Written by John Edward Betancourt
It's safe to say that season six of The Walking Dead was by far the hardest season of the show for fans to get through. Not because it was bad by any means, quite the contrary since it provided us with some incredible moments ripped straight from the pages of the comic book. Oh no, this was a tough one because it ripped at our feels like no other by toying with the notion of Glenn's death and of course, there was that brutal cliffhanger that finally introduced the monster that is Negan.
It was an ending that fired up the fan base in stunning fashion, but as we barrel toward season seven of the show, the time has come to reflect upon last year's story with Anchor Bay's annual blu ray release of the series and last Tuesday, season six of the show finally hit the shelves and rather than outright slam out a fast review and just post it quickly last week, I felt it better that I take my time this go round, and truly dive deep into the release and dig around in the details and well, I have to say that when all is said and done, this is quite the awesome set to own, for so many reasons.
First and foremost, the image quality is absolutely top notch. There is simply incredible and disturbing detail in this disc set, with zombies that leave you cringing within the first few minutes as the hard work of Greg Nicotero's KNB EFX team is put on display. The walker that pulls his skin back when he slips past the truck in the season premiere is a moment of note since well, you see everything when it comes to that makeup, and the mess underneath that simply was not present in the original AMC broadcast and the detail doesn't end there. Every little stain, every little bit of missing flesh is present here, giving season six a gruesome new feel. The splatter and gorgeous visuals are balanced nicely by a clean and wonderful 7.1 Dolby TrueHD mix that sounds flawless and helps immerse you in all the action.
But the devil is always in the details when it comes to these releases and the special features are plentiful and fun here as well. There's a little 'Making Of' vignette for every single episode from last season, some lovely pieces on the characters themselves and the decisions that they make throughout the season, and the importance of togetherness at the end of the world. But the true gem of the special features, is the extended cut of the season finale, which gives us Negan in all his true glory. Fans of the comic book know that this is a man who is prone to using a particular swear word as a comma, and since broadcast television won't allow anything like that, the alternate 'comic book dialogue' takes are present here for all to enjoy.
In the end, this is truly a wonderful disc set to add to any horror fan's collection, especially a zombie lover since this season featured plenty of the living dead roaming the earth and they've never looked more terrifying than they do in this blu ray set. Sadly however, fans hoping to find clues as to who Negan brings Lucille down upon will discover nothing new. Heck, the Negan featurette is more or less a reactionary piece on the shadow the man casts over the season, so we will still have to wait until season seven to find out the horrible truth about which character we are saying goodbye to. But in the meantime, there's nothing wrong with going back and revisiting so many powerful moments and a season finale that sent chills down our spine and ignited fury in our hearts as we celebrate one of the best seasons to date of The Walking Dead.
Written by Scott Edwards
Needing time to rebuild is something that many families have to go through, especially after a traumatic event. As the stress of life gets to you and you are still being piled onto with what has just happened, if there is any way to get a break, you might need to look to take it. Family is always the best avenue to take when doing this, if they can offer an extra room, take care of a child for a couple days, or just be there for support, it can turn out to be a life saver. But it is important not to pressure them into doing something that they are not comfortable with, because they will always cave in when they know you need them, but maybe they are not ready for what follows along with it.
After losing Diane’s mother and the other craziness that happened with Preacher Kane, Steve and Diane were able to convince Diane's sister to take Carol Anne for a little while. Being in a completely different environment in Chicago, the young girl should be able to get back to having a normal life and with Aunt Trish there for her, she should be in a happy, loving environment. But Patricia is not so happy about what she has been forced into doing and being just a year into her first marriage with Bruce and his daughter Donna, she wants to focus on making her apartment a home for them first and Carol Anne only adds stress to the situation.
When Carol Anne needs help, she loves to call on Aunt Trish, but Bruce is the only one in the apartment that is willing to go the extra mile in making sure she is doing alright. Being the man in charge of the building, Bruce has all the keys to everything, along with all of the headaches to go along with it. As strange reports start coming in about cracked mirrors and a non-functional heating and cooling system, he has his hands full and needs to rely on his daughter Donna to help pick up the slack when it comes to keeping an eye on her little cousin. But Donna has other things on her mind as she is a teenager and has a boy, Scott, that has eyes for her and with hormones racing from both kids, they are looking for a way to be together and not have their parents find out.
Carol Anne is comfortable in the apartment, but something has changed for her as of late. Starting to see Kane in her reflections, she has a fear that the old preacher is back for her once again. Things at school are not good for the young girl as well, since word came out about her haunted past and the kids love to pick on her about seeing ghosts all of the time. Doctor Seaton has worked with the young girl for many weeks now and believes that she has a massive power of suggestion and when he sees a coffee mug being thrown into a mirror, he believes that it is a hallucination. Diving deeper and deeper into Carol Anne’s psyche, Seaton is afraid of what he will find, but what is worse, Kane has indeed found his way back to young Carol Anne and needs the girl to take him to the light.
As stranger things start happening around the building, Carol Anne knows that Kane is gaining strength as he keeps showing up in all of the mirrors. When Kane is able to attack, the young girl is forced to hide in the building's stairwell until he retreats once again, but he will stop at nothing to get her back. Trying to find a place to hide from the vengeful spirit, Carol Anne is able to find her way to the parking garage, but when a puddle of water opens up into a portal to the next realm, Donna and Scott are pulled in as well. Knowing that help is needed, Tangina comes to the building and finds out what happened and with Bruce and Patricia at her side, she should be able to help defeat the beast once again, but takes note that Patricia is not too fond of her niece and the only way to beat Kane is with love as nothing else in this realm really matters.
As the final chapter of the original series comes to an end, I guess it was alright. To be honest, the only reason I started this series was to get to this movie which I have not seen until now. With all of the problems and plot holes, the scares deliver for anyone that has a fear of mirrors, that is for sure. Seeing things in a reflection that are not there next to you, that can be chilling in its own right. I could not stand Patricia in this movie at all, all she wanted to do was to get rid of her niece the entire time and I would have thought that being put in a situation like this that she would have some sort of respect for family. The other characters were great and I really wish there would have been a quick look at Robbie in it since during the last movie he was trying to become a man. I enjoyed the use of cold in the movie, you could tell where Kane was by the temperature and the abundance of ice, and it made that part of the story easy to follow. The entire series is focused on a family’s love for one another and that was never left out of any of the movies. Not a bad series overall, I just wish we could really have the death of Kane right now, since it seems like he has embraced his place of being the beast, and wanting young Carol Anne for more than just crossing over to the other side. Stay Scared.
Written by Scott Edwards
There is nothing better in life than being able to prove that you were right. With so much second guessing going on, it seems like you never have a chance to prove to anyone that you actually know what you are talking about. It happens all over the place, at work, with your friends and at home, and when you are able to stop the second guessing for even a couple minutes and prove that you know what you are talking about, there is no greater feeling. It can be difficult to prove your point, but you need to just stick with it, because when are able to, you will find that the questions will start to drop off and people will start taking you for your word.
Excavations have started under the old Freeling house, or at least where the swimming pool's foundation was being laid down. Being led by Tangina, the woman who helped bring Carol Anne back to the land of the living, she is feeling something more powerful than she has ever felt before. Calling her friend Taylor to take a look, the new medicine man already knows what he is looking at...a tomb where nothing holy can preside. The two know that the beast has been there and with so many dead bodies buried under an old Indian burial ground, nothing good can be in the future for the Freeling family, even if they continue to move around.
Steve and Diane have no other choice than to move in with Diane’s mother until they are able to get a claim filed for their house disappearing. Even though it is not the ideal situation, they are trying to make the best of it and their kids seem to be doing fine. While Carol Anne does not remember being sucked into another realm, Diane does and every once in a while she will catch a glimpse or have a dream about something that the future has in store for her. Watching her granddaughter, Gramma-Jess notices the same traits in the young girl that she has embraced in herself, the power of knowing things that others do not. Gramma-Jess wants the young girl to utilize this gift, but Diane wants nothing to do with it, as she has forgotten all about it ever since she has grown up.
Waking up in the middle of the night, Carol Anne leaves her room and visits her grandmother one last time after getting a phone call on her toy phone from her. Getting up in the morning, the young girl sees her parents in shambles because of the old woman’s passing. Knowing that Gramma-Jess will be all right, Carol Anne tries to calm her mother, but Diane is starting to have the visions again, and does not know who or what is causing them. While in town, Carol Anne gets separated from her mother and an old man stops and talks to her. Introducing himself as Henry Kane, Carol Anne knows that there is something strange about this man, especially since she sees the living move through him as if he isn't even there. Even her mother and brother can see Kane, but have no idea why Carol Anne is so afraid of him, much less who he really is.
Arriving at the Freeling’s new home, Taylor is trying to warn the family to stay put, since running will do them no good since the beast has found them again. Knowing what the beast is after, he tries to explain himself, but when strange things start happening in the house, Diane and Steve want to get as far away from it as they can. Being able to convince the family that he is here to help, Taylor is welcomed in to the home and he tries to help the family the best way that he knows how, by teaching them to be strong and be a family. When Kane comes knocking at the door and tries to tell Steve that Taylor is taking his family’s love and respect from him, Steve starts to believe the words coming out of the old man’s mouth, but when he is able to break free from the trance, he knows what Taylor is preaching is right. Keeping the family together is the only way that the Freeling’s can defeat the beast, but with all of the power being thrown against them, it may be easier said than done.
Sequels are a difficult thing to do, especially in the horror genre. I was surprised that another Poltergeist movie came out since the first one had such a complete ending, but alas it did. I actually liked this movie as much as the first one and even though it did not put me on the edge of my seat, it had something different to it. Maybe it was the lack of the creepy clown, or maybe because you got to see who was really after Carol Anne and how much power the beast actually has and is willing to put forth to get the little girl. Being able to torment the entire family now, I am still blown away by the Steve possession scene where love really comes into the storyline. I also liked watching as Robbie tried to grow up faster than he normally would and his overactive imagination finally seemed to be under control so now he can become the man of the house. Not a bad movie at all, and I must admit that I am a little disappointed that there was not ectoplasm all over the place, but it was not needed as much as I thought. Stay Scared.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
THIS IS THE EMERGENCY SPOILER ALERT SYSTEM...YOU ARE ADVISED TO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK...
A word kept coming to mind last night when it came to our intrepid survivors on Fear the Walking Dead; sheltered, and that word rings true because when you boil it all down, that's exactly what our survivors are. They had safety, for the most part, behind a military blockade. They escaped Los Angeles before it was glazed with napalm and they were able to safely avoid the worst parts of the apocalypse at sea.
Granted, they have suffered losses, they have dealt with hardships, but they have never truly been forced to survive...until last night's episode because 'Los Muertos' threw our survivors, minus Travis and Chris, right into the fray of the end of the world, forcing them to deal with a world that has slid into chaos, and teaching us along the way that in reality, many in this splintered group are ill prepared to deal with the challenges ahead, and they are most certainly going to have to adapt, and quickly if they expect to make it to tomorrow.
Case in point, Madison and her group's arrival at the hotel. Sure it seemed at first that the hotel was deserted, but rather than continue the search for supplies as Alicia deemed necessary, Madison simply needed a moment to breathe and she and Strand bonded over tequila and sorrow as the two took inventory on their lives and their current situation, and in this moment we even learned that Madison in essence lied to her kids about what happened to their father when he died, implying he committed suicide on that fateful night, rather than falling asleep behind the wheel and that little drink fest, of course led to disaster.
Because their drinking and expulsion of pain and fury 'woke the dead' and summoned a hailstorm of corpses upon them, leaving them in a precarious situation. But they are not the only ones having trouble dealing with the world and the pressures that come with it, Ofelia is also beginning to crack. During the search for supplies with Alicia she admitted to the fact that everything is getting to her, and the bleak possibility they will not survive is a harsh reality for her and well...perhaps suicide isn't a horrible option after all. Granted Alicia did her best to support the young lady, even going as far as to call her a surrogate sister, but that was not enough since Ofelia flat out disappeared when the dead began to roam the hotel.
However, there were a couple of bright spots in this episode survival wise. Alicia is quickly adapting to the new world and was able to keep a level head in every situation she encountered, and her plan to scavenge for supplies was a solid one to say the least. But she isn't alone in finding new ways to stay alive in all of this mess, once more we were privy to Nick's survival skills as he continued to do his best to blend in at the Colonia he is now staying at.
In fact, his anonymity and newcomer status served him well when he was recruited to help Luciana get the Colonia some supplies, wherein Nick used quick thinking and observations skills to secure more supplies for the tiny community. But while it was impressive to see Nick in action, as it always is, he will most likely be put to the test in new and challenging ways because let's be honest...something isn't quite right about this town. For starters, the sick and dying in this place sacrifice themselves to the dead, in the hopes of appeasing the spirits and that's just the beginning of their disturbing beliefs and practices, all led by the Pharmacist, Alejandro.
For the man that brings medicine to so many, supposedly survived a bite from a walker and has now become the spiritual leader of this community thanks to this miracle, but something is clearly amiss. The first big concern is that he has everyone in this town firmly believing that this event is a cleansing of the earth and that eventually the dead will return to their graves, leaving his people as the chosen ones to restart the world as it was and the other worry...is that there's a real dark side to the guy. He flat out knows their supplies are limited, and he's even injecting some of his patients with placebos, effectively allowing them to grow ill enough to be fed to the living dead, something he threatened Nick with and perhaps the most disturbing issue of all, his declaration at the end of the episode...that his people would never leave the compound.
Which means that this episode, raises more questions than it does answers. The biggest one being, did Alejandro actually survive a bite outright? Luciana says she witnessed it happen, but she's also a believer in Alejandro's words, so how much of what she saw is grounded in truth and reality? Plus there's the biggest question of all, what the heck does this man really have planned for the Colonia? It's fine to talk a big game of survival and purpose, but those final words still hang over this episode and one has to wonder if the truth in all of this is that someone cut out the damaged portion of his flesh before the infection could spread, and that he knows the score and everyone in that compound is going to die at his hands. Time will tell of course and it should be interesting to see what comes next for our blended and surrogate family at the hotel and if Nick can survive what could be a suicide cult. Until next time.
Written by Scott Edwards
There is nothing like a good ghost story to get your heart pumping, especially if the spirits are not that friendly towards the living. I have always been fascinated with Haunted locations, but have never been to a place that is infected by a poltergeist, yet. They say that poltergeists are caused by the unconscious mind of a living person under some sort of stress, but it is not usually a ghost. Like I said, I have yet to witness this in my adventures and am actually surprised that I did not have one when growing up, as I was always stressed and upset about all kinds of things.
Steve and Diane Freeling have the perfect life going for them, they live in a nice house, Steve has a good job and all of the kids are healthy and happy. There does not seem to be anything that could ever go wrong with the family and even though everyone has a problem of their own, it is nothing that the family cannot work around. There does not seem to be anything strange happening in the house, but one night when young Carol Anne hears the static on the television, she starts yelling at the set that she cannot hear whoever is trying to talk to her. Young Robbie is starting to experience fear from the items around his room, the clown that sits at the end of his bed is always looking at him weird and the tree outside has been watching him. As Robbie has always had an overactive imagination, his parents know a couple ways to control it, but never in their wildest dreams could they imagine what their happy little life has in store for them.
When feeling what seems to be an earthquake in the bedroom, Steve is calling his friends to see if they felt the same thing. As he finds out that it only has happened in his house, he seems to let it go as an isolated incident, but in the bedroom the family dog E. Buzz seems to be responding to someone who is not there. While Diane thinks this is strange, she does not know what to make of it, but when working in the kitchen she finds out that there is something different going on in her home. With the chairs being pulled out from the table, Diane thinks that one of the kids is playing a trick on her, but when the chairs wind up on top of the table, she knows that these ‘T.V. People’ who Carol Anne is talking to are real. With this being something out of the ordinary, a spot in the kitchen seems to be a center of activity and when something is placed in a specific spot, it slides across the floor without anyone or anything being there.
The house is far from all fun and games as something evil is awakened during a terrible thunder storm. As Robbie’s tree comes alive and tries to eat the boy, the family’s attention is pulled away from who it is really after, little Carol Anne. As she is taken by the house, the family does not know what they are dealing with and turns to a ghost hunting team that can hopefully give them some answers. As Dr. Lesh and her team enter the house, they find out that it is the most active location that they have ever investigated. Not believing that the house is haunted, but a poltergeist has taken up residence there, they run their normal tests and find that Carol Anne is still in the house, but will need to call in someone else to try and bring the child back to the land of the living.
This is one of those movies that I can watch whenever it is on, and even sometimes seek it out from my collection. I am a sucker for a good story and even a bigger sucker for a ghost story and this one fulfills my needs when it comes down to it. With so many strange things going on around the house, the family accepts it, but they did not see or feel the evil presence and had no idea what it was up to while gaining strength. While normal answers cannot be found about what is happening, I loved the interactions between Dr. Lesh and her team and the reaction shots are just amazing. Watching as the Freeling family has learned to come to terms with what is happening, I have two favorite scenes in the movie that always stay in my mind; one, when Steve opens the locked off room with everything flying around in it and two, when Steve is trying to answer the psychic with his mind. They always stick with me and the look on his face is just priceless. So now I am forced to want to find a family that is suffering from a poltergeist and find out what differences there are between that and the normal hauntings which I have become a huge fan of. Stay Scared!
Written by John Edward Betancourt
We when look back upon our lives at any particular age, it's easy to pinpoint moments in our personal history where a creative person in the entertainment industry touched our souls on an intimate level and moved us in some particular way. These are the artists we immediately follow and pour over their work and if we are fortunate enough, perhaps meet them or celebrate their new work when it is completed and available to the masses.
For those artists that have passed on however, we dig into their work a little more obsessively when when we truly fall in love with it. We listen to every note, watch every film, catalogue anything and everything they ever did to not only understand their legacy, but who they were as a person and often find ourselves wondering what it would be like to meet our favorite in person and ask them everything we ever wanted to know. But alas, we know such an act is simply impossible, unless of course you're traveling through the world of Nightmares & Dreamscapes, where one couple ran into all of their musical heroes...with interesting results in 'You Know They Got a Hell of a Band'.
Clark and Mary Rivingham are enjoying a scenic drive through the Oregon woods on their way to Clark's new job, but neither seems to be having that good of a time for one simple reason...they are completely and utterly lost. Their destination is nowhere in sight and Clark has missed every opportunity to get them back on the right roads. But, there is luck in the air when they run into a small town named Rock and Roll Heaven, meaning they have a chance to get back on track. However, Clark sees this isolated town as a chance to stretch their legs before hitting the road once again and instantly, the couple is taken aback by the beauty of this picturesque community. But Mary feels as though something is amiss and while at the local diner her suspicions only grow stronger at the sight of what appears to be Rock and Roll's finest and deceased minds walking about and working there. It doesn't take long after that for the couple to realize that this place is indeed some kind of strange sanctuary for these musical legends, and unfortunately for them, Rock and Roll Heaven must remain a secret, which means Clark and Mary...can never leave...
Truly, what a fascinating way to wrap up this incredible miniseries. Sure, it's not exactly the scariest plot line to work with, but it's a fun one to say the least. This is just a good old fashioned 'what if' scenario that plays out over the hour and if you are absolutely in need of a scare in this tale, there are a couple of genuinely creepy moments. Outside of that, this episode can be declared a success based upon one simple thing, it completely and utterly brings forth a sense of wonder once you join Clark and Mary on their voyage into Rock and Roll Heaven, Oregon. After all, the town is about as Americana as you can get, filled with vibrant colors, Norman Rockwell-esque settings and of course, just about every single big name music legend that you can think of.
Yet it also serves as a cautionary tale, specifically playing on the notion of 'be careful what you wish for' since at first it does seem awesome to be in a town surrounded by living legends, that is until we learn about the fact that this poor couple can't leave the town, effectively trapping them in a place stuck in time, where they simply don't belong and where they will have to endure too much of a good thing for who knows how long. But, I for one applaud the folks behind the scenes for ending the mini series with this story. It's certainly the most lighthearted of the bunch and it's a fine reminder that Stephen King is a ridiculously talented writer than can make any concept interesting or creepy and this was a wonderful celebration of his work and truly a watermark for how his stories should be adapted. Either way, it's been fun recapping these tales with you, and with our journey through these stories now complete, part of me hopes that TNT or another network will do another round of fascinating adaptations from one of America's most prolific writers.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
It's something that most of us won't ever quite admit to, or discuss in open conversation, but we all harbor a particular fear that when confronted with it, we are absolutely shaken to our core. Often times, that fear is related to death or how we die and despite the many ways that the end makes us quiver in our boots, there is only one that a majority of people have shared throughout the years...the fear of being buried alive.
After all, this is a potential scenario that covers so many horrible bases. One could be trapped in a coffin, with little air to breathe and zero room to maneuver and of course to make matters worse, you're buried six feet below the ground where no one can hear you scream. With those images in mind, it's no wonder that this is indeed one of mankind's greatest fears, so much in fact that in the 19th Century it wasn't uncommon to see graves with tubes installed so those that were indeed buried alive could call for help. But while this is a fear that has plagued us for decades, the possibility of it has been greatly lessened thanks to our modern burial procedures, but sometimes, mistakes are made...as was the case in the Nightmares & Dreamscapes episode; 'Autopsy Room Four'.
Howard Cottrell is having one hell of a day. Not only has his golf game been off, but his good friend has been giving him hell every step of the way on the golf course, and a rare viper has sunk its fangs into his leg, paralyzing him to no end...and leaving medical personnel to believe that Howard is dead. But the poor man is healthy, at least mentally. He can see and feel everything happening around him and to him...he simply cannot communicate and that's going to be a problem. Because Howard has been moved to the city morgue, and his body is being prepped for an autopsy. Meaning the clock is ticking on Howard's life and it is going to take a miracle, or a sheer force of will to prove to everyone in that office that Howard Cottrell is alive and well...
This is certainly a different kind of episode for this series to bring to the table simply because it is nowhere near as cerebral as the rest of the other stories in this visual anthology. This particular tale is all about raw experience and emotion and at first glance it seems as though moving into that realm storytelling wise is going to break from tradition in this mini series and abandon its roots grounded in character development, but thankfully that is simply not the case. We learn everything we need to know about Howard through a series of flashbacks while he waits to be sliced open on the table, from how exactly he earned the snakebite in question alongside details about his relationship with his fiancé. But while all of that is fascinating and important, those moments pale in comparison to the experience made mention of a few moments ago.
Because this is a story that wants you to do one thing, join Howard along for the ride and share in the raw fear circulating through the man's veins and well...it's damn successful at that. Through inner monologue and point of view devices, we are indeed placed in Howard's shoes as he waits for the doctors to do their thing. There's simply no way to know when the dreaded moment will arrive and the tension that comes from that puts you on the edge of your seat. Either way, this is indeed a fascinating little study on the horror that one might go through if by chance they were to be 'buried alive' and the episode also does a phenomenal job of injecting plenty of humor along the way in this one so it doesn't get too dark, and quite frankly, the show deserves some credit for scaling down the size of the story this go round and focusing in on simpler scares. Until next time.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
Our failures in life, often times amount to much more in our minds. Not only can they drag us down and hammer away at our self esteem, but in a way, they become a type of emotional debt. For often times, our mistakes can affect those around us and the guilt that comes with hurting those we love and care about leaves us wondering if there is ever a way we can repay our 'debt' and make things right once again.
Normally, we can set things right. It may take some time, but when we are sincere about making amends, we find a way and eventually all is right in the world once again. But sometimes, our mistakes cross lines that create incredible damage in our relationships, the kind of devastation where there is clearly a divide between us and those we love and that's where the emotional debt in our mind seems insurmountable. The question that we face at that point is, how far are we willing to go to make everything right again, and it is a question that is explored, to the extreme of course, in the Nightmares & Dreamscapes episode; 'The Fifth Quarter'.
Willie Evans has not seen the last few years of his life go the way he expected them to. He's been locked up behind bars for years and at last, he will finally be getting out of jail to reunite with his family. But it doesn't take long for Willie to see what being imprisoned for so long has done to his family. There's a slight divide between him and his son and the relationship with his wife Karen is an absolute mess. But before he has the chance to start rebuilding his life, his best friend and former cell mate Barney appears in his home with a horrible gun shot wound to the gut. The bleeding doesn't seem to be stopping and in his final moments, Barney shares with Willie how he wound up getting shot...and why. Barney was working with three other guys to get a cut of $3.5 million. Each man was given a piece of a map to find the cash and instead of working together, one man hurt Barney to steal his piece of the puzzle. With that Barney dies, handing over his map to Willie and inspiring his friend to collect the rest of the map, not only to strike it rich, but to provide a better life to his family and make amends for his own mistakes.
Perhaps the best way to think about this episode is that it is a crime story with heart, and lots of it to be honest because Willie is quite the stand up character despite the circumstances that surround him once he gets out of prison. After all, in the middle of the mess with Barney, his worst fears are realized when Barney calls Karen, 'babe' and in that moment, one would think that this is Willie's chance to go rogue and screw over his wife for screwing his best friend. But instead Willie handles every single tragedy and revelation that comes his way in stride. Mainly because of the fact that he knows he's responsible for it all. Had he not gone to prison, things would be different and it's clear that Karen and his son are deeply hurt by his actions and carry a strong sense of abandonment toward Willie and it makes what comes next, thrilling on a different level.
Because Willie's quest to collect the cash goes beyond retribution and greed...it truly is about setting things right in his life. By getting the money he not only avenges Barney's death, but his wife and son will be set for life and you root for him the entire time as he begins to collect pieces of the map. You want to see the guy on easy street because those tired eyes show us a man who has simply had enough of the hand he has been dealt and it makes the ending all the more worth while. Because Willie's sacrifice is in many ways, his redemption at last. Sure he goes back to jail, and there is a good chance he will never see the free world ever again, but in those closing moments he seems to know that his wife will eventually figure out where the money is at, and he's content in the fact that she will finally be happy. It makes for a refreshing story, one that could have gone to dark and angry places and instead found a way to lift our spirits. Until next time.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
Sometimes horror can be outright beautiful, especially when it can convey a complex and powerful concept, in the most absolute simplest of fashion. This is the kind of experience that allows for maximum enjoyment since fans looking for something more, have plenty to ponder upon when the story has come its end.
But even if you're looking for something simple, that kind of horror becomes a special experience, since it often conveys terror in its purest form, and you are treated to raw and powerful emotions and scares on a primal level. However, this is an incredible feat to pull off since it requires a powerful attention to detail to mix everything together just right and to date, only a handful of horror masters can pull it off, one of which being the legendary Stephen King and one such story in this vein was featured in Nightmares & Dreamscapes in 'The Road Virus Heads North'.
Author Richard Kinnell is a master of horror. His terrifying novels have forced many a fan to sleep with their lights on, but for the first time in his life, Richard is the one feeling a sense of fear. For while he is in town to attend a book event, he stops by the Doctor's office for a checkup, and receives the news that he may indeed have an advanced form of cancer. The Doc wants to do more testing to be one hundred percent sure of course, but in his gut, Richard knows it's bad news. The news gives Richard plenty to chew upon as he begins a long drive home, but along the way, something catches his eye at a garage sale, a disturbing painting entitled 'The Road Virus Heads North' and well, the backstory of an artist that went mad after painting it, makes this macabre trinket to good to pass up and he purchases it. But as he continues his trip home, something about the painting begins to unsettle him, and as the hours pass, he realizes that the painting is beginning to change and it's clear...the being behind the wheel on canvas is heading to Richard's home, and now it is a race against time to see who will arrive home...first...
So, we talked briefly about loading up a story with high level concepts in simple fashion, and when you strip down the layers of this genius episode, it's core meaning is simple. This is a story about death, and facing one's morality since Richard is now staring down the darkness with his likely cancer diagnosis and he simply cannot process the fact that his life may quickly come to an end, which means that in many ways, The Road Virus represents his worst fear, dying, and this strange being is chasing him, and racing alongside him every step of the way as Richard tries his best to get home and well...it's a concept that works through and through. For those wanting a scare, the painting is indeed terrifying as it stalks our intrepid writer and the fear is evident and primal and through the entire story, there's a sense of doom closing in on both the viewer and Richard, culminating in a tense finale.
But for those looking for something more, in addition to the metaphor and specter of death hovering over the episode, there is more to be found as well. After all, one has to consider exactly how much the cancer diagnosis is affecting Richard mentally, and whether or not The Road Virus is real. Since Richard is a writer and a good one at that, his imagination may be taking over and putting images in his head where there are none, or...it could flat out be a horrific monster from the recesses of our worst nightmares and the man really is in big time trouble at the end of the episode. But what makes this story so great, is that it gets us thinking through and through, and provides plenty of chills along the way and as this mini series progresses, it only seems to be getting stronger in its storytelling and I cannot wait to see what this series will be putting on the table next.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
There is a certain sense of hopelessness that infects all of us when incredible tragedy or disaster strikes. We can only watch in horror as the events unfold before our eyes and realize that in that moment, there is nothing we can do to make it right or make it better for that matter.
But there is a plus side, because from that hopelessness comes a sense of unity, and purpose and it's when we as a species are at our most beautiful because we band together and do our best to rebuild, help those in need and perhaps find a way to make sure such tragedy never strikes again. However, despite our good intentions, our hospitality sometimes creates unintended consequences. At best, we offend someone deeply who desired to handle matters on their own or at worst, we set in motion a chain of ugly events when our hearts blind our brains as was the case in the Nightmares & Dreamscapes episode, 'The End of the Whole Mess'.
Howard Fornoy is an award winning documentary film maker...that has one last tale to tell. For the world is about to come to an end, and Howard's family had a hand in its undoing. His story is a harrowing one, that chronicles his life, and the life of his baby brother Bobby and how that genius of a brother discovered the impossible...the cure for aggression. Through thorough testing of a water supply of a small town in Texas, Bobby discovered an enzyme that ended anger and rage and allowed peace and understanding amongst the townspeople and it led Bobby to synthesize it in mass quantities to deliver it upon the world, and end conflict among us at last. But by rushing to save the world, Bobby missed some critical data about the long term health of the people in that town in Texas, and now the rest of the world is suffering from a unique form of dementia, one that eventually leads to death, and it's imperative that Howard finish his tale now, for the symptoms of the illness...are starting to take over...
Simply put, this is a magnificent piece of storytelling, because we are treated to one incredible tragedy that moves you in stunning fashion. For one, the story of the Fornoy boys is entertaining and charming and allows for the audience to care about this family through and through and it makes Bobby's quirks all the more lovable as well since we are privy to his unique level of intelligence and the good within his heart since his plan is a noble one to say the least. You too want what Bobby wants. You want to see the world step away from the horrible violence that plagues it and well, his plan truly seems like the miracle to end all miracles and for a moment the story is uplifting and hopeful...before it all comes crashing down in horrible fashion.
The second half of the episode is where the story it truly gains its power, because despite Bobby's big brain and despite his best intentions, the concept of unintended consequences ring true and if only Bobby had put more thought into what he was doing...then perhaps so many could have been spared. But as the hour continues along, the gravity of what he's done, the fact that there is no going back adds a powerful weight to the story, specifically that everything we learned about these men, and how good they are at their core meant nothing, since in many ways Howard's confession is a waste, because who will be left to see it, and who will be left to learn from it? It's a sobering episode to say the least. It's one that gives you pause, and as of right now, it's my favorite from this series because of how bold of a tale it turned out to be. Until next time.