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Gringo Fantastico is a tormented luchador presenting Troma films from the safety of an abandoned recreation center in Tromaville. He is plagued by the French-Canadian Demon Piñata Francois who hurls insults and snide remarks throughout the episodes. The eight-episode season two premiered August 1st on Troma NOW and new episodes will be released on the first of each month.

Promo poster for Chapter Uno of Fantastico Disasterpiece Theater season 2 as available on Troma NOW.
Fantastico Disasterpiece Theater: Lament of a Luchador

CW // Troma aka every warning under the sun and some that don’t even exist yet

Gringo Fantastico (Nate Turnpaugh) returns to Tromaville in spectacular fashion with the season two premier of Fantastico Disasterpiece Theater on Troma NOW. He continues from the season one finale where he presents Lloyd Kaufman’s Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 (2013). This episode he hosts Return to… Return to Nuke ‘Em High aka Volume 2 for the premier.

Turnpaugh has the entirety of the Tromaverse at his disposal when deciding what to show on Disasterpiece Theater. For those unfamiliar with Troma or Kaufman, these movies “typically contain overt sexuality, nudity, and intentionally sadistic, gory, and blatant graphic violence,” according to Wikipedia. These movies are not for everyone, and Kaufman likes it that way.

Movie poster for Troma's Return to... Return to Nuke 'Em High aka Volume 2. It features many characters of the movie.
Return to… Return to Nuke ‘Em High aka Volume 2

Trouble in Tromaville

In an interview with Turnpaugh, he reveals the episode had a minor production issue which led to the original guest not being available for filming. “This episode, this script… it was a whole different script.” Amazingly, the episode was recalibrated and rewritten in three days to meet the shooting schedule. Turnpaugh holds a masters degree in screenwriting and his skill is on display despite the hasty rework.

The episode opens with a VHS recording of an interview with Fantastico from 1995. The interview goes wrong and Fantastico ends up storming away angrily. This is part of an ongoing narrative Turnpaugh is building with Fantastico. I am excited to learn more about the luchador’s tortured past.

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Your father underestimates you, I think.

Audiences are also treated to a Fantastico on Fantastico interview due to the aforementioned guest scheduling issue. He splits into two and much to his chagrin, Other Fantastico quickly teams up with Francios in bullying him.

He interviews himself about his past and makes reference to a highly censored film project he worked on. They also receive a call from the Guadalajarian government, but you need to tune in to see what that is all about.

Turnpaugh says this self-interview is his favorite part of the episode and attributes his love of body doubling in media surprisingly to The Parent Trap (1961). He is excited for audiences to see “the ridiculousness of the two Fantasticos.”

Other Fantastico sits on the set for his interview.
Other Fantastico

Dynamic Duo

Several pieces of media are treated to an homage throughout the episode. Despite thinking he eliminated Francois at the end of season one, the Demon Piñata pops up in the back seat of his ‘68 Firebird ala Psycho III (1986). When Projector Guy is pulled back into the recreation center, it is done with a brilliant classic Doctor Who reference. And how else would the Fantisticos reunite but a Dragon Ball fusion dance?

At the end of the episode, Fantastico quotes Teen Wolf (1985) and Francois angrily responds “You ruined something cool again with your movie quoting.” The dynamic between Fantastico and Francois sets Disasterpiece Theater apart. I have never seen such entertaining and vitriolic interactions between “co-hosts.” Francois rarely, if ever, has a nice thing to say about Fantastico.

Francois sits in a wiker basket next to Fantastico in the safe-zone recreation center set in Tromaville.
Fantastico and Francois on set.

Fantastico only sometimes has the energy to properly fight back against the demon. He frequently threatens the demon with a giant squirrel instead of attacking him directly. This is partly because, as Francois puts it, Fantastico is a “concussed asshole.”

That’s not candy!

It is becoming more and more evident there is much more to the Demon Piñata than audiences currently know. I am very much looking forward to watching the backstory for Francois Turnpaugh teased during our interview unfold throughout the season.

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When I ask, “Is Francois tormenting Fantastico or is Fantastico tormenting himself?” Turnpaugh laughs and responds “That’s actually the whole narrative of this season. Because it is all based around all Fantastico’s concussions and all of the PTSD and all of this weird stuff from all these crazy things that are happening.”

Turnpaugh doesn’t shy away from his own history with PTSD and its influence on the show. He says he has had PTSD for 20 years and “I try to make light of it so it doesn’t have so much of a stigma.” He hopes someone else out there who is struggling can see him and go “Maybe I can do that too.”

I agree with him and liken him to other horror hosts who serve as a beacon of hope to their audiences. He seems a little uncomfortable with being placed alongside them, but watching the show proves he has earned his praise.

My rating for the episode: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Future Trips to Tromaville

There are a lot of super cool guest interviews to look forward to this season including but not limited to Lloyd Kaufman himself, C. Robert Cargill, and Jonah Ray Rodrigues. Turnpaugh was also able to snag Toby Poser, John Adams and Lulu Adams of Adams Family Films. For those who watch The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs, they were featured in season four with their film Hellbender (2021).

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Follow @realfantastico on the platform formerly known as Twitter to join in with the rest of the Fantasticats as they live-tweet each episode the Friday after release.

Kait (she/her) haunts the cornfields of the Midwest after being raised in a small Indiana town built on sickness and death. She consumes all sorts of horror-related content and spits their remains back onto your screen. You can follow her on Twitter at @ KaitHorrorBreak, where she live tweets The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs and posts other spooky things.

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Movies n TV

Fallout, The Target

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Episode two of Amazon Prime’s Fallout was equal parts funny and bloody. This almost always leads to a good time.

The story

We begin this episode with the birth of some puppies that look like they’ve had a rough start to life. Each one is weighed, with the ones who fall short being incinerated.

One pup who is just below the correct weight gets a bit of a thumb on their scale. The scientist weighing them, Wilzig, writes down the proper weight. He later takes the puppy home to raise instead of putting them into what looks like an unforgiving training program.

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Eventually, we see Wilzig put some blue glowing thing into his neck. When a soldier comes for him, Dog attacks the soldier, and the two escape.

Ella Purnell in Fallout.

We go from there to the wilderness, where Lucy is recovering from the last episode and enjoying a campfire at night. Wilzig and Dog come out of the shadows, saving Lucy from a bug monster. Wilzig tells Lucy she should go home. And if she’s not going to go home, she needs to evolve.

The next day Lucy finds her way to a town called Filly. As a Pennsylvanian, it hurts me to spell it that way. Lucy is entranced by this town, though clearly put off by the fact that no one is very nice here.

She eventually finds her way to a shop run by a delightful woman named Ma June. Ma doesn’t seem particularly interested in helping Lucy. Or, frankly, having Lucy in her shop.

Or in her town.

Eventually, Wilzig is tracked to this same shop, being tracked by The Ghoul. This is our final primary character. Lucy defends Wilzig, being aided at the last moment by Maximus.

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Maximus, by the way, has been having a terrible time. After finally becoming a squire he’s disappointed to find that his knight, Knight Titus, is a terrible person.

Fortunately, Maximus doesn’t have to put up with Titus for long. After Titus gets the bright idea to go hunting, he’s attacked by a mutated bear. Maximus freezes, unable to save him. Then, well, he decides not to save him.

It was Titus’s idea to go hunt the bear, after all.

What worked

Walton Goggins in Fallout.

The first thing I want to draw attention to is the shootout scene at Filly. This scene checked every box a fight scene should check. It was fun to watch, with great effects. But it also gave us insight into the characters. Lucy is a decent fighter and has a strong moral compass. The Ghoul is callus and desensitized to death. And Maximus continues to be, well, sort of bad at this whole fighting thing. But with enough moral fortitude that we have a hard time blaming him.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the dog. Who’s name, as far as I’ve been able to ascertain, is just Dog. Which is fine. He doesn’t need to have a name to be a very good boy. He’s sweet, loyal, and fearless.

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Also, puppies. Puppies are always great.

Finally, I’d like to shine a spotlight on Lucy’s reaction to the world at large. She is both amazed and terrified by everything. And while she certainly doesn’t want to be rude, she also doesn’t want to be taken advantage of. The best example of this is when she stops to ask for directions with a bright smile and a gun.

Once again, I don’t have anything bad to say about this episode. It was funny, dark, and fun to watch. I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the season. 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Fallout, The End

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Launching with worldwide excitement, Fallout is based on the extremely popular game series of the same name. Fans of the series have waited with anticipation and trepidation to see if the Prime series would live up to the game.

Having now watched the first episode I can say that, so far, it’s successful.

The story

Our story begins with a children’s birthday party. A performer is there with his daughter, giving horse rides and taking pictures with the kids.

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As much as the adults try to focus on the party and the kids, it’s impossible to ignore the looming threat of war that’s on everyone’s mind.

Of course, it’s during this party that war comes, and the bombs drop.

We then cut to after the war and into one of the vaults established to protect humankind and the American Way. For future reference, this is Vault 33. We meet Lucy, our first main character, who’s petitioning to be married to a man from Vault 32 to ensure DNA diversity.

On the wedding night, though, Lucy and the rest of Vault 33 are met with a horrible surprise. The group they let in is not in fact from Vault 32, but is instead a team of raiders from the surface. The raiders kill a lot of the vault dwellers and kidnap Lucy’s father.

We are then introduced to our second main character, Maximus. He is in training to become a Knight in the Brotherhood of Steel. And, well, he’s not doing great.

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Things get worse when his best friend Dane becomes a squire before him. But when Dane is hurt, Maximus gets their spot.

Aaron Moten in Fallout.

We then go back to Lucy, who has decided to leave the vault and find her dad. Of course, the council of her vault doesn’t want her to go. So she is aided by her brother Norm and cousin Chet in a wild escape.

What worked

The first thing that deserves attention is the exceptional character work. Our three main characters are fleshed out and relatable right away. We feel sympathetic for The Ghoul before he’s even introduced as such. We love Lucy’s nativity and selflessness. And we love Maximus for his honesty and passion for his cause.

While these characters are their own people, they also exhibit the three responses we might expect to see in a post-apocalyptic world. We have the hopeful optimist who doesn’t understand how bad things are. We have the aspiring hero who wants to make the world better by force. And we have the self-serving individual who’s given up on the rest of humanity and is only focused on surviving.

Another thing I enjoyed about this episode was the balance of humor and gore. Because there was certainly enough blood and guts for even the most hardcore horror lover. We had a violent sabotage, a brawl with raiders, and even several nuclear bombs.

But there were a lot of funny moments as well. Usually from Lucy. Her overall goodwill and fearless gumption are absolutely hilarious, especially given the horrors she’s facing. It never ceases to amuse me.

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Ella Purnell in Fallout

Both of these aspects are done perfectly. The jokes land and the bloody scenes pull no punches. It was delightful.

All in all, this was an exciting start to a much-anticipated series. Here’s hoping they’re able to stick the landing.

For more tv shows based on video games, check out my review of Witcher. 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Movies n TV

American Horror Story Delicate, Ave Hestia

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Episode seven of American Horror Story Delicate was a classic AHS flashback episode. If you were excited to see what Preecher had to say to Anna at the end of the last episode, I’m sorry to say that you will not get that satisfaction. However, we did learn all sorts of other fascinating things about the strange coven hunting Anna. And, we learned all sorts of things we didn’t know about Dex’s first wife, Adeline.

The story

We begin our story with a woman giving birth alone in a barn. When it becomes clear that she’s not going to be able to deliver vaginally, she pulls out a knife and cuts her stomach open to pull out her children.

For whatever reason, this is when the coven of witches decides to make themselves known.

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Ashlie Atkinson in American Horror Story.

We then cut to 2013, when Dex was still married to Adeline. In true Dex fashion, he’s surprised her with a puppy.

While that sounds great in theory, dogs are something a couple should talk about, not gift each other with as a surprise. An adult would know that. A trust fund boy like Dex does not.

Adeline owns a vegan restaurant called Ave Hestia. Love that name. She seems to be living a great life. She has a career she’s passionate about, friends who love her, and a husband she seems kind of fond of.

Maybe that’s why she didn’t want a puppy. She already had one.

Of course, things aren’t as good as they appear. We soon find out that Adeline was one of those babies we saw at the start of the episode. The other baby was Sonia, the painter.

Annabelle Dexter-Jones in American Horror Story.

And yes, both of these characters are played by Annabelle Dexter-Jones.

Adeline has stepped away from their family, and whatever dark things they do. But the family isn’t happy with her decision. And if she isn’t going to come back willingly, they’re going to make her.

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What worked

To start with, I loved the character, Adeline. She is fierce, she is fearless, and relentless. I feel like this would have been a far different story if Adeline had been our main character. It was astounding to see her interact with the same people Anna has, and get a completely different response. It’s clear now, how much everyone around Anna resents her for simply not being Adeline.

I also appreciated that there was just a shocking amount of blood in this episode. From the start when Adeline and Sonia are born, to the climactic end of Adeline, this episode is just drenched in blood.

Finally, I’m fascinated by the changes in this season from the book it’s based on. Because absolutely none of this was in the book. Compared to this, the book is heartwarming.

The book is kind of heartwarming even without the comparison.

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But I love the fact that, even with just two episodes left in the season, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I do not know what Anna is carrying. I do not know if she’s going to survive this. I do not know what these people want with her.

But I can’t wait to find out.

What didn’t work

All that being said, it is a bit frustrating to have no forward momentum in this episode. This was all backstory, and it felt like there wasn’t enough backstory to fill a full forty minutes. Because of that, it dragged. There were a lot of scenes that just didn’t need to be as long as they were. It felt like they could have cut that down considerably, and had some time to check in with our main characters at either the start or the end of the episode.

There are only two episodes left in the season, and I can honestly say I have no idea what’s going to happen. But so far the story has been dark, bloody, and provocative. So I hope they can manage to end it on a high note.

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4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

If you’re a fan of my work, please check out my latest story, Nova, on Paper Beats World. New chapters launch every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

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