‘The Following’s’ Ryan Hardy: Jack Bauer 2.0?

Posted in Horror, TV on January 22nd, 2013 by Nick

untitledLast night saw the premiere of a new slasher/psychological drama The Following, created and penned by Kevin Williamson (Scream series) and starring Kevin Bacon. I need a new show like I need 50 more cats terrorizing my apartment or like I need the most annoying sound in the world as my cell phone ring, but you know how giddy I get for slashers! With enticing commercials and two badass Kevins on board, I decided to bite and couldn’t be happier that I did.

Bacon plays Ryan Hardy, a former FBI agent who retires on disability after catching a serial killer named Joe Carroll. Carroll was an English professor who taught the works of Edgar Allen Poe and killed a slew of women in Poe’s honor…until he got caught. Unbeknownst to the FBI, Carroll spent hours in a prison library building a social network of fans, followers and copycat killers, all who will stop at nothing to help this looney-tunes out with his master plan. You can probably guess what happens next: they help spring him from jail, hell breaks lose, and Hardy is BACK ON THE CASE! :::Insert cheesy 80′s cop show music here:::

Now, I despise Law & Order-type procedurals. There’s zero characterization, barely any overarching story, and vapid-story-of-the-week bullshit in every episode. Whenever I see CSI or NCIS or any other show with a bunch of capitol letters in formation, I run for the hills. But The Following is sort of like an FBI procedural, meets 24, meets horror movie, and that, my friends, is something I can get behind.

In the pilot episode, there’s a ton of dead bodies, ample gore, and a juicy amount of backstory packed tightly throughout the hour. It periodically flashes back ten years prior, offering slices of Hardy’s life and involvement with the case. The stories of Dr. Sarah Fuller, the only survivor of Carroll’s bloodbath, and Claire Matthews, Carroll’s ex-wife, are sprinkled throughout as well. What should have felt like an over-stuffed first helping was actually quite well done and well paced – not to mention the two or three twists it dished out too.

What a joyous hour of fucked up television!

Williamson has been throwing nods in the press to Kiefer Sutherland’s hit FOX series 24 (supposedly the writer’s favorite show), and in some ways it did remind me of everyone’s favorite CTU agent, Jack Bauer. There’s a Big Bad who will remain the season’s arching threat, there’s plenty of agencies throwing their two cents into the case, an ensemble cast of supporting coppers, and Hardy – a damaged, maybe-alcoholic former agent with a dark past who just so happens to get sucked back in. As long as no one ever utters, “Just let me do MY JOB!” I think we’re going to be OK here.

I enjoy hating on FOX as much as the next guy, but the network could really use a big-scale action/horror series. The Walking Dead and American Horror Story have more than proved that Horror works on television and now every network wants a piece of that action. Although The Following may never replace the lingering feelings of abandonment left after Bauer went off-com, it has still nicely set itself up to become the next addicting and provocative action series on the air. And the horror flair is the icing on the cake.

Now let’s see if it can remain consistent…

Premature Grade (Pilot only): A-

You can catch an encore showing of The Following on Friday, Jan. 25th at 9pm on FOX.

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Where Dat B*tch GO!?! Episode 1 – Renée Estevez

Posted in Horror, Where Dat Bitch GO!?! on April 6th, 2011 by Nick

Renée Estevez is one of my all-time favorite 80′s slasher Final Girls. Starring as the meek and mild Molly in Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers, Renée stole hearts and won fans over right to the end when he-she killer Angela finally caught up with her. Sad face. If only Estevez had appeared in more horror. BAH!

To this day, the Sleepaway Camp series remains one of my favorite horror series of all time, and Estevez’s performance remains memorable even after all these years. The sibling of famed actors Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen (maybe you’ve heard of him?),  Estevez also appeared in Heathers and had part-time gigs in shows like JAG and MacGyver.

After a recent viewing of Scott Spigel’s Intruder starring a far-too-soon-doomed Estevez as Linda, I started to wonder – Where had Renée disappeared to all these years? Seriously, where dat b*tch GO!?! I missed her dearly! Why should my only Estevez fix be consumed during repeat Sleepaway Camp 2 viewings? Why can’t we enjoy Estevez every day!?

Her Wikipedia page was extremely helpful. Amongst Single White Female and a bunch of other movies I’ve never even heard of before, BAM, it hits me: The West Wing. Nancy, the President’s Confidential Assistant. Seasons 1-7. There she is! I found her! She wasn’t even lost at all…she was hidden under the wing (ha!) of her father Martin Sheen. On a show that I never watched ever and only knew as “Martin Sheen’s show.”

Next up: Her own official website! My search had quickly become the easiest thing ever. And it only took me about 10 years to even attempt to Google her. Whoops.

Her website has a glaring omission though! Her resume does not, I repeat not include Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers. I must find her and ask her what gives! Is it a simple mistake or a purposeful distancing from one of the best and most campy films to ever be created?


Either way, I had a great time thinking about and re-discovering my dear Renée. If only she had done more 80′s slashers, she could’ve been the next Jamie Leigh Curtis!

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Thanksgiving in August

Posted in Dog and Pony Show, Horror on August 19th, 2009 by Nick

Ok, yeah – I’m still pissed that this trailer isn’t on either of the Grindhouse DVDs. Wtf, QT and Rodriguez? The mock trailers were the best part of the 3hour+ Grindhouse feature and I’m still saddened and devastated that I have to go to YouTube to see ‘em.

Also – If Eli Roth can actually make Thanksgiving into a full feature-length film, I’d be the happiest slasher fan in the WORLD, I tell you!

*EDIT*

I am the happiest slasher fan in the world! Cinematical posted this:

“During an exclusive telephone interview to promote his role as Pvt. Donny Donowitz in Quentin Tarantino’s WWII epic Inglourious Basterds, Eli Roth told Cinematical that Thanksgiving is not the next film he’s set to direct, but it’s definitely going to get made. “That movie, the financing, the money is in a bank account,” Roth said. ‘I mean, I could literally say I’m starting production tomorrow and we’d start. It’s 100 percent up to me, but I’m just working on the script with Jeff Rendell, the co-writer. Jeff’s the one who in the trailer, he plays the Pilgrim, and we’re just writing it. We’re just figuring it out and we’re just coming up with the kills and the characters.’”

It’ll probably take forever, but I’m so on board. Thanks to V.J. for the info!

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