December 13, 2014
December 6, 2014
Ok, enough of the Dark Side. It’s time to fire up the Falcon! Scroll down to check out the trailer and read my take on the mother of all teasers.
October 31, 2014
“Hush” (S4, E10) is one of the best episodes of the series. It’s also the scariest, thanks to a quartet of truly evil baddies known as “The Gentleman.” They steal the voices of their victims to prevent them from screaming. Adding to the creep factor, The bulk of the episode has no spoken dialogue. Stream: Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant.
“Sanctuary” and “Death and All His Friends” (S6, E23 & E24). The sixth season of the sudsy ABC drama wrapped with a dark and shocking finale. A shooter turns Seattle Grace into a bloodbath over two excruciatingly tense hours. It’s a dead-serious outing that trades the usual melodrama for uncompromising brutality. Stream: Amazon Instant.
This CBS summer series is a gory whodunit. At least one character is offed in every episode, often in brutally creative ways. Adding to the tension, the identity of the killer isn’t revealed until the finale. Though the entire run is grim and scary, a harrowing battle to the death makes “Gasp” (E12) the episode that sticks with you. Stream: Netflix and Amazon Instant.
This creepy, well crafted ABC series (cancelled after one season) is equal parts family drama, sci-fi thriller and gothic horror. It’s a slow burn storyline draws you in and keeps you guessing. Things get full-tilt disturbing in “Round Up” (E21), a series highlight. You can pick up the complete series on DVD for under $10 on Amazon. Stream: Amazon Instant.
Darren McGavin is spot-on as Carl Kolchak, a tabloid reporter with a knack for working a crime beat populated by vampires, ghosts, demons and ghouls. Two stand-alone movies and the first batch of weekly episodes are standouts. The series aired for a single season. “The Zombie” (E2) gets the nod for scariest installment. Stream: Netflix and Amazon Instant.
“Sylvia” (S7, E17 & E18) was a jarring departure from the norm for this long-running hit. This heavy two-parter had it all: body image crisis, gender politics, the rape of a young girl, her subsequent pregnancy and the fallout from all of that. You want more? The attacker stalks his victim wearing a freaky porcelain mask. Yikes! Stream: Amazon Instant.
This 1979 mini-series is still one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King novel. It’s an atmospheric and genuinely chilling tale of a small town on the verge of being taken over by a nasty looking vampire. James Mason, oozing sinister evil, heads a first rate cast. Be sure to get your hands on the full-length cut. A heavily edited version was also released but it’s a mess.
This 1975 ABC horror anthology would have faded into obscurity were it not for “Amelia,” the third and final segment of an otherwise forgettable movie. 70’s B-movie queen Karen Black is trapped with a Zuni fetish doll that has suddenly come to life. The little bastard is pissed and he’s out for blood. It’s a balls-to-the wall battle royale that ends with a nifty little twist.
“Living Doll” (S5, E6). There are dozens of episodes from this classic series that make your blood run cold. What separates our scary pick from all the rest? Meet Talky Tina, the toy from hell. In reality, this is a rather sad story about a family in crisis. The addition of an increasingly hostile doll adds a delightfully freaky twist. Stream: Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant.
“Lonely Souls” (S2, E7). This was the episode that finally revealed “who killed Laura Palmer” while also treating us to some of the most frightening images ever seen in primetime. Take, for example, that handsome guy to the left. He’s Killer Bob, an unforgettable villain and the stuff of nightmares. Stream: Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant.
“Days Gone Bye” (S1, E1) kicked off the exceptional first season of this AMC hit. It’s a bone-chilling exercise in visceral horror that offers us a front row seat to a world gone mad. When a show zombifies a little kid, you know it’s not going to pull any punches. Full of iconic, unforgettable moments. One of the best drama pilots in TV history. Stream: Netflix and Amazon Instant.
“Squeeze” (S1, E3) introduced us to genetic mutant Eugene Victor Tooms, a frightening fellow with a taste for fresh human livers and the ability to squeeze into the narrowest of spaces. Doug Hutchison plays Tooms to terrifying perfection. He makes a return visit later in the season (EP 21, “Tooms”) but this first outing is vintage X-FILES. Stream: Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant.
“Home” (S4, E2) is easily the most disturbing and controversial episode of the entire series. It’s also scary as hell. Though the plot is heavy on perversion and inbreeding, snappy dialogue and flourishes of gallows humor elevate the proceedings. Extra points for turning a Johnny Mathis song into a harbinger of death. Stream: Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant.
October 24, 2014
While we put the final touches on our redesign, we thought it would be the perfect time to launch a new feature: The Archive. Well, technically, it’s the concept that’s new. As the name implies, at least some of the content will indeed come from deep in our back pages. That doesn’t mean we’re going spray digital Febreze on a parade of old clunkers and send them back out to whore for more clicks.
The Archive will re-imagine content in creative, compelling and entertaining ways. That could mean themed packages, “what were we thinking?” moments, follow-up pieces inspired by fan favorites or curated collections of reviews and opinion pieces enhanced with new material and fresh perspective. Rather than generating content that lives and dies in an online moment, we’re hoping to build something that keeps good conversations alive, celebrates those “best of” moments and, frankly, holds our feet to the fire when we screw up.
As part of our re-design, you can also expect to see a major infusion of new reader services, multi-media integrations, presentation enhancements and consumer-focused content that could save you time and money. In fact, this debut run of The Archive also features our first-ever interactive photoplay. Fear not! We hate annoying online slide shows and click-bait stunts as much as you do. We’ll leave shameless content rehashing and cheap PPC ploys to BuzzFeed and Upworthy.
Now, take a break from real world horrors and dust off your Halloween spirit. Click on any image in the preview slide show below to jump to that full installment of “Scariest Movie Moments” or use the scare-cons at the bottom of the post. Don't know what you are looking at? Just click on the i in the navigation bar to pull up more information about each image.
June 11, 2014
In addition to this trio of Wednesday “best bets,” you can also check out new episodes of the hit ABC Family sitcoms MELISSA & JOEY and BABY DADDY. Both are holdovers from my 2013 “Summer TV Guilty Pleasures” list and make for a perfect hour of mindless fluff (add a glass or two of pinot to “enhance” the comedic experience).
WHO SHOULD WATCH: Anyone who loves a television experience that mixes heart-tugging personal stories, engaging competition and eye-popping dance moves. SYTYCD crosses all disciplines and is the perfect way to jump the midweek hump. Tonight is only audition week three so it’s still early enough to jump on the “Hot Tamale Train.”
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE airs Wednesdays at 8PM E/P on Fox.
WHO SHOULD WATCH: Anyone who likes the laugh out loud experience of a sitcom classic peppered with big dollops of wholly inappropriate dirty jokes. Each episodes spins a lot of simultaneous plates but somehow manages to bring home the comic bacon. If you’re a comedy snob or total tight ass, this won’t be your cup of yuk yuks.
HOT IN CLEVELAND airs Wednesdays at 10PM E/P on TV Land.
WHO SHOULD WATCH: Anyone who likes their crime drama dark, twisty and morally ambiguous. Things are usually wrapped up nicely at the end but, you rarely feel sunshine and roses at the tragic outcome. This Canadian import is beautifully produced and well acted. Leads Kristin Lehman and Louis Ferreria look the part and do fantastic work every week. It’s also refreshing to watch a police drama that never plays the “woman in peril” card.
MOTIVE airs Wednesdays at 10PM on ABC
June 10, 2014
June 9, 2014
March 27, 2014
March 24, 2014
“The Toolbox” is our weekly drill down of celebrities, politicians and other news makers who are trending for all the wrong reasons. From questionable thinking and general stupidity to ham-handed decision making and a death long in coming, these five individuals are among the biggest losers of the past seven days.
Sure, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour can make or break a designer with a snap of her bony fingers but, even she can become a fashion victim. Witness the outcry from all quarters regarding the April issue of Conde Naste’s flagship glossy. What’s all the bitching about? The cover “models” are Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, two mind-numbing idiots who somehow captured Wintour’s clearly questionable imagination. Critics were even more peeved by her editor’s letter, a hooty bit of prose made even more laugh-out-loud hilarious because every word was meant to be taken seriously. When Buffy wants to put a stake in the heart of your publication, you know you’ve gone epic fail. On the up side, Seth Rogan and James Franco had a Photoshop field day at Vogue’s expense.
Speaking of failures, the movers and shakers at GOP High Command apparently figured out that the likes of Victoria Jackson, Mary Lou Retton and Tony Danza aren’t exactly catnip for young voters. What’s a party dominated by white geezers and bunker dwellers to do when attracting elusive millennials is key to long term viability? Enter Scott Greenberg, a douchey 30-something with slicked back hair and hipster glasses. He’s the star of a new ad campaign that’s designed to let the young’uns know it’s OK to vote Republican…at least that’s what it was supposed to do. The social media reaction was brutally vicious and online media outlets had a field day. Greenberg has already become a punching bag for comedians and we’ve barely known him a week. Without even trying, the Right has a “pajama boy” of its very own. Way to win one for The Gipper!
Let’s keep it in the Republican family and give Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal his moment in the spotlight. Despite the fact that Jindal says something asinine almost every time he opens his mouth, it’s his questionable actions of late that earned him a spot on our list. You see, the liberal organization MoveOn.org decided to roll out a media campaign critical of Jindal’s refusal to embrace the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. The ads are a parody of the state’s tourism motto and logo. Apparently, the truth hurt the thin-skinned governor enough that the state of Louisiana has filed a lawsuit against MoveOn.org on the grounds that they are unlawfully using a protected service mark. Never mind that the legal action is a huge waste of money for a cash-strapped state. It’s also given Jindal’s critics a ton of free publicity and made the ad campaign even more effective. Smooth move, Gov.
Richard Quest is very British, very brash and very annoying. He’s a talking head on CNN with a gaping grin that would give The Joker nightmares. You might remember him from his arrest for meth possession back in 2008. Though Quest is primarily a business reporter, the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 has apparently awoken his inner aviation expert. Yes folks, only at CNN could helming a monthly show on business travel suddenly make you a go-to guy for commentary on one of the most baffling mysteries in the history of air travel. It doesn’t help matters that Quest punctuates every word of the bullshit he spews with invisible exclamation points. HE’S! THAT! CONVINCED! EVERY! WORD! HE! SPEAKS! IS! A! PEARL! OF! WISDOM! In reality he’s just another cable network gas bag who earns a living passing off rampant speculation as real news.
Fred Phelps is the founder of a cult of inbred wackos known as the Westboro Baptist Church. You might know these folks better as the “God hates fags” contingent. Last week, for the first time in his life, Phelps finally did something good. He died.
Look for another edition of “The Toolbox” next week. CLICK HERE to see all the tools we’ve profiled.