How the Original Script for 'Day of the Dead' Helped Create 'Land of the Dead' Part I - Laying the Foundation
Written by John Edward Betancourt
There was a time in horror history, when George A. Romero's Day of the Dead was considered an outright failure. Released in 1985 to mediocre fan fare, both fans and critics alike simply did not embrace the film, and for many years it was regarded as the weakest of the original Dead Trilogy. But time has a way of changing things and as the years have progressed, Day was essentially rediscovered by old fans and new fans alike and it now holds its weight as one of the finest films in the franchise.
This newfound love for the film continues to spread, to the point where even a new book about the making of the motion picture recently hit the shelves as well. Yet, despite the fact that this movie has finally found a home in the hearts of the fans, few of us truly realize that Day of the Dead's lasting impact extends far beyond its legacy as a rediscovered masterpiece, it also happens to be a motion picture that inadvertently managed to influence a large chunk of the franchise's future...all by way of an original screenplay that was never produced, and over the next few days we are going to chronicle just how that script, helped give life to the next film in the series...Land of the Dead.
But in order to fully understand how all of this came together, we'll need to take a trip down memory lane and head back to 1979, after the release of Dawn of the Dead. The film was enjoying incredible success at the time and because of said success, George A. Romero was able to secure a three picture deal with the company that helped Dawn make it into so many theaters without an MPAA rating, United Film Distribution Company. This fantastic deal gave Romero some incredible creative license and during this time he gave life to a sweeping tale about nobility and dedication to a dream with Knightriders, and he and Stephen King were able to partner up and bring back the comic books that influenced them as children in Creepshow. These two motion pictures essentially gave Romero a break from the living dead similar to the one he took between Night and Dawn, allowing for a proper idea for the next entry in the series to percolate and with the three picture deal coming to an end...he set out to write what would have been a grand finale to the series in Day of the Dead.
This script, was quite unlike any other that George A. Romero had written to date simply because of its power and scope, this was a movie designed to top Dawn in every single way with a unique and creative story the zombie genre had never seen. This alternate story took place on an island off the coast of Florida, where the former Governor of the state created a safe heaven/paradise for survivors of the end times...or so it would seem. Gasparilla's Island was nothing short of a nightmare in this draft, where the caste system of old returned in force and Gasparilla himself ruled the people he saved with an iron fist so that all lived in fear of the man. But to top it all off, the crazy governor turned despot commissioned some radical ideas; allowing for the scientists on the island and the military to work together to train the living dead to be soldiers, and well...it's simply a magnificent script. We won't spend a ton of time on the details of this screenplay, only the parts that apply to Land of the Dead. After all, taking the time to break this magnum opus down would be a series of its own and well...in the end it was never meant to be.
For despite the fact that it could have been the definitive zombie motion picture, there was conflict to be had. The projected budget for this iteration of Day was coming in at around $7 million, which would have been at the time, an incredible budget for any horror film and UFDC had their reservations. For starters, Romero wanted this film to be released in the same way Dawn hit theaters, without a rating; something UFDC wasn't keen on at that asking price and well...Knightriders and Creepshow didn't quite deliver at the box office as UFDC hoped they would and eventually, both sides agreed to a pared down version of this screenplay, to be filmed with a budget of $3.5 million and the rest as they say is history.
Day of the Dead would be released to tough reviews and a box office return less than its predecessor and well, in many ways this marked the decline of the zombie genre for many years. The slasher genre was going strong and the dead were quietly buried for almost twenty years and well...sometimes things happen for a reason. This gave George Romero plenty of time to let the next entry in the series cook in his mind and at the dawn of a new century, with zombies suddenly popular again, Romero was ready to return to the genre he created with a script in hand that was not only reflective of the times, but filled to the brim with concepts, ideas and updated characters from a script that was never supposed to see the light of day and it seems only appropriate that Romero would allow the best parts of this unused story to return to life at a later date and that's where we will pick up next time, with a look at what elements from the original script survived to build a new world for a new story. Until then.
Night Three has been completed and I am still not ready to leave yet. One of the things that I like about coming up to this hotel is that you never know what you are going to find, or who you are going to run into. With plenty of locals that make their way up the hill, there are so many people that come to the Stanley Hotel from out of state and from across the world, it truly is a beautiful destination. It is like going into a time machine when you step into the hotel and that is one of my favorite things about the Stanley.
Every day while up here, I have been keep keeping track of what has been going on around the hotel. Like I said in my first post, winter really takes its toll on the old building and from afar you would not see this, but when up close, you see how much maintenance it really takes. With it being overcast the past couple of days, there was not a lot of work on the main building, but the gardens that surround the property have been getting a ton of attention. While some of the flowers are starting to bloom, the rest are waiting for the weather to be just right.
One of the other things that I have been keeping up on is all of the new construction that is taking place up here. If you have not heard yet, last year it was announced that there will be a Horror Movie History Museum on the Stanley Hotel’s property within the next couple of years and with all of the construction going on, it is going to make this place more of a destination than ever before. Although I cannot get a firm answer to where it will be going up, there are plenty of locations that it could take over and I cannot wait to see how the building will look. There is a building being completed across from the entrance form the hotel that has the same paint job and after checking it out, it is going to be for overflow from the hotel and will be open much sooner. I have always loved coming up here and it appears that this little secret in the mountains has been let loose on the world and it will be next to impossible to keep the new guests out.
Well, on to night three. I am saddened to report that nothing out of the ordinary happened this night. I was hoping for the weather to change and get some lightning storms to take place since that really helps the hotel to come to life as I have found out in the past, but we only had a couple minutes of Thunder Hail, which was cool, but not enough. I did walk with a couple of girls through the hall that were looking for something spooky. Once again, I went through the list of things I know about, but then I ran into the Sensitive that I met during my last trip and she was having some good feelings about the catching something during the night. It was fun to see how the two girls thought that the woman was crazy, but then started to open up when orbs started to show up on their pictures. I have not had a chance to review mine yet, but I will let you know if I find anything out of the ordinary.
So, another trip to the Stanley Hotel has been put in the books and I am already starting to plan my trip for next year. I wish I had more to report about spooky stuff happening to me up here, but you can’t make them show up every time. There is one thing that the staff called out to me about my room, every time they tried to come in, the lock was engaged. I am not sure how that happened since you cannot push the button when you are out of the room, but as I just tried to push it in, it will not stay, so not sure what that is all about, but it is something strange. Well until next year, hopefully not that long as I would love to stay up here year round, but alas, I cannot stay too far away from the real word since I have so much to catch up on now. Until next time, Stay Scared.
Night Two has been completed at the fantastic Stanley Hotel and I am just as giddy as the first time that I have stayed here. Even though we are still technically in the off-season, even if just for the night since Memorial Day weekend starts today, the hotel is still alive with so much activity. People from all over the world arrived yesterday to take in the sights and all seemed impressed that even with the heavy cloud overcast, it only rained once. I am still waiting for the lightning storm to hit, that really gets the spirits going crazy up here, and since it did not happen last night, it had better happen today.
Yesterday I was taking in the sights from the hotel since the main street is not ready for me yet. Watching as the clouds moved over the surrounding mountains, it was apparent that the weather would be making a change for the worse, although it did not. It just got cold and I was forced to break down and get my jacket to counter it. Also when walking around the grounds, there are so many things happening. If you have ever stayed at the Stanley Hotel, you might have found yourself parked on a pretty steep hill, well that is no longer happening as the main parking lot has been completely leveled out. There are also a couple new parking spots that have been added in front of the Lodge building. There is a lot of moving and shaking going around the area, but I am waiting to finally hear where the movie museum will be placed, since that is what is leading to the changes.
Ok, so I have put it off too long, everyone wants to know what happened during the night. First, I met a nice couple from Omaha that just got in their car and headed west. After a brief chat with them at lunch, they decided to try and get a room and luckily they were able to stay. Asking if I would show them around and give them the stories from my past experiences, I was happy to give them the haunted journey that I have spent five years compiling.
We went thought my local haunts on the fourth floor and it was still early enough that some of the guests were still making their ways up to the rooms. We poked our head into room 407 where one time when I stayed there I swore someone was sitting on the edge of my bed, stopped by room 401 and told them about the closet experience, then to 428 where they were lucky enough to be staying. I told them about the cowboy in the room, along with the kids that run across to the closet. Making sure that they got the Ghost Radar app on their phone to talk with the ghosts, just in case, I made sure they listened to a small bit of our podcast from that room a couple years ago. They started asking some questions and were getting responses, pretty quickly. I then took them down to room 217 where I have not yet been able to stay yet, but when they walked under the original doorway, they both felt freaked out and needed to make their way back up to their room to rest.
They seemed to have a good time and I look forward to chatting with them before they leave and see if anything else happened in the room after I returned to mine. I did hear the kids running and giggling down the halls last night, twice, so I put my voice recorder in the hallway for a couple hours to see if it caught anything else. That is the hard thing about catching those kids, they never appear when you are ready for them. The group across the hall from me is really into the ghost hunt and only seem to make appearances in the middle of the night since they have the do not disturb hanging on the door during the day.
It appears that most of the guests are having a great time up at the hotel and I am staying out of my shell and talking to more and more as they arrive in droves every day. Since this is the first trip for many of these people to the hotel, they seem to appreciate someone that is a seasoned veteran to give them hints and tricks about what to do to enhance their experience. One more night up here for me and even though I have not had anything crazy happen to me yet, I would not trade this time for anything in the world. It is a good area to get away from the world for a couple days, as I keep telling everyone that I meet, this is one of the best things to cross off your bucket list.
With all of the things that have been going on at my day job this year, I decided to take my Stanley Trip early this year and have once again arrived. Now, this being the end of May, I figured that the hotel would be up and kicking and it is in a way as guests are still lining up for tours and personal ghost hunts. The official start of the season is Memorial Day weekend, so the staff have a couple more days to get everything ready for the ever popular weekend and I wish them the best at doing this.
One of the things I noticed when I got here this year is how hard the cold winters are on the hotel, with maintenance groups running around and doing touchups all around the hotel main floor, but there is much more to do on the upper floors. I never thought that a matter of months could make this much of a difference when it came to paint these days, but The Shining films weren't kidding around, the winters are brutal up in the mountains and now I fully understand this. I have no doubts that all of the touchups will be completed by the end of June to bring the external of the hotel back to its yearly glory.
Enough with that, let’s get into what happened on my first night in the hotel, since that is what everyone likes to know. I am staying in room 414 for this trip, not a reported haunted room, but I will still keep my eyes and ears open for anything crazy that may happen. The only reason that I did not get a haunted room for this trip was my late request to stay through Saturday, but you know what, it is about the experience and I am far from upset. The start of the night was used to reconnect with some of my favorite staff members who were very surprised to see me coming up near the end of the off season, not the beginning. They are a really good group and make you feel like family, especially when you become a known guest.
When walking through the halls to go and get some ice, I ran into a couple from Houston that were preparing to start their ghost hunt for the night. Since I am a bit of a veteran in this hotel, I gave them some notes on where to use their EMF detectors when walking by rooms. Then I started to talk to them about our team experience in room 428 and come to find out that they are staying in room 426 and have heard the water running in the room when it was not. That falls back to the little kids story about them running across the floor in 428 and ducking into the closest, since 426’s bathroom is on the other side of the closet and now some of the stories are starting to tie together.
I also ran into another group from Milwaukee that was ready to start their ghost hunt as well. They had a bit more advanced EMF detector in hand and some more goodies that they were ready to put to the test. As we started talking, we were approached by another couple that has stayed in the hotel as well and we all exchanged stories about what and where things have happened to us in the hotel. Talking with the Houston couple before they joined forces with the Milwaukee team, we chatted a couple seconds while walking to my room and their EMF detector went off at my door. Since I still have Ghost Radar on my phone, I turned it on and the signal was pointing at the door and then it started talking, a lot. The first thing it said was Texas, which freaked out the couple since that is where home is. We chatted with the ghost for a couple minutes until the energy appeared to disperse on the app and EMF detector. Although the couple was a little freaked out, they were ready to continue their hunt and set off with the couple from Milwaukee on their own ghostly adventure.
I have not heard what they have found as of yet, but they were going to cover the entire hotel, so I made sure to give them all of the tips of hot spot areas that I could think of. Now it was pretty noisy in the hotel last night and I do not see that changing for tonight, so the chatting with the Ghost Radar was the only kind of ghostly experience that I can vouch for. The weather report has a lightning storm coming in tonight and that seems to excite the spirits more than anything else, at least that is what I have noticed when being in the middle of such storms out here. With so much changing around the grounds this year, there may be some more crazy events happening, but you never know for sure what will get the spirits attention. Well, onto the next night and I cannot wait to chat with some new people and drop some knowledge once again. Until next time, Stay Scared.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
It's only been a few weeks since the season six finale of The Walking Dead completely and utterly rocked our worlds with the controversial decision to not reveal who died at Negan's hands and since that time, the rancor and disdain from the fan base has not cooled over the matter in the slightest. The fury that came out of it prompted a breakdown and explanation of said decision by showrunner Scott M. Gimple himself but even that did not appease since Robert Kirkman took the time to apologize for the whole thing in issue #154 of the comic recently.
Clearly the fans are angry and that fury isn't going to fade anytime soon. There was a high expectation for this finale to deliver something that we've never seen before on television and instead the show fell back upon an everyday trope for television, the cliffhanger, and the constant explanation and apologizing from the powers that be means they know that they ticked off the legions of fans that tune in weekly. But words can only go so far, everyone that loves this show is expecting something more when it returns this fall and the question on all of our minds is a simple one, how will the series make everything right again?
After all, the decision to do all of this, along with what happened with Glenn earlier in the season has given the show a reputation; one where it looks like it wants to simply screw with the audience for shock value over giving us an awesome story. Whether the folks behind the scenes want to acknowledge it or not, this move will cost the show some of its fanbase, and those that remain will either be at peace with everything that went down or feel slighted and raise their expectations in the process, which means the show will have to act fast in season seven to satisfy the millions of folks that tune in weekly.
In order to do that, the first real olive branch the show can extend our way is simple, give us a quick and powerful resolution as to who died. Don't play any games with the aftermath of who passed away and how life has changed since their unfortunate loss, take us right back into the moment. Give us back the fear and tension we all experienced in the last fifteen minutes of the season six finale and let us suffer with the rest of the group because that's exactly what we missed in those final moments. But outside of resolving that matter, the fans still need assurances that the series is back on track and done messing with the audience.
Which means the series has to return to its roots; and that means providing us with intense stories that bring back a sense of danger, which also means...more of the characters have to die. While that may sound sadistic, it's an element of the show's design that we have come to expect and we debate who will go for that matter and it's something that hasn't happened in quite some time to be honest. This is a series about the end of the world and the horrors that come with it and that means we need to say goodbye to some of the cast from time to time and by giving us back that sense of danger, where no one is safe, we will find ourselves glued to our seats once again, compelled to know how the story ends. Either way, whether you were good with the finale or not, the message from the fans has made its way straight the top and it's in the hands of folks behind the scenes to make it up to everyone.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
THIS IS THE EMERGENCY SPOILER ALERT SYSTEM...YOU ARE ADVISED TO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK...
It's been quite the downward spiral psychologically on Fear the Walking Dead this season and well, that's a good thing. Far too often the zombie genre is filled with predictable tropes where the characters are able to flip on a switch and become super survivors without having to deal with all the messy stuff that happens emotionally to a human when they realize what they have done in order to survive another day.
The long term effects of doing what must be done is a concept we have witnessed on the sister show for this series, but even then The Walking Dead doesn't always have to focus on it in depth because every single moment is about survival and the people on that show know what is at stake if they don't keep moving. But in Madison and Travis' world, the life they knew is only a few weeks removed and adjusting to full survival mode has never been easy and last night's midseason finale; "Shiva", decided to explore another fresh element of the early days of the end of the world...what happens to people when they truly realize there is no help coming, and that nothing remains of the world they left behind.
It turns out that in those precarious days when that reality settles in, the people of this world can find themselves completely and utterly lost and for proof of that, we need not look any further than Chris and his complete and utter breakdown this week after grabbing the knife and inadvertently threatening Madison and Alicia in the middle of the night. The reality of his actions, and the consequences that come with it all were simply too much to bear and we spent a good chunk of the episode watching Travis chase down his beloved son in the hopes of being able to reach him from the dark place that he has now slid within.
For Chris, this was the apex of his journey for the first half of the season. After losing his mother, and truly understanding the reality of the world and death now surrounding him, there is no hope in his heart or belief that life is worth living. He just sees this as a world that has now become a massive void, where death rules over all things because mankind is weak and perishes easily. He was ready to hurt his family and the son of another man all in the sake of finding what appears to be solitude to work out whatever pain is in his heart and oddly enough, his journey led to the most hopeful moment of the night, but we'll get to that in just a little bit.
Because that hope was overshadowed by far uglier moments, as we discovered that Chris was not the only shattered member of the group, Nick has lost his way as well. He has gone from a productive member of the group, able to save the day to a man who has decided he belongs amongst the dead. Part of it may be due to the fact that he can finally walk about the world freely as something better than the creatures that surround him, the opposite of his life prior to the apocalypse, or it could be related to the fact that he believes he can never be anything more than a junkie in his mother's eyes. But either way, Nick has clearly had enough of people and the pain that comes with them and in a world without rules, he has drifted away from the people that matter.
But the most heartbreaking story of the night was Daniel's. After all he has been quite the rock for a better part of the last season and a half, always knowing the right thing to do and when to do it and always having a good eye as to what might be on the horizon for the group. So to see him at his lowest last night, haunted by his memories and his late wife for that matter, well it was simply devastating. It's hard to say exactly what finally snapped inside of Daniel; but whatever sent him over the edge did one hell of a job because his need to find a purpose again, drove him to the extremes and it was sobering to know he completely destroyed the Abigail compound with fire to find peace within.
Yet, despite watching so many of the group succumb to the despair and desolation of this world, there was still hope to be found. For one, they have quite the leader growing in Madison, since she demonstrated just how far she will go to keep her family and the group safe with her decision to lock Celia in with the dead and allow her to become "part" of the family and oddly enough, Travis' actions were equally as hopeful last night. For him to recognize how lost his son has become, and still be willing to stand by his side and step away from the group to get Chris' head right is quite the move. It speaks to the fact Travis still believes that people can be saved in this awful world and that maybe, just maybe he can reach his son.
Those optimistic gestures however, don't fix a lot of the problems at hand for the group unfortunately. Once again, they are without shelter or safety since the Abigail compound is now burned to the ground and well, this is really the first time that the group has in essence, made an active choice to be apart and well...there are questions that remain. For instance can everyone move on from all the things they've said and done and find a way to reunite? Can Nick ever see himself fitting in with those that love him? Can Chris be saved from this savage world and for that matter, can Daniel? These are questions we will have to wait until August to have answered and it's going to be one heck of a wait because this truly has been some top notch writing and storytelling and let's hope that it continues along into the second half of the season. Until next time.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
There was a time when the horror genre did not enjoy the incredible mainstream success that it does today. The finest the genre had to offer could only be found in the back of your local video store, and any horror related television programming aired at the latest of hours on a Friday or a Saturday night. But, that was then and this is now since horror is the hottest thing out there in film and television and it is enjoying a level of success rivaled only by the superhero genre.
But success is not the only major change to come to the genre, there have been incredible changes to how these scary stories are told as well. These days, the terror we often experience comes by way of a reboot or a reimagining and the debate as to whether or not that is a good thing should be saved for another time, because these re-hashings of horror classics make incredible money at the box office; and in an era where revenue is king for any film production company, the state of the industry is about as healthy as it gets.
Beyond being cash cows however, there is another element in these stories that has evolved as well, their perceived lack of use of social commentary, since the golden era of horror, the late 1960's to 1980's featured films that inspired generations of filmmakers for years to come and a common thread could be found within each of them, a subtle yet in depth look or message about who we were as a society at that particular point in time in our history. Shivers for example broke down human sexuality and the sexual revolution while films like Dawn of the Dead examined our obsession with consumerism with great depth and care.
But these days it seems like it is all about the scares, which begs the question...does horror need to be or is it still socially relevant anymore? The answer to that question is that horror has never stopped being relevant to the times, it's simply relevant in a different fashion. After all, when horror began to explore these more philosophical concepts in cinema, we were a nation struggling to discover its identity and its future, we needed the escape and the analysis to help us quietly understand the madness surrounding us. But in present day our needs and our fears have changed greatly and in this post 9/11 era of American history, our focus is on the horrors that mankind is capable of and horror now feeds off of that.
A prime example of this is evident when it comes to The Walking Dead, where the walking corpses that once served as the greatest threat to mankind and represented the worst parts of our species in George Romero's zombie tales have now become nothing more than a force of nature, one to be avoided and dealt with accordingly since the real terror on the show just so happens to be humanity. Men like the Governor or now Negan demonstrate the real threat at hand and it doesn't end there. Hannibal and even Bates Motel are shows that bring classic ideas back to life but focus on the monsters that can lurk within the hearts of men.
Horror is a genre that much like the creatures that it features, evolves at every step. It finds new ways to survive and new ways to grow and this current renaissance is proof of that because really, the genre is about the experience and how it in a way heals us. That may sound wild but consider what one goes through when one watches these tales of terror. They take us on an ugly and terrifying ride but when all is said and done...we are safe when we come out of the other side and they give us a sense of comfort in providing us that little psychological gift. But what matters more is that while on the surface it seems as though the genre has lost its way in a world of remakes, it's doing just fine, still showing us the parts of our world we sometimes refuse to see and it still reminds us that evil exists and it's up to mankind to stand up to it.
Written by Scotty
It can be difficult to grow up in a small town, mostly because everyone is in everyone else’s business. Sometimes you need to be alone without the town judging you for having a bad day, but that never seems to happen. Many people love the small town atmosphere, it has a great appeal to it, but when you need to get away from it, you really need to get away. Some people will never leave these towns, like their parents before them, but there are some that cannot wait to leave the small town behind and head into the big world and see what it has to offer. No choice is wrong, I know that I would have to bolt, as I am never happy with being complacent, but I know many that would love to stay.
When Jackson arrives in town, everybody thinks he is strange and dirty, but Emily does not judge him on his looks and takes a liking to him. As the two battle through school together, they see the good and the bad, but mostly the bad. Being outcasts in the town makes them easy targets to be picked on and abused. But there is only so much that the two can take and when being challenged in the locker room, Jackson finally snaps and is able to defend himself against the young men looking to start a fight. Taking one boy's thumb, Jackson is kicked out of school and finds a new calling from his court appointed mentor, guns and shooting,
Not seeing each other for a couple months, Emily is surprised to hear from her oldest friend. With Jackson’s father passing away, the house is turned over to him and with his fantastic mental strides, he is ready to live life to the fullest. But when Emily comes over and he shows her detailed plans to their school so he can teach everyone there a lethal lesson, Emily finds out that he is just as unstable as before. Forcing him to do this on his own, Jackson arrives at the school, with gun in hand and is ready to rock and roll. When seeing the students walking out however, Jackson folds and the police arrive before any damage is done. Emily sees it happen on the news and being the stronger of the two decides to honor her friend the only way she knows how. With the entire town being against the two, it is next to impossible to know who the targets will be, but there will be a bloodbath.
This is a really well told story about two outcasts that believe they were forced to go above and beyond what a rational person would do to fight off the baddies. I know that killing those who have made your life a living hell is not the answer, but this town is shown to have problems of its own. When Jackson defends himself in a fight, he gets thrown out of school. When Emily is assaulted by the football team, the police will not even listen to her and give the Principal authority over the case to keep the team in check. The movie stays on point and even though you spend much of it getting to know your characters, it does not move that slow. And when the finale begins, you do not regret anything that you have just seen. As Emily and Jackson have been dealing with this their entire lives, I can understand that they did not need a trigger for what they are about to do, they just see no other recourse than to end the madness once and for all. Stay Scared.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
Whether or not we like to admit it, other people's lives often times fascinate us. It could be we are led to wonder how on earth someone we know manages to afford so many vacations. Or it could be we're curious as to why a couple happen to be fighting. But one way or another, curiosity takes over and we're compelled to learn more.
Usually that kind of curiosity is fleeting. After all, they have their life to live and we have our own, but we peek into other's lives from time to time simply because their troubles or fortune give us a little break from the mundane. But while most of us enjoy a taste of gossip from time to time, for some people, it is no different than a drug. They need to know everything they can about what's happening to the folks around them, day and night and the dangers of such an obsession were explored in depth in the Tales from the Darkside season three finale; "The Enormous Radio".
Irene and Jim have settled into a more quiet time in their lives. Their children are grown, Jim continues to bring in enough money to make life comfortable and they now find themselves indulging the appetites of their minds, spending time hearing music at Carnegie Hall or enjoying dulcet tones on the radio. But when their radio takes a dive, their comfortable life begins to change when Jim invests in a brand new top of the line radio for everyone to enjoy at home. At first Irene is impressed with the power of it, but she notices something odd...this new toy can actually tune into the other apartments in their building, and give them a peek into their neighbor's lives. At first it's nothing more than casual entertainment but it doesn't take long before it becomes the sole focus for Irene since she simply cannot get enough of learning more about her neighbors. But her new obsession will not only shatter everything about her idyllic life...it may expose her in ways she never imagined...
This was a lovely and fitting end to the third season of this series, and it pleases me to no end that this season ended with another in depth character analysis. This go round the monster and evil in this episode is obsession and negativity since Irene cannot release her mental grip on the gossip surrounding her and I loved the fact that at first the episode tried to build sympathy to make it seem as though Irene had no recourse but to be drawn to something more since she is in essence a sheltered woman locked away from the world. But upon further review, she and Jim are nothing more than a pair of people comfortable with one another, there's no love to be found here and well...they're not really good people for that matter.
Irene is more than happy to judge her neighbors for their actions as part of her unhealthy need to learn more about them and Jim...well it's clear he could care less about his wife. She's the prototypical housewife for the era this episode is set in, better seen and not heard and she better have dinner ready when her husband gets home. While this tale doesn't feature big time scares or a horrible creature waiting in the wings, it wins because these jerks get their just desserts and well...let's be honest, the best monsters in film and television are always human beings, and that makes this season finale a spectacular one to say the least. Until next time.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
THIS IS THE EMERGENCY SPOILER ALERT SYSTEM...YOU ARE ADVISED TO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK...
This season of Fear the Walking Dead has featured quite a few firsts when it comes to the zombie genre and it's a wonderful sight to see. This is a series rife with opportunity, where the show runners can try new and exciting and terrifying things when it comes to the zombie genre and this week on the show they decided to do that once again.
Last night's episode, "Sicut Cervus", served as the springboard for exploring one incredible concept after another. It started simply enough with a look at what happens when people are completely and utterly pushed to their breaking point since several people in the group are starting to crack under the pressure; and it also took the time to dive deep into what happens when the human mind simply cannot take anymore of the horrors surrounding it. But before we get into that fascinating part of the story, let's talk about those in the group who are collapsing from stress...starting with Chris.
This week's episode saw Chris make mistake after mistake and well, now the kid is getting downright scary. First he nearly lets Madison die at the hands of a walker outside the church, then he feels the need to threaten Alicia to not say a word about the fact that she caught him choosing not to help their mom and what the hell was he planning to do with that knife in Alicia's room in the middle of the night? It seems as though in many ways, Chris has finally snapped and since he's taken a life on several occasions now, one has to wonder if he's simply gotten a taste for the ease of it and with the world no longer conforming to any rules...perhaps he no longer sees the value of life anymore.
There's a real mean streak brewing behind him, a hint of the Governor if you will because this is a kid who is young, impressionable and clearly believes that people telling him what to do and what he should believe at this age are trying to do him wrong. Now that he has discovered that some of his problems can be removed with a simple pull of the trigger...it's an easy way out and that's dangerous. Madison did have one solid point about her step son, he needs help, and it's obvious he needs it quickly because he's slipping into some pretty dark places and if they don't rescue him from it soon and figure out how to reach him, bad things are going to happen.
Oddly enough however, Chris' disturbing behavior was not the most terrifying part of the night. That honor was reserved solely for the Abigail compound in Baja, where we quickly learned what effect the Apocalypse is starting to have on some people's minds, Nick's included, by uncovering the fact that Thomas Abigail's surrogate mother Celia, is playing caretaker to the dearly departed by giving the living dead shelter and food.
This was a fascinating move and while for a moment there it seemed like an echo of The Walking Dead had popped up by way of retelling the tale of Hershel's farm, that was simply not the case. While Hershel believed that they were sick and needed a cure, and he was right about the sick part, Celia full on believes that the dead are the physical incarnation of the afterlife. That the spirits of the departed have come home to roost and in the process, reanimated the dead. Of course it's odd that she sees no problem with the fact that they eat human flesh, but Celia's inability to see them for what they are is absolutely chilling.
This was truly the best part of the episode because something we often see in the genre is that everyone is quick to accept the fact that hey, the dead now walk the earth, avoid them at all costs and kill them when you can. But Celia's thought process is a fine example of not being able to let the reality of the matter sink in. She cannot comprehend that this is the end of the world as they know it and that the dead have indeed returned to life to attack the living. She has injected her religious beliefs into the matter to rationalize it all and that's just scary, and well...it makes her the most dangerous person on the show right now since let's not forget that she was willing to poison an entire church full of people who disagreed with her view.
To top it off, Nick is also struggling with the reality of this mess as well and now he's starting to listen to her special brand of crazy. The group truthfully would have been safer on the ocean at this point and with Strand breaking his vow to die with Thomas peacefully...they're all in incredible danger now. They are sleeping atop a cellar full of the dead, their host is stark raving mad with an entire staff backing her up and Chris is still out there filled with rage as well. Either way, the stage is set for one stunning midseason finale and while we wait to see how this mess wraps up, kudos to the show for once again pushing the envelope and giving us one dark and disturbing tale. Until next time.