This year, Halloween falls on Saturday, traditionally the least watched night on TV. Perhaps this is appropriate. In 2015, TV can be anything suitable for a holiday: shocking, terrifying, cloyingly sweet, overly commercial, and very, very rude. But one thing he still struggles with is fear. Don’t believe me? Take a moment to think: what was the last regular TV show that was really scary? I don’t mean bit by bit awful, like one of Leatherface’s victims. I mean a show that is scary from top to bottom, from start to finish. And I mean the show, except let’s say fathers.
This is not so much a criticism as a fact of life. Movies, with their limited screening time, are especially good for keeping the mood going. When you sit down to watch a horror movie, you are essentially agreeing to be on your toes for 90 to 120 minutes. Television, by its very nature, requires variety in tone and pitch. Viewers simply cannot be asked to hold their breath for eight, ten, or even 22 hours a season. Try it and they will die even before your show. Instead, television has traditionally had to play on the fringes of horror films, creating entire series from cuts and scraps that are usually underestimated by viewers. Fangoria crowd: slow, painful buildup; dispassionate, yeoman-like investigation; long, sad ending. (Or, as in the case of the flattering Fox scream queens, the idea that a mockery can cut deeper than a knife.) A scary movie is a twist on a haunted house. Scary TV Show is more of a haunted timeshare. There should be at least the occasional gimmicks towards amenities like comfort and humor because, let’s be honest, you’ll be there for a while.
If anyone was going to crack the horror television code, I would expect it to be a paid service like HBO or Netflix, with their unlimited makeup budgets and the freedom to target a micro-targeted audience with the precision of a serial killer. But the two most successful horror-movie-challenge series both hail from the infernal “Saw” of mainstream cable television. FX american horror storiesquiet killing ratings in its fifth iteration, television has probably come closest to the specificity and enduring madness of cinema. This is partly due to the creative casting of the show and the insatiable thirds to the extreme. But let’s be honest: the most noteworthy aspect ASF it’s not a bearded lady, it’s the length of each season. By limiting each cycle to 13 hours and one story, the show’s one dissonant note can sound like a symphony. no one is watching ASF as much as one commits to that.
AMS the walking Dead even more remarkable. Not only is this distant television most popular show Among the highly coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic, he almost single-handedly refuted all the ideas outlined in my opening paragraph. Where most serialized dramas create a world and expand in it over time, adding characters, nuances and layers, the walking Dead has a guillotine where the engine of history should be. He has no interest in saving the world or curing a zombie outbreak. Instead, it sets base camp at a crushing moment when most dystopian films end, plunging into grief, violence, and loss. “All Fucked Up” is not a traditional starting point on television, but, again, the walking Dead not a traditional series. His remarkable prowess in areas often considered secondary – sound design, visual effects, editing and casting – has helped him to endure even when the plot veers decisively into a kind of sadistic nihilism. And, in a perverse way, a dull consistency the walking Dead – no matter what happens, every week someone gets bitten – that’s what saves it as a TV show. At that moment, constant, terrible suffering became as addictive as laughter.
This Sunday’s controversial episode actually reinforced the walking Deadconnection to other TVs. In the Jon Snow era, favorite shows have grown far beyond their time slots. The fandom is a full-contact sport that runs around the clock, seasons be damned. This showrunner is Scott M. Gimple should have qualified a major death – and thus an encroachment on his own dramatic narrative just minutes after it was launched – was further proof that the winking game no longer works in a world where everyone plays at such a high level. On the walking Dead, humans can just be huge buddies to zombie masses. But in fact, these characters are close people who are expected in our homes every week. The modern showrunner can and should scold them, but he must remember to respect them.
Despite this oversight, my main takeaway from Thank You was admiration. Though there are many nits left to choose from the walking DeadI’m deeply impressed by the show’s ability to take complex, fast-burning emotions like pain, stress, and desperation and compress them into the confines of a weekly series. The panicked, almost narcotic fugue state Nicholas fell into as he was surrounded by an incredible horde of zombies was contagious. I’m not saying I can understand the choice he made in that moment, but god, who could blame him? Over and over I find the scale of this season the walking Dead deeply unbalanced; death has long been everywhere, but rarely so monumental or seemingly inevitable. This ruthlessness is radical for television, and especially for Sunday night television, which has long been the warming heart of television week in the country. This is the rod that helped the walking Dead become the most terrifying television show in more than a literal sense; now it destroys the emotions, not just the insides.
On Saturday night, just when most kids will be counting their candy at home, two spooky, quirky series will premiere, each aiming to keep the pumpkin lantern glowing until November. Although SundanceTV Returned back with season 2 – I loved the first one – it’s Starz Ash vs Evil Dead it is actually the more familiar of the pair. That’s because it picks up a baggy story that first began in 1978, when two frustrated midwestern dramatic jerks named Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell made a bloody short film called In the forest. From this passage, an iconic empire arose: a trilogy favorite filmsas well as many video games, comics and unlimited possibilities for cosplay. The only tie between it all: Raimi’s inimitable tongue-in-cheek aesthetic and Campbell’s performance as Ashley “Ash” Williams, a one-armed everyman with the ability to summon spirits. Necronomicon. When ghouls come to the call, Ash is usually ready to deal with them with a barrage of witticisms and shotgun blasts. No more mountain climbing on the big screen (the cinematic reboot flopped in 2013) and nothing else. spiderman dancing According to the choreographer, the two have taken their signature chainsaw to the only frontier they have left: the small screen.
That’s the problem Ash vs Evil Dead: This is good. Better, it’s fun in a goofy, contagious way that’s the complete opposite. the walking Deadpouty frown. You don’t have to be familiar with the franchise’s history or humor before jumping in. I’d say the opening montage of a 57-year-old Campbell trying to squeeze into his belt is a pretty good introduction, as it’s a scene in which a Michigan detective (Jill Marie Jones) is attacked by a neck-wringing poltergeist whose head ends up exploding with the strength and fluid velocity of one of Gallagher’s overripe melons. What’s good about Ash vs Evil Dead it’s not that he doesn’t take himself seriously – although, come on, that’s not the case at all. The fact is that he chooses the details very carefully. must take seriously. Thus, Campbell – still the Iberico de Bellota of a Category B radio amateur – pays as much attention to Ash’s Chaplin antics as he does to swaggering chainsaw swings. And Raimi, who directed the first hour and co-wrote or produced the other nine, lends seriousness and wit to every high-jumping demon. With severed limbs and Saturday dinner references, this isn’t your father’s horror show. It’s your crazy uncle. And thank God for that.
At the other end of the spectrum is Returned. If Ash vs Evil Dead it is a gushing artery of jubilant blood, the French series is rigor mortis. In the first season, the inhabitants of a remote mountain town were decimated when their deceased relatives were suddenly brought back to life, seemingly unharmed and frozen to the age they were at the time of death. So: A teenage girl is suddenly reunited with her barely-adolescent twin, a young mother is visited by a fiancé who committed suicide while she was pregnant, a bar owner who happily buried his murderous brother years ago must find a way to accept him. back to the world. its orbit. It’s a bold premise, of course, and a smaller show would have turned down the pressure to come up with answers. But beauty Returned there was the awkward way in which he asked his heavy questions, the way he let his impossible dream of a premise slowly and imperceptibly collapse into a sour nightmare.
In season 2 Returned remains as awkward and elliptical as ever. Few shows are as breathtakingly beautiful; its palace of ghostly gray tones and harsh metallic light is reminiscent of the work of the Impressionist T-1000. And the music, once again composed by Scottish noise poets Mogwai, is subtle and disruptive. The flood cleansed the city, and the dead established their society in the mountains. The imminent birth of Adele’s (Clotilde Esme’s) baby – she was impregnated last season by the very late Simon (Pierre Perrier) – is what drives the plot, but the truth is that the plot feels almost secondary in such an eerie landscape. Really, Returned not so much frightening as haunting. In such a show, it is the living who slowly shed their masks to reveal the scarred monsters lurking beneath them. The supernatural is really just a mirror of the frightening possibilities of human nature. It is this psychological dissection, rather than the more bloody and literal one in which television is historically excellent. That’s because when the movie ends, you can quickly exit the theater and return to the quiet safety of your home. The scariest shows are always on TV. from within house.