<![CDATA[Ginger Nuts of Horror - FILM REVIEWS]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:06:41 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[DAY OF RECKONING (2016) ]]>Wed, 15 Feb 2017 06:21:22 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/film-reviews/day-of-reckoning-2016
When it comes to quality filmmaking, the SyFy channel is not normally a production  company that you associate with films containing an iota of artistic merit.  

The home of Sharknado, and countless Shark ( gene spliced with some other animal) V's an even more stupid gene-spliced animal, you know hat you are getting into when you watch this sort of film.  And while they can never be accused of being high art, hell you need a lot of balls to even describe them a low art, they at least have a sense of fun.  Not so much popcorn films, more like "Christ I'm really drunk and find the remote to change the channel film.", you at least could watch them with a sort of post-ironic glee.  

Day of Reckoning  breaks the trend of these low budget, low brow films and attempts a more serious take on their unique brand of horror film.  What a huge pity that Day of Reckoning is such a complete and utter failure.  
Fifteen years after the world was nearly destroyed by a legion of demonic creatures, which spewed forth from the bowels of the earth, society is on the verge of getting back to normal.  Giant military installations guard the big holes from where the creatures escaped from to reek havoc.  

However, a lunar eclipse combined with someone putting a fork in the knife drawer, or some other totally nonsensical omen of misfortune, means that the demonic creatures are coming back, and this they are really pissed off, this time they want to finish us off for good.  

After watching this complete and waste of time film I kind of wish, the demonic army would knock on my door and rend me limb from limb, or at least hide my remote control to my TV so I never have to suffer through such a bad film ever again.  

Day of Reckoning goes for the serious tone and in doing so completely confuses drama and tension for cliche ridden overwrought dialogue and poorly executed action sequences.    Even for a SyFy special movie, the acting is abysmal.  All gruff speeches delivered with a halting stop-start rhythm that would even have William Shatner cringing with embarrassment, or your overplayed screeching woman getting all upset over the realisation that their career is probably over after appearing in this film.  

Dull storytelling, even duller lifeless direction and dialogue that should never be uttered on the screen again makes this a film that fails on every level.  The best way you can view this film is to watch it with a view to spotting the films that they have stitched together to make this moth-eaten flea ridden patchwork quilt of a film.  

Christ on a bike they have have a reworking of the famous Quint speech from Jaws.  Except this version has none of the gravitas of the original. 

One dimensional characters that have been pulled out the stock character cupboard and forced to dance for our entertainment lend nothing to the film.  With zero character development or originality, you will sit there and hope that they all die a horrible death very quickly.  

Of course, we can't review this film without mentioning the special effects.  Remember that scene in Jason in the Argonauts, where he fights stop motion skeletons?  That scene still, even after over forty years this scene still has the power to amaze.  Well it seems the makers of Day of Reckoning took this style of animation as the basis for all of the special effects of the film, the only problem is compared to the Jason film the special effects in this one look embarrassingly bad, and I mean bad, even for the SyFy channel.  

Day of Reckoning is without a doubt a SyFy channel film; it is just a pity that it throws away everything that normally lends these films some degree of watchability and leaves the viewer with a film that surely must be one of the nine circles of hell itself. 
<![CDATA[DOLL IN THE DARK (AKA:  THE MELANCHOLY FANTASTIC.)]]>Wed, 08 Feb 2017 04:34:24 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/film-reviews/doll-in-the-dark-aka-the-melancholy-fantasticREVIEWED BY JOE YOUNG 
Amy Crowdis and Robin Lord Taylor star in a slow burning yet powerful tale about the escalation of grief into madness.

Melanie Crow is a teenager attempting to come to terms with the suicide of her mother, which followed on from her father’s death in an accident, so now Melanie is left alone with nothing but a large partly home-made doll for company. There is a tangible and natural sense of mental isolation working here, with Crowdis providing a character that at no time dips below believable even when she is talking to the creepy doll of the title.

This isn’t a film with jump scares, spooky soundtracks, flashy camera work or even artificially glamorous actors, but is a rather more subdued film in overall tone. It has a very thin plot, which is actually one of the better aspects of this film as it is not relying on the usual crash bang wallop we too often get subjected to. At most basic we are being shown a slice of life, the tragic one that Melanie is currently enduring will no doubt ring true with many of the viewers who have suffered similar losses. There are questions arising from her situation with no obvious answers, these are largely along the lines of “Is Melanie insane?” and “Is the Doll her dead mother controlling her?” Or is it simply that the grief is just too much?

Robin Lord Taylor in a pre-Gotham role provides the perfect degree of balance as “Dukken” an “Emo” Melanie meets in a library. They strike up an awkward friendship, with Dukken proving to be somewhat likeable and patient as he attempts to gain a greater understanding of Melanie. There is definite warmth in his portrayal which perfectly counters Melanie’s stand-offishness.

There are slight hints towards the supernatural here, yet no neon signposts for it as is the norm for other doll-related movies, and I couldn’t even say that it’s a conventional horror film even though there are very real horrors abound. What it actually is, to my way of thinking at least, is a beautifully constructed dark drama.
Joe Young.
horror review website uk
<![CDATA[FILM REVIEW: AGATHA]]>Wed, 25 Jan 2017 04:22:23 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/film-reviews/film-review-agatha
Agatha is a short ten-minute horror film that packs in more creepiness, and insidious dread than most movies manage these days.  A simple tale of an 1800's street urchin paid to bring food to a room each day, with the strict instruction, do no venture past the dresser in the in the room. As she brings the food tot eh room, her interest and curiosity are magnified with each delivery.  Who is the mysterious occupant of the room, and why do they like to eat raw meat.  

This is a simple yet highly effective ten-minute film.  Apart from the brief discussion at the start of the film where the owner of the house sets out her instructions to the street urchin, there is no more dialogue in the film.  A clever move as the viewer becomes wrapped up in the sense of wondrous, curious fear that the urchin feels as she goes about her duties.  Why is the person chained, why is room in such disrepair, and why do they only eat raw meat.  

The film cleverly utilises and almost Groundhog day narrative, where we repeatedly are shown a shot of her bring the food in, picking up the used the plate from the day before and then getting paid in pocket change by the owner of the house.  But with each repeat of the shot, we are teased with a little bit more information as to what is going on.  

The film is helped by some excellent cinematography and a great lighting of the set both of which add to the claustrophobic feel of the movie.  Despite not having any lines the young actress gives a strong performance and carries the film admirably.  

The final reveal, while might be apparent to some seasoned horror films is nevertheless satisfying and handled well.   Overall this an effective chiller, that shows a lot of promise for future films from the writer / director.  

A full length version of Agatha should be coming your way later this year, in the meantime keep an eye out for it on the Festival circuits.  
<![CDATA[BRIAN KEENE'S THE NAUGHTY LIST ]]>Wed, 11 Jan 2017 09:06:08 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/film-reviews/brian-keenes-the-naughty-list
I apologise for the lateness of this review, every year I forget just how busy and messed up my life can get during the festive period.  However, bare with me, for Brian Keene's The Naughty List , is a film worth watching at any time of the year. 

Based on the excellent short story The Siqquism Who Stole Christmas featuring two of Keene's most enduring characters Vince and Tony, who are like a sort of bizarro / antimatter version of Hap and Leonard and their memorable encounter with the man in red, is everything a short horror film should be. 

High production values and tight direction from Paul Campion, the man behindDevil's Rock  (the very first film I ever reviewed) fight with three excellent performances for the star of the show.  Vincenzo Nicoli is perfect as the world weary Tony Genova, a no-nonsense hard nose gangster, is a perfect counterfoil to the wide-eyed almost innocent portrayal of Vince by Sebastian Knapp,  the weird offspring of Steve Buscemi and Elijah Wood.  The chemistry between the two is electric, and hopefully, with any luck, we will see further adventures from this hapless duo.  

Mac Elsey's Santa Clause mixes ho ho ho charm with a lovely dark streak, you want a Bad Santa, then this is the original bad Santa.  

The Naughty List is a short but captivating watch, ideal for those new to Brian's work, and perfect for those of us who are long-term fans with the nods and winks to some of his other work; I  raised a wry smile when the names of gangsters were rolled off.  

Until watching this A Wish For Wings that Work   was my favourite festive movie, sorry Bill and Opus, you have been usurped, The Naughty List now sits at the top of my list.  

You can watch the full film for free on You Tube by clicking here 
<![CDATA[Rogue One - A Response]]>Wed, 11 Jan 2017 06:53:12 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/film-reviews/rogue-one-a-responseby Kit Power 

So then. That happened.

Not a review. Not really a critique. More a brain vomit. Spoilers will abound, so if you have yet to see it, go no further - not least because I’ll be writing in the assumption that you have, and this probably won’t make a whole heap of sense otherwise.

And I mean, I enjoyed it, so let’s start with that. I get that there will be Star Wars fans who prefer this to The Force Awakens, and I get why that’s the case. Like TFA, if feels palpably like a film made by Star Wars fans who are love with the original trilogy and desperate to play with those toys that have captivated them since childhood. And unlike some other sci-fi franchises, it doesn’t feel like the new creators are obsessed with remaking the whole thing in their image (yeah, that’s a swipe at Moffat’s Who, I guess, which I enjoy, but blimey, mate, leave some mystery on the table for the rest of us, eh?).

No, this feels like something else. I mean, sure, there’s the fact that it’s competently made, which elevates it far above the prequels (oops, I guess I have to call them the other prequels now, don’t I?). By which I mean it’s made by a director who understands how to draw out acting performances rather than stifle them, writers who understand pacing and dialogue, and perhaps most important of all, filmmakers who get that the time to use digital is when you can’t do it physically, not all the fucking time. 

But there’s also… well, I feel ridiculous using this word in the context of a Star Wars movie, but actually, there’s a subtlety at work, I think. No, really. The movie has a tightrope to walk, after all. It’s an official Star Wars movie, sure, and it’s part of continuity, but it’s also a bridge between the woeful prequels and one of the most successful movie trilogies in history. And it’s  also not part of the new unfolding story. 

You can feel that conflict from the very opening - we get ‘A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…’ but as you brace for the fanfare, starscape and logo, the rug is tugged from under you, and instead, you have a planet and a spaceship. The music is especially telling in this regard, with the score constantly starting familiar themes before moving them into different places, different configurations. It’s a bold choice, and I can only imagine the ludicrous amount of meetings that had to be held to work out how to do this - what do we keep, what must we change - but I think they nailed it. It evoked familiarity, but also sent the message - this is different. This is not your childhood Star Wars. Not quite.

For starters, there’s a darker tone hanging over proceedings from the opening scene, with the Empire, in general, being portrayed as more brutal than in previous outings, I think. There’s a degree to which the moments that Lucas skillfully hinted at back in the original trilogy (I’m thinking particularly of the sinister interrogation droid that menaces Leia with a syringe in A New Hope) are made explicit here, happening on camera. Certainly blackmailing the scientist father by threatening the lives of his family (shortly before executing his wife in front of him) is, while not in any way out of character for the Empire, a significant step up in terms of physical and psychological violence, at least in an up close and personal sense (as opposed to a blowing-up-planets sense). 

In fact, let’s pause here for a moment and talk about themes. Because what Rogue One has in common with the Original Trilogy is that one of the central themes, arguably the central theme, is about fatherhood - more specifically about flawed fathers and their redemption. And I think there’s something to be teased out here about the similarities and the differences.

Vader is pretty much a nightmare dad, for most of the OT. The ultimate authoritarian, second in command of a fascistic military government - oh, and also with the power to choke a man with his mind. Masked, too - apparently emotionless (aside from that constant rage). And, I mean, I have no idea about Lucas and his relationship with his father, but that sounds like a Boomer’s nightmare father, in many respects. I’m not one of those people who lionize the 60’s counterculture generation, but it is fair to say the generation gap may never have been wider than it was for the children who came of age in that decade. There was a moment of profound alienation between parents and children - perhaps best exemplified by a quote from a parent of a child present at the Kent State shooting who said ‘“it would have been a better day for America if the troops had kept shooting”. Leave aside, if you can, the bile that rises at this apparent sociopathy, and instead marvel at how fundamental the divisions between parent and child must have become, to allow someone to say that to a journalist. 

In that context, Vader makes sense. The counterculture must have felt like a rebel alliance; the establishment must have seemed like an Evil Empire (only seemed, Kit?). And even if Lucas was a young Republican and the apple of daddy's eye. He’ll have seen the contours of this conflict all around him, in the eyes and stories of his friends. All storytellers are, in part, a product of their environment. It’s as unavoidable as breathing. 

So if Vader was the nightmare father of his generation, what are we to make of Galen Erso, father to our heroine Jyn? The differences are striking. Galen is a reluctant pawn of the Empire, not a true believer. He goes to work for them only after his family is threatened - more, only after he realises that they can and will get it done without him. Yes, he builds the Death Star, but he also builds into it a flaw - a secret vulnerability that will destroy it. 

I’m reminded of the poem How do we forgive our fathers? by Dick Lourie. Vader’s redemption ultimately comes from his love for his son - when the rubber meets the road and his son is being executed in front of him, something snaps (turns out he doesn’t want the soldiers to keep shooting, after all) and he turns. Fittingly, it costs him his life to do so, but he dies redeemed, and without having to face a messy Nuremberg style trial. Let’s face it, probably for the best all around. 

Galen is a different kettle of fish. If we see Vader as a boomers nightmare father made flesh, then Galen feels very much like Boomer as a father - a counterculture figure who reluctantly joins the evil Empire, not out of conviction but out of a need to feed and protect his family. Which is… complicated. I mean, my parents are boomers, and I love them both dearly. At the same time, the boomers in Western society as a demographic have been pound for pound one of the most catastrophic and destructive generations the species has ever seen. Rampant explosion of the use of fuel sources that are not-so-slowly baking the planet, generational financial theft, gigantic proliferation of the most deadly weapons of mass destruction ever conceived of with absolutely no effort to decommission them after they’d served their dubious purpose -  oh, and the last hurrah of voting for Brexit and Trump by pretty much the margin of victory, almost as a final fuck you to the poor sods who will somehow have to find a way to live in the rubble and flooded planet they bequeath us. I mean to say, talk about an Evil Fucking Empire.

This makes Galen a fascinating figure, to me. It’s like the film is saying that some ‘goody’ boomer father has somehow built a back door, a vulnerability, into this death machine of ‘democratic’ capitalism that seems insistent on strip mining the planet in a bid to leave no harmful substance unburned. Which, please let it be so, but more fundamentally, feels to be over generous to me. I mean, I know they also gave us Star Wars, but come on.

But then, of course, Jyn dies. To be precise, she’s killed by The Death Star, caught in the blastwave of destruction as the Empire tries to prevent the plans from being transmitted. The sins of the father are revisited upon the child, and all her nobility, bravery, and sacrifice can’t save her. Her death-in-victory may represent a redemption arc for her family as a whole, but man, that’s an Old Testament kind of redemption, a long way from the fluffy New Age messaging of the OT. So if we’re looking at Galen as a boomer parent, maybe this is a more damning indictment than Lucas had of his parent's generation. Vader turns at last, after all, and then has the good grace to die. Galen, compromised throughout, does ultimately build the weapon that kills his daughter and threatens the entire galaxy - and its exploitable weakness is only found due to the extraordinary efforts and sacrifice of that daughter.

Shit, maybe it’s a pretty good metaphor after all. The hope may be new, but it’s also fragile and scary. And the notion that it’ll take a generational sacrifice just to give us a shot of righting the ship… Wow - bleak and accurate. Thanks, movie.

That leads me to another thing that gave me pause about this film - the vampirism. I mean, there's a dead man in this film, and he has a sizable part, and that’s just fucking weird. I think I had some notion it was coming, probably thanks to Facebook friends, but in the opening shot, with the character's back to the camera and a shadowy reflection in a window, I thought ‘well, that’s not so bad, kind of touching, actually’, and then he turned around and Peter fucking Cushing is glowering out of the screen at me. I’m pretty sure I jumped in my seat. 

I’m still not sure how I feel about it, either. I mean, cinema has fundamentally always been a medium of ghosts, and if you don’t believe me, watch The Wizard Of Oz sometime, and afterwards reflect on the likelihood that every single person who worked on that film is now dead. I mean, really internalise that down to your boots, and see if it doesn’t shake loose some kind of reaction. This is what ‘immortalised on film’ really means, and always has.

In that respect, this is the next logical step. After all, we’re twenty two years on from the at-the-time-gobsmacking-and-now-embarrassing-to-watch moments when Forrest Gump meets Nixon and Lennon, and before that, The Crow used CGI to finish off after their lead actor was inconveniently shot to death on set.

So why does this feel different? I’ve been puzzling over that since I left the cinema. Because it does feel different - note I do not say ‘wrong’, I’m not yet confident in making that kind of a value judgement - and unsettling. I think it’s because this isn’t a case of interacting with a historical cultural icon (well, Cushing kind of was that, but you know what I mean) or covering for an unexpected death - this was a conscious decision to include a character played by a long dead actor, and then further to have that actor be represented by CGI (as opposed to a living actor - and yes, I know there was a performer underneath the CGI and doing the voice, but still).

And see, bringing back Vader is easy, because with the greatest respect to David Prowse, Vader is The Suit and The Voice (and The Voice - AKA James Earl Jones - is mercifully still with us). It’s also, IMO, far more necessary - Vader is, in a film franchise so reliant on iconic character design, arguably the most iconic of them all. As soon as you decide to make a movie about the building of the Death Star and the Rebel acquisition of the secret plans, the question of Vader becomes when and how, not if. 

But Grand Moff Tarkin? Not that Cushing isn’t great in A New Hope, because he is, and his scenes with Carrie Fisher are especially glorious, but he’s not elemental to the story in the way Vader had to be. And I find myself wondering who made the spectacularly expensive decision to ‘cast’ him in the movie, and how they went about getting permission from the Cushing estate, and, well, why? Rarely has ‘because we could’ felt like a less satisfactory answer. Again, to be clear, I’m not saying it was wrong - but it sure was weird, and not in an entirely pleasant way.

(Side note: for those of you who are yelling ‘but it wasn’t that good, you could tell it was CGI’ I can only quote you one of my friends, who leaned over to me and said ‘Isn’t he, like, a hundred?’. So, not if you didn’t know, you couldn’t, apparently.)

It’s a fucking odd decision, is what I’m saying, and it exerted a gravitational pull on my attention and thoughts throughout the rest of the film. Not that I didn’t appreciate a lot of what else was going on. Jyn, like Rey in TFA, is a believable and engaging lead, with a similarly tragic parental backstory, and her arc is pleasing. There’s a brilliant row between her and Rebel fighter Cassian Andor where they really go at it, about the ethics of what they are doing, the violence of the Rebellion and Jyn’s self preservation, and they’re genuinely both right, and there are no obvious winners, and this is the kind of shit I didn’t realise I’d been missing in my popcorn. Similarly, the provocative moment where the rebels, wrapped up in the turbans and flowing robes of the middle east, open fire on the white armoured storm troopers guarding a tank full of the local natural resource was striking, in an ‘I-can’t-quite-believe-they-got-away-with-this’ way. I don’t want to put too much weight on that - this is at heart a war movie, after all - but still, it was a welcome moment of nuance and ambiguity none of us had any right to expect.

There’s quite a bit of that, actually. The morality of the Rebellion and their tactics is put under unprecedented scrutiny (which is admittedly a singularly low bar to clear), and even if it’s both incomplete and unresolved, it’s was still for me a welcome moment. The introduction of dissent within the Rebellion was also a welcome complication, even as it somewhat mechanistically set up the final act. And I adored the reprogramed Empire droid, with his sideline in sarcasm. A lovely idea, beautifully executed.

But I was left with a suckerpunch that sent me out of the theatre in as much emotional turmoil as my first viewing of The Force Awakens <http://www.gingernutsofhorror.com/film-reviews/the-force-awakens-a-response> did - perhaps even more. It must have seemed like such a cute idea - an uncomplicated feelgood moment to close out the film. And of course, Carrie Fisher must have signed off on it in some capacity. Still, thanks to 2016 swinging the scythe just one more damn time as the year ticked over and out, I’m left, in the final shots of the movie, face to face with another ghost - the ghost of the impossibly perfect nineteen-year-old Carrie Fisher, in full Leia glory. Her closing line, delivered to the camera, about hope, just about finishes me off.

Again, to be fair to the filmmakers, it’s not something that you could have seen coming. But holy shit, it packs a poignant punch that’s almost too much. It’s also not fair to the movie because the feelings it evokes now are very different to those intended. 

But them’s the breaks, I guess when you’re working in a medium of ghosts. Sometimes it’s you that’ll get haunted, in ways you couldn’t have predicted.

And two Christmases in a row, I am left with a complicated mess of emotions by a goddamn Star Wars movie.

What a fucking world.

<![CDATA[I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER ]]>Wed, 04 Jan 2017 01:46:38 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/film-reviews/i-am-not-a-serial-killer
2016 was a year that proved beyond a doubt that Hollywood had no clue when it came to making great horror movies.  Insipid, and regurgitated plot ideas and franchises, if you wanted a horror that challenged or dared to explore new avenues, then you had to keep to the smaller independent movie companies.  

Thankfully the flip side of this was 2016 being a glorious year for inventive, thought provoking and entertaining horror movies.  For every Satanic, and  Conjuring 2, we had films such as Baskin, The Green Room, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, The Eyes of My Mother, and the list goes on and on.  

Which makes this, the first film review of 2107 on Ginger Nuts of Horror, something that hopefully keeps the great work of 2106 flowing into 2017.  Will I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER maintain the trend for great indie horror films, or will it prove to be the first stumbling block of the year?....
Based on the novel I am Not a Serial Killer  by Dan Wells (you can read our exclusive interview with Dan about the film here),  where John Wayne Cleaver is a slightly unbalanced sixteen-year-old, obsessed with serial killers and a regular helper at his Mum and Aunt's Mortuary it.  So far so normal for a sixteen-year-old.  Which would be all well good, but John is also worried that his obsession with serial killers may turn him into one. So for his own sake and the safety of those around him he lives by rigid rules to keep himself “good” and “normal”.

When somebody starts murdering people in John’s small Mid-West town, he has to investigate and risk letting his dark side out to stop the killer. But without his rules to keep him in check, he might be more dangerous than the monster he is stalking. As the icy winter tightens its grip on the community a deadly supernatural game of cat and mouse ensues...

​Based on the novel I am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells (you can read our exclusive interview with Dan about the film here),  where John Wayne Cleaver is a slightly unbalanced sixteen-year-old, obsessed with serial killers and a regular helper at his Mum and Aunt's Mortuary it.  So far so normal for a sixteen-year-old.  Which would be all well good, but John is also worried that his obsession with serial killers may turn him into one. So for his own sake and the safety of those around him he lives by rigid rules to keep himself “good” and “normal”.

When somebody starts murdering people in John’s small Mid-West town, he has to investigate and risk letting his dark side out to stop the killer. But without his rules to keep him in check, he might be more dangerous than the monster he is stalking. As the icy winter tightens its grip on the community a deadly supernatural game of cat and mouse ensues...

I am Not a Serial Killer, is an intelligent and thoughtful horror film that successfully combines scares with a sympathetic look at some emotional images.   Billy O’Brien’s adaptation of the book mixes tonal qualities from such classics as Fargo, Dexter, and Rear Window into a uniquely melancholic character study of Small town America and the oddballs who inhabit it.  With an almost languid direction and sense of pace that at first would seem more appropriate for a much hotter and steamier setting, O'Brien keeps the viewer captivated with a great sense of rhythm and quirky situations.  Even when the film takes a left turn into weird territory O'Brien's strong sense of style prevents the film from falling off the rails.  

His greatest accomplishment with the film is how he managed to maintain the strengths of the source novel.  Strong, unique characters, which are used to explore some sensitive topics, such as where is our place in the world, and how do we fit in, the lengths we would go to be with someone we love, even teenage angst and disenfranchisement are all handled with a sensitive touch.  

One of the highlights of the film is when John confronts the school bully boy at a school dance.  John's speech to him is powerful, scary with allusions to the depth of his unstableness.  And yet it is the sort of expression that everyone who has been bullied or made to feel like an outcast has wanted to give. 

“I've been clinically diagnosed with sociopathy,'  'Do you know what that means?'

'It means you're a freak,' 
'It means that you're about as important to me as a carboard box,' I said. 'You're just a thing - a piece of garbage that no one's thrown away yet. Is that what you want me to say?'

'Shut up,' said Rob. He was still acting tough, but I could see his bluster was starting to fail. He didn't know what to say.
'The thing about boxes,' I said, 'is that you can open them up. Even though they're completely boring on the outside, there might be something interesting inside. So while you're saying all of these stupid, boring things I'm imagining what it would be like to cut you open and see what you've got in there.” 

John's fear of being mentally unstable, and on the brink of becoming a serial killer is adept and treated with a delicate eye for detail.  Despite John's obvious problems, he remains a likeable character, idiosyncratic and gifted with a great sense of dark humour, balanced out by a dark undercurrent of anguish and brooding menace. 

Max Records' performance is hypnotic and mature beyond his age, to the point where he holds his own against a career-defining performance from Christopher Lloyd. Lloyds portrayal of Crowly must rank as one of the great depictions of a murder suspect.  It is both fragile and menacing, as he goes from friendly neighbour to cold black-hearted killer is a joy to watch.  As his story is revealed, the depth of pathos that Lloyd brings to the character is magnificent, to the point where you will be fighting back the tears during the films final acts.  

I am Not a Serial Killer, is a powerful movie, with a hypnotic narrative and a killer cast, it is a horror film that has a lot of heart.  If this is an indication of what is to come in 2017 form the genre then we are of to a fantastic start.  

On DVD, Blu-ray & Digital HD Monday 20th February 2017

<![CDATA[Walking Dead - Season Seven recap with Kayleigh and Kit]]>Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:49:39 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/film-reviews/walking-dead-season-seven-recap-with-kayleigh-and-kit6073371By Kit Power and Kayleigh Marie Edwards 
Season 7, Episode 7 - Sing Me A Song
Welcome to the seventh installment of a weekly column where Gingernutters Kayleigh Edwards and Kit Power take to a shared Google Doc to discuss this week’s Walking Dead broadcast episode in a conversational exchange. Enjoy!
Warning: The following conversation contains SPOILERS for The Walking Dead, up to and including the events of Season 7, Episode 7. If you don’t want to be spoiled, please turn away now. For those of you who have seen S7 E7, please join in with the conversation in the comments section.
Kit Power: Well now. You wanted more Carl. You surely got more Carl. Happy? :D
Kayleigh Edwards: I certainly am! I’ve been keeping my ‘eye’ out for him...
KP: Well, hell, let’s start with that - Holy Facial injuries, Batman! I know we talk about the zombie makeup a lot, but how gross/awesome was that eye socket?!?
KE: Yeah we know that they’re fantastic with the zombie special effects on this show, but the extent of their skill with wounds was quite… eye opening...
KP: That’s a word! Bloody hell, so much going on in this episode. We got Gabriel and Spencer getting all intense, Rick off on a scavenge, Michonne being the very baddest ass, Daryl looking increasingly close to breaking point and sat right at the centre of it all, scene after scene with Negan and Carl, in the buddy movie from hell.
Should we start with Carl’s ‘genius’ plan? What did you think about how effortlessly he outsmarted Jesus on the road in? And why in the name of all that’s zombie didn’t he just shoot Negan?!?
KE: His interactions with Jesus are hilarious - it’s just the look on Jesus’ face when Carl waves goodbye to him.
I think that he’d just thought of his plan in terms of practicality, but when faced with gunning down live people, it was different. I reckon if Negan had been the first person to step in front of him, he would have shot him, but he killed those two others first and then maybe he lost his nerve or something? I don’t think he expected to come out of there alive anyway, and will probably kick himself forever for not shooting Negan when he had the chance.
KP:  Loved that wave, and Jesus’s reaction.
Well, yeah, not as hard as I wanted to kick him! I found myself thinking a lot about Negan this time - his fearlessness looking down the barrel of an automatic rifle was… something. Though I did enjoy how he kind of used one of his own men as partial cover - sociopathic, but not stupid. Still, I have to say the ‘good guy has baddie bang to rights and doesn’t shoot’ is a personal bugbear of mine in fiction, so it was a bit of a groan out loud moment for me.
That said, it’s not the first time the show’s asked me to swallow something a bit dumb/off in the name of furthering the plot, and holy hell we got a ton going on in this episode. Starting with Carl’s grand tour of Negan Central. What did you think about the wider glimpse into the world The Saviours are building?
KE: Well if we didn’t know it before, we know for sure now that Negan rules with fear. And it’s been reiterated that there are ‘classes’ of people in Negan’s world, and the lower classes really are living the crap life, even for people in a zombie apocalypse.
I was quite interested in his many wives and the set up there. I’ve got to say… I just can’t stand Sherry. I’m sure we’re meant to like her but I just can’t!
KP: Yeah, we’re back to the slavery/serfdom model, aren’t we? As to the wives thing, I think I found that scene almost more disturbing than the branding scene, purely because of how it played out up there. It seemed like Negan’s offer for the wife to go back to her man was sincere, so I wonder just how bad that life is that she’s willing to accept enforced prostitution (and the punishment for her former man) to avoid going back. I gotta say, that squicked me the fuck out - especially when she started crying as she told Negan that she loved him. I mean, newsflash: something’s rotten in Saviourland. Still, yuck.
I found something exceptionally chilling about Carl being present the whole time, too. Obviously there was a performativity to it from Negan’s perspective - in fact, that’s a really interesting facet of Negan, he’s ALWAYS performing for someone - but at the same time, it created a level of implied threat and an extra layer of squick throughout, for me. What did you think of that? And what the hell do you think Negan’s game with Carl is all about, anyway? Surrogate father figure? Cat and mouse? Something else?
KE: I think he’s trying to win Carl’s respect and sort of bond with him as another way to get to Rick. There’s obviously something in Carl that Negan respects (if we believe what the Oceanside residents said about the Saviours killing all the boys over 10, then Negan doesn’t have a policy about murdering teenagers). My favourite moment in the whole episode was when Negan realised he hurt Carl’s feelings and apologised. I kept waiting for a punchline, or for him to make it known that his apology was insincere, but when it turned out that it was genuine I was like ‘ermergerd, dude does have a conscience’.
KP: Yeah, that was super weird. Especially when he followed it up by making him sing a damn song under pain of extreme death. Apparently, in Neganworld, terrifying the snot out of a kid is okay (as is murder and mutilation and what have you) but making him cry is a no-no. To add to the confusion, it really did feel like the first time we’ve ever seen Neegan be sincere - that performativity I spoke about, which is absolutely in force at all other times, just… dropped.
And I guess this is a good time to talk about Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Chandler Riggs. Because they had a lot of time together in this one, and I was amazed at how well Riggs held his own against that monster of charisma. What did you think of those scenes? And especially the moment where Carl finally snapped and told Negan to jump out of the window?
KE: The thing I’ve found most interesting about Carl is that Negan hasn’t broken him, even though he broke Rick almost immediately. Part of that is obviously because Carl isn’t the one who feels the responsibility of everyone else’s lives on his shoulders, so he has the luxury of only really worrying about himself in this situation. I think it’s also to do with him really being a product of the environment he’s grown up in. He’s spent barely any time with anyone his own age, but has spent a lot of time around adults who are constantly killing each other. I wonder if he mouths off to Negan because he doesn’t attach the same value to life as everyone else around him does?
KP: Yeah, we talked about that before - this violence is just life to Carl, isn’t it? I mean, I get all that, but at the same time, it’s not too bright, because what he should also realise is that the way Negan operates, it won’t be him, Carl, that pays. Or not just him. I feel like that’s the calculation I don’t get that he isn’t making. But then I flash back on him calmly telling his dad to just cut his hand off. So maybe he does get it.
Talking of that calculation, can we talk about Rosita and Eugene? Because our second would-be Negan assassin got her bullet this week, in what was for me another superbly acted scene...
KE: Yeah, I think he does get it, but he’s not the only one who doesn’t seem to want to go along with serving The Saviours, regardless of the risk to others? Michonne is on her way to Negan now, surely she also knows that if she effs up whatever she’s doing, someone’s in for a skull bashing? And Rosita knows that too, so I guess she’s not intending to fail. She seems to be thinking her plan through more than the other two.
The scene between Rosita and Eugene was brilliant. I like her more and more, I must say! Although I am starting to feel really sorry for Eugene!
KP: Michonne isn’t planning on failing, either, I don’t think. And I actually felt Eugene made good points in that conversation - in fact, he was making the arguments I wanted to see being made (the arguments I wish Rick was making, if you want the truth, but there it is). It’s not that you don’t take him out - it’s that you do it right, with and by the numbers, and for all time. This lone wolf bullshit is not going to get it cut.
On that, I wonder if that is what Michonne has in mind. She’s clearly furious, and all about doing something extreme, but maybe that extreme thing is not to kill Negan, but make some kind of offer/deal? I dunno, I just have so much respect for that character and her intelligence, I think something else might be going on.
And we didn’t talk about Gabriel and Spencer yet. How about that scene? I have to say Gabriel has been a desperately ‘nothing’ character for me, much as I enjoy the actor playing him, but man he got some zingers this time...
KE: Yeah, he and Spencer are polar opposites, especially in the way they view Rick, and themselves. Spencer is a selfish little asshole who spends all his time whining about Rick, but he’s probably too weak to lead Alexandria himself. Gabrielle is becoming a brilliant character though! I’m hoping that there are more interactions between the two of them later on!
Just quickly, about the ‘lone wolf’ plan that the few in the group seem to have, I agree with you. I don’t think any of them are intending to fail with whatever they’re intending to do, but I do think that they’re not thinking of the logistics - as Rick and Eugene are. They seem to be running on emotion, and some unintended arrogance based on their history of overcoming whatever problem faces them, and getting what they want.
What do you think about the difference between the women we’ve seen in Rick’s group, and those in Camp Negan?
KP: See, I think that read is correct for Rosita, but not Michonne. I think she’s got something super smart up her sleeve. Though there will be the slight wrinkle that she’s currently being taken to where Negan isn’t, because he’s back at Alexandria (!!!).
As to the women, I think those in camp Negan are doing what they have to to survive. I think that subjugation, humiliation, and the constant day-to-day threat/reality of sexual assault have just battered them - physically and emotionally. Negan’s ‘hareem’ is instructive in this regard - the women are austensably in a state of luxury, but of course they have to dress a certain way, act a certain way - and give Negan whatever he wants sexually, I assume. I mean, Negan’s society is basically my idea of hell, anyway - authoritarian psychopath in charge, with violence and willingness to hurt others pretty well deciding the rest of the pecking order. But to be a woman in that world… yeah, no thanks.
Whereas the women of Alexandria have agency, passion. They’ve earned their seat at the table, by their contributions to the group, and they haven’t had to deal with the constant threat of abuse on top of the constant threat of zombies and violence from outside. So basically, they get to be functioning human beings in a way the slaves of Negan are prevented from being. It’s one of the things that have made this season of TWD such hard viewing for me personally - this stuff really does push all my buttons, and I’m faintly nauseous whenever Camp Negan is on screen for any length of time.
Hmm. That got a bit long. Sorry. Hey what do you think? :)
KE: I agree - I just can’t imagine being a woman in Negan’s world - however, I’m still a bit confused about it. He’s got these ‘wives’ and apparently doesn’t want anyone there that doesn’t want to be there, but he knows damn well that the alternative must be worse than these women having to sacrifice being with the men they actually love. He told Dwight that he could have a night with one of the wives but only so long as she was willing, but then he kisses Sherry while she’s having a go at him and giving him the evil eye. Though this is why I don’t like her very much. She called him an asshole or something, and he replied that she liked him anyway. And that seems to be true….
KP: Yeah, I really don’t know about that. I think any notion of consent that Negan is holding on to, for whatever reason he’s holding onto it, is pretty meaningless in practise. It’s clearly the most brutal kind of coercion. In that regard, Negan is a pretty brilliantly realised personification of a specific ‘type’ of toxic masculinity - the Alpha Male. He believes he’s so damned attractive in his male brutality that all women want him really, and then generates a state of coercion that bends reality (and the people in it) to fit that self image. I think it ties back into the performativity of him, and that gross self-regarding way he talks, carries himself… I don’t think for a second Sherry really likes him - but I do think she’s figured out that he needs to believe she does in order to survive. I hope that read is right, and I damn well hope the writers do something with it.
And as we’ve got the mid-season break hurtling towards us, I guess we should talk about that ending. Negan - babysitter of the year?!?
KE: Oh my god, I don’t even know what to make of him with Judith! I think that Rick is going to lose his shit when he gets back and sees him sitting there on his porch holding his baby though! Maybe that will be the turning point for Rick to start hatching a plan to defeat him? I have no idea what the ending for the mid-season finale may be!
KP: Thoughts, in no real order - Michonne is heading for the wrong place. Jesus is in the wind, but could provide the location of Negan central. Rick… yeah, bad times ahead for Rick. There will be blood for the blood Carl spilled - or should be, by Negan’s past declarations. Rosita’s bullet may well be present. And Daryl could be on the way home - maybe with Jesus.
That’s a shitload of objects in motion! Thoughts? Predictions?
KE: Ooh I do hope that Jesus gets Daryl out! Maybe he’s the one who posted the note under Daryl’s door? You’re probably right about Negan spilling some blood in return for the two Carl killed, I didn’t even think of that!
KP: That was my thought, but Sherry could be in the frame for the note, also. Or her ex, I guess. And will Daryl take it? And if he does, will he get out? How far is Negan HQ from Alexandria? And, oh, hey, isn’t Carole still technically in this show???
Shit. It’s going to be a long week.
KE: As much as I love Carol.. If they dare end this part of the season in The Kingdom, I will have to murder someone.
KP: Ha! Yeah, I don’t think they’ll be doing that, though I’m sure it’ll feature. And of course we’ll be left hanging, brutally, at some vile Negan centred climax, no doubt. Think Carl is going to die? Judith, even?
KE: I really really hope not, but I wouldn’t rule anything out on this show!
KP: That’s what keeps us on the hook. Just think, this time next week, we’ll have all new trauma to talk about...
KE: I can’t wait!

<![CDATA[​The Eyes of my Mother- Worth Keeping an Eye On]]>Thu, 08 Dec 2016 05:01:42 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/film-reviews/the-eyes-of-my-mother-worth-keeping-an-eye-onBy Steve Wetherel
Film Review the eyes of my mother
If you’ve been watching a lot of mainstream cinema lately, you’d be forgiven if you were craving something a little different. Hollywood is a sugar rush of slick noise and big visuals. It’s fantastical junk food, and there’s nothing wrong with that... in moderation. Sometimes, though, it’s wise to slow down and appreciate something. Maybe step away from the stellar budgets and gaudy effects, and the familiar scripted beats.

Enter The Eyes of my Mother, a movie that delivers on a level all but bred out of mainstream horror. There’s no cheap jump scares here. No carefully tailored score to guide your emotions. No hysterical screaming and stumbling chase scenes. The horror at the core of Eyes of my Mother is a gentler, more sinister thing. It’s not a growl in the woods. It’s somebody gently taking your hand in a dark room, when you thought you were alone.
The film centres on a little girl, Francisca, who lives in a secluded farm house with only her doting mother and distant father. When a home invader shatters her simple life, it signals the beginning of a descent into quiet madness. Francisca grows into a woman with some very strange ideas about companionship, and the hapless strangers that wander into her life leave forever changed, or sometimes not at all.

The Eyes of my Mother is a slow creep of a movie, artfully laid out by writer director Nicolas Pesce. Quiet and understated, the sound design is intentionally rough, with seemingly unfiltered background noise serving in place of a score. The cinematography too is worth commenting on. Shot entirely in black and white, each frame is a very careful photograph- neat, simplistic and out of time. The cuts are sudden, abrupt and deceptively artless. All of this combines to lend an odd ordinariness to the horror which, given our protagonist’s demure demeanour, creates a curious fugue of disquiet throughout.

Credit is due to leading lady Kika Magalhaes, who perfectly inhabits the world Pesce creates. Gentle, impassive and strange, Kika exudes a kind of documentary subject relationship with the camera that brings to mind early Lynch movies. This is necessary to create that perfect storm of unease, where everything is at once ordinary and deeply strange.

The film’s flaw is inherent in its budget, or lack of. Many viewers are happy to sacrifice polish for something more raw and honest, but many viewers are not. In a world where indie film makers increasingly have access to cheap and powerful tools, perhaps it is not an unreasonable to demand something more consistently grand in vision and sound, or spectacular in content. Certainly a reportedly polarizing reception at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival would suggest it’s not for everyone. All in all, though, The Eyes of my Mother must be appreciated on its own terms- a horrific Slice of Life horror with emphasis on the Slice.

Overall I found this movie not just enjoyable, but refreshing, and as a debut for both director and star, film buffs and horror fans should follow both of their careers with interest.

<![CDATA[Walking Dead - Season Seven recap with Kayleigh and Kit]]>Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:57:22 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/film-reviews/walking-dead-season-seven-recap-with-kayleigh-and-kit9143700BY KIT POWER AND KAYLEIGH MARIE EDWARDS 
Season 7, Episode 6 - Swear
Welcome to the sixth installment of a weekly column where Gingernutters Kayleigh Edwards and Kit Power take to a shared Google Doc to discuss this week’s Walking Dead broadcast episode in a conversational exchange. Enjoy!
Warning: The following conversation contains SPOILERS for The Walking Dead, up to and including the events of Season 7, Episode 6. If you don’t want to be spoiled, please turn away now. For those of you who have seen S7 E6, please join in with the conversation in the comments section. 

Kit Power: So, then. Tara. Heath. Zombie sand surprise! And yet another chess piece on the board (and indeed settlement). How did this one find you, Kayleigh?
Kayleigh Edwards: Welllll I think this one slowed the pacing down overall, but I did enjoy watching a ‘Tara’ episode - we haven’t seen her in quite a while!
KP: I like Tara. Seeing her made me sad all over again about Denise because I liked her too. Damnit, show, why can’t we have nice things?!?
I gotta be honest, I’m less sold on Heath. I’m kind of struggling with the ‘big moral conundrum’ that taking out The Saviours supposedly represents - the fundamental crossing of a line. I mean, I get that it was, say, the first time Glen killed another person, but I don’t get why everyone in the show seems to be treating it as this huge line that’s been crossed. Just like in Terminus, this was about survival, for me - The Saviours are basically somewhere between the Mongol Horde and slavers, after all. So the opening ‘moral debate’ part fell a bit flat for me, because a) we’ve heard it before and b) I don’t really think the debate is that deep. And as it came up again later in the episode, I guess it’s worth talking about. What’s your take on it?
KE: Yeah, we’ve seen this before… all the way back in the grand, old season 2 ‘Dale vs The People About Randall’ episode. Things have changed a lot since then, and it’s been a recurring issue, particularly with Carol. We’ve gone through this whole killing to survive debate with Carol and Morgan, and Carol and herself. We went through it again when Rick’s group opted to take out the Saviours at the satellite station. I guess the difference with that scenario was that it wasn’t a battle scenario, but a premeditated, sneaky attack, that involved slaughtering sleeping, unsuspecting people in their beds. It is a step further than they’ve gone before, but as much as I love TWD, even I will admit that this theme is turning into a snoozefest - particularly when it’s coming from a clueless character like Heath, who had the luxury of ignoring the apocalypse until now.
KP: Right. And I mean,  I don’t want to ding him for that, it’s not his fault, but it’s just… I mean, yeah, killing them in their sleep I’m sure felt rotten, but to me that’s still just a different tactic, not a step change morally. Once you’ve made the clear eyed assessment that these people are an existential threat and there’s no bargain to be made, you do what you gotta.
Or maybe I’m just a sociopath.
Hey, zombies in sand though! Sand zombies! That was a fun moment, no?
KE: Yes.. they were new! I love the zombies in this show, I honestly think they’re the best in the world, in terms of SFX. I love to be surprised by ‘new’ zombies still, even though we’re now seven seasons in!
KP: Agreed, and the one with the sand pouring out of its mouth - I love how this show is still finding new and exciting ways to make me say ‘Eww!’.
Meanwhile, downstream, we have a new settlement. Now, first things first - how long did it take you to work out what was different about the place? And how did you feel about WHY the place was so different?
KE: As soon as Tara snuck in, I noticed the lack of men. I can accept that the Saviours slaughtered the men… however, I think there’s something “fishy” about the idea that they also killed all the boys over ten. That, to me, doesn’t seem to be Negan’s way, but what do I know?
KP: Well, see, this is where my ‘Negan is Ghengis Kahn’ theory plays out. Because that’s almost exactly what the Mongols did. If a town showed resistance (or sometimes even when it didn’t) they’d take all the men and walk them past a wagon, and anyone tall enough so that their head was above the wheel axle was beheaded. True story. And I think Negan’s easy that much of a brute - I know everyone loves him, but he is still the bad guy!
Anyway. So I went and punched the air when she said that, then felt guilty, because I was just celebrating all those murders just because it proved a pet theory of mine. So I’m a bad person, but at least I know I’m bad…
Still and all, I enjoyed that sequence. I like how even a relatively minor character like Tara is still pretty bad assed - the moment where she took out the woman with the gun was really enjoyable. What did you think of Oceanside? And do you think this is the last we’ll see of them?
KE: I don’t buy their entire story about the Saviours taking out the kids for two reasons, but your theory about Negan is probably right! A) I just find it difficult to believe that Negan, given his reluctance to kill women, would feel the need to murder children, and B) Kids are impressionable and so they are the perfect recruitment candidates.. Well at least I think so. The Oceanside’s policy to “kill strangers on sight” makes me wonder if there are bits to their ‘origin story’ that they left out.
I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of them, especially Cindy. I’ve got a feeling that someone else in the group will stumble across the camp and find the arsenal, orrrrrr perhaps Oceanside will need help and send someone out to find Tara’s group after all?
KP: It’s possible. Also, they are well drilled and sitting on a good arsenal. I also like the idea that the part of the map they occupy will effectively be labelled ‘here be dragons’ as it’s effectively a dead zone (literally). Though surely it’s only a matter of time before The Saviours find them again?
One of the things I think the show is really good at (which I think is a combination of excellent writing and casting) is creating these believable communities with their own internal politics and dynamics really efficiently - the women of the settlement as a group get about three scenes, and by the end of that we as the viewer have got pretty good sketches of who the characters are and how they interact? What did you think of those group scenes? And do you think the kill order on Tara came from the top? That’s been bugging me...
KE: Yeah, totally. I think they decided that she was dead as soon as she said she didn’t want to stay. Again, it’s like the situation with Randall - with Tara being Randall. This group are absolutely terrified of a more powerful group finding them and potentially wiping them out or seizing control. Allowing Tara to leave with knowledge of their secret location is very very risky for them, so I understand the kill order (obviously glad Tara got away though!).
KP: Well, yeah, I can see that - and if their origin story is even close to true, it would certainly explain it.
Interestingly, it does mean they aren't planning on lasting more than the next generation. So when they say their goal is survival, it’s survival for them, but not in any wider sense.
I’m glad Tara got away too, and I thought her homecoming was beautifully played, especially with Eugene (Josh McDermitt)  greeting her in tears as she walked in. That really got to me, I have to say.
KE: Yeah I’ve got a feeling that there’s more to it than they just ‘don’t trust strangers’ at Oceanside, like there’s another reason they don’t have any men around. Like, you know, like maybe something horrible happened to a few of those women, at the hands of some awful men, and now they’re playing a ‘better safe than sorry’ game because they only trust each other? I dunno. Maybe I’ve completely overthought the whole thing!
I felt so sorry for Tara when she finally made it home, only to be confronted with the worst kind of news. What did you make of her lying to Rosita?
KP: I think that was about honoring her promise to Cindy. I think we were supposed to think of them as kindred spirits, and that was the deal for getting away. It would have been a pretty awful betrayal of trust to turn them over, and I think Tara’s whole point is that she’s just not going to be That Person, morally. Which means the show is going to kill her painfully, of course, because that’s what the show does to decent people. But still. I’ll enjoy her while she lasts.
Of course, if the rest of the gang later find out she knew where there was a huge weapons cache the whole time, they might kill her themselves. Which would be horrible.
I guess the biggest problem with self-contained episodes like this is that by definition they don’t advance the main plot much - I can’t see Oceanside playing immediately into the main story, so we’re left with Tara back in Alexandria. Do you think that impacts much on the group dynamics there, moving forward? And what do we suppose next week has in store, and the mid season break hurtles towards us?
KE: At the moment, it doesn’t advance the plot, but I think it will eventually. There are several ways it could go - like you say, if the group find out that Tara knew of an armoury and another group with reason to hate the Saviours, then she could be in trouble. Perhaps something will happen, like someone else in the group will die, and then Tara will feel guilty because if they’d had weapons, it could have been avoided, and then she’ll tell Rick about Oceanside. Perhaps she’ll end up going back? It could be used for anything!
I’m not sure that Tara’s presence in Alexandria will have much of an impact on the group dynamic, because she still needs to figure out what her role in the group is.
I’m really hoping that we find out what happens to Carl and Jesus in the next episode!
KP: Oh, shit yeah! That was the bastard cliff hanger from last week. Okay, yes please, Carl and Jesus and Negan and Daryl, oh my! I really have just no conception about how that shit’s gonna play out...
KE: Me neither, I just hope that none of those characters die, or I’ll be emotional.
KP: Oh boy… :/

<![CDATA[​Walking Dead - Season Seven recap with Kayleigh and Kit]]>Sat, 26 Nov 2016 06:41:09 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/film-reviews/walking-dead-season-seven-recap-with-kayleigh-and-kit7079314BY KIT POWER AND KAYLEIGH MARIE EDWARDS 

​Season 7, Episode 5 - Go Getters

Welcome to the fifth installment of a weekly column where Gingernutters Kayleigh Edwards and Kit Power take to a shared Google Doc to discuss this week’s Walking Dead broadcast episode in a conversational exchange. Enjoy!
Warning: The following conversation contains SPOILERS for The Walking Dead, up to and including the events of Season 7, Episode 5. If you don’t want to be spoiled, please turn away now. For those of you who have seen S7 E5, please join in with the conversation in the comments section. 

Kit Power: And we’re back with Maggie! And Jesus! How did this one grab you, Kayleigh?
Kayleigh Edwards: Consider me grabbed. I liked that it wasn’t just set at Hilltop and we had a little bit about Alexandria as well, but I really enjoyed how the Maggie/Sasha/Jesus/Gregory dynamic unfolded.
KP: Oh man, oh man. Yup. Can we start with Maggie? Because I loved just about everything about how she was handled this week. In contrast to Rick’s psychological obliteration, here we have an amazingly strong woman, who is hurt and mourning but, like, the opposite of broken. No mucking about with ‘is the baby okay?’, no staring into space like she’s just been at the chest burster scene in Alien, yes she’s pale, yes she’s hurting, but holy mother of God she came to play and she isn’t even close to done. Thoughts?
KE: Yeah I enjoyed that too. Her reaction to Negan seems to be to get her shit together and fight because she hasn’t endured all of this horrible stuff just to give up now. I think one of the first things she said to Rick after Glen was killed and Negan left was something like ‘you have to fight Negan’. And that bit with the tractor!
KP: Yes! Glorious. And I liked the follow up afterwards, about how she’d done that before to an ex-boyfriend. Maggie always had grit, that’s the thing. Also, it seems like she’s decided to take the spirit of Glen forward in a lot of ways, which I think is going to get very interesting down the line. And between her and Michonne, it seems like the rise of a new matriarchy is more and more likely, as the men falter, fail, or die.
Talking of failing men, I feel like Gregory is a very interesting element in this now. He was always a creep, to put it mildly, but I think now his full weakness and cowardice has been revealed. There’s a way in which that cravenness makes him a perfect front man for the settlement, of course - Jesus might not be able to pull off the kneel as well, for example - but it also seems like conflict and betrayal are all but inevitable there. What did you think about the constantly shifting power dynamics at play here?
KE: Oh yeah, Gregory is totally self-serving. I noticed that he didn’t help when Negan’s group rolled that car through the gates to attract all the zombies! Gregory is quite interesting because he’s the most cowardly person I think we’ve encountered on the show, but in a weird way I think that’s why his group wasn’t wiped out by Negan’s group. He’s quite clearly compliant, and it’s almost like it’s not even an act that he’s going along with the Saviours because he doesn’t seem to even resent the arrangement.
The other thing I like about him as that he talks the talk, like ‘I’m in charge’, but when someone does something to challenge him, he’s just all ‘okay…’, like when Maggie punches him, he doesn’t do a thing. I knew that Maggie and Sasha wouldn’t leave, regardless of what he said! And I don’t really see Jesus as a leader, but definitely an influence that the Hilltop needs. What did you think of the ‘Hey you guys, that’s my song!’ walker battle?
KP: That was a great scrap, yeah. I always think TWD has a tough line to walk, in that it’s essentially a character driven drama, but with a sizable fanbase that demands big horror set pieces on a regular basis, and I thought this was a great example of how to marry those two needs in a way that not only made sense narratively, but actually moved the story forward. And I feel like Gregory kind of sort of missed the point a bit in his conversation with Simon - The Saviours had intended to swoop in as rescuers, not for Gregory’s people to defend themselves. By doing so, they’ve already marked themselves as more powerful than The Saviours thought, which is obviously dangerous.
I agree with what you’ve said about the Gregory paradox, too, in that he is both weak and craven, and yet that cravenness has probably spared his people, so far. The problem is that, as students of history, we know where these kinds of stories end up - if you don’t become a Saviour, sooner or later you become consumed by them. Either that or they get fat and complacent enough to be overthrown, but that takes time (and a leader less frighteningly competent than Negan, frankly).
And as you’ve mentioned Sasha... One of the other things I liked was how quick the power relationships got messy - Jesus is allied with Sasha and Maggie but still nominally Gregory’s right hand, but already Sasha and Jesus are keeping information from Maggie - bad news if she’s to become de facto leader (with G as figurehead, which is how I’d play it). What did you think about Jesus in this episode, and his relationships with the others?
KE: Well firstly, I just have to say… Ninja Jesus! That was so awesome, especially because Tom Payne, who plays him, did all those fight scenes himself! Jesus just seems like an all-round good guy, that would make a perfect right-hand for Maggie when she takes over (because she’s clearly going to take over as leader of Hilltop, right?). I think that his constant arguing with Gregory about letting Maggie and Sasha stay shows his loyalty to doing the right thing. In that way, I guess he reminds me of Glen a bit. I loved that he knew that Gregory would probably try to hand them over as well, so he switched the whiskey and hid them in the wrong closet! Maybe that was a lesson to Gregory about what happens when you start turning on people who have had your back, especially since Sasha and Maggie were the main reason that the walkers were managed without the Saviours swooping in (but as you say, that probably won’t go over too well with Negan)! Would you care for some behind-the-scenes trivia about the walker fight scene?
KP: Hit me with The Knowledge!
KE: Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) was like, severely ill with this sickness virus thing and was throwing up between all the takes. I couldn’t tell at all that she was ill. Tom Payne said that she was the most ill he’s ever seen someone and couldn’t believe she’d turned up to work, especially to shoot a sequence that had her running around and fighting! I thought it was one of her best performances actually! There you go, info.
KP: Bloody hell. That’s pretty impressive. I bloody love Tom Payne in this role, I gotta say. I mean, you’re never going to go wrong with me by making the guy with long hair and blue eyes the biggest bad arse this side of Michonne :) But I love seeing him trying to navigate the ever shifting sands, while trying to maintain a moral compass. It’s a very intelligent acting performance, I think, with so much happening on his face as much as in the script. Smart stuff.
And wow, we didn’t even talk about Carl yet! Do you have Opinions, by any chance? :)
KE: Haha you know I always have opinions on Carl - so hard to pick a favourite, but he’s my favourite. That last ten seconds of the episode was kind of hilarious, when Jesus is in the back of the van and Carl’s just like ‘hey’. It was the slow smile on Jesus’ face, like ‘what is this little lunatic up to?!’ I liked the contrast with this episode. There was that carefree scene where they’re rollerblading along the road, and that’s probably the most normal activity we’ll see a pair of teenagers enjoy on this show, Enid’s had it pretty rough too. But he was roller skating towards his plan of getting to Negan, with no thought really as to whether he’ll survive. He’s kind of impulsive but he’s not stupid, I think he knows it’s a suicide mission but he’s hoping to take out the Head Chief before he goes down, so that Rick and co. have a chance. Aaaaand I like that even though he’s a teenager, he has higher priorities than a girl he likes, he’s willing to die for his group!
KP: So much going on. As the same time, it felt like a Boy Soldier bit to me - like, he's a teenager, and therefore fundamentally convinced of his own immortality. It’s like, even with the season opener, he has no conception of how bad things can really get - or like he’s flipped some switch and it’s all a game at this point. I loved the moment with him and Jesus in the back of the truck - and if anyone can get the kid out alive, it’s Jesus - but I keep thinking back to that shot of Carl’s epicly bad darts skills, and I get a terrible sense of foreboding. This almost can’t end well, I don’t think.
And the rollerskating was lovely. For my money, the show doesn’t have enough little moments of light like that, it was such a breath of fresh air, even with the eye-of-the-storm quality you also talked about it - two kids goofing off. It was sweet and well played.
I still think Enid was right to try and talk him out of it, though. Because Carl’s ‘plan’ is clearly insane.
And on that final scene - two things. What did you make of Jesus taking a swing and then emptying the rest of the bottle? And what the blinking flip is going to happen next time?!?
KE: Welllll I think that Jesus was like ‘hmm I’ll just have some of this’, and I think that tipping it out was partly a petty funny moment of ‘the Saviours aren’t having this’, but mostly a F you to Gregory.
And I think that for the first time ever… I’m going to disagree with you! I don’t think that Carl is convinced of his own immortality - though he and Enid are teenagers and they both just go outside the walls whenever they want, with what appears to be less worry about the danger out there, than all of the adults have. I just think that he’s in the same frame of mind as people like Maggie and Michonne, who want to fight, but he’s having a lot more trouble taking his time to figure out how, because you know, he’s a growing boy and he’s full of testosterone and all that. I don’t think he can bear following Rick in his opinion to comply with Negan, after watching what happened to Glen and Abraham, especially because all he’s seen since he was little, is Rick fighting like hell - he even watched him bite that guy’s throat out to protect him, so seeing his dad crumble has probably stirred up a lot of confusion and rage. And I’ll stop my Carl defence/rant now!
I think you’re right about that horrible sense of foreboding though… Carl can’t even aim straight. Oh my god I hope he doesn’t die. Kit.. what if he dies?!
KP: Maybe. I wonder how much if it might also just be that this is basically the world as he’s always known it - half his life at this point has been spent in post apocalypse world, after all. Maybe it’s a simple as that - he’s internalised the risks, because he’s always been living with them.
As to what if he dies? I just don’t know, man. I’m wondering if Jesus might end up going the way of his namesake to protect the boy.
So as season 7 rattles towards the mid season break, what do you think about the current state of play? And what hellish cliffhanger do you think we will be left on this time? :)
KE: I didn’t even consider that about Jesus…. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! We’ve only just got him! Ooh that would be a dangerous move - he’s already way too popular! I think that probably will be the hellish cliffhanger actually, now that you’ve brought that to my attention. Oh dear lord.. The suspense!
KP: This fucking show, huh? :)
KE: It’s like a drug to me.
KP: Well, until next week’s fix, then :)