Odds and Dead Ends: Doctor Who’s Sci-fi – Horror Masterclass

When Doctor Who revived on March 26th, 2005, I was seven years old, a few months away from my eighth birthday. I was the perfect age to have my mind utterly blown by the galactic voyages, the heritage, the sets, the monsters; everything about it was just cool. Russell T. Davis’ era of Who was one of the things that made me the genre fan I am today. Now that I’m older, I look back on it and wonder which episodes, stories, stand out most. One day I will certainly do an article analyzing speech and identity in the Series 4 episode Midnight, an underrated gem of an episode. Blink gave me a phobia of statues for months, and I remember coming home from school pretending to be a Cyberman (complete with stomping sound effects) once the new incarnations came through in Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel.

Yet for me, the more I think on it, the more I affirm my beliefs that The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit, episodes 8 and 9 of Series 2 respectively, are the best episodes of the show’s now 13, nearly 14 year, revival. A blend of cosmic horror, claustrophobic sci-fi thriller, and possession horror movie, this storyline is an immaculate blend of multiple genres, pushing the boundaries of Saturday-night family TV, which retains the ability to chill even the hardiest of adults. The Halloween special Waters of Mars was a very successful episode along a similar vein, but despite the claustrophobia in that episode, it doesn’t have the imagery, the scale, and grandeur, that comes with being stranded on a planet orbiting a black hole. This article is my attempt to analyze, decode, and understand just why this storyline is sci-fi/horror perfection, through the physical and emotional squeezing of the episode, and the theological darkness of The Beast.

 

Isolation

Sometimes horror tries to overload your senses with something vast and grand, such as the infinite size of the cosmos and the beyond, stuffed with elder gods and creatures unfathomable. This is most definitely the Lovecraft tradition of horror. One of the other approaches is to make the whole thing feel claustrophobic, and to put the pressure on the audience, tighter and tighter and tighter. This, perhaps, could be considered a Hitchcock tradition. The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit (which I will abbreviate as TIP or TSP throughout the rest of this article), manages through its sheer concept alone, to accomplish both a physical claustrophobia and tension, and a grand intellectual, mythological scope.

In TSP, a sequence sees Rose, Danny, Toby, and Jefferson, trapped in the vents underneath Sanctuary Base 6 being pursued by the possessed, murderous Ood. As if this isn’t bad enough, Captain Zachary has to manually shift the oxygen to them from each section of the tunnel each time they move on to the next section.

For me, this is the ultimate moment of claustrophobia in the two episodes, and it’s a careful appreciation of each turn of the screw (pun intended) that makes us feel so tense. Here’s my quick run-down of the beats up to this point that apply the pressure.

  1. The Tardis, the time-and-space ship, lands on a base, not feeling well. As The Doctor says, it’s like “‘she’s worried.’”
  2. The Doctor announces that they’ve arrived on a sanctuary base. The word ‘sanctuary’ implies a safe haven, but from what?
  3. ‘Welcome to Hell’ is scribbled on a wall, along with an indecipherable ancient language.
  4. After an earthquake, the revelation of their situation is made. The base is on a planet orbiting a black hole, held by a strange, unknown energy source that could plunge them into it at any moment.
  5. An earthquake plunges the Tardis into the depths of Kroptor, the planet. Their usual escape route has been lost.
  6. The base’s electronics, and Toby, come under the influence of The Beast.
  7. A hull breach loses one of the crew members, and they watch her drift up into the black hole. A constant reminder of mortality perched on the edge of the abyss.
  8. The Doctor and Iva descend down into the bowels of the planet in a small cable lift. The Doctor, the main intelligence and rationale of the galaxy, is physically distant from those above.
  9. The Ood become possessed; their translators changed into devices capable of electrocution.
  10. The Satan Pit opens down into a further unknown dark.
  11. The lift cable snaps, trapping The Doctor and Iva down below.
  12. Their electronic communication is temporarily stopped.
  13. With Ood all around, the crew have to shuffle through the underfloor ventilation tunnels to reach Ood habitation, the den of the things trying to kill them, in order to cut the possession of The Beast.
  14. Zachary, holed up in a room with Ood cutting their way in, has to manually, time-consumingly, shift their oxygen after them.
  15. The Ood are after them in the tunnels.

There are several aspects I’ve excluded for my later discussion on the Satan aspects, but it is easy to see even from this simple breakdown, how the episodes add layer upon layer of threat and danger. This sequence in the tunnels is perhaps only 2/3 of the way through the episodes’ total runtime, and there are sequences with danger in the rocket at the finale, but I believe the ventilation chase to be the best example of pressure-cooker isolation I’ve seen in Who.

In Doctor Who Confidential S2 E8, the set designers acknowledge Alien (1979) for inspiration in the base’s design. Indeed, the walkways are hemmed in by pillars that crowd the crew as they duck and scamper down the corridors. Similarly, the Nostromo’s corridors in Alien were designed so the actors had to crouch through the ship, complete with constant vents of steam and smoke from the walls that are also constantly shown in Sanctuary Base 6 coming from the floor. Far more than just the base, however, the civilisation in the interior of the planet also seems to have a touch of the Alien franchise about it, with the large sculptures something you’d find on board the Space Jockey’s ship. The abseil of The Doctor into the pit isn’t too dissimilar to Kane’s descent into the egg room. And you can’t watch the ventilation chase sequence without thinking of Dallas’ search through the Nostromo’s vents after the Xenomorph. This time, they can’t even see the threat as the Ood don’t register as life forms, and the opening of the final door to reveal the Ood there ready and waiting for them is so reminiscent of Dallas’ demise in Alien that you have to accept the homage.

Part of this story’s mastery, then, is of the sense of claustrophobia, of danger pressing in on you. Taking inspiration from its predecessors and finding new ways to tighten the vice, the whole scenario feels like you’re being slowly crushed. If the lack of air doesn’t get you, the Ood will. If they don’t, The Beast will plunge you into space. If he doesn’t do that, he’ll ensure the base doesn’t let you out. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll plunge you into the black hole. The noose gets tighter and tighter with each passing moment.

Satan Unbound

When, in TIP, the Doctor calculates the amount of energy needed to hold the planet in orbit around the black hole, he reels off a load of numbers, to which Rose replies, “‘all the sixes.’” Specifically, there are three of them. 666. The story deals with the iconography of Satan and a fairly unique discussion of language and communication to discuss the mere concept, the idea, and the horror, of the devil.

Perhaps the most obvious point of contact with this is the ancient language. The connection between this writing and an ancient evil are immediately apparent, with the ‘Welcome to Hell’ sign being scrawled above a copied passage of writing. That the planet they have arrived on is equated with Hell is subtly reinforced with several shots through doors and over shoulders, one such example being when Rose gets food from the Ood, where the ‘Hell’ on the sign is clearly visible.

The ancient language is also our main visual clue that Toby is possessed/himself. The writing jumps from the pottery to his hands, and later vanishes into the Ood. That this language is that of The Beast and not of the ancient civilisation is apparent from the pictures depicting the capture of The Beast down in the pit itself. These people used images, whereas The Beast uses words. Images exist purely in a visual form, whereas language can exist in visual or audible forms, or even touch if you think of Braille. This makes The Beast’s method of communication much more effective and potent for expanding throughout the universe, perpetuating his image throughout the countless civilisations.

That language is the myth-maker of The Beast’s choosing is made apparent when Ida discusses the planet’s name, spoken of only in scripture, and labelled as a demon when the Black Hole spat it back out. Not only is it through text that the story of the planet’s evil, and by extension its resident, perpetuated, but ‘scripture’ implies a religious text.

Despite a brief flash of The Beast on the hologram in the main hub, it is through words and speech that The Beast’s rising is foreshadowed. The computers announce that ‘He is awake,’ and Rose’s phone is hijacked to deliver the same message on a phone that can’t get a signal. Also, The Beast’s targets for possession are those with the closest links to language and words. Toby is an obvious choice because he is closest to the language as the archaeologist. However, the Ood are important thematically because they require the translators to communicate with their human masters. Before we get the hijacked message, the ‘we must feed’ interference and joke following TIP’s title sequence puts language at the forefront of the terror.

These translators are important not only for The Beast to use as weapons (language being used to kill and carry ideas of death), but it is also through the Ood that we get our longest pre-possession hints, “‘The Beast and his armies shall rise from The Pit to make war against God’”, and the lengthy discussion with The Doctor. The concepts of The Beast and his mythic perpetuation through language and words are inescapable. Language is how we view, understand, and construct the world around us, and that The Beast would use this as a means to attack us is perhaps more terrifying than anything else.

The Doctor’s incredulity and vehement rejection of the idea that The Beast can have existed before the universe is little relief for the audience, for The Beast knows so much that he can’t know. He sees into the minds of all the crew, and even predicts Rose’s future several episodes later. This complete knowledge of all, traversing the realms of possibility, puts the possibility of The Doctor being wrong into question. Is he right that The Beast is lying? After all, one of the names for Satan is ‘The Father of Lies.’ On the other hand, everything The Beast has said occurs in actuality, so who is to say he is wrong? That something is impossible isn’t an issue for The Beast; The Doctor describes his language as being ‘impossibly old’ upon first seeing it.

And then, in the final scenes, we have possessed-Toby’s ravings that the idea of him (The Beast) will always live on, despite being launched into the black hole, lingers, ‘I shall never die. The thought of me is forever.’ The Doctor himself says that ‘an idea is hard to kill’. The Beast’s final words that ‘nothing shall ever destroy me. Nothing’, hang in the air long after the episode concludes. In addition to this damning statement, The Doctor comes away with no conclusions as to what he believes he found, ‘I don’t know, I never did find out.’ We are left none the wiser. After escaping possessed aliens sent by a Satanic beast, who claims to have been from beyond time and space, eternal and forever in the hearts of men, and managing to escape the snatching jaws of a black hole, a horror still resonates. The idea of evil will never be killed. They don’t defeat evil in the end, they just manage to escape its wrath a little longer.

 

Conclusion

Sometimes, when it gets it just right, Doctor Who manages to push all the right buttons. In an impossible situation, isolated and trapped, claustrophobic, yet opening up the theological, philosophical, and personal horrors of belief, thought and language, these two episodes deliver a truly captivating, yet terrifying 90 minutes of television. Ignore what anyone says; this episode arc is the most horrifying, devastating, and yet hauntingly beautiful storyline the show has had in its revival.

Article by Kieran Judge

You can now follow him on Twitter at @KJudgeMental

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It’s the Great Halloween Episode, Horror Addicts!

Halloween is MY favorite time of year, and I’m willing to bet it’s yours too. So, if you’re trying to trick your less-spooky friends and family into a month-long binge of Halloween TV, this list is a good starting place.

 For the Little Monsters

  • Animaniacs
    • Draculee, Draculaa / Phranken-Runt (Season 1, Episode 30)
    • Scare Happy Slappy / Witch One / MacBeth (Season 1, Episode 62)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
    • Luna Eclipsed (Season 2, Episode 4)
    • Scare Master (Season 5, Episode 21)
  • Tiny Toon Adventures
    • The Horror of Slumber Party Mountain (Episode 93)
    • Tiny Toons Night Ghoulery (Special Episode 100)
  • Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends
    • Bloooo (Season 1, Episode 12)
    • Nightmare on Wilson Way (Season 5, Episode 10)
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
    • Grim or Gregory? (Season 1, Episode 8)
    • Bill & Mandy’s Jacked-Up Halloween (Season 1, Episode 23)
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • The Monster of Phineas-n-Ferbinstein! (Season 1, Episode 40)
    • One Good Scare Ought to Do it! (Season 1, Episode 39)
    • That’s the Spirit (Season 3, Episode 22)
    • Curse of Candace (Season 3, Episode 23)
    • Drusselsteinoween (Season 4, Episode 25)
    • Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror (Season 4, Episode 26)
    • Face Your Fear (Season 4, Episode 27)
    • Night of the Living Pharmacists (Season 4, Episode 44)
  • Rugrats
    • Candy Bar Creep Show / Monster in the Garage (Season 1, Episode 9)
    • Ghost Story (Season 6, Episode 12)
    • Curse of the Werewuff (Season 8, Episode 3)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • Scaredy Pants / I Was a Teenage Gary (Season 1, Episode 13)
    • Ghoul Fools (Season 8, Episode 10)
    • Don’t Look Now / Séance Shmeance (Season 9, Episode 9)
    • The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom (Season 11, Episode 5)
  • Adventure Time
    • The Creeps (Season 3, Episode 12)
    • From Bad to Worse (Season 3, Episode 13)
    • Ghost Fly (Season 6, Episode 17)
  • Gravity Falls
    • Summerween (Season 1, Episode 12)
    • Little Gift Shop of Horrors (Season 2, Episode 6)

 Spooks for the Whole Family

  • I Dream of Jeannie
    • My Master, the Ghostbreaker (Season 3, Episode 21)
  • The Jetsons
    • Haunted Halloween (Season 2, Episode 26)
  • The Munsters
    • Munster Masquerade (Season 1, Episode 1)
  • The Andy Griffith Show
    • The Haunted House (Season 4, Episode 2)
  • Bewitched
    • The Witches Are Out (Season 1, Episode 7)
    • Trick or Treat (Season 2, Episode 7)
    • Twitch or Treat (Season 3, Episode 7)
    • The Safe and Sane Halloween (Season 4, Episode 8)
    • To Trick or Treat or Not to Trick or Treat (Season 6, Episode 7)
  • Little House on the Pairie
    • The Monster of Walnut Grove (Season 3, Episode 5)
    • The Halloween Dream (Season 6, Episode 7)
  • The Addams Family
    • Halloween with the Addams Family (Season 1, Episode 7)
    • Halloween, Addams Style (Season 2, Episode 7)
  • Lassie
    • Trapped (Season 5, Episode 8)
    • Wings of the Ghost (Season 8, Episode 4)
  • The Brady Bunch
    • Fright Night (Season 4, Episode 6)
  • Charles in Charge
    • Trick or Treat (Season 1, Episode 8)
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
    • The Ghost of A. Chantz (Season 4, Episode 2)
  • MacGyver
    • Ghost Ship (Season 3, Episode 4)
    • The Secret of Parker House (Season 4, Episode 1)
    • Halloween Knights (Season 5, Episode 6)
    • Lesson in Evil (Season 6, Episode 6)
  • 7th Heaven
    • Halloween (Season 1, Episode 6)
  • Boy Meets World
    • Boys II Mensa (Season 1, Episode 6)
    • Who’s Afraid of Cory Wolf? (Season 2, Episode 6)
    • Janitor Dad (Season 4, Episode 6)
    • The Witches of Pennbrook (Season 5, Episode 5)
    • And The There Was Shawn (Season 5, Episode 17)
    • BONUS: Girl Meets World
      • Girl Meets World of Terror (Season 1, Episode 11)
      • Girl Meets World of Terror 2 (Season 1, Episode 18)
      • Girl Meets World of Terror 3 (Season 3, Episode 15)
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch
    • A Halloween Story (Season 1, Episode 5)
    • A River of Candy Corn Runs Through It (Season 2, Episode 7)
    • Good Will Haunting (Season 3, Episode 6)
    • Episode LXXXI: The Phantom Menace (Season 4, Episode 6)
    • The Halloween Scene (Season 5, Episode 6)
    • Murder on the Halloween Express (Season 6, Episode 4)
  • Charmed
    • All Halliwell’s Eve (Season 3, Episode 4)
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
    • Mummy Dearest (Season 3, Episode 4)
  • Once Upon a Time
    • Beauty (Season 7, Episode 4)
  • Star Trek: The Original Series
    • Catspaw (Season 2, Episode 7)
  • Knight Rider
    • Halloween Knight (Season 3, Episode 5)
    • Voodoo Knight (Season 4, Episode 22)
  • Wonder Woman
    • Séance of Terror (Season 2, Episode 19)
    • The Starships Are Coming (Season 3, Episode 15)
    • Phantom of the Roller Coaster (Season 3, Episode 23)
  • Scrubs
    • My Big Brother (Season 2, Episode 6)
  • Futurama
    • The Honking (Season 2, Episode 18)
    • Murder on the Planet Express (Season 7, Episode 24)
  • Saved by the Bell
    • Mystery Weekend (Season 3, Episode 26)
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
    • Someday Your Prince Will Be in Effect (Season 1, Episode 8 and 9)
    • Hex and the Single Guy (Season 4, Episode 7)
  • Full House
    • It’s Not My Job (Season 2, Episode 3)
    • Divorce Court (Season 3, Episode 8)
  • Family Matters
    • Dog Day Halloween (Season 2, Episode 7)
    • Whose Kid is it Anyway? (Season 4, Episode 6)
    • Best Friends (Season 5, Episode 6)
    • Dark and Stormy Night (Season 6, Episode 6)
    • Stevil (Season 8, Episode 7)
    • Stevil II: This Time He’s not Alone (Season 9, Episode 7)
  • Gilligan’s Island
    • Ghost a Go-Go (Season 2, Episode 27)
    • Up at Bat (Season 3, Episode 1)
  • Home Improvement
    • The Haunting of Taylor House (Season 2, Episode 6)
    • Crazy for You (Season 3, Episode 6)
    • Borland Ambition (Season 4, Episode 6)
    • Let Them Eat Cake (Season 5, Episode 6)
    • I Was a Teenage Taylor (Season 6, Episode 7)
    • A Night to Dismember (Season 7, Episode 5)
    • Bewitched (Season 8, Episode 6)
  • Bob’s Burgers
    • Full Bars (Season 3, Episode 2)
    • Fort Night (Season 4, Episode 2)
    • Tina and the Real Ghost (Season 5, Episode 2)
    • The Hauntening (Season 6, Episode 3)
    • Teen-a Witch (Season 7, Episode 3)
    • The Wolf of Wharf Street (Season 8, Episode 3)
    • Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street (Season 9, Episode 4)
  • Friends
    • The One with the Halloween Party (Season 8, Episode 6)

After the Kids Go to Bed

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Halloween (Season 2, Episode 6)
    • Fear, Itself (Season 4, Episode 4)
    • All the Way (Season 6, Episode 6)
    • BONUS: Angel, Life of the Party (Season 5 Episode 5)
  • The Vampire Diaries
    • Haunted (Season 1, Episode 7)
    • Masquerade (Season 2, Episode 7)
    • Ghost World (Season 3, Episode 7)
    • The Five (Season 4, Episode 4)
    • Monster’s Ball (Season 5, Episode 5)
    • The World Has Turned and Left Me Here (Season 6, Episode 5)
    • I Carry Your Heart with Me (Season 7, Episode 4)
  • Supernatural
    • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester (Season 4, Episode 7)
  • Beverly Hills 90210
    • Halloween (Season 2, Episode 13)
    • Things That Go Bang in the Night (Season 5, Episode 8)
  • Dawson’s Creek
    • The Scare (Season 1, Episode 11)
    • Escape from Witch Island (Season 3, Episode 7)
    • Four Scary Stories (Season 5, Episode 9)
    • Living Dead Girl (Season 6, Episode 6)
  • Gossip Girl
    • The Handmaiden’s Tale (Season 1, Episode 6)
    • How to Succeed in Bassness (Season 3, Episode 7)
  • One Tree Hill
    • An Attempt to Tip the Scales (Season 3, Episode 4)
    • Not Afraid (Season 8, Episode 6)
  • Pretty Little Liars
    • The First Secret (Season 2, Episode 13)
    • This is a Dark Ride (Season 3, Episode 13)
    • Grave New World (Season 4, Episode 13)
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    • Halloween (Season 1, Episode 6)
    • Halloween II (Season 2, Episode 4)
    • Halloween III (Season 3, Episode 5)
    • Halloween IV (Season 4, Episode 5)
    • HalloVeen (Season 5, Episode 4)
  • Parks and Recreation
    • Greg Pikitis (Season 2, Episode 7)
    • Meet ‘n’ Greet (Season 4, Episode 5)
    • Halloween Surprise (Season 5, Episode 5)
    • Recall Vote (Season 6, Episode 6)
  • Glee
    • The Rocky Horror Glee Show (Season 2, Episode 5)
  • How I Met Your Mother
    • Slutty Pumpkin (Season 1, Episode 6)
    • Canning Randy (Season 6, Episode 7)
    • The Slutty Pumpkin Returns (Season 7, Episode 8)
  • That 70’s Show
    • Halloween (Season 2, Episode 5)
    • Too Old to Trick or Treat, Too Young to Die (Season 3, Episode 4)
  • Family Guy
    • Halloween on Spooner Street (Season 9, Episode 4)
    • Quagmire’s Quagmire (Season 12, Episode 3)
    • Peternormal Activity (Season 14, Episode 4)
  • The Big Bang Theory
    • The Middle Earth Paradigm (Season 1, Episode 6)
    • The Good Guy Fluctuation (Season 5, Episode 7)
    • The Holographic Excitation (Season 6, Episode 5)
    • The Imitation Perturbation (Season 12, Episode 6)
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun
    • Scaredy Dick (Season 3, Episode 5)
  • Roseanne
    • BOO! (Season 2, Episode 7)
    • Trick or Treat (Season 3, Episode 7)
    • Trick Me Up, Trick Me Down (Season 4, Episode 6)
    • Halloween IV (Season 5, Episode 7)
    • Halloween V (Season 6, Episode 6)
    • Skeleton in the Closet (Season 7, Episode 6)
    • Halloween: The Final Chapter (Season 8, Episode 5)
    • Satan, Darling (Season 9, Episode 7)
  • Grimm
    • La Llorona (Season 2, Episode 9)
  • Haven
    • Real Estate (Season 3, Episode 6)
  • Grey’s Anatomy
    • Haunt You Every Day (Season 4, Episode 5)
    • Thriller (Season 10, Episode 7)
    • Flowers Grow Out of My Grave (Season 15, Episode 6)
  • Alias
    • Doppelgänger (Season 1, Episode 5)
  • Blue Bloods
    • Nightmares (Season 3, Episode 7)
  • Bones
    • Mummy in the Maze (Season 3, Episode 5)
    • The Resurrection in the Remains (Season 11, Episode 5)
  • Dexter
    • Let’s Give the Boy a Hand (Season 1, Episode 4)
  • Castle
    • Vampire Weekend (Season 2, Episode 6)
    • Demons (Season 4, Episode 6)
    • PhDead (Season 8, Episode 3)
  • Community
    • Introduction to Statistics (Season 1 Episode 7)
    • Epidemiology (Season 2 Episode 6)
    • Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps (Season 3 Episode 5)
    • Paranormal Parentage (Season 4 Episode 2)
  • The Office
    • Halloween (Season 2, Episode 5)
    • Employee Transfer (Season 5, Episode 6)
    • Koi Pond (Season 6, Episode 8)
    • Costume Contest (Season 7, Episode 6)
    • Spooked (Season 8, Episode 5)
    • Here Comes Treble (Season 9, Episode 5)
  • South Park
    • Pinkeye (Season 1, Episode 7)
    • Spookyfish (Season 2, Episode 15)
    • Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery (Season 3, Episode 10)
    • Hell on Earth 2006 (Season 10, Episode 11)
    • A Nightmare on Face Time (Season 16, Episode 12)
    • Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers (Season 17, Episode 4)
    • Sons a Witches (Season 21, Episode 6)

There are, of course, many more episodes out there. Share your favorites in the comments!

Evil Food from Non-horror Media

So, we all know the horror food in movie classics like The Stuff and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, but here are some evil foods you might have missed because they are hidden in non-horror media.

 

  1. Boyfriend School aka Don’t Tell Her it’s Me

This silly 1990 romantic comedy starring Steve Gutenberg and Jami Gertz (Star from Lost Boys) is fun and quirky. Centered around Steve trying to get Jami to go out with him, his over-the-top sister played by Shelly Long, tries to help. At the first blind date dinner, Shelly’s husband makes Jellyfish Salad. Through Jami’s eyes, Steve looks like a bloated whale and the Jellyfish Salad looks to be alive. There’s not a clip of the Jellyfish Salad online, but the movie is worth the watch if you like quirky, oddball comedies with weird, insane characters. I especially like Shelly’s husband who is so socially awkward, it’s agonizing watching him. Also, Steve trying to pretend he’s a rugged New Zealander is pretty funny too.

 

2. Better Off Dead, a 1980s teen comedy starring John Cusak. After his girlfriend leaves him for Mr. Popular, he becomes obsessed with killing himself. This is not a horror movie, but the dark comedy might appeal to you. In the movie, they spoof Frankenstein by making a burger come alive who lip-syncs to Van Halen’s “Everybody Wants Some.”

Dead Burger – Clip

You can also watch the full movie which includes an odd scene where his mom makes some sort of green goop that crawls off the plate at about 18:08

 

3. Fraggle Rock

So this next one, you may not find scary at all, but when I was a pre-teen, The Trash Heap on Fraggle Rock is one of those strange things that creeped me out. The fact that trash could come alive and talk with me might have inspired my OCD to bloom into trash phobia.

 

4. Spaceballs

Pizza da Hut might be the grossest character ever. I can’t even watch the cheese dripping like snot all over him without my stomach turning.

 

5. Red Dwarf

There are many different monsters who want to kill the cast of Red Dwarf, including a vindaloo beast that Lister ultimately kills with a can of lager. The funniest evil food clip belongs to the polymorph that turns into a shami kabab and tries to kill Lister with shrinking underpants.

Do you have an “evil food” that has shown up in a non-horror show or movie? We’d love to hear about it.

HorrorAddicts.net 129, JH Moncrieff

HA tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 129
SEASON 11

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

————————

jh moncrieff | friday the 13th series season 1 | vampire tv songs

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

Horror Addicts Episode# 129
SEASON 11

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

————————

jh moncrieff | friday the 13th series season 1 | vampire tv songs

http://traffic.libsyn.com/horroraddicts/HorrorAddicts129.mp3

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

113 days till halloween

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Valentine Wolfe Vid:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzGVDwZjAEM

Once Upon a Scream- special edition pack

https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/once-upon-a-scream-special-edition-pack/

“Broken Pieces” by Valentine Wolfe

http://valentinewolfe.bandcamp.com/track/broken-pieces

HorrorAddicts.net blog Kindle syndicated

http://www.amazon.com/HorrorAddicts-net/dp/B004IEA48W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431022701&sr=8-1&keywords=horroraddicts.net

 

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Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

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Emerian Rich

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David Watson, Stacy Rich, Dan Shaurette, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, A.D. Vick, Lisa Vasquez

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BayCon Horror Buzz – What’s Hot, What’s Not

The BayCon Horror panel was awesome! Nice seeing all of you and chatting with authors Laurel Anne Hill and J. Malcolm Stewart! I always enjoy taking notes on what we talk about and letting your feedback steer our show and feedback topics.

ha panel

 

For all of you who couldn’t make it, you might be wondering what the horror buzz is. Here is a list of what the panelist and audience talked about. Do you agree with the list? Would you like to add anything?

KEY:
+ means the majority liked it
– means the majority didn’t like it
? means none of us have seen it or have an opinion one way or another, or that it was a such a quick mention, we didn’t have time to discuss it.

Movies

+The Purge

+Oculus

+The Conjuring

+Devil

+V/H/S

+V/H/S 2

+Beneath

+Pig Hunt

+Troll Hunter

? Insidious

? Insidious 2

-Godzilla w/Brodrick

Books

+Jeffery Ford / Crackpot Palace

+The Orphans of the Creek / Richard S. Todd

+Stephen King / Full Dark No Stars

+Peter Straub / Shadowland & Ghost Story

+Seanan McQuire / Zombie trilogy

+Wrath James Waite / Voracious

+Peter Stenson / Fiend

+Kim Newman / Anno Dracula – Johnny Alucard

TV

+Penny Dreadful

+Dracula

+Hannibal

+Fargo

-Bitten

-Bates Motel

-Witches of East End

?Rosemary’s Baby

?American Horror Story

?Witches of Eastwick series

Coming up – we are excited about

? The Purge 2

? Omen Series

? Insidious 3

? Phantasm 5

? Conjuring 2

? Paranormal Activity 4

? found footage Friday the 13th

? new Poltergiest

Want a remake

Motel Hell

The Car

Terror Train

Mothra

Wish they weren’t gone – must watch

Hammer films

1951 The Thing

Full Moon – Subspecies, Vampire Journals

 

So, online crew, what are your thoughts?

Kbatz: Buffy Season 1

Buffy Season 1 Imperfect, but Lays the Foundation Nicely

By Kristin Battestella

buff1It’s been a long time since I’ve watched Season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  When the series first premiered in 1997, I didn’t care for this season and only returned to the beginning after seeing Seasons Three and Four in syndication.  Though short and imperfect with typical storylines and high school clichés, Season 1 establishes the mythos of the Buffyverse in fine form.

After burning down her previous high school’s gym, Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her divorced mother Joyce (Kristine Sutherland, Honey I Shrunk the Kids) look for a fresh start in Sunnydale.  Buffy’s past rubs her new teachers and the suspicious Principal Snyder (Armin Shimerman, Deep Space Nine) the wrong way, but she quickly makes friends with goofy Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon) and nerdy Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan).  Bitchy Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) warns Buffy these friendships are popularity suicide-but Buffy has bigger problems than cheerleading and boys like the older, mysterious Angel (David Boreanaz). She’s the Vampire Slayer; the chosen warrior against vampires, demons, evils, and whatever else comes out of the Hellmouth underneath the not so sunny Sunnydale.  Despite her reluctance, watcher and school librarian Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) never lets Buffy forget her true calling against the local demons-including an ancient, ugly and power vampire called The Master (Mark Metcalf, Animal House).

Not many in today’s Hollywood would be able to reclaim their ideas after the lackluster comedy performance of the 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer starring Kristy Swanson (Early Edition, Skating with Celebrities) in the titular role.  Joss Whedon (Firefly, Dollhouse) however, has done it. Whedon’s direction, writing, and storylines are allowed their proper expression in the less constrained television format; and his attention to character, detail, and wit shines through Season 1’s introductory growing pains.  The series’ universe, vampire mythos, and foundation are laid early, and the seeds of returning players and events are established here.  Some of the storylines are indeed a little juvenile or too obviously teen metaphors, such as Episode 3 ‘Witch’ or Number 5 ‘Never Kill a Boy on the First Date’.  However, spooky twists and mystery, reversals of typical horror stereotypes, and good old vampire fun go a long way in these episodes –as well as the opening and closing battles against the Master in ‘Welcome to the Hellmouth’, ‘The Harvest’, and ‘Prophecy Girl’.

It may seem strange to say, but there isn’t really a perfect standout episode here in Season 1.  Some are better than others are; but it’s all just neat, cool, or somewhat entertaining.  Unlike subsequent seasons, nothing here leaves you thinking, ‘this is a damn fine show’.  Perhaps this is due to the mid-season replacement-styled limit of 12 episodes and their relatively uncomplex or straightforwardness- again unlike later interweaved and full length story arcs.  However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Buffy tests the waters with familiar, relatable storylines and kooky fun, attracting commitment-free viewers.  If you miss one of these shows, it’s no big deal. The introductory narration before each episode gets you up to speed, for onscreen time is better spent on character development here.  Even if you think a particular episode is sub par, the cast is fun, fresh, and likeable enough to bring you back to Buffy.

buff1buffSarah Michelle Gellar (I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Grudge, Scooby Doo) takes the eponymous Buffy and makes the character her own.  We like the Slayer-because of and also despite her superhero strength and blonde good looks. Gellar keeps Buffy light hearted, witty, and endearing in the face of some potentially preposterous evils.  She has her troubles with boys and grades thanks to her calling-but she isn’t afraid to hug with her mom if need be. We believe Buffy could be the awkward new girl in town, just as we relate to geeky Willow and goofy Xander.  Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother, Veronica Mars, American Pie) starts out more nerdy before being toned down a bit, but her charm and innocence wins out against the stereotypes.  Nicholas Brendon (Kitchen Confidential, Criminal Minds) also perfectly represents that awkward teenage boy phase between keeping girls as his best friends and liking the new Slayer at school.  The core dynamics between this leading trio holds fast here and lasts through the rest of the series. It’s also nice to see fine supporting players here at the gate that go on to later prominence on Buffy– including Julie Benz (Dexter) as vampire Darla, Mercedes McNab (Addams Family Values) as snotty blonde Harmony, and Elizabeth Anne Allen (Bull) as future naughty witch Amy. And wow, does everyone look so young or what?

Pre-Twilight lovers of vampire romance and ‘vamp with a soul’ Angel fans will notice David Boreanaz (Bones, Valentine) isn’t the spin off star just yet in Buffy’s first season.  Not listed in the regular credits, Boreanaz makes the most of his selective appearances as the brooding and mysterious vampire Angel-and the bulk of this comes in his titular Episode 7.  Personally, I have never cared for Buffy and Angel’s budding and tragic romance-it’s just a little too sappy and pedophile-ish this season. Thankfully, the relationship really heats up-for better and for worse- in Year 2.  Likewise, Charisma Carpenter (also later of the Angel spin off and Veronica Mars) doesn’t appear as much as the other billed cast members this go around.  It’s understandable that there isn’t always room for the snobby girl to scream, but it gives the impression that’s all there is to Cordelia-something we would later find out isn’t always the case. Her eye candy style and snotty dialogue are great fun, and her supporting antagonism creates great quips for the rest of the ‘Scooby Gang’- especially in Episode 11, ‘Out of Mind, Out of Sight’.  Anthony Stewart Head (Merlin, Little Britain) is also wonderful as the mature figure of the group.  The chemistry between Head and his charges is, in many ways, what makes Buffy, well, Buffy. His upper crust Brit attitude is tough when needed but not above a touch of sardonic wit and slapstick humor.  Giles’ opposites-attract bumbling with computer sciences teacher Jenny Calendar (Robia LaMorte) in ‘I Robot, You Jane’ is also delightful and will lead to major events next season.

Ironically, some of the things that made Buffy such a hit in its day have dated some of these earlier episodes.  Not all the mid nineties music featured prominently through the onscreen guest bands has stood the decade, nor has the then-in fashions and ‘Rachel’ haircuts.  Yes, this was a fictional representation of a hip-and richy thanks to Cordelia- California high school; but my goodness, I can’t believe young girls actually dressed like that back then!  Did we really wear such short skirts with knee-high socks, mini backpacks, and tiny tank tops?  The costumes make me think of two things: Clueless and jailbait. Some of Buffy’s tight plaid pants are seriously laughable through modern eyes,  as are some of the obvious school facades that we’ve seen in every nineties high school show- from Beverly Hills 90210 (the first one, folks!) to She’s All That.  Though many ‘Whedonisms’ are now part of our cultural lexicon, some of the colloquial slang and slightly Valley speech might actually make Season 1 tough to understand for the uninitiated.  The vampire dusting effects and facial makeup are neat, but some of the graphics and featured creatures might make a CGI spoiled viewer cringe, too. Overall, the production seems a little small and poorly lit-understandable, of course, but noticeable compared to the colorful and stylized later seasons.  Do these factors deter from repeat viewings and promise for next season and beyond? Absolutely not. 

Thankfully, all seven seasons of Buffy are available online at sites like Hulu and are available for rent or streaming at Netflix.  Reruns can also be found on Logo and occasionally MTV-but beware the usual cuts for those precious commercials.  It’s also frustrating that the credits are rolled over the final scene on Logo-no nothing critical is going to happen, no not at all. Fortunately, used DVD sets of Season 1 can be found fairly cheap.  However, do your research before deciding to purchase- as the original DVD sets, slim releases, and the complete series box sets do not always have all the same features, Easter eggs, and bonuses.  Subtitles, fortunately, go a long way in confirming spoken layers and those aforementioned Whedonisms.  (I’m sorry, but I have to say, ‘You want to come with?’ annoys me to know end!  Just say the ‘me’, please?)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 suffers from its share of introductory season syndrome, yes.  However, the cast gems and the series mythology are firmly established here.  New fans can certainly begin at the beginning, and old fans feeling nostalgic can go back and enjoy.  Obviously, this season is the youngest in tone, so tweens or younger viewers growing out of Twilight and the like can relate here at Buffy’s debut-there are no potentially scary, inappropriate, or super dark and mature themes yet.  Go back to high school with Season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer any time of year.

HorrorAddicts.net 089, Julianne Snow

Horror Addicts Episode# 089

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Cancer Killing Gemini

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julianne snow | the raven | edgar allan poe

http://traffic.libsyn.com/horroraddicts/HorrorAddicts089.mp3

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

| dan – raven medley | mimi – fashion | band poll |

| after the fire | raven quiz | horrific history |

| the raven live baycon | free fiction friday – matters of blood |

| david – books | black magic | kbatz – cat people |

| cassandra curtis – ghosts | kbatz- gothic tea society |

| marc – events | saph – julianne snow | mental ward |

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BayCon 2013 Raven voice work:
Marc Stephenson, Davey Mollander,

Lynette Raygoza, Cathy Raygoza,

Heather Stephenson, H. E. Roulo

& Emerian Rich

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h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

Sapphire Neal, David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz, Mimi

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

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m u s i c

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