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Episode four of The Watcher was really hard to, well, watch. Everything and everyone is piling onto Dean in this one, and it isn’t even our mysterious Watcher. 

It’s his own family. 

We start the episode with possibly one of my least favorite tropes. The shocking altercation, then cutting to some time earlier. 

I always consider this lazy writing. Which is not something I’ve been able to accuse this show of so far. 

At any rate, Dean comes home to find Nora crying in the kitchen. She asks him how he could do this to this family, and confronts him with a flash drive.

Then we flashback.

Jennifer Coolidge and Naomi Watts in The Watcher.

Theodora and Dean are trying to explain to Nora what they’ve found so far. True to form, Nora accuses Dean of hiding things from her. While he’s telling her all of the things. Because that is sound reasoning. 

Theodora, unfortunately, has found some damning evidence against Dakota. Being a security installer, it is in his best interest to make the Brannock family feel unsafe. Then, there’s Dakota’s screen name, The Watcher. 

It might well be a coincidence, but it’s an awful unfortunate one if it is. 

Worried that Dakota is toying with his family, and his teenage daughter, Dean gets hold of Ellie’s phone with Nora’s help. He finds the risque pictures that Ellie and Dakota have been sending each other. He confronts Ellie, rightfully angry that she’s been lying to him and hiding a relationship. He’s also more than a little pissed at Dakota. So when the kid shows up unannounced, Dean confronts him too. 

With his fists. 

The police get involved because Ellie calls them. Which leads Dean to accuse Dakota of being The Watcher.

Hang on, because from here things just keep getting worse. 

Ellie, being a teenager, is furious at her dad. I mean, sure she lied to him and treated him like garbage for suggesting that she might be seeing someone. But he yelled at her and grounded her. So of course, he deserves to be punished. 

Ellie posts a video on social media, telling everyone that her dad locked her in her room for seeing a black man. And when confronted by her parents, she shrugged and told Dean that he was an asshole, and this was what he got. That she knew he wasn’t a racist, and she didn’t care. 

And things are not finished getting worse for Dean. I’ll remind you again that until now not a single thing has been done to this family by The Watcher. Not another weird letter has arrived. What arrives instead, both at Dean’s office and the house on 657 Boulevard, is an envelope that looks nothing like the others, containing a flash drive.

Why yes, this is where we came in. Aren’t you just blown away by this? Isn’t it so clever, and original? 

No.

Emily Juliette Murphy in The Watcher.

The flash drive shows Dean, asleep in bed alone. But not for long. A young woman comes in who looks an awful lot like Pat Graff. You know, the teenage girl who was slaughtered by her father. The thing is, Dean has no idea how she might have gotten into the house.

Not that anyone wants to listen to him. 

This was by far the most infuriating episode of The Watcher so far. I’m hoping that Dean gets some positive resolutions by the end of the season. By the end of the episode though, I couldn’t wait to see the next.

Something happens in the last few seconds that I don’t dare ruin for you. You have to see it to believe it. And even then, I’d understand if you didn’t. At this point, I don’t know if the whole neighborhood is just trying to gaslight Dean, or if he has finally gone crazy.

Guess we’ll have to keep watching to find out. 

(You can check out the whole first season now on Netflix.)

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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Movies n TV

1971’s ‘The Corpse Grinders’ is purrrfect

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Have you ever wanted a movie from the 70’s where a woman gets home from work, strips down to lingerie to lounge on her couch, only to be killed and eaten by her cat?

a cat eating a lady in a bra and holding beer

Of course, you’re a regular human, just like the rest of us. Who doesn’t fantasize about that?

Well, kids, I found us that perfect movie in the salacious and groovy Arch Hall Sr. film, THE CORPSE GRINDERS.

The Plot of The Corpse Grinders:

Corruption! Capitalism! Murder! Fake-ass sign language! Cats! This movie has IT ALL.

To cut costs on production, The Lotus Cat Food Company decides they can find cheaper meat alternatives in the Soylent Green variety. Which, to be fair, is a step up from Taco Bell, amirite?

Partnering with a couple who owns a cemetery, they begin grinding up the mystery meat and sell it to unsuspecting consumers. But the consumers begin to be consumed themselves (that’s my best joke of the year, you’re welcome), a veterinarian begins to investigate the reason why our feline friends have turned feral.

Can this nefarious plot be found out in time by investigators? And by “investigators”, I mean, literally just this veterinarian and some nurse. Or will they too become victims in the feeding frenzy?

a hungry kitty with blood on face

Thoughts on The Corpse Grinders:

This was only written by Arch Hall Sr. and not directed, but honestly, for being a low-budget comedy-horror, it cements him as a cult classic icon. Probably known most for Eegah, of MST3K infamy, he wrote and directed many camp movies during the 60’s and 70’s. Usually to showcase his son’s, er…talents.

But he legitimately had some fun ideas and execution, especially when someone else was in the director’s chair. THE CORPSE GRINDERS is fun and exciting schlock, a feast for the eyes in its limited cinematography, acting, and lighting.

And call this a hot take, but I think THE CORPSE GRINDERS would have made a better edition to MST3K than Eegah did because it works so incredibly well as campy horror. There’s a lot of honest humor in it, but metric tons of things to poke fun of and riff.

Brainroll Juice:

So, I have two brainrolls.

First, give me the rights. Gimme. Because this movie is RIPE for a reboot. Yes, that’s right. Not Pinhead, not Chucky, not gay icon Chucky – no! Corpse Grinders is a perfect example of something with enough cheese, enough spark, and enough of a story that still gels. With the right writers, director and cinematographer, this could really be a great reboot.

brannyk with a reboot sign

And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – reboot movies like THIS. Old, beat-up movies with enough spit and polish to be fun and enjoyable. Something you could add to with more budget, technology and direction. Stop, please, stop making ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ part 24. It’s done, it’s old, lie those types to rest and focus on movies that kind of sucked but would be phenomenal after time has passed.

The second is, um…American Sign Language (?) in the film. Which, okay, I’m a million percent with having those with disabilities shown on screen. I love it. Gimme 2.0. But…But why this, specifically?

We have a side character who is Deaf, but…um…the ASL is, well…

very fake American Sign Language

Remember that séance scene from Wild World of Batwoman? Yeah. It’s on par with that.

In MY new Corpse Grinders, she’s going to have a much wider role and actually be a Deaf actress and not…whatever that was. Because you took a cool idea and made it incredibly offensive. So, six of one and half-dozen of the other.

Bottomline:

If you love campy fun movies about cats eating people and-…

Jellybeans?

Jellybeans the cat looks mad

Jellybeans, what are you doing?

OMG Jellybeans has a knife!

Noooo!!! Jellybeansss!!!

Jellbeans is killing me aaahhhh Oh No!

Whyyy?!?! Ahhhh!!!!

Brannyk is being eaten

helloo itsme branyl i wriet horro movis nd not a jellllllybens cAt. can i haz humnbrger?

absolutely not a picture of jellbeans with a bloody knife
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Movies n TV

February Titles for Arrow Streaming

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Wow, January sure flew by fast! But guess what? It’s time to see what goodies Arrow is bringing to the small screen soon. Let’s find out!

Basically a picture of everything I talk about down below.

Feb 3rd: Robert Altman: Giggle and Give In and Made in the USA

February 3 Joyce documentaries about the American indie film scene: Robert Altman: Giggle and Give In and Made in the USA (both US/UK/CA/IRE). Joyce’s documentary profile of Altman, originally produced in 1996 includes contributions from Altman, Elliott Gould, Shelley Duvall, assistant director Alan Rudolph and screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury. 

Feb 3rd: Charles Band: The Puppetmaster

February 3: Charles Band: The Puppetmaster (UK/IRE/US/CA). Triple-threat writer-producer-director Charles Band has been pulling the strings making horror, sci-fi and fantasy features since the 70s and his films were a massive part of making the 1980s home video boom, well, boom.

Charles Band: The Puppetmaster brings together many of his wildest and most fun work, from murderous pint-sized puppets to re-animated horrors, from time-travelling Trancers to a terrifying Tourist Trap, and even the re-tooled Doctor Strange movie starring Jeffrey Combs as a slightly different sorcerer supreme. And I LOVE Jeffrey Combs!

Titles Include: Puppet Master, Doctor Mordrid, Trancers.

Feb 6: Killer Tech

February 6, while shopping for a gadget for your sweetheart, ARROW uploads Killer Tech (UK/IRE/US/CA) to the service.

We all want the latest gadgets, but in Killer Tech screen time means scream time.

From cursed videotapes and phone calls to the dangers of the dark web and vicious virtual reality, ARROW’s newest, smallest, lightest, fastest, most expensive curated collection doesn’t just have the best screen, largest amount of storage and the coolest camera – it also comes with a guarantee that the newest tech equals instant death.

Titles Include: .com For Murder, Laguna Ave, Edge of the Axe.

I recommend Edge of the Axe!

Feb 10: Cinematic Void Selects

 February 10, ARROW hands the keys to the kingdom to Cinematic Void, a Los Angeles-based cult film screening series into the mouth of cinemadness. Focusing on all oddball gems of all genres, the Void unleashes an onslaught of horror, eurotrash, exploitation and gonzo action on the silver screen at the American Cinematheque. CV film programmer Jim Branscome has selected a few of his favourite films of the genre for your viewing pleasure in Cinematic Void Selects.

Titles Include: Deadly Games, Deep Red.

Feb 14:

February 14 celebrates Valentine’s Day with the perfect pairing: the undead and the living dead.

Two Orphan Vampires (UK/IRE/US): A pair of teenage girls, who are blind by day, but when the sun goes down, they roam the streets to quench their thirst for blood.

Zombie Lake (UK/IRE/US): In a small village, somewhere in France, German soldiers, killed and thrown into the lake by the Resistance during WWII, come back.

Also Valentine’s Day:

Jean Rollin: The Fantastique Collection Part IV (UK/IRE/US).

Led by the brand new and exclusive documentary from filmmakers Kat Ellinger and Dima Ballin, Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World Of Jean Rollin, welcome to ARROW’s final volume of horrifying dream-like sauce from the master of conjuring up erotic nightmare fuel, Jean Rollin, The Fantastique Collection Part IV.

Titles Include: The Living Dead Girl, Lost in New York, Dracula’s Fiancee.

Feb 17: The French Hitchcock: Claude Chabrol

February 17, with The French Hitchcock: Claude Chabrol (UK/IRE/US).

For five decades Claude Chabrol navigated the unpredictable waters of cinema, leaving in his wake more than fifty feature films that remain among the most quietly devastating genre movies ever made. Sardonic, provocative, and unsettling, Chabrol’s films cut to the quick with a clarity and honesty honed to razor sharpness.

Though influenced by Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock and Jean Renoir, Chabrol’s voice was entirely and assuredly his own, influencing in turn filmmakers like Bong Joon-ho, James Gray and Dominik Moll. His amused, unblinkered view of life and refusal to judge his characters makes his films timelessly relevant and accessible to all.

Dark, witty, ruthless, mischievous: if you’ve never seen Chabrol before, you’re in for a treat.

Titles Include: Cop au vin, Madame Bovary (1991), The Swindle.

Feb 24: King of Karate: The Sonny Chiba Collection

February 24 hits it off with King of Karate: The Sonny Chiba Collection (UK/IRE/US/CA).

Put up your dukes and prepare yourselves for brutal and lightning-fast martial arts action starring the King of Karate: Sonny Chiba.

Whether you’ve only heard of Sonny through Clarence and Alabama’s True Romance triple-bill, have seen him sword-making for The Bride in Kill Bill, or know Shinichi Chiba from way back in the 70s martial arts boom where his lethal mastery of karate, judo and kenpo made him an in-demand anti-hero to legions of fans, there’s plenty of bruising bad-assery to be had in King of Karate: The Sonny Chiba Collection.

Titles Include: The Street Fighter, Wolf Guy, Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Hiroshima Death Match.

Feb 28: Millionaires’ Express 

February 28 closes out the shortest month of the year with Millionaires’ Express (US/CA).

All aboard for the all-star action-packed adventure of a lifetime as martial arts maestro Sammo Hung (Heart of Dragon) brings East and West crashing spectacularly together in Millionaires’ Express!

Sammo himself plays Ching Fong-tin, a former outlaw with a wild scheme to make amends with the citizens of his struggling hometown of Hon Sui: explosively derail a brand new luxury express train en route from Shanghai so that its super-rich passengers will have no choice but to spend money in the town. He’s not the only one with eyes on the passengers’ deep pockets, however; a gang of ruthless bank-robbing bandits are on the way, looking for a priceless map being guarded by a trio of Japanese samurai. Bullets and fists will fill the air in equal measure, but will Hon Sui Town be left standing?

Jean Rollin Collection promotional. It's kinda trippy.

Head over to ARROW to start watching now.

Subscriptions are available for $6.99 monthly or $69.99 yearly. 

ARROW is available in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland on the following Apps/devices: Roku (all Roku sticks, boxes, devices, etc), Apple TV & iOS devices, Samsung TVs, Android TV and mobile devices, Fire TV (all Amazon Fire TV Sticks, boxes, etc), and on all web browsers at https://www.arrow-player.com.

ARROWEssentials curates collections based on genre, decades and themes; and ARROWStories takes a fresh look at the world of film and TV with exclusive documentaries, interviews and video essays diving deeper into the many curated seasons and titles on the platform for a richer and deeper viewing experience.

With a slickly designed and user-friendly interface, and an unparalleled roster of quality content from westerns to giallo to Asian cinema, trailers, Midnight Movies, filmmaker picks and much, much more, ARROW is the place to go for the very best in on-demand entertainment.

ARROW is also home to ARROW Stories – an ever-growing collection of interviews, trailers, documentaries and additional extras, both newly created exclusives for the service and from the company’s extensive archives. The service will be updated regularly with fresh content, new curation focuses and never-before-seen content, all selected by the ARROW team as well as the filmmakers themselves. With a slickly designed and user-friendly interface ARROW is the new alternative place to go for the very best in On-Demand entertainment.

Be on the look-out because in the coming months, ARROW will be adding Oscar-winning hits, European classics, Asian cinema masterworks, rediscovered Westerns, offbeat gems and much more as part of ARROW’s international strategy to support and celebrate the medium of film.

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Movies n TV

Dahmer, The Good Boy Box

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I think if it were possible to awkward someone to death, Dahmer never would have had to use any other weapon. Because if episode four is any indication, the man was a walking personification of awkwardness. 

Let’s discuss. 

We start this episode with Dahmer talking with the police detectives after his arrest. He doesn’t seem to have any issue laying everything out for them, starting with the murder of the hitchhiker from the last episode. He’s seeing a psychiatrist, which feels overdue. And the psychiatrist is bringing back some memories. Starting with his graduation from high school.

Still from Dahmer with Evan Peters.

A few days after graduation, Lionel Dahmer finally decides to look in on his family. He comes home to find no one but Jeff there, drunk and scribbling out the faces of his classmates from his yearbook. 

After taking some time to blame Joyce, Lionel sets himself to the task of fixing his son. He first sends Jeff to Ohio State. Within a semester, Jeff is expelled with a GPA of .45. So, Lionel sends him to the army. And for about a year, that seems to work out. Jeff goes through basic training and everything is fine. But then, he’s discharged. 

It’s not outright said in the show why Dahmer was discharged. He later tells a woman that it was because of his drinking. But he lies and gives half-truths to everyone without any remorse. So there’s no way of knowing. 

Finally, we pick back up where we left off a few episodes ago, with Jeff’s grandmother finding the stolen mannequin in his bed. She throws it away, and he starts to unravel.

He goes to a state fair and gets arrested for masturbating in public.

Evan Peters in Dahmer.

Honestly, there are a lot of masturbation scenes in this episode and the last. Probably more than we needed.

Every time Jeff seems to get some sort of handle on his life, he manages to mess it up. He loses jobs and starts drugging men at bars. Finally, he finds himself in bed with the body of a beautiful young man he brought home the night before. 

I liked this episode. It was a deeply disturbing portrait of a mentally ill young man trying and failing to get himself together. It’s easy to feel bad for Dahmer. To feel like there should have been a way to save him from himself.

And there should have been, to be clear. Dahmer was throwing up enough red flags early enough that someone should have been able to do something.

And yet, nobody did until seventeen men were dead. It does make you wonder if it would have gone on so long if Dahmer hadn’t preyed on gay men. If he hadn’t been a white man. And maybe it should make us wonder that.

I’m sure this point will be made clear to us as we watch the second half of the season.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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