Four Letter Nerd

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Bo Burnham’s “Make Happy” Might Make You Kind Of Sad, But That’s OK

It was a cold, dark October night. My wife and I were driving around downtown Nashville trying to find a place to park for free because I’d forgotten my wallet at home and she’d forgotten her purse, we had no cash on us at all, and we hadn’t realized this until we got down there. We were on our way to the War Memorial Auditorium to see Bo Burnham. It was his “Make Happy” tour. We’d had the tickets since, literally, the minute they went on sell, and everything in the world was trying to stop us. See, we’d also both been violently ill for 2 days leading up to the night of the show and had only not been excreting unwanted bodily fluids (and some solids) for less than 24 hrs so we were just drained of all energy. That’s the main reason we were so scatterbrained and just took off without making sure we had everything we’d need like, you know, money. I said, “Maybe we can Google free places to park in Nashville?” So we did. And guess what… you can park at pretty much any meter for free after 6:oopm in Nashville. I know, right?! We’d driven around for like 20 minutes and passed a billion meters that we could’ve parked at, but whatever. We finally parked and headed to the venue to see something that, after everything that had been going wrong, would make us happy.

That show we saw was just one tour date in a string of them leading up to the filming of the official “Make Happy” special which premiered on Netflix on June 3rd of this year. If you’re not familiar with Bo, this is his 3rd major special, after 2010’s “Words, Words, Words“, and 2013’s “what.” (which my wife and I also were lucky enough to see live). I want to recommend “Make Happy” to everyone, but I feel like you benefit from it more if you see the two previous shows so that you can understand the progression of his craft, so If you haven’t seen those please watch them.

“Make Happy” is the next evolution in Bo’s one-man shows. I say “one-man” shows because that’s a way better representation of what you’re watching. It’s comedy on the surface, but underneath Bo is making comments on society and culture in ways that transcend “stand-up”. I think the first clue that Bo was different from other comedians was his “Art is Dead” song from “Words Words Words”. The idea that a comedian would break the wall that way and express a sad reality right in the middle of a comedy show was both surprising and refreshing. Like, “Ok, this dude is self-aware.” Most comedians won’t show that side of themselves without partnering it with some kind of arms-length self-deprecation that lets you in just barely, but still keeps you from seeing too much. Much of that special is just very clever comedy, but there’s one other song that stands out. “Rant”. It’s just Bo sort of going off about religion, specifically the Catholicism he grew up in. Pretty much every comedian ever has had some joke or bit about religion but there’s something different about this because some of the things he says in it are so relatable that it’s almost hard to laugh at.  He does a fantastic job of injecting moments to lighten the heavy reality of it though, which is something he’s very good at…

I remember sitting in my seat at Marathon Music Works the first time I heard Bo perform “From God’s Perspective” and being paralyzed by how profound it was. It had a huge impact on me. There are some funny lines but, overall, the message resonated with me on a deeper level more than just some throwaway joke song would. I walked out of there and carried that song with me, eventually struggling to recall the whole thing, until the special was released and I could listen to it over and over again. Those first two specials had these carefully placed serious moments surrounded by very well-written and brilliant comedy, but “Make Happy”… is very different.

“Make Happy” is not a comedy special in the traditional sense. Not even in the same way that “Words…” and “what.” were. Each special has allowed Bo open up a little more and “Make Happy” is where he pours it all out on the table and says, “This is who I am.” It’s VERY funny, but it’s also VERY emotional. There are a few bits that are just straightforward comedy, but most of them are laced with some kind of social or cultural commentary, or something personal for Bo. The opening number is very energetic but he still makes space to slow it down and softly sing, “I can’t wrap my mind around exactly why I’m here. I know you paid money. I should be funny. Other than that, don’t know why I’m here.” It’s introspective, yes, but it’s also a teachable moment to the audience. An opportunity for us to realize that being spectators of his introspection is… really strange, but that’s what makes it art and not just “a comedy show”.

From there Bo satirizes things like the emptiness of modern hip-hop, our failure to accept reality when searching for love, and the plight of the “Straight White Male”, by singing about how hard it is when women want rights, and gays want rights, and “the blacks want… not to be called the blacks” but nobody cares when he gets an brand new iPhone with a iPod Touch’s case (“The case doesn’t fit that phone”). But maybe the best thing he lampoons is the lack of substance and creativity in “stadium country music.” Somehow, in writing about how pop-country is nothing but pandering trash Bo ended up accidentally writing the best country song of the year.

There’s also an enlightening moment where he destructs the hollow nature of things like “Celebrity Lip Syncing” and how these people are pretty much doing the absolute bare minimum to be labeled “entertainment” and we’re allowing ourselves to be captivated by it. He says to the audience, “Your attention’s a valuable thing. I’ve worked for three years to get it for an hour, and I *barely* get there.” That’s heavy.

Another thing I found interesting was the song “Kill Yourself”, which is a response to people feeling like an empty pop song will change their lives and make them feel better, but what I find most fascinating about it is that it also feels like a follow up to “Repeat Stuff” from “Words, Words, Words.” I’ll explain what I mean. I feel like “Repeat Stuff” was Bo’s attempt to warn us about the careless impotence of corporate pop music, and “Kill Yourself” is a resolution that his warning went mostly unheeded so… you know… fuck it? That may sound crude but it’s exactly the way you would feel if you went out of your way to warn your friend about a shitty taco truck and it was like all your time and energy were wasted because they kept going there and ending up getting sick. You would eventually cave to the futility also, and say, “Fine. Keep eating the shitty food and making yourself sick. I’m done trying to help.”

Classic comedian Ed Wynn once said, “A comedian is not a man who says funny things, he’s a man who says things funny.” On “Make Happy”, instead of injecting ideas and emotions into the comedy, Bo has cultivated a piece of comedic art with correlating humor and sincerity. Sometimes that sincerity is a tad… hostile? What I mean is, you can tell that Bo’s relationship with the audience is strained, because there are moments where he almost seems surly toward us. It all comes to a head in the finale of the show when he takes a cue from Kanye and laments his problems with an auto-tuned sing/talk demonstration. Now, like Bo, I also happened to catch a stop of the Yezzus tour so I knew exactly what he was talking about when he began to explain it. When I saw him he was complaining about how NIKE was blowing him off about some shoe deal so he went and told on them to the president of Dolce & Gabbana, or something.

Bo starts his parody by griping about the size of Pringles cans before moving onto grumbling about a messy burrito at Chipotle, and it’s absolutely hilarious, but then… shit gets real. He begins to pour out his real feelings; his discomfort with having to please an audience and feeling like it’s expected of him by them and by himself. He defines himself as a “skinny kid with steadily declining mental health”, and then he repeats “I don’t think that I can handle this right now” over and over.  It’s one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever witnessed. Seeing it live for the first time was kind of a shock. I think I didn’t really know how to process it, but I was impressed with his ability to be so open and honest. The first time I watched the special on Netflix my wife and I reacted differently because it was just the two of us in our bed together and we were holding hands and we kept holding hands until it was over. She cried and I just sat there stunned by the emotion of it all.

I watched the special again, alone, really only casually, and it affected me very differently yet again. I pulled it up to watch on my phone while I was doing some housework and by the time the end rolled around I was doing the dishes. I had my phone propped up on the paper towel holder above the sink and as I began to hear him unload his emotions I stared weeping. Standing right there in front a sing full of dirty dishes, with my kids playing in the room behind me, I gripped the sink and just cried. Like, ugly crying. Maybe it’s because something in me sympathized with him, or maybe it’s because I related to it in some way, or maybe it’s because the idea of “Make Happy” was hitting me in the heart like a fucking bulldozer. I have no idea, but in that moment I feel like I began to understand the title as more of an action than a label. MAKE Happy. It’s not a noun, it’s a verb. A challenge. Go *make* happy. Don’t expect it to be hand delivered to you. This sentiment is backed up by the final song of the special, which was not performed live, that I recall. I assume it’s titled “Are You Happy?” because that’s what Bo sings interwoven between lines like, “I really wanna try to get happy…” and “You’re everything you hated.” It’s not funny at all. Rather, it’s very reflective and antagonizes a lot of feelings inside you. I use the word “antagonize” intentionally because that’s what’s happening to you. It isn’t creating new feelings inside of you. It’s activating dormant feelings you have and urging you to indulge them. Embrace them. FEEL them. Which, again, is what makes it more than just comedy. It’s art. Tangible in ways that you didn’t know were possible, and Bo’s way of letting go of our collective hand and politely saying, “From now on… you make yourself happy.” It’s sad, but it’s a happy kind of sad and that’s more “real life” than anything a comedian will give you. You only get that from an artist.

4LN’s Favorite TV Shows of 2015

2015 was a big year for TV. From the return of Kevin Spacey as everyone’s favorite cunning and crooked politician, President Frank Underwood, in House of Cards, to the debut of what appears to be everyone’s new favorite tattooed darling, Jane Doe (played by the beautiful and infinitely talented Jaimie Alexander) from NBC’s new #1 hit show Blindspot. There was the widely discussed (and argued about) new season of Game of Thrones, as well as the end of brilliant dramas Mad Men and Parenthood. Read on to see what shows were at the top of our “Must Watch” lists this year!

 

Jeff Merrick

Game of Thrones
It was an Emmy award winning year for my favorite show, and with good reason. Not everyone agrees with my belief that Season 5 was better than the previous season, but I much preferred each story arc moving at a consistent pace instead of the Season 4 structure that relied on big moments to keep us interested while characters spent the rest of the time doing nothing.

This season also produced “Hardhomme” (episode 8), one of the best episodes the show has ever done, and another jaw dropping moment at its conclusion, the kind viewers of Game of Thrones have come to expect.

Better Call Saul
If you were a fan of “Breaking Bad,” then you must start following this prequel series (assuming you haven’t already) that aired its first season in 2015 about the lawyer who laundered all that money for Walt and Jessie.

The style that made “Breaking Bad” one of the greatest (if not the greatest) shows of all time is maintained throughout the ten episode season. Of course, Bob Odenkirk owns the role of Saul (or Jimmy McGill as he’s called at this point in his life). But the highlight of the season is Jonathan Bank’s portrayal of Mike Ehrmantraut, the enforcer for Gus Fring and Walter White on “Breaking Bad.” The episode presenting Mike’s backstory during “Better Call Saul’s” first season was one of the best hours of television in 2015.

Saul (Bob Odenkirk) and Mike (Jonathan Banks) were one of the top duos on television in 2015.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tina Fey’s Netflix original about a woman adjusting to modern life after spending the last fifteen years living underground was the best comedy of 2015. The comedic commentary on modern trends, a staple of Fey’s productions, raises its game to a higher level than even “30 Rock” was able to do. Ellie Kemper (who’s previously known for playing Erin Hannon on the Office) gives her breakthrough performance as a lead actress with her portrayal of Kimmy. And Kemper’s chemistry with her costars (Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane, Jane Krakowski) paints a surprisingly accurate picture of how a person overcoming her situation would handle it while keeping us laughing all the way through the journey.

 

Bill Clark

Supergirl
I’m a DC guy. The comics AND the shoes. I like to buy mine from Shoe Carnival because they have such good deals! I buy my comics from Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million though. They also have such good deals! Anyway, I was really excited when Supergirl came out cause there’s never been a TV show that focused only on a female super hero and I felt it was about dang time! Melissa Benoist plays Kara/Supergirl and she’s just fantastic! My only complaint, and it’s really a small one, is that she’s almost TOO pretty. I really wish there wasn’t such an emphasis on looks and status cause I feel it takes away from the characters personalities. Like, why can’t Supergirl have like a big birthmark on her face, and a limp or something. Maybe she’s even in a Hoveround and does her superheroing in between renting movies from the library and selling little dolls she makes out of cardboard toilet paper rolls and yarn at the Farmer’s Market. I’m just saying, I’d watch the hell outta that show.

 

 

Married

I’m sad because this one recently got canceled and I really loved it. I’m not married so I didn’t really relate to most of it, but it was still really funny. Also, it had Judy Greer and she really grinds my gears. I used that correctly right? I’m trying to say I think she’s really pretty and when I look at her I get a funny feeling in my body. I’m sorry. I’m really getting off-track. I’ll try to get back on. Ok… so it’s about this married couple and Judy Greer is the wife and this one episode she was in some lingerie and I was really happy about that. Darnit! I did it again. I promise I’m not objectifying her or anything. I just really appreciate her and respect her as a sexy…  I mean TALENTED actress. Ah! Good grief. Just… If you like funny shows then you should watch this one. I have to go Google some stuff.

Fargo

I’ve never been to Fargo, North Dakota and after watching this show I’m not sure I want to. People keep getting murdered up there! I certainly don’t want to get murdered so I think I’ll just stick to watching this exciting crime show. It’s a little confusing because none of the actors from the first season (Billy Bob Thornton, Bilbo Baggins, and Tom Hanks’ son) are back this season and I’m a little lost but I sure as heck still love it! This time around it’s got Kristen Dundst, Todd from Breaking Bad, and one of the guys from Cheers. I’ve never seen Cheers but I asked Stephen Andrew about it and he just threw an empty whisky bottle at me and muttered something about the boxer Joe Frasier, so I assume it’s about drinking and boxing. Also, someone told me that this show was based on a movie from a while back but I went to a couple Redbox kiosks and didn’t see it so I think they were messing with me.

 

Stephen Andrew

Daredevil
I watch all the comic book shows. I mean, this site is called “Four Letter Nerd” so you’d pretty much expect that right? I even pretty much really enjoy all of them. The Flash started very strong and has been extremely consistent throughout. Gotham and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. both had rocky moments but I think they’ve both found their way with very precise direction. Oh, and if you haven’t picked up iZombie, you are sincerely missing out on some fantastic television. Then along comes good ol’ Netflix and their partnership with Marvel.  First up: Daredevil. A character that by all logic shouldn’t work in this medium of entertainment. But I’ll be damned if this show didn’t absolutely redeem Matty Murdock and his superpower of being blind some of the time. In fact, that’s one of the things that makes the show such a success. They never tried to pull the whole “he’s got sonar vision” crap. I’m looking at you, Daredevil movie from 2003. Another thing that makes it stand out is how relentlessly brutal it is. Like, in one scene,  Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk (Kingpin) liquefies a dude’s head with a car door. A F**KING CAR DOOR. The action and the fight scenes are top notch, with some brilliant martial arts choreography. Plus, it really set the bar for what comic book shows, specifically super hero shows, have the potential to be. Gritty and dark. Daredevil doesn’t pull punches, and that’s exactly what we needed. Speaking of not pulling punches…

Jessica Jones
It wasn’t really long we had to wait for the second installment of the Netflix/Marvel shows (which will continue with Luke Cage and Iron Fist, before bringing all 4 heroes together in a Defenders mini-series). When I first heard that they were doing a Jessica Jones show, I thought, “Surely there are better known, and more well-deserving female characters that they could include here.” Well I happily ate those words after only about 5 minutes into the show. Because season 1 of Jessica Jones is best season of a comic book/super hero show that I have ever watched. The story is intense, it paces perfectly, and the acting performances are fantastic. For me, there’s no better villain than David Tenant’s Kilgrave, The Purple Man. He was just so despicably and deplorably captivating. There are moments where they give you backstory that almost, not quite but almost, make you feel sorry for him, and then it’s right back into “oh no this guy is a walking bag of rabid ferrets”. The star of the show, Krysten Ritter, is flawless. She perfectly captures the cold, hardened attitude of Jessica while also showing us those vulnerabilities that she doesn’t even want to have, let alone allow people see. If you haven’t watched it yet then you need to go right now and start. Netflix killed it with this one. Speaking of Netflix and killing…

 

Making a Murderer
That may seem like a cheesy transition to you guys but I’ve had a couple shots of whiskey and so it’s probably the peak of my creativity at this point. (If you skipped my other entries and are just reading this one, then you missed a whole thing and you’re gonna need to go back and get caught up. We’ll wait…) Anyway, back to the business at hand.

THIS SHOW IS THE MOST COMPELLING THING I’VE WATCHED IN I DON’T KNOW HOW LONG. Sorry. The caps lock was stuck. But that doesn’t make the urgency of the above sentence any less crucial. Making a Murder is a 10 part documentary series that I binged watched in an entire day. Dead serious. I was that enthralled. I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ll just post the Wikipedia summary.

Making a Murderer is an American web television series which first streamed on Netflix on December 18, 2015. The first season recounts the story of Steven Avery, a man who was imprisoned for sexual assault and attempted murder, and who was later exonerated, only to be subsequently accused of the murder of Teresa Halbach. The series was filmed over the course of ten years, with the creators moving back and forth from New York to Wisconsin during filming

I’ve never had a TV show, or a documentary for that matter, have me so compelled and infuriated at the same time. It really coveys what type of corruption and injustice can fester when small town law enforcement and judicial systems function without appropriate accountability.

If you don’t have Netfilx but you’re interested, you can watch the first episode on YouTube. I urge you to at least give it a chance to grab your attention. If you get sucked in you’ll be on one crazy, real-life roller coaster.

X-Men: Apocalypse Announced for 2016! But What Does That Even Mean?

A couple weeks back, director Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2, First Class) announced that following 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” we’d be getting another X-Men film. “X-Men: Apocalypse” will premier in 2016.

“Bryan Singer Announces X-MEN: APOCALYPSE For 2016 Release”

For those of you who don’t read comics this means little more than the film franchise continuing on longer. If you’re not familiar with the X-Men comic books and never watched the epic and brilliant ’90’s cartoon, you probably don’t know that there’s a villain character called Apocalypse. Here’s some info to hopefully help you out:

1. He’s a, roughly, 5,000 year old mutant.

2. His blood has a healing quality for mutants, but is deadly to humans.

3. He has complete control over his molecular structure which allows him to alter his shape and size as he sees fit.

4. He has telepathic and telekinetic abilities, as well as “technopathic” abilities, which means he can interface with technology.

5. He’s f—ing IMMORTAL.

“I don’t always live forever. But when I do, I murder thousands and thousands of people.”

 

In comics, Apocalypse was originally an adversary of X-Factor, which is a spin-off team of the X-Men. There have been rumors that an X-Factor movie is being planned by Fox, as they own the film rights to Marvels X-Men and various other “mutant” characters and teams. This announcement makes that seem even more of a possibility.

With “Days of Future Past” further focusing on the human-threat to mutants, it seems logical that this will lead us into a plot for “Apocalypse” where the character emerges to lead the mutants against humanity. Being that “Days of Future Past” deals with time travel, I’d say there’s a strong possibility that saving us from our past probably dooms us to an even bleaker future. One where Apocalypse reigns.

Then again, with all the curve-balls comic book movies throw at us, maybe “Apocalypse” will just be a code for something like a serum or a faceless entity.

#GalactusIsNotACloud

 

Personally, Apocalypse is my 2nd all-time favorite villain (after the previously mentioned Galactus). I get that a lot of people don’t like villains that seem to have no weaknesses but I actually prefer my villains that way. In a world where there’s a  million different superheroes with a billion different superpowers, it’s nice to know that there’s a bad guy out there who’s impervious to them all.

“That’s a NICE thought to you?!”

 

If you’re interested in knowing more about Apocalypse and his dealings with the X-Men, check out X-Men: Age of Apocalypse or watch “X-Men: Evolution” and “Wolverine and the X-Men” on Netflix. And if you haven’t yet, you can check out the trailer for “X-Men: Days of Future Past” below…

 

Top 5 Not The Greatest, But Sort Of Okay, Christmas Films On Netflix

(Editors Note: This article was written by our good pal TS Hendrik from The Non-Review. Head over to his site to enjoy more sophisticated wit, with only a tad bit of nit.)

 

Tis’ the season, for stuffing the stockings, and yuletiding our logs. A time for goodwill towards your fellow man, so long as he’s not standing between you and the furby your kid will love. Furbies… Who the hell thought they’d be back? But most of all it’s the time of year for watching those guilty pleasure Hallmark and Lifetime films that, the rest of the year, we’ll deny quicker than Peter denied our lord and savior, born to us this month(ish).

Now, any fool can put together a list of films that represent the cream of the crop. I know, I’ve played the part of the fool myself. But for us hardcore Xmas movie junkies, what’s left when you’re needing that final hit? You’ve already downed Love Actually and It’s a Wonderful Life. Lord knows a man can only sit through so many viewings during the 24 hour A Christmas Story marathon or the 3 day Elf marathon. So where to turn to? Well Netflix of course. But wading through the crap to find the top backup singers is a chore. No problem. I’ve got you covered.

Here are the top five forgotten Christmas movies on Netflix this year.
…And not a Tito in the bunch.

 

5. Crazy For Christmas

I hate that I enjoy this one. The plot, a single mother, poorer than the writing and acting in the film, has no choice but to work on Christmas, chauffeuring a rich man around as he gives away money to total strangers. The mother is cranky and whiny about the guy giving away his cash. The whole film annoys me actually, yet here it is, this time of year, and I find myself watching it for the third year in a row. Maybe there’s a compelling element. Maybe I’m just a sad man on an xmas binge. Who can tell anymore?

 

4. Holiday in Handcuffs

Don’t look at me that way. I can feel your glare. Is it the Melissa Joan Hart, or the Mario Lopez that has you staring me down like a rabid monkey that knows there’s a banana behind my back? Okay, yes, this is one seriously painful Christmas movie. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, and well, one can’t expect any amazing performances, can one? Originally I watched it for Gabrielle Miller, who has basically no role in the film (and is far more enjoyable in another cheesy xmas film, not on netflix, that basically rips off The Holiday) but soon found my sadist nature enjoying it for how painful it is. Something only a true addict would understand.

 

3. All I Want For Christmas

Alright, this isn’t exactly an unknown quantity, but it is an often overlooked Christmas cookie of a film. In a nutmeg, it’s brother and sister who for Christmas are attempting to get their parents back together. And seriously, with a small, almost cute Thora Birch, Kevin Nealon, and a young Ethan Embry, what more do you need?

 

2. Fireplace For Your Home

What? Oh, come on, who doesn’t like a fake fireplace crackling on their TV, Christmas night? I’m sorry, but it’s awesome. You say you don’t count it? Fine, I’ll do two for the last slot.

 

1. Snow & Snow 2: Brain Freeze

Tom Cavanagh as a Santa in training who falls for the ever lovely Ashley Williams. There’s a lot of Santa scrambling to get back in time for Christmas Eve, and Young Santa films out there, but this one delivers with quality. Did I say quality? Well, yes, as far as an ABC family film can deliver on quality, this film does just that. Did so well in fact they made a sequel. Which was surprisingly, urm, okay I finished it because of Ashley Williams. She’s, how do you say… a hot Mrs. Clause? Well, sometimes. Sometimes I think she looks a little like a velociraptor. Not really sure what that says about me and dinosaurs…

 

So there you have it, the top five not the cream, but not the chaff, of the crop of Christmas films on Netflix. As a bonus, here’s some of the best Christmas TV episodes on Netflix in no particular order:

The Office (US) – Season 2, Christmas Party – Sweet for Pam & Jim, hilarious for Michael being an ass. You know, basically ever episode.

Futurama – Season 2, Xmas Story – Killer Robot Santa, Bender taking advantage of homeless robots. What Christmas is all about.

Doctor Who – Season 2, The Christmas Invasion – My love of David Tennant is well documented, but this is the one instance where I would have tipped the hat towards Matt Smith as my favorite episode for his doctor is a Christmas episode. Unfortunately I don’t see it on netflix so I’ll have to default to 10, which has a couple of excellent xmas episodes himself.

Everybody Loves Raymond – Season 4, The Christmas Picture – Who doesn’t love Raymond? Other than his brother I mean. HAHAHAHAHAHA-ahh… I’m such a (Christmas) card. CBS. Sorry, just felt like the network would have rubber stamped that last joke.

Mr. Bean / Merry Christmas Mr. Bean – Mr. Bean? Mother Flippin’ right Mr. Bean. The episode is best remembered for the turkey on his head, but I always think fondly on it for his obliviousness and sadness. And the hilarious Toy Store scene.

 

So that’s it. Get off the couch and go get on that couch and enjoy all the blessing of the season Netflix has to offer. Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a goodnight.

It’s Friday The 13th!!! Watch a Slasher Flick Tonight!

Since Netflix doesn’t have ANY of the Friday the 13th flicks available on streaming, here’s some great classic slasher-flick alternatives that you can stream on Netflix tonight!

 

Killer’s Moon – 1978

“After killing a game warden and mutilating a dog, four escaped mental patients encounter a broken-down bus in the country. The vehicle’s stranded schoolgirls search for a place to spend the night, unaware that the psychopaths are right behind them.”

 

Bloody Birthday – 1981

“Debbie, Curtis and Steven aren’t like other 10-year-olds, and it’s not just because they were born during a solar eclipse. Instead of normal kids’ games, they prefer a rousing round of murder, offing their parents, teachers and playground rivals.”

 

Mountaintop Motel Massacre – 1983

“Freshly released from an insane asylum, Evelyn returns to run her remote motel the way she likes it — with mayhem and murder. First, she kills her devil-worshipping daughter, then turns her trusty sickle on the rest of her unsuspecting guests.”

 

Sorority House Massacre – 1986

“Beth, a girl with a mysterious past, moves into her new sorority. Once settled, Beth begins to remember things from her childhood — including the fact that she used to live in the house, and her brother murdered the rest of her family there.”

 

Return to Horror High – 1987

“A low-budget film crew descends on a high school that was once the scene of grisly murders. As throngs of people come to the school hoping to be a part of the film, the crew is being murdered one by one.”

 

Marvel and Netflix Team Up For Defenders Live-Action Shows

 

It has just been announced that Marvel and Netflix have signed a contract that will see live-action series of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke (muthaf—in!) Cage premeire on the streaming service in 2015. Theses shows will culminate at a live-action mini-series of The Defenders, which in the comics most of these characters have been apart of.

Now comes the fan casting…

For my money, Eliza Dushku (Buffy, Tru Calling, Wrong Turn) would be perfect for Jessica Jones. She’s proven she can do tough action roles, and she’d likable.

 

Iron Fist (Danny Rand) is a tad tougher to figure out, but I’m gonna say Garrett Hedlund (Friday Night Lights, TRON: Legacy). I think if the dude got into some serious martial arts training NOW, he’d be ready to roll by the time they start filming.

 

 

Luke Cage, hands down, I’m going with Terry Crews (The Expendables, Brooklyn Nine-Nine). I know they probably want someone younger, but I just think the dude is perfect. Sure, he’s mostly known for doing comedy projects, but he can definately pull off action roles and be damn intimidating while he’s at it.

 

Lastly, Matt Murdoock… The Man Without Fear… Who could pull off that character ass brilliantly as Battfleck did? No one. That’s who. But for the hell of it, I’m gonna fan-cast Michael C. Hall. He was the first choice by many way back a couple years ago when a new Daredevil project was being worked on, but that’s because HE’S PERFECT. You need Matt Murdock to be a strong, tortured leader, and MCH (move over NPH) can do that. Again, they’ll probably go with someone younger, but this is who I’d like to see.

 

Who would you like to see take on these roles? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Dr. Gangrene Presents: 10 Classic Horror Movies on Netflix!

Greetings fright fans! Dr. Gangrene, Nashville horror host here, with a list of movie recommendations for the Halloween season. Netflix has a number of classic terror tales available for streaming, so I thought I’d put together a list of my favorites for you ghouls to curl up with on these cool October evenings.

 

Here, in no particular order, are ten films guaranteed to make your goosebumps get goosebumps!

 

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Black Sabbath – 1963 – Italian director Mario Bava. Anthology film that stars the inimitable Boris Karloff in a dual role – as a disembodied host introducing three terror tales, and as the lead in the final, and best, of the three stories –

 

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Rosemary’s Baby – 1968 – Director Roman Polanski. Stars Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes. A young couple moves to a new apartment in an old high rise in New York city, and become entangled in a web of evil concocted by Satan himself. Nominated for 2 Oscars, won one.

 

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Madhouse – 1974 – Director Jim Clark – Stars the merchant of menace himself, Vincent Price, as an aging horror movie star Paul Toomes, aka Dr Death, who has returned from a mental breakdown to make another movie – but people are beginning to die. Is Dr. Death to blame? Also stars Peter Cushing and Robert Quarry.

 

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Black Sunday – 1960 – another Mario Bava classic, this one stars the amazing Barbara Steele as a witch who is burned at the stake and returns for revenge!

 

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Dracula – 1931 – Directed masterfully by Tod Browning, this is the vampire performance that all others copied. Stars the immortal Bela Lugosi, adapted from the Bram Stoker novel. This one put Universal on the map as a horror studio.

 

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The Wolf Man – 1942 – Director George Waggner – Another Universal classic, starring Lon Chaney Jr. as a man cursed to become a beast by the light of the full moon.

 

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House on Haunted Hill – 1959 – Director William Castle – another Vincent Price film, (my favorite actor), this one is the quintessential old dark house story. A group of strangers are invited to stay the night in a haunted house and will be paid handsomely in the morning – IF they survive!

 

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Re-animator – 1985 – Stuart Gordon – Based on the H.P. Lovecraft novel of the same name, this stars Jeffrey Combs as mad scientist Herbert West who is searching for the key to creating life. One of the most insane Frankenstein stories you’ll ever see – and one of the best!

 

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Evil Dead/Evil Dead 2 – 1981/1987 – Director Sam Raimi – I lumped both together here because #2 is a bigger budget remake of the first, both by director Raimi. Stars Bruce Campbell as Ash, who goes to a cabin in the woods with his friends and resurrects an ancient evil with the power of the Necronomicon, an book of uncountable evil (another H.P. Lovecraft construct).

 

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Pumpkinhead – 1988 – Director Stan Winston – Stars Lance Henriksen as a country farmer who makes a deal with a witch to awaken an evil force to enact revenge upon the people who killed his son.

 

Those are my ten picks, fright fans. Hope you enjoy them, and if you have bad dreams afterwards, well – you were warned!!

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(Make sure to check out episodes of Chiller Cinema over at www.drgangrene.com. We here at 4LN are HUGE fans of the show and are eternally grateful to the ghoulish Doctor for concocting a delightfuly frightening list of great horror classics!)

Netflix Horror Movies To Watch Before Halloween – Week II

 

Welcome back boys and ghouls! Hopefully you enjoyed a few of the selections from last weeks article. This week I decided to recommend some films that are more creepy and haunting, rather than gruesome and grotesque. Less violence, same level of what-the-f**k-is-that-OH-MY-GOD-IT’S-HORRIBLE!

 

The Possession

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Sure, it’s another movie about spirit possession. But frankly, this one’s pretty great. A little girl buys a small, old box from a yard sale and it turns out the box hosts something ghostly. Major creepiness factor as it was produced by the one and only Sam Raimi, so you know that’s full of make-your-skin-crawl moments.

 

The House of the Devil

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This movie really throws back to the 70’s satanic horror flicks (think Rosemary’s Baby). A very bizarre couple hire a babysitter for the husbands sick mother, but their intentions are far more nefarious that the baby sitter realizes. The end here does get pretty bloody, but the majority of the film just makes you nervous because you have no idea what’s going to happen next.

 

Event Horizon

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This is, by far, one of the top 5 best sci-fi horror movies ever. It takes place in the future, and a space crew is sent to investigate a distress signal coming from a spaceship that disappeared several years earlier. There’s some pretty disturbing business going on here. This is one you HAVE to see.

 

Intruders

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This is an interesting little psychological horror flick, starring Clive Owen as a father whose family begins experiencing some malignant supernatural encounters with a dark force. There are elements of this movie that are generic and mediocre, but if you’re the kind of person who dosen’t like horror movies but wants to watch scary stuff anyway, this one’s for you.

 

The Frighteners

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This is one of my personal all-time favs. Peter Jackson produced and directed this flick about a guy that can see ghosts (played by the always likable Michael J. Fox) and uses his power to scam people, until a real ghostly threat comes along and forces him to use his power for good. It’s scary, it’s funny, and you’ll be glad you watched it.

 

Red State

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This is another one of those horror-movie-for-people-who-don’t-like-horror-movies. It’s not a horror movie by the standard definition, but writer/director Kevin Smith certainly made what he considers a movie about something horrifying. The premise involves a Westboro Baptist church-like cult who takes three boys captive and torments them in the name of god. The reality of how people like this really exists is pretty damn terrifying.

 

Devil

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I get that M. Night Shayamalan doesn’t have a decent track record, and I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of everything he’s done, but this horror flick from a few years ago that he created the story for and produced is pretty great. Five people are trapped in an elevator together and one of them just so happens to be the Devil… but who? I will warn you that this one does have a little more blood and violence than some of the others on this list, but there’s a actually a very sincere, underlying, moral here about redemption that kind of sneaks up on you and makes it all worth it.

 

Black Death

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Sean Bean stars in this historical-horror movie about a knight charged with investigating a woman who is said to be able to bring the dead back to life and whose village had been completely untouched by the Black Plague. If you remember the Nic Cage flick from a few years ago “Season of the Witch”, this is a better version of that movie.

 

Hope you all enjoy the selections this week! Come back next week when we’ll bring some great horror classics for Halloween week, with a VERY SPECIAL guest contibutor… Stay nerdy, and creepy, friends!

Netflix Horror Movies To Watch Before Halloween – Week I

 

It’s October! Fall is here and All Hallows Eve is fast approaching. Normally this time of year your local cinema would most likely be seeing an increase of horror films for you to view, but this year is different for some reason. This month will see the wide release of the highly anticipated Carrie remake, but aside from that, there are are only a few horror movies, which will be arriving only in limited release.

But never fear! 4LN is here to help you with your bloodthirsty craving for horror movies! Each Sunday from now until Halloween we will bring you 8 horror movies available to watch on Netflix; 1 for each day of the week and 2 for Saturday. For week 1, I’ll focus on some newer (released within the last few years) horror flicks that you should check out. Some of them are terrifying, some of them are mortifying, some of them are outright puke-ifying, but ALL of them are unique and original in some way.

Now, without further adieu, I bring you the first entry of horror films to satisfy your desire for terror…

1. The ABC’s of Death 

This anthology series features 26 different directors assigned a letter of the alphabet with which to come up with a way to die, or a display of some random death. Some are better than others, but at the very least it’ll make you laugh and cringe at the same time.

2. The Cabin in the Woods 

Every once in a while, a horror movie comes along that people claim changes the horror game entirely. And those people are almost always damn liars. But not this time… this movie actually DOES, and quite literally, turn the concept of teenagers-trapped-in-the-woods-and-tormented-by-murderous-supernatural-beings upside down. AND, it’s pretty funny too.

3. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil 

Much like Cabin in the Woods, this flick is a much more abstract interpretation of a horror film. It’s got the gore, it’s got the idiot teenagers all alone in the woods, but it throws in two innocent, unwitting rednecks who don’t even realize that they MIGHT be the villains…

4. V/H/S 

 

This is another anthology-style flick. Not quite the same as ABC’s of Death, as this one does have a coherent plot to it that’s held together by a found-footage concept. Some dudes break into a house trying to find a specific videotape and end up watching some pretty creep-tastic stuff.

5. The Bleeding House 

 

This is great creepy horror movie that pays homage to the classic creepy horror movies of the 70’s that really made your skin crawl. In this flick, a family is paid a visit by a, seemingly friendly but intentionally secretive, stranger who discovers that he’s not the only one with secrets.

6. The Woman 

 

Not a “horror” movie, in the traditional sense, but pretty f—ed up and intense none-the-less. This movie is about a family with an overbearing, domineering father, who captures a feral woman and keeps her locked up in their cellar. Yeah. Sadistic doesn’t quite capture how messed up this dude is. The climax of this film is pretty ridiculous, and gory.

Speaking of ridiculous and gory…

7. The Human Centipede

 

8. The Human Centipiede 2: Full Sequence

You’re probably already at least AWARE of these flicks because of their notoriously disgusting plot, but if you haven’t seen them yet what better time than Halloween month. The first Human Centipede is a lot less vomit-inducing than people made it out to be, but you have to see it to get to the second one which is INSANE. I’ve seen some stuff in horror movies… but this… this is… wow.

Plus, this should prepare you for the eventual release of The Human Centipede 3: Final Sequence, which will feature a 500 person human centipede, including world-class actor (and brother to Julia) Eric Roberts.

So there they are, your first 7 days of Netflix horror movies to watch before Halloween. Come back next week and we’ll give you 7 days of classic horror movies to make you gasp in terror and cry for your mommy…