Archive for the ‘horror’ category

“We Are Gone,” The Terror, Episode 10

May 22, 2018

All good things must come to an end, and so The Terror wrapped up its tenth and final season episode (“We Are Gone”) with more than a bit of Grand Guignol, complete with cannibalism and the Tuunbaq ripping into Hickey and his rebellious men, literally tearing the sadistic psychopath in two before succumbing to its poisonous diet. You are what you eat, after all…

We were given more of a close-up of the Inuit monster in this conclusive episode, his countenance a disturbing mixture of human and bestial elements, almost resembling someone’s crazy old uncle; maybe Uncle Fester of The Addams Family. A “spirit who dresses itself as an animal,” the mythological creature was said to consume not only the flesh but also the soul of its victims. 

Where human flesh eating was concerned, there are suggestions in the historical evidence that some cannibalism occurred in the actual Franklin Expedition, although it was ramped up for horrific effect in the Dan Simmons novel as well as the series adaptation of it. In this television adaptation, surgeon Goodsir poisoned himself unknown to his captors and slit his wrists, his body then becoming a fatal feast for them. Other subtle differences between the book and the screen adaptation occurred as well, and without issuing spoilers I did find the novel’s ending more satisfying. If you were captivated by the televised series, check out the book as well as a really well done and worthwhile horror tale…

“Horrible From Supper” on “The Terror”

May 1, 2018

Smelling human flesh burning in the fire which had taken down the carnival in the previous episode, a starving and troubled crewman confesses to ship’s surgeon Goodsir that it smelled good.  “My nose and my stomach, they don’t know horrible from supper.  But I do!,” he agonizes.  This exchange explains the episode’s title, one in which the men of the doomed Franklin Expedition begin to have more to fear from themselves than from the supernatural.  As a Walt Kelly character from the comic strip Pogo once remarked, “We have met the enemy, and he is us!” While the Tuunbaq  monster does not make an appearance, his handiwork is seen in the form of the decapitated heads of the advance expedition sent out in episode 2 for civilization from the becalmed ships…poor devils didn’t make it further than 18 miles away before having their heads handed to them, quite literally.

Abandoning the ice-locked Erebus and Terror ships, the crew drags supplies and rowboats on sledges over the frozen terrain, with their badly canned food proving over half rancid and 100% lead-tainted.  The effects of the lead poisoning are becoming increasingly visible, with acts of violent madness emerging to layer onto the on-going grinding hardships that are inexorably wearing down the British seamen, geared now for physical survival rather than adventurous discovery.  This is “misery porn,” and the worst lies yet ahead.  

We are given glimpses of that grim future in the deteriorating mental health of a number of the crew who are beginning to turn from their fellow mates to acts of rebellion and even murder against them.  With the captain’s dog being surreptitiously harvested as food and an officer initiating first contact with an Inuit group brutally slain by the mutinous (and now mad) Cornelius Hickey, it’s time to start your countdown to cannibalism clocks ticking…


“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…”


“Punished, As A Boy” on “The Terror”

April 10, 2018

To dispense with what the episode title refers to, it appears that when you’re “punished as a boy” on a 19th century British ship, you’re flogged on your bottom rather than on your back, complete with all of your shipmates watching for both pain and humiliation.  We do get to see this, unfortunately, complete with blood spattering, agonized grunts from the punished, and the man’s behind resembling raw hamburger following his ordeal.- – Hey, horror isn’t pretty!  

This is grim stuff, but things are getting pretty grim indeed, with the Tuunbaq creature shredding members of the expedition brutally and pretty much at will, leaving some as only bloody smears on the ice, removing part of another’s skull to expose his brain (“It looks like pudding!,” remarks the ship’s surgeon), and tearing two others in half to crudely reassemble their bodies together.  The Tuunbaq has also demonstrated that it can move onto the English ships pretty much at will, and escape unscathed.  We’re kind of at the stage now that we were in The Thing where the men realize that the alien is inside the camp, and they’re relatively ineffective at countering it.  Composure and discipline are beginning to fall apart, just as some of the men’s gums are starting to turn black from lead poisoning brought by their spoiling and badly- packaged tinned food.

I’m not going to go on about the many complexities and layers of character and plot going on in the story, which can be appreciated on a variety of levels; we limit ourselves to just a few paragraphs here.  But central to the story and ever growing in importance is the enigmatic and appropriately-named Lady Silence, the Inuit woman whose father was accidently shot by the English in an earlier episode.  She was seen engaging in some kind of interaction with the Tuunbaq, perhaps a ritual.  Is she controlling the creature, or what is the nature of her relationship with it?  Hmmm…we’ll just have to wait and see!

 


“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!


“The Hell Hound” on “Terror in the Woods”

November 30, 2017

The Hell Hound episode of “Terror in the Woods” (S1/Ep9) wasn’t the kind of hell hound that I had been expecting.  In fact, at first I was wondering if the episode bore the wrong label, or if the hell hound would show up in a second segment.  To me, what was presented was more of a shadow person, restless spirit, haunting, or possession-type case, none of which represent my usual territory…

…at any rate, the dark, full hour-long story concerned a woman called Amy who in May of 2016 went on a ghost-hunting expedition with a number of others to an abandoned prison (also described as a hospital) situated outside of Columbus, Ohio. where over 300 died in a large fire in 1930.  She described a feeling of eyes upon her as she entered the building, and felt uncomfortable.  Although a person fascinated by the paranormal, Amy’s feelings turned from excitement to fear.  In one cell, she reported encountering a featureless, dark shadow of which she snapped a picture that later did reveal an image.  Amy fled the hospital and returned to the isolated cottage in the woods where she resided with her husband and a dog, Jake.

The week after the incident, Amy’s husband, normally a skeptic on paranormal matters, heard a raspy voice in his ear telling him to kill himself.  The family dog whined and sat at the bedroom doorway, refusing to cross the threshold.  Unnerving events continued for months thereafter, and Amy dreamed of seeing a featureless dark shape in the corner of the bedroom that slowly moved towards her.  The day after, she found bruises on the top part of her legs that looked like finger marks.  Due to recurrent vivid nightmares, Amy became afraid of going to sleep.  The dog “Jake” would apparently perceive the entity, which the woman described as being a “hell hound.”  Research performed by the woman suggested that seeing such a creature meant that you were about to die.  Others reportedly had also seen black dogs in the prison visited.

One day Amy found her dog lying outside, unable to move.  She apparently had a nasty dream prior to this of finding the dog eviscerated in the woods with the dark entity nearby.  Taking the dog to the vet, they found it to have a spinal condition which prevented use of its rear legs, and had the animal euthanized.  Although the dog was eleven years old, Amy blamed herself for his death, or rather thought that the entity that latched onto her in the prison was responsible.  Three months transpired from the time of the prison visitation and subsequent nightmares until the dog’s demise.  The once skeptical husband had come to believe that something malevolent had attached itself to his wife, and followed her home from the prison.  The woman warned people to be careful if they went looking for something because they might find it, and it might not be what they had expected…  

The Blood Skull and Woman of the Woods on “Mountain Monsters”

June 5, 2017

 

When we last left Buck in the previous episode, he had gone solo to the “Three Rings,”  and encountered the mysterious “little girl.”  Well, it turned out that while Buck was momentarily distracted, she conveniently vanished. Meanwhile, ailing team leader Trapper re-entered the scene, and collected Buck and Huckleberry.  He directed them to collect Jeff, which Willy and Wild Bill did, pursued in their truck by the other team.  Jeff related that the rogue team had a building deep in the woods where secrets resided,  and Buck was sent by Trapper back to the shed where photos of the AIMS team had been found on the walls.  Stripping these pictures off the walls, Buck found the words, “Find the blood skull,  find the Woman of the Woods” painted on the walls.

The Rogue Team’s cabin described by Jeff was found by the rest of the team, and Willy and Wild Bill entered it, guns at the ready.  In a back room of the cabin, they found skulls decorating the walls and a topographical map of the dark forest.  Buck then called Huckleberry from the woods, relating that he felt a foreign object was the cause of Jeff’s frequent nosebleeds; Buck had remarked in a previous episode that he knew why Jeff’s nose bled, and he may have received this knowledge as ‘the chosen one” from the little girl during his “lost time.” Well, Jeff was reclined on a table, and in a gross scene the team used a forceps to extract what turned out to be a small skull-like object from his nose…there was screaming and blood. — Yes, the secret of the Dark Woods was not under Jeff’s nose, but up it!  Eww!

Meanwhile Buck had again been seeking the little girl by returning to places where she’d been seen, and spotted her again.  The girl pointed to a grapevine and stump “throne” within which was…the blood skull, seen but fleetingly.  Buck also caught a brief glimpse of the Woman of the Woods, who did not appear to have eyes, but rather flaming orbs or perhaps empty sockets. Returning to his truck, Buck found it occupied by the skull-masked figure who had earlier held him and two team members captive in a shed.  If all of this seems a bit Grimm to you, some say that the current story line has been a hillbilly re-construction of the Little Red Riding Hood tale…