Adventures in Fake Journalism: Harper's Island 103

There have actually been two episodes of fake newspaper clippings on Harper’s Island so far – but I couldn’t cover the first, the article about her mother’s murder that Abby found in her room the first night, because the camera never got close enough to let us read the text. Last week’s episode was a different matter entirely, as we were offered a lingering close-up of the newspaper article that the Sheriff found in Kelly’s jewelry box. I’ll print the text here, along with a note of where the text started to repeat. The repeating text was actually a huge help this time around, as it allowed me to get the complete text of the fake article, despite the fact that a few corners of it were left off camera.

Avod Wednesday!

There's a new Avod for all y'all to listen to!

It can be found here!

Enjoy some spirited discussions about Harper's Island, Skinwalkers, and the third-best John Carpenter movie, Prince of Darkness!


Harper's Island: Week 3 Recap

Not a particularly eventful week here on the Island, so we should be able to get through the recap a little faster than usual. The episode opens with Abby floating in the pool. She’s greeted by Beth, a brunette bridesmaid, who may have gotten her first line this week. At the side of the pool Thomas and Trophy Wife Katherine have an early-morning drink. Then Katherine glances over at the porch and shares a knowing look with Richard (her step-son-in-law), meaning that they’re having an affair.

An affair motivated, on Richard’s part, by his hatred for Thomas as established in the next scene when Henry asks Richard how he can stand being related to Thomas. In the next scene Thomas, Richard, and Henry are skeet-shooting with a double-barelled shotgun while Madison, the creepy little girl, tears the heads off of flowers in the garden. Henry recieves a note from the hotel staff that concerns him, but then tells Trish that it was ‘nothing’. Then, after a lot of thought, he elects to throw the skeet shooting match, letting Thomas win. Henry then drops the shotgun back on a table full of them, establishing that the island is fairly well-armed.


TFtD 105: Mookie and Pookie

The episode begins with a family playing a game of Scrabble. In addition to the mother and father, who play separately, Pookie, the daughter, is playing in a team with Mookie, her twin brother, who participates by speaking over an intercom from his room upstairs. After playing the word ‘glitch’, which the parents try to challenge, because apparently there was a time when that was only a computer term, Pookie heads upstairs to check on her brother.

It seems that he’s dying of some sort of mysterious illness, which, while it doesn’t require him to live in a bubble, keeps him in bed and only able to move around in a wheelchair. In what might be considered a failure of makeup, Pookie (Justine Bateman!) tells Mookie that he looks terrible, but for a guy who spends all his time indoors, he doesn’t even seem pale:

Oh my god. That’s computer paper that not only has holes running down the side for easy sprocket access, but three pre-punched holes on either side so that the paper can immediately be put in a duo-tang! And it’s supposed to go in a landscape printer! Colour me nostalgic.


Avod Tuesday!

I know we were all expecting a new CSI: Miami last night, but there wasn't one, leaving me with plenty of time to edit and post the new Avod, which features a frank discussion of Harper's Island, awful trailers, and the Boogeyman Trilogy-

Please downloaded it here, if that's your thing, or listen to it live over at the Avod's blog.

As always, thanks for watching!

TFtD 104: The Odds

The episode opens with a bookie (Danny Aiello!) and his sidekick hanging out in a shabby diner. Danny’s an old-timer, and while no one’s placed a bet with him for quite some time, he still considers himself ‘the best in the business’. Suddenly there’s a cold draft, and a mysterious stranger in a white suit (Tom Noonan!) enters.

After nervously checking a piece of paper, Tom slides five gold coins across the table. He wants to bet it all on a 40-1 shot at Belmont. Danny explains that he’s too late, and the race has already started. Tom’s not worried, and as they switch the radio on, it turns out that the race was delayed, so the bet can go ahead.

Naturally, the horse wins, and Danny tells Tom that he can pick up his twenty thousand the next day. Tom explains that he’d rather let it ride on a baseball game, picking the Orioles at 3-1. Danny’s sidekick leans in and reminds him that since the game is that night, he doesn’t have time to lay the bet off. Danny replies that he’s never once refused a bet, so he accepts it.


Harper's Island: Week 2 Recap

The episode begins the next morning with Abby waking up, still wearing her dress from the night before. Apparently she went to sleep without alerting anyone about the whole ‘a stalker put a news story about my dead mom in my room’ affair. At least she wedged a chair under the door for some semblance of protection. Next thing we know, she’s running through the woods alone, getting her morning exercise. Not the first thing I’d do once I found out I was being stalked, but hey, I’m not an emotionally fragile chick who hasn’t gotten over the brutal murder of her mother seven years earlier.

Wait, wouldn’t that make her less likely to go running off alone after finding out about being stalked?

Out in the woods she comes across an adorable baby deer (fawn? I don’t remember the term) and the two hunters who are intent on killing it. She scares the deer off, and the hunters, Shane and Jimmy are annoyed. They claim the deer population needs to be thinned out, because they can’t migrate off the island.


Criminal Minds 110: The Popular Kids

Synopsis – Two teens are running down a footpath somewhere in Virginia. The girl proves to not be so great at keeping up, and sends the boy, “Adam” on ahead. One would think that a girl left all alone in the woods would be about to suffer some kind of horrible fate, this being a show about murderers at all, but there’s a twist coming…

Girl hears some suspicious noises all around her, and, because the writers have seen horror films, she thinks it’s her boyfriend playing a prank. She runs up the path, following the direction Adam had headed in, only to stop suddenly as she stumbles across something horrifying – Adam has been murdered! There’s your twist, people!

Oh, and a second later the murderer appears and she screams, so it’s only like half a twist. Please take note of the killer’s shoes:

Doesn’t seem like the best choice for running around in the woods, do they? Did he polish them after the murder and before the girl ran up?


Adventures in Fake Journalism: Boogeyman 3

I can't believe this hasn't come up yet in this blog, but one of my favorite things to do is read the text in fake prop newspapers used in film and television. It's a relatively recent hobby, since only the advent of digital video disc players have enabled me to pause and zoom with the clarity to make out the text.

It's amazing what wide variations there are in the kinds of things that wind up in the fake newspaper texts. Sometimes the production staff writes up entire fake news articles, sometimes it's just a single sentence over and over again, like the Onion's "onlookers were surprised by the amount of blood". The first time I ever noticed readable text was when I paused my VHS recording of an episode of Buffy. It was the one where Clea DuVall became an invisible girl, and was recruited by the government at the end. She opens her book on assassination, and the text is just song lyrics. Actually, you know what? I've got the DVD right here on the shelf, let me go grab an image.

Yup, you're not reading things, those are the lyrics to "Happiness is a Warm Gun"


CSI: Miami Episode 721

Yeah, I know I’ve been really negligent about covering CSI, but I promise I’ll go back and cover the episodes I missed soon – I’d have waited until the summer and just done them all in a row, but the ads for tonight’s episode promised that Kim Coates would be back, and he’s always great, so I had to watch the episode. Then the episode itself proved to be so spectacularly awful that I just had to write about it immediately.

It opens with shots of people dancing in a club that have absolutely nothing to do with anything that occurs in the episode. We move immediately to two people making out in a bed the next morning before having their clinch disturbed by the sound of a wood chipper operating outside. After grabbing a camcorder to document the incident, he heads out to confront the garden. Proving that he’s never been around a wood chipper before he walks around the side of the chipper that’s pointed a little past the storage truck. Naturally, he winds up getting splattered with blood and dropping his camera on the ground.

Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Zach Efron Edition

The homophobia kicks off almost immediately when the opening monologue featured Zach inviting a few of his fans up on stage to meet him, and in addition to the two female cast members playing tween girls, there was Fred Armisen playing a creepy fifty-year old who also adores Zach.

Some statutory rape humour appeared in a sketch about a bar that doesn’t ask for ID – the term ‘Gerbils’ was introduced into the lexicon to describe two girls in the bar. It’s the opposite of a Cougar, i.e. a sexually aggressive pre-pubescent. Ick.


Harper's Island: Week 1 Recap

For anyone who wasn’t able to watch the Harper’s Island premiere but still wants to play along with the mystery, I’ll be providing synopses of the episodes here, so you can catch up on anything you missed.

The episode opens with a fly-by of the island, as onscreen text announces that there’s been a history of murder on Harper’s Island… 7 years ago a madman named John Wakefield killed 6 people – but why, and for what purpose? And why did he, unlike any serial killer ever, string them up like cristmas decorations on a tree?


TFtD 103: Pain Killer

The show opens with a middle-aged couple lounging in their living room. Nadine is watching television, and the husband “Harvey” is reading a book on computer programming. Nadine wants Harvey to get ‘good with computers’ so that he can get a better job than working in her brother’s company’s parts department.

In the kitchen getting some coffee, Harvey has a terrible back spasm and winds up on the floor, unable to move. Despite his wife’s protestations, harvey insists that the best thing for his back would be to spend the night on a hard floor.

Covered with a blanket (but lacking a pillow), everything seems like it’s going fine for Harvey, until he glances out the window and sees what looks like a man in a blazer hovering outside the window in the rain.

Harvey is understandably terrified, even more so a moment later when a close-up (and a distinctly less-blue flash of lightning) reveals that he’s touching the side of his nose in the universal ‘our little secret’ gesture.

Avod Island!

This week on the Avod, myself and the DiveMistress cover that long awaited Genre Extravaganza "Harper's Island", and then delve into the question of why there aren't any Easter-themed horror movies (other than Critters 2: The New Batch).

You can download the avod by right-clicking here, or just head on over to the Avod's blog and listen to it live!

If I promised to do anything for the show notes I've long since forgotten, so remind me if there's anything, and I'll update this post.


Criminal Minds 109: Derailed

Synopsis – Now it’s time for the first non-traditional episode we’ve come across. Instead of looking for an established killer over the span of a couple of days, this one is set entirely over the course of a few hours, with the team being intimately involved in the activities from the beginning. Heck, even the intro is a surprising twist on conventions.

The Blonde enters Greg’s office and enquires where New Girl has gone off to. Greg responds that she’s in Texas, on her way to giving the VICAP questionnaire to a ‘child-killer’. This is an accurate portrayal of how the Behavioural Sciences Unit actually, um, behaves. Their ability to ‘profile’ killers is dependant primarily on time they spent interviewing other killers already in prison, and putting them through a standard therapy work program. This is based on the idea that either convicted serial killers will tell the truth about their thoughts, feelings, and actions to the cops, or at least that all of them will lie in similar enough ways that the confluence of falsehoods can be somehow useful.


If I may present... the greatest single panel in the history of Comic Books

My general dissatisfaction with modern-day comics has caused me to delver deeper and deeper into the Golden Age for entertainment, and I feel very lucky that I did, because if I hadn't, I never would have read issue 64 of Fawcett's "Master Comics", and seen the greatest single panel in the history of comic books.

Said panel appeared in the middle of an otherwise middling Bulletman story. For those unfamiliar with the character, Bulletman is the Flying Detective. Much like (actually, exactly like) the Silver Age Flash's origin story, Jim Barr is a mild mannered police scientist who invented a 'gravity helmet' to help him fight crime. It allows him to fly, is shaped like a bullet, and has super-magnetic powers that attract bullets to it, then cause them to bounce away after impact, making him functionally bulletproof. He also made a helmet for his Girlfriend (and daughter of the police chief) Susan Kent.


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Seth Rogan edition!

The show headed straight into homophobia territory with a fake ad right fter the monologue for ‘The Fast and the Bi-curious’, the premise being that Seth Rogan and Andy Samberg work on cars while almost making out. I found this less offensive and much funnier than most of the HP jokes because I haven’t actually heard many jokes about the clear latent homoeroticism of the Fast and the Furious franchise. Based on the first two films anyway – haven’t actually seen 3 and 4.


TFtD 102: I'll Give You A Million!

Tonight on Tales from the Dark Side we’ve got an extremely familiar storyline, one that might strike a chord with any Simpsons fanatics out there. The show opens in the back of a limousine where two millionaires, famous actor Keenan Wynn and George Petrie, best known as Don Aiuppo from Wiseguy, cackle about their love for evil capitalism. They’re businessmen so unscrupulous that they think nothing of having people killed in order to seal a deal. Keenan invites George over to his mansion that night to make… a proposition. Because they’re such good friends, George doesn’t immediately assume that the proposition involves poisoned brandy.


Criminal Minds 108: Natural Born Killer

Synopsis – The night is just beginning for two low-class hoods as they leave a dive bar. On the way out of the door one of them, named ‘Jimmy’, runs into a cop who recognizes him. They quickly put on an act for the second hood, but it’s pretty obvious that Jimmy is an undercover cop and the other detective didn’t know that. Jimmy drives the other hood home, worried that his cover may have been blown the whole time. A few hours later, a neighbour walks over to the house the hood was dropped off at, planning to complain about the music being up way too loud. Instead, she finds the front doorknob covered in blood, and gets knocked over by Jimmy as he runs out of the house, pointedly not covered in blood.

The next day the team arrives at the house, confused as to why they’ve been called in on such a routine bloody mess. It seems that the second hood lived with his parents, and that the two of them were brutally slaughtered, with the wife killed quickly and the husband was brutally tortured. This leads them to blather for a while about the characteristics of torture killers vis a vis organized/disorganized killers, but it’s all pretty unimportant stuff. Mandy find what he thinks is an important clue when he notices that there was probably a third victim, based on the level of the bloody ring in the tub.

Avod Friday! Twilght's Fools!

There's something about that twilight movie, alright. Something terrible!

Seriously, though, this week on the Avod the Divemistress and myself cover the Twilight movie just in time to miss the video release! Timing!

It's downloadable here (just right click and save as!), or you can stream it directly from the Avod's blog!

God, I just love technology!



Normally I restrict the ‘How to ruin your own movie’ posts to films that feature obscene levels of anticlimacism, that seem determined to give away all of their secrets as early as possible, ruining any drama that might be created. Not this time – although the film does open with one of those voice-overs alluding to an event later in the movie, it’s not specific enough that it ruins anything.

No, the ruining is done by the rest of the film, which makes a concerted effort to suck every bit of drama out of every possible situation, until all we’re left with is a film whose emotional journey flatlines.

First, the romance plot. A strange, pale girl from Arizona moves to a small town in Washington and starts dating a local vampire. The myriad possibilities for drama are obvious. None are exploited.


Law and Order: UK is the greatest thing ever.

Don't know how I missed hearing about this. Perhaps I've been ignoring all Law and Order news ever since SVU, the last L&O I watched, had its politics go incredibly reactionary last year, driving me away from the franchise.

However it happened, now I absolutely have to get caught up, because they've got a Law and Order in London now. I caught the sixth episode in the series, and suffered some clear deja vu immediately. Club full of illegal immigrants burned down, arsonist with a gas bomb going off in his pants... this was an episode I'd seen something like fifteen years ago, only now the crime was being investigated by Apollo off Battlestar Galactica (whose British accent would have surprised me if I hadn't just finished watching 'The Last Detective).