10/7/13
ahs211_02

American Horror Story Asylum 2.11: Split Milk

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Author’s Note: This article is written on one episode of American Horror Story.  It has no knowledge of episodes released later than the episode in review.  Thank you.

Additional Note:  All articles on MK Horror contain spoilers.

Article written by Maggie K. Ward

ahs211_02Justice begins to be served in American Horror Story “Split Milk.”  Lana is finally freed with the aide of Mother Claudia (Barbara Tarbuck).  Jude (Jessica Lange) told the Mother that she wrongfully admitted Lana into Briarcliff athough she was innocent.  Mother Claudia brings Lana her things and helps her walk out the front door.  Kit (Evan Peters) and Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto) are having a heated conversation at the bottom of the stairs about the tape recording, however Kit helps distract the evil man while she walks right behind him to a taxi outside the front door.  He manages to follow and see her in the taxi, flipping him off with the recording of his confession pressed against the window.

Later she meets him at his house with a gun in hand and the police on their way.  He makes a martini and tells her about Wendy’s death.  She was the only one he kept in tact after killing her.  He would use her to practice having sex before he kidnapped Lana.  He could only get off if she was turned around so her lifeless eyes would not be looking into his soul.  Dr. Thredson tells Lana he will never truly be punished for his crimes because is he clearly insane.  For justice, she puts a bullet in him.  Later she attempts to get Jude from the asylum, although the Monsignor tells her Sister Jude hung herself.  The poor woman is still in isolation going mad.

During the scene with Lana and Dr. Thredson, the viewers are also shown Johnny’s (Dylan McDermott) interaction with a prostitute.  He ensures she recently had a baby and is full of breast milk.  Like his father, Johnny has mommy issues.  “She never loved me.  She never loved my father.  There was only one person she ever loved.

ahs211_01Kit gets the opportunity to meet his baby, whom Grace has named Thomas.  Kit asks her to tell him about the aliens and she says at first she thought she was in heaven.  He asks about Alma (Britne Oldford) but she says his wife had died with the aliens.  Holding his baby boy, Kit asks Grace to marry him.  Shortly after, however, Monsignor Howard (Joseph Fiennes) enters the common room and takes their child to an orphanage.  Two psychopaths are not fit to raise a baby.

Lana manages to fill the newspapers with her story about Bloody Face and Briarcliff, but the asylum is still up and running, and fighting to stay open.  Kit is brought release papers and he insists on meeting with the Monsignor.  He blackmails the man into getting his child back and releasing Grace’s body.  According to the Briarcliff files, Grace died.  There is even a signed death certificate to go along with it.  The Monsignor does not have to lie, and Kit does not have to tell the truth.

Kit gets his way and takes his new family to his old house he owned with Alma.  It is still destroyed and messy from the alien abduction and Kit hears something in the bedroom.  He finds Alma with her very own baby.

Lana also has her baby but tells the nurses she does not want to see him.  The baby will not stop crying and he is allergic to formula.  A nurse brings the baby to Lana and all but begs her to help.  Thinking of Dr. Thredson calling her “mommy” and sucking on her breast, she takes the pour child and breastfeeds.  Does she keep him?  Perhaps we will find out in the next episode.

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10/7/13

American Horror Story Asylum 2.10: The Name Game

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Author’s Note: This article is written on one episode of American Horror Story.  It has no knowledge of episodes released later than the episode in review.  Thank you.

Additional Note:  All articles on MK Horror contain spoilers.

Article written by Maggie K. Ward

ahs210_02Drama ensues in the next episode of American Horror Story.  The biggest jaw droppers are two rather unexpected but much need deaths: Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) and Dr. Arden (James Cromwell).  Monsignor Howard (Joseph Fiennes) realizes Jude (Jessica Lange) was right about Sister Mary Eunice.  She is pure evil.  He attempts to rid the devil from the poor woman’s body but fails and she takes this chance to have her way with him.  He committed his life, soul, and body to the church and she climbs on top of him and screws him.  He may have verbally denied her actions, but his body had another story.

She later taunts Monsignor Howard about his dreams of becoming Pope and he attempts to reach the pure soul of Mary Eunice.  She appears just long enough for him to throw her over the balcony from the third floor.  The Angel of Death (Frances Conroy) appears and takes both Mary Eunice and the Devil with her, however I am not convinced the Devil would leave Briarcliff that easily.

Dr. Arden takes Sister Mary’s indiscretions with Monsignor Howard personally.  He always loved Sister Mary Eunice’s purity.  She calls him out on being jealous while he takes food the creatures in the woods.  As they swarm from the feeding, he puts a bullet in each monster’s head.  He attempts to put one through he own skull, but cries and begs Sister Mary Eunice to show some compassion towards him.

Later his insists they cremate Sister Mary Eunice’s body due to all the evil that was within it.  Monsignor Howard offers to help; however Dr. Arden denies his help.  He takes her body to the incinerator, climbs on top and eaters the flames with her.  Goodbye Dr. Arden.  His death is bitter sweet.  He went out with a bang, however he was very unlikeable.  I doubt even Dr. Arden knew which side he was fighting for.

ahs210_01Although Grace (Lizzie Brochere) died in a previous episode, her character was still too important to destroy.  The aliens take her body and return her when Dr. Arden attempts to call them by killing Kit.  Although he had contact with the aliens, he tells Kit their experiment failed.  Jerk.  Kit is later brought to Grace when Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto) dangles her in front of his face like a carrot.  We also learn the pinhead Pepper was brought to Grace to protect her.  She tells Dr. Arden they will stir his brain with a fork if he attempts to hurt Grace or her baby.

The best part of this episode is Jude.  Dr. Arden gives her electroshock theory and Sister Mary Eunice bumps it past 50% causing her to forget who she is.  She enters the common room and Lana (Sarah Paulson) asks her if she knows who she is.  Jude looks down at the newly installed jukebox and picks “The Name Game” and fantasizes an elaborate dance party in the common room with her leading the pack.  Cut back to: a glazed Jude with no concept of her identity.

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10/6/13

American Horror Story Asylum 2.09: The Coat Hanger

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Author’s Note: This article is written on one episode of American Horror Story.  It has no knowledge of episodes released later than the episode in review.  Thank you.

Additional Note:  All articles on MK Horror contain spoilers.

Article written by Maggie K. Ward

ahs209_01The title of this episode of American Horror Story makes it fairly obviously what is going to happen in the story.  Coupled with the opening scene, we know Lana will attempt to kill her unborn child, but fail.

Johnny (Dylan McDermott) meets with a therapist about “curving impulses.”  He does not immediately tell her what his impulse is and she thinks he is referring to chronic masturbation.  “It’s a shame so many people have such a negative reaction to something so natural,” she states before he tells her he used to skin animals, and this happens to be a prerequisite for being a psychopath.  He claims to be the child of Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto) also known as Bloody Face and the therapist is later found dead in her office.  This comment from the future also tells the viewers that Dr. Thredson’s true identity will be revealed at some point in the season.  I hope he gets what he deserves.

Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) breaks the bad news to Lana (Sarah Paulson).  She is pregnant and since she is homosexual we know there is only one person who could have impregnated her: her rapist, Dr. Thredson.  Mary Eunice insists she have the baby and they will give it to an orphanage.  Lana manages to sneak a wire hanger from the kitchens and plans to perform her own abortion.

She uses the baby as a power piece over Dr. Thredson.  He begs her not to kill his baby, and she asks him about why he attacked each of his victims.  Little does Dr. Thredson know that Kit (Evan Peters) is around the corner recording the entire conversation.  They finally have proof that Kit is innocent and Dr. Thredson is the true Bloody Face.  Lana also informs him she already took care of the baby the night before.  Goodbye baby Thredson.  However, she later finds out from Sister Mary Eunice that the abortion failed and the baby will be a boy.

ahs209_02Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) gets a taste of her own horrid medicine and awakes strapped to a bed in Briarcliff.  Between testimonies from Leigh (Ian McShane), various Sisters, Monsignor Howard (Joseph Fiennes), and Dr. Arden (James Cromwell), they have a full case for keeping her in Briarcliff as a patient.

In the common room, she apologizes to Lana and offers to help her.  Naturally, Lana is skeptical because the last person that helped her chained her in a basement, raped and impregnated her, and attempted to kill her.  Jude takes this opportunity to destroy the annoying record that is always playing in the common room.  It’s about time!

Monsignor Howard enters a horrible state of naivety.  Sister Mary Eunice informs him she heard about the dream he had about become Pope and bringing Sister Jude with him.  “Rome is where you belong,” she says and offers to be by his side.  The devil alongside the Pope seem like a wonderfully evil idea!  He also takes Leigh to find forgiveness in front of God, however this idea backfires when the psychopath attempts to drown him in the baptism pool, crucifies him, and cuts his feet off.  At the end of the episode we see the Angel of Death (Frances Conroy) again and the Monsignor asks for her help.  Goodbye Monsignor Howard.

Dr. Arden gets the mad idea that he wants to meet the aliens again.  He finds Kit and tells him he believes his story about “the little green men.”  He talks Kit into letting him almost kill him so the aliens will comes for him.  It is his theory that the aliens are studying him and captured both Alma (Britne Oldford) and Grace (Lizzie Brochere) because he impregnated both women.  When Kit dies (but hopefully not for long) from an injection in the heart the aliens come and bring a pregnant Grace to Dr. Arden.  She is almost ready to give birth.

I cannot help but wonder where the story is heading.  Where do the aliens fit in the story?  Why do they want to study Kit?  Will Lana unmask Dr. Thredson for what he truly is?  When and why does Briarcliff close?  What comes of the strange monsters Dr. Arden was creating and what is their importance to the story?  Why was Johnny Thredson introduced?  Time will tell.  On to the next episode.

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10/6/13

American Horror Story Asylum 2.08: Unholy Night

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Author’s Note: This article is written on one episode of American Horror Story.  It has no knowledge of episodes released later than the episode in review.  Thank you.

Additional Note:  All articles on MK Horror contain spoilers.

Article written by Maggie K. Ward

ahs208_01A new Briarcliff patient is introduced and nearly eliminated in American Horror Story’s season two Christmas episode “Unholy Night.”  Leigh Emerson (Ian McShane) attacks and kills a Santa Claus so he can wreck havoc amongst happy families.  Inside someone else’s home dressed as Santa Claus, he compliments a little girl on her train set, and asks her to take him to her parents.  He ties them together with Christmas lights, tells them it will be a glorious night of rape, and shoots both parents in the head.

Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) releases Leigh from solitary confinement at Briarcliff to “help with this years Christmas party.”  The previous year he pulled a Hannibal Lector and chewed an orderlies nose.  Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) had said Briarcliff would never celebrate Christmas again, however the evil Mary Eunice says, “bam humbug” about that.  She goes so far as to decorate a Christmas tree with things from the patients: dentures and bits of hair with ribbons around them.

Sister Jude and Dr. Arden (James Cromwell) seem to make up when he meets her at the convent and asks for her help.  He agrees there is something horribly wrong with Sister Mary Eunice and begs her to help him with the evil creature.  Little does Sister Jude know, he was merely earning Mary Eunice’s trust.  She is locked in the office with Leigh but Sister Jude manages to save herself.

ahs208_02Lana notices there is another patient in the infirmary and finds Kit (Evan Peters) drugged and dreaming.  He is dreaming about Alma (Britne Oldford) pregnant during the holiday season.  She turns into Grace (Lizzie Brochere) and he seems much more happy to see her.  Lana wakes him and tells him everything she knows about Dr. Thredson (Zachary Qunito) and runs off to find a phone.  Dr. Thredson shows up and attacks her, however Kit comes to her rescue.  They tie him up and hide him in a closet biding their time to save both their lives.

Dr. Arden takes Grace’s body to the incinerator, however the aliens take her body.  Apparently this season of American Horror Story is not finished with the murderous French woman.  She will return.  However lackluster she is, she is important to the story.

The Christmas theme to this episode made it charming.  It was written and released at the perfect time in the season.  This episode would have been nothing without the Christmas charm.  High five American Horror Story and Merry Christmas!

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10/5/13

American Horror Story Asylum 2.07: Dark Cousin

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Author’s Note: This article is written on one episode of American Horror Story.  It has no knowledge of episodes released later than the episode in review.  Thank you.

Additional Note:  All articles on MK Horror contain spoilers.

Article written by Maggie K. Ward

ahs207_01As the story in American Horror Story season two continues, the episodes tend to become more exciting.  Unfortunately “Dark Cousin” lacks much appeal and anticipation.  While the return of Frances Conroy is awesome, the substance in this episode is very limited.

France Conroy returns as the Angel of Death, killing characters that are no longer needed in the season.  She is introduced when a schizophrenic patient, Miles (Tongayi Chirisa) cuts his wrists with a meat slicer and writes her name in Aramaic on the kitchen wall in his own blood.  Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) immediately recognizes the name and finds her with Miles in a later scene.

While the meat slicer suicide was gruesome and bloody, Miles managed to survive his attempt.  The Angel of Death visits him and says, “Shall I kiss you Miles?  Shall I kiss you an make this all go away?”  Her kiss is what ends someone’s life when it is time for him or her to die.

The Angel recognizes the evil within Sister Mary Eunice and refers to her as a cousin.  Mary Eunice is not happy to see the Angel because she knows the human she has taken over is calling for help.

Grace (Lizzie Brochere) meets the Angel of Death twice and is finally eliminated at the end of the episode.  Dying in the infirmary at Briarcliff, she seems to have complications from her sterilization.  Dr. Arden (James Cromwell) insists he did not perform the hysterectomy, and the viewers know it was done but the aliens who abducted her.

The nuns manage to save Grace before the Angel of Death kisses her, and Dr. Arden nurses her back to health merely to clear his name as the doctor who botched her sterilization.  Later in the episode, Grace saves Kit (Evan Peters) from a gunshot and asks the Angel to take her away.  Goodbye Grace.

ahs207_02Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) is falling off the deep end from loosing her job at Briarcliff and dealing with the guilt from her hit and run in the past.  Sister Mary Eunice left her a bottle of whiskey and a razor blade at the scene of Mr. Goodman’s (Mark Margolis) death, and Jude considers.  She goes so far as to call the Angel of Death and fantasizes about her dead bloody body on the bathroom floor.

Sister Jude meets with the little girl’s family and is prepared to tell them about her horrible mistake, however Missy (Kristin Slaysman) comes home from work and brings a dumbfounded look to Sister Jude’s face.  She tells them how Missy’s accident inspired her to become a nun, but left out the fact that she was the driver.  The mother tells her, “We get to live with out daughter.  The monster who left her there gets to live with himself.”  Jude should have told them what she did, but refrained.

Lana (Sarah Paulson) gets the opportunity to meet the Angel of Death twice, just like Grace.  After Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto) rapes her, she quietly begs for a way out.  The Angel comes to her, but Lana tells her she is not ready to die.  She manages to escape Dr. Thredson by bashing him with a photograph of her lover, and strangling him with the chain around her leg.  She jumps into the first car that drives by, which was a huge mistake.  This man tells Lana she was not a victim, complains about his wife cheating on him, and blows his brains out while driving 50 miles per hour.  Bad luck, Lana.  She sees the Angel of Death in the back seat, but managed to survive the car wreck.

To Lana’s horror, she is taken back to Briarcliff, and tells Sister Mary Eunice about Dr. Thredson.  She shows compassion and understanding, however she tells the guards that Lana is still in shock from the car wreck and is speaking nonsense.

While this episode of American Horror Story was full of death and dying, the appeal was sub par.  It was great to see France Conroy return to the show, and her character was fantastic, the episode as a whole felt drawn out and anticlimactic.  I suppose every episode of American Horror Story cannot be perfect, but most of them are.

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10/4/13

American Horror Story Asylum 2.06: The Origins of Monstrosity

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Author’s Note: This article is written on one episode of American Horror Story.  It has no knowledge of episodes released later than the episode in review.  Thank you.

Additional Note:  All articles on MK Horror contain spoilers.

Article written by Maggie K. Ward

ahs206_01The next episode of American Horror Story starts with a phone call voice over (Dylan McDermott) to the police telling them to go to present day Briarcliff.  The cops arrive to find several dead bodies hanging from the ceiling.  Later in the episode we find out the wife is missing and a man with Dr. Thredson’s (Zachary Quinto) flesh mask has taken her.

Lana (Sarah Paulson) wakes in a bed and thinks she is home until she hears Dr. Thredson’s voice.  He has cooked her “the perfect mommy snack,” and begins to tell us a bit about his history.  Dr. Thredson has serious mommy issues.  She disowned him and he grew up in an orphanage.  He went to med school to learn more about his psychotic mindset.  In a gross anatomy class, he connects with a female cadaver in a sick and twisted way: he wants to feel her loving touch, but the cold dead body was not enough for him.  Dr. Thredson has the same connection with Lana and goes so far as to call her mommy.

He later finds she tried to escape and he convinces himself he must skin her alive like the rest of his victims.  She uses his mommy complex against him calling him “baby” and telling him she will always have compassion for him.  He removes his flesh mask, and begins to “breast feed” while Lana stifles her cries.

Although Monsignor Howard (Joseph Fiennes) was supporting Dr. Arden’s (James Cromwell) research, he was not entirely sure what he was up to.  A local hospital called the Monsignor in to bless a dying girl, whom he immediately recognized as Shelley (Chloe Sevigny), and strangled her with the stringed beads from his crucifix.

In a flashback, we learn Dr. Arden is mixing syphilis and tuberculosis to create super humans.  He conned the Monsignor into letting him use the patients as live subjects because, “there are those whose lives are otherwise worthless.”  Monsignor Howard is appalled and wants to expose him, although Dr. Arden counters with exposing all the horrors within Briarcliff.

ahs206_02If Dr. Thredson and Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) are not enough evil in one television show, we are introduced to Jenny (Nikki Hahn) a child whose mother abandons her at Briarcliff after Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) is unwilling to take her.  The mother says the child would fit in perfectly with the adult population at Briarcliff because she was never really a child.  She never cried, and allegedly killed another child.

Naturally, Sister Mary Eunice takes Jenny under her wing and gives her some words of wisdom.  If not for all the evil within the two characters, it would have been a wonderfully inspirational and motherly conversation. “You’re smarter than they are.  Don’t you forget it,” she says referring to doing what she needs to be evil.  Jenny’s story is rather limited in this episode, and it’s quiet possible she will return in later episodes of American Horror Story.

Monsignor Howard also decides to send Sister Jude elsewhere to work.  She packs and leaves in this episode, but hopefully not for long.  Mr. Goodman (Mark Margolis) calls when Sister Mary Eunice is dancing in Sister Jude’s office in her red lingerie, and takes matters into her own hands.  When Sister Jude finally gets the fingerprints for Mr. Goodman, she finds him dying in the bathroom.  He does manage to inform Sister Jude that one of her nuns did this to him.

Sister Mary Eunice stabbed him in the neck and took all of the evidence against Dr. Arden.  She, of course, hid some of the evidence in case he tries to turn on her, but gives the rest to him.  Anne Frank was correct; Dr. Arden was a Nazi war criminal, although Dr. Arden claims to be visionary, not a monster.

With each episode American Horror Story raises the nastiness to a new level.  I cannot wait to see where Dr. Thredson’s story takes him, although willing Lana to survive.  Perhaps justice will ensue, although I find it highly unlikely.

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10/4/13

American Horror Story Asylum 2.05: I Am Anne Frank (Part 2)

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Author’s Note: This article is written on one episode of American Horror Story.  It has no knowledge of episodes released later than the episode in review.  Thank you.

Additional Note:  All articles on MK Horror contain spoilers.

Article written by Maggie K. Ward

ahs205_02Early in the first season of American Horror Story season two, Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) is possessed by a demon in a failed exorcism.  Previously she was sweet and gentle, however the possession quickly makes her one of the most evil and appealing characters in the season…until now.

Dr. Thredson (Zachary Qunito) was originally the hero to the poor victims at Briarcliff.  He was helping Lana (Sarah Paulson) and offered to take her with him when he left.  As Kit’s (Evan Peters) therapist, he helped the boy understand the mysteries behind the murders he has been accused.

His motives were all for himself.  Revealed as the person skinning and beheading women there could not be anything more evil about Dr. Thredson.  He tells Kit he must record himself confessing to the murders of his wife and the two other women.  Hearing himself say it will help him believe he truly did it.  However, all Dr. Thredson was doing was framing Kit for his own sick murders.  At the end of the episode, Kit is arrested and taken away from Briarcliff.

In the previous episode about Anne Frank (Franka Potente) the viewers were left with her holding Dr. Arden (James Cromwell) hostage and discovering the monstrous Shelley (Chloe Sevigny) in his office.  She awakes in her bed wearing a straight jacket, and Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) is questioning her about what she thinks she saw in Dr. Arden’s office.  Sister Jude still believes Anne, and even went so far as to meet with another Holocaust victim, Mr. Goodman (Mark Margolis) in an attempt to uncover the secrets about Dr. Arden.

Nothing was found in the office because Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) dragged Shelley to the woods with the rest of the strange creatures.  Shelley manages to crawl off towards a school where a little girl finds her and runs away screaming bloody murder.

ahs205_01It is not clear if Anne truly is who she thinks she is.  Her husband arrives at Briarcliff ready to take her home and Sister Jude allows her to leave (which causes her to fall off the deep end).  He tells Sister Jude that Anne’s real name is Charlotte and she started to become obsessed with Anne Frank and the Holocaust while pregnant with their child.  Dr. Thredson diagnoses her with post partum psychosis.  Anne’s husband later brings her back because he cannot trust her alone.  He found her attempting to smother their baby with a pillow so she would not have to hear him crying.

Dr. Arden talks Anne’s husband into performing a lobotomy.  He claims Anne will be new and improved when he takes her home the next day.  At this point in the season, it is unclear if Anne Frank is psychotic, but I have a feeling she really is who she thinks she is.

Dr. Thredson saves Kit from his punishment for sleeping with Grace, however she is not so lucky.  After throwing a fit, she falls asleep to be awakened by the door to her cell shaking and a bright light peaking underneath it.  We soon find out she was taken by the aliens where she meets a pregnant Alma (Britne Oldford).  Kit’s wife tells her not to fight it before a mixture of strange unknown procures happen to the screaming victim.

Each episode of American Horror Story is filled with more and more excitement as the season continues.  One of the biggest heroes becomes the staple behind the horror that is occurring in the storyline.  Dr. Thredson is evil and he latched himself to Lana so she can tell his story.

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09/28/13
Distributed by Paramount Pictures. Poster design by BLT Communications, LLC.

World War Z (2013)

Author’s Note: This article is written on the movie World War Z (2013), and not the book to which it was based.  The comments and observations I make have no knowledge of other works.  Thank you.

Additional Note: All articles on MK Horror have spoilers.

Article written by Andrew Ramirez.

Distributed by Paramount Pictures. Poster design by BLT Communications, LLC.

Distributed by Paramount Pictures. Poster design by BLT Communications, LLC.

The single greatest joy I get from horror is being able to sit in a darkened room, feeling smarter than everyone in the movie. Why not? The stacked blonde runs up the stairs instead of out the door. People insist on saying “hello?” to 3:00 A.M. growls, drips, creaks, and gurgles. Why can’t anyone just shoot the monster enough times? But still, watch me go, sinking another dollar-twenty into the Redbox just so I can groan my little heart out. Why do I—dare I say we—do this? It’s not just that you and I are a**holes; perfectly nice people do it, too. The truth is: I enjoy measuring myself against fiction. Regardless of what happens to the characters, good or bad, sharp or sloppy, likeable or not, I always walk out of there alive. Therefore making the heroes of the movie actually the sidekicks, second to the real star right here, shoveling Sour Patch Kids into his mouth, convinced he’s got it all figured out.

So here we go again: another zombie apocalypse. How long would you last in this one? My jam would be a shotgun atop a hill, a sturdy set of four walls, tuna, board games. I have always been a big advocate of waiting it out. I am the type to really hunker down during the storm—only instead of rain slapping on the window, it’s a decomposing monster-thing. But I think I have adopted some of these ideals as a result of the zombie horror I have taken in. The key term is isolation, which is in essence, waiting it out. Zombie flicks love love love to isolate their players. Romero used a country home. Boyle used Great Britain (one big island). Always the major breakthrough happens when someone realizes there’s a bigger world outside of the place they have been scraping by. Safety, in these movies, involves a third act helicopter, some navy seals, pop-pop-pop, semper fi!

However, World War Z’s greatest achievement is that it explodes this mold. Barring a friendly fleet of UFOs letting loose a gang of lasers, when the world is your stage, help cannot come from anywhere else. And although WWZ still makes use of isolation techniques—leaving no darkened, narrow corridor behind—neither the characters nor the audience are ever in doubt of the state of the world: the world is f*cked.

Meet Brad Pitt’s character, Gerry Lane: a drop dead gorgeous ex-UN investigator. But do not be fooled by those luscious sandy blond locks—they are just keeping his brain warm. The story opens typically: a normal house, a lovely family. Cue complete chaos. As the title may hint, this is not Abandoned Mall War Z or Dilapidated House War Z—this is a matter of the World. Gerry Lane needs to come out of retirement and jet set around the globe, sleuthing for a cure to the virus. If he does not, his wife and two daughters will lose their coveted bunks upon a zombie-free naval carrier in the middle of the ocean. Voilá: the global fight for humanity ensues. And with the current standard for zombie flicks, these corpses are fast, coming attcha with something more akin to the fervor of a rabid dog than a decomposing body. Plus, considering the facts—the world being made up of about seven billion people and the symptoms of this latest zombie virus being total disregard for personal safety or health—KA-BOOM: you have got yourself a lot of speedy, whacked-out crazies.

Introducing: the zombie ball.

This is a fantastic innovation in zombie horror, and I could be wrong but I think WWZ is the first to accomplish this. A massive rolling sphere of undead flesh (think monkeys in a barrel only with more teeth). But the slick visual of a thousand zombies rolling around in a gigantic ball implies another thing: a gigantic budget. There is no problem with this on my end, however big money means even bigger pressure to recoup all that green and then some. This almost always means a soft PG-13 rating. Even more, with a budget as astronomical as this, it very quickly becomes clear the people in charge were interested in the grandiose over the gross. In lieu of displaying the bleeding infected man, the visuals, large and sweeping, are more concerned with showcasing an infected world. On the bright side, the music melds nicely with this, lurching forth in a bellow of ostentatious, shocking horns for the panoramic shots, and curling close to your ear, too, resembling that of a sharp, sinister whisper for the more subtle moments (my personal favorite: listen for the Exorcist-esque piano the movie now and again uses).

However, for all its big budget glory this ultimately becomes the film’s greatest flaw. To quote a line from the movie: “She loves disguising her weaknesses as strengths.”  This may reference Mother Nature in the movie, but hey, it applies to Hollywood as well. Tell me: what good is a whole gang of chaotic, CGI-soaked panoramas when you do not have enough of its counterpoint—the bloody close-up? The reason 28 Days Later was so effective was due to its immediacy. And make no mistake: closeness is immediacy. Unfortunately, this is inherently impossible for WWZ to achieve. The movie feels too glossy, the ending too clean, Brad Pitt’s hair too god damn conditioned. I like my zombie horror close and dirty. Ultimately, the choice in using the entire world as the stage proves unwieldy. With so much geographical movement taking place, the story feels distant. Isolation still trumps for me. The small spooky house still works. Although limited, I love crawling into every corner and shadow, and this cannot be accomplished with all of planet earth.

But then again: what do I know about street level? Like I said, if you need me I’ll be atop my hill, drinking lemonade from concentrate with a shotgun across my lap. Waiting this sucker out.

09/25/13

American Horror Story Asylum 2.04: I Am Anne Frank (Part 1)

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Author’s Note: This article is written on one episode of American Horror Story.  It has no knowledge of episodes released later than the episode in review.  Thank you.

Additional Note:  All articles on MK Horror contain spoilers.

Article written by Maggie K. Ward

ahs204_01American Horror Story season one had an episode that drew from history drawing from the Black Dahlia murder.  Season two does the same, but this time it is Anne Frank (Franka Potente), famous for the diary she wrote during the Holocaust.  She is brought as a new inmate to Briarcliff with no identification.  A comment at a bar,  “Don’t let them Jew you down,” made the woman attack a man with a broken bottle.

In the common room, she sees Dr. Arden (James Cromwell) and immediately attacks him.  She claims his real name is Hans Gruber, a Nazi war criminal she met at Auschwitz.  She tells Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) that she did not claim the diary because being a martyr made the story worth so much more.  Sister Jude dismisses her comments as the ramblings of an insane woman.

When two homicide detectives show up to question Dr. Arden about the prostitute that was apparently murdered, skinned, and beheaded just like Kit’s (Evan Peters) victims, Sister Jude begins to question his ethics.  They mention the prostitute found Nazi memorabilia and she immediate tells them to arrest the doctor.

Meanwhile, Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto) seems to think he can cure Lana’s (Sarah Paulson) homosexuality.  Despite knowing there is no cure to he “disease,” Lana fantasizes about winning an award for surviving Briarcliff and exposing it for what it was.  “I did everything I could think of to survive.  And then I did what I had to do to get out,” which includes attempting to despise her lover.

ahs204_03Lana’s “therapy” is mentally and sexually torturous.  Dr. Thredson uses a medicine that makes Lana vomit while he shows her a slide show of scandalous women.  It is used to train her to feel horrible when she sees sexy women.  He even goes so far as to include a photo of Wendy and increases the dose.

He brings an attractive male patient to Lana who stands in front of her naked.  Dr. Thredson forces Lana to look at his nude body.  “You’re not going to make him touch me, are you?” she begs; however he does asks her to touch herself while looking at him.  He wants her to relate her masturbatory pleasure to the male body.  Needless to say, this does not help Lana’s homosexuality.  He eventually apologizes by giving her the photo of Wendy and telling her he will take her with him when he leaves at the end of the week.

Kit and Grace (Lizzie Brochere) become awfully close in this episode as well.  She tells him her story:  She heard an intruder and found him murdering her father.  She ran and hid in a closet to find her stepmother’s butchered body parts on the shelf.  Her stepsister accused her of murder and she has been in Briarcliff ever since.

After a conversation with Dr. Thredson, Kit is no longer sure if he is innocent.  The doctor tells him about how all three female victims were skinned and beheaded.  He seems to think removing the head and skin removes the identity of each victim as a result of his embarrassment of his scandalous marriage to his wife.  Dr. Arden says he will lie to the courts, but only if Kit faces the truth.

Eventually Kit and Grace have a quickie (and very quickie), but an orderly catches them and takes them to Sister Jude.  Although Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) is prepared to beat them senselessly with a bared wire cane, Sister Jude decides it would be best to sterilize them.

ahs204_02Sister Mary Eunice secretly shows Kit Grace’s file and he confronts her about it when they are insolation in neighboring cells.  She tells him the real story: her father used to sexually abuse her.  She told her stepmother, who bribed her with candy to keep quiet.  He sold her horses, which were the only thing she had to escape the hell her father submitted her to.  Grace butchered both her father and stepmother as revenge.

Worried about the potential Nazi war criminal working at Briarcliff, Sister Jude attempts to Tell Monsignor Howard (Joseph Fiennes) about the drama, but he dismisses her because he found out she has been drinking again.  However, the moment she leaves his office, he calls Dr. Arden and tells him everyone is getting suspicious.

Dr. Arden brings Anne to his lab and tosses her around for telling lies about him.  She pulls a gun on him that she stole from one of the detectives, but hears a noise behind a door.  She shoots Dr. Arden in the leg and forces him to give her the keys to the locked door.  What she finds is hideous: a legless Shelley covered in boils begging for death.  Perhaps there is a strong correlation between the creepy monsters in the woods, and Arden’s test subjects.  Only time will tell.

Have Questions or Comments? Feel free to e-mail me at: MKHorror@yahoo.com

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09/25/13

Tales from the Crypt 2.05: Revenge is the Nuts

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Author’s Note:  All articles on MK Horror contain spoilers.

Article written by Maggie K. Ward

tfc605_01Arnie Grunwald (Anthony Zerbe) is an evil man that runs a shelter for the blind.  He treats the people like dirt, intentionally injuring them, cutting their food ratios, and making them live in the dark.  Just because they are blind does not mean they do not need light.

A new resident comes to the shelter: Shelia (Teri Polo).  When Mr. Grunwald meets her he comments on her shoes.  He says someone’s pair of shows can say a lot about them.  Perhaps her combat boots show she is willing to fight for her rights.

Mr. Grunwald’s assistant, Benny (John Savage), like the residents, is also a victim.  He tells Shelia his brother had committed him to a mental institution, however Mr. Grunwald brought him to the house to work.  We later find out he is Mr. Grunwald’s brother.

Times are getting hard with Mr. Grunwald turning off the heat and only allowing the residents one meal a day.  He sends Benny to tell Shelia that he will heat the house and give them regular food ratios if she sleeps with him.  The others try to talk her out of it, but she is determined to play his game so the others will not have to suffer.

She takes the intimidate opportunity to attack the evil caretaker with Benny’s help.  Mr. Grunwald later wakes in a dark room and is lured through a maze in the house.  The lights are out, and Mr. Grunwald is forced into he shoes of the residents he tortures.

In a mall hallway, he discovers razorblades all over the wall.  This brilliant scene takes everything he used against the residents, and turns them on himself.  The train that shakes the house comes and he can barely keep standing or else fall into the razors.  Benny approaches with Mr. Grunwald’s vicious and hungry dog.  He turns off the light, Samuel (Isaac Hayes) drops marbles to the floor, and they release the hound.  He gets exactly what he deserves.

Have Questions or Comments? Feel free to e-mail me at: MKHorror@yahoo.com

Like my Facebook Page or Follow Me on Twitter for updates on everything MK Horror.