Happy Halloween!

That's right, it's the 31st, which means that it's time to celebrate Halloween in the only appropriate way! By screening a copy of Ghostwatch!

Of course, since Ghostwatch doesn't currently seem to be in print you'll have a hard time buying a copy... but luckily some industrious soul has uploaded the whole thing to youtube! So get some candy and hot chocolate, settle down in front of the monitor, and enjoy!

Part 1


Criminal Minds 116: The Tribe

This episode is going to take the team out into the desert, it seems. The story begins at a house party that some sexy teens are throwing in a unfinished home in the middle of a development. Among the teens is a blonde girl who seems slightly out of it. After saying that she’s looking for the bathroom she heads outside, leaving the back door wide open. She doesn’t get more than a few steps away from the house when she’s grabbed by some men who were watching her from a van out front!

Amazingly, that’s not all the horror that happens, as just moments later a team of killers rushes down out of the hills behind the house and attacks the rest of the teens in the building with long knives! What’s going on here? Are these two events connected, other than spatially and temporally? I guess we’ll find out after the opening credits!


The Saw Diaries

In preparation for theavod’s definitive Sawcast, I kept copious notes while watching the films. I was going to toss them, but then it occurred to me, ‘hey Count, you’re trying to post things more often, right?’ And you know who’d love to read a running commentary of these movies in text form, with a few illustrations? People, that’s who!

Just a warning – the section on Saw 6 may be a little fractured. I took notes in longhand in a dark theatre, then attempted to transcribe them. Also that section doesn’t have any illustrations, for obvious reasons!

Time for a SawVod, Everyone!

Yes, it's true, the Divemistress and myself actually watched all the Saw movies in a row, then stepped out to see the new one in theaters. And I've got to say, you're probably going to be surprised by the things we've got to say about the series over the course our epic 3 and a half hour discusson. Just right-click and download away!

Part 1 - Jigsaw is a Dick
Part 2 - Jigsaw's Corpse is a Dick
Part 3 - Circular Saw is a Dick

As usual, you can also listen to this by heading over to theAvod website (link just over to your right), and streaming it, or just downloading it from the iTunes store, which I should really have a link of some kind to, come to think of it.

What's that I hear about show notes? You'll find my most comprehensive show notes just slightly above this post! Although, since they're going up at the same time, I guess you'll probably see them first!


Is Medium Screwing With Me?

Or am I just that bad at math?

In a late-last-season episode of Medium the oldest daughter, whose name escapes me at the moment, was taking the SATs (or a practice test, whatever), and a single math question appeared on screen. Being obsessive about fake books produced for TV shows, I captured an image of it:

Okay, am I crazy, or are none of those the correct answer?


The World's Most Mixed Metaphor

I know I like to avoid giving any real context with these images, but there’s one thing you have to know before looking at this one:

The Crime Smasher! (that's what Spy Smasher did after the war ended. He smashed crime) is chasing a criminal named Spider. Take it away, panel!

They didn’t just mix that metaphor. They threw it in a blender and turned it on ‘grind’ for five minutes straight.


It’s Official – Credit Score Ads Have No Idea What They’re Doing

Let’s take another trip through the variety of Credit Report ads that show up while I broswe the internet.

Here’s an especially baffling ad I happened across recently:

That’s all six ‘unique’ frames of the animated ad, which I’m presenting here in its non-animated form because I find animated ads obnoxious, and because if I did, I’d basically be putting the ad here for free, which is just crazy.


No, seriously: Halloween Resurrection sucks.

So, last time around we covered Michael Myers killing Jamie Lee Curtis, and with her, his last motivation as a character to continue existing. But he’s not done at the asylum, no sir. While headed for the door he pauses at the tubby guy’s room. And doesn’t kill him. No, instead he hands the self-described expert on serial killers the knife and walks away.

Why? Why would you do that? Are you trying to frame him for the murder of the security guards and Jamie? Because I’m pretty sure the evidence is going to point another way, no matter whose prints are on the knife. Also he’s on a bunch of video camera footage. Or did he steal the tapes as well? But why would he do that? For this whole framing thing to have been included at all in the script the writer would have to know nothing at all about the character of Michael Myers.

A theory that I’m pretty sure I can prove right now.


Criminal Minds 115: Unfinished Business

The episode opens, as many television shows do, with the dad from Unhappily Ever After giving a lecture about the serial killer he’s just written a book about. The killer, one ‘Keystone Killer’, mysteriously stopped killing 18 years earlier, and it’s a huge mystery why this might be. The author explains that a serial killer stopping suddenly is totally unheard of, unless of course you count Jack the Ripper, which most people do. Anyhoo, the author doesn’t buy these theories about him moving away (no similar crimes in other cities), being jailed, or dying. No, his book is written based on the theory that the guy wasn’t compelled to kill at all, he was just extra evil, and enjoyed killing, so he was able to stop whenever he wanted to. Which is kind of a silly idea, but let’s save that for later.

In addition to the killer’s penchant for binding, torturing, and killing his victims (hint hint), he also enjoyed sending letters to the police, where details of the crime would be hidden in word search puzzles. This is not at all a preposterously silly affectation for a fictional killer to have. I mean yeah, Zodiac had his puzzles, but this is as bad as sending a rebus.


Thursday Afternoon Avod!

It's a little earlier than usual, I know (in that I'm posting it at all - by definition anything that appears that wouldn't normally have is early, right?), but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it all the same!

But why would it, really?

Prepare for the most epic debate in the history of conversations about the movie Paranormal Activity! Seriously. That's all the episode is about. So you should maybe see the movie first before right-clicking here to download, or heading over to the Avod's homepage to stream it, or picking it up on iTunes.

Just forewarning (and therefore forearming) you.

CSI Miami Episode 805

The day starts ordinarily enough, with Eric dropping by the creepy ME’s hospital to check in with his doctor, then chat with his old friend. In an amazing coincidence there’s an emergency case just as Eric’s leaving. A young woman comes in, barely able to breathe, accompanied by her boyfriend. Eric takes the boyfriend aside to talk, where he announces his plans to propose to the girlfriend, which means, based on the laws of television writing, that she must immediately die, making it more tragic. She does, and then Creepy ME tells Eric that the boyfriend probably did it, well within earshot of the guy, making this perhaps the first ever pre-credits murder accusation in the show’s history!



I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react to Californication

I tuned into this show a little while after it started, as I was curious to see what Mulder was up to these days. I was bored and more than a little annoyed by the show’s overwhelming tone of undeserved smugness and superiority. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good intellectual victory lap as much as the next guy, and have always appreciated scenes where a boor is put down with the absolute perfect rejoinder – but that’s not what Californication is. It’s a cut-rate version thereof. It’s a show about a smart person written by profoundly stupid people.

Okay, to be fair, they might not be idiotic, they might just be assuming that their audience is. How can I tell? Here’s a screenshot from the opening credits montage.

You see, they needed an image to establish that the main character, one ‘Hank Moody’ (Get it? His name describes what he is! It’s clever!) is a novelist. How can this be accomplished? By having him read a bizarre bigger-than-a-magazine-yet-smaller-than-a-newspaper thing with the words ‘Book Critic’ on it! Of course! Although he’s not actually reading it, he’s just holding it up in front of his face. Which is an appropriate message, because this really isn’t a show for ‘readers’.

It Seems that the Writers of Medium Watch Criminal Minds

Yes, every story has already been told, and it’s only natural to steal a good idea here or there, and most importantly, when there’s three shows on the air that deal exclusively with serial killers, there’s going to be some overlap, but last week’s episode of Medium demonstrated a basic lack of the care necessary to avoid committing outright plagiarism.

The episode concerned a fake Zodiac Killer, and the author who had written a book about him. The author is played by Marcus Giamatti, who is Paul Giamatti’s brother, and who I always confuse with Beardo from the show ‘Bones’. This aspect of the storyline is fairly close to the true story of the Zodiac case, with Giamatti playing a Graysmith type who’d spent his life tracking down a serial killer, only to have the killer die before he could confirm the man’s identity.

When the murders start up again there are only two possibilities – 1: Giamatti’s doing the killing. Or 2: His investigation was wrong, and the real killer’s still out there.

Of course, since this is an episode of Medium, we don’t have to wait around to discover the truth, they just flat out tell us immediately through one of Allison’s dreams that Giamiatti lied, and the suspect didn’t confess on his deathbed. Which means the real killer is still out there… But who could it be?


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Gerard Butler Edition

Last night’s SNL was definitely one of the season’s high points, although that surely says more about the season’s overall direness than the episode’s quality. That being said, Gerard Butler was a completely competent host, game for seemingly anything, and blessed with excellent timing. Most of the sketches were at least bearable, and it only one dipped into utter awfulness. Well, twice if you count Smuggy Smuggerson’s Weekend Update, but his eight minutes is always the death of laughter, so I’ve stopped counting it as an actual part of the show.

So, on to the objectability!


Criminal Minds 114: Riding the Lightning

It had to happen eventually. An episode of Criminal Minds so dull, so unrelated to psychology and so without interest that I can’t bring myself to go into it in-depth. Why not? Because it’s not about solving a murder. Yup, it’s a Criminal Minds episode about the team going to interview a husband-and-wife team of serial killers just before they’re executed.

In an interesting note, the husband part of the team is played by Michael Massee, the man who killed Brandon Lee.

The main mystery of the episode is just how many young women Michael killed, and just how involved his wife was in the deaths. In point of fact, the only death that the wife was convicted of was the death of their 2-year-old son, whose body has never been found – she confessed to the crime.


Halloween Resurrection is also a terrible film.

Really, just awful. But like my recent look at H20, I’m not going to provide a critique the overall film, but rather a single portion of it that I find indicative of the complete product.

Once again, this section comes from the beginning of the film, and I believe that it proves, rather conclusively, that the filmmakers not only don’t understand Michael Myers, the character, but that they don’t know how any element of anything works.

Let’s start with the heavy lifting that they had to do at the beginning of the movie, explaining how Michael Myers managed to bounce back from the beheading that closed out the last film.


CSI Miami Episode 804

The episode begins with a chauffeur arriving at a private airport, while a not-coincidental radio report discusses a financier’s assets being frozen. Is the Chauffeur actually the financier, trying to sneak out of the country? An assassin there to killer the financier as he escapes? Nope, he’s a repo man looking to collect the financier’s plane. The airport security stop him immediately - he made the questionable choice to try and distract security by parking a suspicious limo and then telling them to tow it while he snuck into a hangar. Not a terrible plan, but since he parked the limo in front of the exact hangar he was planning to rob, all he did was ensure that the guards would be as close as possible to him when he tried to drive the plane out.

You know, I might be defending this guy’s actions too much. What was he going to do with the plane? Drive it to another hangar? How could he not think people would notice that? It’s not like he could fly it somewhere – flying without a registered plan is unbelievably illegal, after all.

Anyhoo, the guards smell a corpse on board, and make the following unpleasant discovery:

Yes, that’s the financier’s corpse in the toilet tank. I’ll say this for CSI: Miami – eight years in, they can still surprise me with something new and disgusting. In his continuing tradition of not saying something interesting before going to the credits, Horatio asks a question – did someone break the financier out (he’s under house arrest await trial), or set him up for murder? Why is that an either or? If he’s under house arrest and you want to kill him, isn’t breaking him out first kind of a necessity?


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Drew Barrymore Edition

It’s another amazingly clean week for SNL – absolutely no homophobia jokes, and a rape joke so incredibly borderline that I’m not even going to count it. It came during a sketch about the media’s obsession with high-profile sex scandals, and the premise was that someone had come up with a 1-10 scale to rule on the severity of these scandals. David Letterman would be a 2, while Roman Polanski would be a 9 (or a European 4).

That’s the whole joke. And since it’s really more of a shot at a perceived European tolerance for deviance, and not actually about the rape he committed, I’m not counting it as an official ‘rape joke’. It's really more about xenophobia than statutory rape, so that’s two weeks out of three that have been absolutely clean. Okay, not clean, but rape and homophobia-free.

Please let them manage another two clean shows in a row.


Criminal Minds FactCheck Episode 108

The Criminal Minds episode called 'Natural Born Killer' covered a hitman who loved murder so much that occasionally he'd kill people just for fun. He was based on one 'Richard Kuklinski', nicknamed 'The Iceman' based on his habit of freezing his victims for months at a time before dumping the bodies, so that the authorities would have no idea when the murders actually occurred.

A few of the show's details were dead-on - he was a popular hitman for the Italian mob who once fed a victim to large rats. As usual, though, the capture had nothing at all to do with profiling, profilers, or profilation. Mob cases like this one generally aren't that hard to solve - in mob circles it's generally common knowledge who killed who. The hard part is not in identifying the killers, it's in finding enough evidence to charge them with anything. While Kuklinski's involvement in dozens of murders may have been well-known anecdotally, only someone who actually paid him to commit a crime would have been able to testify against him in court.

He was finally caught when the FBI managed to get one of his associates to work as an informant. They had the man introduce Richard to an undercover FBI agent, who solicited him to commit a murder, while taping the details of the arrangement. After his arrest Richard was only too happy to walk to the authorities, authors, really anyone who would have him. He was famously proud of his murdering spree right up until he died in prison back in 2006.

It's worth noting that Richard's brother also received a life sentence, in his case for the rape and murder of a child. It's likely that the two had similarly abusive childhoods, as depicted in the episode of Criminal Minds.


Christopher Pike Book Club: Weekend (1986)

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed “Slumber Party”, the last entry in the Christopher Pike book club, because this week’s entry “Weekend” is essentially the same story.


Criminal Minds 113: Poison

A father and son are driving out in the woods after catching a movie. They almost hit a deer – or do they? It turns out the father is hallucinating! Then he thinks there’s a flat tire, so he stops the car. And beats his son nearly to death with a tire iron! In his defence, at the point he thought he was being attacked by monsters. Actually, come to think of it, that’s not a fantastic excuse, is it? Filthy pothead.

Oh, wait, it wasn’t pot, he was poisoned. Which explains why the team is involved. They need to track down the mass poisoner who gave 7 people monstrous amounts of LSD! Wait, how long does it take LSD to kick in? Because he’s just coming out of a movie, meaning that he spent roughly two hours sitting in one place. Was the popcorn or drink spiked? But then why was his son fine? Until he got beaten nearly to death with an iron bar, of course.


H20 is not a good movie.

For a whole lot of reasons, actually. But I’m not here to talk about about the awful film as a terrible whole, but rather just an inexcusable piece of the loathsome puzzle.

The problem is in the film’s opening credits montage and, shockingly, it doesn’t have to do with the fact that Dimension, rather than just acquiring the rights to Donald Pleasance’s dialogue from the first film, hired a guy who sounds nothing like him to just read that dialogue. Although I’m still kind of pissed about that.


CSI Miami Episode 803 - Puma Village

It’s time for a look at Miami’s official sport… Beach Volleyball! Although, rather strangely, it’s not being played by hot women in sports bras, but rather shirtless young men. What the hell show am I watching? Oh, wait, they keep cutting away to women of a certain age in the crowd.

Could it be that CSI Miami is finally getting around to addressing the red-hot topic of four years ago, Cougars? Well, given that the lady from the still just blew a kiss at one of the players and then had it returned, I’m going to say yes. Also, is that the Relic Hunter in the crowd?

Things take a turn for the less sexy when three of the four guys on the court suddenly seize up and collapse. But what could have killed them that didn’t affect the fourth guy or anyone in the crowd? That’s the mystery the team is going to have to solve, with the aid of a really loud, but largely pointless montage. At the end of the montage Jesse finds some mysterious crystals in the sand. Could they have been poisonous? We’ll have to wait until the end of the credits to find out!


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Ryan Reynolds edition

God-damn it, SNL! You got a full hour into the second week of the show without resorting to a rape joke, then boom, in a sketch called ‘So you’ve committed a crime and think you can dance’, the first contestant is a sex offender who spends the routine eyeing his partner.

Oh well, there’s always next week.


Criminal Minds 112: What Fresh Hell

Things get horrifying in this episode of Criminal Minds, as we discover that Delaware isn’t just the home of corporate tax loopholes expansive enough to make JP Morgan blush, but murderous child molester/abductors as well! Yup, a little girl who wanders off from a football game winds up falling for the old ‘help me find my dog’ trick, and gets spirited away in a green SUV.

The team is pulled into the case when it becomes clear that it wasn’t a case of custodial interference. Elliot drops some statistics about how 99% of all abducted children are killed within a day, and since 20 hours have already passed, there’s almost no chance of finding the little girl alive. Of course, this is a CBS show, so I’m guessing the odds are fairly decent.