Kagegiving: CreepShow on Shudder.

INTRODUCTION: Tales from the Crypt is a very old comic, but a classic comic line. Back in the day, these EC rated comics were said to warp the mind of the baby boomer kids’ reading such filth. I’ve read reprints and it was fun. In 1989, HBO brought a show to the television, with John Kassier voicing the aptly name Cryptkeeper. It’s was a hit and spawned two flicks and a Saturday morning cartoon show in the 90’s. Unbeknownst to me back then, in 1982, Stephen King and George Romero created a similar thing, called Creepshow. It was inspired by those old comics. I didn’t know Creepshow existed until I was in my early 20’s. Weird, given I had seen a massive amount of 80’s and 90’s horror. I still haven’t seen the two flicks, but I did enjoy Tales from the Crypt and the idea of an inspired by version intrigued me enough to give this series a go.

EPISODES:

ONE
This is a very weak start, the acting is phoned in, and even Tobin Bell isn’t at his best. He is more reminiscent of his 90’s TV acting, he just doesn’t seem like he wants to be here and these things are beneath him. I can’t blame the guy, feature films pay better and you become more notable. That is a necessity to becoming a serious actor in this world. Don’t forget, after the success of the Saw flicks, it’s not like he needs the work. His legacy is set for life as well. Roles like this could only diminish it. My interjected and unsolicited opinion on Tobin Bell’s acting career aside, it is very weak. None of the characters are very well developed, it is based on a Stephen King short story which only makes this worse, because it could have been so much more. The pacing of the story is all wrong and the ending feels unresolved, which is a running theme in this series.

The second part of this one is stronger than the first outing. The young girl acts circles around the adults and the character is wicked smart. Way smarter than your average 8 year old, figuring things out quite quickly. Sadly, the story is underdeveloped and feels 100% unresolved. The conclusion was weak and lacks what was needed to make us feel like there was something at stake. This isn’t a good start to this series.

TWO
Ok, this one sounds interesting, even though it is a rip off or homage to Rob Zombie’s trailer in Grindhouse. The characters are weakly developed, the plot as well. Interesting, albeit cheap FX and over all, not as good as it could be. Still, it improves over the first episode.

Episode two seems similarly reminiscent to the old monkey paw story, which you see foreshadowed throughout the series in the ads on the comic breaks. This one is meta as all hell and I found myself enjoying it, but still, I wanted more to the story and the obvious and cliché ending was shit. This should have been developed more and given the 44 minutes of the show. It would have been worth it.

THREE
This one is a very cool, but predictable concept. I really liked it, but again, it falls victim to too short of a time frame to develop the story more and give us sympathy for the characters. Obvious ending became obvious by the muffin scene and well, it did satisfy my appetite. For those of you that hate “forced” diversity, you’ll probably trigger over not just a black dude hanging out with white people, but the fact he is Satan. Your screams of “but muh forced diversity” will be worth listening to when you also trigger over the second part.

This is one cool fucking concept, because not a lot of American produced horror is inspired by the 1001 Arabian nights. If you’re unfamiliar with Arabic folklore, then you probably would not appreciate this one as much, but it is nice to see someone actually read these short stories and kept in line with its tone. Very cool! Still though, weak developed of the stories is plaguing this series, along with characters that need more development.

FOUR
The first story is meh and the second story is even worse. See the above for the same exact criticisms. Not worth extrapolating on.

FIVE
This episode should have been longer and Bruce Davidson is the strongest actor in this whole season and worthwhile, it is too bad his young co-star looks so much worse in comparison. The story is too short, but still a very interesting take on the Monkey’s Paw story and well worth watching.
The second “story” if you can call it that is cool concept, but feels like a deleted scene from a movie. Most of the backstory has to be told via exposition and it just isn’t worth it. They really phoned it in here and it is a worthless time to have paid David Arquette the money to even bother, when he could have been in something much better.

SIX
The first story could have been a movie and would have been great social commentary on people and their desire to talk the easy way out. Sadly, it wasn’t, but despite the misgivings of this episode, it was fun.
They end the season with a story based on a Joe Hill short. This was a very cool play on the old lochness monster myths, dipped with a little too much daddy issue subtext. One has to wonder if this wasn’t about Stephen King’s time as a blow junkie, figuratively chasing after monsters during this time period, as opposed to spending time with his children and in many in interview, King as mentioned his own version of various subtext. This probably has the best looking effect, short of The Finger, but still was mediocre, given the lack of development of story, characters and terrible pacing.

CONCLUSION:
This series has a running pattern of flaws, from underdeveloped characters to terrible pacing and lack of story or suspense build. It’s on Shudder, so I am willing to deal with the FX not being the best, especially because some of them are meant to be homages to past films. The episode with the Scarecrow comes to mind as it uses 80s stop motion as an homage to The Evil Dead. There are various other Easter eggs to movies and horror tv shows for Boomers, Gen X and Millennial and those are appreciated, but I need more than Easter eggs to get me to commit to this series for another season. I mean, some of the comic breaks are clearly inspired by the old 90’s Tales from the Crypt. All Hallow’s Eve brings up 70’s Dungeons and Dragons, but uses modern miniatures, which is weird and out of place. If season two can fix the plaguing flaws of season one, this might be a real game changer, but as of right now, my plans are to skip this, it isn’t really worth the time.

2 ½ out of 5.

Kagegiving: Jurassic Park by Micheal Crichton.

INTRODUCTION: I loved Jurassic Park when I was a child. I first read the novel in the third grade, a few years after the movie had come out and I recall enjoying it. I later read The Lost World around the same time the movie came out. This wasn’t the only book of Mike’s that I read and enjoyed a lot of his work. So does it hold up? We shall see!

SYNOPSIS:
A group of people come to an island by one of their private investors and find out the world is filled with dinos. Then chaos ensues, because, chaos theory!

CHARACTERS:
There are a lot of differences from the characters in the movie, vs the book. Ian Malcom is more interesting in the novel than the movie. Grant likes kids here, and the ages of Tim and Lex are reversed. Jon Hammond is a douchnozzle and Nerdy is a thin hacker punk. In some ways, this is better than the movie and in other ways, it ruins it.

PROSE: Not good at all! The only bonus is that the accent is quite frenetic until you get into the middle where it bogs down and drags.

DIALOGUE: Very good!

SUBTEXT: Science is not to be trifled with and we shouldn’t be playing God.

CONCLUSION:
This book wasn’t as great as it was as a kid, but what it lacks in prose, it makes up for as one fuckin hell of a story, so it is worthwhile. If you saw the movie first, it is probably a tad bit of a downer and the science is mediocre for a dude who had a biology degree. I can see why he became a writer. Regardless, I think the biggest take away from this novel is the fact that Jon Hammond intentionally sabotaged the park. If you know anything about the MBTI, you know some ENTP’s like to intentionally cause problems so they can solve them and I think this is one of those cases. Hammond was recklessly negligent and risked his team, along with his grandchild. In this movie, he isn’t very family friendly and is a downright Scrooge, just out to make a buck. It is only fitting that Hammond, who lived by the dino also dies by the dino. Fuck this version of Jon Hammond. So is this something to be thankful for? I defer to Grant in the movie that I wouldn’t endorse this book, but it isn’t the worst novel that I ever read.

3 out of 5.

Kagegiving:The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

INTRODUCTION: H.G. Wells The Time Machine is one of those classic novels that is always on some list as a “Must read”. I read it as a child and really enjoyed it, but I decided to give it a refresh and see if it was really worthwhile in this modern age.

SYNOPSIS:
It’s the 1800’s and a man creates a time machine, so this novel is steampunk and sci-fi.

PROSE:
Prose isn’t as great as I remembered it. It has its moments but it really falls short, especially in comparison to other books of its time frame. I know it was a normal thing back then to not include faces in Gothic horror novels and while this isn’t gothic horror, he doesn’t really give us anything but a description that is barley sufficient for a police sketch artist.

CHARACTERS:
The characters all fall flat. Wells couldn’t be bothered to even give them names, nor really develop them at all. They’re all just kind of there and the one Eloi that is mentioned in detail, also happens to be childlike by Wells’ own description.

DIALOGUE: Fantastic and about all that is really worthwhile about this book.

SUBTEXT: In today’s day and age, it is indubitably about the left (Eloi) vs the Right (Morlock) and is more relevant through a Trump American than it was when it was first published.

CONCLUSION:
I was hoping this book would hold up in my adult years as I fondly remember it, but it just doesn’t hold up to snuff. It is boring, but thankfully it is such a short read that would could let your child enjoy it and they would at least pick up some good vocabulary. Besides not being that good, it boarder lines the pedophiliac in nature, which, given Lewis Carroll among others, wouldn’t of been outside the realm of normal. I mean, an adult man who intended to kidnap a female Eloi and bring her back to his time and has the demeanor of a child? Come the fuck on, it doesn’t get more pedophilic than that! I don’t think I am reading too much into that at all and sadly, it is something that is never discussed about this book. Even worse, she is more developed in terms of looks than anyone, which is ironic, given the near age of the child would make her extremely underdeveloped. Sure, you could be pollyannaish and think he just wanted to be a dad, but why steal the Eloi? Really fucked up shit that I am shocked no one picked up on, until now. I am shocked I missed that as a child, but regardless, the only thing this book really has going for it is the discussion about the two distinct races, which, in today’s day and age, which more relevant than ever, as it seems like Wells was quite prescient about the potential for two diverges on the races and one look at the divide of this country, left and right, it is hard to not see the Left as Eloi and the Right as Morlock. The majority of Trump supporters are classic blue collar labors, whom sole reason for Trump is that he somehow understands them and wants to bring back these shitty industries, like coal. They feel unheard by the Eloi or Elites as they call them and that is a sad thing, because not only do they lack a sense of irony when they toss such piffle out, but they’re mal-adaptable malcontents. Which, while I can sympathize with the malcontent part, the anti-intellectualism aspect is a horrible way to live. So in that regard, this book is fantastic, but the rest of it is just plain lousy that one has to wonder why the fuck it is a classic.

2 ½ out 5.

A Word on KageGiving

Kageoween worked out pretty well for me, so I decided to do two more holidays, Kagegiving and Kagemas. While there is things I would like to fix and some stuff I wish I got to for Kageoween, I know next year will be a vast improvement over the inaugural year, as I have a lot planned out already for Halloween 2019.

In regards to Kagegiving, I wasn’t quite sure how I would go about this, since Thanksgiving doesn’t really lend itself to a lot of material for book, movie or tv reviews. So I have decided to make Kagegiving all about discovery of new material that I can find, between youtube, kindle or else, I’m going to look for the some of the best stuff I can find and give it a write up. The format may change at some point, but for now, this seems apt. I think I will do leading right up to the holiday, a week of thanksgiving, to see how this fares at first.

So if you’re reading this and have any ideas on what to watch, read, ect, feel free to comment below and I will see what I can get to.