.

14. In yet another stunningly-lensed flashback, we learn that after over a decade of bloodshed and heartbreak, Marie Laveau  (Angela Basset ROCKING a Pam Grier-style early 70s ‘fro) sat down across from Anna Leigh Leighton and an actual peace treaty was brokered between the Salem Witches and the Voodoo Witches in 170, 1971 at the latest. “They had their territory, we had ours,” says Chantal, Marie’s closest (human) friend. Neither side crossed into the others. “No more bloodshed at one another’s hands. The rest of the world was cruel enough.” (Hear hear).

Is your seatbelt fastened?

 

15. Chantal was telling Marie Laveau this because Laveau was going to do something that shattered the decades-long truce (apparently sending them the Minotaur’s/her former lover’s head in a box, probably no good to her without his corresponding body –which I assume the witches burned, dismembered, or otherwise destroyed–was the last straw). This plan involved elaborate chalk drawings on the floor,  baskets of extremely substantial snakes,* what looked like an old noose or series of knots, and the sacrifice of one unfortunate snake (we saw a blood-soaked rooster head in the next episode in a continuation of the same scene).  Yup, she’s summoning what looks to be at least twenty her zombie slaves to attack her enemies again. This time they include the fat racist from the prologue, a decayed bride, and in my favorite reveal of the night–actually, maybe the most frightening sight so far of the season– Delphine LaLaurie’s three (un)dead daughters. Marie opens the door to what she assumes to be trick-or-treaters and is greeted by the sight of their swaying, absolutely ghastly corpses standing on her doorstep.

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Stray thoughts:

  • The Academy sure had a lot more students back in 1971.
  • If you were in charge of handling the trick-or-treaters on Halloween night… well, I don’t know about you, but I’d damn sure check the peephole after an ominous, measured pounding on the door like that.
  • The last official witch-burning decreed by The Council was in 1926.
  • The final shot of the episode where the camera tracked back and back to reveal the veritable army of Laveau’s shambling zombie slaves just took my breath away, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect Halloween cliff-hanger.
  • Ryan Murphy has very recently teased that the season finale will include the “Test of the Seven Wonders” that a Supreme must demonstrate to the Council in order to officially be declared. In this episode, we heard during a dinner conversation that two of the seven wonders were pyrokinesis and transmutation (Fiona “aced” them both).  You’re probably already well aware the first is the ability to start fires with your mind; the second is defined by Google as “the action of changing or the state of being changed into another form”. That sounds like it’s going to be quite interesting to see…Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 3.07.47 AM

*In several interviews to promote the season, Ryan Murphy said that Season 3 would feature two “Big Bads” – The Minotaur and The Axeman. The jury’s still out on The Axeman – we do have a theory that connects The Axeman to something shocking Fiona did, but that’s for later.

**There was something about that first scene that just made me giggle; maybe the matter-of-fact way Denis O’Hare played it, like it was a completely normal way to relax after he was off duty and in his quarters. Put on antique, quaint record of innocent little music? Check. Pour tea carefully for dolls at table? Check.  Get out fancy lace napkin and prepare to–hey, is that someone arguing downstairs? Guess I should get dressed and go see what’s up.

***Wonder who in the cast has a phobia of snakes (if anyone)? For Angela Bassett’s sake, I sure hope she’s not scared of them (since she seems to have all the snake-handling scenes). If she is scared of them (say, the way I’m scared of spiders; unless the job paid well enough for me to retire very comfortably on, and involved a large supply of Xanax, I’m not even sure I could pick them up, let alone let them crawl on any part of me) then my respect for her acting ability just hit a new high, because she remains regal and composed in all her scenes with live snakes.

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‘American Horror Story’: Ryan Murphy talks Stevie Nicks’ guest spot and the latest ‘Coven’ — EXCLUSIVE

No Kathy Bates this week? Oh well, Misty Day (and Madison) were pretty entertaining… and there were some great reveals. More coming soon!