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Stranger Things 2 Ep. 8 – “The Mind Flayer”

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Welcome back to Dread Central’s daily recap/reviews of the second season of Netflix and The Duffer Brothers’ “Stranger Things”. You can find our recap/review of the previous episode right HERE. Now let’s get to it!

After the heartbreakingly bad episode that was yesterday’s “The Lost Sister” we can only hope that today’s episode “The Mind Flayer” (which I don’t have to tell you is a super metal title) puts this season back on course.

Fingers crossed.

This new episode begins right where “The Spy” left off. Hopper watches in horror as the Demon Dogs reach up from the hell below the energy plant of the hill and invade the building with the eating of human asses on their minds.

Very quickly the Demon Dogs eat their way through the building killing each and every guard and/or scientist they can find. Up in the ER, Mike deduces that Will sold all of them out and Joyce decides to put her child to sleep (literally sleep, not like death) so he can’t rat them out anymore.

The team then lock themselves in the plant’s control room just as the power to the entire structure goes down and the shit has officially hit the Upside Down fan.

Cue credits.

We come back to find badass Billy getting ready for a date 80’s-style and getting yelled at by his tough-as-nails father. This is supposed to make us feel something resembling empathy for the Red Power Ranger, but it got none from this guy. Someone needs to throw the kid up against the wall – and rip out that single dangling earring. His dad doesn’t do that but instead sends Billy out to find his little sister Max. Collison course set.

Meanwhile, at the energy plant, the gang is stuck in the control room with Dr. Owens who tells them that in order to restore power to the plant and open the massive doors to safety, they’ll have to reset the breakers. Hopper – being the slightly over-weight Indiana Jones he is – offers his services. But wait, the place is controlled by supercomputers and Hopper doesn’t know thing one about computers, so it’s up to trusty old Bob the Brain to save them.

While Samwise heads down to the breaker room, toting a gun like Bruce Willis the math teacher, the rest of our lovable leads (Nancy, Jonathan, Dustin, Steve, Max, and Lucas) all meet up serendipitously out front of the energy planet. The catch is they can’t get in because the power is out and the plant is now an impenetrable fortress.

Inside, Bob gets the computers up and running and the rest of our trapped heroes (Hopper, Dr. Owens, Joyce, Mike and unconscious Will) get to run out the front doors. But there’s a catch here as well. As Mikey from The Goonies tries to get out of the place, the Demons Dogs set upon him and Dr. Owens has to stay behind to help navigate Mikeywise to safety by way of the computer monitors.

This isn’t going to go well.

Mikeywise successful navigates the Demon Dogs just to get to the safety of the building’s lobby – and stop. Dead. In his tracks. To do what? Smile at Joyce’s ass. His girlfriend that he is half a lobby way from hugging and kissing and running away with. But no. He stops. And smiles. And guess what? He gets his face and flabby ass eaten right the f*ck off by the Demadogs. Great. But this is the way it goes. Every movie and/or TV series needs a good death in its final episodes. If we have to sacrifice Bob to make sure we don’t lose someone like Max or (gasp) Steve, then sorry Bobwise, we loved you but you gotta gory-go. We tip our hats to your bravery.

Moving on.

The gang all reunited (expect Eleven) hold up at Joyce’s house and await the coming storm. Hooper and Joyce share a tender moment and Mike and the boys deduce that if they can kill off the Shadow Monster they can kill off everything related to the Upside Down (including Will?).

Dustin then teaches everyone about “The Mind Flayer”. A character from D&D that is so powerful and old that not even it knows how old it is and/or where it first emerged from. The Mind Flayer takes over another world by taking over people’s mind like the Germans — I mean the Nazis. But after all that exposition, it turns out the only way to defeat The Mind Flayer is you need a team of Zombies – because zombies don’t have minds to flay. But this is the real world and there are no zombies (this season) so the gang is shit out of luck.

But what about Will? They use Will to spy back on The Mind Flayer by turning the Byer’s family shed out back into a room for interrogation. While all of this is getting set up Steve and Nancy make peace, as do Dustin and Lucas. Speaking of making peace Mike and Max do as well. Kinda.

So now all the pieces are set up and the game is ready to roll towards its inevitable climax. Bring it on.

From here on out the rest of the episode more or less plays out like a possession movie with Will tied up Exorcist-style to a post in the shed and being talked down by friends and family. Will eventual learns how to communicate with the others through the haze of possession (by morse code knocking on his chair) and Will tells everyone that to end the supernatural shenanigans once and for all they will need to “Close the Gate.”

The episode ends with a Demadog getting mind-thrown into the Byers house by… something. And we realize about 15 full seconds before the series that Eleven is back and surely bleeding slightly from one nostril. The locks on the Byers door then unlock themselves and punk-rock X-men Eleven steps in… slightly bleeding from one nostril.

Roll credits.

I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. Sure it was a bit of a step down from “The Spy” but at least it was a major step up from “The Lost Sister.” And this episode fully kicked the plot and pacing into high gear. That said, I realize now that I don’t watch this series for its plot and pacing, and instead prefer quiet scenes between its characters.

Fingers-crossed next season doesn’t have a supernatural threat (yeah, right) and we get to spend another 10 hours with the gang without silly things like Demadogs, Demogorgons, Mind Flayers and plot getting in the way.

But still, this was a tight, fast-paced episode. It featured great character moments and a (relatively) big death scene to boot. Bonus points awarded for featuring no reference to the horrific previous episode and featuring only a single shot of Eleven. Good times.

Now bring on the season finale!

Check back with us tomorrow for our recap/review of “Stranger Things 2” Ep. 9 – “The Gate”

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Amazon Developing Stephen King’s The Dark Tower TV Series

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The Dark TowerIt’s been a while since we brought you guys an update on the planned TV series based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower book series.

But today it looks like we have confirmation via Deadline that, “Amazon… is developing a slew of high-profile titles, including The Dark Tower…”

The series is being developed by Amazon as part of their bid to move into bigger budgeted spectacles ala their recent acquisition of the rights to The Lord of the Rings.

No further info is available at this time but we will keep you up to date as we hear word on Amazon’s “The Dark Tower.”

Are you excited about this series? Let us know below!

Synopsis:

Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known as the Man in Black. The Gunslinger must prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, the key that holds the universe together. With the fate of worlds at stake, two men collide in the ultimate battle between good and evil.

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Rutger Hauer Says There Was No Love and No Soul in Blade Runner 2049

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I don’t know about you, but I dug the hell out of last summer’s Blade Runner 2049. I found the film to be a tonally perfect addition to the Blade Runner universe and appreciated how it built on the story established in the original film.

That said, there are some out there that aren’t fans of the sequel – most of all, it seems, is the original film’s baddie, Rutger Hauer.

Recently, Hauer spoke with THR and didn’t hold back on his dislike of the new film.

“I sniff and scratch at it,” Hauer says. “It looks great, but I struggle to see why that film was necessary. I just think if something is so beautiful, you should just leave it alone and make another film. Don’t lean with one elbow on the success that was earned over 30 years in the underground.”

He continues: “In many ways Blade Runner wasn’t about the replicants; it was about what does it mean to be human? It’s like E.T. But I’m not certain what the question was in the second Blade Runner. It’s not a character-driven movie and there’s no humor, there’s no love, there’s no soul. You can see the homage to the original. But that’s not enough to me. I knew that wasn’t going to work. But I think it’s not important what I think.”

Wow, don’t hold back, Hauer. Tell us how you really feel!

I’m kidding. And while I don’t agree with Hauer on this particular issue, the man has more than earned the right to think it IS “important what [he] thinks.

Do you agree with Rutger Hauer on Blade Runner 2049? Let us know below!

Synopsis:
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

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Ash vs Evil Dead Set Visit Part 2: Learning About Kelly, Pablo, and Brandy

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If you haven’t read through the first part of my set visit for the third season of “Ash vs Evil Dead”, make sure to do so here.

After walking through the halls of Brandy’s high school, the sperm bank clinic that has been seen in the trailer, Brock’s house, and the streets of Elk Grove (all through the magic of set designs), it was time to sit down with stars Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago, who told me about their characters Kelly and Pablo through this season of “Ash vs Evil Dead”! Oh, and there’s also a lot from Arielle Carver-O’Neill about her character Brandy as well, because who can resist hearing from Ash’s daughter?

After finding out that Dana, who is from Youngstown, Ohio, is a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes, our interview nearly ended. After all, your boy is a Wolverine, through and through, and anyone who knows sports rivalries knows that Buckeyes and Wolverines don’t get along. That being said, we managed to put aside our differences so that I could learn a bit about Kelly and what she’ll be going through this season.

I really loved Kelly’s journey in season one and two. It was very exciting to play because, in a way, it mirrored my own as an actor coming into a franchise like this. Just like Kelly was dragged into this fight against evil and was caught completely off guard, it was very similar to the actor struggling for 10 years. I was living in Los Angeles working at a bar when I got this job. All of a sudden I’m being thrown into this with this incredible franchise, with the amazing producers of Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, where a franchise that’s built upon one man, a lone wolf as we’ve said, who is the star of this show and now he’s going to have sidekicks, that was terrifying as well! But it was really cool because I feel like I got to grow with Kelly and every time Kelly did something new, it was me doing something new,” DeLorenzo explains.

Expanding on that, DeLorenzo starts telling me more about Kelly and how she specifically changes through the upcoming season, saying, “At the end of season two, there’s the parade. And if you look, you can see that Kelly isn’t happy. Kelly is the smart one of that trifecta, the ghostbeaters. She knows that evil is not gone for good, which brings us to season three. Now that she’s tasted blood, she’s constantly chasing that high. So, at the start of season three, Kelly is a warrior without a war. She wants to stay on her game for when evil comes back. Her journey for season three…evil paints Kelly in a bloody corner and sets up her to fail where she can’t do what she does best, which is kick evil’s ass. She’s put in these catch-22 situations that she can’t fight her way out of without someone she cares about getting hurt. I think fans will be shocked at her transformation [this season].”

The theme of family running throughout this season of the show is not lost on DeLorenzo, who recognizes that Kelly’s ultimate purpose throughout this series is called into question through events that she wasn’t able to elaborate upon. However, she did tell me, “It was always about protecting and staying by the side of Ash and Pablo because they are not her family by blood but they are her family by bloodshed.

When describing the ghostbeaters, she calls Ash the “brawn”, Pablo the “heart”, and Kelly the “brains”. Later, as I sat with Arielle Carver-O’Neill, I asked what Brandy represents, to which she stated, “the hope”. “They all become very protective of Brandy and are very supportive of her journey,” Carver-O’Neill explains.

I asked her to envision a world where a fourth season is confirmed and how she’d like to see Brandy’s role expanded. Pondering this for a couple of moments, she then told me, “I’d like to see her find herself a bit more. I think just because she’s a teenager, you go through that journey at that age where you are figuring out who you are and your parents, either consciously or unconsciously, play a large role in that. For her, she only had her mum and then she found parts of herself in her dad. But she’s got a lot of growing up to do and I think that’d be really fun to explore how she goes about that.

For Santiago, the character and evolution of Pablo throughout the series has a very personal meaning for him. “As a kid, I grew up watching horror films and I always wanted to be the hero saving people from the monster and I always wanted to be the person chased by the monster. I think, in this show, I have the opportunity do that every day as Pablo and I’m one step closer to becoming the superhero I wanted to be as a kid,” he states.

As for his evolution, Santiago sees Pablo as going from a pushover in the first season to someone very important and potentially very powerful in the third season. “We’ve seen Pablo go from this naive guy [in the first season] that’s pushed through the ringer to last season and…the Necronomicon and Pablo have an undeniable relationship that will never end. As we move into this third season, Pablo sees things differently. He’s not just tormented by his visions of darkness, we see that he may not be just a sidekick but also psychic! We’re going back to his family and we callback to his roots. Perhaps it wasn’t just a coincidence that he met Ash and that he himself was always destined to be somewhat of a Jefé. I think season three is where we see all that coming to fruition. He’s not just along for the ride, he’s become an integral part of the team.

Part III of our set visit coming soon!

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