Tag Archive for TV recap

American Horror Story: Coven Recap: “Head” (Season 3, Episode 9)

Well, we’ve hit that point in the season when the writers start to toss things at the wall willy-nilly. In last year’s Asylum it was in episode nine (“Coat Hanger”) that, as ScreenRant put it, the writers started leaping “from dangling plot thread to dangling plot thread in an attempt to set up all the pieces for the push into the final episodes.”

Myrtle in American Horror Story: Coven

How did your hair grow back after you were burned at the stake and resurrected? “Honey, I’ve been buying in bulk in Korea for years!” Photo copyright 2013, FX Networks.

“Head” opens on an idyllic father-son camping trip in the Chattahoochee National Forest; they share coffee from a thermos as sunlight filters through the dust motes hanging in the air. They speak earnestly of hunting, of a desire “not to miss.” When the time comes, though, little Hank hesitates a bit too long while a jaundiced, pale witch with a halo of red hair begs him to let her live; she almost kills both father and son before Daddy shoots her in the head. Does it strike anybody else odd that witch hunters would be able to just, you know, find a national forest and literally hunt witches like they were game? “Got a nine-pointer, son!”

Kyle Cooper’s Prologue Films created the titles for The Walking Dead, Sleepy Hollow, Prometheus, and a number of others. Before that, Mr. Cooper designed the titles for Se7en, which have stuck with me as a profoundly spooky, entirely unsettling sequence that drops you face first into the deeply dark world of Fincher’s film. A friend pointed out that perhaps the “scariest” part of American Horror Story is the opening credits. The show isn’t about terror, jump moments, or psychological thrills. It’s about making you feel as bloody uncomfortable as possible. The credits succeed at that – slivers of imagery, jerky movement, artfully timed shots so that just when you’ve got your head around a severed goat’s head or an insectile, humanoid creature in the trees, it flips to the next spooky-ass thing. Beneath the images a ghastly series of sounds plays, subwoofers prodding at your eardrums as dripping water synthesizes a rhythm and a guitar squeals discordantly. The effect is chilling and discomfiting, and you can’t look away. The credit sequence is near-perfect (but the rest of the show certainly isn’t).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mmRXT7w2C1s Read more

American Horror Story: Coven Recap: “The Sacred Taking” (Season 3, Episode 8)

I adore horror for its silliness, its ability to play in and thwart social mores, its ability to push the limits, to make us feel. So obviously I’ve been watching American Horror Story since the beginning. The first season focused on a haunted house that contained a family full of terrible people, and it dabbled in particularly grotesque sexual horror. The second season, Asylum, was…well (she says, frowning and sipping her coffee because she actually can’t think of a word), completely screwy. There were Nazis, mental patients, lesbians, aliens, important interracial relationships, oppression, hilariously reductive political and social commentary, demons, angels of death…oh right, and a pinhead. And a musical interlude:

Season three is, at the very least, more cohesive. I’ve always been a sucker for movies and TV set in New Orleans, and I love me some witches. So far this season, we’ve had possible vagina dentata, a Frankenstein’s monster boyfriend, multiple instances of necrophilia (one a Ménage à trois and maybe questionable, since the dead aren’t really dead?), incest, an axe murderer ghost dude, a woman who literally rips apart black people because they’re black, multiple witch-burnings, and an acid mutilation. And yet, it almost feels tame in comparison to last season.

Gabourey Sidibe

You ever seen voodoo, bitch?

In the opening of last night’s episode, “The Sacred Taking,” Queenie (the wonderful Gabby Sidibe) wanders through some hellhole under the highway where trolls should dwell, where homeless sleep and rats squeal. Some dude threatens to carve her up into big thick slices and pound what’s left, so she takes him out with a rusty nail stuck in a board.

Zoe (Taissa Farmiga, a returning cast member from season one) and undead movie star Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) followed Queenie. Ostensibly they’re here to beg her back to the coven after she left in favor of Marie LaVeau (Angela Bassett), who assured Queenie those white bitches aren’t your friends. When Zoe indicates she (Zoe) might be the next Supreme, Queenie retorts, “War is coming, and you’re gonna lose.” Throughout this interaction, Queenie is ripping the man’s beating heart from his chest – apparently he is a rapist, though how she knows this is anyone’s guess – and grasping it in her hand, its gentle pumps squishing between her fingers. And here we are at the credits. How do you know it’s American Horror Story? It makes you feel creepy crawly in the first two minutes. Read more

The Walking Dead Recap: “Live Bait” and “Dead Weight” (Season 4, Episodes 6 and 7)

It’s been a crazy few weeks, but I’d never leave you hanging. November marks the start of the mid-season build to a final climax, and who better to catalyze it than the Governor? “Live Bait” finds him collecting a weakened family to use as such, and “Dead Weight” finds him ridding himself of, oh, you know, dead weight. And oddly enough, of the two, “Live Bait” feels unevenly paced and strangely written; I get that we’re supposed to think of the Gov as an antihero, but the writers pushed a little hard on the pity buttons. In this Sunday’s “Dead Weight,” though, we got him back in his full, psychopathic force.

Two weeks ago, The Walking Dead picked up from the end of season three, just as the Governor slaughtered his flock and drove away in the pickup. The writers give us a brief montage of the Gov’s activities since he left the Prison crew. He stares blankly into a fire as a walker stumbles through it, moaning and reaching. Martinez, ever the protector, shoots the walker, shaking his head. The Governor awakens in the morning to find he’s all alone with the embers – nobody wants him. What to do now? Obviously, he crashes through the Woodbury gates and lights the town on fire. Through Woodbury’s formerly idyllic streets shamble walker after walker, oblivious to the flame, oblivious to the Governor. As the days go by, the Governor gets weaker, slower, his hair scraggly and unkempt. He stands staring at a barn on which mourning people have scrawled messages: “We found Ken Jones,” “Brian Heriot,” messages from lonely people who want to let someone know their friends and family have died.

BURN IT DOWN. Photo courtesy Gene Page/AMC.

BURN IT DOWN. Photo courtesy Gene Page/AMC.

Just as he’s nearing the end of his proverbial rope, he looks up to see a little girl peering out a window. He climbs the building’s stairs to investigate and discovers two women, a little girl, and an old man with a respirator. He tells them the abbreviated story of Woodbury, tells them “the man in charge just lost it.” He gives them the name “Brian Heriot,” linking himself inextricably with the dead.

“When my girls were born, that’s when I finally figured out what it was to be a man,” the dying patriarch says, wheezing through his oxygen tube. Meghan, the little girl the Governor spotted in the window, doesn’t talk since “the shit hit the fan,” and her dying grandfather appeals to the Governor to go find her Backgammon (I think?) set. Maybe she’ll speak again, he thinks.

Your obligatory gore. Photo courtesy Gene Page/AMC.

Your obligatory gore. Photo courtesy Gene Page/AMC.

Upstairs, on a mission for Meghan’s game, the Governor finds bullets, a prosthetic leg, and an eyeless, limbless walker in the bathtub. Tara had been trying to kill the zombie, and nobody understood why he kept coming back. Honestly, of all the frustrating aspects of this show, this one irks me the most. What year is this? 2011? In what alternate universe have people not heard of zombies? In what world do people not have ANY prior knowledge of this mythology? At least acknowledge it, guys. COME ON. Read more