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Find the previous episode recap here before reading on.

This episode does the switcheroo, revealing to us that the man Jason hitchhiked with, who we (I) assumed was Warlow, is actually his ancestor. This is a very good thing because it seems the real Warlow has entered the world through a portal, looking straight up like The Undertaker from WWE.

TrueBlood S6E2 Gif of the Undertaker from WWE

Jason’s ancestor is upset about how forthcoming Jason was about his life and his sister with a stranger, demanding to know what would have happened if he WAS Warlow.

Another Injury

Sookie is walking to work when she comes upon an injured man. They quickly find out that they are both halfling fairies when they can communicate telepathically. She brings him home and nurses his vampire wound from being bitten the night before. She tells him she has to get going and doesn’t want to get too involved because she isn’t ready for a relationship.

TrueBlood S6E2 Sookie and the injured man walking together in a field

Jason brings his probably great-great-great-great-great grandfather to meet Sookie during dinner at her home. Niall has travelled into the dimension left open in Sookie’s home that Warlow tried to come through. He relays the message that Warlow has arrived from the portal that Claudine managed to keep him sealed in after Sookie’s parents were murdered.

TrueBlood S6E2 Sookie, Jason, and Niall at dinner together in her home

Niall has been trying to find Warlow for decades and explains that Warlow is after Sookie because they are the fairy royal family. He teaches Sookie that she has the ability to create a supernova that can kill any vampire, no matter their age, but she can only use it once since she is a halfling. After that, her powers will be gone.

New Weapons, As Promised

Tara has been shot by a new government weapon – one like Cavanaugh was boasting about before he was slaughtered by Eric.

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TrueBlood S6E2 Eric holding a cup with the new bullet inside of it

It’s a silver bullet that emits UV light, frying a vampire from the inside. Eric removes the bullet from Tara and does not seem bothered by the prospect of a war with the humans.

TrueBlood S6E2 Eric removing the bullet from Tara

Comatose With Visions

Bill absolutely freaks out, having a vision of the pain of all vampires. Bill drops into a comatose state and is taken into a vision with Lilith, delivered by the women’s spirits that entered his body. Lilith tells Bill that events are set into motion.

TrueBlood S6E2 Bill comatose in a chair with blood streaked on his face

Bill asks for an explanation of what he is and Lilith says that she is not a god and neither is Bill, but that in the future, people may see them both as such because of their importance in the turning of events.

TrueBlood S6E2 Bill seeing a vision of Lilith

Not ominous at all.

As Bill is comatose, Jessica worries that he may be dying. She hires a woman for Bill to feed on, and Bill breaks her bones and drinks her blood while still comatose without touching her. Yeah, it’s as weird as it sounds.

TrueBlood S6E2 Bill waking from his vision and realizing he can see the future

Jessica prays for Bill to come back to her and when he does, the two see a newscast that links up to Bill’s vision before he went comatose. Apparently he can see the future.

Patrick’s wife who is very visibly pregnant (guess he wasn’t lying about that) shows up at Merlotte’s and says that Patrick has vanished. The last place she knew he would be was with Terry. Arlene steps in and says that Patrick ran off on her and comforts her.

Activism

A table of young people at Merlotte’s stare down Sam. One of the women pleads with Sam to “come out” as a shifter and seems to know everything about him, Luna, and Emma. She asserts that the movement needs the help of other supernaturals in the coming days. Sam says he’d love to help but can’t, as he’s just trying to protect himself and his family.

TrueBlood S6E2 A group of activists sit at a table at Merlotte's

Alcide, Martha, and other wolves show up at Sam’s house and abduct Emma from Sam and Lafayette. As they have a screaming match referencing all kinds of supernatural beings, the group of activists from the bar films. Oh boy.

TrueBlood S6E2 Alcide and Martha argue with Sam outside his home before abducting Emma

Eric goes to the governor Burrell’s home and tricks his way into the building for time with the Louisiana governor. When he tries glamouring Burrell to end his vampire prejudice, the governor is wearing new technology – contacts that make humans unable to be glamoured. His guards arrest Eric, but he escapes by flying into the sky.

TrueBlood S6E2 Eric in a meeting with Burrell in a disguise

Eric flys up to the bedroom of Burrell’s daughter after she has taken out her contacts and glamours her to let him in.

This episode may only be the second of this season, but the stakes are high and feels more exciting than a typical season beginning. 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

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Sarah Moon is a stone-cold sorceress from Tennessee whose interests include serial killers, horror fiction, and the newest dystopian blockbuster. Sarah holds an M.A. in English Literature and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing. She works as an English professor as well as a cemeterian. Sarah is most likely to cover horror in print including prose, poetry, and graphic forms. You can find her on Instagram @crystalsnovelnook.

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Movies n TV

2024’s ‘SILENCE OF THE PREY’ is a Rifle Butt to the Head

The Horror Collective released this week the social justice-themed horror, SILENCE OF THE PREY!
#SilenceOfThePrey @TheHorrorCo

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Thank you to The Horror Collective for this screener. More about them is at the end of the review, so stay tuned!

SILENCE OF THE PREY is a new horror movie from directors Karyna Kudzina and Michael Vaynberg, with Kudzina also sharing a writing credit with Saro Varjabedian and also starring in the movie (although credited as Karina Bezell)…and produced by Kudzina, as well (also credited as Karina Bezell). So, there is a lot of Kudzina in SILENCE OF THE PREY. And also a lot of rifle butts to the noggin. People in this film have no peripheral vision.

Anyway, Kudzina can’t be everyone and do everything, so it also stars Monte Bezell (nabbing himself a producer credit), Chris LaPanta and Michael Doyle.

So, what is Kudzina’s passion-project about and why is it dubbed a “Social Justice-Themed Horror”? Well, let’s take a look!

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THE PLOT OF SILENCE OF THE PREY

Nina (Kudzina) is a mother with a young daughter, escaping Belarus after suffering persecution for her views. Looking for a better life in the US, she’s having a hard time because she and her daughter are undocumented refugees. However, an opportunity presents itself when an elderly man (Chris LaPanta) needs help around his home.

However, as soon as she’s moved in, there’s something sinister about the place. Strange noises in the woods. She starts seeing things, including a ghostly specter of a Deerman.

Alastor from Hazbin Hotel
No, not that one.

But when another migrant (Bezell) shows up at the isolated house, can Nina figure out the mystery before it’s too late for all of them? Or will she, too, be silenced?

THOUGHTS ON SILENCE OF THE PREY (Spoilers ahead)

Okay, I have thoughts. I really wanted to like this movie because it has actually a lot to say, which I’ll brush on more in my Brainroll section.

However, the pacing, atmosphere, acting, lighting and script are rough.

The pacing meanders point to point. There is meant to be tension when there just really isn’t. For example, Nina and Andres (Bezell), decide to drink Luther’s wine at the prodding of Andres (which also, my dude, don’t flirt with Nina and ask her to leave with you when you’ve known each other a day). Later when Luther finds out, he’s rightfully pissy about it. However, the tone is slanted to the audience like he’s being weird and controlling, which…he told her to ask him next time. That’s it. I would have done the same thing if I were Luther.

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The atmosphere could have been utilized way more efficiently to show a woman in a foreign country and in the middle of nowhere. The woods could have played a bigger factor, especially if she used to be a city girl from Minsk or something. The atmosphere was bland as most of the day shots looked very cute cottage-core cabin and the night shots were too bright to be menacing.

And speaking of lighting (and filters), SILENCE OF THE PREY looked so washed out. I get that’s the new horror vibe, being flat and muted colors, but whoo boy, does it make it uninteresting to look at. There’s nothing that really catches your eye. Nothing to draw you in as a viewer.

Nina and Luther, there's a hunting deer head in the background and a rosary but it's just really muted colors
‘Do you have a moment to talk about our lord and savior, Cottage Core Pinterest?’

This leads to the acting, which is stilted. I needed Luther to be at a 10, but instead he was at a nervous 6. I never found him believable as someone intimidating. He was too soft-spoken and gentle. Don’t get me wrong, I love old badass, creepy dudes – Stephen Lang is making bank on it. But LaPanta never reaches those levels of insanity or villainy. And opposite him is a sleepy-eyed Nina that just wanders from scene to scene.

(Not pictured: the dye-free lavender bath bomb and Rae Dunn mug of tea)

However, the real issue was the writing, which was comedic at times. If you told me this was a parody, I’d still find the tone weird, but it would be believable.

For example, when Nina chops down the door to what we imagine is an injured or dying Andres, and she actually yells down, “Ready or not, here I come!” Completely breaking the tone of the dramatic scene.

Or that Luther keeps calling Nina “delicious” and her daughter “Bambi” affectionately, which is hilarious. Like, we get it. You’re a cannibal. I’m surprised the bath scene wasn’t a marinade.

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Or how about when Luther has a cult dinner party, and all the white people are being…racist? Ignorant? Belarus is confused for the Ukraine and Nina doesn’t even try to correct them (which if she’s so outspoken in Belarus to predicate the need to flee the country, why can’t she get that energy to talk about her home country?). They are supposed to be acting like assholes and I get that but also in a way, I don’t. She and they are European descent (ahem, white, unlike Andres), and their comments never instilled any danger, so I felt it just weakened the tension.

The scene would have been more impactful if she witnessed how awful they were to Andres instead and her having to choose her daughter and her wellbeing over his. But the scene never really pushed the boundary, which it needed to. It was more laughable than sinister or vile.

A guy telling Nina it's weird that she's "Ukrainian" drawn really really well by yours truly
My contractional Paint drawing for the article

SMALL ASIDE

Before we move on to Brainroll, one thing that drove me crazy. The songs sounded like they were bought so they never really quite matched the scene, but there was one in particular they kept using. And I was like, ‘I’ve heard this before. I know I have. Is this from Kevin MacLeod?

Nope. Big friggin’ nope. It finally dawned on me at the credits. It’s absolutely the main theme of 28 Days Later by John Murphy. Anyway, it was jarring and I didn’t like it.

Nina's got a gun
‘I could shoot, or I could leave a bad AirBNB review. Decisions, Decisions.’

BRAINROLL JUICE:

Look, I get it. You might be thinking, ‘Why are you dumping so hard on this indie film?’ I’m not trying to, in fact, I was rooting for it. I wanted this to be compelling. Because I understood that it has a lot to say.

The first thing that grabbed my attention is that this “inspired by a true story” (no information was given about that). And at the end of the film, there’s a quote by Julia Ainsley from NBC News that’s in regard to missing migrants, which the full article can be found here: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/dhs-lost-track-177000-migrants-us-rcna104464.

Now, after reading the article, I don’t think it means exactly what Kudzima was alluding to. I believe, in context with the film, she was taking the article out of context. In the 2023 article, Ainsley was reporting on 177,000 of migrants who, once they entered the US and were awaiting immigration hearings, ghosted the US government.

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“[D]uring a 17-month period 177,000 address records for new arrivals were either blank or contained nonexistent or nonresidential locations.

More than 1 million migrants were released inside the U.S. pending their immigration hearings from March 2021 to August 2022, according to a new report from the DHS Office of Inspector General. Of those migrants’ records, more than 54,000 were blank, while the rest were either invalid or not legitimate residential locations. Julia Ainsley,
DHS has lost track of 177,000 migrants inside the U.S.

This is not the same as alluding to migrant women being missing due to nefarious reasons. The article has absolutely no information about that and in fact, is more about how migrants often give outdated or false information to ICE so that they can come into the country and stay off the radar of ICE…which is not a good look for Kudzima.

So, I’m going to lend a hand for a minute because this is a very real issue that migrant women face. Being a migrant afab/woman in the US makes them extremely vulnerable to violence, exploitation, trafficking, and fewer opportunities to connect to resources than their afab/male counterparts. They face incarceration or deportation if they speak up against the abuse against them and have limited support structures and resources. Many times they work longer hours, are underpaid, and are often in care-related jobs, sacrificing their own care. And not all migrant women are treated the same. Age, color, religion, ethnicity, and marital status all have a role.

In a much clearer focus on missing migrants, the IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has been going strong for 10 years, recently compiled a report regarding the deaths and disappearances of migrants – A Decade of Documenting Migrant Death.

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From their website, they state: “The more than 63,000 deaths and disappearances recorded during migration over the past decade are likely only a fraction of the actual number of lives lost worldwide. The report highlights the need for improved data collection efforts to accurately assess the scale of the issue and address the broader challenges of unsafe migration. There are more than 37,000 dead for whom no information on sex or age is available, indicating that the true number of deaths of women and children is likely far higher,” and ” migrant deaths are on the rise, with 2023 marking the highest annual death toll on record when over 8,500 deaths were recorded”.

I highly suggest checking out my resources for more information:

BOTTOMLINE FOR SILENCE OF THE PREY

It’s a worthy cause and be sure to check out https://www.iom.int/, but in the scope of movies, SILENCE OF THE PREY misses its mark. 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

AND NOW A WORD FROM THIS DISTRIBUTOR:

The Horror Collective released this week the social justice-themed horror, SILENCE OF THE PREY. Inspired by a true story, Silence of the Prey follows an undocumented immigrant mother who takes a caretaker job for an elderly man, only to discover a horrifying truth. The film marks the directorial debut of Karyna Kudzina, who co-directed with Michael Vaynberg.

Entertainment Squad’s genre label, The Horror Collective, released the film on all major video-on-demand and digital platforms in the United States, the UK/Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

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The Horror Collective is the genre label of Entertainment Squad, a finance and distribution company founded by veteran producer Shaked Berenson (TURBO KID, TALES OF HALLOWEEN). The labels’ latest productions include the killer-pants cult classic SLAXX (Shudder Original) and the critically acclaimed LGBTQ+ horror-comedy SUMMONING SYLVIA.

You can find out more on their website here: https://thehorrorcollective.com/film/silence-of-the-prey

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Movies n TV

Ghostbusters, Frozen Empire

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Released in March of this year, Ghostbuster’s Frozen Empire is the latest in what is now a four-part series that began in 1984. And, unlike most series that get a modern reboot, this series just seems to be getting better.

The story

Our tale begins in 1904. Firefighters from the same firehouse we are all familiar with are dispatched to save a building that is, well, kind of the opposite of on fire. In the middle of Summer, a whole room has frozen solid. The people inside are frozen in place. As this scene fades away, we see a woman dressed in strange brass clothes, holding a ball that seems to be whispering something.

Flash-forward to modern times, we see our Ghostbusters flying through the streets of New York, chasing a massive sea monster ghost. They manage to catch the ghost but are called into the mayor’s office for property damage. And, surprise, the mayor is Walter Peck, the minor villain in the original films.

Among Peck’s complaints is that Phoebe Spangler is underage. He insists that she be benched until she’s eighteen.

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This, of course, means that Phoebe is the only one there when Ray receives a strange ball in his shop. A ball that has so much kinetic energy that it breaks his tools. A ball that is, of course, whispering.

Dan Aykroyd, James Acaster, Finn Wolfhard, Celeste O'Connor and Logan Kim in Ghostbusters Frozen Empire.

What worked

What the Ghostbusters series has gotten right is that it’s never lost sight of the original film. It is one consistent story with new elements added. The music is similar in each. The characters are consistent from film to film. And, maybe the most important part, the original characters have aged and changed in ways that make sense.

This movie was also full of nods to original fans. Seeing Janine suited up was a fantastic moment for me. But it’s also great to see Ray, Peter and Winston as leaders and advisors.

Another thing I loved about this film was the actual creep factor. This is the first Ghostbusters movie that had some actual creepy moments. Right in the first scene, the frozen dead hand rolling around on the record player was eerie. The ghosts were creepy, except Slimer. Some of them looked like they might do some damage.

Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts in Ghostbusters Frozen Empire.

Finally, it was so cool seeing all of the Ghostbusters coming together. All three original characters fight with the seven new ones, and aided by Janine, Melody and Nadeem. It meant something that it took all of them to fight Garraka. And even then, they just barely stopped him. It raised the stakes and felt epic.

What didn’t work

I will say, this movie could have had more detail. There were a lot of storylines in this movie. Trevor trying to come into his young adulthood by battling Slimer himself. Phoebe deals with the fact that she feels like an adult and isn’t treated like one yet. Her love affair with Melody. Nadeem discovering and coming into his birthright. And, of course, everyone coming together to defeat Garraka.

With so many stories in play, it was going to be impossible to treat all of them with the time and respect they deserved. And one story I felt needed more attention was the story of Melody. I want to know why she was hanging out playing chess in Central Park. I want to know why there was a diner with her name on it. I want to know why Garraka chose her to get close to Phoebe. I want to know so many things about this character and there was just not enough time. This was an almost two-hour movie already, there was not enough time because they did too much.

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All in all, though, this is a small complaint. Ghostbusters Frozen Empire was funny, creepy, heartwarming and a lot of fun. It’s something you can watch with little ones and adults alike, and everyone in the room will have a good time.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Suburban Screams, A Killer Comes Home

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Episode two of John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams was more true crime than supernatural. It was the horrific, dark tale of a serial killer who escapes from jail and comes back to his hometown for revenge. And boy, does he find it.

The story

This story begins with a man coming out to his front porch to find a mysterious package wrapped in newspaper. He opens it to find a rotting, maggot-ridden head that he certainly didn’t order.

The head was placed there by a killer named Allan Legere. In 1986, Legere brutally murdered a couple in their homes during a robbery. For this, he was sentenced to life in prison.

However, he escaped from prison in May of 1989. Enraged at his old hometown, he returns there and starts a brutal killing rampage. He wants revenge on the people who wronged him. At least, the people he believes wronged him. Rather than focusing on the police who arrested him, or the judge and jury who convicted him, he decides to go after the journalists who reported on the case.

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Of course, he also murders a whole bunch of old ladies for some reason. And a priest.

Annette Holland in Suburban Screams.

Legere is still alive, and still in prison. But as he’s escaped once, many people believe he might do so again. And if he does, he’ll almost surely try to pick up right where he left off.

This tale is told from the point of view of the journalists, Rick MacLean and David Cadogan. Both men have been deeply impacted by this incident. They are still shaken. And still very, very angry.

What worked

This episode was far better than the first, right from the maggot-headed start. The gore was intense. The story was horrifying. And it’s made even more horrifying, knowing that it is, for the most part, true.

The thing that made this episode stand out is that it feels so much like several beloved horror stories. I would suggest that this story inspired John Carpenter’s Halloween, except that that movie came out in 1978. The events in this episode took place from 1986 to 1989.

To realize that a person could cause so much pain, and take so many lives, is possibly the scariest thing most of us can imagine. And while this story is, sadly, not unique, it is certainly worse than most.

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What didn’t work

After watching this episode, I can only really think of one complaint. There is a scene with the first victims, two elderly ladies. The first woman is home alone when someone begins hammering on her front door. We are meant to believe that it is the killer, but it ends up being her sister with a lovely salad. But if the two sisters lived together, why was she knocking to be let in? I can only believe that this is meant as misdirection to the point of being a jump scare. And this feels cheap. Especially when the rest of the episode was more on the level.

Is it True?

While I do think parts of this episode were, let’s say dramatized, I do think this happened. There are just too many facts that would be far too easy to look up. To my dismay, the part that is easiest to look up is the horrific deaths of many innocent people.

This was a much better episode than the one that preceded it. The story is compelling and frightening. It is well told, both from the survivors being interviewed and the actors recreating the moments of horrific history. I’m hoping that the rest of the season is more like this episode, and less like the first.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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