Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Scream Factory Wishlist, Part II



It seemed inevitable that there would be a Part II of my wishlist. I wasn't thinking sequel- sure, that's what they all say- but that changed over the weekend when I was listening to a marathon of the GeekNation podcast, Killer P.O.V. (hosted by Fangoria's Rebekah McKendry, FEARnet's Rob G., and Inside Horror's Elric Kane). In one episode, Scream Factory's marketing director, Jeff Nelson, was a guest. During that conversation, they mentioned a film I could not believe I totally blanked on when I was coming up with the initial list. It's one that should have been at the very top of that list, because I have been waiting for-evah for it to make its disc debut. I quickly came up with an idea: rather than simply update the previous post, I decided to make another list of films that I think need the Scream Factory treatment. So, here's some more wishful thinking, starting with that film almost lost in the wind of my brain fart:


 
Blood Beach (1981)

This movie was a very memorable part of my early horror movie-watching. I was five when I saw Blood Beach on cable, and it scared the living crap out of me. So much that, the next time the family went to the coast, I was too scared to walk out onto the beach in fear of being sucked into the sand. Twelve years went by before I would ever see it again. At one point, I thought I dreamed the movie up in my head! I caught it on TBS my junior year of high school, back when they used to show low-budget fare late at night, and I was shocked to discover... how god-awful it was! Seriously, after it was done I was like, "Really?! I was scared shitless by that?!" Eventually, I came to be charmed by how much of a scuzzy, low-rent piece of crap it is, and by the time the Anchor Bays of the world started releasing cult horror films on DVD, I patiently waited for Blood Beach to get its turn. I'm still waiting. I'm now hoping Scream Factory can come to my rescue.


Firestarter (1984)

I would be extremely happy if Firestarter is included in Scream's deal with Universal. This was one of my favorite King adaptations as a kid, and I still think it's pretty good, despite the fact that Tangerine Dream's score hasn't aged well. Firestarter is also where my life-long crush on Drew Barrymore began. It looks like the bare-bones DVD Universal put out all the way back in 1998 is out-of-print, so I believe it's high time to rekindle this title. Yeah, I went there. But honestly, what a coup it would be for the Factory if they got Barrymore involved to do an interview or a commentary for the Blu-ray.


 


Christine (1983) and Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Just like Fright Night, John Carpenter's Christine and Tom Savini's remake of Night of the Living Dead were given very limited Blu-Ray releases by Twilight Time. From what I read about these disc and looking at Twilight Time's entire catalog, it's obvious that this is not a fan-friendly label. All they do is recycle content onto the newer format, and, to me, high definition alone is no incentive to fork over a wad of cash for a new disc. I was happy to trade in our Halloween II, Halloween III and Phantasm II DVDs for the Scream Factory Blu-Rays, because they offered reasons to upgrade. Twilight Time doesn't.


New Year's Evil (1980)

I love finding 80's slashers I missed out on as a kid. It's a fun hobby for me. Jenn and I rang in January 1st with this early Cannon Films production a couple of years ago, and I personally liked it. Even though it was released after Friday the 13th, New Year's Evil was made at a time when the slasher formula was not entirely set in stone. So instead, it made for an unintentionally humorous cash-in on Halloween. I almost bought this on Amazon, until I read this in the description:
"This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.
This product is expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives."
Uh, no thanks. Since this is one of your library titles, MGM, why don't you go ahead and let the Factory give us the real deal?



Prom Night (1979)

I'm loving that more of Jamie Lee Curtis's scream queen-era films are getting the Scream Factory treatment, and Prom Night should be no exception. This is another movie that needs saving from Cheap DVD Label Hell.



Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)

I don't know what prompted me to skip this movie when it came out in '87. The poster looked awesome. The trailer looked cool. Maybe it was because it was a Part II, and I had no memory of a Part I? Who knows. We rented it from Netflix last year, and I'm kicking myself for missing it the first time around. Even though it wasn't intended at first to be a sequel, I like it better than the original Prom Night. Hello Mary Lou is just nuts! I'm sure there's a following, so, considering this is another MGM library title, this movie would be a surefire hit for Scream Factory.


Tremors (1990)

Aside from Jurassic Park, Tremors is the best monster movie of the 90s. And Ariana Richards is in both of them. How about that? I really hope this one is also part of Scream Factory's deal with Universal, because since the latter didn't give it the lavish 100th Anniversary Blu-Ray release like many of its other titles, then they should let the former do it justice. In addition to the DVD extras, I would love to hear a Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward commentary, wouldn't you? Hell, if the new key art is anything like this Fright Rags shirt, I'm sold:




Last, but definitely not least...


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Part 2 (1986)
 
I was totally going to leave this off the list; I'm pretty positive Scream Factory will re-release Chainsaw 2 as a collector's edition. Why did I include it, then? Because the artwork for MGM's 2006 "Gruesome Edition" fucking sucks. I love the movie, love the bonuses, love the fact the DVD was a Christmas present from my brother, but the art pisses me off to no end. The cover was completely Saw-ed in an obvious attempt to lure younger buyers, therefore unindicative of what the movie is. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Part 2 is the looniest, most garish funhouse ride ever committed to film. It's what House of 1,000 Corpses only dreams of being. I would rather just have the above poster as the cover, but I've got plenty of faith in SF's art department to come up with key art that will better represent how sickeningly insane this movie is.


Scream Factory home:

http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=screamfactory

Scream Factory Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/ScreamFactoryDVD?ref=stream&hc_location=stream

Killer P.O.V. podcast:

http://www.geeknation.com/podcasts/

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Final SCREAM


 "Now Syd, don't you blame the movies! Movies don't create psychos! Movies make psychos more creative!"

I never did catch Wes Craven's Scream in theaters when it first opened in December of 1996. I don't remember it coming to my hometown, which was a bummer. Growing up on horror movies, I was totally stoked to see a movie that prided itself a scary movie after enduring years of "psychological thrillers". Alas, I had to wait until the VHS release to be at the party. Thankfully, with the enormous success of the first film, both Scream 2 and 3 came to town, and I was able to see those big-screen with my brothers. Eleven years after #3, I caught Scream 4 opening weekend, this time with Jenn. I actually enjoyed that film more than I did the previous installment (I seem to be one of the few who enjoyed it, period), but I started to really feel bad about missing the first film in theaters. Especially since it has become a movie that never gets old for me. So, when I heard the New Beverly Cinema and Horror Movie a Day were hosting a midnight showing of the first Scream on Saturday, I was not about to let an opportunity to right that wrong pass me by.

If any proof were needed that Scream is indeed a classic film, then the turnout for this screening was it. Jenn and myself were the first ones to arrive, and it was a bizarre sight to watch the line behind us get longer and longer in what seemed to be no time at all. After sixteen years, the picture can still pack a movie house. Not that that was surprising, but seeing the amount of younger faces reaffirmed me how long-lasting the film's impact has been, as well. Soon, our friend, Mike Brieburg, joined us, but not before checking out how far back the line went. You guessed it; around the block.

Before the movie started, Horror Movie a Day founder, Brian Collins, served up some Scream trivia to give away some DVD prizes, but first he brought Shock Till You Drop managing editor, Ryan Turek to the stage to quickly plugged the DVD release of the bonus features to his awesome retrospective documentary, Still Screaming. If you've never seen it, I highly recommend it, because it is as much a blast to watch as the films themselves. Then it was Q&A time with Scream's editor, Patrick Lussier. There was nothing really revelatory about the discussion, but it was pretty cool hearing from the editor himself about dealing with the movie's constant resubmitting to the MPAA for an R-rating.






After the Q&A finished, it was movie time. No trailer, no nothing. Straight into the Dimension Films logo, the telephone ringing as the title appears, and then a horror milestone commenced as Drew Barrymore answers the phone. Watching Scream this way was a thrill, for sure. Yes, it's smart, hilarious, and brutal, but it's even better on film projected on a big screen. There was also this odd feeling I got, like I was looking through a window to the past. In one way, Scream 4 was still fresh in my memory, so watching this- for the most part- same cast 16 years younger soon after was kinda trippy. In another way, Scream 1 came out just before I turned 20, so I felt a strange bit of nostalgia I never experienced before.

I no longer have the shame of the original- and best- Scream being the only one in the series I haven't watched in a theater. Since the franchise is now going to be turned into a show for MTV, I'm happy that the last of the Scream movies I see on the big screen is the first one. A really wacky way of looking at it, yeah, especially afterwards, but I'm still grateful I had this chance. Thanks to the New Beverly and Brian Collins for the screening, and thanks to Jenn and Mike for sharing it with me.

Oh, and here's a link to where you can order the 2-disc DVD of bonus features to that documentary, Still Screaming:

http://www.stillscreamingbonus.com/




Friday, April 19, 2013

So now that I've seen the EVIL DEAD remake...



It's been a week since me and Jenn went to see the new Evil Dead, and I held off posting my reactions so that I had time to let the film sink in.  The biggest concern was all of the hype surrounding it. In today's social media-driven geek culture, you're not only caught up in your own excitement of a much-anticipated movie, but that of everyone else, and it can be easy to get caught up in all the reactions to it, be it positive or negative. There's a danger in getting pumped up for a film when friends who have seen it before you say it's great, because you could very well not like it and feel totally gypped. Also, negative reactions- if you let them- can have you second-guessing your initial thoughts after you've seen it. In addition, I have had instances where I've walked out after a film- of any genre- wanting to love it, because of certain aspects, but the underwhelmed feeling I got with the whole experience becomes harder and harder to ignore, and I begin to think less and less of the movie.

Sounds like a lot of work just to come to a conclusion about a film, doesn't it? Eh, such as the times we live in. However, this week I learned the best thing to do is let your gut reaction take the lead and stick with where it takes you. Besides, no one should ever have to "defend" a movie. It makes you sound like you're apologizing for liking something, and that's fucking ridiculous. It's hard enough with society giving us grief for liking horror movies so much. Why should we have to put up with that from our own?

Did I like Evil Dead? Yes, quite bit. Can you handle that? Right, like I'm going to judge if you hated it? I won't give a formal review of the film, because I'm done doing that. I'm not a professional critic, nor did I major in journalism. It was interesting activity, but I'm not going to bullshit you or myself. I can't look at films as objectively as I thought I could. All I can do is share, and that enough satisfaction for me.

Overall, I had a really good time watching Evil Dead. From where I stand, it was a fun picture. Now, I've read a few people lament that it wasn't, or that that element was "sorely missed" from this version. I'll admit I was a little put off by the demons being more Exorcist than Evil Dead. Instead of being mischievous, they were downright vicious. However, the delighted feeling I got with the whole experience became harder and harder to ignore, and I started to like the movie more and more.

Let's be honest, if you went into the remake expecting a movie in line with Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness, well then of course you're going to be disappointed.  Remember, 1981's The Evil Dead was intended to be a "serious" horror film, and I suppose- I can only guess, because I was too young to know- that's how audiences saw it back then. It's only after the sequels and the passage of time that we view the original film having a certain amount of glee along with all the gore. Evil Dead 2013 goes back to the basics of that original movie: five kids go up to a cabin in the woods, the book is read, gross shit goes down. The remake may not have the humor found Raimi's film, but it doesn't have the oppressive anguish commonplace in today's scary movies, either. Instead, director Fede Alvarez simply kept the pace brisk and concentrated on being outrageously gory, utilizing a more thought-out set-up than a bunch of douches and bimbos looking to get loaded and laid.

I know that's not going to be enough for those that hate it. "The set-up was stupid." "There's no logic to the characters." C'mon, it's Evil Dead! What were you expecting, The Seventh Seal?! The characters were underwritten? And the characters in the '81 film weren't? Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead is awesome, because he used his visual ingenuity to create a sense of terror. Alvarez used his own know-how to attempt the same thing, and it worked for me, too.

Hey, at least I didn't measure the remake's worth by comparing its box-office gross to the trilogy's.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

ONE FROM THE VAULTS: The Evil Dead (1981)



I have a confession: the first time I saw The Evil Dead I did not like it.

Cue the dramatic music and horrified gasps now.

The first time I ever heard anything "Evil Dead" was a TV spot for 1987's Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn. That skull with eyes at the end of the commercial was instantly burned into my memory, but more so was the disclaimer: WARNING: THIS FILM CONTAINS SCENES WHICH MAYBE TOO INTENSE FOR PERSONS UNDER THE AGE OF SEVENTEEN. That was the kicker for me in wanting to see it, but I quickly assumed that would be the kicker for my mom in not allowing me to see it. I didn't think much about the film after that, but I do remember seeing a couple of clips of it on TV which got me curious again, but I didn't think a video store in my crummy small town in the middle of nowhere would carry it. Sigh, assumptions, assumptions.

Six years later, Army of Darkness arrived in theaters. I knew it was my kind of flick, having enjoyed Sam Raimi's previous movie, Darkman, but I had no knowledge whatsoever that he had anything to do with Evil Dead (or Crimewave, a film I used to watch on cable quite a bit a few years earlier). As I was watching the prologue, it dawned on me pretty quick there was another movie before this one. After a little bit of research (those thick video movie guides were my IMDb in those days), I discovered that the previous films were, in fact, The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2.

I did find Evil Dead 2 in a video store in my crummy small town in the middle of nowhere, and my reasoning for picking that up first was- at least to me- obvious: that was the movie that led into Army of Darkness. I don't remember if I watched it alone in my room or with my brother in the living room, but I remember how I felt first witnessing Evil Dead 2: holy fucking shit! It was the wildest picture I had ever seen. No movie had me both, sometimes at once, completely terrified and rolling the floor laughing. It was an upliftingly unhinged work of imagination that, for me, has remained second to none since.

Which is why I initially thought the first Evil Dead sucked.

It took awhile, but I managed to quiet my adoration of Evil Dead 2 long enough to finish the trilogy with the shocker that started it all. I came back from the video store, put the tape in the machine, and awaited more of Raimi and Company's grotesque, maniacal mayhem. What I got was a grotesque yawn.  It was dank, the sound was lifeless, I could barely see anything, and it seem to drag on and on. It was a rather painfully dull 80 minutes compared to the raving, loony 80 minutes of Evil Dead 2. Wow, was I disappointed. I severely questioned that endorsement from Stephen King on the cover, and was set on avoiding the original Evil Dead forevermore.

A couple of years later, I was hanging out at K-Mart (pretty much the only place for a kid to hang out in Coalinga), and came across... The Evil Dead? Imagine how shocked I was to find something like this at a K-Mart:






Price tag: $6.99. Ah, what the hell, I'll give it another shot, I thought. Besides, I noticed the home video company, Anchor Bay, were the same guys that put out that great Halloween tape I got earlier. I guess I could trust them. I needed more horror tapes for my late night movie-watching, so it seemed like little risk.

Do you know what's more shocking than The Evil Dead? It's being blown away by The Evil Dead the second time around when you thought it blew the first time around! My jaw was on the floor; the film looked and sounded great. For the first time, I really was witnessing "The Ultimate Experience in Grueling Terror". Of course, the question arose, "Why?" Why did I not like this movie before?  Looking back on the last time I watched the film, the answer came instantly: it wasn't the movie itself. The cassette I rented was one of the old Thorn-EMI tapes from the early-80's. Trust me, it had seen better days. Well, there's your problem! The Evil Dead soon became a staple of my VHS collection, and thus also began my love affair with Anchor Bay Entertainment.

I lost count of how many times I've watched The Evil Dead in the last 15 years. I can count on one thing: it never gets old. Jennica and I viewed it this past weekend, in prep for the remake Friday night. It still works. It's still gross. It's still scary. Even Scotty's fake scare in the cellar still works. Yes, the original film is more straight-ahead horror than the ones that followed, but there is also that splash of candy-colored carnival fun that brings fans back for more. The best part is, after all the commentaries, bonus features, interviews, websites, books, panel discussions, and every possible tidbit you could soak up about the history of this film, all of that goes away once the movie starts. When you see that title, and the camera emerges from the mist, scanning over the bog, you are immediately in its creepy, backwoods, funhouse grasp until that little ditty eerily fades away at the end of the closing credits. Even its various technical flaws- yeah, even the crew guy in plain view in the background as the Oldsmobile begins to cross the bridge- provide no distraction at all from the carnage displayed. In fact, for long-time fans like us, that only adds to the charm of- and our respect for- the DIY nature of the picture. The Evil Dead was made by a bunch of kids from Michigan more than 30 years ago, and it still packs an illicit punch. If that's not a textbook definition of genius, I don't know what is.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Days of the Dead, Los Angeles

Saturday, me and Jennica went to the Days of the Dead horror convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center. We didn't get a whole lot of pictures, but here are some photo highlights:

Ladies of Elm Street panel: (l-r) Heather Langenkamp, Tuesday Knight, Lisa Wilcox, Kim Meyers.


Holliston Season 2 Preview panel: (l-r) Axl the cat, Laura Ortiz, Joe Lynch, Adam Green

Jennica with Betsy Baker, Ellen Sandweis and Sarah York, The Ladies of Evil Dead!

(l-r) Mary Woronov, me, Dey Young, Jennica, P.J. Soles.

As you might have noticed, it was a pretty (no pun intended, seriously) female-heavy convention visit for us. It was so totally (yes, pun intended that time) not planned that way, but it did make for a special afternoon. We did meet other celebs, and the highlight for me was singer Wednesday 13. I bought a gig shirt from him that utilized the one-sheet from Halloween II, so between that, wearing my shirt, and meeting P.J. it was a Halloween-centric day for myself, I guess.

It's obvious now, after this weekend, just how isolated I've felt over the last year. Between this and last month's Horror Trivia Night, I, myself, am reminded of how much more at home I feel around other horror fans. I maybe reserved at times, I could get a bit starstruck, but not once do I feel out of place, and it was great to experience that again. Let's make it more of a habit, shall we?

That's all, fiends!



Friday, April 5, 2013

Scream Factory Wishlist



This is a good time- a very good time I should say- to be a horror-on-Blu-ray fan, and we have Scream Factory to thank for that! It's been almost a year since Shout! Factory announced the creation of their new sub-line to give those much-loved cult classic horror flicks from the 80s and beforehand the "Special Edition" treatment they were criminally denied for so long. Just look at the list of films Scream Factory have already released since September:

Halloween II
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Terror Train
The Funhouse
They Live
Death Valley
The Island (1980)
Deadly Blessing
Prison
TerrorVision
The Video Dead
The Nest
Phantasm II
From Beyond

But wait, the fun doesn't stop there! Look what's coming soon:


The Burning
The Town That Dreaded Sundown
Ninja III: The Domination
Lifeforce
The Howling
The Fog 
Swamp Thing
Night of the Comet
Day of the Dead
The Incredible Melting Man
Sanners II and III 
The Vampire Lovers
The Horror Show (AKA House III)
and more!

Look at it!


I didn't think I'd ever see Halloween II and III get special editions. I was sure I'd never see The Video Dead on disc at all. Now we have those plus these other titles pampered with new transfers, commentaries, featurettes, interviews and reversible covers?! I'm still pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. My arms really hurt now.

Of course, being the greedy consumer whore that I am, I can't help but fantasize about what other horror flicks from my youth that should have loaded Blu-ray/DVD combo packs from Scream Factory. So, I came up with a little wishlist. This is not a suggestion list for these guys. I understand there's lots going on behind the Facebook fan page in getting these movies out (mostly legal). This, right here, is me dreaming.



Fright Night (1985)

I'm not going to waste time expressing how I feel about Fright Night being left in the home entertainment dust of other classic horror films of the 1980s. We're all angry. Still, no one wants pay upwards of $200 for a "limited edition" Blu-ray that's equally bare-bones as the DVD (from a label called Twilight Time, no less). No one wants to pay upwards of $75 for the out-of-print DVD of Part II. If any entity could produce the kick-ass special edition of Fright Night that we've been dreaming of, it's Scream Factory. What needs to be in it? Obviously, HD transfer, new interviews and featurettes, but in addition, Icons of Fright's pirate commentaries deserve to be the commentaries for this set. Plus, how awesome would it be to have Fright Night, Part II as a bonus? Considering how long we've been waiting for this movie to get an upgrade, anything less than everything I just listed would be shameful.


Prince of Darkness (1987)

I know this has been a highly-demanded title since pretty much the beginning of Scream Factory's existence, and why the hell not? It's one of Carpenter's scariest and most gruesome films. It has an extra-special place in my heart, because I remember seeing it for the first time Halloween morning when I was eleven. If it's anything like Scream Factory's They Live set, you can bet your ass a special edition of Prince of Darkness will be equally successful.


Motel Hell (1980)

When I read Scream Factory's humongous Facebook announcement listing The Howling, The Fog, Night of the Comet, Lifeforce, The Burning, and Day of the Dead for release in 2013, I quickly noticed that all but Day of the Dead were previously brought to DVD by MGM. Almost instantly I thought of another MGM library title I feel is definitely in need of an upgrade: Motel Hell. I can already visualize the new key artwork, prominently featuring that classic image of Rory Calhoun in the pig mask, wielding a chainsaw. A late-night cable fave of mine, this darkly funny cannibal flick was slapped on a double feature DVD by MGM along with the not-so-funny, Ed Gein-inspired Deranged. With all these MGM movies, plus the more recently-announced Swamp Thing, I really hope a Scream Factory Blu-ray of Motel Hell is as much a no-brainer as I think it is.


Invaders From Mars (1986)

Since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Part 2 and Lifeforce have gotten special editions, it seems only right to bring Tobe Hooper's Invaders From Mars remake back to home video in the same fashion, thus completing his Cannon Films trilogy. Along with a new transfer, Hooper commentary and featurettes, some home-video behind-the-scenes footage would be killer. Another MGM library title, I loved this movie as a kid, and I haven't seen it in at least 20 years.


Fade to Black (1980)

I have only a very vague memory of seeing Fade to Black when I was little, but it is one my parents remember fondly whenever it's mentioned. It's funny that, as I was writing this, one of the YouTube clips film critic Scott Weinberg posted on Twitter in tribute to Roger Ebert was of him and Siskel reviewing this 1980 thriller, starring Dennis Christopher (Django Unchained). I watched the clips from the movie, and it's still not familiar at all. Anchor Bay released Fade to Black on DVD all the way back in 1999. It's long out-of-print now, and I've been kicking myself for not picking it up when I had the chance. So, it would be nice if Scream Factory could help end this overlong quest for me.





Phantasm (1979), Phantasm III (1993), and Phantasm IV (1998)

I would not be terribly surprised if Don Coscorelli's original Phantasm movie arrived on Blu-ray via Scream Factory, given the response to the just-released Phantasm II Collector's Edition. The 2007 Anchor Bay DVD had plenty of goodies and I'm still really happy with it. However, I had to throw all the remaining Phantasm films on the list, because it would be awesome to have the whole series at one home that cares for all the installments equally, not the one or two guaranteed to bring in the dough.



Maximum Overdrive (1986)

This was one of the most traumatizing horror movies I ever saw as a kid. It is a sick, vile, vicious, over-the-top piece of garbage. And it's fucking great! I don't know who has the home video rights to this now (Anchor Bay and Trinity have both issued DVDs in 2001 and 2006, respectively), but I want Maximum Overdrive on Blu-ray! It cannot be another cheap throwaway release. No, no, this movie actually deserves the already-overused term "bat-shit crazy", and the Blu-ray needs to be just as balls-out. Scream Factory would make sure of that. You know everyone would love to hear a Stephen King commentary over this. Maybe an interview with AC/DC? A tribute to Pat Hingle would be sweet, also. Plus, can you imagine how badass the new artwork would be?! Maximum Overdrive may be the most maligned piece of the King legacy, but I can't believe I'm the only one who digs this gonzo mess. I hope there is enough of an audience out there to get a great Blu-ray of this made.









 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What the Hell's Wrong with The Walking Dead?!


It's been two days after the season finale of The Walking Dead, and Sunday night's episode left me with a rather deflated huh feeling that has plauged me ever since. I know, this past season has been a letdown. It's been boring. I hear that. I can't argue with that. What's been eating me since Sunday, though, is a feeling that maybe I was right all along when AMC fired series creator, Frank Darabont, almost two years ago.

Season 3 of AMC's blockbuster cable drama started off exciting as the "Rick-tatorship" sets up shop at an abandoned prison, and we're introduced to fan-favorite villian, The Governor. I say drama, because the first eight episodes were chock-full of it: Rick (literally) chops down opposition; Lori gives birth, then dies, then gets put down by Carl; T-Dog bites it; Andrea and new pal Michonne meet The Governor, the leader of Woodbury who collects heads and keeps his zombie daughter around; Merle is alive and aligned with The Governor... There was more, lots more, and it kept building and building until the all-out war that was the mid-season cliffhanger.

And then came the remaining eight episodes. From that point on, it felt like being a zombie watching this show lumber on with what seemed to be no sense of... well, anything! Every character in the second half of Season 3 seemed like they were spinning their wheels, which obviously means the writers were doing the same. While there were some highlights, such as Rick's reunion with Morgan and Merle's last stand, everything that made the first eight episodes consistently involving was nowhere to be found. Eventually, there was a point to all this, but the season dragged on until it was too late for me to really care. Yes, Season 2 was also a slow burner, but at least it was actually moving towards something. That something is called a pay-off, which is what the creators forget to give us time around.

This past year confirms that firing show runner Frank Darabont after the initial season was a bone-headed move on the part of AMC. For that reason, I almost stopped watching The Walking Dead after those first six episodes, but due to the enormous popularity, I decided to at least give the rest of the show a chance. I'm starting to regret that decision after enduring these last eight frustrating and exhausting weeks. Now there's a new show runner to replace the guy who replaced Frank Darabont- I could give you the names, but do you really care? Things could still turn around. Yet, I can't shake the feeling that it's still too late to care anymore. Nothing has been the same for The Walking Dead the same way the Superman films were never the same after the Salkinds fired director Richard Donner. If I do decide to go back to The Walking Dead in October, I hope I don't regret that decision, either.

Christ, I making this sound like going back to an bad ex or something.