Written by John Edward Betancourt

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It's funny how much the world changes the more we grow up. As children we fear the darkness and perhaps the horrible things that wait for us within it. In fact there are few of us out there that didn't believe at some point or another that there were monsters moving about in the shadows of our room. 

Of course we eventually figured out that the only thing waiting for us in the darkness was the perils of our imagination, and as the years went by we learned that while monsters in the dark simply do not exist, they most certainly do in our everyday lives, they just turned out to be human beings. And when it comes to the Tales from the Darkside episode "Monsters in My Room", both imaginary monsters and real life ones come together in one of the finest episodes of the series I've seen so far. 

Life has changed for young Timmy. His mother has remarried a man named Biff and well, the two of them are oil and water. Timmy loves quiet time, and science and stuffed animals. While Biff believes a boy must prepare day and night to become a man and that sports and bravery should be the focus in Timmy's life. It leads to conflict between mother and step father and while they battle it out, Timmy is fighting a battle of his own, for within the darkness of the night his bedroom is filled with actual monsters and now Timmy must battle the horrors waiting for him in the shadows, and the horrors of the man beyond his bedroom doors as Biff opens up yet another beer, and another level of his anger. But the good news for Timmy is that this experience will strengthen him in ways he could never imagine...plus evil knows evil and sometimes it deals with its own...

So as I mentioned before this is one incredible episode. In many ways this is a coming of age story, that just happens to have horrific monsters in it as well. We get it all in this tale. Gentle family moments between Timmy and his mom, terrifying moments that take us back to childhood with the monsters that live in Timmy's room and one incredible villain in Biff who is one drunk loser and the kind of guy that makes you wonder exactly how he managed to woo Timmy's mom considering that he no doubt smells like stale beer night and day.  

But when we combine all those elements together we get a complete journey. We watch young Timmy grow up quickly when he stands up to the monsters that torment him. Not only does he confront the ones in his room but the jackass chugging beer on the couch. Plus, I loved the return of the "man is the monster" theme that has always served this series well. But the best twist I've seen in a while arrives in the ending when evil deals with Biff in fine fashion. This really was an episode that unexpectedly sucked me in, all because of one quality story that managed to chill and entertain. Until next time.

 
 

Written by Scotty

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There are few things in life that really frighten me.  Nuclear Winter, Spiders, Quicksand, Zombies, Being Buried Alive, Not Being Tall and Plantar Fasciitis. That is pretty much it and three of those can be crossed off of the list because I have no control over them, you be the judge on that.  But ghosts and haunted houses has never made the list since I have always wanted to see and or feel something from a different realm and hope at some point it will happen.  I have never hidden my feelings on seeing ghosts and how I would react when I see one (running away and screaming…probably) but it would be nice to be able to know what happens after my human body no longer walks among the living.

Frederick Loren is looking to throw a party, one of the ages for his wife Annabelle.  Although none of the planning falls on her, the guests are driven up to their party central for the night, the House on Haunted Hill.  With five strangers arriving at the house, the current owner of the property has come as well and knowing what torments the house has in store for the evening, he would much rather be on his way than stay there on more night.  But Mr. Loren has a special incentive to keep everyone in the house for the night, $10,000 for everyone that makes it through the night…alive.

As the guests enter the house, they all notice how creepy it is and as they venture further into the depths, they start to understand why the owner wants nothing to do with it.  Being given a tour by Watson Pritchard, the home owner, the group is told the unknown history about what the home is really about…death.  After one guest is privy to a little blood on the hand, the group is taken down to the wine cellar and finds out that the wine hold is actually filled with acid.  Hearing the story about the last husband and wife that lived at the property, the group wants nothing to do with this room, but young Nora and Lance stick around to discuss why they are willing to stay in the house anyway.  The money is too enticing and neither can pass it up, but when the lights go down in the cellar, Nora is left on her own and a ghostly figure comes in and out of the room. 

Being frightened beyond anything she has ever seen, Nora gives her report to the others in the house, but everyone believes that she is crazy.  Not listening to her, Nora goes back up to her room to find a disembodied head has found its way into her suitcase, but when the group is ready to inspect her claims, it has vanished.  With nobody believing anything that she has seen, the house owner believes that she has been targeted by the house and will be its next victim, but what he does not know is the feud that has been going on between Mr. and Mrs. Loren.  Finding Mrs. Loren hanging by her neck over the stairway, everyone is left aghast and a killer has to be on the loose in the house.  Looking for someone else in the house, no one is found and needing to find a way to survive until the morning is their next and only priority.  Without knowing what they are up against, the house's history speaks for itself and everyone will need to find a way to cope with their deepest and darkest fears.

Classic, I don’t think I could say anything other than that about this movie.  If anyone is trying to make a horror movie today, they should reference this one to find out how to make it really work.  Without the blood and guts that you are accustomed to, to provide our conventional scares, you are left with a storyline that will keep you guessing who the killer is until the very end.  The actors are just fantastic in this movie and if you have not seen them and are a fan of horror movies, you really need to check it out.  Minimal effects and a couple good screams, you will be left wondering what the house has in store for its next guests.  Stay Scared!

 
 

Written by John Edward Betancourt

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It's funny how sometimes the things we wanted so desperately as a child, manage to translate into our adult life. Take for example the desire we had when we were young to control the world around us with mere thought. We were all in love with the concept of controlling reality on a whim when things weren't quite going our way or if we had a few minutes to daydream.

It's an idea that never left us really, and while it often manages to evolve to accommodate our adult needs, we are still in love with the concept of being able to let our imagination come to life and change the world around us. But what would the world look like if we could actually pull that off? If a thought could change everything in our life? It's a concept that is explored...with dire consequences in the Tales from the Darkside episode "Effect and Cause".

Kate Collins is an artist still looking for inspiration for her work. She isn't happy with her current pieces and at the urging of a friend she decides it is time to paint over her old canvases and start over fresh. Worried that it may bring her bad karma, it turns out she may be right when something incredibly strange happens. Suddenly, an ambulance shows up at her door, with paramedics looking for someone who fell down the stairs, mere seconds before Kate falls down the stairs. Upon returning from the hospital, the strangeness continues, and Kate suddenly comes to realize, the house is allowing her to change reality and mold it whenever she pleases. But before she can understand and grasp all the power the house has to offer, it turns out her imagination has given life to something else as well...something far more nefarious than she ever expected, putting her in grave danger...

This episode turned out to be a lot of fun for one particular reason, the fact that the story and Kate's power if you will, evolved moment by moment. We are for all intents and purposes as lost and confused about the house and the fact it is this strange conduit of imagination as she is. We don't understand quite how this power she is given ever came to be or why she is bestowed this honor and we certainly don't understand how powerful it truly is until those final moments when we discover the fact that her worry about bad karma has come to life as well, by way of the scary painting she made ages ago. 

It's hard to quantify this episode as true horror, simply because of the fact there is no monster running around or supernatural force at work here...unless Kate deems it to exist. Perhaps in a weird way Kate is the monster and the horror element here since she is a person now gifted with a power she doesn't really understand and whatever forces at work here in the background recognize that and punish her for it. Either way, the irony here is that the power we so craved as a child, turned out to be pretty mundane when you look at what Kate does with it, but this is an episode that leaves you with more questions than answers and I'm wondering if I need to watch it again to look for clues. Until next time. 

 
 

Written by Scotty

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There are sometimes in life when you think you know somebody, but they turn out to be the complete opposite of who you thought they were.  For the most part, this does not make that person a bad person, you just did not know them as well as you thought you did.  It is always good to take note of the different things that your friends say and do, so if they do start to change, you will not be surprised to see who or what they become. 

Sarah and Mark are going on a little trip through the Irish countryside.  After Mark has just gotten a new haircut, Sarah does not approve since it is much too short for her liking.  Mark tries to take the focus off of him and changes the conversation to marriage and why anyone would be willing to legally bind themselves to someone else.  This takes Sarah by surprise and she tries to defend it, but Mark is stuck in his ways of thinking and no matter what she says, she will not be able to change his mind.  The banter continues in the car while Sarah gets an update on her phone saying that they have made a wrong turn and need to turn around.  But before the couple can get an accurate reading of where they are at, they get stuck in a large puddle and need to find a way to get the car unstuck.

With their conventional attempts of moving the car not working, Mark decides to go and try to find some help.  Telling Sarah to wait by the car, he huffs it through the countryside and finds a house, but nobody seems to be home.  Searching the house for the owner, Mark is surprised to see an injured man in the doorway.  Trying to help the man, assuming it is the owner, Mark sees that his neck is bleeding and runs back to the car to get Sarah to help him out.  But when the couple arrives at the house, the man is gone and all of the lights have been knocked out.  Searching through the house again, the find that the man is afraid of light and when Mark’s flashlight goes dark, the man attacks him.  Hitting him with the light from her cell phone, Sarah is able to scare the man away and the two decide that the house may not be the safest place to stay.

Trying to get back to the car, Sarah is convinced that they are going the wrong way.  When Mark tries to explain where they are he is grabbed from behind by something and pulled into the marsh. After Sarah is able to break him free of whatever was attacking him, she sees that his leg has been ripped to shreds and she needs to get him back to the house to try and cover up his wounds.  As Sarah looks out the window, she sees that there is another man lurking around the outside of the house. Knowing that these people are frightened by light, she stocks up on any kind of light she can find.  Trying to keep Mark safe from the hunters outside the house, Sarah finds out that he is becoming one of them as well.  Being left on her own, Sarah has to find a way to make it through the night before one of these beasts gets to her first.

This started off as just your normal vampire movie, but then it changed up the genre a little bit.  I have never seen a vampire shy away from a flashlight before and when one is hit by the florescent light straight on, you can understand why.  Interesting would be the word for it, it was not great, but it was not bad either, just interesting.  I liked how the shadows were utilized to the fullest effect to keep the vampires hidden until they were ready to be seen.  I think the story ran a little bit long, but the payoff at the end of the movie is worth it since you do have a solid ending to the story and are not left wondering what happened.  Stay Scared.

 
 

Written by John Edward Betancourt

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At some point or another in our lives we have encountered the wonder of a child's imagination. Be it an imaginary friend or simply a toy that they happen to carry around we can sit back and watch their mind go to work and bring either of those things to life right before our eyes. It's really quite something to see and we often encourage it because well, kids will be kids. 

But there are those who worry that perhaps allowing their child's mind to run free like that can be unhealthy for them. That imagination needs to be reeled in here and there to ensure that their son or daughter keeps some of their mind grounded in reality, after all some children can take it too far and blame mischief on their imagination or perhaps the toy or fake friend they so cherish. But sometimes, when it comes to those shadowy places in the world that we avoid, there is a reason a child blames strange happenings on something else...because magic and evil are at work there as was the case in the Tales from the Darkside episode "Ursa Minor". 

Richard and Joan are doing their best to get by. Joan happens to be the voice of reason in their family and while she loves Richard she knows he is struggling to put food on the table and provide for his family and the fact he loves to get drunk often only complicates matters. But despite their issues they are always able to put them aside for their daughter Susie and on her birthday she is presented with a lovely gift from mom and dad, a plush teddy bear that she aptly names "Teddy". The two quickly become inseparable and it doesn't take long for Susie to blame any shenanigans in the house on Teddy. But as Susie's behavior, which always happens to involve Teddy, becomes more strange and erratic, Joan begins to wonder, is it really her daughter's imagination gone wild...or is there more to Teddy than meets the eye...

This episode turned out to be one pleasant little surprise. For one, it gets major kudos from me for turning a teddy bear into one terrifying little monster since Teddy is one genuinely creepy little bear, and the episode is just as creepy as he is. Everything that relates to that little bear, from his subtle growl to the glowing red eyes simply works and I love all the eerie little things that show up around the house because of his actions and while that ending kind of comes out of left field, it works because you're taken off guard completely.

Actually, the more I think about this episode, the more I like it because I think the best way to describe it is that it plays out like a nightmare. It's lucid every step of the way. In fact there are gaps when it comes to Teddy's past, exactly how Richard managed to acquire him and exactly what kind of evil magic Teddy relates to and it allows us to wonder that maybe, just maybe this episode plays out in one of the character's heads as they sleep away. I could be wrong, but with all the crazy things that go down, and the sudden and quick fade to black for that ending, it really does make you wonder whether or not it happened to be a dream and the fact that it leaves you guessing speaks to how well this episode turned out in the end. Until next time. 

 
 

Written by John Edward Betancourt

THIS IS THE EMERGENCY SPOILER ALERT SYSTEM...YOU ARE ADVISED TO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK...

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You can feel it now when it comes to Fear the Walking Dead. The foreboding sense of doom that hangs over every second of the show. It allows for tension, it allows for terror and it leaves each and every one of us uncomfortable and unsettled by the time the end credits roll.

But the best horror out there goes beyond simple scares. It reaches us at our core, speaks to the world that we live in and makes us wince when it points out some of our flaws as a society and last night's episode of the show finally unleashed some quality social commentary, and some lovely symbolism to go with it as well. 

The symbolism we will get to in a moment, but let's start today's breakdown with a discussion on that social commentary and the fact that Fear the Walking Dead is quite in touch with the times. Obviously we have to get the easy comparison to our world out of the way since we were witness to riots revolving around a police shooting, but that scene not only served as a tie to our world, but as the pinnacle of what truly brought man to its knees when it comes to this particular apocalypse tale...it's own ignorance and pettiness. You saw it everywhere last night, people worrying only about the day to day mundane details of their lives as the threat grew.

That makes the fall of civilization we are about to witness all the more tragic. Because it's clear now that police and medical officials have an idea of what is going on, from the Hazmat suits to what the police officer that shot down another Infected was looking for in the walking corpse's demeanor that this threat could be averted or potentially fought, but the pettiness of Chris ignoring his father's calls, Alicia's distrust of her parents, the riot, it all points to one thing...if the information about what was really happening was to be shared with the public and if the people were to band together...then perhaps Rick Grimes would have awakened to a world where some weird things were going on but it was still in one piece and perhaps Travis and Madison could just go on with their lives. It's a scathing commentary on our inability to work together as a people, and that's pretty damn relevant, and it was further enhanced by the foreshadowing and powerful moments of symbolism that arrived near the end of the episode. Obviously, the lights flickering on and off, the panic, the fires, it was a clear indicator of how the dead are quietly moving in and that adds to the creepiness of all of this, but there were two visuals that stuck with me last night, or rather haunted me after the episode came to an end. 

Yes, we know how the story ends, yet you're always hoping that somehow things get better and as we get lost in this particular tale, that hope is there. A friend of mine even pointed out that I was being pretty dark in my observations about the show when we discussed it. We come to expect horror to eventually let up and bless us with a reprieve, but that won't happen here and those images of beautiful and terrifying symbolism were powerful to say the least. Madison looking at the two girls in the car with their medical masks, one with a smile painted on it, the other one with some mean looking teeth, served as a reminder that there was no joy to come in future days...and that the people of this world were all monsters waiting to come to life the moment they took their final breaths. But the most bone chilling moment in this episode, the one that stuck with me the most was Mrs. Salazar blowing out the candles, and the fact that we faded to black made it ever so chilling. That simple scene spoke to so much, the gentle act of blowing out those candles after saying her prayers while the chaos ensued was a fine reminder of the fact that faith meant nothing here. The beginning of the end has come at last and much like that flame, humanity is about to be extinguished...

 
 

Written by Daniel and John

THIS IS THE EMERGENCY SPOILER ALERT SYSTEM...YOU ARE ADVISED TO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK...

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Well...it turns out young Tobias was right, when civilization falls, it falls fast and that was never more evident than it was on last night's incredible and intense episode of Fear the Walking Dead. Everything about this episode was riveting so let's not waste any time and discuss what made "So Close, Yet So Far" so utterly amazing. 

John's Take
The Good: I remember the first time I was truly and completely terrified by a zombie story and that was my first ever viewing of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead. When the end credits faded to black I sat there with my heart racing, my stomach turned and my hands shaking. Last night's episode of Fear produced a similar result. While my hands didn't shake, my heart was pounding and dinner didn't settle in my stomach because this was a true, edge-of-your-seat episode and every single second was filled with an incredible intensity as we watched the world begin to fall to pieces.  There were riots in the streets, courtesy of misinformation when it comes to the public because no one quite understands what is happening just yet. In fact I loved that little twist in the episode as well. That the Infected are gaining a reputation that they are unhealthy and wildly violent people and the real truth, that the dead walk is still hidden except to a select few. One of which appears to be law enforcement since we were witness to an L.A.P.D. patrol officer loading up his car with plenty of water. That simple moment turned out to be a scary one and speaking of scares, let's talk about those as well.

I mean, this was horror at its absolute perfection, filled with one creepy moment after another, starting with the events at the school. I mean, if you didn't get chills hearing the principal hiss over the intercom, or feel your stomach jump into your throat when the metal detectors started going off then you have an iron constitution. But the scares didn't end there. The show has gone old school, giving us just enough walkers, or Infected to make them horrifying when they appear. Heck even the brief appearance of an Infected from a distance at the end of the episode was effective as we only heard the screams. All these elements made well...everything uncomfortable last night and it is genius to say the least and what's scarier...we're only two episodes in. 

The Bad: Outside of Tobias, every single kid in this series is a spoiled brat or an idiot. I mean really, going back to your dying boyfriend's side when you clearly saw the panic in your mother and stepfather's eyes? Or hey let's ignore my dad's phone calls even though he's calling me non stop, surely it couldn't be important. I can see these kids causing trouble as the series goes on, let's hope they get their heads on straight quick.

The Verdict: I guess the old saying, "be careful what you wish for" totally applies here because I wished for a balls to the walls no holds barred apocalypse on screen and well, I got what I wanted. This episode was simply nuts and one scary enough to hang with you long after it's over and I loved every single second of it. Oh, and I almost forgot...we are only at the beginning of the end.

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How would you handle facing the end of the world? Take it head on, bravely like a soldier marching off to war? Or run as fast and as far away as you can praying you are one of the lucky ones and get overlooked by the grim reaper? Resist what your eyes tell you and deny it until it claims you as another victim? You would like to think that you could be counted among the brave but when it comes down to the reality I think the urge to run is far too overpowering. That picture begins to be painted in last night's episode and is about as real as it gets answering all of those questions and more.

The Good: I liked the ramp up of intensity this week while still holding to the subtle build up established last week with people who just stopped showing up to work or school. Going one step further now as the Police and paramedics start stepping in and using lethal force. To the on lookers it appears to be excessive force on a homeless person causing the crowd to riot, almost taking a page out of current affairs. Clearly the authorities are working with more information as they show up in hazmat suits but in an already charged situation and tension between people and Police things fall apart quickly. I do love the fact that the family got split up, opening the possibility to bring in more characters and while Travis and his family hold up in a barber shop as the riot rages we get a full on Zombie attack at the school.

I have always thought schools were spooky after hours and this did not help with that mind set, however I was also thinking it wouldn’t be a bad place to hold up and build a stronghold. Madison had no choice but to go there to find something to help Nick with his withdrawals. The best part of this whole sequence is you psych yourself out, waiting for something to jump out or to suddenly find a few roamers and they attack. Nothing as dramatic as that, we only get one Zombie but they seem a lot tougher than what we are used to, or fire extinguisher is just not the best weapon against the walking dead. Best of all is the kid from last week who had his knife taken away, Tobias gets it back and gets an, “I told you so” moment. Of course Tobias is a fountain of information when it comes to the breakdown of society and maybe a bit of foreshadowing for the coming episodes.

The Bad: Is it moving too slow? There are only six episodes for the first season and if we stay at this pace we should have total collapse by the end of the second season. To be fair it is only day two of infection and it’s only going to get worse from here, especially when we see a police officer loading up his cruiser with water. And as much as I would like to say I have a stand out character I like at this point I don’t, maybe that’s the point all the better to get an emotional response from you when someone buys it.

The Verdict: Still loving the show, the little bits here and there for me are the best. The cop that got bit during the riot, the guy next door not feeling well, Alicia’s boyfriend bitten and ill. Just enough to keep you hooked waiting to see what happens next while your imagination goes to work on ya; it’s fantastic. 

 
 

Written by Scotty

THIS IS THE EMERGENCY SPOILER ALERT SYSTEM...YOU ARE ADVISED TO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK...

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Trust is not something that is given easily, it is something that has to be earned.  Even with close friends, you are hesitant to trust them with your deepest and darkest secrets since you do not know what they will do with the information.  But when you find out who you can trust, you divulge everything to them since they will be your closest confidant and never cross you.  It is a hard decision that you have to make to trust someone and for so many people it does not come easy, knowing that there is someone out there that is looking to hurt you.

Fet and Dutch are enjoying their time together and making the best of a terrible situation.  When Dutch gets tired of wearing the same clothes day after day, she suggests that the couple head over to her apartment and pick up more of her wardrobe.  When arriving at the apartment however, they find that the door has been bolted shut from the inside.  Fearing the worse, Fet kicks the door in to find out who the intruder is, but is shocked to find that Nikki, Dutch’s girlfriend is hiding in fear.  Dutch is taken back and wants to go back to the old ways to ensure Nikki’s sanity, but Fet is not too keen on just sticking around.  With no important questions being asked about why she has not contacted anybody, he knows that he will be shelved as his role has been replaced by an old flame.

Eph has made it back to New York with a bullet hole in his shoulder and is ready to come back home, but thinks twice about it when he scopes the bar across the street.  Pounding down shot after shot, he finally arrives at the apartment only to see that the group has grown by another person.  Wanting to talk to Zach and Nora, Dutch suggests that he sleep it off before he says something stupid.  Waking up with Nora patching him up, Eph hears that Kelly has made another attempt on getting Zach and she was close to getting him this time.  Knowing that his bioweapon is not going to be produced, Eph is out of ideas, but finding out that Stoneheart was behind the hit on him, he has come up with a new target.

Eldritch Palmer is getting bored in his building and wants to get out.  Convincing his new assistant Coco to go along for a ride, the two are starting to truly bond.  Even when Coco asks him about the news that was delivered about Ephraim Goodweather, Palmer keeps his cool and tells her everything that she will be able to read in the newspaper.  But Palmer’s plans run deeper than he will allow Coco to understand, but the young woman is getting closer than any woman has ever been to the old man.  Wanting to find out more about Palmer, Coco takes him up to his room and even though he does not believe that he can please her, Coco has her mind set on making him feel young again. 

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Heading to a Stoneheart warehouse, Abraham and Fet have stumbled on to something that they did not expect to find, a breeding ground.  While inspecting the worm pit where the feelers were conceived, the two are attacked by the fast little vampires, until they see a stranger arrive at the door.  The Ancient’s new hunter, Mr. Quinlan looks over the area and is able to destroy the feeler threat unlike anyone has been able to do.  Knowing Abraham’s story, Quinlan wants to know how a mere mortal was able to hurt the Master.  Before the story can even be started, Quinlan senses the Master’s presence in the building and continues on with his hunt.  Finding the Master in his new body, Quinlan is ready to attack and complete his lifelong mission, but Fet is taking matters into his own hands by setting up explosives to take down the building.  Before the battle is able to commence, the ceiling drops separating the two vampires and the fight will be held off until another day.

This episode gave you a good look into the Ancient’s new hunter Quinlan’s past.  Seeing him on the gladiator stage killing a man twice his size with ease, Quinlan is said to be a half breed of man and demon.  The only reason he says in the city is to find out more about the humans and their tendencies.  Although the killing does not please him, he has made a name for himself and could never be defeated.  Keeping his skills sharp while hunting for the Master, many years later he is shown approaching a town that is being deserted.  As tales have traveled about a giant living in the castle who only comes out at night and attacks the towns’ people, he knows it is the Master, but he has shown up too late.  Now with his travels bringing him overseas to America, Quinlan is ready to end this chapter in his life and put an end to the Master once and for all.   He will need help, but right now with the Master getting away, he will not allow Abraham or Fet to further assist in the hunt.

I really liked how this episode brought some storylines together.  With Dutch finding her past love Nikki alive and well, the emotions that Fet has to deal with will change him going forward.  Even after having a drink with Eph, he might continue his quest to be happy with Dutch, but at this point, he is defeated and cares little about what is happening.  Young Zach is starting to bond more with the group and I don’t think we are getting to see it all.  With Abraham telling him all kinds of facts without Eph knowing about it, Zach seems to be curled up at the old professor’s feet looking for a bedtime story.  Palmer is starting to get some play, which is good since he has been near death his entire life, but what is Coco really looking for out of the relationship?  It will be interesting to see what comes out in the next episode since we know that Eph has put a target on Palmer’s chest for killing his friends in Washington, but producing the bioweapon should be his first priority since it is easier to kill a man than a vampire.  Stay Scared!

 
 

Written by Mattie

THIS IS THE EMERGENCY SPOILER ALERT SYSTEM...YOU ARE ADVISED TO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK...

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Mattie's Take
Last week, Fear the Walking Dead premiered on AMC leading us into a six week mini series before we start the 6th season of the Walking Dead.

So far, we have met the people this story follows. Two teachers, Madison and her new husband Travis. The only thing that tries to come in between them are Madison’s children, Nick and Alicia. Alicia is practically perfect in every way while Nick is a drug addicted, entitled little idiot. Though things change for Nick when after a score, he wakes up to find his druggie friend, Gloria eating some other addicts in a drug house. She probably overdosed. It freaks him out so bad that he runs into traffic and gets hit by a car. That’s when mommy and step-daddy try to intervene and attempt to convince him to get to rehab while he’s restrained at the hospital. He however was more freaked out about what he saw then them trying to get him clean and he ends up escaping the hospital. He figures that he is crazy or his dealer gave him some bad drugs.

Yet, when Madison and Travis go out to look for Nick, they start to realize that the world around them is slowly starting to change. Everyone and their mother are coming down with the flu, and there is a strange video posted online of an accident victim coming back to life and eating his paramedic. It finally takes a headshot for the accident victim to finally be put down. They both however try to pass it off as something that really didn’t happen. Nick however goes to his drug dealer asking him if he had been given bad product. Little did Nick know that his parents went to Calvin, asking if he had seen Nick since Nick had mentioned him as a friend in the past. Calvin, not wanting anyone to know what he does for a living, took Nick to a secluded part of town telling him he was going to get him a fix, yet he had other plans for Nick.

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Thankfully for Nick, he realized this before Calvin could kill him and the gun Calvin had went off as they fought for it, taking out Calvin instead. Nick freaked out and ended up calling his mommy and step daddy to save the day. However, when they got to the spot where the incident happened, Calvin wasn’t there. When leaving through a tunnel in Travis’ truck, they found Calvin. Since this is a reality where they haven’t fantasized about the living dead, Travis and Madison decide that they would go to see if they could help the blood drenched, sunken in eyes, limping with no emotion Calvin against Nick’s druggie brain better judgment.

Luckily when dead Calvin tried to bite Madison, Nick used Travis’ car as a weapon and protected his mom. But Calvin was still moving, even thought he seemed to have every bone broken in his body and they didn’t know what was going on.  Well evidently, that flu…that’s what’s going on. Everyone is affected by it and they all will eventually be turned into the walking dead. However, being at the beginning stages of this, no one will put two and two together. No one can say anything over the news media or it will create mass hysteria. I liked how at the beginning of this episode, it was showing a plane flying in the sky and people living out their daily lives. No one knew what was going on, except for Tobias. Tobias knew. Why didn’t we trust Tobias? We all know where this will lead, but how did civilization fall this quickly?

Shae's Take
Last week, Fear the Walking Dead gave us all a taste of the show we have missed for months, only with a bit more than we could bite off. Instead of our zombie infested world, our characters live in the now, or rather, then. Before Walkers took over, everything was just fine. We got a glimpse of that in season one, but it wasn't until our prequel spin off that we truly get to see what's happening.  Instead of Georgia, our new team is living in LA. Seems like the perfect place for all out hell to break loose! And it does. A young man is the first character we meet that's introduced to the walking dead. There's just one huge problem, he's a heroin addict. His family is desperately trying to help him, even his step dad wants to prove that what he saw wasn't a hallucination. The sad part, however, is it wasn't. People are coming back from the dead and eating people. But even Nick is convinced his last dose of drugs was laced with something.

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How would we all handle a world where people came back from the dead and stared eating other people? In our present lives zombie lore is something we just grow up with. Yet, in our Walking Dead world these stories are never heard of. The world as they know it doesn't know monster stories like these, which is their reality. So what's that to say about the Walking Dead verse? They're totally unprepared for what is about to happen. Fear shows us the before, and the happening, that leads to the series we love so much. Admittedly, the decline of society is terrifying in ways we don't really think of. Last week we got a taste of what was happening. Just a small glimpse. To see the Walkers not completely decayed and gross is a shock. Is there such a thing as a fresh Walker? Yea, oddly, there is.

I was impressed with the normalcy the show put off. It's that eerie build up that has a lot of us gearing up go be terrified. In a way, the first episode is terrifying. This normal day to day life is about to be crushed violently by a harsh zombie truth. Modern society has a limited number of days, and let's face it. We know where we all end up. Knowing and seeing are two different things, however, the rapid downhill fall is going to happen faster than we want it to. And the world is going to end. The luxuries of not being overrun by the Dead are a memory of the last for us, but our characters haven't a clue as to what's about to happen. That is easily the scariest part of all.... episode two airs in just a few hours, and I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I'm nervously excited to see how far we'll fall tonight.

 
 

Written by John Edward Betancourt

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Sometimes in life we happen to have the best of intentions, but find ourselves completely out of our league and in way over our heads. We've all been there, stepping in and trying to do something that we know nothing about and often times the result of our attempts to help when we haven't a clue can be disastrous. 

Of course when we are the outside observers to those types of disasters we often wonder exactly what the hell motivated someone to step in and fail like that and the answers will always vary. Perhaps they wanted to play the hero. Perhaps they simply wanted to do something good in this life or in the case of the Tales from the Darkside episode "The Trouble with Mary Jane", they're in it for the money.

Nora and Jack Mills have made a pretty decent living as a pair of Occult enthusiasts. They specialize in Tarot Card readings and the like but a grand opportunity has fallen into their lap. The Nugent family has a problem, as since Grandma Nugent's grand daughter, Mary Jane has found herself possessed by a soul eating demon that identifies herself as Aisha Candisha. Desperate to see her grand baby return to normal Mrs. Nugent has offered $50,000 to Nora and Jack to exorcize the demon, and while they have both said yes to the cash and the exorcism, the two of them will quickly learn that they have no business dealing in such matters and that they are way in over their heads. 

I have to say I enjoyed the mix of black humor and horror in this episode, one that features comedy legend Phyllis Diller as Nora Mills. She adds the right kind of levity and dead pan delivery needed for this story since Jack Mills is nothing short of a greedy idiot. I mean truly, the guy has no clue what he is doing as he moves from concept to concept and spell to spell to make that fifty grand and it's hilarious to watch this couple fail time and time again and make matters worse when they manage to not only summon an elder demon, but project it into the body of Mary Jane as well, doubling the evil within her.

If anything this is a lovely little tale about the dangers of greed because hey, that's the only driving force for the Mills. They don't care about Mary Jane, they certainly don't care if they're successful or not, it's just about the money and that's what makes the ending of this particular episode so completely satisfying when these two morons get exactly what they deserve. I guess the irony in those final moments of the show is the old saying of be careful what you wish for, since the Mills (SPOILER) find themselves possessed by the demons they tried to expunge. I guess in the end these two wannabe experts in the occult finally get the expertise they so desire up close and personal, and we the audience get a fine episode from this wonderful show. Until next time.