Category: Horror

CANARY by Scott Snyder and Dan Panosian is Coming!

The CANARY trade paperback by Scott Snyder and Dan Panosian is set to premiere on June 25th.  Here’s the synopsis…

In 1884 a mine collapsed into itself. What was the dark substance found 666 feet underground?

Blending modern horror, historical fact and Western lore, Scott Snyder and Dan Panosian have created a uniquely terrifying thriller with Canary.

During the final days of the Gold Rush, one mining company in Utah pulled up radioactive Uranium, and then the mine then collapsed in on itself. Legends sprung up about the mine being cursed or even haunted.

Now the Frontier is closed and the gold and silver mines have dried up. The country is becoming “civilized,” and yet, in one stretch of the Rocky Mountains, a terrifying, new kind of violence is suddenly emerging. Random killings. People going mad and murdering neighbors and classmates without real cause. When a schoolboy kills his teacher with a hatchet, a famous federal marshal named Azrael William Holt is called in to investigate the killings. What he and a brilliant young geologist uncover is stranger and more horrifying than anything they could have ever imagined.

“The Strain”: Season 4 (2017) / Z-View

The Strain: Season 4 (2017)

Created by:  Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan

Directors:  J. Miles Dale (eps. 1 – 2, 10); Kevin Dowling (eps. 3 – 4); Norberto Barba (eps. 5 – 6); Thomas Carter (ep. 7); Paco Cabezas (ep. 8); Jennifer Lynch (ep. 9)

Screenplay: Carlton Cruse, Chuck Hogan (ep. 1, 10); Liz Phang (ep. 2, 8); David Weddle, Bradley Thompson (ep. 3, 9); Chuck Hogan (ep. 3); Mickey Fisher (ep. 4); Jeff Wadlow (ep. 5); Paul Keables (ep. 6); Andy Iser (ep. 7)

Stars: Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Jim Watson, Kevin Durand, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Natalie Brown, Miguel Gomez, Max Charles, Ruta Gedmintas, Rupert Penry-Jones, Samantha Mathis, Joaquín Cosío, Adriana Barraza.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Nine months have passed since the bombs went off.  A nuclear winter envelopes the world.  The strigoi have formed a “partnership” with surviving humans.  Humans donate blood to feed the strigoi.  Despite people disappearing most humans feel the partnership is their only hope.

Setrakian, Fet, Mr. Quinlan, Gus and the others continue to work separately and together to find a way to kill the Master.  If they can do that, the strigoi will be mindless and easier to destroy.  When the group comes up with a suicide plan, there is little doubt that all will not survive… the real question is will the Master be killed.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan have created a modern day vampire tale with a backstory that extends not just decades, but centuries.  The vampires aren’t the classic creatures of the night seen in countless movies.  And the stakes aren’t just a beautiful woman’s soul.  Here the fate of the world is at risk.

The writers should be commended for creating a huge cast of interesting characters with wonderful backstories.  In different episodes, different characters get the spotlight but viewers don’t get the feeling that it is by the numbers.  David Bradley as Professor Abraham Setrakian, Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet and Miguel Gomez as Augustin “Gus” Elizalde continue to shine.  Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer and Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichhorst, the Nazi vampire acolyte continue to be great villains.  Rupert Penry-Jones as Quinlan makes a great anti-hero.

Although Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan wrote a Strain trilogy of novels, the series doesn’t follow them exactly.

The Strain: Season 4 (2017) earns 5 of 5 stars.

“Nefarious” (2023) starring Sean Patrick Flanery & Jordan Belfi / Z-View

Nefarious (2023)

Director:  Chuck Konzelman, Cary Solomon

Screenplay: Chuck Konzelman, Cary Solomon based on A Nefarious Plot by Steve Deace

Stars: Sean Patrick Flanery, Jordan Belfi, Jordan Belfi, Mark De Alessandro and Glenn Beck

Tagline:  Speak of the devil.

The Plot…

Edward Wayne Brady (Flanery), an infamous serial killer, is on death row, soon to be executed.  Brady claims that he’s possessed by a demon (maybe the devil himself).  In an effort to determine Brady’s sanity, Dr. Alan Fischer met with the killer and was ready to declare Brady insane.  After the interview, but before Dr. Fischer could render his official determination, he committed suicide.

Dr. James Martin (Belfi) is brought in to the prison to interview and determine if Brady is sane enough to be executed.  Dr. Martin goes in thinking that Brady is acting possessed in an effort to avoid the electric chair.  As the interview progresses, Brady tells Dr. Martin things he should have no way of knowing.  Then strange things begin to occur.  Brady tells Dr. Martin that before the day is over Martin will kill three people.

Is Brady insane or possessed.  Time will tell…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Nefarious was such a pleasant surprise.  It is so good and yet I haven’t heard much buzz about it.

Sean Patrick Flanery gives a performance throughout the film that is simply first rate.

As the interview progresses it’s interesting to see Dr. Martin’s opinion and confidence change.  He comes in thinking that Brady is trying to pull a scam to save his life.  Then he’s not so sure.  One of the best exchanges between the two (and there are many) occurs when Dr. Martin says, “I didn’t know I was in a fight.” Flannery responds, “That’s why you’re losing.”

Nefarious (2023) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“The Strain”: Season 3 (2016) / Z-View

The Strain: Season 3 (2016)

Created by:  Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan

Directors:  GJ. Miles Dale (eps. 1 – 2); Ken Girotti (eps. 3 – 4); Deran Sarafian (eps. 5 – 6); T.J. Scott (eps. 7 – 8); Vincenzo Natali (ep. 9); Carlton Cruse (ep. 10);

Screenplay: Carlton Cruse, Chuck Hogan (eps. 1, 10); David Weddle, Bradley Thompson (eps. 2, 6); Chuck Hogan (ep. 3); Regina Corrado (ep. 4); Liz Phang (ep. 5); Chuck Hogan, Glen Whitman (ep. 7); Regina Corrado, Liz Phang (ep. 8); Vincenzo Natali (ep. 9)

Stars: Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Jim Watson, Kevin Durand, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Jack Kesy, Natalie Brown, Miguel Gomez, Max Charles, Ruta Gedmintas, Rupert Penry-Jones, Samantha Mathis, Joaquín Cosío, Adriana Barraza.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

The battle with the strigoi is in full effect.  Police, military and citizens have united.  The virus is spreading across the country and throughout the world.  Eldritch Palmer considers joining Eph, Fet and Setrakian against the Master.

When the stigoi begin winning the battle, police force prisoners, even those who committed misdemeanors into battle.  Gus and Angel find themselves in a no-win situation when they are placed in one of the groups forced to go underground into a strigoi stronghold.

The Ancients, who fear the Master’s reach is growing make an uneasy alliance with Quint.  The Master reveals himself as the battle nears the end.  Humanity may not survive.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan have created a modern day vampire tale with a backstory that extends not just decades, but centuries.  The vampires aren’t the classic creatures of the night seen in countless movies.  And the stakes aren’t just a beautiful woman’s soul.  Here the fate of the world is at risk.

The writers should be commended for creating a huge cast of interesting characters with wonderful backstories.  In different episodes, different characters get the spotlight but viewers don’t get the feeling that it is by the numbers.  David Bradley as Professor Abraham Setrakian, Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet and Miguel Gomez as Augustin “Gus” Elizalde continue to shine.  Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer and Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichhorst, the Nazi vampire acolyte continue to be great villains.  Rupert Penry-Jones as Quinlan makes a great anti-hero.

Although Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan wrote a Strain trilogy of novels, the series doesn’t follow them exactly.

The Strain: Season 3 (2016) earns 5 of 5 stars.

“Son of Dracula” (1943) starring Lon Chaney, Jr. / Z-View

Son of Dracula (1943)

Director:  Robert Siodmak

Screenplay: Eric Taylor story by Curt Siodmak

Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Evelyn Ankers, Frank Craven, Samuel S. Hinds

Tagline: LON CHANEY — MORE THRILLING! MORE TERRIFYING! As History’s Blackest Curse Strikes Again!

The Plot…

Katherine Caldwell, the daughter of a rich New Orleans plantation owner, has fallen under the spell of Count Alucard (Chaney).  Little does anyone know that Alucard is Dracula spelled backwards and more importantly, Alucard is a vampire!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

When I was a kid, I thought that Dracula going by the name Alucard was so clever.  As an adult, not so much.  When I was a kid, I didn’t much care for Lon Chaney, Jr. as Dracula.  As an adult I still feel that way.

Son of Dracula shows the first man-into-bat transformation ever seen on screen.

Son of Dracula (1943) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“The Strain”: Season 2 (2015) / Z-View

The Strain: Season 2 (2015)

Created by:  Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan

Directors:  Gregory Hoblit, Guillermo del Toro (ep. 1); T.J. Scott (ep. 2); Guy Ferland (ep. 3); PJ. Miles Dale (eps. 4 – 5); Howard Deutch (eps. 6 – 7); Kevin Dowling (ep. 8 – 9); Phil Abraham (ep. 10 – 11); Vincenzo Natali (eps. 12 – 13)

Screenplay: Carlton Cruse, Chuck Hogan (ep. 1, 13); David Weddle, Bradley Thompson (ep. 2, 8, 12); Regina Corrado (ep. 3, 9); Chuck Hogan (ep. 4, 7); Liz Phang (ep. 5, 10); Carlton Cruse, Regina Corrado (ep. 11); Justin Britt-Gibson, Chuck Hogan (ep. 11); Carlton Cruse, David Weddle, Bradley Thompson (ep. 12)

Stars: Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Jim Watson, Mía Maestro, Kevin Durand, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Jack Kesy, Natalie Brown, Miguel Gomez, Max Charles, Ruta Gedmintas, Rupert Penry-Jones, Samantha Mathis, Joaquín Cosío, Adriana Barraza and Sean Astin.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

As the strigoi (vampire) virus spreads, most of the world remains clueless.  Eph and Nora continue to search for a biological response to kill the virus.  The Master has a plan to use Eph’s son to get to Eph.  Fet and Dutch grow closer as they clear surrounding buildings.

Gus and Vaun rebel against Eldritch Palmer.  Councilwoman Justine Faraldo realizes the strigoi threat is real.  She uses her security force to fight the strigoi as she rallies the community to join their efforts.  Eph and Nora have success with a biological response to the strigoi, but will anyone in power outside of New York City believe the threat is real?

Setrakian and Fet learn the whereabouts of an ancient book known as the Lumen that may have the answer on how to kill the strigoi.  They attempt to purchase it, but learn that Eichhorst is also trying to get it.

As the strigoi’s numbers increase, the Master’s plans move forward.  The team becomes aware of Quinlan, a half-vampire, who claims he wants to destroy the Master.  Can he/it be trusted?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan have created a modern day vampire tale with a backstory that extends not just decades, but centuries.  The vampires aren’t the classic creatures of the night seen in countless movies.  And the stakes aren’t just a beautiful woman’s soul.  Here the fate of the world is at risk.

The writers should be commended for creating a huge cast of interesting characters with wonderful backstories.  Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather played by Corey Stoll is the lead.  It isn’t often the “star” is given so many character flaws.  Several members of the supporting cast have lived up to the title co-star.  Kudos to David Bradley as Professor Abraham Setrakian, Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet and Miguel Gomez as Augustin “Gus” Elizalde for playing characters that make the show sing. Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer, the sickly billionaire who aides the Master and Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichhorst, the Nazi vampire acolyte who has served the Master for decades deserve kudos as well.  Season two welcomes Rupert Penry-Jones as Quinlan and Samantha Mathis as Justine Feraldo the tough councilwoman who refuses to run from the crisis.

Although Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan wrote a Strain trilogy of novels, the series doesn’t follow them exactly.

The Strain: Season 2 (2015) earns 5 of 5 stars.

“Who Are You, Louis?” – The Teaser for “Interview with the Vampire” Season 2 is Here!

I’m glad we are getting some more promotional materials for season 2 of Interview with a Vampire.

Deal me in!

Who are you without your past?

ABOUT INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE
A luxury apartment covering an entire single floor of a high rise. Where the Vampire has granted the interview with the man he once judged to be unworthy. And where the journalist Daniel Molloy has hustled, for a second shot at the interview that got away from him 40 years earlier…

Based on Anne Rice’s iconic novel, Interview with The Vampire follows Louis’ epic story of love, blood and the perils of immortality, as told to the journalist Daniel Molloy. Chafing at the limitations of life as a black man in 1900’s New Orleans, Louis finds it impossible to resist Lestat’s offer of the ultimate escape: joining him as his vampire companion.

But Louis’s intoxicating new powers come with a violent price, and the introduction of Lestat’s newest fledgling, the child vampire Claudia, soon sets them on a decades-long path of revenge and atonement. A sensuous, contemporary reinvention of Anne Rice’s revolutionary gothic novel.

Who Are You, Louis? | Interview with the Vampire Season 2 | Premieres May 12 | AMC+

“The Incredible Shrinking Man” (1957) directed by Jack Arnold / Z-View

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

Director:  Jack Arnold

Screenplay: Richard Matheson, Richard Alan Simmons based on THE SHRINKING MAN by Richard Matheson

Stars: Grant Williams, Randy Stuart, April Kent, Paul Langton, William Schallert, Frank J. Scannell, Helene Marshall, Billy Curtis and Raymond Bailey.

Tagline: Victim of weird mist ! Day by day he shrinks! Science is baffled! Cat becomes monster! Terror at every turn! Deadly spider attacks! Lost in a flood’s fury!

The Plot…

Scott Carey (Williams) and his wife, Louise (Stuart) are vacationing on a small boat.  When his wife goes down to get some drinks a strange mist passes over the craft.  Scott is covered with particles from the mist.  Six months later Scott realizes he’s shrinking.

The best doctors confirm that Scott is shrinking and begin searching for a cure.  As Scott continues to shrink life becomes more difficult.  Before too long even the household cat becomes a danger.

If no cure is found, what will become of Scott as he continues to shrink…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Incredible Shrinking Man is based on Richard Matheson’s novel THE SHRINKING MAN.  Some scenes from the book were to risqué for 1957 and probably still are today.  They include Scott sleeping with a female midget, Scott abused by a drunk homosexual, and Scott peering through the window to watch a teenage baby-sitter.

Although the story ends with no cure found to save Scott, the studio got cold feet as filming progressed.  Director Jack Arnold, hot off The Creature from the Black Lagoon, refused.  Instead Arnold came up with a soliloquy for Scott to speak that ends the film.  Test audiences proved the decision to be a winner.

The large props used when Scott shrinks were later used on the Universal Studios Tour and the television series Land of the Giants.

Look for Mr. Drysdale (Raymond Bailey) of The Beverly Hillbillies fame playing a doctor.

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“The Mad Doctor of Market Street” (1942) / Z-View

The Mad Doctor of Market Street (1942)

Director:  Joseph H. Lewis

Screenplay: Al Martin

Stars: Una Merkel, Lionel Atwill, Nat Pendleton, Noble Johnson and John Eldredge

Tagline: GENIUS – OR FIEND?

The Plot…

Dr. Ralph Benson (Atwill) changes his name and boards a passenger ship after a man dies during one of Benson’s crazy experiments.  While on the ship Benson is recognized so he lures the man to a secluded area and throws him overboard.  A fire breaks out on the ship.  Benson and five others are the sole survivors.  Their lifeboat lands on an island populated by natives ready to kill them.

Benson learns that the Chief’s wife is on her deathbed.  Benson claims he can cure her.  When a shot of adrenaline revives the woman, the Chief thinks Benson has magical powers.  Benson sets himself up as a god.  He plans to continue his experiments starting with the other survivors.  Trapped on an island with a mad doctor and natives ready to kill them, the survivors have little chance for life.

Unless…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Mad Doctor of Market Street is about what you’d expect for a low budget B film of the early 40s.  The murders are tame or appear off screen.  There’s an attempt at humor.  The one surprising thing and it is pretty grim even though it appears off screen is — BIG SPOILER ALERT — the fire that alerts the search party that there are survivors on the island comes from the natives burning the doctor alive!

The Mad Doctor of Market Street (1942) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“The Why Files: Season 2” (2021) / Z-View

The Why Files: Season 2 (2021)

Creator:  Andrew Gentile

Stars: Andrew Gentile

Tagline: Where Cool Nerds Laugh and Learn

The Plot…

The Why Files started as a weekly Youtube podcast where the host, Andrew Gentile looked at myths, legends, strange phenomena and more.  Gentile approaches each subject with respect and the right touch of humor.  After explaining the subject he then explains what part is true, debunks parts that can be and admits if the truth isn’t known.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Andrew Gentile is an excellent host.  His sidekick is a Hecklefish that adds humor.

Some of my favorite episodes from season two include: Apollo 20: The Secret Mission to the Moon; The Mysterious Case of the Circleville Letters; The Truth Behind Possession and Exorcisms; How a UFO Caused the Battle of Los Angeles; Bigfoot Aliens KGB? Dyatlov Pass Explained; John Titor: Time Traveler, Soldier, Savior; Visitor from Another Dimension: the Man from Taured; What Lies Below? The Denver Airport Conspiracy; Valiant Thor: A UFO, the Pentagon and a 3-year Mission to Save the World..

The Why Files: Season 2 (2021) earns 5 of 5 stars.

“The Strain”: Season 1 (2014) / Z-View

The Strain: Season 1 (2014)

Created by:  Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan

Directors:  Guillermo del Toro (ep. 1); David Semel (eps. 2 – 3); Keith Gordon (ep. 4); Peter Weller (eps. 5 – 6, 11); Charlotte Sieling (eps. 7, 9); Guy Ferland (ep. 8); John Dahl (ep. 10); Deran Sarafian (ep. 12); Phil Abraham (ep. 13)

Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan (eps. 2, 8); David Weddle, Bradley Thompson (eps. 2, 7); Chuck Hogan (ep. 3); Regina Corrado (eps. 4, 9); Gennifer Hutchison (eps. 5, 10); Justin Britt-Gibson (ep. 6); Justin Britt-Gibson, Chuck Hogan (ep. 11); Carlton Cruse, David Weddle, Bradley Thompson (ep. 12); Carlton Cruse, Chuck Hogan (ep. 13)

Stars: Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Jim Watson, Mía Maestro, Kevin Durand, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Jack Kesy, Natalie Brown, Miguel Gomez, Ben Hyland, Ruta Gedmintas, Pedro Miguel Arce, Adriana Barraza and Sean Astin.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

A passenger plan lands in New York City.  All but four people on board are dead.  Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather (Stohl) of the CDC is sent in with a small team to determine the cause.  When his efforts to quarantine the four survivors is refused, Eph believes that they will potentially transmit the unknown virus to to others.

Meanwhile Professor Abraham Setrakian (Bradley), a holocaust survivor, believes the cause is strigoi more commonly referred to as vampires.  Setrakian explains these are nothing like movie vampires.  Of course no one believes the old man.

The truth is strigoi are behind the deaths.  A “Master” strigoi is making his move to bring war on humans. The Master is aided by a sickly billionaire who has been promised eternal life and a former Nazi commandant who has aided the master for decades.  Eph and Setrakian are pulling together a team of people who have seen strigoi in action.

The fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan have created a modern day vampire tale with a backstory that extends not just decades, but centuries.  The vampires aren’t the classic creatures of the night seen in countless movies.  And the stakes aren’t just a beautiful woman’s soul.  Here the fate of the world is at risk.

The writers should be commended for creating a huge cast of interesting characters with wonderful backstories.  Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather played by Corey Stoll is the lead.  It isn’t often the “star” is given so many character flaws.  Several members of the supporting cast have lived up to the title co-star.  Kudos to David Bradley as Professor Abraham Setrakian, Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet and Miguel Gomez as Augustin “Gus” Elizalde for playing characters that make the show sing. Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer, the sickly billionaire who aides the Master and Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichhorst, the Nazi vampire acolyte who has served the Master for decades deserve kudos as well.

Although Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan wrote a Strain trilogy of novels, the series doesn’t follow them exactly.

The Strain: Season 1 (2019) earns 5 of 5 stars.