Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, which is traditionally the least-watched night for television. Maybe this is appropriate. In 2015, TV can be a lot of things appropriate for the holiday: shocking, scary, catchy, overly commercialized, and very, very gross. But one thing he still struggles with is fear. You do not believe me? Take a moment to consider: What’s the last regular TV show that was really scary? I don’t mean hideous in parts, like one of Leatherface’s victims. I mean a scary show from top to bottom, from start to finish. And I mean a show other than, shall we say, potatoes.
This is not so much a criticism as a fact of life. Movies, with their contained running times, are especially good at keeping the mood going. When you sit down to watch a horror movie, you’re essentially agreeing to be on edge for 90 to 120 minutes. Television, by its very nature, demands a diversity of tones and tones. Viewers simply cannot be asked to hold their breath for eight, 10, or even 22 hours per season. Give it a try and they’ll be dead even before your program is. Instead, television has traditionally had to play on the fringes of horror, building entire series from cuts and cuts generally underappreciated by television. fangoria crowd: the slow and dying buildup; stolid research, like a landlord; the long and painful outcome. (Or, as is the case with Fox’s smarmy scream queens(The idea that a grimace can cut deeper than a knife.) A horror movie is a haunted house tour. A scary TV show is more of a haunted timeshare. There has to be at least occasional feints toward conveniences like coziness and humor because, let’s be honest, you’re going to be there for a while.
If anyone was going to crack the code of horror on TV, they would have expected it to be a pay service like HBO or Netflix, with their unlimited makeup budgets and the freedom to micro-target audiences with the precision of a serial killer. But the two most successful series to challenge the primacy of horror movies come from the fiendish Jigsaws on basic cable. fx american horror storiesdon’t worry killing the ratings in its fifth iteration, television has probably moved closer to the specificity and sustained madness of cinema. Part of this is due to the show’s creative cast and the inextinguishable third party for extremism. But let’s be honest: the most notable aspect of ahs It’s not the bearded woman, it’s the duration of each season. By limiting each run to 13 hours and a single story, the show’s one discordant note can sound like a symphony. one does not look ahs as much as one commits it.
AMC the Walking Dead it is even more remarkable. It’s not just television far and away most popular show Among the coveted 18-34 demographic, he has almost single-handedly disproved every single point in my opening paragraph. Where most serialized dramas create a world and over time expand on it, adding characters, nuances, and layers. the Walking Dead it has a guillotine where the story engine should be. He has no interest in saving the world or curing the zombie outbreak. Instead, he sets up base camp at the crushing moment when most dystopian movies end, sinking into heartbreak, violence, and loss. “Everything is fucked up” is not a traditional TV starting point, but then again, the Walking Dead It is not a traditional series. His remarkable skill in areas often thought of as ancillary—sound design, visual effects, editing, and casting—have helped sustain him, even as the plot veers decidedly into a kind of sadistic nihilism. And perversely, the desolate consistency of the Walking Dead – no matter what else is going on, someone gets bitten every week – it’s precisely what saves it as a TV show. At this point, the constant and gruesome suffering has become as dependent as a laugh.
The controversial episode this Sunday actually further consolidated the Walking Dead‘s connection with the rest of TV. In the Jon Snow era, beloved shows have far exceeded their time slot limits. Fandom is a full contact sport that runs 24 hours a day, seasons be damned. That showrunner Scott M. Gimple had to qualify a major death, and thus stepping on his own dramatic narrative mere minutes after launching it, was further proof that the winking game no longer works in a world where everyone plays at such a high level. In the Walking Dead, humans may just be an oversized sidekick to the zombie masses. But in reality, these characters are intimate, welcomed into our homes every week. A modern showrunner can, and should, rough them up, but must remember to respect them.
Despite this misstep, my main takeaway from “Thank you” was admiration. Although there are many nits left to choose from the Walking DeadI am deeply impressed by the show’s ability to harness difficult, fast-paced emotions like angst, stress, and despair and corral them within the confines of a weekly series. The panicked, almost drugged fugue state Nicholas fell into as an impossible horde of zombies surrounded him was contagious. I’m not saying I identify with the choice he made at that moment, but, God, who could blame him? Time and time again, I am finding the grand scale of this season of the Walking Dead deeply disturbed; death has been around for a long time, but rarely so monumental or seemingly inevitable. This relentlessness is radical for television, and particularly for Sunday night television, which has long been the warm heart of the country’s television week. It is a pivot that has helped the Walking Dead becoming the most horrible show on television in a more than literal sense; it wreaks havoc on the emotions now, not just the guts.
On Saturday night, just when most of the kids will be home counting their candy, two chilling and wacky series will premiere, each looking to keep the jack-o’-lantern lights on well into November. Although Sundance TV Return is back for a second season, I loved the first one, it’s from Starz Ash vs Evil Dead that’s actually the more familiar of the pair. That’s because it picks up on a loose story that began in 1978, when two frustrated Midwestern drama jerks named Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell filmed a gory short called in the forest. From that splattered shard arose a cult empire: a trilogy of beloved moviesas well as a series of video games, comics and unlimited opportunities for cosplay The only connective tissue between it all: Raimi’s inimitable tongue-in-cheek/axe-wielding aesthetic and Campbell’s performance as Ashley “Ash” Williams, a one-handed Everyguy in possession of a summoning spirit. necronomicon. When the ghouls come calling, Ash is usually there to dispatch them with a barrage of one-liners and shotgun shells. With no more mountains to climb on the big screen (a movie reboot flopped in 2013) and no more Spiderman dances to choreographer, the two have taken their trademark chainsaw to their only remaining frontier: the small screen.
Here’s the thing about Ash vs Evil Dead: It’s good. Better, it’s funny in a goofy, infectious way that’s the polar opposite of the Walking DeadThe frown. You don’t need to be familiar with the history or humor of the franchise before you tune in. I’d say the opening montage of Campbell, now 57, trying to get into a girdle is a pretty good introduction, as it’s the scene where a Michigan detective (Jill Marie Jones) is attacked by a poltergeist. who twists his neck and whose head finally explodes with the force and liquid speed of one of Gallagher’s overripe melons. what is good about him Ash vs Evil Dead It’s not that he doesn’t take himself seriously, although, come on, he doesn’t at all. It is that he picks up and chooses the details of it very carefully. ought to take seriously. So Campbell, still the acorn-fed Iberian of B-series radio amateurs, thinks as much about Ash’s Chaplinesque falls as he does about the arrogance of the chainsaw. And Raimi, who directed the first hour and co-wrote or produced the remaining nine, imbues each slippery, jumping demon with gravity and wit. With its amputated limbs and Shabbat dinner references, this isn’t your dad’s horror show. It’s from your crazy uncle. And thank God for it.
At the complete other end of the spectrum is Return. Yeah Ash vs Evil Dead it is an artery that springs from gore gore, the French series is rigor mortis itself. In the first season, the residents of a remote mountain town are devastated when their dead relatives are suddenly brought back to life, seemingly unharmed and frozen at the age they were when they expired. Then: a teenage girl suddenly reconnects with her teenage twin, a young mother is visited by a fiancé who killed himself while pregnant, a bar owner who happily buried his murderous brother years ago must find a way to come to terms with it. back in its orbit. It’s a bold premise, to be sure, and a lesser show would have resisted the pressure to provide answers. But the beauty of Return it was the awkward way he posed his weighty questions, the way he allowed his impossible dream of a premise to congeal, subtly and slowly, into a bitter nightmare.
In season 2, Return it remains as puzzling and elliptical as ever. Few shows are so starkly beautiful; its palace of ghostly grays and harsh, metallic light suggests the work of a T-1000 impressionist. And the music, composed once again by Scottish noise poets Mogwai, is subtle and devastating. A flood has swept through the city and the dead have established their own society in the mountains. The imminent arrival of Adèle’s (Clotilde Hesme) baby, who was impregnated last season by the late Simon (Pierre Perrier), is what drives the plot forward, but the truth is that the plot seems almost secondary in such an unsettling landscape. Indeed, Return It doesn’t scare as much as it haunts. In a show like this, it’s the living who slowly peel off their masks to reveal the scarred monsters lurking below. The supernatural is really just a mirror to the terrifying possibilities of human nature. It is this psychological dismemberment, not the bloodier, more literal kind, in which television has had historical excellence. That’s because when a movie is over, you can quickly leave the theater and retire to the quiet safety of your home. On TV, the scariest sights are always coming from inside home.