The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley.
Or so said Robert Burns.
I’d planned on watching more spooky stuff this month, but I got so busy, it sorta fell apart there at the end. Alas.
So for my final Spooktober entry, I’ll cover another Netflix show that Laura and I watched this month, which was on-theme, but not originally intended to be part of my Spooktober viewings: The 10-episode Netflix series, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
To clear up some misconceptions: This is not a “reboot” of the mediocre 90s sitcom, Sabrina The Teenage Witch. I’ve seen folks online reacting to it as such.
It is based on a 2014 comic book series from Archie Comics’ phenomenal “Archie Horror” line, which, like the sitcom, was a riff on the early-60s Sabrina the Witch character. For folks not aware: the Archie line has been doing some experimentation alongside their usual “mid-century wholesome teenagers” main line. (This is one of the reasons why the Riverdale show wasn’t what you were expecting, either). In fact, the title sequence of the show uses the amazing Robert Hack artwork from the covers of that series (like the image above, for example).
Interestingly, the series is actually a bit LESS dark than the comic. There were sequences in the comic which were stunningly horrific, which the series lightened considerably. In the end, the Netflix series comes off more like a PG-13, Halloween-themed Harry Potter than the genuine horror of the comic.
That said, the performances are good, the casting is good, the production design is excellent, and it’s nice bit of dark fantasy which combines teen melodrama with the occult. Give it a shot.
The most recent Spooktober viewing was done over the past weekend, when Laura and I binge-watched all ten episodes of Netflix’s new series, The Haunting of Hill House.
TL;DR version: HOLY FUCKING SHIT.
To unpack that a bit more:
Shirley Jackson’s novel is one of my all-time favorite horror books. The 1961 film version, The Haunting is an absolute classic, and a terrifying slice of childhood trauma (I disobeyed my parents, snuck out of bed and caught a peek of it when they were watching it on TV, and it scared the bejesus out of me).
When the trailer first hit, I was mad — because it didn’t look like it had anything to do with the actual story.
I am pleased to report that while, yes, this is an entirely new tale — there is WAY more of Jackson’s novel in the series than I feared would be. A ton, in fact. Nice easter eggs for those of us who are fans.
And the show itself? I am not kidding: This is, hands-down, the best horror series I’ve ever seen, and in fact, I might even go as far as saying this might even be the best horror ANYTHING since the turn of the 21st century, and maybe even a bit further. Yes, it’s that good.
I will not say more — you deserve to go into this un-spoiled. My only recommendation is that you might be careful watching it…
…in the dark.
…in the night.
Saw the first episode of the 13th Doctor.
Short version: Watched it. Loved it.
Longer takes: As introductions go, the episode was one of the better ones in the show’s history.
Proper behind-the-sofa scary at times, a solid mystery, and it’s absolutely wonderful that we’re back to the idea that the companions are random acquaintances, rather than Chosen Ones. Whittaker absolutely inhabited the role from the first moments. There was no adjustment period for me. And her spending the majority of the episode in the 12th Doctor’s torn and tattered costume was a nice conveyance of the not-yet-done-regenerating theme.
As the Doctor said:
“Right now, I’m a stranger to myself. There’s echoes of who I was, and a sort of… call… towards who I am. And I have to hold my nerve and trust all these new instincts, shape myself towards them… I’ll be fine. In the end. Hopefully.”
Hell, I even loved the score. After a decade of Murray Gold starting to sound samey-same, the new sound from Segun Akinola was more modern, a bit darker, and really well done. Can’t wait for an album release.
Last thought: As a Who fan since childhood (which was more of a rarity here in the US, back in the last century), it took me a bit to get used to the idea, around the time of David Tennant (although hints of it starting to appear with 8th Doctor Paul McGann), of people being attracted to the Doctor. It took a bit for me to wrap my brain around the idea of the Doctor as somebody you’d fancy.
Now that Jody Whittaker is in the role, I’m finding that now I have adjust to the fact that now *I* fancy the Doctor. It’s a very strange feeling. :)