As I did last year, I decided to do another horror marathon during the month of October, to put me in a proper Halloween mood. This year’s list of what I watched (see below) is a bit shorter than last year (20 vs. 27), but I think this year I ended up watching more TV series, which took up more time — and I ended up watching the second half (all made up of movies) during the final week of October. (I’m also watching more pro wrestling these days, so I imagine that affected things too.) So here then is the list of TV shows and movies I watched for this year’s marathon, and I can’t wait to do the next one — you’ll also find all my write-ups under the “October 2019” category.
This is a new series that’s currently airing on Shudder, and it really does feel like a proper follow-up to the original movies. It really embraces the comic book aesthetic as well — all framing sequences are done in that style, including some bits during episodes — and it just feels fun to watch. Sure, it’s a bit on the low budget side — something you mostly notice when it comes to creature effects — but I think it suits the campy vibe of the series. I’ve watched the first two episodes (which are themselves divided in 2 half-hour episodes), and liked pretty much all of them — the one with the dollhouse was especially great. Well worth taking in of you were a fan of the original movies, or enjoy fun campy horror.
Last year for my Halloween marathon I watched season 2, and this year I’m watching season 3 (which is sadly its final season). I’ve just watched the first few episodes, but so far so good, pretty much what I want and enjoy from the series. I’m sure I’ll be a bit sad when I’m done watching the season, but here’s hoping the character lives on in some other form (one more movie, please).
This is a French horror series that was added to Netflix a few weeks ago, and my wife and I have both been enjoying it immensely. I still have the last two episodes to watch, but the series so far has been incredibly creepy, offering a neat storyline, with some really nice filmmaking (great shots of the town where most of the action takes place, etc.) Highly recommended.
As I’ve written in the past (last year’s Halloween marathon included quite a bit of Purge releases), I quite like this series, and so I was excited at the prospect of a second season of the TV show. Only one episode has aired so far, but I already like the premise, which proposes that we spend the season looking at the year leading up to the next Purge (and the fallout from a Purge that has just ended). At least that’s what it looks like we’re going to get.
I really loved Double Fine’s two Costume Quest games, and when an animated series based on those games was announced, I was pretty excited to check it out. When the first season did come out, I remember checking on Prime Video here in Canada and not finding it, and then forgot to check again later. With the recent release of a second season, that prompted me to check again, and I found that both were now available. I’ve only watched the first episode, but it feels just like what I’d want from a Costume Quest animated series: fun characters, a great cartoony aesthetic, and nods to the game. During my Halloween marathon, it makes for a nice comedic break from all of the horror I’m watching.
I started watching the Jordan Peele-produced reboot of the series when it was airing earlier this year, but hadn’t gotten around to watching the last three episodes, which I finally did now — a good time to watch them, as part of my Halloween marathon. I quite liked this series, and I’m hoping they do more (it sounds like it was indeed renewed). As with any anthology series, I can’t say that I enjoyed every episode evenly, but overall I had a really good time watching it, and felt like there were way more hits than misses. I also enjoyed the super meta final episode of the season (even though the middle part dragged on a bit). So far, when it comes to horror and suspense, Jordan Peele can do no wrong for me.
As I did last year — see my round-up post — I’ve decide to devote a good part of my media viewings in October to horror (or horror-tinged thrillers), since I had so much fun last time. So yesterday, on October 1, I kicked things off with the current season of American Horror Story, this year subtitled 1984. I haven’t watched the series since the second season, but it was the 80s setting and theme that made me want to come back. I’ve only watched the first episode, but so far, it’s deliciously horrific in that fun cheesy 80s way that I’ve become so familiar with due to all my 80s movie marathons I’ve been doing in recent years (I’m currently in the middle of a 1989 marathon). I’m definitely looking forward to watching more episodes of this.
In recent years, the majority of my TV watching has been of the streaming variety, mostly binged from Netflix. I did notice that I’m watching a few series on a weekly basis this month, and here they are.
Doom Patrol. I thought the Titans series was pretty good, and my favorite episode from its first season was the one that starred the Doom Patrol. Because of that, I was incredibly hyped for this series, and so it’s a bit unfortunate that it just didn’t land for me. I still have the last 2-3 episodes of the 10-episode season to watch, and I will watch them, but I don’t think I’m in for a second season if they do end up making one. I don’t like that they went less funny and more just plain weird with their stories, and I thought the addition of Cyborg was incredibly lame — or maybe it’s just that I really don’t like his portrayal in this series.
Game of Thrones. Certainly one of my favorite series of all time (like everyone else), and following this week’s episode (the battle of Winterfell), I’m now even more excited to see how things are going to fall out over the final three episodes. Let’s see who wins this goddamn game of thrones.
Killing Eve. I loved the first season to bits, and I’m enjoying the second season (so far) just as much. Never mind Eve though, for me it’s all about Villanelle, I just can’t get enough of her. I’m definitely happy that they’ve already announced that they’ll do a third season.
Twilight Zone. Before watching the first episode, I was a bit bummed by the headlines I’d seen that suggested this new take on the classic franchise was a bust (at least based on the first four episodes, that had been made available to reviewers). Maybe it’s because I went in with lowered expectations then (after my initial excitement at the thought of Jordan Peele taking on the series), but I’ve enjoyed all of the episodes so far (the first four). Sure, they’re not all amazing, and some could have been cut in half, but I’ve enjoyed them none the less, as well as the weird Twilight Zonian twists we get in all of them. It’s maybe not for everyone, but it’s working for me.
Warrior. Produced by Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shanon, this is based on an idea Lee had in the 70s for a series that he never got to make, but that later inspired David Carradine’s Kung Fu. I’ve only watched the first episode, but I dig the setting (late 19th century San Francisco, focusing on the Chinese communities), and the fights are fun. I’m in for at least a few more episodes.
What We Do in the Shadows. The movie this is based on is one of my all-time favorite comedies, and so I was incredibly excited at the thought of getting a series based on it, and from the same creators. Five episodes in, I’ll say that I like it, but I’m not overly in love with it. It has its moments — some brilliant — but for the most part it’s so-so, making me think that the insanely fun premise of the movie isn’t really enough to sustain a series. I’ll keep watching it though, for the amazing cast at least.
If you’re at all interested in gaming culture, I can’t recommend enough The Artists: The Pioneers Behind the Pixels, a series of short (about 10-minutes each) documentaries released last year that take a look at various aspects of gaming history, produced by the CBC. There are 10 episodes in all, and you can stream them through the CBC Gem app or web access (a name I really quite dislike and don’t understand). Big thanks to my Ubi colleague Fred for bringing this to my attention.
Being the game history/cultural nerd that I am, I did already know most of these stories (for example, if you enjoy the Doom episode, then you really need to read the fantastic book Masters of Doom), but I did still get a kick out of revisiting all of this, and enjoyed the interviews and presentation (the series is slickly made with a retro aesthetic). It also made me quite nostalgic for the Electronic Arts of old.