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.

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Horror Boom Christmas Countdown For the Holidays – Watch The Tales From The Crypt Episode “And All Through The House,” Boils and Ghouls!

Naughty… or NICE?

Happy Holidays!

HORROR BOOM

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I brought up the ominously titled “And All Through The House…” when I wrote about American Horror Story Asylum’s Christmas Episode, A Very American Horror Story Christmas (OK, that joke has now played out) “Unholy Night”. The scene in the cold open where a little girl finds murderous Ian McShane in their living room six days before Christmas wearing a Santa suit, but isn’t scared of him because she thinks he’s Santa, definitely brought this comic AND this episode in mind.  It’s 22 minutes long (kind of short for a cable drama) and well worth your time… especially the ending, which still creeps me out (a perfect reveal). The TFTC episode is also much closer to the original comic than the version starring Joan Collins that was in the 1970s anthology movie. Check it out below…

Property Of HBO© For entertainment purposes only.   Any problems getting it to…

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Horror Boom Christmas Countdown For the Holidays – Watch The Tales From The Crypt Episode “And All Through The House,” Boils and Ghouls!

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I brought up the ominously titled “And All Through The House…” when I wrote about American Horror Story Asylum’s Christmas Episode, A Very American Horror Story Christmas (OK, that joke has now played out) “Unholy Night”. The scene in the cold open where a little girl finds murderous Ian McShane in their living room six days before Christmas wearing a Santa suit, but isn’t scared of him because she thinks he’s Santa, definitely brought this comic AND this episode in mind.  It’s 22 minutes long (kind of short for a cable drama) and well worth your time… especially the ending, which still creeps me out (a perfect reveal). The TFTC episode is also much closer to the original comic than the version starring Joan Collins that was in the 1970s anthology movie. Check it out below…

Property Of HBO© For entertainment purposes only.   Any problems getting it to play, let us know and we’ll put in the 3-part version. More holiday-themed horror fun to come. Also, more on the comic version to come! You see, THIS Santa loves to SLAY BELLES!

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The “featured image’ in the header is  the first page of the comic; so is the artwork below. Johnny Craig preferred the slightly more subtle stories and left the really blood-curdling stuff to “Ghastly” Graham Ingels (whose horrifying depictions sometimes even caused me trouble falling asleep as an adult) or to our personal favorite, Jack Davis (who moved on to the next EC venture, MAD Magazine.)

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Now THAT’S how you kick off a story!

Son Of Bloody Face! Dylan McDermott Talks About His Return To American Horror Story Asylum And The Episodes To Come!

Uh… WOW. That was one insane episode (but wait till you read Ryan Murphy‘s ‘post-mortem’ for ‘The Coat Hanger’ where he talks about what’s coming up). That’s it for Jenna Dewan-Tatum’s role, we guess! Oh well. McDermott comes off as genuinely grateful for the opportunity to work with Ryan Murphy and play this nasty role. He (so far) for some reason seems more attractive than he did playing Ben Harmon. Let’s see, crying and jerking off at the same time VS. telling a therapist how he skinned a cat… don’t think I’m going to pursue that line of thought any further.

“He explained to me what my character was going to be and I was like, ‘Are you fucking kidding me? I love this! I love this! It’s beyond!’ ”

-McDermott on his American Horror Story Asylum character

 

 

Enjoy this article –the guy really comes off as likeable (McDermott comes off as likeable, I mean, not his character). Plus we cannot WAIT to see the little ‘call-backs’ he mentions to his role as a psychiatrist in Season One. More coming soon!

 

New American Horror Story Asylum Official Featurette – Makeup/Gore Effects for Face-Chewed-Off Scene in “Unholy Night’ – Watch Behind The Scenes Here!

“Unholy Night” was pretty much gold from start to finish, but I especially loved this scene (a flashback from 1963 that shows how Leigh “Psycho Santa” Emerson got tossed in ‘the hole’ to start with). I actually thought he’d bitten off part of the poor orderly’s nose,  too. You can tell Ian McShane really sunk his teeth into had fun filming the scene, too. Take a peek!

Looks like the whole crew had fun filming it, too. There were so many great scenes (in fact, I can’t think of any dull moments) in the Christmas episode, and this bit was just the icing on the goddamned cake! I loved the fact that everything went wrong at the worst possible moment. Leigh tells Sister Jude if she won’t take off his shackles, he doesn’t want to be in her shitty picture, she points out that he was thrown in Briarcliff because he went on a killing spree and slaughtered eighteen people from five different families (Jesus!)  and the point of the photo is really to show the general public that he’s locked up and they’re safe from him now, thanks to Briarcliff.  She turns away for a second to snap at  (non-possessed) Sister Mary because she let the photographers in too early by mistake and instead of the nice group photo Sister Jude had planned, Leigh is biting the guys face off and FLASH! CLICK! the photographers rush over and take a pic of THAT chaos instead! The only thing missing was a smash cut to a shot of the photo on the front page of the newspaper with some really tasteless headline.

Man, what are we going to do during the three-week hiatus the show is taking after the December 12th episode?

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Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose…

Ten Unholy Things We Learned From The American Horror Story Asylum Christmas Episode, “Unholy Night”! (Episode 8 – Spoilers)

We told you it was going to be a kick-ass holiday episode! We’re a little surprised by the Christmas tree decorations not consisting of parts of a human body, but this was sick in its own original way. So why not kick things off with…

1. The demon in Sister Mary was pretty excited about decorating the tree. This time, she just got really mean— she yelled at all the poor patients to line up, then grabbed a festive basket, and went down the line, taking what she wanted. from the wretched-looking people in line cutting off hair (above the ribbon), taking out some poor toothless old inmate’s dentures, and using those items, saying it was a lesson in Christmas being “all about giving,” which Monsignor Timothy seemed sort of impressed by. He even noticed the IV bags and bottles (all empty), though he didn’t remark on the garlands, which were either rolls of gauze, or toilet paper (maybe both; with the medical supplies hung up, I think it was gauze, which is somehow sicker than TP). Either that, or he’s getting bad vibes from her too and thought he should probably just humor her, then regroup later to snoop into things. I have to admit, putting fingers, toes, eyes, etc.  would have been nice and sick, but probably would have drawn a teeny bit more attention.

She had this… light in her. The light’s gone out.

 

2. Speaking of attention, Sister Mary Eunice was on FIRE in this episode. Almost every time she opened her mouth I got a big grin on my face or laughed. Click here to read  “Ten Of The Best Lines in the Christmas Episode, ‘Unholy Night‘ ”  In an entertaining interview I posted few weeks back (you can find it here) Lily Rabe was right. Sister Mary does have a lot of Christmas Spirit…

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You don’t know what Christmas means to me…

3. Ian McShane’s character, Leigh Emerson, was also pretty entertaining (and frightening; I wouldn’t want him coming at me in that Santa suit with his rotten teeth, matted beard and greasy hair, even if he wasn’t carrying a sharp object). We learned his back story from Sister Mary Eunice (remember, she knows all).  As a young man,  he was thrown in jail for trying to steal a loaf of stale bread (the ultimate crime!) Unfortunately for him, it was close to Christmas, and when the guards went Christmas caroling (I actually don’t blame this guy for having… issues… with Christmas after we got his back story) five men held him down and raped him. Merry Christmas! They took his virginity (well, Sister Mary points out, the first guy took his virginity), the rest stole his dignity, self-esteem, but worst of all, his Christmas spirit …and that’s only the first part of the back-story.

“There is no God… but there is  a Santa Claus!”  – Leigh to Sister Jude

4.  THEN, we learned that Leigh Emerson escaped in 1963 (or was released from prison, either way it was a very bad idea for him to get out of there six days before Christmas).  He approached a Salvation Army Santa outside a supermarket, hit him with his  Salvation Army bell, then shot him in the face, plus four more times. THEN, he put on a blood-stained Santa suit from the guy, and killed 18 people from five different families.  In the murder we saw n the cold open, a little girl named Susie, buys him as Santa even without the beard, bloodstains, and the fact he came in through a smashed window instead of the chimney. He was nice to her (that we saw, anyway, she never seemed scared of him) tied up the husband and wife with (lit) Christmas lights, yells at them for overdoing it with the decorations, and after a really raunchy comment also in the piece with quotes, shoots them. He ends up in Briarcliff by Christmas 1963 (more on that Christmas at Briarcliff in the Stray Thoughts section)*

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5.  We learned some facts that would make anyone–well, anyone with a soul– turn down a lavish Christmas gift of real ruby earrings  (big stones, set chandelier style). We learned in the same scene that Dr. Arden is still (of course) a sadistic, evil Nazi asshole with a Madonna/Whore complex, but that he had hoped for some response from Sister Mary Eunice other than delight and preening when he told her how he got the earrings. Would YOU want to try on, let alone keep, earrings that had been swallowed and shit out every day for weeks by a woman in a Nazi concentration camp, not to mention they ended they ended up killing that someone due to internal injuries (the jewels tore up her intestines, Dr. Arden/Gruper explains) who died in the wretched camp, then  were given to you by the Nazi that “retrieved them”?  And regardless of hygiene, I’d be more than a little worried about a vengeful female spirit haunting you if kept and/or sold them. That’s an onyro’s secret back story reveal from a J-Horror, K-Horror, or Thai ghost movie right there.  Talk about bad karma. We at Horror Boom saw through the ruse with Sister Jude (360 degree turnaround all of a sudden from THAT shitty guy? Just didn’t buy it, though he sold it to Sister Jude skillfully) but we think he actually was kind of down–or feeling sorry for himself, at the very least– that there’s nothing left of the Sister Mary he, er, had a …crush on.

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6. Dr. Nazi is probably more scared of Sister Mary Eunice now; he didn’t seem to take any satisfaction in setting up Sister Jude’s (botched) murder. He didn’t want to stick around as he and Sister Mary Demon listened (below the French spiral “Staircase to Heaven”) to Jude’s terrified cries and desperate calls for help and all the crashing around. After he told Sister Mary (who practically looked like she was just about to discover her G-spot) that he hoped his loyalty was proven, he said–not entirely convincingly–he found it all rather tedious and that he had work to do.

Oh, you really don’t want me to be around the others this time of year…

 

7. Sister Mary Eunice’s telekinetic powers are improving. This episode, when Sister Jude managed to sneak in the office and hold a razor to Sister Mary’s throat and says she’s figured it all out.  Sister Mary Eunice looked amused and asks, “what are you gonna do, cane the devil out of me?” then laughs as the doors of the armoire containing all the canes are yanked wide open, followed by the various canes flying out, then the record playing a Christmas carol is shattered.. on the ceiling.  Before any more mayhem could ensue, Dr. Arden intervened and had Sister Jude ‘escorted out’.

See? We all made a little sacrifice for the greater good. That’s the spirit of Christmas!

 

8. We leaned more about Bloody Face (Old Skool Bloody Face) and the good news that Lana —and Kit— finally have the upper hand (for now). We’re a little worried about Kit, because if we were Lana, we don’t know how long we could keep ourselves from beating Thredson to death. In fact, Lana wanted to kill him right then. He  doesn’t seem as pissed about her injuring him to escape, but accuses him ‘tricking’ him into being “intimate” (which must be the word he uses for ‘rape’).  He said he was going to just kind of humor her and let her talk, because hey, who would believe her story? Then he tells her he changed his mind, he’s going to kill her. The worst news (for Lana and Kit, anyway) was said he’d gone over every square inch of the basement and his house with a toothbrush, combed it for any evidence (remember, no DNA testing back them—plus did they even have rape kits in the early 60s?) and that the furnace got a lot of use,  which he’s also really pissed about. You made me kill Bloody Face!  he nearly snarls at Lana.

 

One day,  I will bury you.
-Lana to Thredson/Bloody Face

 

9.  We learned there was no doubt that Lana is pregnant.  Many fans already suspected it (and a very recent interview confirmed it).  On a TV show (even basic and pay cable), we see a woman who is capable of getting pregnant throwing up in the morning on a TV show, and she’s not a virgin, 99% of the time, that woman has discovered her pregnancy by the end of the next episode. Not sure if Lana has figured it out yet, since that is SO the least of her fucking problems at this point.  There was some not-so-subtle foreshadowing in the dialogue from Thredson—“Bloody Face had to burn so he could be BORN AGAIN from the ashes” and “Your skin with will be the beginning of a second Bloody Face.”  Maybe it will be this season’s version of the Violet reveal that was predicted by half of the fans ahead of time – but the sight of her when the reveal came actually gave me nightmares. Let’s hope they do something just as shocking with this season.

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Heads up, asshole! CONK

10. We learned that any male staff member in Briarcliff with compassionate, human feelings  towards others—not that there were a lot of them, and few females, too— might as well have an expiration date stamped on them. As we thought, Frank was completely broken up, weeping and praying over Grace’s body.  He also saw the Rasper that ripped Sister Felicity’s throat out and tells Dr. Arden he thinks they should alert the authorities. “Our former Irish cop is feeling the need to confess.” Dr. Thredson tells Sister Mary Eunice soon after. “I’ve got it under control,” she replies. RIP, Frank.  Sister Mary slices his throat later in the episode after Leigh (Insane Homicidal Santa) gets put back in ‘the hole’ after really snapping and losing his shit in the common room, Frank locks him in and turns around to see… slash.  I assume Leigh will get blamed for cutting his throat. Oh, by the way, we have a survey. With the characters dropping like flies lately, if you want to vote on who you think will get killed off in the next episode, please do; there’s a poll here. Take a second, because we wanna know your prediction!

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12/19 Poll Update- SPOILERS if you have not seen episode Nine, The Coat Hanger, yet:  This is going up soon on the poll page, too, but it’s ironic that of the eleven responses (with a free account with Polldaddy we can only have ten) we Kit out of the running–it was him or Sister Mary Demon, and we take HIM out as an option?  Naaahhhh, no way, there’s way too much unresolved business, if they do it, they’ll wait till the last or second-to-last episode.  We didn’t consider the fact he might only be dead for a minute or two at the end of the episode, and that would be one of the mid-winter finale cliff-hangers promised by Murphy (though I doubt anyone called things going down like THAT before it aired). Either way, WRONG! He died. Episode ended. He might (probably…I hope) have Dr. Nazi make it back in time to re-start his heart in Episode Ten. But other than that, it was just the hapless therapist whose penny-saver coupon brought in the last patient she would ever have a session with – Johnny Thredson (she got the most votes, BTW-good call). Remember, the Angel of Death didn’t kiss the Monsignor yet–if you’ve read the episode description for next week, or seen the nice spoilerish preview for the January 2nd episode, “The Name Game,” we know what happens there.  I’m still pissed at him for what he knowingly did to Sister Jude. You can read the FULL weekly piece, Ten Shamelessly Twisted Things We Learned In American Horror Story Asylum Episode Nine, The Coat Hanger (Spoilers) right here.

Stray Thoughts:

  • We actually thought that when Sister Jude drove something pointy into Leigh “Psycho Santa” Emerson’s neck in self-defense, it was a candy cane. Before you laugh, have you seen how sharp and pointy the ends of those get after you’ve been sucking on one end for a while? It’s like a hard-candy ice pick, or something. We know somewhere out there that HAS happened in a holiday-themed horror movie, probably one we’ve seen and just can’t place. We actually wish it had been a candy cane, but I guess that was a little too campy even for Murphy and Falchuck. We can see where they’re coming from… but still, that would have been a great, sick touch.
  • During the cold open teaser that introduces Leigh Emerson’s holiday season mayhem, was anyone else reminded of “And All Through The House…” that awesome, AWESOME Tales From The Crypt  (an anthology movie used the story from the comic first) episode where the mother –SPOILER ALERT, THE EPISODE OR AT LEAST A CLIP IS COMING UP AS A POST FOR THE HOLIDAYS, HIGHLIGHT TO READ:  kills her husband in the middle of a snowstorm on Christmas Eve, hears that a maniac dressed as Santa escaped from the local mental asylum, and it’s a very tense game of cat and mouse up until the chilling ending as she can’t really call the cops when her husband’s body is there with an axe buried in his head, blood everywhere, and her plans to drag him outside and drop him down a well become even more screwed up when she locks herself out of the house. Here’s the kicker, though, and you’ll remember it if you saw it: her little girl (who believes in Santa Claus) is awake in her bedroom upstairs because hey, what child can calmly sleep Christmas Eve? The murderous mother finally makes it in the house throw a window on the second door –wow, what a relief! However, the little girl isn’t in bed. She walks, filled with dread and shaking, to the landing of the stairs and looks down to see her little girl, smiling. Oh, Thank God she’s OK! We’re going to look it up soon, since I wouldn’t be surprised if the little girl’s name was Suzy in the comic, then sees she’s holding hands with someone. “Look, Mommy! Santa really came! He came and I let him in!” Next to her stands a grinning, large maniac dressed in a Santa suit… happy to finally be indoors. The comic ended on that last frame –Good Lord (choke)! The HBO episode ended on the evil maniac Santa asking, “Naughty… or nice?” in a gravelly voice just as scary as Ian MacShane’s, and then faded out on the woman’s hysterical screams. Robert Zemeckis directed it, which sounds like a red flag for a Tales From The Crypt  episode, but I still was on the edge of my seat even though I knew the ending… which gave me goosebumps.
  • So, fellow E.C. Comic and Vault of Horror fans, did little Suzy not being scared of Santa (even though it was six days early, he clearly entered through a broken living room window,  and had a few little bloodstains on his Santa suit) and then going to wake her parents up to tell them ecstatically Santa was downstairs, which of course ends horribly, remind you of that story? The “Unholy Night” version was way darker, obviously, but I think the parallels were there. It was even published is roughly the same time period (mid-century).
  • Who else got a big grin on their face when poor Frank grabbed a huge ladder to put the glass (or maybe tin) tree-topper up, the elaborately red-and-silver, star-shaped ornament (only with at least 20 pointy ends), and started climbing? We didn’t want Frank to get hurt (too late, sigh), so much as we saw total chaos about to break loose and thought there’s no way that star isn’t going to end up embedded in someone’s face or neck.  Didn’t expect him to fucking RUSH the ladder, knock it and  the entire giant strangely-decorated Christmas tree over, and leap on top of Frank like a wild animal, trying to smash it into Frank’s face (and actually succeeding) as not one, but two large orderlies had to sprint over to pull Leigh, in full-on homicidal maniac frenzy-mode, off of poor Frank. We’re putting up a featurette on the stunt soon, but until then, you can get a fix watching a behind-the-scenes look from FX  at how they performed the old “face-off” bite right here.  Sister Mary Demon’s casually amused reaction to the entire tree debacle, after she calmly watches: “Two steps forward, one step back.”
  • If we had been in Sister Jude’s shoes, the second we opened the double doors to her quarters/office and saw mangy, creepy, blood-thirsty Leigh lounging in her chair behind the desk, we would have turned around then and gone right out. She tried to get out fast, but she hasn’t seen as many horror movies as we have. If she’d been as big a horror fan as us,  it would have gone like this: open door, see homicidal patient let out of ‘the hole’ sitting there in a Santa suit opposite you behind the desk, immediately swivel around and step back out into the hall and close the double doors, all in one large motion.
  • There’s too many great quotes to count, but we made a list of ten OF the best (not THE ten best) quotes from “Unholy Night”, along with screencaps, and you can check that piece out here.

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Poll: Who Do You Think Is Going To Drop Next On American Horror Story Asylum? (Spoilers) Tell Us Below – We Wanna Know!

Soooo,  the next episode, “The Coat Hanger” (that isn’t going to be pretty) airs this Wednesday, December 12th – then there’s going to be a break until January, when they’ll run the last four episodes.*  So… well… five more episodes… (sniffle). However, from what Murphy said in this recent, juicy interview (spoilers for “Unholy Night”, and the episodes before it) that there would be FOUR big cliffhangers. I do know one of the characters listed is going to die, but my money is on more than one. I just hope it’s not anyone who’s been extra-entertaining lately. You can vote for up to three below. This show is very  hard to second-guess – even if you strongly sense what is coming, we always get surprised by the why and how.

So get a-voting, since we want to know what you think. AND, the “Ten Things We Learned …” for Episode 8, Unholy Night, is almost here. Your writer/editor here went to a holiday party Saturday night and had quite a bit of fun, and quite a bit of “cider” and “Christmas cheer” (I’m not turning down free vodka shots in this economic climate, especially coming from other friends there, old and new, also feeling very hammered festive)**  so that’s why the Sat/Sun deadline didn’t get met. Thanks for being so patient! We’ll make up for it, promise… we’ve been gathering semi-rare behind-the-scenes goodies and galleries for American Horror Story Asylum all night.

*I’ll get you the air dates after I find them, I  DO know there’s no episode on 12/19; Ryan Murphy says the final four episodes will roar into the new year in January. The last I looked, the IMDB page was out of date, but it did give one upcoming episode title, “Spilled Milk”. Huh… sensing a pattern here… and it’s going to be fucking awesome!

**BIG thanks to anyone reading this who helped me get on and off the stage in 5-inch go-go boots without falling on my ass in front of everybody–you know who you are!

Ten Of The Best, Most Entertaining Lines From American Horror Story Asylum’s Episode “Unholy Night” (AKA ‘A Very American Horror Story Christmas’)!

There’s a reason I titled this piece “Ten OF the best lines” rather than “THE ten best lines”. This episode was overflowing with lines that caused me to get a huge smile on my face, laugh, curse (as in, “Man, I love this fuckin’ show!”),  my jaw drop, or a combination of the above.  I probably still would have had some trouble narrowing it down to twenty.

My “Ten Things We Learned” was taking longer to write; I kept jotting down great lines, then realizing I didn’t have room for them, but couldn’t bring myself to edit them out. Finally I just said the hell with this and wrote this instead (‘Ten Things We Learned’ will still be posted shortly).

If I left out one of your favorites, feel free —in fact please do— put it in the “reply” section. I’d kill for a script of that episode.. Fun fact: Ryan Murphy said in the post-show Q&A with EW.com that Leigh (Psycho Santa) Emerson (Ian McShane) will actually return  next week.  I re-watched, and they didn’t show him die…  not that it makes a difference when you’re in American Horror Story-territory.  That should be something to see;  it’s more of a dialogue between their characters (according to Murphy) rather than them trying to kill one another and getting tossed around the room while Leigh makes progressively raunchy and disturbing comments.

Of course, there’s spoilers, but it’s a scream.  Speaking of screams… these are in no particular order (OK, except for the one I saved for last).

1. Sister Mary Eunice (after Leigh pulls down the ladder Frank was using to put the pointy ornament on the tree top and smashes it into Frank’s face before two giant orderlies pull him off): Two steps forward, one step back.

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2. Little Susie: Are you hurt, Santa?
Leigh: Oh, no no. This isn’t Santa’s blood!

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3. Dr. Arden: I don’t believe in God. But I believe in evil. I have seen it up close and personal.
Sister Jude: Of that I have no doubt.
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4. Sister Mary Eunice: Did you celebrate Christmas in your Nazi household?*

 

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5. Leigh (after Sister Jude won’t take off his shackles for the group Christmas photo in 1963): Well, I don’t want to be in your shitty picture, then!
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6. Dr. Arden: I so dearly hoped you’d throw them back in my face, that you couldn’t stand to touch those shit-stained earrings. I was hoping there’d be a glimmer of horror… a glimmer of that precious girl who was too afraid to even take a bite of my candy apple.

 

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7. Leigh (dressed as Santa, with female patient on his lap): Whaddaya say we blow this pop stand, savage a few elves, and then go suck on each other? (patient hastily leaves)

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8. Sister Mary Eunice (after putting on the ruby earrings from Dr. Arden): Look how beautiful they are on me. They bring out the rose in my cheeks!

 

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9. Susie’s Dad: (after Leigh mentions finding some “rape” under their Christmas tree) Don’t you touch her!
Leigh: Hey, who said anything about her?  You know the difference between that Santa Claus and me? He only comes once a year!

10. Lana, to Thredson: One day, I’ll bury you.

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*on the first viewing, I mis-heard it as, “Did you celebrate Christmas, you Nazi asshole?”

Ten Reasons We’re REALLY Psyched Up For The American Horror Story Asylum Christmas Episode Airing This Week!

So, the Christmas episode Horror Boom has been looking forward to ever since we saw the title of it about a month ago airs Wednesday, December 5th on FX. We’re psyched for it for plenty of reasons, in fact, we have no trouble coming up with ten of them, almost off the top of our heads! Plus, we have a gallery of some great episode photos, too.

1. The title of the episode is “Unholy Night”.

2. The fact that one of our favorite actors, Ian McShane is not only a guest star, he’s an EVIL guest star who dresses up like Santa (I almost typed “Satan”, wonder if a character will bring up the fact those two words are easy to confuse when spelling).

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Perhaps you recall Al Swearengen (who turned out to be the most likeable character on Deadwood, and everyone loved him by the end of season one – I’m working on a few T-Shirts with his quotes). If not, here’s a little clip reel to show you what he’s capable of (not for the easily offended, though if you’re already reading this, we doubt that). If you’re as big of a Deadwood fan as we are, you’ll love it either way.

3. In an awesome interview we posted a few weeks ago (from vulture.com) with Lily Rabe, she said some REALLY exciting things about the episode. First, she spilled that Sister Mary Eunice teams up with Ian McShane to do a bunch of holiday-themed evil shit together.

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4. THEN Lily Rabe went into more detail,  and it just got better:   “She  [Sister Mary Eunice] has a lot of Christmas spirit, that’s for sure. That was one of my favorite ones to shoot, actually. Ian and I got to do some really evil things together, and I have to say it was a career highlight. He’s such a wonderful man. We had great stuff in the common room, with all of those background actors, the inmates. I can say Christmas will never be the same for me after shooting that episode. I’ll never look at a Christmas tree the same way.”

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5. This official episode description that’s now been updated to the following: A murderous Santa wreaks havoc on Briarcliff. Sister Jude faces off with the Devil. Arden has a shocking encounter in the Death Chute.  That’s pretty goddamned great already, but from the hints Ryan Murphy has dropped (it’s been confirmed Pepper the Pinhead will be back) I predict (and really, really hope) Pepper is going to show up in the Death Chute, since that’s kind of the secret entrance/exit of Briarcliff when Dr. Arden is there, and take revenge for Shelley that Ryan teased. Hmm, maybe a sharp object will be handy for her to slice HIS ears off?

6.  Exhibit A:  This photo that Ryan Murphy tweeted several weeks ago, from on set:

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7. The fact that last week, Ryan Murphy promised to deliver, in his words, “The most fucked-up Christmas episode of all time.” WE ARE SO THERE! According to Murphy in the same interview, McShane’s character was “victimized so badly in prison that he made a psychotic break and decides he’s Santa Claus and he knows who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.”

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Oh, so cannot WAIT to find out what horrible thing is inside that present!

8. The fact that he also  said she (maybe McShane will help her make the ‘ornaments’, or provide them)  will be decorating a tree. “Think of how the devil would decorate a Christmas tree,” he teased. We’re hoping it’s going to be something like the below still (from the Black Christmas remake, 2006). Just put some human inner organs on there, festoon it with some intestines, we’re good. Then he confirmed (in the EW.com interview here) what Lilly Rabe said earlier: Yeah, next week has my favorite [as far as] Lily Rabe’s character does,  where she decorates the Christmas tree. It’s sort of like, Well, how would the devil decorate a Christmas tree? So that’s just a laugh riot. And we love Murphy’s sense of humor!

This shot and the opening scene of the Black Christmas remake (2006) made it worth a watch for me.

This shot and the opening scene of the Black Christmas remake (2006) made it worth a watch for me.

9.  Exhibit B: The below HD preview of the episode, “Unholy Night”:

10. Exhibit C: The official American Horror Story Asylum Christmas/Holiday greeting card below that hit the press today:

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American Horror Story Asylum’s Lily Rabe Talks Sister Mary Eunice And The Upcoming Christmas Episode – “I’ll Never Look At A Christmas Tree The Same Way Again!”

Oooooh, this is a great read! For one thing, if you’re an Ian McShane (or a Deadwood) fan, you’ll practically go into a frenzy like I did when I read about his role in the Christmas episode, “A Very American Horror Story Christmas.” Just kidding. It’s titled (per IMDB) “Unholy Night.”  I try not to have unrealistic expectations in general, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that there is no way that a Christmas-themed American Horror Story Asylum episode could be anything less than fucking GOLD.

Click Here To Read “American Horror Story’s Lily Rabe on Seducing James Cromwell and the Upcoming Christmas Episode” On Vulture.com

Here are some of the highlights of the interview (you should still read the interview, I just couldn’t resist including them, they were so awesome):

Rabe: What’s been so fascinating as I’ve been playing possessed Mary Eunice is that it’s not just the devil on the one hand and Sister Mary Eunice on the other. It’s what’s happening between the two.
I think every script I read has something that sends me into a state of panic but that usually makes me want to do it. I can’t actually think of a job where I was relaxed the whole time. I don’t think I would want to do that job.
Ian [McShane] and I had a lot of amazing Christmas things to do together. Sister Mary Eunice has something to do with why his character is wearing that Santa suit. She has a lot of Christmas spirit, that’s for sure…

Vulture: So there will be a Christmas episode of American Horror Story?
Rabe:  Oh yes. Of course, right? That was one of my favorite ones to shoot, actually. Ian and I got to do some really evil things together, and I have to say it was a career highlight. He’s such a wonderful man. We had great stuff in the common room, with all of those background actors, the inmates. I can say Christmas will never be the same for me after shooting that episode!