Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallow's Week Post 7: Devils

31 October . . . HALLOWEEN

But this is not the end. Halloween is merely All Hallow's EVE, so we'll get one more post in tomorrow for bad measure.

Which reminds me: my aunt really hates Halloween. Ever since I was a child, she rolled her eyes and tsk-ed at my mother for letting us dress up, trick or treat, and deface God's perfect pumpkins. My aunt and her husband continue to tag-team to be more self-righteous and more judgmental of others' values, beliefs, and sources of entertainment, and it has bothered me for a long, long time.

So, in honour of today, that Evilest of All Days in my aunt's eyes, I give you, my Five Favourite Devil-related Horror Movies.

1. The Omen (1976)
2. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
3. Constantine (2005)
4. The Devil's Advocate (1997)
5. Ghost Rider (2007)?

Here's tyranist's list:

1. The Omen
2. Stigmata
3. The Ninth Gate
4. Rosemary's Baby
5. The Devil's Advocate

I think I need to seek out more movies that qualify, if only so I can create a better list someday. I have to admit I never saw The Devils or The Devil Rides Out, or even To The Devil A Daughter, which should use some remedying.

This was difficult because I didn't know specifically where to draw the line. I considered putting down The Stand and Storm of the Century, because I liked both of those Stephen King miniseries (and honestly, because they came up when I did a search using "devil" as a keyword). But The Stand's villain is Randall Flagg, who may be a demon, but isn't the devil, and while "SOTC" has a more Biblical villain, he's still not THE devil, per se, and I felt I had to leave it off.

And Demon Knight was initially on my list, but that too, is a demon and not the devil, darn it.

Disturbing to me was that Ghostbusters came up on that "devil" search. That just makes me sad.

Rish "It's All For You" Outfield

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

All Hallow's Week Post 6: Slashers

30 October 2007

I'm in a bit of a funk right now, as I have very little going on in my life.

Luckily, I have my devil-worship. It's a nice cushion in life.

And horror movies are good too, since there's always a new one coming out (on DVD, I'd say there's at least one new one every single week).

As far as this blog goes, I got a bit behind on my lists, and I wish, as usual, that I had gotten started on this a week or two back, instead of a day in advance as I did it. When I talked with him about these lists, Tyranist suggested we do a Slasher movie list.

Now, I really love the Slasher subgenre. I know that, before what they're calling "torture porn" came along, it was the most reviled of the Horror subgenres. But I've loved it ever since . . . well, probably since I first saw Friday the 13th about twenty-five years back. And I make no apologies about that. Slashers are fun.

Or they can be, if done right.

Heck, they can be if done wrong too.

Tyranist's Five Favourite Slasher Films:

1. Halloween (1978)
2. Black Christmas (1974)
3. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
5. House on Sorority Row (1983)

And my five favourites:

1. Scream (1996)
2. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
3. Halloween (1978)*
4. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
5. Friday the 13th (1981)

I ought to write more about Slashers someday, and talk about the T&A Slasher, which is a subgenre of the subgenre. How about the Holiday-Themed T&A Slasher, anyone?

Rish Outfield

* I nearly put 2007 after it, just as a joke, but I was afraid that someone somewhere might accidentally stumble across this list and think I was serious, so I ultimately didn't dare.

Monday, October 29, 2007

All Hallow's Week Post 5: Horror Remakes

29 October 2007

One of my greatest pet-peeves as far as the movies go is the oversaturation of remakes on the market. I'd rather see sequels into the double-digits, or silly crossovers like Alien versus Predator, Freddy versus Jason and Roe versus Wade than to see them remake the originals.

But there can be good ones too. Sometimes really talented filmmakers are involved, or the original just wasn't that good, or a clever spin on an old idea comes along and we get a really great remake, prompting me to rethink my whole "Remakes Suck Orangutan Bags" philosophy. There are some good ones out there. But hey, there are good Alanis Morissette songs out there too. Doesn't make me a fan.

And here's a list of our five favourite Horror remakes.

Tyranist's remake picks:

1. Black Christmas (2006)
2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
3. Evil Dead 2 (1987)
4. The Mummy (1999)
5. Horror of Dracula (1958)

Rish's five favourites:

1. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
2. The Mummy (1999)
3. The Thing (1982)
4. The Grudge (2003)
5. Amityville Horror (2004)

I'm a little embarrassed about listing the Amityville remake, since people hate it so passionately. But you know, the movie really scared me, and it was a HELL of a lot better than the Margot Kidder/James Brolin one, so I stand by it.

What I don't stand by, though, is my confidence that these are my five favourites. I just know I'm missing a couple I truly love. I'm sure they'll come to me ten minutes after I publish this post.

Rish Outfield

Sunday, October 28, 2007

All Hallow's Week Post 4: Ghosts

28 October 2007

I think I was wrong the other day when I said that only Psychopath was used more on the HFC than Vampire. Looking over the stats, I saw that Ghost, along with Haunted Houses, Evil Spirits, and Poltergeists, were the Threats listed on NINETY-NINE titles. As soon as I review Right To Die, that'll put us to an even hundred.

So there's a lot to choose from. And it's difficult to come up with my Five Favourite Ghost Movies. I'll have to ask tyranist if it was hard for him.

1. The Messengers (2007)
2. The Sixth Sen--

Wait just a minute. Who is screwing with my list? I HATED The Messengers. Damn ghosts.

1. Poltergeist (1982)
2. The Sixth Sense (1999)
3. The Frighteners (1996)
4. Haunted (1995)
5. The Grudge (2004)

And tyranist's list:

1. Haunted (1995)
2. Frighteners (1996)
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
4. Candyman (1992)
5. The Grudge (2004)

Again, two lists that are suspiciously similar. I would've liked to have listed The Forgotten One (1990), just to stir things up. But ah well.

I have to admit I didn't think of Elm Street as being a ghost movie. Though what else is Fred Krueger than a ghost? A boogeyman, I suppose it could be argued, but Freddy was once a man who died, seeking revenge on those who killed him, and that's pretty ghost-like to me.

Rish Outfield

Saturday, October 27, 2007

All Hallows Week Post 3: Vampires

27 October 2007

In a script tyranist and I wrote back in college, one of the characters bemoans the overdone-ity of vampires in cinema.*

In fact, looking over the Horror Film Compendium's stats, I see that we've reviewed sixty-six films with Vampire as the Threat (and that doesn't count films featuring vampires in supporting roles). It's likely that only the all-inclusive Psychopath has more entries on our list than Vampire does.

So, there have been a lot of vampire flicks through the years. For some reason, that made narrowing my favourites down to five really difficult. I'm so not certain that my list is accurate that I think I'll list tyranist's first. Maybe that'll give me a couple minutes to rework my own list.

Tyranist's five favourite Vampire films:

1. Horror of Dracula (1958)
2. Lost Boys (1987)
3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
4. Blade II (2002)
5. Lifeforce (1985)

And this is Rish's list:

1. Underworld (2003)
2. Interview with the Vampire (1994)
3. From Dusk Till Dawn (1995)
4. Blade II (2002)
5. Dracula 2000 (2000)

Wow, that didn't go well. And people HATE Dracula 2000. Maybe I should've cheated and put the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" TV series down. That one's best of all.

Rish Outfield

*Maybe one of the reasons I didn't excel in school was my penchant for words like "overdoneity."

Friday, October 26, 2007

All Hallows Week Post 2: Zombies

26 October 2007

Here we are, another day closer to Halloween and Mexico's Day of the Dead. So I've got another post ready to go, this one citing our favourite Zombie movies.

As you know, opinions are like Adam's Apples . . . everybody has one. So, I guess it doesn't matter much what I thin--

Okay, it's been brought to my attention that some freakish people are born without Adam's Apples. Yikes, I can't even imagine running into one of them in a dark alley some night.

Regardless, since these are only opinions, it doesn't matter what I think are the five best zombie movies out there. I would be curious what you think, though, even if I roll my eyes so violently I lose a contact lense when I hear you've got Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave on your list.

When tyranist and I first started the Horror Film Compendium, we had to make a couple of conscious choices about what categories fell into. Our biggest choice was, of course, whether something was a horror film or not (more often than not, we decided that it was), but I remember specifically discussing what the difference between a Zombie, a Ghost, the Undead, and something like Frankenstein's Monster is (if any). The distinction is sometimes hard to make, and I'm sure we called (I recall deciding that Jason Voorhees in the first two Friday the 13th sequels was simply a Psychopath, then became a Ghost, and was later an Undead.

Zombies are reanimated corpses, whether through voodoo, radiation, cosmic rays, or the pen of George A. Romero. I think one of the big qualifiers is that they be mindless (or mostly mindless), rather than laughing, supernatural creatures that were formerly dead.

Oh yeah, here are my five favourites:

1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
2. Night of the Creeps (1986)*
3. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
4. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
5. Day of the Dead (1985)

And here are tyranist's favourites:

1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
2. Night of the Creeps (1986)**
3. Return of the Living Dead (1984)
4. Dead Alive (1992)
5. Plague of the Zombies (1966)

This list gives me comfort, for while I may not ever be a scientist, a werewolf, or an alien, I know that someday soon, I'll at least be dead.

Rish Outfield

*I feel a little guilty listing this one, since it's technically an alien movie (the alien parasites cause the dead to come back to life), but I just love it so dern much that I had to list it. Sorry, folks.

**Amazingly, tyranist had also put Creeps as his number two, completely independent of my list. Same Number One too.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

All Hallows Week Post 1: Werewolves

25 October 2007

I've said it again and again on the HFC: the werewolf is my favourite cinematic monster.

I think there's something about a person (good or evil) who becomes a hairy, deadly creature of the night, impossible to reason with, practically impossible to stop, that has always appealed to me. Obviously, the most famous cinematic werewolf was Lon Chaney Junior, whose sad, suicidal Larry Talbot character became a snarling, vicious monster resonated with me years before I even saw the film.

There are a lot of vampire movies out there (and a lot of mad doctor and alien and serial killer and undead movies), but there aren't a lot of werewolf ones. That probably has much to do with the difficulty of pulling off an effective lycanthrope through makeup or costumes or puppetry or computer effects or . . . well, simply using a dog.

But, for better or worse, this is my list of Five Favourite Werewolf Movies:

1. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
2. Dog Soldiers (2002)
3. Underworld (2003)
4. The Wolf Man (1941)*
5. House of Frankenstein (1944)

And this is tyranist's list:

1. The Wolf Man (1941)
2. Dog Soldiers (2002)
3. American Werewolf in London (1981)
4. Curse of the Werewolf (1961)
5. Underworld (2003)

This list also reminds me that I ought to seek out more werewolf movies. All in all, I counted maybe thirty-three films with werewolves in them that I have seen, and that includes Teen Wolf, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, and Harry Potter 3 (which I sort of intentionally neglected to list here)!

I promise you that before the year is out, I'll add a thirty-fourth movie to my list.

Rish Outfield

*I both look forard to and dread the day in 2009 when Andrew Kevin Walker and Mark Romanek remake The Wolf Man with Benicio Del Toro. Hopefully, I can add it to my list, but then again, as it's a remake, if I love it, it will turn me into what I most despise. Not a werewolf, of course, but a half-man, half-butthole.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

All Hallow's Week Begins

24 October 2007

This has gotta be the best week of the year, at least for a Horror and Halloween fan like me. Tyranist's TiVo is rapidly filling up with all the scary flicks appearing on television each night, all the websites are talking about spooktastic books and movies and songs right now, and my next-door neighbor has been spending every waking hour decorating up his front yard like a giant cemetery (god bless him).

So, what can I do, with my own little blog that no one ever sees, to celebrate the season?

I suppose I could make a list of my favourite movies in my favourite genre: Horror. I could do a different list each day this week. In fact, I'll get off my duff right now and ask tyranist to contribute as well. It'll be just like the Horror Film Compendium, only on time and less-well done.

Enjoy All Hallow's Week!


Buffy Sunday (21 October) Part I

There hasn't been much "Buffy" watching this month, as tyranist has been off doing his job, making the world a safe place for white people.

As he is out of town yet again this week, he invited me over on Sunday for a bit of vampire slayage. Because we were one "Angel" behind, I hoped we'd have time for two "Angel"s and one "Buffy," and he seemed amenable to the whole thing.

It was to my delight that I saw the first episode we had on our plate was called "Five By Five," which could only mean that Faith was guest-starring on "Angel." I found it odd, though, that the phrase "five by five" wasn't uttered in the whole show.

When last we saw our bad girl vampire slayer, she had stolen Buffy's body (and her man) and then been sent packing, alone again (naturally). When this episode begins, Angel rescues a punk kid from a group of demons, sent after him by the evil lawfirm Wolfram & Hart, to prevent him from testifying in court. Angel tries to convince him to make a stand and be a witness, and eventually, he is successful. They show up in the courtroom (in daylight, as usual) just in time, and testify, assumedly crucifying Wolfheart & Fram's client.

Meanwhile, Faith arrives in L.A., and is immediately hit on by a sleazy dude at the bus station who offers her a place to stay in return for . . . her kidney, perhaps. Faith floors the guy, takes his wallet and keys, and heads for his (ultra-nice, ultra-spacious) apartment, which is hers now. I just don't know that I could like Faith any more than I do. Later, she hits a nightclub, then hits a chick who doesn't like her dancing with her boyfriend. And then she hits the boyfriend. Fun is had by . . . well, only Faith, pretty much.

Intermittently during the episode, we flash back to Angelus's vampire exploits with Darla in the old country. She presents him with a Gypsy girl to feed on, and he digs in. Turns out this was the wrong victim to take a bite out of. One night, Darla finds that Angelus is a mess. In fact, he's Angelus no more, having been cursed to feel remorse and pain and guilt over his many sins. In utter misery, he turns to her for comfort, but she is revolted by this turn in him and throws him out of their shared house.

The Wolfram & Hart lawyer from the episode "Ring," Lilah Morgan, shows up again (I knew I was wise in mentioning her name), along with a couple other slimy lawyers (are there any other kind?), discuss their problems with Angel. They decide to hire a vampire slayer to get rid of him, and there just happens to be one in town.

Angel, Wesley, and Cordelia are walking around (in daylight, as usual), when a crossbow bolt flies through the air at Angel. He catches it, and all three are surprised to see Faith standing there. She announces her unfriendly intentions, and then disappears.

Angel tells the others to help him find out where Faith is staying, but to keep out of harm's way and let him deal with her. Wesley argues that Faith is not evil, but rather disturbed and in need of their help. I'd say those are famous last words, but I've seen the episode.

Angel goes back home to load up on weapons, and Faith shows up there. She raises the blinds in the office to let ostensibly-deadly sunlight in, and then tosses Angel a gun, telling him he should take his one chance to kill her. Angel doesn't hesitate, and shoots, but aiming for her leg. She laughs: it was just a blank, and now she knows he's not really playing for keeps. She lets him know she will have no compunctions about killing him, and ducks out into the daylight.

Angel puts on a nice suit and goes to the Wolfram & Hart building, sneaking into Bad Prettyboy Lawyer Number One's office, trying to find out where Faith is staying. Bad Prettyboy Lawyer No. 1* comes in, having been tipped off by their mystical security system, and they bicker for a moment before Angel leaves.

Wesley accompanies Cordelia back to her apartment, and at first, she can't enter: Dennis the Friendly Ghost is trying to warn her that Faith is inside. She enters anyway, and surprise surprise, Faith is inside. Faith floors Cordelia with one thrown elbow, and Wesley angrily punches her in retaliation. I was mighty impressed by that, but then Faith kicks Wesley clear across the room, ending that fight really quick.

Back in the Bad Old Days, Angel is wandering the 19th Century streets, starving and pathetic. He begs some rich folks for help (and for the use of their woman), and when they attack him, he attacks back, dragging the lady into an alley and biting her. But a moment later, Angel breaks away from her, staggering away and leaving her alive.

Angel finds Cordelia at her apartment, but Wesley is gone. Faith has taken him to her newly-acquired hideout, where she has tied him to a chair and proceeds to torture him. I couldn't help but think of Angelus doing the same thing to Giles as Faith beats, cuts, and prepares to burn her former Watcher.** She also seems bored, waiting for Angel arrive and put a stop to all this.

With Cordelia's help, Angel discovers that Faith took the bus station sleazy dude's apartment keys, and he goes there just as Faith is about to turn Wesley into the Wicker Man. She threatens Wesley with a knife, but he pushes himself out of the way, and Angel attacks. They have a really good fight, bursting out the apartment window and into the rainy alley below.

But the fight goes on way too long. It may be that Angel never intended to kill Faith, but as their battle continues, it becomes clear that he's not going to do it. And that's what she wants, it would seem. I guess I should've seen it coming, but Faith is overcome with guilt and self-loathing for her sins, just as the flashback Angel was. Finally, she breaks down, declaring herself evil and begging Angel to kill her. Instead, he embraces her there in the rain, and we fade to black.

Well, well, this was quite a surprise. I'll bet tyranist saw the turn of events coming, but I sure didn't. Faith seemed as irredeemably bad as . . . as Vin Diesel's career, I guess, and yet Angel was able to get to her as Buffy wasn't. Makes sense, though, as the parallels between them were hard to miss.

The episode was written by Jim Kouf, whose name I didn't recognise, but he co-wrote Rush Hour, National Treasure, and the Horror classic Snow Dogs. Oh, and speaking of Horror classics, Kouf apparently wrote The Boogens, a film that so scared me as a child that . . . oops, I just shat my pants. Nice work, Jim.

Next, we watched the BTVS episode, "New Moon Rising." I should've guessed from the title who it would guest-star, but I didn't. Instead, the stupid DVD menu gave it away, as it would that Buffy'd be in the next "Angel" episode, and it has with, let me see, EVERY episode since I've started watching them. Guess I would've been better off bootlegging them like I did with "Firefly."

In the episode, Oz returns to Sunnydale, throwing a spanner into Willow and Tara's burgeoning relationship. Oz has come back after going to Tibet and learning to control his transformations. He now uses a combination of herbs, charms, self-control, and a genital cuff to prevent becoming a werewolf. Tara, endearingly predicting the worst, expects that Willow will go back to him now, leaving her with no one to . . . practice black magic with.

This is made worse when she goes to Willow's door and finds Oz there, having spent the whole night telling her about his adventures catching frisbees with the Dali Lama. Oz is going to go back to school there, and hopes things will pick up where they left off. Willow is torn, it would seem, between the love of not-long-ago and the love of not-long-from-now.

When Buffy mentions to Riley about Oz's "condition," and Riley suggests Willow was pretty dumb to get involved with a creature of the night. This gives Buffy this week's excuse to get mad at him. They are, no question, better off just not talking.

The night before, some of Riley's Initiative buddies are attacked by a feral, wolf-like demon. When Riley is called in about this, he puts two and two together and suspects Oz.

When Buffy goes back to her room, Willow confides in her about her romantic conflict. Buffy, apparently, had no idea there was anything Sapphic going on between Willow and Tara, and is a wee bit freaked out by it. I have to wonder if I would have recognised their relationship with what it was (or where it was going, I don't know, they haven't been too explicit about what's been occurring, exactly), had I been in her shoes.

Spike is also in this episode. Well, he's in all the episodes now, so that's redundant, but what happens to him in this one is that he is approached by Adam the DemonCyborgGuy to form a tenuous alliance. Adam knows about the chip in Spike's head and how to remove it. He'll share this information in return for . . . well, we'll have to see.

Willow tells Tara that only talk passed between her and Oz, and they hug. Well, see, they hug that we see, but later, when Tara passes Oz in the hall, he smells Willow on her. He asks her what's going on (asks, "Are you two involved?" to be specific), and then, stressing out, begins his werewolf transformation. He goes after Tara (who exhibits no magical ability in this show), and is captured with a tranquiliser dart by Riley and his Initiative cronies. They take him to their underground detention center, which is now crowded with monster-types, and throw him in a cage.

Oz reverts to human form, and Riley tries to vouch for him, but their new skinflint leader decides to let the scientist start their poking and prodding of him anyway (and zapping him with electricity too). Not long after, Riley gives Oz some clothes and tries to sneak him out of there, but is caught. Riley is also jailed and the skinflint colonel says he's to be court-martialed unless he helps him eliminate the threat Buffy and Company comprise.

Back at Giles's place, they discuss Oz's capture and what they can do about it. Spike shows up and offers to help, knowing how to get in undetected and how to shut their power down. Buffy decides Xander should come along, and Willow demands to go along as well. Spike shows them a secret entrance only the Ewoks knew about, and Adam, monitoring all this, cuts the power, allowing them to get in.

When Buffy and Company burst in on the skinflint colonel, he thinks they're there to break Riley out. Buffy didn't know he was in a cell, but takes the colonel hostage and frees Riley. Then they go to get Oz, holding a gun on the skinflint colonel's head to get the soldiers to leave them alone. As soon as Oz sees Willow, he starts to transform again, but is able to prevent it.

Everyone gets out of Initiative Headquarters. For good measure, Riley decks the skinflint colonel. They go underground, and Buffy and Riley have a little talk. She decides to let him know about Angel and why she was angry earlier when Riley criticised Willow.

Speaking of Willow, she goes out to Oz's van and they have a heart-to-heart. Oz realises his transformations are not totally controlled and laments that his feelings for Willow are what bring the wolf out in him. Willow lets him know that while she'll always love him, she has changed too, and she thinks it's for the better. They embrace, and once again, Oz drives off.

Willow goes back to Tara, who tells her she should be with the one she loves. Willow says that she is. The end.

Marti Noxon wrote this episode, and yes, I thought we'd never see Oz again. Still, it did little for me, though it answered a couple of questions, and maybe more importantly, brought up a couple of new ones. Only three more "Buffy"s to go in Season Four.

And that leads us to "Angel," which is a direct continuation of the last one. This one was called "Sanctuary," and starts with Angel taking Faith back to his home and putting her into his bed. She doesn't look so hot (for once), and seems both mentally and physically drained. Angel didn't fare so poorly.

Cordelia and Wesley, still bruised from their encounters with Faith, are upstairs, verbally critical of Angel's actions. Cordelia decides to go on a paid vacation, and hits the road. Wesley also doesn't trust her, and goes to a bar.

Angel goes back downstairs and finds Faith holding a knife. He talks to her about redemption, and tells her she can't run away again, but has to make amends for her misdeeds. She seems genuinely remorseful.

At the bar, Wesley runs into the three Watchers Council blokes from the episode ("Who Are You") where they fail to bring Faith back to England. They tell Wesley that, if he helps them recapture Faith, the Council will have him back. They give him a syringe that will knock Faith out so they can have their way with he--er, get her back where she belongs.

Policewomanofficer Kate Lockley is investigating the fight from the night before, and is accused of being a "Scully" now, like in "The X-Files," by another cop. She corrects the man that she is a Mulder, since she believes in the supernatural. She gives a statement on the news, flashing Faith's photo as their chief suspect.

The lawyers at Wolfram & Hart are furious that Faith appears to have joined up with Angel, and send a demon over there to kill her. Faith dispatches it easily, but reacts badly to seeing more blood on her hands. Angel puts his arm around her, providing comfort (and really, how much of that has Faith ever seen?), but at that moment . . . Buffy walks in.

Of course I knew Buffy was in this episode, and you would too if you watched it on DVD, but I couldn't have predicted her reaction. She wants Faith--ostensibly to take her to the cops, but quite possibly to get revenge. Angel stands in her way and she picks a fight with him. Angel punches her in the face. Buffy is mortified by this, but she had it coming.

And with horror, I realise that I just sided with Angel over Buffy. Oh, how the shitey have fallen, boys and girls. I may never live down this day.

For shame, Rish Benjamin Outfield. For shame.

Elsewhere, Bad Prettyboy Lawyer Number One goes to Kate Lockley and gives her Faith's location, along with a suggestion that Angel is her accomplace. He also suggests that Angel was responsible for her father's death. And for global warming, the price of gas, terrorism, and the reason Warner Bros. fired Joss from WONDER WOMAN.

Angel argues that Faith has seen the error of her ways. Buffy argues that Angel doesn't know what she did to her and that she has to pay for her crimes. Captain Picard argues, "It's not a person, dammit, it's a Borg!"

Just then, Wesley comes in, with Faith, and tells them the Watchers Council is there, expecting him to stick Faith with the needle. Instead, he's with Angel, which is impressive considering Faith was hacking at him with a piece of broken glass just a few hours before.

While Angel and Wesley try to stall the Council members, Buffy and Faith go up to the roof to make their getaway. Faith tries to tell Buffy how sorry she is, but "Sorry" just in't cutting it.

One of the Council members attacks from downstairs, one attacks from up, and another attacks from a helicopter. Buffy takes one of them, Angel takes the helicopter guy, and Wesley pops the third with the syringe. As a result, the man is never able to pee standing up again. Faith escapes.

The police show up and Kate Lockley arrests Angel for not turning over Faith. Wesley and Buffy go to the police station, and all are surprised to find Faith there, having made a full confession. Faith is in for a long, hard road to find redemption.

Angel is released and he and Buffy have a heated argument. She can't believe he chose Faith over her and just has a lot of anger issues. She also tells him she has a new boyfriend, and he's someone she can trust (and someone she can sleep with, right?). Angel responds with anger of his own, telling her that she should go, then, that this is not her town, not her life anymore, and not her timeslot. He's glad she's found someone new, but he hasn't, and it would be nice if she never crossed over into his show again.

This was written by Tim Minear and Joss Whedon, and it was certainly compelling. There may have been too much going on, and to be honest, it might've worked better had Buffy not been in it. She just confused things, and I would've liked to see more of Angel explaining to Faith what he'd gone through in his long life, and her talking about how and why she went the way she did.

But ah well.

So, we watched the three episodes I suggested, to get us caught up, and then, dammit to hell, we watched three more.

As Depeche Mode were fond of saying, "Never again is what you swore . . . the time before."

To Be Continued . . .

*Bad Prettyboy Lawyer Number 2 gets his face pounded in by Faith, prompting him to later be called Disquietingly Misshapen Lawyer Number One.

**She seems to take a similar delight in the torture, as did Angelus. As did my cousin Jason, come to think of it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Not Far From the Tree

15 October 2007

People sometimes remark that my six year old niece seems more like me than she does her mother. Maybe it's the goatee, I don't know, but often I just don't see it.

So, I was driving with my niece yesterday, and she had a notebook and was doodling in it. She's in first grade and practicing her letters, her spelling, and artistic expression. "What should I draw?" she kept asking, and I gave her a couple suggestions (such as her and her dog, where she'd like to live, her friends, maybe a scene from a movie she liked).

A minute later, she passed the notebook up to me with this:

If you're not psychic, you'll need to be told that this was her imitation of the front cover of POLTERGEIST, which we picked up at Best Buy together. At the store, the girl who rang us up asked my niece if she would be watching it, and I said she probably wouldn't, as it was too scary for her. I mentioned that my own parents wouldn't let me watch it when it came out.

The girl who rang us up was so young, she thinks of the Clinton Administration as not having happened yet, and told my niece that she used to watch JURASSIC PARK when she was a little girl.

I reminded my niece of this. So, the child decided to next draw a dinosaur.

Again, for the uninitiated, this is "a try-ranosaurus stepping on a guy."

I laughed over that one, and I guess that inspired her (the kid may not get a lot of praise on her artistic abilities), 'cause she did another drawing, hoping to please me. I didn't include some of them because they were just ordinary sketches of dogs and horses and little girls.

I had picked up PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 for her to watch during the drive and I told her to draw something from that. She drew this (which you can plainly see is the tentacle of the Kraken pulling some dude into the water):

She also drew Davy Jones, remembering that he had a claw for a hand. She's still at the stage where you have to ask her what the drawing is when you look at it, but hey, some painters are still that way at the highpoint of their careers.

I told her to keep going, and she asked me, "What's the name of the girl?" "The girl in PIRATES?" I asked, "Her name's Elizabeth."

A moment later, the child had not one, but two drawings of Elizabeth Swan.

In the first, she has a dagger in her, complete with blood.

In the second, a sword.

At one point, though, she really started in on the sick stuff and my head just started spinning. This one, I believe, is the piece de resistance:

Yes, this is from my ill-advised viewing of THE OMEN with her, the early scene where the nanny kills herself. I just can't imagine how other people would respond to these drawings.

"Okay," I said, "You'd better not do drawings like that at school, okay?"

But she just laughed, perhaps enjoying the horrified attention the same way I did by drawing wangs and babies crapping on the chalkboard during recess.

Again, I wonder if I am somehow the child's father, since she inherited so many of my "unusual" traits.

Unca Rish Outfield

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Now That's More Like It

9 October 2007

Today's weather was how Fall is supposed to be.

So far, I haven't smelled that uniquely October smell in the air, but at least it's starting to look like it. Driving around, with the sun warming me inside and out, it's just possible for me to forget that I'm not living in Los Angeles or the UK, and almost possible to forget the other disappointments that plague me.

Thus, it's with a bit more optimism (amid my almost-constant misery nowadays) that I present these photos:

I took them with that camera (I was given for my birthday) that I took to Comic-Con, and really enjoy toting around with me, despite its tendency to burn through batteries like Rosie O'Donnell burning through a box of Depends adult undergarments.

I really enjoy the digital age of photography, because, although I've always liked to take pictures, I tend to take many more bad ones than good. And back in the 35mm days, I often discovered my photos' faults only after I'd developed them. Now, you can take five instead of one, content in the knowledge that the failed four can be gone with the push of a button.

And despite my inability to get close enough to people to take pictures of them, I can shoot at the moon or the trees or the mountains or roadkill any time I want.

And post them here.

That's pretty cool. And no one can do anything abou--


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Buffy Wednesday (26 September Continued)

The last episode we watched was called "Where the Wild Things Are," and it was all about relationships. I think.

Buffy and Riley spend all their leisure time bed-wrestling in Riley's dorm, and the rest of the time, they fight demons and vampires, who seem to be getting along despite the heretofore unmentioned fact that they are bitter enemies. Adam the Cyborgdemon has brought them together.

And speaking of together, Anya thinks that she and Xander are going to break up, because they didn't get it on the night before. You know, Anya might be a difficult person to have as a girlfriend.

Buffy and Riley are having it better, and appear to be constantly having sex. Everyone else in the frathouse (or whatever it is) is experiencing unusual cold, or ominous visions of the upstairs bathtub, or being caught on fire. Nevertheless, the guys there decide to throw a party, and everyone is invited.

Angry at Xander, Anya heads to the Bronze, where she runs into Spike, who's still powerless. They realise that gives them something in common, besides the fact that they've both fallen in love with people who left them for fungus demons. Oh, except that Xander hasn't done that.*

Speaking of Xander, at the party, he meets a girl named . . . (gotta go look it up) . . . Julie, and she seems to think he's hot stuff. Also hot stuff is a wall in the house that, believe it or not, produces orgasmic effects in whoever touches it.

And speaking of, well, those kinds of effects, after making a token appearance at the party, Buffy and Riley duck upstairs for a little donut-holing.

Downstairs, Willow and Tara get to talking, and Willow puts her hand on Tara's knee. Holy god, folks, it's like my eighteenth year all over again, as Tara royally freaks out, jumping back, tearing into the bathroom, and doing the Alfred-Molina-in-RAIDERS-OF-THE-LOST-ARK dance of disgust. Willow tries to find out what's wrong with Tara, and finds a ghostly boy drowning in the bathtub.

Anya and Spike show up at the party and start mocking Xander. Xander, brilliantly, mentions very loud that Spike is the Initiative's "Hostile 17." Oddly, no one blinks, so Xander goes into another room, where he finds a bunch of folks playing Spin the Bottle, including Julie. He joins in the game and, sure enough, the bottle lands on said Julie, and she jumps on him like Paris Hilton on a prong. Immediately after, it's my twenties all over again, as Julie is mortified by what she's done and rushes off to cut off all her hair.

During all this, Riley and Buffy continue to roll around under the covers, oblivious to everything but each other. The earth begins to quake, ghosts start to appear, Spike's chair attacks him, vines start growing out of the walls, people pretend that the girl from Ugly Betty is really unattractive, you know, crazy things. The whole gang gets out of the house (Spike does it one better and just gets the hell out of Dodge), and decide that they need Giles on this one.

They find Giles at a coffee shop, where he's playing the guitar and singing, dampening the panties of every girl who listens to him. He's also got an earring in and heck, even Tara gawks for a moment. I once spent half of a night listening to Anthony Stewart Head sing, so my own underwear can testify to this effect.

With Giles's help, they do a little research about Riley's house, discovering that it used to be a children's home. They go to visit the old woman who used to run the place and, boy, it's like my Harry-Potter-hating aunt, my teacher who used to preach about the evils of THE LITTLE MERMAID, and my worst roommates rolled into one. And then tripled.** A frighteningly devout woman, she used to punish the children when they were "dirty," by abusing them, cutting off their hair, and "baptizing" them in the bathtub. Giles tells her that she caused poltergeists to inhabit the house by her reprehensible behaviour, that Buffy and Riley's joyriding have awakened them, and that the old lady should sit and spin.

The gang heads back to the house to get Buffy and Riley out before the house saps them of their lifeforce. The magic-users cast a spell to quell the spirits, and Xander and Anya make their way through the vines to get to Riley's bedroom. On the way, a particularly nasty vine thwacks Xander in the face and I thought, "Oh, here it is already, the eyepatch moment." But it wasn't. He does get dragged into the bathtub and almost drowned before Anya pulls him out again. They bust in Riley's door, interrupting the very surprised lovers who, after being told what has been happening, become two very embarrassed lovers.

Now it's sounding like YOUR nineteenth year.

You know, I think I'm going to take a stand and say that this was my least-favourite episode so far this season. I won't go as far as to say that it was a bad one (we're still waiting on that front), but it wasn't my cup o' Nescafe (Taster's Choice for you American Anthony Stewart Head fans). I guess, if I'm to be honest, I get a little heebie jeebied out when Buffy has sex. I don't know why that is, I should want her to be happy, and they say eating chocolate is the female equivalent of having sex, so . . .

Wait, what am I talking about?

Xander runs an ice cream truck now? I guess they're having fun giving him another crappy job in every episode, but it's pissing me off. Nobody else on the show has a job (not even Giles), and it's just a TV convention that characters can get by without going to work (or class, in Buffy and Willow's case).

Very little of this is actual criticism about the episode, but I gotta admit that I liked the "Angel" episode we watched right before this more than the "Buffy." That, I think has only happened once before, but it doesn't frighten me that it happened again. A third time, however, and I'll be nervous.

Rish Sunnydale Outfield

*I don't personally think Anya has been introduced to Drusilla, since we've not been damned by her presence since the second season, but hey, maybe there was a comic book where they met.

**I once had a roommate who said to me, "You know, I hope I don't marry a woman who is TOO attractive, because I might want to, you know, do things to her that are wrong." I guess you can interpret that in several ways . . . which I invite you to do right now.