Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

New Releases:

Candyman – For horror fans, we were pretty much robbed of getting the renewal of the Candyman franchise last year due to the pandemic and the buzz around the film made the sting even more intense as it was produced by Jordan Peele and it comes from director Nia Decosta who booked a Marvel gig out of the deal with her now helming Captain Marvel 2 as we speak. That said, there are huge shoes to fill with this movie and the fact that Tony Todd doesn’t reprise his role in any shape or form is an immediate mark against it. This film is set in the present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, following Anthony and his partner who move into a loft in the now gentrified Cabrini. A chance encounter with an old-timer exposes Anthony to the true story behind Candyman and anxious to use these macabre details in his studio as fresh ideas for paintings, he unknowingly opens a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence. I really love the trailers for this film which seems to build on the original lore as an almost spiritual sequel while taking the story on in a new and modern way. This one could be really great.

Vacation Friends – John Cena has to be the busiest dude around right now because just at the beginning of this month he starred in The Suicide Squad as Peacemaker who has his own spin-off series that premieres in January next year, he was just challenging for the WWE Universal Title at Summerslam this past weekend and now he has this new comedy on Disney+. Just as busy is the hilarious Lil Rey Howery who many know as the buddy in Get Out but he just starred in the really great Ryan Reynolds movie Free Guy. Now he takes the lead in this raw and raunchy comedy, playing Marcus, a straight-laced dude on vacation with his wife Emily who is befriended by wild, thrill-seeking partiers Ron and Kyla at a resort in Mexico. Living in the moment, the usually level-headed couple lets loose to enjoy a week of uninhibited fun and debauchery with their new “vacation friends” but, months after their walk on the wild side, Marcus and Emily are horrified when Ron and Kyla show up uninvited at their wedding to create more chaos. This is a brainless comedy but I have to admit, this is where Cena is at his best. Funny is his wheelhouse it seems.

Flag Day – Sean Penn returns to the director’s chair for the first time on a feature film since 2016’s The Last Face which was not well received. I’m really hoping that he gets back to the form he was in for Into The Wild and this one is really interesting because it features his daughter Dylan as well who co-stars alongside him in pretty much the main roles. The film has the senior Penn as a father living a double life as a counterfeiter, bank robber and con man to provide for his daughter who struggles to rise above the wreckage of her past while reconciling the inescapable bond between her and her father. Unfortunately, as good as the performances are in the film, Penn keeps falling into the trappings that dogged his last one and that is just plain bad melodrama trying to adhere these talents into something cohesive. I’m still waiting for Penn’s directorial renaissance it seems.

American Sausage Standoff – This is such a weird movie and it isn’t just the crazy title but the Scandanavian lens through which it was shot. To be honest, my draw to this movie was that Antony Starr is the main character in this and I have been absolutely riveted by his performance as Homelander in The Boys. The film is a character-driven comedy about sausages and friendship, set in small-town America, about two hopeless dreamers who join forces in a quest to erect the ultimate German sausage restaurant. Deeper than that, it is also a social satire about the nexus of identity fear, where religion becomes an intellectual cul-de-sac, and racism, homophobia and intolerance reign supreme. The film co-stars Trainspotting star Ewen Bremner and Deadwood’s W. Earl Brown and would have won me over with its quirks but actor turned director Ulrich Thomsen gets a little carried away with his stylings and it never feels like we are in small-town America for a moment, just an exaggerating of it which takes the bite out of any message contained in it. That said, Starr is so great in this movie.

Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed – Whenever you think of instructional artist Bob Ross the sayings “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”, “There’s nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend.” and “I can’t think of anything more rewarding than being able to express yourself to others through painting” come to mind but behaving the “Joy Of Painting” apparently there was something a little darker. This new Netflix documentary looks to dig in behind the Bob you knew and flush out something a little different but is it something to be skeptical about as well? The Bob Ross we knew encouraged everyone he met to embrace their creativity and believe in themselves with a keen appreciation for nature, and a kind and gentle demeanour but a battle for his business empire cast a shadow over his happy trees and that is the basis of this film. The film comes from director Joshua Rofé who helmed the Lorena Bobbitt docuseries so he has a penchant for turning out interesting character stories already so I have good hopes for this one.

He’s All That – Who thought it was a good idea to remake this nineties classic but do a gender swap in the process? Doesn’t that defeat the original idea? Anyways, Netflix and Mean Girls director Mark Waters has decided to do the unthinkable and at least Rachel Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard return to make it legit because, honestly, they’re the only reason I’m watching it. In a modern re-imagining, the story follows teen social media influencer Padgett who’s humiliating on-camera breakup goes viral, leading her to make a risky bet to save her reputation, turning scruffy antisocial Cameron into prom king material. Of course, things get complicated when she finds herself falling for him in real life in the most predictable of turns. Is there any hope for this? Probably not and the fact that it’s being led by Tik Tok star Addison Rae gives me no faith in it whatsoever.

Till Death – Megan Fox, again? Yes, two movies in one month on this blog but the good news is that this movie is pretty damn great and I’m not exaggerating. I think it might also be that this is a horror thriller, something I love, and Fox has experienced some audience success in this genre, thinking back to the Diablo Cody film Jennifer’s Body. The story to this one is pretty simple, a woman is left handcuffed to her dead husband as part of a sick revenge plot and, unable to unshackle, she has to survive as two killers arrive to finish her off. Easy peasy. Amazingly the character development and progression are fascinating in this and it is even good enough for you to overlook some of the story and logic gaffs that happen along the way. I know this sounds slightly insane but I hope people give this Megan Fox movie a chance. Again, weird but true.

The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf – To hold you off until the new season arrives before the end of the year, the creators of The Witcher have given us a little animated prequel to snack on and when the credits hit at the end I think you’ll be pretty satisfied. I had just finished the first season myself when this landed on my Netflix preview bar and, again, very heady with its lore and back story, this may be the origin story that fans are looking for. Featuring the voices of Theo James and Mary McDonnell, this follows Vesemir, once a beaten and downtrodden orphan servant who becomes a witcher, slaying monsters for coin and glory until a new menace arises, forcing him to confront the demons from his past he was running from. The animation is slick, on par for those who love the DC animated movies, and the action is awesome and just as gory and violent as the series is. At only an hour and twenty-three minutes, it breezes by quickly but it is a lot of fun in the process.

Mosquito State – Shudder has been releasing great content every Thursday on the best streaming platform for horror fans out there and the trend continues with this solid little chiller. This film is interesting from the get-go as it comes from Polish writer and director Filip Jan Rymsza who produced the restoration of the unreleased Orson Welles film The Other Side of the Wind as well as directed the tripped-out fever dream Dustclouds so the anticipation is real. The film is set in 2007 and stars Beau Knapp as obsessive Wall Street data analyst Richard Boca who, in his austere penthouse overlooking Central Park, starts to see ominous patterns as he further isolates himself from the outside world. His computer models are behaving erratically and swarms of mosquitos start to appear and are breeding in his apartment, becoming an infestation that fuels his psychological meltdown. This film has everything going for it but seems to hit that feverish paranoid pitch too early like it crescendoed way too fast. That said, Knapp is still really good in a film that very much feels like an actor’s experiment.

The Hidden Life Of Trees – Two big documentaries hit theatres this week and it starts with this film, a German-made film that delves into some deeply existential themes that move along with the awe of nature. Seems heady, doesn’t it? The film is a meditation of author Peter Wohlleben’s book of the same name, a best-seller around the world. Through this medium, Wohlleben is able to give his thoughts on life, death, the regeneration of trees and his experience that formed the notion that trees can communicate with each other. It sounds kind of crazy on paper but the final execution, through filmmakers Jörg Adolph and Jan Haft, who did the nature shoots for the film, the message never feels muddled and I think you come out the other side richer for it. I really love thinking person’s documentaries like this, they seem to enrich the soul and the mind.

The Lost Leonardo – The second documentary of the week gives a more focused approach to its subject matter and delves into both the mystery of a stolen masterpiece but also the processes of art sales and the passing down through generations and how the would kind of gets muddied in the transactions. The film was written and directed by Andreas Koefoed who isn’t a stranger to documentary filmmaking by any means but is a new one to me and this film is so well executed that I’m definitely going to have to dig up his establishing work. The film is the inside story behind Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting ever sold at $450 million. From the moment the painting is bought for $1175 at a shady New Orleans auction house, and the restorer discovers masterful Renaissance brushstrokes under the heavy varnish of its cheap restoration, the Salvator Mundi’s fate is determined by an insatiable quest for fame, money and power and s its price soars, so do the questions about its authenticity. Unravelling the hidden agendas of the richest men and the most powerful art institutions in the world, Koefoed masterfully reveals how vested interests in the Salvator Mundi are of such tremendous power that truth becomes secondary in a film that intrigued me far more than any piece of Dan Brown fiction and any Da Vinci Code movie could. Well worth checking out.

Black Conflux – We get some Canadian content this week with a film that has been getting so much great buzz on the festival circuit and it all has to be from the twist on conventional psychological thrillers it gives. A little in-joke for Canadians, the film is also set in 1980s Newfoundland meaning that it is a straight-up Newfie movie so get your jokes ready now. The film is a dreamy account of two converging lives, fifteen-year-old Jackie, who is navigating from vulnerable adolescence to impending adulthood, and Dennis, a socially inept loner with a volatile dark streak and delusional fantasies of adoring women at his beck and call. It opens with Jackie auditioning for her school choir with a gorgeous rendition of “Hey, Who Really Cares?” by little-known 1970s psychedelic folk singer Linda Perhacs, in a symbolic opening for a promising young woman from a broken home. Raised by her aunt and living under the cloud of all the failures endured by the women in her family, Jackie finds herself giving in to internal and external pressures like partying, skipping school, and hitchhiking in search of her own identity. Her choices leave her speeding inevitably towards Dennis, whose car doubles as a venue for his violent desires. The film is a fantastic debut from filmmaker Nicole Dorsey with a completely unpredictable script and I can’t wait for her next film which looks to be heading into production soon according to IMDB.

They Who Surround Us – A European independent film shot in the Albertan wilderness telling an immigrant’s story. This is a fascinating and deeply human story that involves grief, adjustment to a new land and new people and the raw scabs of a traumatic past and writer and director Troy Ruptash puts it together quite well. The story follows a Ukrainian farmer living in Alberta who loses his wife in a tragic accident and the cascades of guilt and grief afterwards send him into an emotional spiral where mysterious and inexplicable events force him to relive traumatic incidents from his childhood in Ukraine. The film features lots of Canadian actors and actresses that may be recognizable from different locally shot films and television series but this film feels bigger in its emotional scope than any one actor. Not a lot of people will pick up on this one but I will say that Ruptash puts it together in a way the is meant to resonate deeply.

Blu-Ray:

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It – Director James Wan has sat on top of the horror game for closing in on twenty years now, starting with his surprise hit Saw that grew into a massive franchise and now with his Conjuring universe which all kicked off almost a decade ago and brought an old school feel with the all-new scares. After doing the sequel, another trip in a based on a true story horror, he steps back into the producer role for this new installment in the originator series, with The Curse of la Llorona director Michael Chaves taking the reins in this adaptation of one of the most sensational cases from the files of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. A chilling story of terror, murder and unknown evil, it starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes the ghost experts beyond anything they’d ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defence. The aspect I love about these movies is the fully immersive nature that they bring through sound design and simple visuals and it looks like this third piece of the Warren puzzle brings that style and more. This all said, the film does lack in the style that Wan brings to his particular productions but you have to step away and relinquish the control at some point I guess.

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway – When the first film adaptation of this rolled out of the Sony lineup, I was totally trepidatious but, in the end, my daughter and I both got a solid kick out of this and even adored the human element, being the great tandem of Domnhall Gleeson and Rose Byrne, which makes up for Peter himself being voiced by the often insufferable James Corden. Well, after a lengthy pause in release dates due to the pandemic, Peter is up for another adventure and this one gets into the bunny lineage, really. The film picks up a bit after the first with Bea, Thomas, and the rabbits having created a makeshift family, but despite his best efforts, Peter can’t seem to shake his mischievous reputation. Adventuring out of the garden, Peter finds himself in a world where his mischief is appreciated, but when his family risks everything to come looking for him, Peter must figure out what kind of bunny he wants to be. The great news for adults, beyond being an entertaining and, at times, a silly movie for the kids, is that it works and is enjoyable for adults, is pretty well written, and has a great sense of self-awareness. I’m not saying it’s Paddington levels of great but it still earns your time watching it.

How It Ends – Zoe Lister-Jones has had an interesting career as a filmmaker as the Life In Pieces star releases her third feature and the follow-up to her reboot of a beloved nineties favourite that didn’t quite live up to its predecessor, The Craft: Legacy. The bite of this new comedy looks to me like a total redeemer as it follows a woman named Liza, played by Lister-Jones, who scores an invite to one last wild party before the world ends but making it there won’t be easy after her car is stolen and the clock is ticking on her plan to tie up loose ends with friends and family. Accompanied by her younger self, she embarks on a hilarious journey across Los Angeles, running into an eclectic cast of characters played by a great cast including Helen Hunt, Olivia Wilde, Fred Armisen, Lamorne Morris and Nick Kroll. The film is co-directed by Lola Versus filmmaker Daryl Wein and almost has a vignette or skit sort of delivery to it, like a Jarmusch film but I kind of have a thing for the end of the world comedies so I’m on board.

Lansky – Harvey Keitel returning to a leading role for some good character work is a happy thing for any Bad Lietenenant fans out there or, more recently, those who enjoyed Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth with Michael Caine. This also is a double-edged sword as it is a proving ground for new writer and director Eytan Rockaway but at least he has the rock-solid resume of Keitel to rely on. Keitel is the title character, the ageing Meyer Lansky, a man who is is investigated one last time by the Feds who suspect he has stashed away millions of dollars over half a century. Hoping to either throw people off the path or to prove his untouchable nature, the retired gangster spins a dizzying tale, revealing the untold truth about his life as the notorious boss of Murder Inc. and the National Crime Syndicate. Playing the interrogator, Sam Worthington proves to be a good foil to Keitel’s character but the final result leaves a lot to be desired but the skeleton of a good film exists and Rockaway’s start does show promise even if it doesn’t follow through.

Habit – When the preview scene for this new film popped up on Bella Thorne’s Instagram featuring a scene between her and Bush singer Gavin Rossdale, I’m sure we all thought the same thing, “that looks terrible”. The good news is that we are all right and the bad news is that I had to watch it. This film tries so hard to be edgy Tarantino, following an L.A. party girl who gets a gig running drugs for a washed-up Hollywood star. When their cash gets stolen and her boss is popped by a rival drug lord, she and her two friends hideout by dressing up as nuns, which is probably the worst disguise for industrious girls like this. This movie is rough. Underwritten, half baked and more of an excuse for Thorne and her crew to prance around and be raunchy, this made me think of Bell’s claim that she makes so many films a year. Yes, you do, but what is the ratio of good to bad on that list?

The Fatal Raid – Thanks to the people at Well Go USA, I’ve got some martial arts action but don’t be thrown off by the title, it sadly has nothing to do with the Gareth Evans made The Raid: Redemption and The Raid 2: Berendal. Digging into that Hong Kong action style, this film comes from writer and director Jacky Lee who is new to making films in this genre but he honestly makes it work for the most part. The story starts with two elite police teams who undertake a secret operation tracking a dangerous gang across the border into Macau which ends in a deadly firefight. Twenty years later, an escort mission brings the survivors back to the scene and reignites a bloodbath of a battle between the two sides. Any fan of Asian cinema and violent actioners is going to latch onto this movie right away because if you love long gunfights and little exposition, character development and the thin netting of a plot then this movie is for you.

The Cat O’Nine Tails 4K – It feels like just a couple of weeks ago I was celebrating the 4K release of Dario Argento’s debut film and now I get to talk about the follow-up to that which now also gets a high definition release. This is an interesting film in the Argento oeuvre as well because it’s a film that the filmmaker really dislikes so it’s interesting that it was chosen. The film is that awesome iconically stylized Giallo mystery noir about a newspaper reporter and a retired, blind journalist who try to solve a series of killings connected to a pharmaceutical company’s experimental, top-secret research projects and in so doing, both become targets of the killer. I find it interesting that Argento hates this one because it is an improved production over his debut. Although it gets pretty convoluted at times, the story is fascinating. I also enjoy Karl Malden’s work in this, a veteran American doing some Italian horror with the same gravitas he always brought.

Blind Beast – Keeping on the same classic international film tangent for another couple of films, this is a 1969 horror film out of Japan that is getting the Arrow collector’s edition treatment this week and, in the cult film circles, this is a deep favourite. It comes from director Yasuzô Masumura who was known as a maverick director whose main legacy was films portraying and promoting individualism, which was the opposite of the norm in Japanese society. I previously brought his work with the film Irezemi and like that one, this one goes the racy route following a blind sculptor who kidnaps a beautiful young model and takes her back to his home, a warehouse that he and his mother live in and has turned into a surreal tribute to the senses. It is filled with huge sculptures of body parts and the female form, a deadly obsession that has snuffed out many a life and will take this model too if she doesn’t have the fortitude to survive. As a newbie to classic Japanese cinema, this is definitely something that feels like an anomaly and not something that was accepted by the societal majority.

Ashes + Diamonds – We’ll finish up the new collector’s editions in the international field with this Polish-made film from the late fifties made by the acclaimed writer and director Andrzej Wajda and through the lens of another impeccably put together Criterion Collection release. This film was influenced by Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane and in turn, influenced many others like Martin Scorcese who lists this as one of his favourite films and showed it to Leonardo Dicaprio on the set of The Departed. The story follows the Polish resistance and the Russian forces who turn on each other in an attempt to take over leadership in Communist Poland as World War II and the German occupation ends. This movie was far ahead of its time with mind-blowingly intricate cinematography that would astound burgeoning filmmakers for generations. Now, on an immaculate-looking high def blu-ray, it is just as incredible and will hopefully reach up to a whole new audience.

Prince Of The City – This is a far-off film that many have forgotten about but when Warner Archive announced that it was a new addition to their library, I was really excited to land it in my collection. I don’t know why it isn’t talked about as much because it was so well received and came from the master filmmaker Sidney Lumet but I feel a renaissance is in order. The film stars Treat Williams who plays an NYPD officer who is involved in some questionable police practices and tries to make a deal with internal affairs. In exchange for him potentially being let off he’s instructed to begin looking at the inner workings of police corruption, which he agrees to, as long as he doesn’t have to turn on his partners. Soon he learns he cannot trust anyone and must decide whose side he’s on and who’s on his. This movie is so badass and you can see its influence on other filmmakers throughout, even something as recent as Todd Phillip’s Joker film has pulled from this one. Very cool and definitely a must-see.

NCIS Los Angeles: Season 12 – Well, It looks like it’s that time of the year again when all the previous seasons of television hit DVD and I get all of the naval crime shows that are still miraculously going, like this Chris O’Donnell, and LL Cool J led spin-off and this is just the beginning of the yearly install of NCIS shows in my home release reviews. They play key agents in the Office of Special Projects branch of the organization which puts them undercover to crack cases, utilizing their backgrounds as street kids. I’m fully aware of the dime a dozen nature of crime procedurals but I will admit something about this particular one and that is that I kind of like it and, really, at the end of the day it needs to be somewhat good to make it far past the initial double digits and now into season thirteen, right? Holy crap, that’s a lot of episodes.

Steve’s Blu-Ray Geek-Outs:

Hydra – I’m kicking off a series of very different geek-outs this week with an action flick from Well Go USA to pair up with The Final Raid which I plugged above but this one comes from the Japanese side of the Asian cinema and is the directorial debut of Kensuke Sonomura who is mostly known for stunts. Why should this be significant? Well, former stunt players like Chad Stahelski and David Leitch usually make for incredible action filmmakers as the John Wick series is evidence of. The story is pretty simple, set at a small bar in the middle of Tokyo called Hydra and following Takeshi, a standoffish guy working there who has to hide his other identity of a highly skilled hitman that’s past is catching up with him and he now has to face a brutal killing game that he has been pointed as a target. This movie, although low budget, really packs a wallop that I wasn’t expecting in its action sequences. More than that, there is a care and a method delivered with the character development, giving us some stake in what happens to them, which is rare in this genre. This film was an utter surprise for me.

Nashville – One of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Robert Altman, gets the blu-ray treatment with one of his classic films and, really, this one is just about the treatment of the film itself because, to be completely honest, the better edition is the Criterion Collection with an abundance of special features. This film had Altman weighing in on both the country music scene at the time as well as the political upheaval of the mid-seventies featuring two great actors of the time, Keith Carradine and Karen Black. The film tells the intersecting stories of various people connected to the music business in Nashville with Barbara Jean, the reigning queen of Nashville nearing a total collapse, Linnea and Delbert Reese and their shaky marriage and two deaf children, Opal, a British journalist touring the area as a stranger in a strange land. This is really one of Altman’s underrated masterpieces that was celebrated at its time and was quickly shuffled away as more of his other, more prestigious and Hollywood’s centric productions were released. I really think that as a film fan, this movie is a must-see and that comes from a guy who hates country music. Yeah, I said it.

The Herculoids: The Complete Original Series – I got to add to my growing classic cartoon library this week with an old show that I really hadn’t heard of and now even seeing the case I definitely never saw it as a kid. It originally aired in the late sixties and was later resurrected in the early eighties as part of the Space Stars but this set just contains those first nineteen episodes. A Hanna Barbera production, the show follows King Zandor and a group of bizarre creatures as they protect their futuristic kingdom from creatures from other galaxies. This is definitely a product of its time and the King’s bowl cut hairstyle is really funny but the legacy that it leaves and the influence it had on other cartoons and their creators is definitely evident.

Television:

Clickbait (Netflix) – Adrian Grenier is returning to series form but he isn’t Vincent Chase anymore and this is definitely far from an Entourage style story. This thriller series comes from a couple of creators with some substance as Tony Ayres was a co-creator on the newer Netflix series Stateless, which I feel like got pushed to the side quite quickly even though it was great, and Christian White ho wrote the phenomenal New Zealand horror film, Relic plus it has Zoe Kazan who I adore. The show is an unravelling mystery racing against time that follows a family man who is abducted in a crime with a sinister online twist forcing those closest to him to scramble to uncover who is behind it and why. I’m just a few episodes in and the series is so intriguing to me but I’m getting a little worried that it’s getting a bit convoluted and a wrap-up would have to be huge. I hope it pays off.

See: Season 2 (AppleTV+) – Jason Momoa returns to lead the new season of this Campbell River shot sci-fi series set in a dystopian future about the human race, years into the future, which has lost the sense of sight and society has had to find new ways to navigate the world and survive as a society. Of course, when a set of twins are born with the ability to see everyone’s world is blown wide open, setting off new wars, new alliances and this season brings the big bad of Momoa’s character’s brother, played by the great Dave Bautista. This show obviously features a lot of local talent, like my friend Josh Blacker, but beyond those reasons to get on board, the show is actually pretty damn great and had me engaged entirely from episode to episode. The appeal to me for story elements is that the show makes use of the freeform of Apple’s platform and is gory as hell. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I think it is a hit with me and the ceiling of possibility is so huge.

The Other Two: Season 2 (Crave) – I always feel like I’ve always had a finger on the pulse of what is available of HBO or the new little brother or sister streaming service HBO Max but then a show like this comes along and presents it’s season two and I find myself scrambling to catch up with the first season. I feel like such a dolt for not knowing about this one too because it feature one of my favourite Saturday Night Live players ever, Molly Shannon, and was written by College Humor alumni Sarah Schneider. The show follows an aspiring actor and his sister, a former professional dancer, who try to find their place in the world while wrestling with their feelings about their thirteen-year-old brother Chase’s sudden rise to internet fame. The harder they work on themselves, the more their insecurities and jealousy strike down any progress they make in a show that I’m kicking myself for not knowing about, it’s that good.

Chapelwaite (Crave) – You know if Stephen King’s name is attached to something, I’m going to pick up on it and bring it to this blog, it’s just what I do. I find this one really interesting as it was developed from a short story that the master of horror did for Night Shift called Jerusalem’s Lot and, while it is in the Salem’s Lot novel, it’s a little different than that. The show stars Adrian Brody as Captain Charles Boone, who relocates his family to his ancestral home in Preacher’s Corners’ small, sleepy town in the 1850s. Once there, the secrets of his family start to come to light and he must find a way to confront that darkness and to put it away for good. The great thing about this series is that it was made on the EPIX network and the ceiling is limitless for gore and atmosphere as they don’t have to bend to the basic network constraints so this may be just as awesome as Castle Rock or Mr. Mercedes was. I’m definitely on board for this one.

American Horror Stories (Disney+) – The shift has finally happened after multiple seasons and genre iterations of this Ryan Murphy-created series and I feel like they’ve opened it up to have some endless opportunities for different little short films. I also really like that they’ve opened up the casting a bit more and we have some different stars than the usual Sarah Paulson, Lady Gaga or Evan Peters casting, though I really enjoy them, opening the door for Paris Jackson, Matt Bomer and Merrin Dungey among others. The weekly anthology series features a different horror story in each episode and some of them, it seems, even tie back into the seasons that Murphy and co-creator Brad Falchuk have already made, like the murder house of season one. I was a little burnt out on this series but this new avenue may get it back on track.

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