Watched Wednesday S1E1

Watched Wednesday’s Child Is Full of Woe from

Smart, sarcastic and a little dead inside, Wednesday Addams investigates a murder spree while making new friends — and foes — at Nevermore Academy.

🤷‍♀️ Didn’t hate it, didn’t particularly like it. Willing to watch another episode. A little too YA. So far I prefer Christina Ricci’s Wednesday.

Horror Romance

Re-watched Sleepy Hollow

Watched Sleepy Hollow from

Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of three people, with the culprit being the legendary apparition, The Headless Horseman.

This movie is so fucking great.

Tim Burton is phenomenal at creating mood — he even uses the opening credits to build mood and plant questions to entice the audience as the hero journeys through moody forests to the scene of the crime, the sky gray and cloudy just as winter days are here, the light weak and pale even during the day. He didn’t have to show that journey, but it builds our anticipation for what is to come. Love the desaturated look for the whole movie, the way he twists the idyllic to become sinister. The design of the evil tree is fantastic, and the costuming is great. I love the callback to the original Frankenstein movie in the climax.

The movie doesn’t take itself seriously, reveling in ridiculous fake gore humor, and casting Christopher Walken in a role where he mostly doesn’t have a head, and when he does his only line is a growl, delivered through teeth “filed to points.”

The plot nails its beats — I have had my head in a beat sheet for the last three weeks and in delight watching a master storyteller showcase the key beats. One quibble with the plot motivations: the magistrate didn’t have a reason to give him a tip.

I like that they pulled in the original story element of Ichabod being a coward while giving him depth of character and a commitment to overcome his fears and dislike of blood. It feels uncommon for a cowardly character to nevertheless be the hero of the story. The visual symbol of his beliefs — the spinning cardinal disc — is used brilliantly to complement his story arc. I find this character much more compelling than Jack Sparrow, though of course this weirdo artsy horror movie with the “beta” hero isn’t going to be the role that sticks in the collective consciousness 🤷‍♀️

A few quibbles: I would have appreciated Ricci’s character to get one more scene, or at least a few more lines, at the climax. Technically it doesn’t fail the Bechdel Test, but not by much.

Fantasy Horror

Watched Sandman S1E11

Watched Dream of a Thousand Cats/Calliope from

In this two-part story collection, a Siamese cat dreaming of a new world and a writer in desperate need of inspiration cross paths with Morpheus.

Interesting strategy to release a bonus episode a few weeks after the series drop, another push to get people talking about the show again.

The animation of the dream of a thousand cats I didn’t find quite up to the comic, though it did seem to stay true to it. A good spot for a Neil Gaiman cameo.

I did think the Calliope episode turned out well, Arthur Darvill was good as Ric Madoc, and it gave us a chance to see another side of Morpheus.

Fantasy Horror

Watched Sandman S1E7&8

Watched The Doll's House from

Lucienne comes to Morpheus with disturbing news. Rose Walker goes in search of family. Admirers of Corinthians work scheme to get his attention.

Getting into a storyline I recall as being more interesting. Hard to say what I don’t remember and what has changed.

The “collector” stuff is a little more on the horror side than I prefer 😬

Fantasy Horror

Watched Sandman S1E5&6

Watched 24/7 from

With Morpheus caught off guard, John settles in at a diner to watch the people around him – and put his theory about truth and lies to a terrifying test.

The diner episode was pretty brutal to watch, I stepped out for a minute.

The Death episode was fan service, not ideal for episode 6 in a 10 episode series to acknowledge it’s used up its plot and there is no arc in play anymore. Cool to see Hob but overall too much character/ emotional work and not enough action in one episode. Much as I like his friendship with Hob, it should have been axed — they only should have indulged one, and clearly Death is the winner there.

Fantasy Horror

Watched Sandman S1E4

Watched A Hope in Hell from

A lead on the whereabouts of his helm compels Morpheus to seek an audience with Lucifer. A confused John receives a helping hand from a good Samaritan.

Didn’t like Gwendolyn Christie’s Lucifer — showed too much vulnerability and emotion IMO. Mazikeen looked cool but I’m not sure if her emotions were quite right either — still happy to actually see her true form instead of the perfect visage she had in the Lucifer show.

Dropping some more hints that Sandman is a … complicated hero at best.

Hell was visually very cool. Can’t remember how much came straight from the comic. The red carpet at the entry gate being blood is a nice touch.

Tom Sturridge doing a good job portraying the gravitas of Morpheus.

The raven is growing on me though the way it moves sometimes seems a bit out of place from the script. I think it’s a real bird?

Fantasy Horror

Watched Sandman S1E3

Watched Dream a Little Dream of Me from

Morpheus tracks down the last-known person in possession of his sand – and receives an unexpected lesson on humanity. Ethel pays a visit to her son.

It’s been so long since I read Sandman that I’m mostly going in blank, and things come back to me as I watch, especially scenes that adapt an image directly from the comic.

Is there a Johanna Constantine show? Feels like they’re setting up a spinoff, or we’ll see her again — she had a good presence.

Fantasy Horror

Watched Sandman S1E1&2

Watched Sleep of the Just from

While searching for an escaped nightmare in the waking world, Morpheus falls prey to Roderick Burgess, an occultist looking to summon and imprison Death.

First episode a little slow but more interesting than Preludes and Nocturnes from my memory (I almost quit reading before volume 2). Charles Dance is always great, smart casting to get a big name for that role to make the first episode hold up. Though it’s a bad sign when you need to end the episode with a teaser for all the exciting action in the rest of the season rather than setting up interest to continue watching within the story.

I like the guy they cast as Dream though his voice took a little getting used to, wasn’t what I’d envisioned. They did a good job of making Dream creepy when he doesn’t speak for most of the episode, angling his body awkwardly before the camera and keeping the cold silent stare. Helm looks great, ruby looks too small from my memory.

Episode 2, choked up over Gregory, but I’m not a fan of the Cain and Abel story.

They’re doing a pretty good job of keeping Dream sympathetic while showing his faults, like him even admitting he could have forgiven Alex for killing Jessamy and been released decades earlier, and refusing to call on his siblings for aid.

Big CGI budget for the show but they skimped on the credit sequence 😬

Not sure how I feel about it so far 🤷‍♀️

Horror Romance

Read The Widow of Rose House

Read The Widow of Rose House

It’s 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time. However, fresh starts aren’t as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor, Samuel Moore, appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn’t need any more complications in her life―especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam.

Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva’s new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva’s history―and her heart.

This was very much a romance rather than gothic ghost story with a romance, which is what I expected from the cover. I enjoyed it despite some quibbles about a rushed ending (everything resolved too cleanly and quickly, hero not given enough to do, insufficient denouement) and expectations from the first half not quite aligning with the story in the second half. I think there were too many plotlines and cutting out the brother would have allowed more time on the ghost story, which would be a better match for expectations.

Sam and his family are very entertaining. I also enjoyed the relationship between Sam and his BFF / semi adopted brother, who I suspect was being set up for his own book.


Watched Stranger Things S4 Part 2

Watched Stranger Things Season 4 from

(This is all negative critique but the episodes were fine entertainment. I liked the “most metal concert of all time” and appreciated how they set up the location of El’s final battle.)

🤔 I don’t think acknowledging that something is on the nose excuses it from being on the nose. It also has a feeling of breaking the fourth wall without actually doing so by commenting on the meta of the story. But I guess they needed to pound it into our heads to set up the climax? I wanted a more completion of a character arc from the active protagonist of the climax, without prompting.

Also some really heavy-handed visual metaphor going on for the final scene. (Where’s the line between heavy-handed and effective? Maybe it needed the drama.)

A lot of the dialogue was really predictable because they lean so heavily into the tropes. When does homage descend into generic derivative? The episodes to some extent felt cobbled together of obligatory scenes and moments, trope-fated. Even who lived and died. Maybe I’m being a snob here and this is just effective storytelling 🤷‍♀️ This isn’t a show that needs nuance, it is what it is, a celebration of the 80s and horror.

But I feel like the earlier seasons had more surprises? Perhaps this is inherent to resolving a long-arc story, since you have to stop adding new stuff and work with the pieces you already have, and as viewers get to know the characters there are fewer surprises.