Archive for the ‘animal elements’ category

“A Mercy” Episode on, “The Terror”

April 23, 2018

When the going gets tough, it’s time to throw a party as a counter to the growing anger, despair, and psychosis growing among the crews of Erebus and Terror, as we are shown in Episode 6 of the series. The party is a wild one, thrown in an enormous tent rigged by the seamen, complete with drinking, hot tub bathing, and men wearing dresses, ahem!  There are seamen wearing animal head masks…yes, 19th century furries!   Rum is even being fed to the brain-dead crewman Private Heather, his skull torn open in an earlier Tuunbaq attack.

Unfortunately, one of their own, Dr. Stanley, has quietly gone mad, and he seals off the tent before dousing it and himself with oil, and igniting both.  Stanley’s arms-spread self-immolation is evocative of a scene from The Thing from Another World, and is perhaps the most horrible thing in the episode, rivaled only by Lady Silence‘s staggering bloody entrance, her tongue self-removed in an attempt to forge a shamanistic bond with the Tuunbaq.  We do see the creature briefly, his face a disquieting mix of ursine and human features.

With their food supply starting to run low and the canned food producing recognized symptoms of lead poisoning, expedition leadership now plans to abandon both their mission and their vessels in a risky trek on foot hundreds of miles south to civilization. The ill-fated party was an effort to boost morale prior to food rationing, climatic suffering, and the further predations of their Tuunbaq adversary, although clearly it had the reverse effect, adding also to the mounting body count.  

With only four episodes left to run, we unlike the poor devils in the Royal Navy know that this will end badly, because as Captain Crozier observed, “The place wants us dead…”


“The Terror” is Coming!

March 19, 2018

I love creepy stuff, and there’s so little of it that’s done really well!  For this reason, I’m really looking forward to The Terror, an upcoming horror series on the AMC network. Based on a novel by Dan Simmons and the ill-fated real life Franklin Expedition, The Terror looks like wonderful stuff indeed.  

Incorporating elements of the movies The Thing with Alien and the rich period atmospherics and fine acting of the Penny Dreadful tv series, The Terror has it all.  It kind of combines a real-life historical event, the Franklin Expedition, with a horror/fantasy overlay. This kind of thing has been done in a lot of sci fi/alternative history fiction, and has lately been seen in films like Abraham Lincoln:  Vampire Hunter.

Now the ill-fated Franklin Expedition was real stuff which was kicked off in 1845 when the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror left England in search of a segment of the Northwest Passage, a kind of 19th century wormhole which it was felt would convey trade to the Orient.  The vessels, advanced for their day, became hopelessly ice-locked in the Canadian Arctic, forcing their crews to abandon ship and walk in search of a settlement.  They faced slow and miserable deaths from exposure, starvation, and lead poisoning caused by their badly-canned food.  All 129 souls on board the ships died from their ordeal.

In the television horror drama, the Royal Navy expedition instead of finding the Northwest Passage discovers a cunning, monstrous gothic-style predator who stalks the crew in a game of survival which could impact the region and its indigenous people forever.  For a tale of frozen wastes, sailing ships, and Arctic monsters I’m booking passage on The Terror for sure!


Michael Jackson’s Halloween…

October 28, 2017

This year brought the novelty of a new Halloween special in the form of Michael Jackson’s Halloween, a 3D animated hour-long special which aired on CBS October 27th, and featured the music of…Michael Jackson!  While centering on the efforts of two young people to rescue a dog and defeat an evil witch (Conformity) who wants to banish music and dancing, the high point of the hour to me occurred about seventeen minutes in when the two protagonists guided by a talking Bubbles the Chimp to “follow the music” entered a surreal pumpkin field where Hay Man, a groundskeeping scarecrow with a pumpkin for a head voiced by Jim Parsons (Sheldon from Big Bang Theory), was kind of channeling Michael Jackson in a Jack Skellington-esque way…

With an entourage of dancing pumpkins and forest and field animals (including some foxes), a rather funky rendition of Jackson’s Dangerous was performed, complete with Jackson’s trademark moves and even a pelvic thrust or two.  Also memorable was a later encounter with a mad scientist cat voiced by Dietrich Bader, Franklin Stein, creator of a machine to destroy music but really a frustrated musician himself whose technology becomes converted to summon Jackson.  And fear not, the evil witch (Lucy Liu) is defeated in a big dance finale by a stylized representation of 1980’s Michael Jackson himself in an outfit reminiscent of his Thriller attire.  Music and dancing are safe, so relax…

Jackson enjoyed both scary things and animals, and his presence looms large over this special, both in terms of the soundtrack and assorted images of the performer, seen even in the wallpaper pattern of the mysterious Jackson Street Palace Hotel where much of the action transpires.  As someone who appeared in quirky delights such as Disney’s Captain EO and Moonwalker, Michael probably would have liked this “magical adventure of personal discovery,” and we foxes do like to get our groove on!


 

 

 

The “Black Wolf” Mountain Monster Saga Continues…

May 3, 2017

 

 

The Black Wolf, according to the visitor to the AIMS base camp in the previous episode, has been around for 200 years, and is the spirit of a Shawnee shaman who takes their spirits to the afterlife, kind of like a Grim Reaper.  As Jeff is apparently at least part Shawnee, it was speculated that the Black Wolf was some kind of legendary spiritual entity there to collect Jeff.  Once again, the Black Wolf was not revealed in S5/Ep4, but only more complications and plot twists.

Going out at night close to the base camp, the team found a scent post and claw marks on a tree.  They later found another tree construction (a medicine circle) with a dead black rabbit in the center of it.  The next day, Willy and Wild Bill constructed a maze trap with multiple snares within it to capture the Black Wolf.  A paw print was found in the woods that seemed to suggest an animal presence.

Meanwhile, Buck and Huckleberry went to meet Jeff in the woods, finding him standoffish.  A scuffle ensued over Jeff’s phone, which he originally claimed was turned off and had no reception in the woods, but which rang nonetheless during the encounter.  Following a scuffle over who he was talking to, Jeff stormed off.  Pursued, his nose was found to be streaming blood although no blows had been landed. 

The rest of the team decided to stake out the farmhouse where Jeff was staying that night, observing him to leave in a truck with two people.  They pursued the truck at a distance, eventually finding Jeff at the previously discovered medicine circle, which had been lit on fire together with the ill-fated deceased rabbit.  When Jeff and his companions had left, a trip wire was triggered to draw then back.  Jeff alone returned in the truck and walked around the vicinity of the trip wire while shadowed by Buck.  When Jeff doubled back it appeared that Buck would be discovered, a fate he avoided by hiding in the bed of the very pickup truck that Jeff was driving.  This truck with Buck as cargo then drove off, but was pursued by the rest of the team until it stopped by an old barn.  Deciding to venture within the barn, they discovered Jeff with team leader Trapper within, and the others wondering what was going on. – – Such high tension! –Can you stand the suspense?

This ended the episode, which again failed to reveal either the Black Wolf or the Woman of the Woods.  One hopes that this tiresome tangent of a tale isn’t dragged on too much longer…

Mountain Monsters: Secrets of the Dark Forest

April 26, 2017

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There’s a lot of repetition and drawing out of story lines in this bargain basement reality show, and if you were hoping to see “the Black Wolf” or “The Woman of the Woods” in this episode, you were likely to be disappointed…

Team researcher Jeff had been acting vaguely as if possessed recently, showing the others a video with a creepy voice recording, and relating how he had awoken in the Dark Forest alone with his clothes beside him.  The team in response followed GPS coordinates to the Dark Forest in Lee County, Virginia.  There they found Bigfoot signs such as broken branches, and ran across a reticent man they questioned who denied knowledge of anything but advised them not to go into the woods.  Of course they did (at night, no less), finding a deer head hung in the woods and perceiving something to run past them.  At that point, Jeff inexplicably got a nosebleed, and the evening’s festivities were called off.

Meanwhile, team members Willy and Wild Bill had been building a base camp shelter.  In the daytime, the team heard a high-pitched squeal, and pursuing it found what appeared to be wolf tracks by a river.  A tree-structure sign marker (pictured) was found near their camp, with Jeff later collapsing and being termed a security risk by team security member Huckleberry.  

Looking in the woods for additional marker-type signs, the team found sharpened branches and multiple trip lines.  Headlights were seen, causing the team to hunker down, at which point Jeff wigged out further, running off and leading them on a merry chase.  They found him in a trance-like state being pointed at by a small girl, who then conveniently ran off.  Jeff became combative when they tried to bring him around, but eventually came to himself.  Another strange noise was heard, and the team headed back to their base camp, finding someone sitting there who said that the noise they had heard was the Black Wolf.  The episode ended on this note, presumably with more to follow on the big bad wolf in the upcoming installment…

AIMS versus the Rogue Team…

April 20, 2016

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The S4/Ep13 installment of Mountain Monsters had little of monsters in it, but rather more of a backwoods feud atmosphere as the clash between the AIMS and the “Rogue Team” further spun out.  Having returned to the “Little Red Shed” of the Cherokee Devil encounter in Ashe County, North Carolina our protagonists (?) discovered that six envelopes had been placed within there that bore the real names of each of the AIMS team members.  More disturbingly, within each of the envelopes was found pictures of the individual named, together with confidential information on details of their private lives, such as their real life addresses, credit histories, military records, etc. Each folder also contained a cryptic card with a letter and number on it.

As this was a bit on the creepy side, the AIMS team members returned to West Virginia to see convalescing team leader Trapper, and it was determined that the letters on the cards spelled “shot by,” a reference to the supposed shooting of the Stonish Giant by the Rogue Team in a previous episode.  Other picture clues within the envelopes were thought to reference an older Wildman episode, so the team then headed to eastern Kentucky where that encounter had taken place.  At the “Tool Shed” location where that encounter had taken place, the team found more cards pinned to a dart board.  Car lights were then discerned surrounding the shed, and storming out of the shed with weapons drawn the team found that the vehicles were empty, but belonged to themselves and had been stolen and driven to that location by the “Rogue Team!”  Thinking that a distraction, the AIMS  team hurried to where Buck’s truck had been parked.  The photo trap camera battery in the truck bed constructed by team member Willy and housed in a box that resembled an old crate had captured partial photo images, presumably of the rascally Rogues.  A phone left in the truck then rang, and when answered played an audio loop with a recorded conversation captured of AIMS team members from the supposed shooting of the Stonish Giant Bigfoot by the Rogue Team, who were thought to have absconded with the creature’s body at that time.

Returning again to their West Virginia base and Trapper, the team discerned that the newest cards picked up in Kentucky spelled CQUAD, which was thought to be the name of the Rogue Team.  It was admitted that this group was pretty slick and had high tech skills which they were using to shadow and mock the AIMS team in kind of a cat-and-mouse game.  The intent and purpose of this was essentially to exploit the tracking skills of the AIMS team by following them stealthily at a distance and then essentially claiming their prize.  When the letters collected thus far were arranged yet a different way, they spelled “Squatch body.”  Using the numbers in order on each of the cards that spelled such, it was deduced that they represented a phone number.  Calling that number on the cell phone left in Buck’s truck resulted in a guttural, electronically-altered voice answering,  “Hello Trapper, we’ve been waiting for you.  Are you ready to make a deal?”

The plot thickens, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more developments in upcoming episodes… 

The Slack.com Animal “Team” Does Wonderful Things…

April 11, 2016


They’re quite diverse, yet they work as an office team…the CGI animals presented in a commercial for the messenger app “Slack,” that is.  Headed by a lion boss called “Geoff” who observes a prawn employee (Alan) struggling with an umbrella, the idea of a flying umbrella is born, developed, and implemented by the surreal office team which includes a beaver, goat, rabbit, owl, and sloth.  They all act in accordance with their respective species, with the sloth, for example, moving in slow motion.  The commercial spot is surreal yet captivating, and it works as does the product.

Remarkably, a “bloopers reel” is also available for the commercial, showing such deleted scenes as the prawn falling from his chair, the goat beating her keyboard to pieces with their hooves, and the prawn doing a beatbox routine following his presentation.   This is strange but wonderful stuff…