Body Count Zine #8 - October 2016 2 Guess the Plot! By: Rusty, Josh, and Mike 5 Interview: Frank Portman Mr. T Experience, King Dork Approximately 8 A Visit to Sleepy Hollow By: Mike 11 Interview: Tommy Faircloth Family Possessions 14 Reviews By: Josh 17 Next Time on Twin Peaks By: Rusty Artwork by Mike Dyrdahl twitter.com/mikedyrdahlart | mikedyrdahlsart.deviantart.com facebook.com/mikedyrdahlart | ebay.com/usr/mdyr1098 GUESS THE PLOT! By: Rusty, Josh, and Mike Rusty, Josh, and Mike attempt to guess the plots of recently released or upcoming films based only on the titles. Correct IMDB summaries follow their guesses for each film. Knucklebones Rusty: A struggling young stand-up comic has tried his act out at nearly every comedy joint in America, including Yukkity Yuks, Spit-Takes, Chortles, The LOL, Laughington's Bistro, and even Ha Ha Happies. Needing five bucks to rent a movie at the Blockbuster Video, he booked a gig at a new bar called Knucklebones. But here, the comedians don't kill. The audience does! See? See? Josh: Three grade-school friends are bored of playing “rock paper scissors” all the time, and invent a new, brutal version that involves punching each other’s knucklebones. They all cry after they play it once and go home. It’s not a very good game. And it’s a pretty short movie. Mike: For decades, students at Clearview High School have told the story of Knucklebones, a former gym teacher who was supposedly fired after boxing with his students and repeatedly injuring the weaker freshmen each year. The legend says that Knucklebones lives in the school's basement and roams the halls each day and night, hoping to find someone to fight. Now that freshmen are turning up dead, however, the school's leaders realize the legend may be true, and they must find answers. Is there a killer among them? Or is Knucklebones real? IMDB: A group of bored college students unleash a murderous demon while playing a dice game made from human knucklebones. Friend Request Rusty: Hoping to placate a stranger who continually sends her an online friend request each time she ignores it, Grace Hook finally clicks "accept." At first, the stranger's posts were banal enough: photos of babies, a picture of food, political opinions, some dank memes... but then, she started seeing status updates that contained information no one but her could have known. And then came the photos of Grace herself. But you knew all of this from the title, so don't even bother to watch it. Hop on Facebook instead. It misses you! Josh: The unauthorized sequel to Unfriended finds the vengeful ghost of that film feeling guilty about her actions and trying to make new friends on Facebook. She sends out numerous friend requests and evites, and everyone ignores and assumes that they’re spam from a fake account, since, you know, she’s dead. The ghost gets very sad and starts doing her ghost thing again, this time for much sillier reasons. Mike: Field Trip is the newest social media site that everyone is using. (On screen, it actually looks like something designed in Microsoft Word, but just pretend that it looks cool, OK?) On Field Trip, users don't have the normal hassles of receiving game requests, being added to groups, or seeing posts they have no interest in. The one drawback? If you get a friend request from an account titled "Death Is Coming," you'll end up dead within 24 hours. But still... It might be worth it. Those game requests are the worst. IMDB: When a college student unfriends a mysterious girl online, she finds herself fighting a demonic presence that wants to make her lonely by killing her closest friends. Scare Campaign Rusty: Ronald Dump is campaigning against his opponent, Pillory Denton. He says a vote for her is a vote for death itself. Death, however -- which is to say the personification of death -- is actually a Pillory supporter. However, because of crooked laws masquerading as a protection against "voter fraud," Death is not even able to register to vote. Will the hero of the movie, Gurnie Flanders, save the day? He will! (But then he gets murdered with a voting booth lever in an hilarious and metaphorical scene.) Josh: In this dark satire of election season politics, a struggling politician’s campaign manager realizes that the best way to guarantee a win is to stalk and kill anyone voting for the other side. So he dons a Richard Nixon mask, starts looking for yard signs for the opposition, and gets to stabbin’! A good time is had by all. Mike: From the creators of The Purge... As the presidential race begins to heat up, one of the lead candidates, Ronald Crump, declares that he will personally murder anyone who votes for his opponent. Many citizens worry that he may 2 just be crazy enough to do it. On Election Day, thousands of people are killed, and Crump can't be found. Is he killing people, or is he being framed? IMDB: Popular prank TV show, Scare Campaign, has been entertaining audiences for the last 5 years with its mix of old school scares and hidden camera fun. But as we enter a new age of online TV the producers find themselves up against a new hard edged web series which makes their show look decidedly quaint. It's time to up the ante, but will the team go too far this time, and are they about to prank the wrong guy? Jack Goes Home Rusty: Jack and Jill went up a graveyard hill to fetch a pail of blood. Jack fell down into the open grave and broke his crown (which is to say, his head was bleeding most gruesomely), and Jill came tumbling in such a way that her blouse opened so that teenagers can get a thrill at the Cineplex. When Jack returns home, he finds that life isn't the same after his tour of duty in Vietnam. Josh: Another unauthorized sequel, this one finds a traumatized child returning home from a summer at Crystal Lake camp. Not surprisingly, he’s in a bit of a rough state, and it’s hard for everyone, since he won’t talk about why. But when hockey season starts, he starts realizing that maybe he learned a thing or two from his summer camp experience after all! Mike: A guy named Jack wears a Darth Vader mask and returns to Haddonvilletown, Illinois, every year at Halloween to murder any of his dumb relatives who are dumb enough to have moved into his dumb house. Yes, Jack Goes Home is a total Halloween ripoff. But the gore is great, and it really gets a lot out of the small budget it raised on Kickstarter. Who cares if it's a ripoff? By the time Dr. Cam Looming screams, "I've been trick or treated so much, I could die!" we've already seen like 16 kills. That's a solid film where I come from. IMDB: After his father is killed in a car crash, Jack travels home to Colorado to help nurse his mother (who was injured in the crash) back to health. There, he uncovers long buried secrets and lies within his family history, his parents, his friends and his very identity. The Windmill Rusty: A re-imagining of Don Quixote, this version finds the man of la Mancha tilting at windmills that are haunted by ghosts. Romeo and Hamlet show up for some reason--I think because the filmmakers thought Shakespeare wrote Don Quixote? It's not entirely clear, since this is a Swedish movie without subtitles. Like most Scandinavian films, lots of people vomit for no reason. It was given the Palm d'Or at Cannes! Josh: A Dutch take on “The Pit and the Pendulum” finds a crazed serial killer using the blades of a windmill as a psychological torture device to torment his victims. However, as you’ve no doubt realized, windmills don’t really lower like pendulums, so it’s not quite as effective. That being said, you have to admit, it takes guts to make a movie about the Dutch when you obviously know nothing about them – for instance, I don’t think they actually all wear wooden shoes, and yet, in this movie, they do. Mike: Do we need to spell this one out for you? Really? You couldn't tell that there would be a guy killing everyone who wastes electricity? And that he kills them with a windmill made of sharp blades to show them that they should have been using wind power or other renewable energy as an alternative to burning fossil fuels? And it will turn out that there is actually a secret "wind" cult that dates back to Scotland in the 1800s? And the cult's current members are now killing people all over the world? You couldn't figure that out, huh? Man. Just go watch The Walking Dead or something. IMDB: Jennifer is an Australian girl on the run from her past who washes up in Amsterdam. In a desperate attempt to stay one step ahead of the authorities, she joins a coach-load of tourists embarking on a tour of Holland's world famous windmills. When the bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere, she and the other tourists are forced to seek shelter in a disused shed beside a sinister windmill where, legend has it, a Devil-worshiping miller once ground the bones of locals instead of grain. As members of the group start to disappear, Jennifer learns that they all have something in common - a shared secret that seems to mark them all for doom. Hidden in the Woods Rusty: A small girl and boy, possibly siblings, are walking down a dirt path, holding hands. They encounter a branching path that winds into a wood. Wind blows from the path, but silence and stillness are the traits that the children notice the most. "What is this mystery?" says the boy. "Shall we discover the answer, or -- better -- another question?" the girl adds. "Do you recall," the boy continues, "the story of King Arthur's knights who felt it proper to enter the grail quest at different points in the wood rather than as a group?" The girl replied, "I do. But we will go 3 together, hand in hand, for we are better than those bloodthirsty and glory-seeking men of old." With a final embrace, they enter the woods together, never to be seen by human eyes again. In the distance, someone farts, and it smells pretty bad. Josh: You know how everyone tells stories about how they found secret stashes of porn in the woods near their house? In this Christian scare film, kids find some woods porn, only to find that bringing that into their home also invites a hairy-palmed, weary, seed-stealing monster. Yes, it’s every bit as gross as it sounds. Yes, it’s also kind of awesome. Mike: A group of college kids set out to find the grave of an alleged serial killer, reportedly hidden deep in the woods near campus. They get lost, their cell phones stop working, there are apparently zombies for some reason (?), and it's all so dark that you can't even see anything. The best part is the cameo by the guy who was on Joe Millionaire, playing "Man in Tent" here. IMDB: Hidden in the Woods tells the story of two sisters who have been raised in isolation, subjected to the torment of their abusive, drug dealing father. When they finally decide to report him to the police, he kills the two officers and is put in jail. But things go from bad to worse when the girls must answer to their Uncle Costello, a psychotic drug kingpin, who shows up looking for his missing merchandise, which is hidden in the woods. Keep Watching Rusty: The movie that dares you to finish it! Fabulous prizes await those who do. When entering the theater, each viewer will be given a small machine and a set of electrodes that hook to the brain. If the eye turns from the screen for more than twenty seconds, and of course if the person leaves the theater, the viewer is disqualified. And, yes, the end credits, too! What's the plot? It doesn't matter. Let's say a Dracula on the loose. The point is, we got us a gimmick here! Do you want to win that tub of popcorn and small box of Sno-Caps or not? Josh: The title refers to the dare the film’s director offers at the beginning, which is to keep watching as long as you can. This might lead you to think that you’re going to be watching something super intense and violent. Instead, it’s a question of how long you can watch a single shot of literal drying paint in the hopes that something good happens. (Spoiler: I swear to you, there really is a mind-blowing twist if you can make it through the 2 hours of the shot. And yes, it really is a horror movie. I know. I didn’t believe it either.) Mike: This story about a Civil War ghost lurking in the Tennessee mountains definitely starts slow. There's a 10- minute gun-cleaning scene in the beginning, followed by what appears to be an editing error, as two of the actors drink beers on the set. But a subtitle coninually flashes on the bottom of the screen, displaying the message "KEEP WATCHING," like a friend who knows what's coming and is constantly elbowing you to let you know that he knows. Unfortunately, nothing good ever happens! There's not really any good reason to keep watching. IMDB: A family become imprisoned in their own home by intruders who force them to play a life-and-death game in which the mysterious rules become clear as the night unfolds. The Bye Bye Man Rusty: Are you still creeped out by images of men waving from a window or at a distance or whatever? Maybe wearing a dark suit and a hat? We hope so, else this movie was made for no one. Don't be the death of horror. This is completely and entirely on you. Josh: A slasher film set around the departures gate at an airport, the film uses the POV of the killer to keep you unsettled and ill at ease. (Think the first reel of Halloween.) Thrill as the killer works his way through security lines! Gasp as he overpays for coffee and bagels! Oh, and there are some good kills. Never seen landing gear used that way… Mike: The kids in Bluegreen Springs have all been seeing the same man in their rooms at night. After being tucked in by their parents, the kids see the man crawl out from under their beds. Each night he simply waves and says, "Bye bye," and then climbs out of the window. The parents think that it might have something to do with that strange guy who came to town years earlier, was told to leave, and then was blown to pieces by a bunch of the dads with shotguns before he could even get a bus ticket. But they aren't sure. IMDB: Three friends stumble upon the horrific origins of the Bye Bye Man, a mysterious figure they discover is the root cause of the evil behind man's most unspeakable acts. 4 INTERVIEW Frank Portman We played music for years before this zine even existed, and one of our favorite songwriters has always been "Dr. Frank" Portman of the Mr. T Experience. One of the early Lookout Records groups, along with Green Day, The Queers, and a bunch of other great punk bands, MTX always had the best lyrics. So it wasn't much of a surprise to fans when Dr. Frank's first novel, King Dork, was published by Delacorte (Dell) Publishing in 2006. Based on an MTX song, King Dork is narrated by 14-year-old Tom Henderson, an outcast who loves music and movies, and hates anything "normal." Following his second book, Andromeda Klein (2009), Dr. Frank's King Dork Approximately was published in 2014, continuing Tom's story. To celebrate this month's paperback release of King Dork Approximately, MTX returned to the studio for the first time since 2004 to record a King Dork soundtrack, featuring songs "written by Tom" throughout the two books. The album is free with the purchase of the book, and both can be ordered at soundsradical.com (or anywhere else books are sold). Although King Dork is not really a horror series at all and is mostly just hilarious, it definitely explores dark themes, and Tom (like Dr. Frank) is a horror fan. But mostly, it's our zine, and we love Dr. Frank, so we interviewed him! And here it is! Body Count: On our podcast, we have dedicated a great deal of time to true crime documentaries. In the King Dork books, Tom is essentially trying to solve a murder. Have you seen Making A Murderer, Paradise Lost, The Jinx, and stuff like that? Were these films/cases influences in any way? Dr. Frank: I have watched all of those, and was very engaged with the West Memphis Three case and story in particular. I'm also a big reader of crime fiction. Like much else in my books, the mysteries and crimes are rather "pseudo" or "meta" -- they're definitely McGuffin-y, there mainly to furnish Tom Henderson's mental world with things to riff on and parody in the narration. There is, however, a larger arc concerning his father's death and his past that will develop if subsequent books do wind up getting written and published. I like to retain ambiguity and question marks and a great degree of messiness in this stuff, as I think that is more in line with real life experience (and it's certainly borne out by the real life crime stories referenced in your question). Body Count: In King Dork, Tom ranks "the best movies ever made" as: (1) Rosemary's Baby, (2) The Bad Seed, (3) Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and (4) Carrie. His character could have easily preferred movies like Rock and Roll High School, Spinal Tap, and other music-based films. Why did you make him somewhat of a horror kid? Dr. Frank: It was partly because a little flirtation with Satan and "the dark side" is a classic (and quite funny) pretense that many rock and roll teens have had over the years -- another thing that remains as true now as it ever was. Also I believe it is more fertile ground for references for a guy whose take on the world is basically that it is a conspiracy against him on the part of the entire universe. Plus, I got to make him say, of Carrie, "I love it when a movie has a happy ending." Worth it just for that. 5 Body Count: King Dork and KDA are set during the 1999-2000 school year. While cell phones are somewhat present, they aren’t really important to the main plots. We usually think that horror movies work better when they find a way to lose the cell phones, and it seems to work better here as well. Was this a conscious decision? How do you think characters like Tom and Sam would change if they were 2016 teens who texted, skyped, etc? Dr. Frank: It was absolutely a deliberate decision. You're right -- too much cell phones is something to avoid in any narrative and figuring plausible ways to exclude them is a standard part of the writing process in our world, for better or worse. I left the date in which the first novel was set ambiguous (though you could figure it out by doing some math by the end). But 1999 was chosen as the last possible year where it wouldn't necessarily be necessary to explain why Tom and Sam weren't cell phone people. Then in KDA, when the cat was out of the bag on the date, I tried to address the issue in what I hope was a funny way, making Sam Hellerman an unlikely pioneer in mobile phone tech. As for whether the characters would change simply because of technology, I tend to thing of that stuff as superficial. And I've met enough contemporary Tom-and-Sams since writing the books that I'm pretty sure I'm right about that. Body Count: Your second book, Andromeda Klein, actually explores the themes of magick and witchcraft. Describe your interests in these topics. Dr. Frank: It's been a longstanding interest of mine as a general matter, partly abetted by that rock and roll Devil pretense referred to above. Mostly it was in the form of reading a lot and watching movies. That said, I only realized how little I actually knew about occultism by the time I started to write Andromeda Klein, and the research on it was very intense, and I'd even go so far as to say it actually changed me as a person to some degree, or at least, it broadened my horizons. Body Count: Was it more difficult to write about teens dealing with these issues in Andromeda Klein, as opposed to the more universal themes found in King Dork (music, relationships, family, etc.)? Dr. Frank: It wasn't more difficult per se, but I did find "living with" and inside the head of Andromeda Klein for three years to be a wrenching experience. I acknowledge flaws in the novel (as with everything: you can't build a house with flaws, as they say on Long Island). However, no fictional character has ever felt as "real" to me. She still haunts me, so to speak. Body Count: You actually had a promotional appearance at a high school canceled due to the content found in Andromeda Klein. What was that like? Dr. Frank: It did happen, but it was very low-key, and I never found out the details. From what I gathered, it was because of parental complaints about the occultism? There are people out there who are very frightened of tarot cards per se, and want to keep their kids away from them -- I was quite surprised to learn that. I tried to present myself as a free speech martyr on the basis of that incident, but I guess you need more than that to turn an event cancellation into fame and fortune. The interesting truth about this topic is that this sort of thing really does happen all the time with a great array of books and authors (books removed from libraries or blackballed so they're not ordered in the first place, events cancelled with no explanation, etc.) and there's usually no way to find out about it except by accident. A tale as old as time, really, or at least as old as books I'd guess. Body Count: You said in a recent radio interview: “No one knows how to put out an album today. And no one knows how to put out a book either.” Obviously, you’ve found a way to do both, and hopefully it’s successful. We work with a lot of independent filmmakers, and this is definitely often true for movies as well. One thing we’ve noticed is constant revolving crowdfunding, and although it somehow works more times than I can believe, I can’t see this working consistently for music or books. Have you tried crowdfunding? Do you see it as a viable option? Where do you think we’ll go from here? Dr. Frank: I know of many cases of using crowdfunding to fund albums, and it seems to work. In our little corner of the world Ben Weasel did it successfully to fund his last record. I can't see it working as well for a 6 book, as the funding for such a project involves a lot more than studio time. Basically: "I need you guys to pay my living expenses for three years while I write." I can't see it. I think something along those lines may well be in my future for recording, though I really hope not because I would be terrible at it, and I don't think I would do it well. When that time comes, I will probably try to hire someone with a more engaging hucksterish personality to do it on my behalf. I'm a huckster too, of course, but I do it in a quiet, passive-aggressive, self-pitying way. To make the crowdfunding thing work, you have to be more in-your-face. I wonder if Rev. Norb might be available? No idea where it goes from here. We have an unfortunate situation now where "content" of all kinds has been drastically de-valued. The ideal of becoming a self-supporting artist, never an easy status to achieve, is increasingly an anachronistic fantasy. Beyond just being re-incarnated as someone with generous rich parents, or marrying a rich guy who will fund Milady's Boudoir, I don't see any way out of this predicament. Body Count: We tend to rip on "horror punk" a lot. We acknowledge that there are some great horror punk tracks, including some of our favorite songs. But as a sub-genre, it's basically a huge letdown. Right? Dr. Frank: Yes I basically agree that it can be a let down, though not uniquely so by any means. Music that relies so heavily on costumes and image and genre references often suffers because the most important bit (the songs) can get left behind. I think you have to start with the songs. I think it's quite easy not to do that. Body Count: So if you were going to start a horror punk band, what would you call it? Dr. Frank: Blood on Satan's Claw. Body Count: Will we see Tom again at all? Maybe as a 24-year-old who works at a restaurant while waiting for his record deal? Dr. Frank: As I've hinted above, I have a long, long story arc in mind for these characters. It encompasses Andromeda Klein and her family as well eventually. The current conception of it ends with King Dork Superstar, when Tom is 42 (which won't be till 2027 by my calculations, but there's lots of time to get there). He meets Andromeda Klein in 2010 when he's in his mid-twenties and she's in college (King Dork Undercover). I may never (and probably won't) get to write it all, however. Body Count: Will we get to see King Dork the Movie? Dr. Frank: King Dork has been optioned and in development in various forms ever since it was published ten years ago. It's currently being developed for TV (probably) by the great director/producer Miguel Arteta. It's anybody's guess whether it will actually happen, but I hope it does because he's the right guy to do it. Body Count: Assuming you aren’t playing a show, what is a typical Halloween night like for Dr. Frank? Dr. Frank: Staying home and watching TV. They usually have something spooky on. Body Count: So then what are your five favorite horror films? Dr. Frank: (1) Rosemary's Baby, (2) Night of the Demon, (3) Horror Hotel/City of the Dead, (4) Black Sunday, (5) The Omen. That's the kind of list that would be totally different next time I did it, but Rosemary's Baby is always #1. I must also mention that Blood on Satan's Claw is the first horror film I ever saw properly (in a theater believe it or not, when I was maybe 8) and I believe is mentioned in KD. The Wicker Man is also a big one and probably belongs on that top five list. Body Count: And finally, can you give us five songs for a Halloween playlist? Dr. Frank: (1) Devil Woman - Cliff Richard, (2) KIje's Ouija - Free Design, (3) Dignitaries of Hell - Coven, (4) Magic - King Diamond, (5) The Devil's Answer - Atomic Rooster. 7 A VISIT TO SLEEPY HOLLOW By: Mike Regular readers of our zine might recall a few issues where we've discussed different adaptations of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." It is one of my favorite stories, and to me, it represents the perfect all-ages Halloween tale, with its mix of horror and humor. While my goal is to eventually watch and review every adaptation of the story, I had never actually been to the town of Sleepy Hollow, New York, before piling my family into the car and visiting this summer. If you are a fan of the story, I highly recommend getting there at some point. There is so much to see and do throughout both Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. Although photos (particularly black and white photos in a zine) could never do it justice, below are some pictures, accompanied by excerpts of Irving's text, following Ichabod Crane's fateful meeting with the Headless Horseman… ----- Ichabod first leaves the Van Tassel farm, which is actually located in Tarrytown, not very far from Sleepy Hollow. You can start at the Van Tassel house and follow the main street a couple of miles all the way to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. "It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, heavy-hearted and crestfallen, pursued his travels homewards, along the sides of the lofty hills which rise above Tarry Town, and which he had traversed so cheerily in the afternoon." "In the center of the road stood an enormous tulip-tree, which towered like a giant above all the other trees of the neighborhood, and formed a kind of landmark. Its limbs were gnarled and fantastic, large enough to form trunks for ordinary trees, twisting down almost to the earth, and rising again into the air. It was connected with the tragical story of the unfortunate Andre, who had been taken prisoner hard by; and was universally known by the name of Major Andre's tree." Soon after entering Sleepy Hollow, there is a park memorializing the site where Major Andre was captured. "He passed the tree in safety, but new perils lay before him... About two hundred yards from the tree, a small brook crossed the road, and ran into a marshy and thickly-wooded glen, known by the name of Wiley's Swamp." This stream runs right through the park. 8 Soon Ichabod sees the Headless Horseman... "He appeared to be a horseman of large dimensions, and mounted on a black horse of powerful frame..." Ichabod continues riding and passes the current site of Sleepy Hollow High School. Following Ichabod's path down the main road, eventually you will reach the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the Old Dutch Church, and the Old Dutch Burying Ground, which contains the graves of some of the people who inspired Irving's characters. "They had now reached the road which turns off to Sleepy Hollow... This road leads through a sandy hollow shaded by trees for about a quarter of a mile, where it crosses the bridge famous in goblin story; and just beyond swells the green knoll on which stands the whitewashed church." 9 These are the graves of Eleanor Van Tassel (although Irving used the name of Eleanor’s aunt, Catriena, who is also buried here), Abraham Martling (Brom Bones), and Joseph Young (possibly Ichabod Crane). After walking through the Old Dutch Burying Ground, you can enter the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where you can find the grave of Washington Irving. Finally, not far from Irving's grave, you can cross a bridge over Sleepy Hollow, assuming the Headless Horseman doesn't catch you first. "He recollected the place where Brom Bones's ghostly competitor had disappeared. 'If I can but reach that bridge,' thought Ichabod, 'I am safe.' Just then he heard the black steed panting and blowing close behind him; he even fancied that he felt his hot breath. Another convulsive kick in the ribs, and old Gunpowder sprang upon the bridge; he thundered over the resounding planks; he gained the opposite side; and now Ichabod cast a look behind to see if his pursuer should vanish, according to rule, in a flash of fire and brimstone. Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in the very act of hurling his head at him." 10 INTERVIEW Tommy Faircloth Tommy Faircloth is a friend of our podcast and zine, and he makes great indie horror films. We've screened his movies at our events, and his last feature, Dollface, was on the cover of our third zine. While most of his past films have been slashers, Tommy's new movie, Family Possessions, adds a paranormal aspect. We asked Tommy some questions about his new film, which is set to begin festival screenings this month. Body Count: With a film like this, I imagine you used the house itself almost as its own character. Can you discuss the challenges this might present? And in the end, how does this enhance your ability to tell a great story? Tommy Faircloth: The house was the first thing I “cast” in the film. I knew that I had to find the perfect location before I could get serious about the film. Once I saw it, I knew it was the house. As far as filming in the house, yes it was challenging. Mainly because people were living there and we had to film around their schedule and their animals that lived there. But it worked out and looks great on film. I always like to find my locations and then write the story around it in order to utilize every resource I have. In this case, the story had been pretty much written before the house was found, but I was able to incorporate elements from the house into the story to make it fit even better. Body Count: I believe all of your other films have featured human slashers, but now Family Possessions is described as a supernatural slasher. With that in mind, how was this one different for you as a filmmaker? TF: Crinoline Head and the sequel Dollface were slashers, and Generation Ax was more of a dark comedy/horror like Heathers, but when I did The Cabin, I used that film to test the type of film I wanted Family Possessions to be. It did really well on the festival circuit, and more than that, audiences really liked it... even those people who don’t normally like horror films. I like paranormal films, but ones that let the most scary apparitions be the ones in your head and do not rely on CGI ghosts. I usually have a lot of camp and comedy in my films, so doing Family Possessions was a challenge when I was writing to keep it serious. Of course, I did add in a few characters that provided some comic relief, and fans of my other films will appreciate that, but I also brought in elements from slasher films as well. Body Count: I know you've wanted to make this film for a while, and that it would allow you to step away somewhat from the campy satire of your other films. Ultimately was it worth the wait? TF: I had been wanting to do this film for years now, but I knew I wanted to do Dollface first, because Dollface was a more campy type of film and also cause I knew I could do it a lot cheaper than Family Possessions. I wanted to be able to do Family Possessions right, and that would take a lot of pre-production planning, so doing Dollface would allow me to get my name back in the horror scene before I tackled a big project like Family Possessions. After doing The Cabin and hearing what people had to say, I knew that once I was finally able to do Family Possessions that it would be worth the wait. 11 Body Count: We've talked about your slasher influences in the past, including the Sleepaway Camp and Friday the 13th films. But you've also mentioned The Conjuring, which I assume came in handy here. What other films might have provided some inspiration here? TF: I really like the late 70s early 80s horror films like the original Amityville, When A Stranger Calls, Black Christmas, those types of dark horror films that just had lots of creepiness and jump scares. I wanted to give Family Possessions the look of those films, that old grainy film look that you can’t get unless you shoot on film, like I did with my films Crinoline Head and Generation Ax. Sleepaway Camp was a big influence on me when I was young, as it really freaked me out. And of course, I love John Waters, so that’s where I get my campiness from when I do my films. Body Count: Several of these actors have been in some of your past films, including Jason Vail, Leah Wiseman, and Elizabeth Mears. How much does it help to be able to work with them again? TF: Once I work with someone and we really get along and hit if off, I always want to use them again. There have been actors that I have worked with that were great in their roles, but I don’t see myself working with again. Then you have people like Jason, and Leah, and Lizzie who are amazing people but also amazing actors. And because we are friends and hang out not only on film sets, but also in real life, I will always use them. There is nothing worse than having someone on the set with attitude bringing down the whole atmosphere, and I will not have that on my set. If we do not get along and you can’t get along with the cast, you gotta go. I do have to be careful from film to film to not cast the entire same cast, cause an audience might have trouble seeing them in a different role. So I may skip a film between casting some of my actors or use them in smaller roles. Body Count: Of course this film also contains some of the biggest "names" you've been able to cast so far. Was it intimidating at all to direct actors like Mark Patton and Felissa Rose? Did you feel like you had to do anything extra this time in order to prepare to shoot? TF: I have been friends with Felissa for over a year before we ever shot, and we literally hit it off like we have known each other for years when we first met. She is a super nice person, really fun to hang out with, and is a amazing actor. She would not want anything, and I would have to force her to tell me if she needed anything. I remember I picked her up at the airport and was taking her to the hotel, and she wanted to stop and pick up some stuff at CVS or something. She would not let me buy anything for her. She even bought ME a soda. Mark was so easy to work with also. I was stressed about him coming to the set, not because I was nervous about working with him, but because he was flying in from Mexico, and I was worried he would miss a connecting flight. He was wonderful to work with, and he would ask me exactly what I wanted before his 12 take. Most of my cast, I allow them to interpret a scene how they want, and then I will give them some notes. Mark wanted me to tell him exactly what I wanted first. I mean, he is used to it working on the Broadway stage and with directors such as Robert Altman. I was really honored to have both Felissa and Mark on my set. It was really a dream for me, and this was Mark’s first horror film since Nightmare on Elm Street 2, so that was even more of an honor! Body Count: Who is your favorite character in Family Possessions? TF: Writing the script, my favorite character was the lead, Rachael, played by Leah Wiseman. After seeing the film, I really like Maggie, played by Erika Edwards. Erika is a new discovery for me, and she will now be in my actor arsenal forever, but she really brought something to the character that made me love her. Very innocent, but creepy. Another favorite is the younger brother Andy, played by Andrew Wicklum. It’s really funny how he comes out in the film, almost ignored by his mother and constantly yelled at. It kind of reminded me of the way Mark’s character Jesse was in Nightmare 2. I may have thrown in a little nod to his character a few times too. Body Count: We always love your soundtracks. What can we expect from the music this time? TF: I didn’t use bands on this soundtrack like I have done with my previous films. I did find this great closing credits song from a composer from Casablanca that combines classic horror with a bit of dubstep. I actually got the rights to the song back when I filmed Dollface, but I didn’t use it until now. Body Count: As of now (early October), what are some screenings/fests that you have lined up? What are some things you are hoping to accomplish with Family Possessions? TF: We are having the world premiere on October 21 at the Nightmares Film Festival in Columbus, OH. This will also be the first film fest for Family Possessions. The following weekend, Halloween weekend, on October 29th in my hometown of Columbia, SC, we are having a screening at Tapp’s Arts Center. Most of the cast will be there as well, so this will be our big premiere party screening. I know of a few other fests coming up that I can’t announce yet, but if you follow us on facebook, we will post them as they become available or as we find out. I do look forward to traveling to some horror conventions in 2017 with all my films and setting up a booth, meeting horror fans, and bringing along some of the cast too with my Horse Creek Productions producer Robert Zobel. Luckily I have a sales agent (High Octane Pictures) that I met while seeking distribution for Dollface who will be representing Family Possessions at various film markets for domestic and foreign distribution. They are still representing Dollface and just signed a deal for the UK release in February, as well as a Russian TV broadcast deal. Body Count: Unfortunately, we just don't see many quality slashers these days. With everyone doing zombie and found footage films, classic slashers are becoming rare. Why do you think we're seeing fewer of them now? TF: I still enjoy slashers, but I think the zombies are super popular with the general population right now, so low budget filmmakers may be trying to get an audience for their films. Horror films in general get a bad rap from the normal movie viewing audience, which may be why you don’t see a lot of new slashers, but I don’t think they will ever go away. They are the very basics of horror, and - let’s be real - they are very easy to make. So when you have no money, and you are doing a first time film, the slasher is the way to go. Body Count: Any ideas for your next project yet? Are we going to see Dorchester again? TF: I have some ideas, but nothing I am diving into just yet. Let’s just say that if you search facebook for a Dollface 2 page, you may find it! 13 REVIEWS By: Josh In addition to guessing plots with us in this zine and co-hosting the excellent Library Police podcast, our friend Josh has an excellent blog (clydeumney.wordpress.com) where he reviews films and books. Below are just some of his recent horror reviews. Movies Don't Breathe There’s not a huge amount about the trailers or premise of Don’t Breathe that really drew me in, if we’re being honest. The idea sounded fine – a trio of young thieves break into the house of a blind man, only to find themselves the prey instead of the predators – but one that I’ve seen variations on before, and plenty of times. And the trailers looked okay, sure, but again, it felt like scenes from a film that I’d seen before. But there were two big factors that drove me out to the movie theater. The first was realizing that Don’t Breathe was helmed by Fede Alvarez, the director of the Evil Dead remake (which I ended up really, really loving). And the second was the surprising praise that the film received upon release, including a rave by former Dissolve critic Scott Tobias, whose taste in horror I tend to trust pretty unreservedly. And so, on a day where I finished work early, I made my way out to a theater, hoping for a good crowd, but ending up in a theater by myself. But, man, am I glad I went, because what I got was an incredibly intense experience – a film that uses its single environment magnificently, cranked up the tension, and just never let go. Mind you, I also learned why it’s hard to make previews for Don’t Breathe, because the film is hiding some of its cards from the audience. Which makes sense – for a film like this to work, you need more to hang your plot on than “thieves evade a blind man,” especially when you’re working as bloody and intense as Alvarez likes to work. And so, the film keeps changing into something new as it unfolds, and keeps the audience uncomfortably askew at all times. But really, the plot is almost besides the point here; it’s perfectly fine, and more than a bit surprising, but it’s really not what makes the film work. No, as Tobias points out in his review, Don’t Breathe works thanks in no small part to its incredible craft. Alvarez hits the ground running (you’re into the house within ten minutes of the movie starting, tops, and never leave until the end), but takes enough time to make sure we have our bearings in this place. We know how the rooms connect; we know where there are gaps; we know our blind spots (so to speak); and more than any of that, we almost always know where everyone is in the house – and when we don’t, the film uses our lack of knowledge as a way to increase the tension. None of that seems like it should be important, but it is; any film fan knows the difference between a rushed setup and one that really takes its time, and the payoff is more than worth the time, as Alvarez uses our knowledge to turn the film into an intricate chess match (one that has to owe a debt to David Fincher’s underrated Panic Room, which I feel like the final credits nod to subtly). He’s matched, though, by some great performances, but Stephen Lang is the knockout here. Bringing a fierce physicality to the role, Lang is unnerving and unsettling – a vicious, primal presence that stalks the house, constantly keeps his face unreadable, and brings out a depth when you least expect it. Without him, the film wouldn’t be half as good as it is; with him, Alvarez has a perfect antagonist, one that becomes a very real and very serious threat, blind or not. It’s been a good year for this kind of horror; between this and Green Room, we’ve had a double whammy of claustrophobic, intense thrillers that push into horror territory, taking a simple premise and ratcheting up the tension and unease through superb craft and great performances. Don’t Breathe doesn’t quite hold up to Green Room – the plot is more convoluted, and its epilogue can’t hold a candle to Green Room‘s perfect final line – but it’s still an intense, pulse-pounding thriller, and a reminder of the importance in craft in thrillers and horror. Christine I went through a big phase in high school, not long after becoming a Stephen King fan, where I devoured movies based off his books. It didn’t take long, though, to realize how bad most of them were. Mind you, all were bad in different ways – some butchered the books, some missed the point, some forgot to focus on the characters – but whatever the case, I quickly realized that most of them just plain sucked. And so I brought that phase to an end, deciding just to cut my losses. And the result is that I had never seen John Carpenter’s film of Christine until this weekend – and that’s a shame, because it’s really a pretty solid piece of work on the whole, a bad ending excepted. 14 Christine has always been a bit of “lesser” King to me, although I’ve often thought that I owe it a re-read to see if that’s as true as I remember it being. In broad strokes, it’s a silly concept – a boy buys a car and becomes obsessed with it, and taps into something much darker, letting the car become murderous – but it works, thanks in no small part to King’s characterization and work on his main characters. In King’s hands, the car becomes a metaphor for adulthood, for growing up, for losing your friends and growing apart; more than that, it allows him to tap into the primal appeal of something like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde while keeping it updated. And by and large, Carpenter does a better job with that material than you might expect. Carpenter is a pulpy director, a craftsman who works within genre frameworks, but he spends enough time on Arnie and Dennis to make us care about them. More than that, he allows Keith Gordon to turn Arnie into a fully realized character, and lets him transition smoothly and slowly from nerdy outcast to cruel Alpha male. Gordon takes his time, but more than that, he lets both halves of Arnie work, so that the transition feels genuine and believable, and invests us in Arnie’s dark side. The rest of the cast is generally solid, with a few really great standouts. Harry Dean Stanton is awesome, as usual, even though he’s in a role that doesn’t really give him much to do beyond being himself. But the real treat is Robert Prosky as garage owner Will Darnell, who drew off of King’s book to give himself some more colorful, entertaining dialogue, and turns his role into a curmudgeonly blast. And, of course, when it comes to the scares, Carpenter does every bit as good as you’d expect, staging the scenes beautifully and wringing the tension out of them. There’s a fantastic scene involving Christine pursuing one of Arnie’s bullies down a narrow alleyway that just works like gangbusters; meanwhile, on a more subtle plane, a late film conversation between Arnie and Dennis oozes menace in all the right ways. And then, with about fifteen minutes to go, it all turns terrible. And I really don’t understand why. Maybe, as my friend Ryan argues, they started the film before the book was finished, and just had King’s broad outlines to go off of; maybe it’s that they wanted a showier ending than the book might have provided. But it’s a fizzle of an ending, one that feels cobbled together, lacks the great performances of the rest of the film, and doesn’t even feel as competently shot as the film around it (there’s a moment where a major character dies where it’s not even clear what happened, when he arrived on the scene, or how exactly he died). And that’s before the goofy, silly final moments, which feel like they’re from a far worse movie. All that being said, it’s still a pretty solid adaptation, and one I enjoyed a lot more than I expected – Gordon’s performance really is spectacular, the car is beautiful, Prosky is a hilarious scene-stealer, and Carpenter’s direction is really solid. Shame about that ending, though. Books Lovecraft's Monsters Any serious fan of horror probably has some connection to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Maybe more than any horror writer other than Edgar Allan Poe, Lovecraft has influenced just about every major horror author alive. With his weird mythos, his alien worlds, his unutterable horrors just beyond the realms of sanity, Lovecraft wrote horror like no one else, for better or for worse. And you’d be hard pressed to find a serious craftsman in the genre today who hasn’t tried their hand at an homage to Lovecraft’s work. And by and large, while there are some good ones out there (Laird Barron has done some remarkable ones, for instance, and the remarkable and hilarious Freaksome Tales by William Rosencrans does a fantastic, clever pastiche with tongue firmly in cheek), many just feel like pale retreads or weak imitations. All of which gets to why Lovecraft’s Monsters is such a solid collection. Rather than filling a collection with writers imitating Lovecraft’s (often overwrought) prose, editor Ellen Datlow chooses selections that play off of Lovecraft’s mythos and works, finding something new to do with the material while still staying true to the spirit of it all. For instance, Neil Gaiman’s “Only the End of the World Again” drops a werewolf in the middle of Lovecraft’s isolated Innsmouth, and lets him get caught up by the machinations of a local Elder God cult. “The Same Deep Waters as You, by Brian Hodge, takes on Innsmouth as well, but does so through the eyes of a government agency that’s been monitoring the town’s inhabitants for a long time. (And man, does this one take an appropriately nasty turn right at the end.) The aforementioned Laird Barron, meanwhile, brings Lovecraft to the Pinkerton era, turning in a nasty little 15 yarn in “Bulldozer.” And Joe Lansdale brings his usual style and drawling slang to bear in the nightmarish tale of a blues musician who’s struck one seriously Faustian bargain in “The Bleeding Shadow.” Not every story works, of course. Kim Newman’s “A Quarter to Three” basically uses a Lovecraft setting as a shaggy-dog joke with a groaner of a punchline. Caitlin R. Kiernan’s “Love is Forbidden, We Croak and Howl” feels like the first act of something larger, and leaves you feeling like you’re missing something; the same, honestly, could be said about Steve Rasnic Tem’s “Waiting at the Crossroads Motel.” Fred Chappell’s ambitious post-apocalyptic “Remnants” has some neat ideas, but ultimately suffers from weak writing and worse dialogue. And the poetry selections all feel pretty thrown in – not bad, per se, but pretty forgettable. And, of course, there are the outliers, which are pretty good stories, even if they don’t quite feel like they fit into the anthology. Howard Waldrop and Steven Utley’s “Black as the Pit, from Pole to Pole” is equal parts sequel to Frankenstein, Jules Verne tribute, literary alternate history, and adventure story, and while I’m not sure that it quite fits the theme, it’s certainly a wild ride. John Langan’s “Children of the Fang,” meanwhile, is a fantastic story of family ties, guilt, and shadowy evil, and while there’s a bit more Lovecraft to it, it still feels more like its own thing. And William Browning Spencer’s “The Dappled Thing” presents a steampunk jungle adventure that turns into horror only towards the end. None of them are bad – indeed, all three are among the most interesting, engaging stories – b they all feel a bit “off-topic,” for lack of a better term. All in all, it’s a satisfying, fun anthology, and one that’s more varied and wide-ranging than you might expect given the Lovecraft theme. Sure, there are some hits and misses, but that’s the name of the game when you read anthologies. And while few of these quite manage to be all out great, there are none that are truly bad on the whole, and a lot that are pretty fun and enjoyable. And as a fan of horror, creativity, and Lovecraft, I found a whole lot to enjoy here. Endurance by Jack Kilborn I first read J.A. Konrath’s writing in the gleefully splattery Draculas, a collaboration between four writers about a battle with vampiric creatures in a hospital. Given the collaborative nature of that book, it was hard to know who wrote what, but I got the vibe that Konrath (who writes as Jack Kilborn when he writes horror novels) has a taste for the ghoulish, with a willingness to go to extremes in his violence, and for the pitch black in his humor. And having read Endurance, it turns out that both of those were true, in spades. The story of a little secluded hotel that lures in its customers for nefarious purposes, Endurance is two parts Psycho, one part Freaks, and about ten parts The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, turning into a blood-soaked, very violent, very horrific nightmare, as our various guests battle for survival against a ghoulish, inbred family who needs their guests’ blood – literally – to stay alive. Konrath is a straightforward, pulpy author, and Endurance reflects that style, conveying its story and characters with a minimum of storytelling fat and a rapid pace that never really lets up. As a result, it’s a book for horror fans – more than that, even, it’s a book for slasher fans, for those who enjoy their horror with blood and gore to spare. Konrath has a love of the gross-out, it seems, and he fills his book with horrific deformities, maniacal torturers, disgusting villains, and grisly violence to spare. And make no mistake – this is a rough read, yes, but it’s an undeniably effective one. Konrath’s villains are fascinatingly insane, motivated by an obsession with American Presidents. That’s a wholly unique idea, and one that gives the whole book a wonderfully black comic tone that can be viewed as either really entertaining or really sick, depending on your viewpoint. (By the time characters are trying to make jokes about the forced amputations they’ve undergone at the hands of these villains, you’ll either find yourself shutting the book in horror or laughing at how far Konrath is willing to go.) But it’s also a truly scary book, with Konrath knowing exactly how to work his audience over, savoring our discomfort and unease as we constantly question whether our heroes are being watched in their rooms or being hunted without them knowing. There are a slew of genuinely scary moments here (two of the best involve condensation on a car window and the final pages of a hotel guest log), and given how much horror I read, for me to find something truly scary is no small feat. All that being said, it’s still pure pulp, and that can be a weakness as well as a strength. The characters ultimately feel pretty flat and generic, and several of their climactic moments are absurdly cheesy and scripted, feeling like staged Chekhov’s guns that don’t even quite fit the story. And while that black comedy can be really fun, the characters’ ability to make jokes about their horrific experiences sometimes feels like they’re healing from this stuff awfully quick – I’m not sure I could crack jokes about the mutilation I had suffered after about half an hour. But if you can set aside some of that as just being a function of pulp, it’s hard not to have “fun” reading Endurance, if you’re a horror fan. It’s twisted and depraved, without a doubt, and your enjoyment of it will boil down to your willingness to let Konrath push the limits of taste and... well, endurance. There’s gore, there’s mind games, there’s graphic violence, there’s torture, and there’s Rob Zombie-film levels of depravity. And if that’s your thing, you’ll have some ghoulish, twisted fun here. I know I did. 16 NEXT TIME ON TWIN PEAKS By: Rusty I was seventeen years old in 1992 when Fire Walk With Me, the movie prequel to the Twin Peaks TV series (1990-1991) came out. I thought that film would be the last time I got to visit that world created by David Lynch, and I was glad to have it. Twenty-five years later, in 2017, we're getting a third series. And today, we get a novel, The Secret History of Twin Peaks by series co-creator Mark Frost, which (probably anyway, since I haven't read it yet) bridges the gap between the events of the first two seasons and the much later third one. On the television show Twin Peaks, each episode took place over a twenty-four hour period of time, so that everything that happened (and there was a ton!) happened in about a month. So what would happen in a crazy town like that in twenty-five years? We'll find out soon enough, but -- in the meantime -- I thought I might offer some predictions. I say "predictions," but these are not really what I think will happen in the novel or on the show. My guess is that Lynch and Frost will come up with stuff so brand new that it will just seem like a new series, in spite of old characters being present. So is it more of a wish of what I hope will happen? No, it's not really that either, since I -- too -- would take the show in radically different directions (mostly "correcting" some of the problems of the first two seasons) if I were making it myself. Instead, think of these as something between a prediction and a wish, with each informing the other. I suppose "logical conclusions" is really what these are, based on what I know of the characters and their personalities. Whatever you want to call these speculations (how about speculations?), enjoy them, and don't take them too seriously. The real thing is happening again. Agent Dale Cooper I assume fans most want to know what happens to Agent Cooper, who was last seen smashing his head against a bathroom mirror, possessed by BOB, possibly not even himself but some Black Lodge doppelganger. The answer: eh, nothing much. BOB will live inside of Cooper the same way he lived inside of Leland for all those years. No immediate murders or anything (oh! except for his shooting Windom Earle in cold blood when he emerges from the Lodge, but no one really minded that). However, BOB will take Cooper down different paths, mostly turning the FBI agent's own obsessive and perfectionist personality against him, using it for bad instead of good, but so subtly that no one much notices. Cooper will remain in the FBI and mostly live in Philadelphia, but he finally does get some real estate in Twin Peaks and lives there often enough to be considered a member of the town--found, occasionally, in flannel. So how's Annie? The experience with Windom Earle was too much of a freak-out for her, and she returns to the nunnery. This would bother Cooper except that of course BOB doesn't care. Instead, Cooper -- now that she's a few years older and out of high school -- rekindles his never-got-started relationship with Audrey Horne. (It never gets started again, but it's fun to watch it not get started.) The real story of the new show is that it's twenty-five years later. The reason all those crazy things were happening in Twin Peaks that month in 1989 was because crazy things happen in Twin Peaks every twenty- five years. Yes, it's a little nutty all the time, but I'm talking about the supernatural stuff: Lodge stuff, BOB, all that. Teresa Banks was a warm-up, and Laura Palmer was a Major Event. Another Major Event is happening in Season Three, and it causes everyone to come together and explode once again. That's why BOB is more or less dormant in Cooper until the "Twenty-Five Years Later" dream crashes back in on him. Cooper realizes that "the Good Dale" is in the Lodge with Laura and that he is -- in fact -- merely a doppelganger of himself. Is all this literal or figurative or what? Both! By way of explanation, listen to my favorite line from Keith Phipps's review of Fire Walk With Me: "It’s a film about a girl who loses the elaborate fantasy system protecting her from realizing her father is her abuser, but it also presents that fantasy system as a real, malevolent force being investigated by the FBI." 17 The physical world and dreams are layered on top of each other, and they are both "real" and they both affect each other. This is the premise of Twin Peaks that eventually gets solidified in Season 3. While Season 2 said "Eh, BOB did it" and Fire Walk With Me said "No, actually, Leland was just as much to blame," Season 3 shows how someone can be influenced by their environment but still be blamed for committing an evil action--in this case, the "environment" being the mythology of the town itself: its inhabitants' visions, characters, evil spirits, owls, things they imagine they see in the woods, everything. This also happened, more or less, during the Salem Witch trials, so it's not too out there after all. The good news is that the Good Dale does eventually face himself, Superman 3 style, and defeat his evil counterpart, emerging victorious and better than ever. The return of the real Agent Dale Cooper is signaled by Coop dusting off his old Diane tape recorder--then throwing it away and purchasing something more state-of- the-art, because this is Agent Cooper who always had the newest gadgets ("Voice activated, Harry!") and was not one for nostalgia. We will love watching Cooper investigate the Major Event, which is not -- by the by -- a murder. The FBI In order to help pull Cooper out of the Lodge, he needs some rescuers. (Again, the "Lodge" is both literal and figurative.) So Albert appears in town to talk some sense into Coop. Chet Desmond even appears, David Bowie style! Denise Bryson is back, and -- in a rare nod to current events -- makes a joke about having to go into the man's bathroom while pursuing a bad guy. And, of course, we get Gordon Cole, who is basically unchanged. He spells out the premise of the show to a green FBI agent who protests that they are investigating the wrong things: "I COULDN'T MAKE OUT EVERYTHING YOU SAID, BUT ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT WHEN A GIRL SAYS HER FATHER BECOMES A DEMON WHEN HE IS ABUSIVE, WE SHOULD BE DEALING WITH THE FATHER INSTEAD OF LOOKING FOR AN ACTUAL DEMONIC MONSTER IN THE WOODS AT NIGHT?" "Yes, this is what I'm saying," says the green FBI agent. "I COULDN'T DISAGREE MORE, JUNIOR. SAY, DID YOU KNOW THAT I'M ALMOST 100 PERCENT DEAF, BUT THERE IS ONE DINER WAITRESS IN THE WORLD WHO I CAN HEAR PERFECTLY? EXPLAIN THAT ONE TO ME!" In Series 3, Gordon helps Cooper investigate the Major Event as well as other Blue Rose Cases (which are like X-Files but less stupid). The Little Man and MIKE, as always, are there to help. So is Carl Rodd from the trailer park. The Sheriff Department After the death of Josie, the alcohol, BOB, the disappearance of Cooper, the head-smashing, the fact that he almost completely failed at solving the Laura Palmer case, Hank Jennings, and years of years of dealing with Bookhouse Boys shenanigans, Sheriff Harry S. Truman has finally had enough of gut-punching and leaves town, presumably to live as far away from these old woods as possible. He is replaced by Hawk as sheriff, who is just as reliable and sturdy as Harry was. Hawk keeps a large photo of Harry on his office wall and won't let anyone say anything about him, even though most of the town things Harry went nuts. Deputy Andy Brennan is still around and is actually a decent cop now ("best sharpshooter in the tri-state area"), but he's still goofy Andy. He is the father of five children, some of whom may even be his, since his wife Lucy is not quite sure. There is the first child (Michael Cera), now twenty-five years old, who may be Dick Tremayne's (which is why Dick is still around, bugging Lucy and the kid but getting into all kinds of Scooby-Doo trouble with Andy). There was the second child that happened when Andy took too long asking Lucy to marry him. There was the third child that happened when Andy took too long actually getting married. There was the fourth child during the divorce. And there was the fifth child after they re-married that is almost certainly Andy's, though who can say? 18 Lucy stopped working for the sheriff department after having a couple of babies. She now runs a business from home selling sweaters. Deputy Hawk seems to be the one who understand the town the most. When one of the new characters asks how he deals with all the supernatural weirdness of the town while everyone else seems to be going to hell, Hawk says, with a raise of his chin, "For my ancestors, what you see as strange is as natural as the trees and the rivers. The problem is that no one will accept the spiritual realm as reality. I do, and this is why I am content." The Palmer Family While Laura's earthly story is over, Laura is now a Lodge inhabitant who sometimes takes the form of a person in the real world, a kind of replacement for Mrs. Tremond. In Season 3, it's unclear (just as it was with Mrs. Tremond) whether Laura is "good" or not, but we begin to realize that these binaries aren't quite as present anymore. Leland, too, is a Lodge dweller and is now the new face of BOB (instead of Frank Silva). It is who Cooper sees when he is able to see his inner self in the mirror (before the Superman 3 moment, of course). Sarah Palmer becomes something like the local witch. She lives in her old haunted house where her niece Maddy was murdered and where her daughter was molested every night by her father before being murdered in the woods. Not many people come to see her, mostly because she runs them off, though sometimes she will let people in if she feels she needs to share a vision with them (which is why they appear, to get the vision). Sarah is the Log Lady if the Log Lady were super-dark. In fact, Sarah managed to get the piece of furniture that Josie Packard's soul is trapped in and keeps it next to her recliner. Her own wood spirit to talk to! The original Log Lady, incidentally, is dead. She died in a fire. Some say it was a suicide, but Sarah knows better, and she will tell the truth one day. Oh, and Sarah has something of a sidekick: Ronette Pulaski. Ronny is still haunted by visions (not necessarily of BOB) and they share this trait. Ronette, however, has also seen her guardian angel, so she occasionally brings light to Sarah's dark world. Maddy Ferguson, of course, is wherever good souls go when they get brutally murdered by their uncle just because they look like someone else, but -- in a disturbing scene -- Maddy gets sucked out of wherever that is and into the real world, where she says something freaky and then disappears. The Horne Family After what looks like the attempted murder of Ben Horne in the final episode, Doctor Hayward is sent to jail. Meanwhile, Ben recovers from his wounds, redoubles his efforts to get in good with the Hayward family, eventually divorces Sylvia in order to marry Eileen, and then does marry Eileen. "This is how it always should have been," Ben says to a horrified Donna Hayward, who eventually leaves town to find James. (Donna is not featured in the show.) After reclaiming (sort of) his daughter Donna and Eileen, Ben Horne successfully runs for the Senate, which gives him enough power to save the pine weasel and the Ghostwood forest. Though some of the older people in the town still don't trust him, Ben seems like a reformed man (especially after his bout with Civil War insanity and a knock on the head, which many blame for his turnaround), but here's a little secret: HE ISN'T REFORMED, AND HE NEVER WAS! Brother Jerry lets out squeals of delight in a much later episode when Ben reveals himself to his brother. After being in jail for twenty-five years, however (an extra-long sentence that Ben helped arrange), Doc Hayward is finally set free. His primary storyline is trying to get his family back. Helping him in this endeavor is his two youngest daughters, who finally get to be stars of the show. But what about Audrey? What about her and John Justice Wheeler? The quick answer is that he was just a teenage love interest, just like Cooper but more realistic, though less interesting. After their decidedly unromantic sex on the airplane, they don't see much of each other. When they eventually do, John is simply 19 one of Audrey Horne's associates, since she has taken over the family business now that Ben has larger interests. There is zero percent chemistry, and why would there be? So, yes, Audrey is back to being Season 1 sexy instead of Season 2 uptight, but older now and with less to prove, so she contains it better. Is she bad? Yes, she's more or less bad. She's more or less Ben Horne. She even owns One-Eyed Jacks, if you can believe it! Oh, and though Audrey doesn't die in the bank vault explosion, Pete Martell does, along with Andrew Packard and the old banker. Pete is sometimes brought up wistfully. Catherine survives and has another realization about her life, similar to the time she thought she saw a guardian angel. She goes off to live as a hermit in the woods where she saw the angel, presumably to die. Since most of the Packard-Martells are now dead, Audrey steps in and easily takes what was theirs. But Ben might want it back. The Briggs, Jennings, Hurley, Johnson Collective Major Briggs disappears again, to the White Lodge or outer space or who knows where, and isn't seen or even talked about much in the show. Once, he speaks a weird message through Bobby, but that's about it. Bobby and Shelley get married and have a daughter, Amanda Seyfried. Bobby continually fails at his attempts at (often shady) business, but he is basically a good husband and father. Sometimes his life seems ideal, and -- before the major disappeared -- he gets to experience the vision his father had of Bobby. Shelley is the backbone of the family, especially financially, since she is now the new owner of the RR Diner. When Nadine returned to herself in the last episode, Norma Jennings and Big Ed Hurley took off to go live elsewhere together, only letting Shelley and Bobby know where they went. (Bobby took over the gas station for a while, but he ran it into the ground.) However, because of some of the more domestic goings-on resulting from the Major Event, Norma and Ed are forced to return to Twin Peaks. They are also forced to deal with the wrath of Nadine, who has teamed up with Hank Jennings, a partner in crime and an emotional support (though, of course, he doesn't love her or anything). Another person who is forced to return to the town after twenty-five years is James (who comes without Donna). He falls in love with Bobby and Shelley's daughter, much to the chagrin of Bobby. ("I don't want some old hippy biker hooking up with my little girl!") And guess who else is back? Leo! As it turns out, when tarantulas inside a wooden case fall on top of your head, you don't automatically die. So clever Leo was eventually able to escape that trap, when it became clear that Windom Earle wasn't coming back to the cabin. Leo leaves town and more or less becomes a civilized person ("I paid my debt to society," he says again; only this time, he's earned it), but when he returns to Twin Peaks because of the Major Event, no one trusts him and all hell breaks loose. What Else? Dr. Jacoby is still a wacky and eccentric psychiatrist who gets unprofessional with the new teens in town. Chrysta Bell is the new roadhouse singer (replacing Julee Cruise, who appears sometimes). Mike Nelson (aka "Snake") is the new mayor of the town and has married Lana, the old mayor's wife. Little Nicky and Evelyn do not appear. Conclusion The real show will be more interesting than any of this, and this is pretty interesting! Find more of Rusty’s work at welikemedia.com. 20 RECENT PODCASTS Episode 72 – Not Enough Ice The Butterfly Effect trilogy, The Sacrament, Episode 73 - Sensor-Operated Machine 10 Cloverfield Lane, Insidious 3, Backtrack, Pistols on Tripods and Clown. Green Room, Murder Party, Eaters, and Congo. Episode 74 – We Live To Rock Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, Basket Case, Episode 75 – Friday the 13th Reviews and The Stuff. A collection of our Friday the 13th reviews from episodes 8-19, recorded in 2011. Episode 77 – coming soon… Episode 76 – Car Trouble The Shallows, 31, The Purge 3, and more.. HBO’s The Night Of, The Neighbor, and ARQ.