Written by: John Edward Betancourt
It was another wild week on The Walking Dead and as I mentioned in my earlier recap, there were a lot of layers to this week's episode. In fact, we have all been witness to a touch of manipulation from the producers and writers of this show, and I'm okay with it. Kudos to them for dragging us along and taking us where we didn't expect to go. What exactly am I referring to? Simple, the producers have designed two different worlds on this show, one set in the old and one ready to embrace the new, and they are now on a collision course.
Specifically, let's take a look at the buzz surrounding Rick and the prison. We heard the discussion on Talking Dead and we all questioned it ourselves, the possibility that Rick was leading these people to doom and that he had lost his moral center. Gone was any regard for human life outside of the protection of his family, and hope also seemed to be removed from the equation. It was move on, survive and hope to hell no one is torn apart by walkers. How wrong were we? Rick never lost any part of himself, the loss of Lori was evident to this. In fact what Rick has done up to this point in the show is nothing short of amazing. He has provided this rag tag band with nothing but hope, and he has held them together when they could all have easily gone their own ways. The prison is merely a symbol of community, of a new life. Rick's savage nature was exactly what Shane said he had to do to survive, let go of the old way of doing things and embrace the world as it is. Has it left him damaged? Absolutely, but seeing everyone rally around rescuing Maggie and Glenn, and seeing the joy in their eyes that Carol made it speaks to the fact that they are all family now, and in the new world they will have to work a little harder to keep the endangered species that is humanity alive.
But across the way lies Woodbury, and the show has done a fine job of making us weary of the town, but hopeful that maybe they are like Rick's group, just doing what they have to do. But this week, everyone in Woodbury showed their true colors and demonstrated that this town, is trapped in a world long gone. The town's "leadership" are the darkest parts of our psyche, in charge and out of control. Last night's disturbing scene between the Governor and Maggie shows that ol' Philip knows how to exploit fear in the people around him, and relishes in being able to remove the word "no" from the equation of any conversation. Power is nothing more than his vendetta against the world that ignored his "greatness" and he will stop at nothing to control as much of it as possible. It's tragic in so many ways, only because a chance to start over is right in front of him. There's also the nightmare that is Merle. We knew he was a scumbag two seasons ago, but until this episode, I don't think we ever understood how big of a scumbag he really is. This is his dream world, no rules, no accountability and able to live the good life. But perhaps the best example of how Woodbury is such the opposite of the West Georgia Correctional Facility was Milton's creepy experiment. His attempt to see what humanity remains in a walker and the fact that the Governor allows him to indulge in such odd experiments, only scratches the surface in showing just how hard it is for these people to let go of yesterday. The need for power, entertainment, iced drinks and in the case of the Governor, keeping your re-animated daughter around is all icing on the cake.
It's an incredible job by the folks behind the scenes, and I applaud them for it. Such depth like this is rare in television, and expect to see more of this as the weeks progress. Especially now that after this upcoming week, Rick and Philip will know of one another, and the violence that erupts from their battle for what they consider to be "their way" of life will be nothing short of terrifying and spectacular.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
We here at hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with their families and that you ate as much as well...a walker would. But now that the turkey is gone and the wine bottles are empty it is time to settle in for a new Monday tradition, talking about zombies. Sadly this review means we only have one more week before the midseason finale of The Walking Dead so let's get right down to our recap of last night's episode: "When the Dead Come Knocking".
The Good: What an incredible build up of tension last night and what an outstanding episode. Yes, I am fully aware of the fact that this is my favorite show and I gush about it plenty. But this episode was another loaded potato and I love the fact this show is quickly learning how to layer every story. There were so many subtleties that another article will be on the way just for that, so let's talk about the big highlights. Let's start with the fact that I love a good homage and we got a great one last night with Milton and Andrea in his little lab. I've made mention before of the Day of the Dead slash Doctor Logan connection and last night it appeared again with Milton's desperate attempt to see if the living dead can retain any of their humanity. It was a disturbing scene to say the least. On the more positive side, I love the sense of family permeating between the people in Rick's camp. I think it was the gentle moment of welcoming Carol back that gave Michonne any amount of trust to help the group out. I was worried about the development of Michonne early on but recent weeks show she is not only a badass, but a good person. I can't wait to see what backstory they have invented for her. But the big highlight of the night, is the trouble brewing over the upcoming rescue of Maggie and Glenn. The torture scenes were tense enough, but the last five minutes left me on the edge of my seat. This is it, and we now know just how awful the Governor and Merle really are. Either way, next week is gonna be ugly. With Rick and the Governor so loyal to their groups, the bad blood between these two will make for amazing second half of the season.
The Bad: This show needs to be longer. One hour is just cruel. Two hours instead AMC, make it so.
The Verdict: This was a great setup episode. Can't wait until next week when the showdown in Woodbury gets underway.
Written by: John Edward Betancourt
It is hard to develop characters in a zombie apocalypse. To learn about who someone is, what makes them tick, what their beliefs are, all really mean little when it comes to the dead returning to life.
It is something that The Walking Dead has taken to heart. We have an idea of who the characters in this show are, and who they might have been, but our journey with them has been one of survival, of the fight to simply see the sun rise another day. That is until last night, when we finally saw a few layers of the onion peeled back and for the first time, saw many of the characters inner workings.
Rick Grimes is perhaps the only character we had a slight understanding of. The pilot allowed us to see how important family was to this man, and his moral center is something we have all seen erode as the show has progressed. In fact Talking Dead confronted the possibility that Rick had lost all of that center and was as ruthless as Shane. Thankfully we found out, that was not the case. Shane was a man without conscience, while Rick has turned his off for a little while. While a little scary in terms of sanity, the phone conversation with Lori and her urging him to pick himself up was a beautiful moment in a show filled with sorrow. I'm glad to see that old Rick is still in there, but his story was just the beginning.
We also got a good internal look at the Dixon brothers. Merle perhaps was the big stunner of the night, after cutting off his own hand in Atlanta, finding a home and a job in Woodbury, we always knew he was still a racist son of a bitch and a loose cannon to boot. But what we learned last night, that despite all of the bravado, he is one big coward. Let's be honest, we all waited patiently for Michonne to start kicking some ass in Woodbury, and this was the big opportunity, a showdown with Merle. Was it awesome? Yes. Did I expect to see Merle back down like that? No. The guy's a wimp and I am now wondering if we are seeing the beginning of the end for Merle. His brother on the other hand has turned out to be one incredible character. Daryl's chat with Carl as they cleared the cell block, regarding the death of his own mother was another insightful moment. This is a man who has truly seen it all, who has gone along with all the bull his brother wanted him to simply to get by. But now that he is on his own, given a chance to lead and shine, he has become one of the best characters on the show. But that speech last night shows he understands how hard the world can be, and he truly wants to see it a better place. When Merle and Daryl meet up, I don't think it will be pleasant. These are two men on different paths now.
The other big surprise last night, was the dynamic between Andrea and The Governor. Andrea has obviously harbored a bit of a dark side throughout the show. She was willing to die in the first season finale, but I don't think we had any idea how much anger Andrea harbors until this episode. It is obvious now from the fact she liked the fights, her need to get out and kill walkers in such close quarters combat, that she is carrying a lot of demons. It explains her attraction to the men in this world who are equally as angry, and signals an interesting twist for her character. It is possible now that she could side with Woodbury and the Governor if this newfound dark side takes over, or perhaps she can be brought back from the brink like Rick, time will tell.
The Governor on the other hand, continues to develop into the piece of garbage that he is. With his admission to Andrea that he was not proud of most of what he had in his life, we know now for sure that in the world before this one, this guy was a ghost in the crowd. A job that paid just enough to get by, a car that barely got him to that job. He was the kind of man you would pass on the street and never know he was there. He was a silent observer, wondering why the rest of world has it so good, and when will his time come. This is a man who relishes in the opportunity to leave that life behind, and thrives in becoming someone of significance. It's sad really, and for the first time last night I felt pity for Philip.
Either way, this is something the show has been in need of badly. The kills are great, the gore is there, but now we are starting to get close to these people. The plus side is, we will love these characters more, the down side is, when the bloodbath in Woodbury begins it will be all that much harder to say goodbye to the ones who fall.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
Another week, another Monday and another fine episode of The Walking Dead, and compared to last week, we had a ton thrown our way. So let's get right down to it, here is our recap of last night's episode: "Hounded".
The Good: Holy cow, I did not expect to see this much packed into a single hour. I mean where does one begin? For starters, it was great to see that Lori was on the line after all when it came to the phone call. This was an awesome little piece to see on screen and it was handled in amazing fashion. I have to admit it was pretty cool to see that Emma Bell and Andrew Rothenberg were good with reprising their roles as Amy and Jim. But the whole vignette was a fine closure piece (maybe) to Rick's grief. Not to mention, good to see that Carol made it after all, finally a little good news after that brutal episode. But all of that was overshadowed by the trouble that is clearly brewing. It was good to see Merle being Merle once again, and even better to see that he has found his match in Michonne. But the two biggest surprises for me tonight, Maggie and Glenn's capture, and Andrea once more falling in "love" with a complete and utter piece of crap. If I had to imagine anyone's life before the zombiepocalypse, I get the feeling Andrea loved the bad boys because man, she can't keep her hands off of them in this show. But I digress, only because Merle's catch, has set in motion a series of events that will go beyond anything we have seen on the show so far.
The Bad: Honestly, no complaints this week. But since I have to put something down here, I think I am upset with the fact I have to wait a week for more of my favorite show.
The Verdict: Incredible episode. This bad boy was a seven layer burrito and I absolutely want more. There are darker days ahead for this show, and I cannot wait to see them.
Written by: John Edward Betancourt
There is a great battle that still rages on in film; the book versus the movie. It's a valid struggle, as since we have all sat down and enjoyed an incredible novel one time or another, only to have it play out in horrible fashion on the big screen. As the years progress, it seems the growing opinion is that the book will always win out, with its unique ability to capture our imagination in ways that film simply cannot.
For one such author, it has been a mixed bag of results when it comes to movie adaptations of his work. There have been about as many winners as there have been losers. Of course, I'm talking about Stephen King. For every Graveyard Shift there is a Misery. Or for every Thinner there is an It. It seems that King's work on film will either be an utter disaster or a critical and box office darling.
But out of all of Stephen King's work, only one director has actually managed to bring about quality and spot on adaptations of his stories, and has been able to make them as captivating as they are on the page. That man, is Frank Darabont and his gorgeous adaptations of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile garnered him a well deserved reputation in the film industry. But Darabont is a student of horror, having cut his teeth on 1988's remake of The Blob, and it seems only fitting that he felt the need to take on a lesser known scary Stephen King short story; The Mist.
A violent thunderstorm disrupts life for the citizens of Bridgton, Maine. The power is out, trees have been uprooted and an odd mist hangs over the lake. None of these things seem to phase David Drayton who heads into town to pick up food and any necessary supplies to clean up the mess. But while inside the grocery store, the mist appears once again, and covers the town. But this seemingly harmless mist is anything but since there are living creatures in the mist and their existence is revealed to David when one of the refugees is torn apart by the shadows just beyond. But what waits for them outside, is nothing compared to the human monsters that are beginning to show themselves from within the safety of the store.
Simply put, Darabont absolutely strikes gold with this film. It is intense, gory and unmercifully brutal. The creatures truly look other-wordly, thanks to the fine work of KNB EFX studios and make you squirm in your seat when they appear on screen.
The acting shines with excellent performances from Thomas Jane, Andre Braugher and Marcia Gay Harden. In fact you'll even find some Walking Dead alumni in Jeffrey DeMunn and Laurie Holden. But while we are treated to a fine ensemble cast, the true wonder of this film is the sheer horror that it portrays on screen.
Every frame of this film from the moment the mist arrives in front of the store, boils with intensity. At no point are you left comfortable again. From the things that roam outside to the evil building within, this is a movie that not only takes you on an emotional roller coaster, it also leaves you deeply disturbed with the decisions the characters make. At times you may see it coming, but that doesn't prepare you for the raw disgust you will feel at witnessing good people turn into something so despicable.
Take all of that and throw in a devastating ending and you leave the theater or turn off your Blu-ray player feeling utterly defeated and wondering what you need to do to raise your spirits up if only for a moment. Why praise such a film? Because this is unadulterated horror. The genre has never been about the monster or the shadows in the night, it has always been about who we are and what some of us truly are deep down. The tagline for this film said it best; "Fear Changes Everything" and after watching The Mist, I completely agree.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
It's Monday and that means another episode of The Walking Dead is behind us. But where do we go after seeing the wholesale slaughter of so many lead actors? It's hard to say, but this episode gave us hints of a darker future to come. So sit back and enjoy as Daniel and John sit down to review last night's first Lori and T-Dog free episode, "Say the Word".
The Good: More incredible comic book moments come to life in this episode. We got the Gladiator Arena that the Governor is so fond of, and it was made all the much better by putting Merle Dixon front and center into the ruse. At long last, we finally saw Michonne unleashed and the wait has been worth it. But sadly, these moments were out shined by two key things in this episode. First and foremost...Penny. Fans of the comic finally get to see one of the darkest aspects of the Governor's psyche by his letting this abomination "live" and the television incarnation was far more disturbing than I ever expected. But the defining moment of this episode, has to go to Andrew Lincoln and his incredible acting. All season long Mister Lincoln has taken Rick Grimes to new heights with his portrayal and these last two episodes have been some of the best acting I've seen on television in years. He deserves an Emmy, plain and simple.
The Bad: I find myself concerned more and more each week with the supporting cast. Specifically, I am talking about the two prisoners. I understand this show is an ensemble piece, and there is only so much screen time to go around. But I'm still pissed about the wasted opportunity for T-Dog and while went out with a bang last week, it is almost an insult to bring in two new guys to do nothing and have a couple of lines. If that's all they are going to bring to the table, then there was no need to kill T-Dog. Heck, even Beth suffers from what I will now call "T-Dog Syndrome" and the best thing to do at this point is either bring these characters up, or say goodbye.
The Verdict: Solid episode. Rather than try and top last week, we were all given a moment to catch our breath, something that is definitely appreciated. But rather than be a total throwaway episode, this was obviously an opportunity to setup a few things. More will come of Penny I am sure, not to mention I have a feeling Michonne is about to stumble on Rick's new summer home. But more importantly, Rick's breakdown should have plenty of repercussions for himself and his role as the group's leader, and like the rest of you, I cannot wait to find out who is on the other end of that phone call. We debated long and hard about speculating on the mystery phone, but I think it is best if we just sit back and enjoy the surprise!
Written by: John Edward Betancourt
Before we get started, there are spoilers ahead.
It took me a while last night to finally put any words to last night's episode of The Walking Dead. I enjoyed the episode, in fact it brought tears to my eyes with the amazing events that transpired on the screen. So my pause from this particular episode was simply due to the fact that it completely left me stunned. At no point did I ever expect to see the complete and unexpected carnage that went down in such a breakneck fashion despite the fact that we have already lost other characters on the show. But let's face it, there was a sense of doom that permeated last season.
Dale's death was unexpected but somehow necessary, providing the group with a much needed moment to pull themselves together when everyone started pulling in different directions. Shane's death seemed to be building every week, with his dark descent beginning after her murdered Otis and culminating with his attempt to kill Rick.
But last night, last night was truly something else. To see Lori and T-Dog fall in such incredible fashion, it really tore a hole in the show. Yes, Lori was a royal pain the ass and petty, but her last moments with Carl and her penance for all her "sins" certainly made the case that perhaps Lori wasn't as bad as advertised, just that she had fallen in the trap that she asked Carl to not fall into, to not let this world "spoil" him.
T-Dog of course gets to go out like the hero that we never knew. I mentioned earlier how unfortunate it was that he leaves the show after so many missed opportunities to develop his character, so we will leave it at that.
But what struck me most about last night's episode, is the return to its roots. I was one to defend the show in the first half of season 2 when so many said that it was too slow, that there needed to be more kils and so on, and while we have all gotten what we wished for, last night brought us back to basics.
This is a show about our humanity, our need to survive and our need to keep the people that matter in our lives surviving. The last few moments of the episode, when Rick collapsed in tears brought this point around full circle. He never got the chance to say goodbye, he never got the chance to make things right, and since he was clearly waiting for the right time to do it, the finality of it all crushed him.
It was utterly heartbreaking to watch on screen, and an amazing job goes to the producers of the show for pulling this off. This band of survivors are all family now, and each one of them and thematters. All the questions of Rick's humanity leaving are laid to rest now. It was always about keeping his family safe. So here is to hoping that Rick is able to recover from this loss, as since darker days are clearly ahead, and the monster that awaits in Woodbury will only bring more sorrow.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
Last night's episode of The Walking Dead still has us reeling over here at Girls of Geek. This was one that will go down as one of the best in the series with its incredible surprises, so let's not waste anymore time and get right into our recap of last night's game changing episode:
"Killer Within". Also a quick warning, if by chance you didn't watch last night's episode, first off shame on you, second, be ready for spoilers.
The Good: Wow. That's really the only word to describe last night's episode and all the incredible things that it brought to the table. We lost Lori and T-Dog and it was done in the classiest and brutal of fashion. I honestly don't know how much I can take sometimes when it comes to the roller coaster ride of emotions this show puts us through, and last night was no exception. This really was an incredible send off for both Sarah Wayne Callies and IronE Singleton and while I am sad to see them go, yes, even Lori, somehow this shakeup of the cast seemed appropriate and these deaths I think have greater implications on the future of the series than any other have to date.
The Bad: Despite the heroic death for T-Dog, his death is not without one glaring issue; we never got to see the character's full potential. The jokes about him not having enough to do or say were well warranted over the last three years. So to see T-Dog go in stunning fashion, is still damn frustrating. Almost as if he was cut from the show because they never had any plans for him outside of standing around and having a couple of lines and quite frankly, that sucks.
The Verdict: This show has a brass pair, that's for sure. Every week we see the envelope being pushed and this week was no exception. I understand that yes, this is a show about the end of the world, but holy crap no one is safe and I think we all got comfortable after Dale and Shane died off. But judging from the preview for next week, and Rick's reaction last night, we are headed for more heartbreak and sorrow from the best show on television.
Written by: John Edward Betancourt
It's a growing and almost welcome trend in film to essentially hit the "Reset" button. Studios and filmmakers alike are at last recognizing their mistakes and rather than let a good franchise disappear, they simply start from scratch, or find a way to forget the mistake.
A fine example of this has been in comic book movies, with Marvel providing a second chance to a couple of its franchises. It is an approach we can also find in horror with today's B movie spotlight: Return to Sleepaway Camp.
It has been years since Camp Arawak fell under the murderous spell of Angela/Peter Baker, but his/her crimes did not go unpunished and Baker was locked away forever. One of the counselors there that fateful night, Ronnie, has decided to return to the summer camp business and with a little financial help he opens Camp Manabe. It's business as usual at camp, until Alan, the resident outcast, begins to break down in anger from all the bullying. Now once more kids are dying at camp, and while the prime suspect seems to be Alan, Ronnie begins to wonder if Angela is somehow lurking in the shadows.
It was a long and difficult road to bring the fourth Sleepaway Camp film to life. Prior to this picture there was a sequel entitled The Survivor but it ran out cash mid filming and originally saw the light of day as a bonus disc in the rare Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit DVD set. Recently super fan John Klyza stepped in and made sure The Survivor was completed as since you can now find it available on DVD.
This film however, has the honor of being an official sequel, especially with the original film's writer and director; Robert Hiltzik returning to the franchise he made famous. He did exactly what Bryan Singer did with Superman Returns, simply forget about the sequels that weren't worth a damn and continue the story as a follow up to the films that actually mattered. However, if you are expecting something as groundbreaking as Sleepaway Camp prepare for a mixed bag.
On the plus side, the kills are once more spectacular. Creativity, and plenty of blood, flow from how these poor teenagers fall at the hands of the killer, and keeping the killer's true identity a secret is also handled well. Again, I won't ruin it here, but it was a pleasant surprise to see who it was before the credits roll. The film also gets credit for bringing back Paul DeAngelo to play Ronnie after all these years, and even Jonathan Tiersten, who played Ricky in the first film manages to make an appearance.
But what hurts the film most, is Alan, essentially Angela's replacement. While we are supposed to sympathize with this character, one simply cannot. While Angela was so quiet and reserved there was a level of empathy we could express when the kids started tearing into her, Alan is portrayed on screen as an absolute jackass. At times he warrants the punishment he receives, being as much of a bully as the kids around him.
All in all however, Return to Sleepaway Camp is a fun little ride. With kills that leave you cheering, but you won't find the same fulfillment as the original. This is a good attempt to capture the magic of the first, but nothing can ever top it, much less hold a candle to it. Thankfully I can safely say this time around that out of all the sequels this is the best follow up by far.
Written by: John Edward Betancourt
Hitting rock bottom is more than just expression. It happens in life, and it happens often in television and film. When it comes to our favorite movies or television shows we can only sit there and watch in horror as everything falls apart before our eyes and can only wonder what went wrong.
You've heard the expressions used to describe a decline, "jumping the shark" or "nuking the fridge," but the end result is all the same, a slaughter of what used to be a franchise we knew and loved. For the Sleepaway Camp series its rock bottom moment arrived with the release of the third film in the series: Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland.
It has been one year since Angela "The Angel of Death" Baker murdered everyone at Camp Rolling HIlls. Now new ownership is in place and has re-opened as Camp New Horizons, a place where teens from all walks of life can come together. Unfortunately for them, the still at large Angela has killed a camper and taken her place and identity, now with new teens around her the Angel of Death will begin her murdering spree once again.
Filmed back to back with Unhappy Campers the third entry in the Sleepaway Camp series wastes no time in getting right to the kills. From the first minute when Angela runs over young Maria, we know that we are in for a slaughter, if only the kills were as thought out as the first one, this film would have been so much better.
I say that only because this is by far the worst entry in the franchise. The kills do their best at originality but the bad acting from Pamela Springsteen leaves us worn out and actually makes her acts of violence well, boring. There is little that is redeemable about this motion picture. It's hokey. Even the one liners induce groans as we plod from one boring kill to the next. In fact this sequel was so bad that the franchise would not see another "official" sequel for another nine years.
It is hard for me to recommend this one to anyone. I would just say once more to see it out of respect for the franchise, and after you are done, pop in the first one once again to wash away the bad memories of this awful mess.