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Spike TV’s The Mist – Pilot Impressions and Thoughts

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The Mist

Spike is making a sizable gamble in transferring Stephen King’s novella “The Mist” to the small screen. We’ve seen numerous networks try their hand at turning large King novels into successful television series. and those attempts frequently fail due to what seems to be an insistence in injecting every microscopic detail into the live action transfers. It rarely works and often leaves viewers feeling bored and prepared to move on.

Look no further than the recent sunken ship “Under the Dome,” which fizzled after three seasons because the story could’ve been adequately and successfully told in 10 to 12 episodes.

Spike’s launch of “The Mist” feels eerily reminiscent of the earlier episodes of “Under the Dome” despite the fact that this story is miniscule in comparison to “Under the Dome.” Somehow we’re still seeing the same pitfalls in the distance, which is rather confusing.

Without hurling a wealth of spoilers (let’s be realistic, the vast majority of you have probably seen Frank Darabont’s riveting big screen rendition of this story) in your direction, it can be safely said that the pilot episode takes time to introduce the characters while gifting us a relatively brief glimpse at the oncoming conflict. The problem is that the conflict feels like it takes a backseat in this vehicle, and that may not sit well with viewers.

While Darabont’s flick introduced focal personalities while in the midst of a strange monstrous invasion, Spike’s take spends the bulk of the pilot episode introducing the characters first, and that feels wrong. Again, it feels wrong in the same way that “Under the Dome” felt wrong. Viewers should absolutely be invested in the characters, but we don’t need an intricate introduction before the insanity truly begins; we need to meet the characters that matter to us and determine whether or not we care about them as the conflict is taking place. We need to see their response to a perilous situation because that’s when their purest responses are going to come to light. Spike is already doing all they can to convince us we love a very large number of characters, even though we have no idea how we’ll respond to their responses.

“The Mist,” unfortunately, feels as though it is already moving in the wrong direction. Furthermore, the pacing of the story also feels like a problem. As the pilot episode ends, we’re seeing our hopeful survivors taking shelter in a public setting (this looks more like a mall than a simple grocery store). They’re also catching glimpses of the things in the mist. Remember that by the time we’re experiencing these things in Darabont’s picture, we’re a good 30-35 percent of the way through the film. It’s hard to imagine this version not feeling like a cinematic Stretch Armstrong if we’ve still got nine episodes to travel before a (hopeful) conclusion.

For the most part the show’s primary performers sell the story well. Morgan Spector looks like a fine leading man, while Gus Birney plays Alex, the emotional teen, impressively. Alyssa Sutherland, who portrays Eve, the wife to Spector’s character, Kevin Copeland, is strangely out of place. To be frank, she comes across as an entirely unlikable bitch, which doesn’t seem to gel too well when she’s sharing screen time with the calm, collected, and generally friendly Kevin. These are two conflicting characters, and it’s difficult to imagine them unifying at any point, even during an epic tragedy… or monster invasion.

The cast also manages to become questionable with each new personality we meet. And this is essentially where “Under the Dome” fell to pieces. We’re expected to invest in a very wide array of personalities. Remember that in Darabont’s picture we’re basically asked to care about four unique personalities first and foremost: David Drayton (Thomas Jane), Marcia Gay Harden (Mrs. Carmody), Laurie Holden (Amanda Dunfrey), and Andre Braugher (Brent Norton). That’s a perfect group to draw viewers in, but Spike’s version introduces the aforementioned Kevin, Eve, and Alex, while we’re also expected to immediately care about youngsters Jay, Adrian, and Lila as well as other random characters like Mia, Bryan, Natalie, Gus, and Howard. So Spike is asking us, right from the jump, to dump our emotions into not four focal characters, but at least 11 – right off the bat. And there are many more waiting in the wings to receive their official introductions.

After tuning in to the pilot, the only individuals in Spike’s “The Mist” that intrigue me are Kevin, Gus, and Bryan. There isn’t an ounce of interest I have left to spare on the numerous other individuals we’ll be expected to invest in. And while the special effects look – thus far – solid, we haven’t seen quite enough of the things in the mist to really blow the mind. I don’t like admitting it, but “The Mist” gave me a nasty dose of déjà vu, and I could instantly recognize that the familiarity I was seeing stemmed directly from the train wreck that was “Under the Dome.” Here’s hoping a second episode drastically changes my initial reaction to what can potentially be a terrific series.

“The Mist” stars Morgan Spector, Alyssa Sutherland, Gus Birney, Danica Curcic, Okezie Morro, Dan Butler, Darren Pettie, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Russell Posner, Luke Cosgrove, and Frances Conroy. It debuts on Thursday, June 22nd, at 10pm ET/PT.

When the residents of Bridgeville, Maine, find themselves engulfed by a foreboding mist containing a myriad of inexplicable and bizarre threats, their humanity is put to the test.  Based on a story by Stephen King, “The Mist” has been reimagined for television by executive producer/writer Christian Torpe and produced by TWC-Dimension Television.

Synopsis:
A small town family is torn apart by a brutal crime. As they deal with the fallout, an eerie mist rolls in, suddenly cutting them off from the rest of the world and, in some cases, each other. Family, friends, and adversaries become strange bedfellows, battling the mysterious mist and its threats, fighting to maintain morality and sanity as the rules of society break down.

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George A. Romero’s Daughter, Tina, Wrote a Script For Queens of the Dead

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The loss last year of director George A. Romero was a huge blow to the horror community, as well as the filmmaking community at large. The passing of the man responsible for creating the modern day zombie and whose work influenced “The Walking Dead”, Dead Alive, 28 Days Later, and Jordan Peele’s Get Out was felt far and wide but we take solace knowing that his work and legacy will live on forever.

Something that brings a smile to my face is hearing that his daughter, Tina, who DJ’s under the name DJ TRx, has written a screenplay for a zombie film that is called Queens of the Dead. And yes, it’s very gay! Romero has not only written the script but also plans on directing the film herself.

Romero tells The Saunder Blog about the film, saying, “Queens of the Dead is a fusion of two huge parts of my world: zombies and Gay nightlife. It’s a tribute to my father as well as my entrée into the genre he grandfathered. I can’t say too much yet, but what I can tell you is that this film will have all the hallmarks of a George A. Romero classic: farce, politics, heroes, assholes, and most importantly, herds of silly and slow moving walkers that you can’t help but love. But I’m doing it Tina-style, and bringing the glitter, choreography, queers & queens.

Romero’s father always brought some sort of social message into his work, so to hear that she will continue that tradition is inspiring, especially since it comes on a topic that is so discussed and topical.

If you want to read more about Romero and her DJ career, click on the link above.

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The Housemaid Haunts a New Trailer

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Here’s the thing… if we had the choice between cleaning up our own house or being haunted by a vengeful spectral servant of sorts, well… just hand us a friggin’ mop, wouldja already? Still, in the case of The Housemaid, it looks like nothing is gonna stop her from sensing shivers! Dig on this new trailer.

Derek Nguyen directs the flick, which stars Kate Nhung, Jean-Michel Richaud, Kim Xuan, Svitlana Kovalenko, and Rosie Fellner. Look for IFC Midnight’s release of The Housemaid coming to select theaters, VOD, and via Digital platforms in the U.S. on February 16, 2018.

Synopsis:
A forbidden passion awakens vengeful spirits within a haunted mansion in this bloodcurdling, erotic tour-de-force.

Vietnam, 1953: Linh (Nhung Kate), a poor, orphaned young woman, finds employment as a housemaid in a crumbling rubber plantation presided over by the emotionally fragile French officer Sebastien Laurent (Jean-Michel Richaud). Soon, a torrid love affair develops between the two – a taboo romance that rouses the ghost of Laurent’s dead wife, who won’t rest until blood flows.

Submerged in moody Gothic atmosphere, this stylish supernatural saga confronts the dark shadows of Vietnam’s colonial past while delivering heart-stopping scares.

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The Executioners Knock on the Wrong Door! Get Axed!

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Ever since Funny Games I’ve been kind of soured on home invasion flicks. There have been some great ones, but seeing an entire family cower before two white-gloved youths proved a bit too unbelievable for me. I wanted to see the family fight back.

One thing’s for sure: Judging by the cover of The Executioners, someone has picked a feisty group of folks to pick on. Interest piqued.

Directed and written by Giorgio Serafini, the film stars Jemma Dallender, Natalie Burn, Rachel Rosenstein, and Justin Fischer. Look for the flick to be arriving on DVD, Digital, and On Demand March 27th from Lionsgate.

Synopsis:
When four friends go on a retreat to a secluded lakeside cabin, they soon realize they’re not alone. Masked intruders try to take them hostage, but as they fight back, the friends get a taste for something more than the will to survive. Will their fate be as victim or executioner?

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