TheAvod, everyone!

That's right, there's a new episode of TheAvod - delayed slightly this week due to previous commitments as well as vagueness!

Get it here!


Production Secrets Revealed: Shades of Grey 103

See that candle on the table there? I've helpfully circled it. Note how incredibly out-of place it is. This is a classy restaurant with romantic mood lighting created by stylish shaded lamps on each table. Yet someone went and ruined the entire effect by plopping a drinking glass with a battery-powered electric candle at the edge of the table. Why would that happen?

To understand the story behind that candle, you have to hear the dialogue in the scene!


The Next Day: Intruders Edition

Welcome to 'The Next Day', a recurring feature which explains what happens immediately after the end of films with ambiguous finales!

This time we're talking about Intruders, the film about (spoiler alert) a home invasion which goes awry when the house's inhabitant, a shut-in, turns out to be a crazed serial killer!

At the climax of the film, after she's murdered all of the Intruders (hey, I just got the title!), and the house she hasn't left in a decade is set on fire, the serial killer wanders off into the woods as the credits roll and police sirens approach.
Yeah, turns out that I'm really fond of auto-balancing.
So, what happened next?

She was immediately arrested. Like five seconds later. This is a 23-year-old woman who hasn't left her house in a decade. She can't drive, has no social skills, resources, or idea how to avoid the police. Also she was pretty badly beaten during her fights with each of the three home invaders.

Honestly, it would have made more sense for the character, and been a better ending for the movie, had she stood at the front door and looked out into the world, then walked back into her burning house, going down with the ship. Whether it was because she honestly couldn't leave or because burning to death was preferable to life in jail could have been up to the audience, who would have left with a more logical, character-based resolution.


New TheAvod!

That's right! It's really, really late Wednesday/Really, really early Thursday, which means it's time for a new episode of TheAvod! This week, it's time for more intrusions, Coen brothers reviews, and a brief discussion of truly bad review bais.

Here's a link to the episode!

Also, check out this, a five-minute tribute to the best line reading of David Duchovny's career!


How To Ruin Your Own Movie: The Intruders Edition

The Intruders is the story of a father and daughter who move into a spooky new house, and the events which follow after. Spooky events! Doll heads appear and disappear seemingly at will, there are eerie noises in the night - fairly standard stuff.

So the audience is placed in a position of uncertainty - is the house haunted? Is there someone hiding in the walls? Is the main character an unreliable narrator due to mental instability? This would all be a great foundation for mystery and drama, except for one thing-

The movie tells us that it is, in all likelihood, the second option. Right up front. Here's the first thing that happens in the movie:

Sorry about the low quality - the image was super-dark, so I just used the auto-balance.
A beaten woman is tied up in a dingy basement.

Criminal Minds Episode 807: The Fallen

We're back in LA, as the episode opens at the Santa Monica pier! I'd make a snarky comment about the producers getting lazy about trying to make LA look like other places, but A: They never actually tried that hard in the first place, and B: LA actually does have more than its fair share of serial killers, so this is fine. The episode opens with a street musician busking while a well-to-do gent gets himself dolled up for a night of murder. Their stories dovetail quickly, with the gent giving her an extravagant tip and then taking her out for a nice dinner

At least, that's what he says he's going to do - too late she notices that she's climbed onto a leather seat with a deeply out-of-place plastic slipcover on it.

That seems like a sensible precaution to keep from damaging the leather on his seats, but then his method of murder - stabbing her over and over again in the stomach, would likely get blood all over the place, so it seems like a half-measure at best.

Then it's over to Joe, who's being called by his agent to compliment him on his new book of gossipy stories about all the serial killers he catches in his day job! At least I assume that's what it's about - the killers the agent mentions - The Butcher, The Piano Man, and The Queen of Diamonds seem to refer to to the father-son murder team, the rapesong afficionado, and the Royal Flush gang episodes - I've got to say, I would read the hell out of this book if they actually published it. Much like they transformed episodes of Yes, Minister into a collection of cabinet diaries, it would be fantastic if they hired a writer to do a John Douglas-style case dry-yet-angry breakdown of the cases from the show. Consider at least one copy sold, producers!

The Agent is happy with the manuscript, but annoyed that Joe hasn't added a dedication page, and he's under a lot of pressure, since they're ready to go to print! They need those dedications by the end of the day, but Joe says week, since there's a new murder to investigate.

Um, no, they are absolutely not ready to go to print. Even if it's his publisher, and not agent, as I'd previously assumed, she's talking like she just finished reading the book. Maybe junior editors had handled the entire rewrite and proofread process with Joe, and she's reading it incredibly late, there's no way the final text of  that book wouldn't have to go through an exhaustive revision by lawyers. He's writing about real cases in which actual people died, as recently as a year earlier. They would have to be incredibly careful to avoid lawsuits with a book like this, and that whole endeavour would absolutely not happen before his publisher had gotten her hands on the book.

But hey, compressed time, stupid arbitrary deadlines to add faux character-relationship tension, I get what they're doing. It's just jaw-droppingly inaccurate.

To the briefing! It seems that the gent has been burning his victims and dumping them around the beach in Santa Monica - on the benches, under piers, in super-public places, really.

So, I know that the whole beach area is popular enough that he couldn't be burning them where they're found, even in the middle of the night, but is it ever so empty that a guy would be able to drive up to a parking lot in the middle of the night, drag a charred corpse out of his car, carry it all the way down to the beach, prop it up against a pier, and then leave without anyone seeing him? That seems like a stretch, doesn't it?

The team goes over some standard guesses - the victims were assorted gender, so they rule out sexual assault as a likely motive, as if there'd ever been such a thing as a rapist who attacks both sexes! Crazy talk, am I right? Of course I'm not, and neither are they. Garcia also mentions that the ME hasn't figured out cause of death for any of the victims yet, but she (Garcia) guesses that the fire probably did it. The team doesn't mention it, but that's super-unlikely based on the position of the body. I've watched enough Forensic Files to know that people burned alive have their arms and legs curl up, putting them in the 'pugilist' pose, where the two bodies we've seen photos just look like someone poured gas on a corpse and then lit a match.

Also, these three corpses have turned up in the past WEEK! What? How are the corpse not swarming the pier at all hours? How was the busker so stupid as to say 'yeah, I'll go for a meal with you, complete stranger! After all, nothing bad ever happened to beach bums, right? Except for the two who were killed, had their corpses burned and then dumped withing a mile of here in the past week! You know, other than that! So, where do you want to go?' Unless Santa Monica has no government of any kind and is ruled by feral dogs, this lack of a police crackdown is insane. Sure, one body turns up, maybe you don't lock down the beach, but after two in the same week? I'm guessing there would be a 1:1 tourist:plainclothes cop ratio until they caught the gent.

Jeanne pops up with a particularly bad bit of profiling, offering that burning someone to death means that the killer is patient as well as sadistic. Nope, he's just sadistic. Burning people does not take much time at all, just some gasoline and a match. Any of the torture or medical research-themed killers you've dealt with have spent way more time with their victims than a burning would take, yet no one has every talked about how 'patient' they would have to be as if it was a useful bit of psychological insight.

Reid does much better with the concrete suggestion that the killer needs both private transportation and a out-of-the-way burn sight where a suspicious bacon-smelling fire wouldn't draw attention. So not a homeless guy, then. Not great, but still more useful than Jeanne. Seriously, though, when have they ever faced a killer who didn't have a car? Rambo, the rail-rider... isn't that about it? And Rambo actually had a car, he was just too crazy to use it.

They also note that he's gone from a 4-day cool off between the first two victims to a 2-day between the second and third - Greg wants to stop him before he he gets to one! Which they absolutely won't do, becuase it's already like 7AM PST while they're having this meeting - hour to get to the airport, five hour flight, hour to get to the police station/morgue/wherever they split up and go to. They're not actually going to start investigating the case until 1PM Santa Monica local time. They're good at their jobs, almost unbelievably good, actually, but I don't see them solving this thing in eight hours.



Another Fun Thing About Chainsaw Killer

Chainsaw Killer is low budget in the best possible way - by which I mean it doesn't care for a second that its budget is showing, it's going to get its point across with whatever tools it has at its disposal. In this case, those tools are:

A - Footage of the Chainsaw Killer chasing people through the woods in the late autumn.
B - Footage of those victims being chased in the early spring.

Now, you might think that having only those two things would in some way baffle or foil Chainsaw Killer's editors, but no - it doesn't even slow them down. Allow me to present my proof!


Chainsaw Killer - Bad Filmcraft or Unintended Plot Revelation?

Allow me to reintroduce baffling film 'Chainsaw Killer'.

Seemingly an attempt to use existing footage from an abandoned project, Chainsaw Killer tells the story of a horror geek with a vodcast who is obsessed with tracking down a copy of the obscure horror film 'The Force Beneath'.
Also, there's a guy with a chainsaw, wearing a catcher's mask, who spends his time cutting people up with said chainsaw. Not in such a way that it would require any gore to be shown on film, however. This is not a film with an extravagant budget. The kills tend to be along the lines of-
Chainsaw goes offscreen.
Blood thrown on face.

Then cut away to the next scene. It's never super-clear what the Chainsaw Killer's connection to the obscure videotape is, almost as if they're appearing in two separate movies right up until he turns up and kills the main character.

So, keeping that extremely low budget in mind, allow me to show you pictures. First is the face of the chainsaw killer-


Things I Didn't Notice In The Simpsons Until Just Recently

Part of the wonder that is The Simpsons is its ability to keep surprising me year after year, as I notice new jokes in episodes I've watched literally hundreds of times. Here's an example that happ    ened to me last year, from 'Homer and Apu'.

Kent Brockman: Good Evening, here's an update from last week's nursing home expose: Geezers in Freezers. It turns out the rest home was adequately heated - the footage you saw was of a fur storage facility. We've also been told to apologize for using the term 'Geezers'.

"Now - coming up next: The case of the cantankerous old geezer!"

For years I thought the entirety of the joke was that Kent Brockman immediately went back to using the word 'Geezer' after apologizing for doing so, but during my six hundredth or so viewing, I finally realized that the joke was this - After finding out that they were going to have to apologize because an elderly viewer complained about his language, Kent Brockman (and the Bite Back team) decided that their next story should be an attack piece - on the complainer.

How did I not notice that for so long? Probably too busy laughing at Harry Shearer's reading of the word 'geezer', I'd expect.

Here's the new one!