Connect with us

Published

on

We are back with Haunted MTL’s continuing coverage of the Chucky franchise. This week, we talk about Chucky S2 E3, “Hail, Mary!” While the previous episode teased two significant legacy characters in Glen and Glenda – we also had a dangling plot thread involving a dead detective. All that goes out the window this week as we spend our entire runtime at Incarnate Lord.

Worry not; this episode is some of the wildest stuff to happen in the Chucky franchise in a long time.

Chucky – S2 E3 – “Hail, Mary!”

A few keystone moments in the Chucky franchise radically shift the series’ trajectory. First was the introduction of Tiffany. Then there was the introduction of Glen/Glenda. The idea of soul-splitting also created a radically new direction for the franchise. This week, the series posits a question: Can you brainwash Chucky?

The episode spends the entirety of the runtime at Incarnate Lord exploring moments of characterization while eliminating some possible narrative angles. The A-plot involves the Chuckybusters trying to brainwash their captured Scout Chucky to get some answers regarding his mission. However, their brainwashing is much more potent than intended and creates a surprising new version of Chucky that is new to the franchise. A good Chucky.

Advertisement

Of course, the writers also enjoy complications – but don’t we all? Hence, the arrival of a new delivery truck to the school featuring a familiar box. This arrival introduces another variant of Chucky – perhaps the strangest one yet.

All the while, character relationships are explored, and power dynamics are established. Father Bryce (Devon Sawa) learns something new about the kids and sets to work punishing them. Sister Catherine (Andrea Carter) is the coolest adult in the current season, and Sister Ruth (Lara Jean Chorostecki) is the worst. Meanwhile, Lexy’s bully, Trevor (Jordan Kronis), gets to work to assert control over her, but this does not last long.

All the while, Jake and Devon clash over guilt and distrust, Nadine’s character grows more intriguing, and Nadine and Lexy seem to bond.

Still from Chucky - S2 E3 - "Hail, Mary!" of Chucky being brainwashed.
A Clockwork Chucky

How Was It?

Samir Rehem’s fourth directed episode of the series proves to be fun and a good follow to last week, which he also directed. The direction is solid, and some interesting cuts and camera tricks create some fun variation in an episode locked more or less to a couple of locations. One criticism is that this episode was overly dark when it came to light, especially compared to last week. Some of the scenes in Jake and Devon’s room could have benefited from a touch more brightness.

Rachel Paradis and Nick Zigler get the opportunity to write one of Don Mancini’s long-standing ideas of a Good Chucky, make it work, and garner sympathy for the little psycho during the A Clockwork Orange brainwashing segment. Sympathy for Charles Lee Ray; who knew that was possible?

“Hail, Mary!” is Paradis’ second series writing credit since “Little Little Lies” in season one. Zigler serves as one of the go-to writers for the show, with this episode being his eighth writer credit on Chucky. He penned most of season one’s episodes.

Advertisement

However, as new possibilities open up, the episode does close the door on a character that could have created some solid dramatic potential. It’s a risky move, but I feel the show thrives when it throws caution into the wind.

Highlights

I won’t factor in my disappointment to be drifting away from the Glen and Glenda developments from last week in scoring the episode. This largely single-location episode provided exciting developments that could radically shape the franchise.

I do feel the episode’s lighting was an issue, and I am still unsure how to feel about removing a character from the overall narrative. However, the moments of character building combined with the utter insanity of how various Chuckies seem to become their own unique entities is fascinating. 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Chucky – S2 E3 – Kill Count and Spotlight

So far, two more kills have been added to the list for season two, bringing the season total to five. One kill returns Chucky to his roots as “the Lakeshore Strangler.” However, the more dramatic and jaw-dropping kill this week involves a Mortal Kombat fatality and is one of the franchise’s messiest and craziest kills.

Seeds of Chucky

As always, each review features some notes on references and continuity in the whole Chucky franchise.

Advertisement
  • SyFy’s post-show featurettes have been a delight, and if you head over to Syfy.com, they should be available to watch.
  • Part of the fun of those, beyond the behind-the-scenes reveals, is that Chucky hosts them. I hope Brad Dourif runs away with a heavy paycheck week after week.
  • Speaking of reveals – Don Mancini confirms he’s been thinking about a good Chucky for a while.
  • Also revealed – the prosthetic worn by a character for a death scene smelled like vinegar.
  • This week’s title card features crucifixes. We’re firmly in religious horror now.
  • I am annoyed we’ve swerved away from Glen and Glenda’s reveals this week, but I can also see why they would do that.
  • That was the most Irish priest I have ever seen.
  • Mentions of MKUltra this week. And no, not Mortal Kombat Ultra.
  • Speaking of… Chucky needs to be a DLC character in a future Mortal Kombat… he just has to be after tonight’s episode.
  • Regarding movie references this week, we have a huge one with A Clockwork Orange. Also, films used in Chucky’s conditioning seem to include The Thing and Psycho II.
  • Something that made my millennial heart flutter – a direct reference to Child’s Play.
  • Also, we can confirm My Little Pony exists in the Chuckyverse.
  • Nadine is the coolest. “I’ve got this bitchin’ knife.”

We’re continuing to cover the Kids’ Stuff – A Chucky Podcast show. However, unlike these written reviews, our discussion show contains plenty of spoilers. If you missed the latest Kids’ Stuff about S2 E2, “The Sinners Are Much More Fun,” you could listen to it wherever you get your podcasts.

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Book Reviews

The Dead Take the A Train Review: Queer Magic and Monster Mayhem

Published

on

“Julie crawled onto the table, straddling her intern, both hands around the knife. She torqued it downward, cursing. Brad shrieked harder.” -pg 57, The Dead Take the A Train by Cassandra Khaw & Richard Kadrey

The Dead Take the A Train is the first book in a duology by authors Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey. It was published in 2023 by Tor Nightfire (like the Scourge Between Stars, which I reviewed here). I was not previously familiar with Kadrey’s work, which most notably includes the Sandman Slim series. However, I was introduced to Khaw through The Salt Grows Heavy (review here), which I absolutely adored in all its twisted, gory glory. Therefore, I was thrilled to pick-up The Dead Take the A Train, which promised similar heart in a modern cosmic horror package.

In The Dead Take the A Train, a magical fixer named Julie must hunt down eldritch monstrosities threatening the lives of those around her. To do this, she has to go up against her shitty ex, a questionable angel, finance executives, and her own sobriety. When an old friend shows up, Julie is terrified to find herself making a retirement plan that doesn’t involve getting murdered by a demon.

The Dead Take the A Train is reminiscent of N.K. Jeminsin’s The City We Became, with both featuring queer characters tackling eldritch horror plots in New York City. In the same way, the novel was reminiscent of a gorier version of Dimension 20’s Unsleeping City actual play series. However, it clearly carves out a space for itself among the droves of cosmic-horror inspired love letters to New York City. For one, it is mostly unconcerned with borough beef, which (not to sound like a curmudgeonly Midwesterner), is so refreshing. The book also has a relatively novel way the world works, which helps it stay memorable.

Advertisement

Overall, I really liked The Dead Take the A Train. First off, the characters are fun and easy to root for. Julie is a mess in pretty much every aspect, but her bad decisions are understandable and she is charismatic. Her romance with her friend, Sarah, also serves to make Julie more likable. It helps that the villains are so easy to hate too. What’s not to hate about rich Wall Street assholes engaging in human sacrifice? Speaking of which, I liked the juxtaposition of corporate Wall Street and cosmic cultists. The actions taken were evil, but more importantly, they were just business.

The prose was flowery, but not quite as much as in The Salt Grows Heavy. So, if you struggled with Khaw’s other works for that reason this may be a much easier read. Personally, I enjoyed the prose in both. There is quite a bit of gore in The Dead Take the A Train, but I didn’t find it to be overwhelming. I think you could still enjoy the book if you don’t love gore, though maybe not if you have a weak stomach.

One of the largest issues I have with The Dead Take the A Train, is the lack of clarity in power levels of the various characters. Especially since all their forms of magic work in different ways, it is sometimes unclear the level of danger present. This can also sometimes create room for plot holes. For example, Julie has a friend who is tapped into anything and everything happening online. This is an absurdly powerful ability (and is used as such). But there were moments where the main conflict probably could have been avoided or solved using that power. It also felt odd that no one else in this thriving magic community felt strongly about stopping a world-ending catastrophe. Because of this, the magic underground of NYC could feel smaller than I think was intended.

Having been familiar with Khaw’s work previously, The Dead Take the A Train clearly feels like a mix of Khaw’s style with someone else’s. This could be a boon or a hindrance, depending on your view of Khaw’s distinct prose and storytelling. Either way, if you are interested in learning more about the process or the authors, check out the interview they did for SFF Addicts Podcast!

Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey on the SFF Addicts Podcast

I recommend The Dead Take the A Train, especially for those who are fans of modern urban eldritch horror. The book is an even bigger steal if you are looking for danger, gore, and queer characters. Check it out! And keep your eyes peeled for the next book in this duology. 

Advertisement

[USR 4.2]

Continue Reading

Movies n TV

Dolores Roach, A Fillet of Left Cheek

Published

on

The second season of Dolores Roach started with a bang. The first episode was dark, gristly and in a strange way whimsical. It certainly brought to light new elements of the character.

The story

We begin our story with Dolores somewhere, talking to someone. I’d like to be more specific, but that’s all we know right now.

She tells this unknown person about her flight from Empanadas Loco. How Jeremiah killed Luis. How she, whether she meant to or not, killed Jeremiah. How she then set the building on fire by blowing up the fryer in the kitchen.

Advertisement

Scared and alone, Dolores then ran for the underground. Dragging her purple massage table she runs into a hole in a subway track and finds herself in a whole different world.

Almost at once, she finds a place where someone is living. There’s a hot plate, a kettle and several packets of ramen. Even better, everything has Jeremiah’s name on it, literally written on it. Exhausted and alone, Dolores makes herself a cup of ramen and goes to sleep on her massage table.

She’s woken sometime later by a small man named Donald. He knows her because he knew Jeremiah. Dolores proceeds to tell him an abridged version of events that led up to Jeremiah’s death. And by abridged, I mean she blamed Luis for everything, throwing him under the bus so hard I’m surprised she didn’t pull something.

Donald seems inclined to help Dolores. He tells her that if anyone messes with her she should go further down, down a stairwell that he points out for her.

Dolores thanks him, then tries to go back to sleep. She’s soon woken again by a young woman collecting Jeremiah’s things.

Advertisement

While Dolores has an issue with this, she’s willing to let it go. Until that is, this woman tries to take her table. Then, Dolores does what she does best. Because one thing is for sure. Dolores is going to take care of herself.

What worked

One thing I love about this series so far is that our main character, Dolores, is crazy. And hearing her rationalize her crazy is both terrifying and fascinating. I hate/love how sweet and soothing she can be. Even with the rat that she killed in this episode. She cooed at it, encouraging it to come to her, even calling it a subway raccoon.

Then she killed it and started crying.

I also love the underground community. It’s both horrific and whimsical. It reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, which is full of worlds most people don’t see but are all around us. It’s also horrific because there are so many people that our society has failed, that they’ve gathered underground and made their own little society. That’s not great. There just shouldn’t be that many people who need homes.

Advertisement

What didn’t work

Unfortunately, this episode did have two major flaws. And the first one is a personal pet peeve of mine.

In the last episode of season one, certain things were established. Dolores said she was carefully rationing her weed. She said she didn’t have anything to eat since coming down to the tunnels. She still had her massage table. This episode rewrote a lot of that.

Frankly, I hate when stories do that. It may or not make a difference to the story. It just strikes me as poor planning and lazy writing. This show has proven it’s capable of doing better.

All things considered, I thought this was a great start to the season. I’m invested in the story, curious about the new characters, and worried about the well-being of everyone Dolores comes in contact with. And that’s all as it should be.

Advertisement
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

By the way, if you like my writing, you might want to check out my latest sci-fi horror story, Nova. It’ll be released episodically on my site, Paper Beats World, starting February 5th.

Continue Reading

Movies n TV

The Golem (2019), a Film Review

The Golem (2019) is a folk horror film directed by Doron and Yoav Paz, starring Hani Furstenberg and Ishai Golan.

Published

on

The Golem (2019) is a folk horror film directed by Doron and Yoav Paz. The cast includes Hani Furstenberg, Ishai Golan, Kirill Cernyakov, and Brynie Furstenberg. As of this review, the film remains available to Amazon Prime and fuboTV subscribers with additional purchase options on other platforms.

Set in 1673, a small Jewish community faces hardships from others as the Black Plague spreads. When these hardships reach a boiling point, Hanna takes matters into her own hands. Having secretly learned to read, she seeks to perform a ritual that would create a protector for her people. Yet, this act brings about a steep cost.

a redheaded woman walks through a village.
Hani Furstenberg as Hanna

What I Like about The Golem

The film received three nominations in 2019. These nominations include Best Actress, Best Sound, and Best Cinematography from the Award of the Israeli Film Academy. While The Golem wouldn’t win these awards, the nominations indicate a strong film.

I won’t claim to know the accuracy and intricacies of the golem in relation to its religious origin, but the film certainly brings to life its concept. The effort to create such a creature and the toll it takes from the summoner create an emotional throughline for viewers to follow.

Hani Furstenberg’s Hanna and Ishai Golan’s Benjamin bring a complicated but realistic relationship to the film. Viewers see the love between them, even as their own society attempts to cast them from each other. They feel like a couple who understand the other’s wants and needs. However, we begin to witness the decaying of this relationship.

Advertisement

Hanna, specifically, provides a complex character that incentivizes the viewers to root for and against her at different points in the movie. Though she navigates blatant sexism and discrimination, she remains far from flawless. These flaws and ambitions establish Hanna as an interesting character.

The Golem can be brutal. This film provides a period-accurate look into antisemitism and systemic oppression, which certainly evokes a different form of horror. However, the golem itself brings brutality through its smiting.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Triggers

As the film deals directly with systemic issues of 1673, understand that antisemitism, sexism, and hate crimes remain important elements within the film.

An assault leads to a miscarriage, which seems a point worth mentioning for potential viewers who are sensitive to such points. Fertility and bodily autonomy, generally, also play roles within the provided film.

If any of these are potential issues for your viewing experience, perhaps skip The Golem.

An obscured woman looks at a boy covered in mud. The setting is a forest.
The Golem takes Shape

What I Dislike about The Golem

Aleksey Tritenko delivers a wonderful performance for an interesting antagonist, but the role of Vladimir serves limited purposes. In many ways, he’s the representation of his societal antisemitism. While this remains perfectly valid, he somewhat disappears from the narrative until he becomes relevant. His marauders should be an oppressive threat within the society, looming over it with malice.

I can’t deny the lack of intimidation the golem’s aesthetic brings. While some films evoke an eeriness through silent children to horrific effect, this didn’t sit well with me. It should be eerie, but something was missing in execution.

Advertisement

The Golem focuses on a more human horror than the supernatural elements might suggest. While not a direct critique, prepare your viewing expectations accordingly. The Golem remains a folk horror film, using the folk story to represent human evil and flaws. It won’t particularly haunt you with the gore.

Final Thoughts

The Golem brings the old legend of the golem folk story to life. If you thirst for a human horror that shines a light on the flaws of the people within, The Golem might satisfy you. However, it’s not a particularly frightening film, choosing instead to tell a story of loss and overcoming suffering. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Continue Reading

Trending