Dear Mortal Kombat: Legacy

I understand, based on your high production values, direct storytelling technique, and the overly Snyderized presentation of your action sequences, that you would like me to take you seriously. If that is, in fact, the case, I would encourage you to, in the future, not ever again feature a sequence in which a character (in this example, Kano), is thrown by an explosion-

Into a wall of empty cardboard boxes-

Which effectively break his fall-

When you're attempting to make something that is meant to be taken seriously, it's important to ask yourself “What would I have to do to create a parody of the scene I'm shooting?” If the answer is “Nothing!” then you might want to cut the offending shot from your movie.


TheAvod Special Feature 8: Tango and Cash

Can you believe D hasn't ever seen Tango and Cash? Crazy, right? Join us in remedying that tragedy by watching the movie with us! Just right-click here to download, load up your DVD of the movie - I personally got one in a Sylvester Stallone 4-pack that included such amazing features as the Specialist and over the Top!

I bask in your envy.


The Fifty-Seventh-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics!

This is far too terrifying to offer context. So no waggish comments from me this time, I'll just compliment Will Eisner's fantastic art!


Tales From the Darkside 212: Monsters in my Room

The story begins, as stories about haunted rooms must, with a little boy carefully checking in his closets and under his bed for monsters. There's one twist, though, which we learn about in a flashback.

This little boy is played by some manner of popular television actor Seth Green!

A sensitive, intelligent lad, he's pushed around by his macho stepfather, the kind of lout who'd try to get Seth to play football by tossing one at his back while he's examining a bug in a jar! The icing on the jerk cake? The stepfather's name is 'Biff'!

When it's time for Seth to go to bed, he has an authentic-seeming ritual where he leaves the hallway door open while checking the room for beasts. It's a nice touch, and a good representation of how a child's mind works - imagining that as long as he has an escape route planned out, it won't be so bad if he actually does find a monster in the closet. Seth then kneels down to pray (wow, remember when that used to happen in fiction? Children praying before bed?) and hears his mother and stepfather fighting in the next room. As always, it's about him, and how the stepfather plans to turn him into a 'man' by playing football and the like. The horror!


The Suspect Behavior Picto-Quiz!

With Criminal Minds Suspect Behavior now little more than a bad memory, I thought it was as good a time as any to offer a brand new picto-quiz! As you may now (since I've mentioned it enough), Suspect Behavior was shown so far out of production order that the pilot was aired as episode 5, and dialogue had to be awkwardly looped so as to cover the fact that everyone was meeting Janeane Garofolo for the first time. The only thing we can say for sure about the order things were shot in was that 105 was first and 113 was last (what with the cliffhanger and all.

There is one other clue, though - while everyone else on the team looked the same throughout the run of the show (these people are very comfortable with their haircuts), Forest Whitaker's weight had the bad habit of fluctuating wildly from episode to episode. So here is the challenge I present:

Based solely on the changes in the puffiness in Forest Whitaker's face, use the following pictures to figure out the real production order of the episodes!

Here's what he looked like in the first episode shot-

Now here's what he looked like in the cliffhanger-

There are your guidelines. Now, here are the rest of the headshots in originally aired order:


What's going on with classic video box art? (part 2)

Okay, last time I looked over the bizarrely cheap new art that Prince of Darkness had been saddled with on Netflix. As if that wasn't bad enough, take a look at the monstrosity that The Thing (one of our greatest movie posters), now has representing it to the world:

Is it an issue of having to re-license the art? Because I can't imagine anyone looking at the second box and imagining it was an improvement.

Now take a look at what's going on with Friday the 13th, according to Netflix.

This is more of a hit-and-miss situation, actually. I'd like to get offended about all of the changes, but some of them were actually for the better. I would have liked them to hold onto the first three posters as-is, but truth be told, the change they made to The Final Chapter didn't really hurt things much - the old one was classier, but a few bloody flames never hurt anyone.

Then five and six are just bizarre - five is a huge improvement over the classic poster, although still inferior to the teaser image I loved so well. Six, on the other hand, is just a generic mess. What the hell is Jason doing using a machete for a backhanded stab? Despite how Jason likes to use it, the thing doesn't really even have a sharp point!

Things proceed to get weird with seven and eight - who could have predicted that New Blood would join the original as the only movie to have its poster untouched. Eight, on the other hand, presents us with an example of Netflix actually undoing a historical tragedy - that poster was famously pulled back in the 80s when New York's tourism board threatened to sue, but twenty years later no one cares any more, and it's been restored to its rightful place as the face of Jason Takes Manhattan!

God, next thing you know they're going to mess with A Nightmare on Elm Street's poster, possibly the single most iconic 80s horror-

What the hell, people?


Criminal Minds 502: Haunted

A child is running, and it's the past - we know this because everything is sepia-toned.

Is this going to turn out to be the 30s? Because I can't imagine any other reason to use sepia-toning for a flashback. Apparently not, because it turns out to be the memories of one Young Indiana Jones:

Indy is at the drug store to pick up some brain medicine, but his prescription has run out. He's unable to deal with this fact, and the situation quickly escalates to the point where he's shooting people with a gun stolen from an incompetent security guard. It's not entirely his fault, though - during the rampage he recalls being threatened as a child by a man with a knife, so he's almost certainly the victim of (child of?) a serial killer who survived his ordeal, but is much the worse for wear.

Over at Quantico the team is waiting impatiently to see when Greg is getting back on the job - we learn that this is a month after his stabbing (so there's the answer to my question from yesterday), and Derek's worried that Greg is coming back to the job too soon. Will he be able to focus while the Reaper is still out there?

I've got a better question - why are you working on anything other than the Reaper case? Why isn't the entire country on lockdown until this famous serial killer (whose face everyone knows) is apprehended?

Garcia and Reid are also talking about the Greg situation - oh, and Reid is still on crutches! They discuss whether Greg's going to be okay after his ordeal getting stabbed by the Reaper, and Reid volunteers that he wouldn't be. Which, you know, duh - that exact thing happened to you and you became a heroin addict.

The team hears about the case of the crazed Indy, and the team heads off to Louisville to capture him! Before that, however, we see that Greg is still living in the apartment where he was attacked, which seems like masochism to me. Oh, and here's a weird note - despite the fact that they know who the killer is, what he looks like, and where he lives, he hasn't been caught yet.

Despite the fact that he's on foot.


Has Lucky given up?

I'm sure we're all familiar with Lucky, the uncreatively-named mascot for Lucky Charms cereal, and his sisiphyisan attempts to keep his lucky charms away from the grubby mitts of ill-mannered children.

Well, it seems that years of toil and struggle have finally gotten the better of him, because on the front of a recent cereal box, he gives every indication that he no longer sees Lucky Charms as a precious treasure that must be protected.

Now he simply flings them haphazardly in the direction of literally anyone walking by the grocery store shelf. “You want Lucky Charms so bad? Well just take them, then. I hope you choke on it.”

Are you happy, children? You've driven the leprechaun mad.

(Wait - did those kids try to run Lucky off a cliff? That's fairly hardcore.)


TheAvod Birthday Wishes!

No, it's not theAvod's birthday, but I'll forgive you for thinking so - after all, even I don't know when theAvod's birthday actually is! Although, come to think of it, I could simply search archive.org or this website's back posts, but what's the fun in that?

Castle Vardulon - restoring mystery to life since, um... 2009, I think? Maybe 2008?

Anyhoo, there's a new episode, in which we do a few request reviews in respect of "Sarah"'s birthday!  To listen, simply right-click here for all your downloading needs!


The Fifty-Sixth-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics!

You'd think by now Sivana would be running out of clever ways to half-heartedly attempt to murder Billy Batson - but he just keeps raising that bar!


Tales From the Darkside 211: Effect and Cause

Interesting title, huh? Will this be an episode about time travel? Oh, we can only hope!

The proceedings kick off in an apartment where Kate is looking over some paintings that her friend David has brought over. They were being thrown out by his landlord, and since Kate is always on the lookout for canvasses, he figured she could paint over the miserable examples of talentless hackery. Kate's a little nervous about the idea, however - isn't a painting a living thing, though, man? What right does she have to kill it by painting over it?

She finally relents, and while she's upstairs looking for the plaster she'll use to resurface the canvasses, something strange happens - an ambulance pulls up outside, and the paramedics knock on the door, wondering where the woman who fell down the stairs is. Just as David gets finished telling them no such thing happened, Kate dutifully falls right down the stairs! So who called the paramedics?

Oh, and before we continue with the plot, there was some foreshadowing in the discussion earlier about the gas stove not being great. So look forward to that exploding a little later in the episode.


What's Going on with Video Box Art?

Browsing through the old Netflix instantwatch library I came across something strange - the new poster for the film 'Prince of Darkness'. Now, I'll admit that the old poster was never especially clear-

There's some fluid, the screaming face and bug in the mouth, and maybe that's supposed to be the church in the background, although what with it being a weird door in the skyline rather than a in the middle of Los Angeles, that seems like a stretch.

It's nothing compared to the new one, however.

What is that guy supposed to be, exactly? Is he the Prince of Darkness? Is it Alice Cooper in his brief cameo? One of the random homeless people? Tom Cruise's monster face from Minority Report? Popular Canadian character actor Julian Richings?

And that's not even addressing the bizarre choice to cut the first half of the tagline. What on earth could explain the decision to replace a completely effective poster with a generic, incomprehensible one?

And if that seems bizarre, just wait until you get a look at what they've been doing with the Friday the 13th box art...


OMG it Was Totally the Same House!

Frequent visitors to the site may well remember that in my review of Suspect Behavior 111: Strays, I mentioned a suspicion that the house used as the killer's hideout reminded me of the boarding house that Michael Jai White rented a room at in the film Blood and Bone - well, guess what?

Oh, that's right, I already spoiled it in the title of this post. I've got to work on timing, clearly.

Anyhoo, here's the photo evidence!

The house in Strays - note the stone around the walk, the pillars, and the yellow house next door.

There's the house in Blood and Bone - neat, right?

I found the most definite visual evidence when looking at it from an angle while the characters were rushing the house.

That's right, I consider the detail work on the house next door to be the most important evidence of all.

They even used the actual interior of the house (or the same set as in the movie - although what are the odds of that?)!

Is this entire post simply an excuse to congratulate myself on my powers of observation in cases where it doesn't matter at all? Absolutely. Still think it's neat, though.


Criminal Minds 501: Nameless, Faceless

The episode opens, appropriately enough, with a video recap of Greg's contentious relationship with 'The Boston Reaper', famous for both being a copycat of the Zodiac Killer without that being mentioned by the group, even though they mentioned the fact that Jill the Ripper was a copycat, and also shooting Greg at the end of last season. So how did that work out?

We don't know! Because, although the show is trying to tease us by having all the characters called out of bed the morning after their ordeal in Sarnia and dispatched to an apartment building, it's obvious they're not there to discover Greg's corpse, or even evidence that he'd been kidnapped. How can I be sure?

None of them are alarmed by the place they've arrived. And while they're not especially close as a group of co-workers, there's no way that one of them doesn't know where Greg lives now that he's moved out of the home he shared with his wife and child.

So why are they there? A random guy was shot a bunch of times in the chest! The twist? A doctor was sent a note saying that a murderer was going to kill his son, and that if he kept his son hidden, each day another person would die instead! He signed the note 'LC', and then wrote those letters on the floor next to his two victims!

The team rushes to talk to the doctor, which leads to a scene of what can only be described as oppressive body language:

He's the victim here, guys, sure you want to all gang up like that? While they're talking about the case, the son overhears the stakes of the case, and instead of sticking around and risking another life, he decides to do something inconceivably noble and sneaks out the window to go to school! Hopefully this won't result in any other children getting shot! Also, the team is growing understandably concerned by Greg's refusal to answer his phone. Will they find him in time to save his life? Obviously yes, since he's still in the opening credits. But let's see what happens after the credits!

The team stops Doctor from rushing out to save his son, rationalizing that he'll be safer in school than anywhere else, and they can arrange a careful evacuation and protecting him in class without attracting too much attention. That's all well and good, but I feel like people should be a little more startled by the son's decision. Derek tries to rationalize it away by saying that the son sees his father's job, and this is just his own way of attempting to save lives. Which is all well and good, but the kid has to be a saint of some kind - there's a difference between diving into a river to pull a drowning person out (an acceptable level of personal risk to incur while attempting to save a life) and stepping in front of a bullet meant for someone else. It's not like the kid is in the Secret Service.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm a coward who can't be trusted to save your life in a crisis. Sorry, future people whose lives I'll endanger.

Garcia goes through all of the doctor's surgeries, hoping to find a connection that will reveal why a gunman is targeting the doctor's son, but killing middle-aged Hispanic men in his stead. Nothing immediately jumps out at them, but, as usual, I'm sure her research will bear fruit. Meanwhile, the team locks down the school to ensure that no one who isn't supposed to be there gets in.

Going over the doctor's patient list, they tell him to narrow the grudge-havers down to 'males', because women tend to add adjectives when they write death-threats. That kind of seems like a tenuous guess, I'd have said 'women tend not to carry out elaborate supervillainous death fantasies that involves publicly shooting strangers over and over again with pistols'. But that's just me.

Why are they not immediately narrowing it down to fathers who have lost sons? If a guy was mad at the doctor over losing a person (or something done to him), he could just shoot the doctor, but to specifically deprive a father of his son while making the point that he can't protect the child? In this case the crime being committed actually does say a lot about the person committing it - so why isn't the team picking up on that? They give lip service to the idea that the killer is a father, but then they continue going through the pile of every single person the doctor has operated on in the past six months, rather than just cutting out everything but the teens and children he failed to save.

The one upside of their huge workload is that it sends Emily over to Greg's place, hoping to grab an extra set of eyes to help work the case. When she arrives there she discovers...

A giant hole in the wall with no blood around it! Oh, so he just fired that giant magnum near Greg's head to make a point. Gotcha. Wait, why didn't one of his neighbours call the police? I can hear someone playing the bass too loud next door, you're telling me the whole floor didn't hear that gun go off?

There's also a lot of blood on the floor, but no Greg, which is odd, because kidnapping isn't the Reaper's MO. That's the name of the fake Zodiac, in case you've forgotten. Hey, will anyone think to warn Justin Louis? Emily calls Reid to let him know about the Greg situation, and he announces that they'll 'profile the scene' later on. There's actually a pretty big clue in his addressbook - the 'B' page has been torn out!

Wow, over at the doctor's office Reid finally says something useful. I know, shocking, right? His premise is to pick days when the doctor both saved a Hispanic man and had someone else die on the table! That narrows it down to just six cases! Wow, why is this taking so many hours? Sadly, the doctor can't remember anyone threatening him in those cases, or any others, for that matter.

While everyone else is busy worrying about Greg, Garcia simply phones all the hospitals in the area, looking for him. She finds a John Doe who was dropped off by Derek - of course that couldn't have happened, he was sleeping at the time! Eventually they remember that Reaper stole Derek's badge, and they know what's going on!

There's movement on the doctor's case as well, when Reid asks him to focus on the specific wording of the letter and compare it to the notes in the case files. Which is a ridiculous idea, since the killer never saw the case files, and it's not likely that the writeups that the doctor made hours after the surgery would accurately reflect things he said to the grieving father.

Somehow his memory is sparked anyways, and he remembers a case where two people were injured in a car accident - a hispanic man and a teenaged boy. He saved the man's life, but the boy came in already brain-dead, so there was no point in attempting to operate on him. The boy was just taken off life support a few days ago, too - which has driven his father to snap!

Emily swings by the hospital to check on Greg - he's been stabbed a number of times without any vital organs being hit! This, of course, is what the Reaper did to himself to make him seem like a victim. I guess he wants Greg to have matching scars to ensure that Greg will be obsessed with him? Reading over Greg's chart, Emily notices a major clue:

And it's not that a chart error wound up listing Greg as weighing 193 Kilograms, it's the LC initials, which were how the letter was signed... but what do they mean? Emily asks a doctor, and discovers that it means 'Living Children' - that there's someone to go to for questions about whether to take him off of life support, if that becomes an issue!

Okay, let's break this down for a second before getting to the Prentiss Award-Winning line of the night, which, as usual, comes from Reid. Why would that be on Greg's chart? Yes, he has a living child, but that child is three years old. Not exactly capable of making those decisions. If they know he has a child, they know the child's age, so why put that abbreviation? More to the point, once they find out who Greg is, they undoubtedly know that he's got an ex-wife who he probably still holds his power of attorney in case of grievous injury, or if he did get around to revoking that, he has a younger brother who'd be asked to make the decisions.

Either way, there's no reason for the 'LC' to be on the form except to let Reid jump to a ridiculous conclusion.

No, Reid, that's not what he was trying to say. Here, let me show you the text of the letter he sent.

So the letter is “I'm going to murder your son. If you don't let him out of the house, I'm going to murder other people.” The doctor didn't let his son out of the house, and the guy did murder other people, just as the letter promised. How could the initials 'LC' at the bottom of the letter possibly be interpreted as “Psych! I'm totally going to kill you after killing two random people for no reason!”

It couldn't. They just wanted the characters to look smart by not being surprised when the killer is waiting outside the doctor's house with a gun.

Yup, he was just standing in the middle of the street, holding a gun. He was able to do this because there wasn't a police car outside the doctor's house, looking out for the killer. Because everyone in the world of Criminal Minds sucks at their job.

Reid tackles the doctor to the ground, taking a bullet in the leg for his trouble. Then he tries to talk the crazy man out of using the gun so that he won't have to shoot. Reid isn't good at his job, though, so he's forced to shoot the man in the chest. Luckily the doctor is right there, and he's able to save the killer's life! Which means he'll be able to spend the rest of his life in jail for serial killing! Which I guess is a good outcome?

With the plot wrapped up at the thirty minute mark, it's time to check in on Greg! They talk about his ordeal, and as I mentioned earlier, the motive for stabbing was to replicate Reaper's own injuries. He immediately realizes the significance of the missing page from his addressbook, though: His wife, gay Jack's sister from Dawson's Creek, often goes by her maiden name - Brooks!

Oh my god, Greg's family being threatened is finally being used as a plot point, just as I predicted would eventually happen when they split up! So, let's go to the records and see how long the countdown lasted!

Okay, in Episode 303 I predicted the wife would be kidnapped, and while that hasn't happened yet, the threat of it is looming! Which means it took over 40 episodes before they finally went for it! Good work, guys! So, is she going to be kidnapped this week, and it will all be resolved next time? Let's find out!

She's not answering her phone, and a SWAT team is dispatched to the house - to keep us on edge, they cut away to Greg's conversation with the Reaper the night before. It's a good enough scene, with Greg refusing to be frightened by Reaper's posturing, but I was distracted by one thing.

They switched out the gun from last time. Here, in the season ender, Reaper was using a bizarre, stylized, over-the-top magnum like the ones he killed the people on the bus with:

But in Greg's flashback, it's just an ordinary long-barreled revolver.

Which they deliberately keep out of focus, possibly so we won't notice the shift. Was the prop gun not available, or did someone just forget?

Once the team arrives at Greg's old house, they discover... Greg's wife was upstairs, doing laundry with an Ipod on. I guess that's why she didn't hear the phone? Really? She missed fifteen minutes worth of ringing? Ah, whom am I kidding - this is the team that let someone get kidnapped by a serial killer because they didn't want to bother staying on the phone with her. They probably just called once and then gave up.

The important thing is that Greg's wife and child are fine! Greg, however, is having a flashback to the stabbing, in which Reaper takes his shirt off and talks extensively about his scars - and as I predicted, he wants to give Greg matching ones. During his taunting he also takes an opportunity to rewrite history, announcing that the team didn't catch him until he wanted them to. Yeah, but no. You started killing again because your deal expired, and then your plan was to fake your death and then get away with it, then they caught you before you managed to kill Justin Louis. You only got away because of the incompetence of the jailers at the Boston P.D.

Now for a little wrapup - Greg's family is being sent away into protective custody by the Marshal Service. Greg, for his part, has become obsessed with the idea of tracking down and killing Reaper. So obsessed, in fact, that he lies to the team and tells them that he doesn't remember all of Reaper's taunting. But why? Greg's wife then gets the second-stupidest line of the night, when she asks Greg if he's absolutely sure that she and the son have to go into hiding - are they really in danger?

She asks this of a man still lying in the hospital bed he was placed in after a serial killer stabbing him a dozen times.


I guess it's time to start the countdown to the family actually being kidnapped... like Frank, I presume this is going to wait until the end of the season, and maybe even be a two-parter! How can I be so sure we'll be seeing the family to follow up on this storyline? Check out who's playing the Marshal in charge of protecting him:
It's popular TV character actor DB Sweeny!

I can't believe we're going to have to wait months for this resolution! Also, I wonder how long they'll jump ahead for the next episode. What with Reid shot in the leg and Greg brutally stabbed, episode two of the season has got to be a couple of months later, right? Or is Greg going to take a couple of episodes off?

For the end of the episode, Joe swings by Greg's hotel room to talk about how staying on the job keeps people safe, and that he can't lose faith in his team. He even talks about how 'no other team in the world could have done what they did in just six hour'. By which I assume he means “Shoot a man who shows up carrying a gun at the house of the person he'd threatened to kill in a formal letter”.

Actually, I'd argue that any number of 'teams' could have handled that. Or even individuals.

Hell, if the doctor had a couple of dogs it probably would have all worked out just fine.


Also, why are they acting like it would be such a challenge to find Reaper? Shouldn't he be the most wanted man in America? Shouldn't every newscast every night open with an update on the hunt for the nation's worst at-large serial killer, a man who everyone knows the name and face of?

God, this show is terrible sometimes.

1 - Was profiling in any way helpful in solving the crime?

There was a little bit of psychology involved in helping the doctor remember the time the killer creepily accosted him in a hallway. But the jump he made to figure out what the killer 'secretly meant' by the letter was so ridiculous that it devalues literally everything else said in the episode.

2 - Could the crime have been solved just as easily using conventional police methods given the known facts of the case?

Actual, competent, professional law enforcement officers would have had plainclothesmen surreptitiously watching the house in case the killer turned up. So yes.

So, on a scale of 1 (Dirty Harry) to 10 (Tony Hill), How Useful Was Profiling in Solving the Crime?

1/10 - Dear lord, guys, this was a weak one. I know you needed half the episode to be about Greg, but if you wanted to to a character piece, why have a crime-of-the-week at all? Why not just find the injured Greg and spend an episode futilely chasing the Reaper?


Tips for Low-Budget Filmmakers: 8213 Gacy House

There are things you can do to improve your movie - things that cost no money whatsoever, and markedly make your film less stupid, and show a little respect for the audience watching it. Take, for example, 8213 Gacy House which, according to the opening title cards, is set in Des Plaines, Illinois, on March 6th, 2006.

Yet when we see the world of the film, it looks like this:

Note the manicured lawns, lush trees, blooming flowers, and complete lack of snow. The characters' breath isn't visible, and they all wear weather-inappropriate clothing considering that it's a cold month in a cold state. Heck, an internet search of the weather revealed that Des Plaines' mean temperature on the day the movie takes place was 34 degrees (which is one degree for non-Americans like myself).

Is there anything gained by setting the film on March 6th? Not that I can see - it's not like it was the anniversary of Gacy's death or anything. According to some title cards, that happened on May 10th.

So why not make this tiny change to make the film look less ridiculous? Or is it possible that a simple transpositional error created this problem? What do I mean? Take a look at these two title cards.

So the house was abandoned on 6/3, and the bodies were found on 3/6 - is it possible that the people putting together the title cards simply got the two dates backwards? Or is that a lack of care that even the Asylum couldn't manage?

Then again, I don't know how much I should have been expecting when the absolute first image in the movie had something wrong with it-

This could just be a typo, but I'm fairly sure that Des Plaines' District Attorney's office is not an adjunct of the police department.



Look everybody! The DiveMistress and myself actually went to a new movie this week! Shocking, right? I'm more than a little surprised by it myself. The movie in question? JJ Abrams' latest - Super 8!

What did we think of it? Well, one of us was more impressed than the other, and given that I'm seemingly never impressed by anything, ever, it shouldn't be too hard to guess which one that was!

So if you'd like to hear our comments on the movie, as well as a couple of videos, just right-click here to download the episode


The Fifty-Fifth-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics!

You know, it's not like the Apatosaurus had just been discovered or something. It had been a known, profoundly non-bloodthirsty, quantity for around seventy years when this comic was published.

I'm sure King Kong loomed much larger in the artist's mind than science, however.

King Kong was the one with killer Brontosaurs, right?


Tales From the Darkside 210: Ursa Minor

Ursa Minor, huh? So is this going to be about stargazing, or killer bears? Or a killer bear from the stars! One can only hope... The episode begins with a hung-over dad trying to struggle his way out of bed, followed by a domestic scene that the show tries to make creepier than it is by adding a 'scary' cue.

VID1 (~0:45)

Here's the thing, though. The whole talking about her bear as if it was a person is a completely normal childhood thing. It's not creepy in the least.

The mom has difficulty raising the dad from his slumber. His over-reliance on alcohol used to self-medicate his self-esteem problems has left him unable to function as a husband or father! He doesn't even know what day it is - and he's chagrined to discover that it's his daughter's birthday, since he didn't buy her a gift.

Then who, pray-tell, got her the bear? And why is said bear knocking over vases?


The Downside of the 'Marvel Method'

Now that's a misleading title if I've ever written one! I'm not actually talking about Marvel here, just their common method of making comics, which involved a brainstorming session where the story was devised, which the artist then drew on their own, with dialogue and specific plot details being added later.

That's the only explanation I can possibly find for the following panel:

Yes, it's a story about a mad scientist attempting to behead Fake Albert Einstein, but accidentally killing his assistant instead. Now, let's take a closer look at the body on that slab, with some crude notations by yours truly.

Point A - His left hand. Which means-
Point B - Can only be his left shoulder. Making that lump at-
Point C - His head.

So was the artist really not thinking this one through, or simply uninformed? Also, considering that this particular story was credited to a single writer/artist (Vernon Henkel), what does that say about the behind-the-scenes politics at Quality Comics?

I'd investigate further, but everyone who was there is almost certainly dead by now. I mean, really, it's been seventy years.


Adventures in Fake Journalism: Criminal Minds Suspect Behaviour 106

You know, I give a lot of crap to the writing on Criminal Minds because of its general terribleness, but now that the season is over, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on the decent writing being done somewhere along the line in the production.

Take a look at the letter that I'd assumed was the corpse's suicide note from episode 106: Devotion.

So someone actually sat down and wrote something - that alone is worthy of applause. What's even better is that the letter actually reads well:

Dear Dad,

Can you say goodbye to somebody when you've never really gotten to know them? I wonder because this feels a lot like a goodbye to me.

Lucky Number Ten. It's always been my lucky number but it almost feels like the universe laughing at me . Poor Tami. She sends another letter and it comes back with that angry RETURN TO SENDER finger pointing right in her face.

I won't write after this unless you write back. I don't want money or anything, I just want you to acknowledge that you know I'm out here. I'm out here and I'm part of you and I'm writing and writing and writing-
(cut off) write back.


See? While certainly not Valerie or anything I'll remember in a week or two, it's certainly a perfectly good example of in-character writing, and far more competent than I've come to expect from Criminal Minds.

So great work, whoever made that prop! You deserve a raise! Or to get hired on a better show, if Suspect Behavior was cancelled between me writing this and now.


Criminal Minds Season 4 Recap!

Well, that's season 4 in the bag, and I, like everyone else, I'd imagine, am excited to find out how Greg get out of this one! First, though, let's take a look my increasingly-scientific analysis of the season's numbers.

The scores are remaining amazingly consistent from year-to-year, with the final score for this season being 57/250 (26 episodes -1 two-parter), or 23% profiling rating. Down a point from last season, but still marginally in the lead over the execrable season 2.

The season closed out with the absolute high point for profiling. Episode 24, 'Amplification' made the argument that analyzing their subject's grudges and past disappointments could allow them to accurately predict what his next target would be. I still doubt that it would allow them to guess how he'd react when a gun was pointed at him, but let's move on-

To the lowest point of the season! Lots to choose from this year, with a spare of 1/10s, including the season finale, which insulted the audience in any number of ways. The nadir was, of course, episode 4, Paradise, in which Greg literally came face-to-face with the twitchy, overly cheerful Wil Wheaton and found absolutely nothing suspicious about his behaviour, then walked away - needing to be told by Garcia later on that he was the killer. Yup, Greg wasn't even slightly suspicious of the man. That's some bad work, guys.

Special mention must be made of Garcia's contribution to the team, however - if it wasn't already abundantly clear, this is the year that let the audience know, flat out, that it's Garcia's ability to search databases and scour traffic camera footage that solves the vast majority of their cases. She makes a powerful argument for the idea that bothering to travel to the crime scenes is a waste of resources. If one woman sitting at a keyboard is more valuable than the entire profiling team, then what's the point of even having one?

Next week: Season 5, Episode 1!


Skeleton Crew Thinks Your Time is Valueless

The end credits of Skeleton Crew roll at the 90-minute mark. This will be important information in a moment.

The movie opens with a car crash, after which a woman and her boyfriend are forced to find refuge in a creepy medical clinic run by a man who, sadly, is not Jeffrey Combs.

The woman quickly realizes something creepy is going on, and tries to free herself from the clutches of the psychopathic hospital staff - while I realize that this movie has the exact same plot as something we covered on theAvod, although the title eludes me at the moment - anyhow, the point is that she gets chased around the hospital until the 22-minute mark, at which point we arrive at the twist:

Up until this point we've just been watching a movie being made.



This week on theAvod The Divemistress and myself do our best to produce a new episode despite illness and general exhaustion! It actually managed to go incredibly well, as you can learn for yourself by simply right-clicking here to download!

Topics discussed include a new Val Kilmer movie, and two other less important films. Although, come to think of it, the Val Kilmer movie isn't that important either, beyond the fact that it features Val Kilmer.


The Fifty-Fourth-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics!

This is like the ending of the best Scooby-Doo ever.


Tales From the Darkside 209: The Trouble With Mary Jane

As the episode opens Phyllis Diller and Lawrence Tierney are led into a posh bedchamber by a formally-dressed matron. It seems that the woman is concerned about her granddaughter, who is, at present, possessed by a demon! Diller and Tierney play charlatan fortunetellers, it seems, and they've been tasked with figuring out a way to exorcise the beast from the little girl. Diller wants to bug out, given that they have no idea what they're doing, but Tierney is fixated on the fifty thousand dollars they stand to make if the job is successful!

Oh, and just in case you were worried that this might be one of their serious episodes, causing a debate to arise about whether this was a real possession or just some psychological nonsense, get a look at the little girl's legs-

So yeah. It's a demon, and a comedy one at that!

Confronted with a genuine twelve-thousand-year-old demon, Tierney's demands that she simply leave are largely ineffective. They retreat to their office to look into the mechanics of exorcism - but can they possibly figure out a way to defeat the most nefarious creature imagineable? And, more importantly for the episode's success, will it be funny?


Something I never noticed until just now in Friday the 13th Part 2

Continuing my infrequent series of articles about things I'm just now noticing in movies I've seen literally hundreds of times, let me point out a bizarre sequence from Friday the 13th Part 2.

This is Vicky, going skinny-dipping in Crystal Lake, alone, in the middle of the night. While that's questionable in and of itself, let's move on to what I'm here to discuss, namely Scott stealing her clothes-

And the aftermath thereof. Running off with Vicky's shirt, Scott winds up caught in a man-trap. Reclaiming her clothing, Vicky heads back to her cabin to find a knife she can use to cut Scott down. Then this happens-

First off, this isn't a 3D movie, but that's not the really weird part. We've got to assume that was her towel, since she went down to the lake to take a dip. Right after doing this she heads back to her cabin-

Who throws their wet towel off into the woods when they were on the way back to the place it belongs?