The demons are back. Sorta. Jim and Brannyk do a deep dive (no pun) on Cruel Jaws, whilst Jim tackles Blood Fest a movie he loves so much he definitely remembers watching it, and Brannyk takes on Terror–a movie so generic of title, we dare you to figure out of which movie with that name we speak.
All this and more on the next Streamin’ Demons.
If you would like to buy any of these movies, well, we’d be damn surprised so we’re skipping links this week.
Movies n TV
A Murder of Woes
There’s an old saying by Mickey Spillane about writing a novel. The first chapter sells the novel. The last chapter sells its sequel. If we look at the first season of Wednesday as a novel, then the first chapter didn’t do its job very well. It wasn’t really until the third episode that the series took off.
Now we’ve reached the last episode. Did it do its job? Did it sell the sequel? Let’s find out.
We start this episode with Wednesday and the Nightshades catching Tyler and trying to prove that he’s the Hyde. Wednesday goes overboard and ends up getting expelled. Since Galpin doesn’t press charges for literally torturing his son, this seems like she’s getting off easy.
Just before Wednesday can be sent home, Eugene wakes up. And, of course, he has the vital clue that reveals who has been controlling the Hyde.
Wednesday goes to confront Professor Thornhill, but she gets the upper hand. And turns out Wednesday is the key to bringing Crackstone back from the dead.
Of course, we finally see the prophetic drawing in real life. And just as I think we could all predict, it wasn’t an image of Wednesday destroying the school. It was of her saving the school.
Not that she does it alone. Everyone has their part to play in the final battle. Bianca and Xavier battle him with Wednesday. Enid, who’s finally come into her werewolf powers, battles the Hyde in the woods. Even Eugene has a moment of heroism.
The only ones who don’t get a moment to be a hero are the adults. They are either dead, the villains in disguise, or just too late. This does bring one question to mind. Are there only two teachers in this whole damn school?
All joking aside, I liked that the kids saved the day without any adults. This is a motif that is expected in kid’s shows. And remember, this is a show for kids. If Gomez and Morticia had swooped in at the last moment, or even if Uncle Fester had shown up and exploded Crackstone with his weird lightning power, this wouldn’t have been as satisfying. We needed the kids to be the heroes.
We also needed Wednesday to learn a lesson about working with people. We needed her to rely on her friends to stop Crackstone. We also needed her to prove that, despite her behavior, she cares about her friends. If you haven’t seen this episode yet, I won’t ruin it for you. But there is a moment between Enid and Wednesday near the end that healed a little bit of my bitter heart.
I have to say, the pacing was all off in this episode. This was an issue that most of the season had. The scenes fit together like a water-damaged puzzle. You’re still getting the picture, but it’s not exactly smooth. The location and scenes jumped without reason. This worked against the viewer, pulling us out of the story.
I also felt like one vital question wasn’t answered. We see Sheriff Galpin with Tyler in the woods. And maybe I’m the only one who cares about this. But we don’t see him with Wednesday again. And I want to know where he stands. I want to know if he blames her.
Aside from this, it’s a satisfying ending. The monster is caught, for now. The villains are defeated. We know who the monster was, who killed the mayor, and who was trying to kill Wednesday. But we don’t know everything.
We don’t know what happened with Bianca and her mother.
We don’t know how Enid’s family responded to her finally wolfing out.
We don’t know what’s going to happen to Nevermore Academy without Principal Weems.
And one new question has presented itself. We don’t know who’s sending Wednesday threatening texts on the brand-new cell phone Xavier gave her.
So in this way, the last chapter does its job. It leaves us with questions that can only be answered by its sequel.
More importantly, we care to have the questions answered. Because we care to see what’s going to happen to Wednesday, Enid, Xavier, Eugene, and Bianca. This first season made these characters endearing. And I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next for them. (4 / 5)
X-Men Under Siege Review: Vintage Comic Weird
“While the X-Men were away on a secret mission, Xavier’s Mansion was invaded by a host of Evil Mutants. The call is out. All X-Men must return to the mansion at once!” – pg 1, X-Men Under Siege Rulebook
X-Men Under Siege is a 1994 board game designed by Richard Borg. Richard is better known for games such as Memoir ‘44 and BattleLore, however, he has designed more than 130 games. X-Men Under Siege is the 12th overall game and 3rd X-Men game he worked on.
I picked up this game while on vacation at the Louisville Book & Music Exchange. It was a delightful store with a lot of used niche hobbyist items. My spouse and I saw X-Men Under Siege (specifically the mouth-watering miniatures it comes with) and were hooked. While originally intending to just take the miniatures as a painting project, we decided to actually try playing the game.
The board game is a competitive game for 2-4 players, in which you play as a squad of X-Men attempting to secure floors of the X-Mansion. There are six floors, all overrun with Evil Mutants to defeat. Your starting crew of two X-Men can grow to three as you play cards or rescue trapped heroes.
The goal of the game is to collect more points than your fellow players. Clear rooms in the X-Mansion, defeat Evil Mutants, and deal damage to gain points. The contents of each room are random and can either contain a blank, Evil Mutant, or captured hero. The main mechanic in the game is fighting Evil Mutants when they are revealed during exploration by rolling dice equal to the attacking heroes’ Fighting Skill. The game ends when a certain point threshold is reached or the whole X-Mansion is cleared of tokens.
There are eighteen playable characters, each with their own special ability. Characters include; Archangel, Banshee, Beast, Bishop, Cable, Cyclops, Gambit, Havok, Iceman, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Longshot, Maverick, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, and Wolverine. However, the heroes are not equal. Each has a score for Fighting Skill, Durability, and Intelligence which changes the effectiveness of various actions. There are certain characters that have much higher scores than others, with the sum of scores being highly variable. Additionally, some of the heroes can only use their special ability when they are the leader, meaning they attack first in combat.
This game feels as if it has a great game hidden somewhere within it. The X-Men theme is well done and hits the spot in terms of my X-Men nostalgia. As a kid, X-Men Legends for the Xbox was one of my favorite games. Playing X-Men Under Siege was reminiscent of that experience for me, almost solely from the strong visual and narrative X-Men themes. I was SO excited to play as some of my favorite characters. The eighteen miniatures of all the playable heroes are very enticing too. Also, it was rewarding to face off against familiar X-Men villains. However, nostalgia and the general premise are the only things this game has going for it.
Before I get too critical, I acknowledge this game is for children and nostalgic adults. It is just disappointing to me that it falls flat because it is halfway to being a wonderfully enjoyable game.
Most egregiously, the core mechanics feel underbaked and confusing. How rooms are searched and moved to doesn’t make much sense and there are many edge cases that aren’t accounted for. Additionally, turn action allowances are also vague. From both of these, my spouse and I had to make up a lot of rules as we went just to keep consistency.
While fun to see X-Men villains in the Evil Mutant cards, they are flat. The only info on the cards is a name, picture, and strength number, which barely means anything. The hero characters were also a bit flat, especially since some of them seemed blatantly underpowered in comparison to others. Though, for better or worse, this game has hilarious names for game items. For example, X-tra Special Cards and Evil Mutant Blood Chips.
Overall, X-Men Under Siege was enjoyable to mess around with. It was just engaging enough that my spouse and I finished our game (even though it took 2 hours). However, it requires a deep love of X-Men (or cool miniatures) to find it too enjoyable. Definitely an interesting collector’s item but not the game to play for those looking for a good gaming experience. (2.8 / 5)
Movies n TV
If You Don’t Woe Me by Now
This is the second to last episode of Tim Burton’s Wednesday. And it’s kind of exactly what I expected it to be. But is that a bad thing? Let’s find out.
(Missed my last review? Click here to read it now.)
We begin at the funeral of the unfortunate Mayor Noble. While Wednesday seems to have been an invited guest, someone else in attendance isn’t.
Uncle Fester, played by Fred Armisen.
His visit couldn’t have come at a better time for Wednesday, as almost all of her friends aren’t talking to her. When Thing is brutally attacked, it’s even better luck that Uncle Fester is around.
This attack on Thing spurs Wednesday to speed up her search. With her uncle’s help, she breaks into the Nightshade library and finds that the monster attacking people is called a Hyde. A creature that can only be called upon by someone else.
This means that instead of one killer, we are looking for two. And Wednesday is pretty sure she knows who the killers are.
But of course, she’s still an idiot teenager, so she goes right ahead and confronts one of them, Dr. Kinbott, by herself. This has results that surprise no one.
After this, Wednesday learns her lesson and gets Sheriff Galpin involved to catch her suspected monster. Their relationship seems to be getting better after he caught her and Tyler in the Crackstone tomb watching Legally Blond and didn’t rebuke them. Maybe he’s softened on the idea of Wednesday dating his son.
Or maybe he wanted to use her to get around needing a search warrant for Xander’s art studio. Because why follow the law when you can risk the life of a teenager by sending her in to start grabbing up evidence in a flagrant disregard for the safety and rights of two kids?
Because that’s exactly what happened. Honestly, poor Xavier has gone through so much trying to be friends with Wednesday.
When you’re a fan of a certain genre, you’ll find yourself recognizing the beats of a story before they even happen. For instance, a murder mystery will often have a moment, right near the climax of the story, where it seems like the case is solved.
This was that episode. It appears like the case is solved, but it’s all a little too easy. And too early in the episode. Now, I don’t consider this a bad thing. It’s an expectation of the genre. Especially because this is a show for a young audience who might never have seen this before. And in this case, just because I saw it coming didn’t mean it wasn’t satisfying.
This one was satisfying because of the implications. The real monster is revealed now. And if you’ve figured out who it is, you understand how difficult a job Wednesday is going to have to prove it.
One thing I like about Wednesday is that there is no dishonesty in this child. If she thinks something, it comes right out. So of course she had no problem confronting her therapist as soon as she started putting the pieces together. Of course, the flip side of that coin is that she expects other people to behave like her. To be honest, at least some of the time. To attack from behind, and attack people other than herself to get her point across. Because, sadly, good people tend to judge others in the ways they would behave.
I loved the addition of Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester. And I wasn’t expecting him to do a good job, honestly. I’m quite used to Christopher Lloyd as Fester, so this was kind of shocking. But as always, he was great. He brought a sense of levity and joyous foolishness that this character should always have.
All in all, this was a great episode. My biggest criticism is that the twist ending isn’t as unpredictable as one might like. When you’ve been a selfish prick to everyone around you, and all of your friends are done with your shit, but one person is still fine with it, that person might just have some ulterior motives.
There’s just one episode left, and I’m excited to see how the story wraps up. I have high hopes for it. And I’m just thankful that the season has exceeded the rather dismal expectations I had for it at the beginning.
(3.5 / 5)