People Eating Together: AMC’s The Terror (Season 1)

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Great Caesar’s Ghost! 

People Eating Together entries discuss that age-old tradition of people coming together to tear each other apart — Cannibalism! So settle in, maybe grab some coffee or a snack(!), and let’s explore this last social taboo together – because you can’t practice cannibalism alone. 

Sometime in about the year 2007, while bored at my job at a children’s textbook publisher, I fell down a Wikihole about cannibalism.  In between reading about Sawney Beane and Jeffrey Dahmer, I ran across the Franklin Expedition, which is to Canadian history what the Donner Party is to American. The article was fascinating enough, so imagine my excitement bordering on hysteria when I reread the article in 2017 to find that AMC was making a TV show about it. I loved the show, and immediately listened to the novel on which it’s based. There are significant differences which I’ll go into in the spoilers section of the review, but for now let’s focus on reviewing the show.

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“Say ‘cheese’ everyone! Ha Ha, just kidding, we haven’t eaten cheese since 1846 and have forgotten what it tastes like.”

(Note: The Terror is planned as a historical horror anthology. Season 1 deals with the lost Franklin expedition (with supernatural elements) and is based on Dan Simmons book of the same name, but season 2 will be about life in a Japanese interment camp in the US during the Korean war, and stars George Takei at the head of a predominantly Japanese-American cast. After the high bar set with season 1, I’m eagerly looking forward to season 2.)

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In Theaters Now: A Quiet Place

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Shhhh….

After all the buzz surrounding it and a few recommendations from friends, I decided to see A Quiet Place in theaters. Being a horror fan, how could I not?

What A Quiet Place does well, it does very well. Tension draws out and there are genuine emotional scenes with real payoff, such as those moments when a character is finally, finally able to scream or even speak. However, I admit to being underwhelmed.

I am not saying this film was bad; far from it. I would rank it as above average for a mainstream Hollywood horror movie, which any horror fan will recognize as damning praise. From a technical filmmaking perspective, it was beautiful: John Krasinski, who stars and also directs, knows how to frame beautiful compositions, how to work with ambient lighting, how to film action so it’s exciting and tension so it’s heart-pumping, and how to draw evocative performances from his actors. The creatures look cool and their CGI is great.

As mentioned, the actors’ performances are strong, and there are several character moments that really resonate. Krasinski is great as a patient paternal figure, Emily Blunt is his tired, blonde, and eventually pregnant wife, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe as the children work well together and the whole ensemble effectively portrays a nuclear family.

Most filmgoers and horror fans will enjoy the jump scares and leave the movie rattled, but I found myself frustrated by the end. There were a number of weaknesses that leapt out and jarred me right out of the narrative, and created what ultimately felt like a missed opportunity.

A more detailed unpacking appears below the cut. As always, there will be spoilers.

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Dead Teenager Week – V/H/S

Welcome to Horror Movie Month here at Late to the Theater! Once a year we focus on one of our absolute favorite things, horror movies! For the entire month of October we’ll review at least two movies a week, some old, some new, and usually fitting into a weekly theme. So pop the corn, pour yourself a glass of whatever, and come along for the ride! I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers!

This week’s theme is one coined by dear departed Roger Ebert: it’s Dead Teenager Week! So strip down to your skivvies and dive into the moonlit water with me! I totally got into my dad’s liquor cabinet and stole some of his beers, and the kids from the next school over are meeting us down by the lake where Old Man Crumbles was last seen fishing before he killed that busload of nuns with an axe…or something…

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Just waiting for them to all fall down…

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In Theaters Now: IT (and also I am still alive!)

Orlando and the rest of the Southeast was recently lambasted by Hurricane Irma, and we were very, VERY fortunate that it had calmed down to a Category 3 and lost strength as it crept up the country’s phallus. Millions are still without power, including civic infrastructure (you never miss streetlights until you don’t have them and realize not everyone knows what to do when they go out) and businesses. The islands were trashed, as the news footage has shown. Apparently Jose’s still out doodling around in the Atlantic, so until that goes away we won’t really be able to unclench and get on with things. 

Happily my power only flickered, although I was without internet until Tuesday night and my yard was full of branches. 

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He was right, I did float. 

So fitting that one of my favorite stories involving a giant storm hits theaters just as a giant storm hits my state. ART IMITATING LIFE.

As far as IT goes, I enjoyed what was onscreen, but I can’t help but miss everything that didn’t make it, and lament some of the bigger changes. I’ll put these behind a cut to to avoid posting spoilers, but if you’ve seen the movie and want to discuss please jump in!

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Werebeasts Week: Dog Soldiers (2002)

The SAS squad send up a distress flare. Investigation reveals an absolute mess at the SAS campsite: blood everywhere, but no bodies, trank darts, some heavy duty hunting equipment. … And one survivor

October is Horror Movie month, where we let down our hair and celebrate all things macabre and scary! Not that we don’t during the rest of the year, but still… HORROR MOVIES! People who don’t like horror are encouraged to check back November 1st for less bloody and/or disturbing films. For everyone else, let’s put on our galoshes and WADE INTO THE MIRE!

Hello and welcome to Werebeasts Week here at Late to the Theater! This week’s selections are hairy, scary, and usually unfairly judged – They just want to be understood! Or fed! Either way, we’re looking at people who sprout fur, fangs, and bad attitudes this week, so make sure your shots are up to date and you’ve packed a doggie bag*. Let’s get going!

Today’s entry is Dog Soldiers, in which a group of British Army soldiers/football hooligans encounter werewolves while on an exercise in a remote part of Scotland. It will contain spoilers! 

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AKA: The Shittiest Dog Park Visit, Ever

So let’s get going!

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