The Red Menace Finally Watches “The Flash” Season One

Anyone who’s read these pages knows that I am a big fan of The Flash, both in comics and the DC Animated universe. This has led to several folks asking me what I thought of the CW’s live action Flash tv show, and to me awkwardly explaining that I hadn’t actually watched it yet. There’s nothing we keep up with on a weekly basis in our household, and we don’t have a DVR, so I can really only watch shows that come to Amazon or Netflix.

Well, that dream is finally realized and Mr. Menace and I watched the entire first season of “The Flash” in the matter of a few weeks. So how does it hold up? Do I still love the fastest man alive, or has my enthusiasm been dampened? Let’s break it down into a few key points. (NB: Generally spoiler-free, but I allude to the overall plot points, because let’s face it – I am actually the LAST PERSON IN AMERICA watching this show. You all know what happened.)

Barry strikes a dramatic pose.

Barry strikes a dramatic pose.

The Hero: If you’ve read my other posts on this subject, you know that my personal favorite Flash is the third incarnation, Wally West. The CW show, like its 90’s predecessor, focuses instead on the second Flash, Barry Allen. Or at least, it says it does – the character is called Barry, and like the Silver Age Flash, he’s a forensic detective. However, when you look at the personality of this Barry Allen (played adorably well by Grant Gustin) he looks far more like Wally. Barry in his original comics was quite straight and narrow, with a more black and white idea of justice. Wally was more fun and warm, with a mind towards rehabilitating his rogues rather than simply punishing them. Overall, that seems to be the Flash that the CW is going for, to the point that Mr. Menace and I refer to the character as “Barley.” He’s Wally, as far as I’m concerned, but with Barry’s name and allies. In the end it doesn’t hurt the show, but it occasionally puzzles me deeply, particularly when they portray things like Barry going on a date with Linda Park (traditionally Wally’s love interest.) In terms of acting, Gustin does a great job portraying a young, inexperienced Flash who is still finding his literal and metaphorical feet. He’s adorably awkward, but looks more and more comfortable in his heroic role as the time goes on.

Team Flash, scanning for danger.

Team Flash, scanning for danger.

The Team: The set-up to the show is that Barry gets his powers when STAR Labs is experimenting with a particle accelerator that malfunctions, bathing Central City in a mysterious radiation that imbues some of the citizens, including him, with amazing abilities. As a result most of the STAR team is injured or dispersed, but the remaining crew – founder and mysterious genius, Harrison Wells, bioengineer Caitlin Snow, and mechanical engineer Cisco Ramon – take Barry under their wing and try to help him understand his powers. (Even though betrayal lurks within the team, you still feel like they genuinely love each other. It’s complicated.) Barry’s other allies include his adoptive family, Detective Joe West and his daughter, Iris, with whom Barry is secretly (pretty much only to Iris) in love; his biological father, Henry Allen, who is wrongly imprisoned for the murder of Barry’s mother, and Eddie Thawn, Joe’s partner on the police force and Iris’ boyfriend. This motley crew provide different supports and tensions for Barry throughout the season, and while there are some melodramatic notes (hey, this show is on the CW), one of the things I really like about the series is that it understands that the Flash is all about family. In the comics, the long line of speedsters from Jay to Barry to Wally to Bart aren’t just passing on a mantle – they’re connected in ways that make them both literally and figuratively a family, and the show seems to get the importance of that – Barry has the family he’s related to, in his father, but also the one that raised him in Joe and Iris, and the one that he himself adopts in the denizens of STAR Labs. This gives the show some of the heart that is so important to what I love about this hero.

Barry and Joe, bonding.

Barry and Joe, bonding.

That’s not to say that it’s perfectly handled – the team is oddly comfortable with killing several of the villains Barry fights, and even in a universe that has established the existence of Lazarus pits, this seems a bit callous, and even worse, out of character. Though Barry isn’t personally responsible for the bulk of these villain deaths, he seems less chagrined by them happening than I would expect from the sort of hero who actively helps his enemies to find redemption.

In addition, everyone is incredibly casual with Barry’s identity, to the point where it almost seems meaningless to wear a mask at all. It seems like by the end of the series all of Central City knows who the Flash is, and if they don’t, they can just waltz through the non-existent security at STAR Labs and find out.

In spite of these flaws, however, I appreciate Barry’s chosen family. The actors, once again, are well-suited to their roles; for example, Cisco should be annoying but instead is genuinely funny, thanks to the skills of Carlos Valdez. For a CW melodrama, there’s a surprising amount of nuance and character growth, even in the first season, and I’m interested to see where Season 2 will take it.

This post is getting long, and since it’s Thanksgiving here in the States tomorrow, there’s plenty of baking and then eating to be done, so I’m pausing here. Tune in next month, when I break down my feelings about the Rogues and storylines! In the meantime, if you’ve watched the show, tell me what you think in the comments. But no Season 2 spoilers, please – I remain too slow to keep up with the Flash.

Event Recap: Futurama Trivia Night

Last month The Goog (of Night Vale Bonus post fame) and Tiny Doom took the lead as we hosted our first ever Futurama Trivia Night.  And boy, was it a success.  So whether you joined us and want to relive some of the delightful memories or want to size up our events in case you would like to join us in the future, I have good news everyone…we are doing a recap.


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Bonus Post- The Goog attends the Welcome to Night Vale book signing

On October 21st, I didn’t go back to any sort of present future, I went to the first show of the Welcome to Night Vale book tour.  I was lucky that the tour started not only in Massachusetts, but a short bus ride from my home, at the Regent Theater, in Arlington!

Welcome to Night Vale, a favorite among the Ladies, is a podcast that depicts life in a small town through the all-seeing-eyes of the local radio host, Cecil.  In this town all conspiracy theories are true, time has little meaning and the dog park is so much more than it seems (if it were legal to look at, that is).  The podcast creators decided to write a book where we will get to see Night Vale from a new perspective.  Readers will see different locations, and meet new characters along with the well known inhabitants, all while keeping the same odd and often dark, humor intact.

20151021_192256The moderator for the pre-signing talk was Laurie Penny, who was very funny and often geeked out along with the crowd over the answers that creators, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, gave.  She asked them about how they first met, which was in NY (Washington Square, I believe) where Cranor was doing a performance art piece where he burned a book he did not like.  After the performance, Fink came up to talk to him and told him it was the most immoral thing he had ever seen.  They have worked together ever since.

The pair explained how they have a great working relationship along with their friendship.  They never argue, they work by coming up with ideas together then each go their separate way to write out the plot or story, after that they trade the work a week later and edit and tweak what the other wrote. The great motivation for getting things done on time is guilt and shame, since they have each other to be accountable to, neither wants to make things difficult for the other.  Imagine if all working relationships were like that?!
Joseph Fink talked a little about all the traveling they have been doing for the live shows and how he never gets used to flying, which terrifies him. Basically he’s facing his own mortality every time they have to get on a plane, which is two or three times a week!  The good news was that Jeffrey Cranor was thrilled to be hitting Platinum on his airline later this week, which didn’t much impress Fink.  They took a train to Boston, so there’s that!
They answered a few questions from the audience, which were basically what you expect.  One question about why they think they have such a young audience stumped them.  They just write what they enjoy, the audience came to them and just happened to be young.  Cranor suspects that the fact that the main character in the podcast, Cecil, is gay, but that it’s just treated as a part of the character, it doesn’t define him nor has ever been a plot point, (which happens so rarely in media) that it might be a large part of the popularity.
My two cents: I don’t think he’s wrong and I suspect that this is a major draw.  Not to mention that the podcast really does have something for everyone.  There are secrets to draw out, mysteries upon mysteries to unravel, Lovecraftian horrors taken as normal everyday happenings, romance, action, an eclectic cast of oddball characters, music in every episode and it’s all wrapped around great writing and a fun engaging performance.
The last bits of news they gave us was that they are already working on the next Night Vale book!  Hopefully this one is successful enough that we get it (I suspect that won’t be a problem).  The other interesting thing they revealed is that they are working on a few new podcasts that don’t involve Night Vale, one of which already has some scripts finished, but they didn’t feel comfortable announcing a release date on those just yet.

20151109_180912My favorite part of the book so far?  No dust jacket!  No stupid cover to get sweaty or rip, all the art is part of the actual cover.  I wish more books went this route.

Now to get reading!  Just watch out for Librarians. *shivers*
p.s.- The recent episode “An Epilogue” seems to be the epilogue to the events in the book!

Let’s Check In On ‘The Muppets’

The Muppets 2015 TV show

Back in April, when we barely knew anything about the proposed new TV show starring the Muppets, I wrote up a list of qualities I thought would be essential for a successful new Muppet show. Now the show (called The Muppets, just like the group of characters and the recent movie, making it difficult to talk about any of them) has seven episodes under its belt. The series’ show runner is stepping down and there are rumblings of a reboot after the midseason break, neither of which suggest that the ratings are great. But how has the show done at fulfilling my essential Muppet criteria? Let’s take a look: Continue reading

Comic Characters You Should Know: Jessica Jones

The Jessica Jones Netflix series is set to start on November 20. While Daredevil has shown us that you don’t need to be familiar with the source material to enjoy the show, it’s sometimes nice to get some background on a character.  I guess it should be said, if you haven’t already read the comics, and you want to go into the show completely fresh, you may want to skip this post.  But I am trying to keep things higher level so as not to unwittingly spoil.

Jessica Jones is a Marvel character who appears primarily in 2 comic series, Alias, and The Pulse.  I read them both and hooo boy are they different.

imageAlias was a 28 issue series back in the early 2000’s. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Alias was the title that launched Marvel’s Max comic line.  The Max books are R-rated, darker, rougher, NOT ALL AGES and Alias jumps into that headfirst. Jessica Jones was a new character, created explicitly for this series.  When we are introduced to her, right away we realize she’s far step away from other female characters we have seen in the comic world.  Jessica is a super-powered human, but she’s is not a superhero.  As the owner and only employee of PI firm Alias Investigations, Jessica is a hard drinker, a chain smoker, who curses like a sailor raised by a truck driver.  She’s angry, and paranoid, and doesn’t suffer fools for a moment.  You want to talk damaged characters?  Jessica is a human train wreck.  And that’s what’s so great about her.  She’s not one of the bright eyed, impossibly coiffed, female characters who were (still are?) prevalent in comics.  She’s how you feel on your darkest days when you have completely lost your way so badly that you can’t determine what’s good from what’s not.

So I debated talking about “that scene.”  I will, but I am going to keep it very brief.  Yes, in the first few pages there is a sex scene that implies Jessica is well, adventurous. Less than being character building,  I took it as a way to show “hey, these aren’t comics code comics.”  To my read it’s consensual so that’s all I’m going to say about it.  We are all grown ups here.

Consent is actually a big theme in Jessica’s story. The big deal is less what she consents to, but rather how she loses free will and the effect it has on her. This is the real crux of her story. When we meet Jessica she is working as a private investigator in the superhero world, have firmly retired from costumed hero-ing.  The first 4 story arc in the series have Jessica using what she learned in her hero days to work on cases that don’t necessitate Avengers-level attention, but do take someone with the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities that Jessica has.  We don’t learn the specifics of why Jessica has retired until the last story arc where both her origin and why she got out of the superhero game is revealed.   image
The story line, “Purple,”give us a look at Jessica’s main foe, Zebediah Killgrave, The Purple Man.   Admittedly, naming a villain The Purple Man is kinda doofy.  But his powers of pheromone-based mind control make him one of the more frightening characters in the Marvel universe.  Mind control powers are not new, but there is something particularly insidious about Killgrave, and how his powers work, that make him particularly damaging.


The Pulse
imageThe Pulse is less about Jessica and more about The Daily Bugle newspaper.  It’s the shiny, slick, and frankly, antiseptic follow-up to Alias that continues to follow Jessica’s story among other happenings at the Bugle.  The Pulse is not a Max series and therefore the tone is completely different from Alias.  Or at least that’s what I am going to blame it on since the writer is the same.  Jessica is no longer a private eye, she’s sort of a roving lifestyle reporter for “The Pulse,” the superhero section of the Bugle.  Also, Jessica is pregnant.   image
Yup, she’s pregnant.  Did I mention she’s pregnant?  Don’t worry, she mentions it on almost every page, so you know, you’ll figure it out eventually.  Pregnancy has apparently changed Jessica from a well-developed character with nuances, into a woman with super abilities who is pregnant.  And that seems to be about it, there is very little left of the Jessica we saw in Alias.  I really really like damaged, paranoid, angry Jessica.  She was real.  This new version is so generic that I swear, when I picked up the book after a week-long reading break, I didn’t even realize the character on the page was supposed to be her (which is commentary on the art and the story)!  Yeah, The Pulse is pretty disappointing.

So, if you feel like reading, I recommend you spend some time with Alias, and skip The Pulse.  From the previews it looks like the Netflix series is going more along the Alias route anyway.  Which is great since my hope for the show is that was get a nuanced female character who tries to battles her demons and maybe finds her way to the other side without losing everything she was.

Rapid City: Below Zero – Review


Comics and Cocktails Flyer

A few weeks ago, fellow Lady Tiny Doom and I took part in a very fun event hosted by our comrades in comics at Bad Kids Press. Called “Comics and Cocktails,” the concept was pretty simple and brilliant – they teamed up with a local restaurant/bar, Orleans, which would make drinks related to Bad Kids Press titles (said libations designed by yours truly) and provide space for the creators to set up tables and sell their work. In exchange, Bad Kids Press bought some tasty appetizers for their fans and brought in some additional patronage for Orleans on a Thursday night.

It was a grand time, and one of the things I liked about it was that it gave me a chance to explore some of the BKP titles I wasn’t as familiar with in a relaxed setting, far less hectic than Comicon or even the store events. One of those titles was Rapid City:Below Zero by Josh Dahl and drawn by Shawn Langley – I knew it was a super-hero story, but that was about it. After chatting with Josh at Comics & Cocktails, I decided to give it a read. Issues 1-3 are out so far. Here are my thoughts:Print

For starters, I learned quickly that this wasn’t quite a super-HERO story – instead, it’s a tale from the perspective of a super-powered villain, Icicle. As her name suggests, Icicle has cold powers – she can manipulate temperature, generate ice, and seems to be impervious to the cold. We meet her on the worst day of her life – the day of a heist gone wrong. The ringleader of the gang pulling the job, Coil, betrayed the entire crew, blowing up everyone in it – including Icicle’s boyfriend, Pile Driver. Icicle and one other thief, Claw Hammer, manage to survive the blast – and Icicle goes about making her entire purpose in life to exact revenge on Coil.

Coil, meanwhile, uses the loot from the heist to buy his way up the criminal underground ladder – but his end game hasn’t been revealed just yet.

Icicle is a complex character – Dahl tells her story non-linearly, with flashbacks to her past and how she ended up as a super-powered criminal. The reader is given the sense that her powers are a reflection of her upbringing and history, that everyone and everything in her life has been cold, unfeeling, except for Pile Driver. The crimes she commits are an attempt to make enough money to get away from it all, but once Pile Driver is taken from her, she’s set on a path of real darkness. Will she become a remorseless killing machine?

Well, if you really want to find out, you might want to help the fourth book come out! The guys are running a Kickstarter to finish the arc, and it ends in just 3 days. So if this sounds like it’s up your alley, consider making a pledge. You’d be promoting both a local comic and a female-led one, something the Ladies of Comicazi are always proud to support!

Recommended age: This is definitely not an all-ages book. There’s violence against humans, dogs, and lizard-men, and while none of it is too graphic, I would steer clear for anyone under late teens.

You might like it if: You’re a fan of Astro City. While Dahl’s characters are a bit dirtier and more rough and tumble than the denizens of Astro City (and less directly tied into a comprehensive knowledge of comic book history), they are in the same vein of original super-powered characters being used to tell stories that reflect our regular, un-powered human condition. Dahl works with system-involved youth, and he drew on those experiences to explore the choices and lack of them that draw young people into crime.

Bonus features: Dahl has an already completed story arc from Rapid City called Objects at Rest, and by backing the Kickstarter you can purchase a copy of that too!

Bonus Post: Disney Highlights


Town Hall and pretty much the whole park get gussied up for Halloween. Did I ever mention how much I love bunting?



Victorian Pumpkin Lady loves you “this much!”



Anything with an angry Donald on it makes me happy. Therefore, all of Micky’s Philharmagic makes me happy.



Cartoon Sara provided me with a list of acceptable names for this thing. They include Spaceship Earth, and That Giant Golf Ball Thing, but NOT Mission Space or Disney’s Death Star.



Oh man, you should have seen all the faces and people pushing their dishes away when Chef Gibb explained what Haggis was. Priceless!



Nom, and I don’t even care for Sea Marshmallows, um, I mean scallops…



I have tried many times to get a good pic of this Fiji Mermaid carving outside of Voyage of the Little Mermaid. I think he wants to kiss, but I am not ready for that level of commitment.

Grown-Ups’ Guide to Disney: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

This weekend, Cartoon Sara and I returned from another trip to Walt Disney World.  This didn’t leave a lot of time for gaming with The Boy, so this week I wanted to talk about our recent trip.

Mickey’s Not So Scary (Oh, how I hate the name) Halloween Party is a special ticketed event held on select nights in September and October, plus the first night of November.  The Magic Kingdom closes to most of the public 7pm and those who purchase party tickets are treated to a night of special shows, parades, fireworks, character greets, and even more additional pay events.  The fan following for this event can be pretty enthusiastic, but when an adult ticket is going to cost you around $70, you can’t help but start to wonder if this event is really worth the cold hard cash.


The song they play during this parade will make your skin crawl, but not in a good way.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are thinking about attending either as an adult or with your family:

You can wear costumes, even adults.

It is possible that you have always dreamed of running around the Magic Kingdom in full costume.  The trouble is that if you are an adult, Disney doesn’t really encourage such things.  In fact, people have been booted out of the park for wearing a costume that might be easily confused with that of an actual paid character performer.  Disney spends a lot of money training their walk-around characters and they don’t want some Tinkerbell impostor interacting with the guests without the Disney seal of approval.  I know for some people this feels a little extreme, but it makes a lot of sense.  You get two Tinkerbells crossing paths and the whole illusion can be ruined for a little one.  And once you see how genuine and real those little kids are with the Disney characters, you won’t want anyone ruining things for them either.

During the Halloween Party however, all bets are off when it comes to costumes.  People and families must plan all year because rarely has the people watching been so good when I have been at the park.  And don’t even get me started on how sweet it can be to see Mom and Dad as Jasmine and Aladdin carting around a baby dressed as Abu.

Candy, Candy, Candy

During the Halloween party, everyone gets a bag and is welcome to visit the candy stations.  You don’t even have to say “Trick or Treat” before a cast member starts shoveling candy into your bag.  The good news is that the candy is good stuff, and one stop at the treat station had us sugared up for the rest of the night.  So that is certainly a plus.  If you put this into the perspective of your $70 ticket, it becomes a lot less impressive because the candy lines can also get very long.  And while I stood there, negotiating trades for The Boy’s Now and Laters, it certainly crossed my mind that I could buy an awful lot of candy with $70.



Special Things – Shows, Parades, and Rides

I feel that this is where you can see the real value of your party ticket.  Disney has exclusive shows, fireworks, and a parade that can only be seen during the party.  For me, this turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag.  Though Disney will only sell a certain amount of tickets for the party event, the place was still really crowded and I am not a fan of getting dirty looks from parents when I find myself standing in front of their children (even if I have been there for 15 mins already and they are only coming up behind me a few minutes before the show is supposed to start).  Also, I am not a huge fan of the shows that happen in front of the castle as they are often too cheesy even for me.  The thing is that this year’s show has a return of the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus and they are just SOOOOOOOO amazing.  No really, feel free to spoil yourself by watching the video below.  I thought my face was going to snap off from all the smiling and nostalgic glee.

Beyond that though, I am not that into character greets and fireworks.  Also, they only keep certain rides open, so it is possible that you were trying to get to something earlier in the day that you still won’t be able to get to at night.  Happily, most of the popular things are still running and the lines stay manageable since there are no fast passes are available, putting everyone essentially in the same spooky boat.

General Ambiance

You gotta give it to Disney when it comes setting the stage.  As soon as the party starts, all the lights change in the park and even the cast members have changed into their party clothes.  I was really quite impressed.  So much that I even grabbed The Boy and Cartoon Sara at the Haunted Mansion to sneak a peek at a cast member who had eerily positioned herself in one of the hallways, staring at guests as they walked by.  Oh, and she had skeletal make-up and cobwebs in her hair.  Very cool.  But $70 cool?


I think she wants my $70 too…

More chances to spend all your money!

The parks is just full of party “exclusives” to spend your money on.  T-shirts, $15 pins, mugs…  It’s true that you can find some of these elsewhere and later, but it can be very hard to resist that lemonade slush filled poison apple mug when you are trying to stay up for an 11pm parade.  Disney is a business and their business is making money.  Don’t you ever forget that.  And in case you were wondering, of course I bought that mug.


There is nothing to say here, other than that it is perfect and it’s mine.

Final Judgement

While I don’t have any serious regrets about going, I will say that attending this event is something that I would certainly plan better going forward.  With the high prices, this party can get insanely expensive before you even enter the park.  The idea here is to decide what is important to you.  Want a night when you can see as many Disney villain as possible?  Love parades and fireworks to an insatiable but healthy degree?  This party might be your dream come true.  But if you have already been at the park all day, there is a very good chance you have done all the rides and are feeling tired, this leaves getting your money’s worth feeling more like a chore than a fun challenge.  Don’t quite love the cutesy shows and literally bubble-gum scent parade floats?  An evening at Trader Sam’s Grotto might be more up your alley instead.  As much as I enjoyed myself, I couldn’t help but tally things in my head and think about what other things The Boy and I might have been able to do for $140.  Especially since the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival is happening at the same time.  Actually, now that I think about it, I think I might have seriously enjoyed this event more with a beer, or a shot of rum in my Dole Whip. ;)  Sadly, that kind of thing is impossible to come by in the Magic Kingdom.

If I were to attend this event again, I would not bother buying a ticket for the day.  Instead, I would just buy a pass that with one less day and just use the event ticket to attend in the evening.  I could then spend the day relaxing and getting ready.  Otherwise, I would just leave the park at 7pm, avoid the party completely and find a quiet lounge to wind down in. Maybe destroy some poor unsuspecting but well-meaning families at Disney pub trivia.  Now that my friends, is something I can say without a doubt is a good time.

Sounds like a good time?  Ever been to the event yourself and want a chance to chime in?  You know what to do!  Get all up in that comments section below!

Cartoon Sara Listens to FOUR Podcasts (that still aren’t Night Vale)

It’s been quite a while since I last talked about podcasts I enjoy and explained why Welcome to Night Vale wasn’t on that list. (Short answer: because you’re all listening to it already.) And you know what I never hear anybody saying? “Cartoon Sara, I do not need any podcast recommendations.” With that in mind, here are four of the many podcasts that are on my current list of favorites.

I Was There Too Podcast

I Was There Too

The premise of I Was There Too is simple: comedian and actor Matt Gourley interviews actors about their experiences on a particular famous film or films. The twist is that these aren’t the stars of the movies who constantly get asked about their famous roles, but actors who played smaller parts or who aren’t as frequently interviewed. The result is a series of unique and intimate looks of the making of movies that range from critical successes to cult classics. Ever want to know what it was like watching Daniel Day Lewis perform the “milkshake” scene in person, how it feels to be yelled at by Samuel L. Jackson’s Jules in Pulp Fiction, or the challenges of acting while wearing a turtle suit? Then this is the podcast for you.

Recommended Episode: If you’re having trouble picking an episode to start with, I highly recommend the interview with Jenette Goldstein, best known as my personal hero Private Vasquez from Aliens. Turns out she really did think they meant “illegal aliens.”

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October is for Horror: 3 Netflix Hidden Gems

Actually I think any month is for horror, but as soon as October hits you have a great excuse to binge (I’m watching The Shining as I type this).  If you are a horror fan Netflix offers a lot of options.  Not all are great, but I found three I enjoyed, some older, some newer, and a few more that are still in the queue for the lead-up to Halloween (and after).

Since The Goog is also a big horror fan, and since he also watched these movies with me, he’s chiming in his thoughts too.  Two reviews, no waiting!

Nightbreed –
Things to watch

What it’s about:  Boone is haunted by nightmares about a city of monsters called Midian.  He goes to a psychiatrist for help, but rather than help him his doctor leads him to believe he is a serial killer.  In his mania Boone takes off to find the city in his dreams, there he finds the Nightbreed, a monster tribe who help Boone figure out who he really is.

Why you should check it out: Clive Barker, of Hellraiser fame, both wrote and directed this movie so sit back and get ready to get your 90’s fantasy horror on.  The Nightbreed themselves are fantastical in their scariness.  Baker is clearly working to create a larger mythos and as such, the Nightbreed have their own laws and customs and generally do not mingle with “the above” world.  They worship and protect their creator and understand that times are beginning to change for them.  Also,the film is scored by Danny Elfman, who really tries to capture the tribal element of the Nightbreed, using lots of drums and choral elements.  After watching this movie I mused on Facebook about why this hasn’t been turned into a series yet?  Lo and behold, something may in fact be in the works.  Note, Netflix offers the Directors Cut so if you have seen this movie before it might be a big different than you are used to.

Fun Fact: My mom saw me post something about this on Facebook, so she decided to watch it.  She LOVED it.  Especially the make-up effects.  I would not have seen that coming.

The Goog: While I’m not a huge Barker fan I have always loved Nightbreed.  He gives you just enough mythos to make you want to know more, it’s the same with a lot of the characters as well (which is mildly frustrating).  Some of the Nightbreed are really cool looking, like Peloquin, some are really funky, like Kinski, and some are like Clive Barker sketches and paintings come to life (meaning the anatomy doesn’t quite make sense, but is still neat to see).  There are some big changes between the theatrical and director’s cuts. Largely it’s deleted scenes that give more character development to Boone and Lori (Boone’s girlfriend) but the ending in the director’s cut is pretty different and much more open ended.  I’m very happy to see that we might get a t.v. show!  It’s about damn time.

Grabbers –

Things to watch
What it’s about: An island bound Irish fishing village is plagued by bloodsucking creatures who thrive in water. They realize their best protection drinking alcohol and make a last stand during a pub lock-in.

Why you should check it out:  Grabbers is Tremors meets Shaun of the Dead, with a sprinkle of Lovecraftian horror.  I enjoy a good horror comedy and this is a fun one. The Goog for real laughed out loud many times.  The Grabbers themselves are some great creature work.  CGI, yes, but watching a giant Grabber scraggling its way down the street was pure creepy joy.  Because this film is made in Ireland you may want to watch it with the sub-titles on.  The accents are STRONG, and having the subtitles going will help you get some of the Gaelic jokes (adds a visual element).

Fun fact: This movie has the adorable Russell Tovey (Doctor Who, Being Human, Sherlock) as a proper English scientist.

The Goog: Oh man, I loved this.  Definitely watch it with subtitles for all the reasons Tiny Doom mentioned.  If I had to pick one thing that I didn’t completely love, the ending was a bit cliche, which is disappointing only because the rest of the movie played with horror movie cliches so well.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved this, but I would have loved it more had the ending been something a little more unexpected.

The House of the Devil –
Things to watch
What it’s about– A college student in need of money accepts a babysitting job on the night of a lunar eclipse.  When she gets there she finds the clients don’t have any children, but do have ulterior motives.

Why you should check it out– This move was made in 2009, but has the look and feel of a late 70’s early 80’s horror movie.  The acting is solid and the typical tropes feel less derivative and more like an homage. It’s quiet and creepy, with a slower build-up.  Think Rosemary’s Baby rather than Halloween.  Watch this at night, in the dark, while waiting for a pizza delivery.

Fun Fact– This film claims to be based on actual events (muhahahahahah).

The Goog: The attention to detail in this is pretty great, they even filmed it on 16mm and used techniques and angles to capture the same feel of movies made at the time. The movie is a slow build, like TD says, the only time I actually questioned the pacing was a long drawn out scene of Samantha wandering the house and snooping about, which didn’t really build up any tension and just struck me as odd.  Other than that, great acting, and an ending I wasn’t expecting.

Above I  mentioned having more that are still in the queue:

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Trucker and Dale vs. Evil
Stake Land

Seen any of these?  Any more recommendations?