Archive for February, 2023

An Exhaustive Summary of the Batman: Arkham Games Pt. 9

February 27, 2023

Batman: Arkham City had two purchasable DLCs that were included in subsequent versions of the game. The DLC allows the player to play as Catwoman within the same Arkham City setting as the main game. With the DLC purchased and installed correctly, the Catwoman portions are played seamlessly in line with the Batman portions so that you are basically taking Catwoman breaks from the Batman portions. If you recall my rundown of the main plot of Arkham City, Catwoman interacts with Batman twice during the story. Batman saves her from Two-Face early in the game and then Catwoman saves Batman from the rubble of the steel mill late in the game. This DLC expands Catwoman’s story so that the player can see some of what she was up to the rest of the night. The feel of her story and gameplay feels different from Batman’s while still fitting well into the world.

Part 1

Catwoman’s story begins with a bunch of Two-Face’s henchmen hanging out in his former campaign office. One of these thugs pulls at a painting on the wall and is amused that it swings open and reveals a safe. One of his buddies tells him to leave it alone as Two-Face would kill him for touching it. The topic of conversation then turns to the rumors that Batman has entered Arkham City. The main crook dismisses the idea as it makes no sense that Batman would come to Arkham City. His reasoning is probably that since they are all already incarcerated, there is nowhere else for the crooks to be sent. 

When a window breaks, the already-spooked criminals call out that it must be Batman. However, the crooks realize their mistake as Catwoman strolls into the room and announces her presence. She engages in hand-to-hand combat with six henchmen going up against one Catwoman. Catwoman easily mops the floor with the thugs, of course. With all of her obstacles unconscious, Catwoman approaches the safe and cracks it with ease. She gets what she came for which is a chip loaded with building plans for Arkham City. As she loads the program on her phone, Two-Face presses a gun against her temple and takes her prisoner. He takes her to the courthouse and ties her above a vat of acid which is where Batman first encounters her in the game.

Part 2

With Batman off chasing after The Joker, Catwoman goes about her own mission which is retrieving the loot confiscated from her when she was captured and brought to Arkham City. She uses the map to locate the confiscated goods storage and cases outside of it. The metal door is impressive so Catwoman tries to decide how to bypass it. She contemplates getting Killer Croc to rip the door apart or asking Penguin for explosives but decides that she needs a woman’s touch. She decides to try and recruit Poison Ivy to her mission. 

First, Catwoman needs to stop by her apartment to grab her gear. There is no way she is going to survive Arkham City without all of her tricks. When she makes her way over to her apartment, she discovers that Two-Face has sent henchmen to watch the place in case she returned. Catwoman easily takes out the thugs barring her way and sneaks into her apartment to replenish her gear including caltrops and bolas. With that done, Selina heads toward Ivy’s lair. She is able to get past some men mind-controlled into acting as guards.

Once inside, Catwoman is confronted by Poison Ivy who is still angry that Catwoman killed some flowers. Selina offers to replace the flowers but that is obviously not the point and Ivy attacks. She unleashes mind-controlled henchmen from the other gangs to fight Catwoman. Selina must also contend with Ivy’s plants and the lair filling up with poisonous spores that threaten to turn Catwoman into a plant. Catwoman is eventually able to get through to Ivy and it is revealed that Catwoman failed to water Ivy’s rare flowers. There is only one left. It is sealed in the confiscated goods vault. That works out perfectly as that’s where Catwoman wants to break into. 

Part 3

Catwoman travels back across Arkham City and makes her way to a manhole and into the sewers. Ivy’s plants have tunneled into Strange’s vault allowing Catwoman to get to a security office inside of the building. She analyses the security through the computer and finds that the vault requires three security keys to open. She goes around the confiscated goods warehouse to pickpocket TYGER guards for their key cards. Once she unlocks the vault, that alerts the guards that something is up. There was no scheduled opening for the vault and it takes three of them to open it so clearly things are not going correctly. Catwoman takes out the guards stealthily and then makes her way into the vault. 

Once inside, Catwoman finds her loot in two briefcases. She also finds Ivy’s special flower and smashes it for tying her up in vines and trying to kill her. Of course, this breaks the deal she made with Ivy. When she opens one of the briefcases, Professor Strange announces her presence over the PA system. Catwoman realizes that this has been a trap. Selina has to fight more TYGER guards in order to escape the vault. As she leaves the vault with her briefcases, an announcement declares that Batman is down. Selina looks and sees Batman’s prone body on camera pinned under rubble. She has to decide whether to abandon her loot and save Batman or just escape. You can choose to just leave but that results in an instant game over. Instead, Catwoman decides to save Batman and that leads to their second main story interaction.

Part 4

After the main plot is over, Catwoman decides to grab whatever loot is left in her apartment and escape the crumbling Arkham City. She arrives at her apartment but as she tries to enter the window, a bomb goes off inside her apartment which sends her flying. She wakes up to another fistfight with Two-Face’s goons and learns that Two-Face robbed her as revenge. Catwoman learns that he has taken over the Gotham Museum following Penguin’s defeat. She heads into the museum to get her property back. 

She makes her way carefully through the museum which has now fully melted following the recovery of Mr. Freeze’s technology. This makes it more time-consuming but still easy to traverse the flooded museum. Catwoman finds Two-Face who has his goons and a rocket launcher. Taking out Two-Face reveals that his obsession led to him only taking half of her loot and giving the rest away to his men. Annoyed, Catwoman takes her loot back from him and then escapes the museum. She then has to spend time tracking down and beating up Two-Face henchmen to get the rest of her gems back. With all of her loot returned, Catwoman then presumably escapes Arkham City. (In-game you are allowed to wander around as Catwoman at this point)


For the Hoard

February 25, 2023

Ilodil and Lisnia made their way down the rock face of the cliff carefully. Ilodil had taken off his armor in order to make the climb and he was not happy about it. They had left a lot of their gear above as they planned to camp out for the night before they trekked back home. Lisnia was a much quicker climber and was a few lengths ahead of Ilodil.

“I can’t believe after all of that, you let the coin fall all the way down the cliff,” Ilodil said. “We have to get it back.”

“I know we have to get it back,” Lisnia said. “The whole point is to return the coin to Lord and Lady Frostsworn. That much is obvious. It’s not my fault that the bandit holding it fell off the cliff. Do you think he survived the fall?”

“I doubt it,” Ilodil said. “This is quite a cliff.”

“Agreed,” Lisnia said. “When we climb back up, will you carry me on your back?” She grinned and looked up at Ilodil.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Ilodil said, glancing down and regretting it. “You’re quite strong enough to carry yourself back up.”

“Fine,” Lisnia said with a laugh. “I will definitely be ready for a good night’s sleep when we make it back up. I’m not cooking. I’m already too tired. Rations will be had by all.”

“Rations are fine,” Ilodil said. “I don’t need fancy food like you usually do. I will even take the first watch.”

“How gallant,” Lisnia said as she reached the bottom of the cliff. “You don’t have much farther to go. Don’t look down.” 

“I fear your warning came too late,” Ilodil said. “I have already looked down.”

“You always look down,” Lisnia said with a gentle sigh. “You know what that does to you.”

“I will maintain,” Ilodil said. “As you say, it is not much farther.” Lisnia watched as he slowly descended and faltered only slightly at the surprise of reaching the round. He brushed himself off and tried to hide his embarrassment. “Have you found the coin yet?”

“Oh! I guess I was distracted by watching your form,” Lisnia said. “I’ll look now.”

“Please do,” Ilodil said. “That climb cannot be for nothing.”

“Relax, Sir Grumpy,” Lisnia said as she looked around. She spotted the bandit spread eagled in the dirt. “Oh, I hope he was dead before he landed.” She shuddered and walked over. She plucked a coin from the dirt and cleaned it off. “Wait a moment, this isn’t the coin.”

“What?” Ilodil asked in a flat tone. “How can it not be the coin? Don’t tell me that the coin is still at the top of this blasted cliff.”

“No,” Lisnia said indignantly. “I saw him hold it up in the sunlight. He taunted me with it. Taunted us with it. Then he got an arrow for it and that led us to where we are now.”

“Then why is that not the coin?” Ilodil asked.

“It must be an errant coin,” Lisnia said. “A coincidental additional coin.” 

“I’m not sure about that but a more thorough search is required,” Ilodil said. “I believe you when you say that he had the coin. I have faith.” He started to search the ground around them.

“I’m touched,” Lisnia said. She leaned over the bandit who was well and truly dead. She pulled her arrow out of him and wiped it off on her pants. It was then that she noticed that the bandit’s fist was clenched. She bent down and pried it open and there was the coin they were searching for. “I knew it! Coin found. We’ll fulfill our contract after all.”

“And then some,” Ilodil said. “I found more coins in the dirt. A trail of them. They lead into that cave.”

“A bandit hidey hole perhaps?” Lisnia asked.

“Carelessly hidden if so,” Ilodil said as he led the way into the cave. The place was massive and what looked like gems were embedded in the walls. After they had made their way a little further in, they found an absolutely massive pile of treasure. It looked like millions of coins and various objects could be seen poking out from the sea of coins. The two adventurers were momentarily in awe.

“I don’t think this is for the bandits, dear Ilodil,” Lisnia said. “I think this is a dragon hoard.”

“There hasn’t been a dragon reported in the land for decades,” Ilodil said.

“Exactly,” Lisnia said with glee. “That means this was left behind and now it’s all ours.”

Media Update 2/23/23

February 23, 2023

Missing Link (2019)

I will always watch whatever Laika studios does because they always do great animated movies. An aspiring monster hunter finally gets a good lead on the legendary sasquatch which leads to a journey to reunite the sasquatch with his kind. Hugh Jackman plays the monster expert and plays the role with such a great mix of arrogance and weakness. Zach Galifianakis plays the sasquatch and has a million-dollar heart with a nickel brain. Zoe Saldana plays the willful woman who forces her way onto the trip. Timothy Olyphant is great as the slimy and detestable villain who is like a cockroach. The animation is absolutely beautiful and it is once again easy to forget that it is stop-motion. The animation has such life that it sucked me into the story and the great characters. The movie is also really funny in an offbeat sort of way. I recommend this movie.

It Happened One Night (1934)

I have been trying to watch more old movies lately. An heiress flees her father to reunite with her husband but ends up stuck with a broken-down news reporter. Claudette Colbert plays the lead, a wide-eyed naive rich girl who ends up having more sass and grit than she thought. Clark Gable plays the drunk reporter who is trying to get his life back. The chemistry between Gable and Colbert is really good and the two carry the movie well. There are also some great character actor performances from Roscoe Karnes, Charles C. Wilson, and more. The movie won a ton of Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Director (Francis Capra). It is the first romantic comedy to win an Academy Award. It also has the distinction of providing a lot of inspiration for the creation of Bugs Bunny by Fritz Freleng. I recommend this movie.

Almost Heroes (1998)

I remember seeing trailers for this movie on television at the time but I never saw it. Lost to history is that there was a second expedition that was racing Lewis and Clarke to the Pacific Ocean. The ragtag group must contend with the wilderness, the Spanish, and each other. This was Chris Farley’s last film made before his death. He is in top form in this movie, doing the big dumb yet fun guy that he did so well in movies like Black Sheep and Tommy Boy. He also has so much heart. The other star is Matthew Perry who does a great job at being the rich pampered boy out of his element. Eugene Levy plays a great slimy villain. The rest of the cast is an assortment of goofballs who do great at little gags. I was expecting this to be way more dated but it was actually pretty good. They leaned more on self-deprecating humor and references to the time period than punching down. If you are looking for something light, I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Kim Dracula – Seventy Thorns feat. Jonathan Davis

Ayra Starr – Sability

Bebe Rexha – Heart Wants What It Wants

Paramore – Running Out Of Time

Mashup of the Week:

Bumper – Toxic In The Deep

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Journey of Discovery”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling,  LegalEagle, Dead Meat, Some More News, Games Done Quick, Cultaholic, Allison Pregler, Game Theory, Major League Wrestling, Jesse Cox, Super Beard Bros, Channel Awesome, Drawfee
  • I watched more Blindspot Season 3
  • I watched more Willow Season 1
  • I watched more National Treasure: Edge of History Season 1
  • I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 12
  • I watched more Will Trent Season 1
  • I watched more Altered Carbon Season 1

Shrunken Heads (1994) A Spoiler-Filled Rundown

February 20, 2023

In the early 1990s, producer Charles Band was friends with Richard and his brother Danny Elfman. Yes, that Danny Elfman. Richard kept bugging Band to let him direct a movie for Full Moon Pictures. He came up with the concept for Shrunken Heads as superhero-loving teens who die and become the heroes that they idolized. On paper, it looked morbid but doable and definitely in line with Full Moon’s usual fare. Richard swore that he would get Danny to score the movie. At the time, Full Moon had made a distribution deal with Paramount which generally meant straight-to-video. However, Paramount came to Band and offered to make Shrunken Heads the first Full Moon theatrical release due to Danny Elfman’s name being attached. 

Predictably, Danny Elfman was busy with more important and more lucrative projects (probably Nightmare Before Christmas and Demon Knight) and so he only composed the main title theme. Charles Band’s brother/in-house composer Richard Band scored the rest of the movie. Paramount was still on board. Then came the screening for Paramount executives. It was only then that Band realized that the teenagers were cherubic 13-year-olds and having them slaughtered in the first third of the movie totally kills any universal appeal for the movie. Band likens it to murdering the main cast of Stranger Things after the first episode and then reanimating them. Traumatizing. In the end, Paramount passed on releasing the movie in theaters and Richard Elfman funded the LA theatrical release with his own money.

We begin the movie with vague chanting, a lot of smoke, and a vintage Danny Elfman track as the credits play. The picture coalesces eventually into a bubbling cauldron before we fade to a quiet street. We see Tommy Larson sweeping the floor of his family’s old-timey general store as his father tends to a customer. Tommy’s friend Bill Turner bursts through the door of the shop and tells him that Mr. Sumatra has the newest DC comics. On the way, they see a young kid riding his bike. This kid is accosted by some local greaser-style bullies called the Vipers led by Vinny. Tommy and Bill jump in to help the kid but the fight is actually broken up by a mechanic (?) who threatens the bullies with a wrench. Vinny’s girlfriend Sally has more sense and manages to convince Vinny to take his boys elsewhere. 

The three boys (from left): Bill, Freddie, and Tommy.

Tommy and Bill help the poor asthmatic kid off the ground and he introduces himself as Freddie Thompson, a new arrival to the neighborhood. The three, bonded by having experienced the same bully, continue together to Mr. Sumatra’s newsstand. The boys introduce Freddie to Mr. Sumatra. They buy comics and jellybeans and the boys tell Freddie that Mr. Sumatra was a policeman in Haiti and that’s why he’s so intense/weird. Freddie is introduced to comic books but the trio are interrupted by more bullying by Vinny and his gang. Tommy stands up for his friends but Mr. Sumatra intimidates the gang into walking away. The boys talk to Mr. Sumatra and ask for advice on how to deal with the gangs since he was a cop. He says that he would have run surveillance on the gang to inform on them.


The next day, Sally visits the Larson’s shop to apologize to Tommy but she also defends his behavior as the product of a bad home. However, Tommy says that’s no excuse and expresses incredulity that Vinny is her boyfriend. He is an asshole. Sally storms off and as she walks down the street, Vinny pulls up his car to give her a ride. She refuses to get in the car or talk to him except to chide him for his behavior toward the boys. As she passes Mr. Sumatra, he asks her if the gang is bothering her and she says to leave it alone. Instead, Mr. Sumatra casts a spell on Vinny’s car which causes it to crash with no injuries.

At night, the three boys finish up a strategy session where they worry about reprisal from Vinny’s gang. When Bill and Freddie leave, Sally calls on Tommy. She climbs the fire escape to talk to him. Sally tells Tommy that she is done with Vinny and that she likes somebody else now. It’s Tommy. As Tommy kisses Sally, Bill and Freddie contact him over a walkie-talkie. They have spotted the Vipers pulling apart a car on the street. Tommy jumps into action to film the crime in action. Sally warns him against going against the gang but he goes and gets Vinny and the gang on videotape. After the theft of car parts, the cops roll up on the Vipers as they walk away from the crime scene. Tommy swoops in to snitch to the cops and the Vipers are arrested on the spot.

Big Moe

We cut to a warehouse presumably full of stolen goods run by Big Moe, the androgynous leader of crime in the area. Big Moe is approached by Vinny who laments that his boys were all arrested. Vinny relates what Tommy did but Big Moe berates Vinny for turning soft. She tells Vinny to bring the three boys to the warehouse the following night and gives Vinny three grand for bail money. The next morning, Vinny bails out his boys and they go and snatch the three boys off of the street. They are taken to see Big Moe who warns them to keep their mouths shut. Tommy says that Vinny and his gang deserve to be in a cell. Big Moe offers the boys a job but Tommy turns it down. The boys are tied up in a storeroom where they break free from being tied up. They witness Big Moe bribing the local cops. They find stubs for a numbers racket in the storeroom. They steal the stubs and escape through the air vents. This, of course, loses Big Moe a lot of money.

The Boys brought before Big Moe

Big Moe goes to visit Vinny and tells him that the boys are Vinny’s problem. They direct Vinny to take the Vipers and gun down the three boys. In short order, Vinny and his boys catch the boys walking down the street with the stubs. They kill all three in cold blood, leaving them dead on the street. They retrieve the stubs and drive off. The whole neighborhood sees the aftermath of what went down. Vinny returns to Big Moe who congratulates him for doing so great. Vinny regrets having killed children which frightens Big Moe’s girl, Mitzi. Big Moe makes Vinny his right-hand man and in charge of collecting protection money.

Watching the bloody aftermath

Sally and Mr. Sumatra watch as the boys’ bodies are carried away. Sally tells Mr. Sumatra what happened and he comforts her as his gaze goes steely. We see the funeral where Mr. Sumatra pays his respects and offers condolences to Mr. Larson and Sally. In the night, Mr. Sumatra sneaks into the mortuary and steals the heads of the boys before they can be buried. In his cauldron, Sumatra performs vodoun magic.

Vinny confronts Sally on the street and offers condolences for Tommy. He acts like he had nothing to do with what happened to Tommy. Since nobody saw anything, nobody can prove anything. Vinny claims that he is going straight and going to night school. Mr. Sumatra passes them on the street and Vinny calls him a freak under his breath. Sally makes him apologize and he does. Sally is hurting but leaves the door open for a future with Vinny. 

Mr. Sumatra returns to his apartment where he is boiling the heads of the boys. He puts a dead cat in the pot with them. He works into the night on the rituals and when he is done, the now-shrunken heads come to life. The boys are disoriented and frightened. It is very gross and the boys express that they would rather be dead. Mr. Sumatra tells them that they have magical powers now. All of them can fly, Tommy can emit bolts of electricity, Bill can drink blood, and Freddie has a retractable blade from his mouth.

The three shrunken heads

One year later, we see that Vipers have full control of the neighborhood. The only one not paying protection money is Mr. Sumatra. Sumatra finally unleashes the shrunken heads on the neighborhood to fight crime. (Note: The movie is half over at this point)  The boys kill two muggers ruthlessly. On the way back, Tommyhead decides to visit Sally and he floats through her open window. He sees that she has not gotten over him and he leaves troubled before she wakes up. The three heads are summoned back to Mr. Sumatra who congratulates them on their crime fighting. Back in the alley, the muggers they killed rise as zombies. We see them start to pick up trash in the alley as they fart.

Vinny’s thugs shaking down Mr. Sumatra

We briefly see Sally watching the morning news where we find out that there is a sudden “illness” afflicting local criminals that includes a shuffling gate, a drop in blood pressure, and loss of bowel control. Vinny calls Sally to ask her on a date and she agrees. He has evidently convinced her of his sincerity to go straight. The problem is that he is calling her from Big Moe’s hideout. He is still lying to her. Vinny tells his boys to take care of Sumatra and get him in line. Vinny’s boys go to intimidate Mr. Sumatra into paying protection money. He intimidates them with magic and sends them running. He then sics the heads on them. The two gang members are murdered quickly and efficiently. They rise as zombies.

Mr. Sumatra

We briefly see Sally being pressured for sex by Vinny and when she delivers an ultimatum, he kicks her out of the car and she breaks up with him. Pissed off, Vinny goes to confront Sumatra. Sumatra calls Vinny “doomed one” and tells him that his friends are suffering in Hell. He points Vinny to the alleyway where his zombie friends are weeding the community garden in the middle of the night. They tell him that Mr. Sumatra wants to see him and he runs off scared.

Sally visits Tommy’s grave and apologizes for not telling him how she felt about him. She tells Tommy that she always loved him. Tommyhead swoops in and declares that he loves her too. When Sally rightfully freaks out, Tommy casts a spell that implants his own memories of the events after his death into her skull. She sees Vinny kill Tommy, the vodoun rituals, and the killings of the gang members. Tommy wants a last embrace so he slides up Sally’s shirt and bra and between her breasts before flying off. 

Sally goes to Mr. Sumatra and reveals that she knows everything. Sumatra confirms everything and Sally lectures him for letting her date Vinny for a year without telling her that Vinny is a killer. She objects to the treatment of the three boys but Sumatra says that the boys are no longer human and are fueled by vengeance. Sally defies this and says that Tommy is still a good person. Tommy apologizes for disgusting her. She opens her shirt and lets him nuzzle her breasts. Mr. Sumatra leaves them to have their privacy. We thankfully do not see any more of that.

One of the fart zombies

Vinny cowers in his apartment but the zombies come for him to take him to Sumatra. He fights them off and runs away. It is then that Vinny is finally confronted by the three heads who laugh at him as they repeat Mr. Sumatra’s invitation. 

Sally in her ceremonial vodoun gown

Mr. Sumatra and Sally are back at Sumatra’s apartment where she offers to help with the mission. He needs Sally’s help in a final spell. She agrees even though it means taking part in “capital punishment”.

Vinny reaches Big Moe and rants and raves about the shrunken heads and the zombies. Big Moe thinks Vinny is cracking up but Mr. Sumatra chooses that moment to enter, shooting a gang member point-blank in the head. He laughs as he unleashes the zombies and watches them beat the tar out of the criminals. Vinny begs Sally to call the undead off. When the heads go to attack Vinny, Mr. Sumatra reminds them that vengeance must occur at Sumatra’s apartment. That hesitation allows Big Moe to kidnap Sally and shoot Mr. Sumatra in the gut. 

Big Moe taking Sally hostage (with Vinny and Mitzi)

The zombies help Sumatra back into his car and they give chase. The heads assault Big Moe’s car with Vinny, Sally, and Mitzi inside. Big Moe is able to fight off two of the heads, shooting them, but Tommyhead crashes through the windshield and uses his lightning powers to incapacitate Vinny who was driving. The car crashes. In a standoff with Mr. Sumatra, Mitzi saves Sally from Big Moe. Mitzi is allowed to go free. Sally and Sumatra retrieve Billhead and Freddiehead. They will be revived. 

Big Moe and Vinny performing their priestess-ordered community service

In Mr. Sumatra’s condominium, Sumatra passes leadership of the heads to Sally who casts the revenge spell on Vinny and Big Moe as we cut away. We cut to Sally and Tommyhead looking lovingly at each other on the balcony before all three heads fly off into the city presumably to fight crime. In a post-credits scene, we see Mitzi out on a date where she happens upon a fully zombified Vinny and Big Moe cleaning up graffiti. 

Random things I noticed after two viewings:

  • There is a shower scene but it is a male that gets killed while naked
  • Everybody is underage and doing a lot of problematic things.
  • Mr. Sumatra asks 16-year-old Sally if her “maidenhead is still intact” then invites her into his bedroom to change clothes. Nobody thought this was wrong.
  • Meg Foster plays Big Moe and is definitely revealed to be AFAB but seems to present as butch. She has a girlfriend and also flirts a bit with Vinny. Lowkey bisexual representation in 1994.
  • It is not explained fully in the movie but Mr. Sumatra was part of the Tonton Macoute which is a paramilitary law enforcement agency answering directly to the president of Haiti. I won’t go into detail here but these were not good guys at all. They were scary as hell.
  • I didn’t catch the post-credits scene at the first viewing. If you miss it, you never see what happens to Vinny and Big Moe after a lot of foreshadowing from Mr. Sumatra.
  • There are a lot of what appears to be real tears from the youngest members of the cast which definitely feels like it goes against the light tone they were going for. 

The Cave

February 18, 2023

Calliope City was discovered by spelunkers by accident on June 6, 2053, in the wilderness of West Virginia near Buckhannon. In 2041, Axiom Technologies had set up a remote laboratory in the area. Lax safety standards led to the building leaking into the surrounding environment including the cave systems. A mixture of industrial sludge and discarded nanobots found its way into the cave. Without programming, the nanobots were forced to figure things out for themselves. Random bits of previous commands coalesced as the nanobots communicated amongst themselves. After they created a communication center, they were able to piggyback on the Axiom facility’s wifi network. It was then that they really got to work.

Axiom had abandoned its facility due to governmental and independent investigations and the subsequent catastrophic bankruptcy that impacted the company. The area was remote but it was still visited by curious explorers who wanted to check out the abandoned and mysterious outpost. There were also plenty of the regular types who liked to get out in the country air and experience nature. Spelunkers Kate Berder and Kevin Gambol were both types. Kate had been very curious about the facility and had bugged Kevin into attempting to sneak in. There was not much to the place as anything interesting had been shipped off somewhere else. 

After the light trespassing had been a bust, Kevin convinced Kate to delve into some nearby caves. Kate had been a little leery. Risking getting arrested was scary enough but risking getting stuck in a tight spot and starving to death was even scarier. She had once watched an old documentary on Floyd Collins in Sand Cave and it had a profound effect on how she viewed spelunking. Still, they each had subdermal transponders and people who knew where they were. They descended into an opening that had clearly not been approached by living creatures in quite some time. There was an initial squeeze but then the cave started to open up.

Two hundred feet below the surface, the two explorers actually saw light. It was unlikely that a shaft from the surface could make it all the way down there. There also was not just light but bright light coming from around a bend in the tunnel. When they turned that corner, they walked into an alleyway and they looked down to find pavement instead of rough rock. They had walked into a fully working city that the nanobots had built in just over a decade. They had carefully excavated the cave without collapsing the earth above and had set about building. The city had streets that looked suitable for automobiles, large buildings, and bright electric lights. The roof of the cave had some sort of device that seemed to mimic the sun. The air even felt fresher than what they had been breathing for hours.

It was at this point that both Kate and Kevin activated their transponders. There was no way that they were going back up to the surface after making this discovery but they knew that somebody official was going to have to see this. They sat on some crates in the alleyway to rest and eat some rations they had brought. Their signal reached the relay on the surface and Kate began to try to explain what they were seeing to some scientific authorities. They were afraid to move beyond the alleyway especially since they heard a hustle and a bustle from the nearby street. Who was down here?

When authorities finally made their way down to retrieve Kevin and Kate, they found that the pair had eventually ventured into the city for food and water. Kevin and Kate were able to introduce them to possibly the most shocking scientific discovery in human history. The city was populated entirely by synthetic humans made of plastic and metal. To the naked eye, they were indistinguishable from biological humans. The singularity had happened but it had occurred away from human observation. True artificial intelligence had invented itself and had evolved in mere years. This was going to change things.

Media Update 2/16/23

February 16, 2023

Lockwood and Co.

This one immediately caught my attention based on the premise. In an alternate history, ghosts started to emerge and threaten the populace in the 1960s. Children are the only ones who can sense ghosts and are used as the front line in exterminating and hunting ghosts. The so-called “Problem” presses on the world like a plague and the British government treats kid ghost hunters similar to the workhouses of old. The show is about an independent firm that works without adult supervision (or adults taking advantage). The show largely follows Ruby Stokes who plays the newest employee and an excellent sensitive. Lockwood himself is played by Cameron Chapman, an idealist trying to shake the system. Ali Hadji-Heshmati plays the team researcher and snarker. All three kids work great together and have mastered that stoic British demeanor that was popular at the time. I am interested to see where the show goes but several episodes in there is already a lot of meat to keep me interested. I recommend this show.

Altered Carbon

I had seen this show previously and I think I started it but I was not in the mood at the time. This time around, things went way better. A revolutionary is awakened from death two hundred and fifty years later to solve a rich man’s murder. This takes place in a future where people’s entire mind is downloaded into a device allowing them to be reinserted into another body as necessary. The show has a really great film noir feel to it and the science fiction technology only serves the tone of the setting. Joel Kinnaman plays the tortured detective who wants to solve the crime but also has his own agenda. Martha Higareda plays a clever cop who suspects bad intentions from Kinnaman’s character. Chris Conner plays an AI hotel operator who has chosen the likeness of Edgar Allen Poe and is funny and interesting. There is a ton of meaty story to this and every moment is visually beautiful. I am looking forward to how the mystery shakes out. I recommend this show.

Will Trent

As is often the case, I picked the third thing this week on a whim. The premise vaguely reminded of Life which is still one of my favorite shows of all time. A Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent has just solved a case that ended up indicting several cops. Now he is not popular with law enforcement but his abilities of observation are still legendary. Ramón Rodríguez plays the titular agent who has a very interesting personality and hidden depths. He is partnered with Iantha Richardson who is snarky and more human. Erika Christensen plays the hard-as-nails detective who is one of Trent’s only real friends. Jake McLaughlin plays the dickish alpha cop. The show is interesting and it seems like it will be a good show to have on in the background. I recommend this show.

Music of the Week:

Linkin Park – Lost

beabadoobee – Glue Song

Depeche Mode – Ghosts Again

Hopsin – Arrival

Mashup of the Week:

TheTaskmaster – Take Me Down Like Last Friday Night

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Strange Detectives”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling,  LegalEagle, Dead Meat, Some More News, Games Done Quick, Cultaholic, Allison Pregler, Game Theory, Major League Wrestling, Jesse Cox, Super Beard Bros, Channel Awesome, Drawfee
  • I watched more Blindspot Season 3
  • I watched more Willow Season 1
  • I watched more National Treasure: Edge of History Season 1
  • I watched more 911 Season 1
  • I started Riverdale Season 6

Halloween: Infection

February 13, 2023

A lot of people were down on the film Halloween Ends at the end of the year 2022. The movie ended a four-year period in the Halloween franchise and the closure of a particular storyline in the franchise. In my experience, the last movie brought a lot of the previous movies into focus for me and really elevated the latest trilogy in my mind. I have to preface this with the fact that I have not really been a fan of the Halloween franchise. I remember seeing the first one as a kid and I loved Halloween 3 a lot. I have more recently started to consume the rest of the franchise and I now only have H20 and Resurrection to watch. 

There are spoilers after this point.

I feel like the central theme of the movie was the infection that true evil brings to people. Michael Myers is that true evil. One day he snapped and murdered his sister. Later, he murdered several more people and attempted to kill Laurie Strode. The killing spree and Laurie’s survival were the talk of the town and continued to be well-known even two generations later. Michael’s actions and the fear he inspired acted like an infection in the town of Haddonfield. Dr. Samuel Loomis tried to stem the flow of that infection by killing Michael but was prevented from doing so. Michael’s capture makes the infection recede but its effects remain in some form.

Laurie Strode

During the infamous rampage during Michael’s first breakout in 1978, Laurie was traumatized as she was stalked by Michael. She watched many of her friends get slaughtered. She feared for her life. Her exposure to the infection made her harder. She grew paranoid and prepared for the worst in life. The only way she could live and start her own family was to arm herself to the teeth and become a survivalist. She holds in that pattern for forty years even though Michael is well and truly locked up. In fact, she knows that Michael is inert but she cannot relax. She spreads that infection to her daughter and granddaughter by being overprotective which pushes them away. Still, she cannot help herself. Her reaction to Michael causes the main type of infection which is to become defensive and vindictive toward Michael, often to a fault.

Dr. Ranbir Sartain

Dr. Sartain was mentored by Dr. Loomis and therefore he heard a lot about Michael Myers as he became a respected doctor in the mental health field. However, long-term exposure to Michael  caused a second kind of reaction to Michael’s infection. He began to sympathize with The Shape and venerated him to a degree. He wanted to be what Michael was. Michael is powerful, deadly, and people are forced to fear and respect him. Sartain grew covetous of The Shape’s ability to spread fear. He was also obsessed with Michael’s interactions with his victims, specifically with the duality of Michael and Laurie. This obsession leads him to eventually snap and attack Deputy Hawkins to protect The Shape. However, he also briefly takes Michael’s mask wanting to be The Shape as well.

The Survivors (Halloween Kills)

In Halloween Kills, we meet up again with Tommy Doyle, Marion Chambers, Lindsey Wallace, and  Lonnie Elam. All of them are survivors of encounters with Michael similar to Laurie Strode. As such, they all have similar reactions to Michael’s infection to what Laurie experienced. Their encounters with Michael left them somewhat broken and their lives have obviously been difficult. Still, they are more functional in Haddonfield society than Laurie seems to be. During Michael’s second breakout, their reaction kicks into overdrive and they choose to be proactive and hunt Michael instead of act defensively as Laurie does. This reaction becomes more and more fanatical and eventually spreads to much of Haddonfield, creating a raving and violent mob out for Michael’s blood. The crowd turns violent, reckless, and passionate which only exacerbates the problem. This leads to many of their deaths. The survivors who remain are physically and mentally broken and live in fear, knowing Michael could return at any time.

Corey Cunningham

At the beginning of Halloween Ends, we are introduced to Corey through a flashback. Corey was the unfortunate victim of his own mistake combined with dumb luck. He accidentally kills a little boy that he is babysitting when he suffers a fear response. Part of that fear response is the little boy invoking the name of Michael Myers who had just attacked Haddonfield the year prior. When he is confronted with just the mere mention of Michael’s name, he is exposed to the infection on a lower level than others who directly interacted with Michael. However, he is treated similarly to Michael. His kill was accidental but he is ostracized and treated as evil. When he directly meets Michael and is spared at first, he has a similar reaction to Sartain. He seeks to use The Shape and then take The Shape’s power as his own. His madness grows and grows more and more unstable which is not like the dispassionate Michael.

As the franchise ends, Laurie Strode finally succeeds in killing Michael Myers. However, the Shape still remains and the town decides to finally remove the infection in Haddonfield. Michael’s body is obliterated, making it certain that he will never come back. Like in actual medical science, removing the infection clears the way for healing. Presumably, Laurie Strode and Haddonfield are finally able to start that process leading to what seems to be the franchise’s only happy ending.

The Envelope (A Harleen Quinzel Story)

February 11, 2023

Dina slowly dragged the envelope across the kitchen table back and forth with her pointer finger. She seemed transfixed by it and lost in her own little world. Harleen Quinzel knew all about being lost in one’s own little world. It could be comforting but you could not stay there forever. It was not healthy. Still, you also had to make the decision to come back out to the real world. She cared too much about Dina to push her too hard. A little bit of a push was alright, though.

“So you still haven’t opened it,” Harley said. It wasn’t a question.

Dina looked up and met Harley’s gaze and then looked away. “I know how difficult it was for you to get the test done,” she said. “I guess I should open it or all that goes to waste.”

“I only lied my ass off to get Dr. Mid-Nite to run a paternity test,” Harley said with a smirk. “I’m kidding. You don’t have to open the envelope if you don’t want to. I only wanted to get you the best answer possible.”

“I know,” Dina said. “I was so sure I was… his but then I learned who he was. He was a monster. I don’t want to be related to the Joker anymore.”

“I’m not going to lie,” Harley said. “He was always magnetic. I was drawn to him and I made a lot of horrible decisions after falling under his spell. I won’t call them mistakes because I own my actions. Keeping you out of trouble is just one part of my atonement for what I did.”

“What happens if I open this envelope and it’s a yes?” Dina asked. “What happens if it’s a no? I don’t want to be his blood but I can’t change it if I am.”

Harley nodded. “You can’t change it,” she said. “That’s right. But who you’re related to doesn’t define you. My dad was a scumbag but I still decided to help people. I got a little sidetracked on that but I like to think I have more in common with my found family.” She looked out the window to watch Pamela Isley tend her balcony garden. She felt a warm smile stretch across her face.

“I’m grateful for the love and friendship I’ve gotten from you, Ivy, and Enigma,” Dina said. “It was also really fun taking Toyman down together.”

“Well,” Harley started and then thought about it. “You’re right. It was pretty fun but it was also very necessary. Bats and his gang weren’t available to take care of business and then Toyman went and made it personal. We barely got out alive. I don’t think we should make a habit of fighting crime.”

“Sure,” Dina said. “We won’t do it again unless it’s necessary. Speaking of, I saw you talking to Batwoman. What was that about?”

“Nothing you need to worry about,” Harley said. “You have classes to attend. I’m just consulting a bit. Batwoman just has a problem that’s up my alley.”

“If you need me, I’m here,” Dina said.

“I know,” Harley said. “Thank you but no thank you. You’ve just been through a lot and I want you to have some semblance of a normal life.”

“I think that boat sailed a long time ago,” Dina said. “But I wouldn’t mind dealing with some normal for a while. Which kind of brings us back to the envelope.”

“You have options, Dina,” Harley said. “And you have support. If you want to open it. I’m here for you. We’re here for you.”

Dina took a deep breath. “I have to know,” she said. “I’ll always wonder.” She picked up the envelope and closed her eyes as she ripped it open. She slowly unfolded the papers and opened her eyes to read them. Harley watched her closely, trying to prepare herself for the answer and how she could best support the young woman in front of her.

“What does it say?” Harley asked. “You don’t have to tell me. You don’t owe me an answer but… I would like to know.”

Dina looked up from the papers. “Do you think the Joker is dead?” she asked.

Harley was taken by surprise and actually sputtered for a second. “I don’t know,” she finally answered. “I doubt it. He’s like a cockroach. He always finds some way to come back. But he’s also been missing for a long time now.”

“Well, maybe that means I’ll never have to meet him,” Dina said. “But his blood does run through my veins. The test is positive. I really am the Joker’s daughter.”

Media Update 2/9/23

February 9, 2023

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Things were too busy over the holidays to get to the theater to see this but I am glad I waited. In the wake of tragedy, the nation of Wakanda must rebuild and reclaim its spirit. First of all, I was incredibly sad at Chadwick Boseman’s passing and I wondered how they were going to continue. I should never have doubted Ryan Coogler for a moment. The movie centers around Letitia Wright’s Shuri who has a lot of growth to get to. She is joined by Angela Bassett in one of her best performances to date (which is saying a lot). Danai Gurira gets even more to do and shows greater emotional range. The same goes for Winston Duke. Newcomer Tenoch Huerta is a relatable anti-hero, a note-perfect adaptation of Namor. I was really surprised to see Dominique Thorne’s character but she knocked it out of the park. The movie had so much heart and soul while still being an engaging superhero movie. I recommend this movie.

Wendell and Wild (2022)

I have been excited about this movie but it slipped down on my list a bit. A young girl suffers tragedy but grows up to get caught in the middle of a fight between the forces of Hell and Heaven. The movie is directed by Henry Selick, the king of stop-motion animation (Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline). Lyric Ross plays the young preteen girl who is the star of the movie, a rebellious and spirited character. The titular characters are played by Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key inspired by Abbott and Costello and they do a fine job. Angela Bassett plays a nun who has dedicated herself to fighting evil. Finally, Sam Zelaya plays a well-meaning fellow student artist who wants to help Ross’ character. The movie has a lot of heart and comedy to it and also a fun darkness. Another fun part of the movie is the excellent rock soundtrack which is composed entirely of black rock bands or black-fronted bands. The rich world-building is also expertly done. I recommend this movie.


I had avoided this show because it looked like copaganda but my friend is a fan of the show so I thought I would check it out. The show follows the lives of a 911 operator, a cop, and several firefighters/EMTs. At first, I did not like this show but it has started to grow on me a bit. Arguably, the show stars Angela Bassett as a police sergeant who has a close relationship with the main firehouse on the show. She is such a likable character even when she is being a brat. Peter Krause plays the other main lead, the captain of a firehouse with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Connie Britton plays the 911 operator who often starts the story off. The rescue scenes are absolutely wonderfully done. They are tragic but are also thrilling. The part that I don’t like as much is the misery the characters deal with in their personal life. It gets to be a bit too much for me. I do recommend the show, though.

Music of the Week:

Infected Rain – The Earth Mantra

The Tomboys – In My Room

Hevel – This Is Where We Died

The French Tips – Rearview

Mashup of the Week:

Weasel – Smells Like Song 2

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Angela Bassett”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling,  LegalEagle, Dead Meat, Some More News, Games Done Quick, Cultaholic, Allison Pregler, Game Theory, Major League Wrestling, Jesse Cox, Super Beard Bros, Channel Awesome, Drawfee
  • I started more Blindspot Season 3
  • I watched more Willow Season 1
  • I watched more National Treasure: Edge of History Season 1
  • I started Pennyworth Season 2

Blood Dolls (1999) A Spoiler-Filled Rundown

February 6, 2023

Written, Directed, and Produced by Charles Band under his Full Moon Features banner, this movie is a great example of the weirdness Band has always churned out. His movies do not worry about making sense and are instead full of wacky hijinks mixed with gruesome imagery. The movie went straight to video which was not abnormal for Full Moon Features which had been at the forefront of the VHS market before many companies had really figured it out. Of course, this was released on DVD. 

We start the movie in the twisted mansion of Virgil Travis. As the opening credits roll, we see a bit of Travis’ office as he prepares for a meeting. We see him pick up his mask and we also see the front page article from the Wall Street Tribune that details Travis Software’s loss in an Anti-Trust case. The paper estimates that Travis Software lost a billion dollars because of the court ruling. Two attorneys who worked on this case arrive outside of the mansion. The guy, Howard Loftus, is understandably nervous about seeing their client but the woman, Cindy Agami, tells him that she can handle Mr. Travis. However, she does have to spout some exposition at him as they enter. Cindy tells him that Mr. Travis is eccentric and to not be alarmed if there is a dwarf and/or clown inside. Also, don’t be alarmed if there is an all-female rock band in a cage. These are Mr. Travis’ personal rock band. Also, don’t be alarmed that Mr. Travis always wears a mask. 

As they reach the door, Mr. Travis speaks over an intercom (did he hear them talking?) and asks if it is Cindy. When she confirms her identity, the door is opened by Mr. Mascaro. Mr. Mascaro is dressed like a butler in a suit but also has full-face clown makeup. He acts sternly and not clownlike at all. He invites the attorneys in and leads them down to Mr. Travis’ office. Howard bumps into a dwarf named Hylias who is surly. Inside a cage, four young women are fighting amongst themselves. Cindy greets them as Cotton Baby, Razor Baby, Black Baby, and Shirley. They are a band called Caged Babies. Shirley tells Cindy that Mr. Travis has a surprise planned for the attorneys. Cindy doubts that Mr. Travis could surprise her anymore.

The two attorneys are summoned into Mr. Travis’ office. Mr. Travis invites them to sit down and has Hylias shock the Caged Babies to get them to play Song #3. Mr. Travis shows off his new acquisition, two dolls. He holds up Pimp and Cindy remarks how racist it looks (and it does look like a very racist depiction of a black pimp stereotype). Mr. Travis brushes off the comment and admits that he is indeed racist. After Mr. Travis shows off the second doll, Howard comments that they look strangely familiar. Mr. Travis mentions his displeasure at them losing the case. Cindy says to blame the judge and the federal prosecutor instead. Travis activates a switch that restrains the attorneys in their chairs. Mr. Travis reveals that three competitors are behind Travis’ ruination. He will get his revenge.

Travis kills Howard horribly in his chair as Cindy, Mr. Travis, and Mr. Travis’ henchmen watch. Mr. Travis takes off his mask and reveals that his head is much smaller than his body. He was genetically engineered by his mother Eugenia. Travis orders Mascaro to put Cindy in a machine. The machine compresses a human body into a doll form. He reveals that the two dolls that they saw before, Pimp and Sideshow, are the judge and the federal prosecutor. Cindy is compressed into the racist doll Ms. Fortune as the Caged Babies play Song #7. 

We cut to a meeting of the three competitors of which Mr. Travis spoke. Mercy Shaw, George Warbeck, and Harrison Yulin (accompanied by his wife Moira) are toasting their success. Virgil Travis and Mr. Mascaro are spying on the meeting through a camera drone. Mr. Mascaro comments that Harrison seems like an idiot but Travis claims that it is a disguise as Harrison was the mastermind. The meeting breaks up and Mr. Travis complains that some countermeasures keep him from spying on the upstairs. No matter. Mr. Mascaro and the dolls will kill Harrison Yulin and his compatriots.

We cut to the Yulin bedroom where it is revealed that Moira is actually the mastermind behind everything. She has Harrison in a highly unbalanced BDSM relationship where she manipulates him into doing whatever she wants, usually through pain and humiliation. She reveals that the Yulins bribed the federal prosecutor and judge who have now been murdered (actually turned into dolls). Moira reveals that she expects Mr. Travis to attempt to murder them next and also reveals that she has secretly had several people murdered to further their own goals. Harrison was oblivious to all of this. If Travis kills Warbeck and Shaw, that will actually be beneficial for the Yulins as it will allow them to acquire their shares. 

Travis sics Mascaro and the dolls on Warbeck. Mascaro shows up at the Warbeck estate without his makeup on and poses as a repairman. Mascaro remotely shuts the power off in the estate which eliminates the security grid. Mascaro intercepts their call for repair and shows up. He unleashes the dolls inside the mansion. The dolls work together to murder Warbeck as Mascaro murders a security guard to prevent him from saving Warbeck. The dolls then murder another security guard.

Mr. Travis once again spies on the Yulin residence. Harrison Yulin and Mercy Shaw are meeting. Moira is guiding Harrison through an earpiece.  Mercy is planning on leaving town to flee from Travis’ wrath. Harrison offers to buy out her shares. Mr. Travis still wants to kill Mercy Shaw even though she is out of the game. Travis also hears Harrison say the words “coming up” and ponders over it.

Upstairs, Moira berates Harrison once again. She reveals that she planted cameras in Warbeck’s mansion. The recordings reveal the existence of the dolls through still images. 

Mr. Travis continues to ponder the meaning of “coming up” and sends Mascaro and the dolls to kill Mercy Shaw. Hylias has the band play Song #4. At Mercy Shaw’s mansion, she loads into a freight elevator. Her security has arranged several identical vehicles to leave alongside her to confuse attackers. The power cuts out and Mercy and her guards are killed in the elevator between floors. 

We cut back to the Yulin residence where Moira is whipping Harrison as she talks with him. She is already in the process of acquiring the shares of their former partners, Warbeck and Shaw. Harrison worries that they are the next targets but Moira reminds him that she looks like a civilian in this war and Harrison would be Travis’ target. Both the Yulins’ and Travis’ security are so high that neither could hope to successfully attack. A stalemate. Moira refuses to give up.  The dolls attempt to attack the Yulin mansion but Pimp gets burned by a fire trap. 

Back at the Travis mansion, Pimp receives healing. Mascaro reveals that the Yulin defenses are impregnable and the design of the defenses reveals that the Yulins know about the dolls. Meanwhile, Moira has shown up at the Travis mansion. Travis is thrown off by her arrival and her desire to meet with him. He asks Mascaro to locate her vehicle. Travis goes to meet Moira with his mask on. Travis suspects that Moira’s presence is part of a plot by Harrison and tells Moira as much. Travis then guesses correctly that Moira actually came on her own. Moira asks for an armistice. She flatters Travis who is taken by her beauty and her wit as they recite poetry and philosophy at each other. Travis declares that Moira will not be harmed when Travis attacks.

The dolls have been loaded into Moira’s limousine and return with her to the Yulin mansion. Travis sends Mr. Mascaro to pick the dolls up and make sure the job is done as the Caged Babies play Song #10. 

Moira was impressed by Virgil Travis but she also claims that Travis was smitten with her. Moira says goodbye to Harrison, saying that his usefulness has come to an end. She already has the necessary signed documents to own everything Harrison owns. Moira leaves as the dolls enter and murder Harrison in a BDSM rack contraption. Moira watches the dolls start to leave (proving that Travis was sparing her) and she captures them in a cage. 

She calls Travis and acts scared and accuses him of lying about sparing her as she acts like the dolls are attacking her. Travis confesses to killing her husband and calls off the dolls over the phone which Moira records. Travis realizes that Moira was the mastermind all along. Travis is heartbroken by Moira’s betrayal and hangs up the phone. He admits to himself that he had fallen for Moira and is angry that she used him. He vows revenge. He has the band play Song #1.

Moira talks to the dolls in her office and muses over her victory. She also plans to surprise Mr. Travis saying “surrender is victory”. Mr. Travis calls and requests a meeting in a public place. Moira turns that down and agrees to come to the Travis mansion. This is convenient for their plan to ambush Moira. This change perplexes Travis.

Moira arrives at the Travis mansion once again and is led to speak with Mr. Travis. Moira explains that she put herself in Mr. Travis’ power to make a deal. She presents Travis with all of the evidence that Travis was involved in the murders. She also signs over her company and signs a confession of the murder of Harrison. She offers up her life to Virgil Travis. She offers marriage to Travis. She also offers to mother his children, creating a dynasty together. The two of them together could do so much better. Her death would return him to the status quo but their union could make them lords of the Earth. Virgil agrees to the marriage. Mr. Mascaro is ordained to perform the ceremony. 

We cut to the wedding in Virgil Travis’ office. Mr. Mascaro performs the brief ceremony and they are married. Travis removes his mask and reveals his tiny head. The sight shocks Moira and revulsion spreads across her face. The dolls maim her legs and Hylias ties her up. Travis declares that he did not like what was under Moira’s metaphorical mask either. His life is no longer pleasant. He resolves to kill himself and his entire staff with toxic death. Mr. Mascaro and Hylias declare their loyalty and agree to go down with their boss. The dolls free the Caged Babies who get their revenge on Hylias. The band carries the dolls out of the mansion and they escape in Mr. Mascaro’s truck.

The movie stops cold and Mr. Mascaro tells us that this is only one of two endings to the movie. They will now show the second ending.

In this ending, the Caged Babies are released to attend the wedding. They still assault Hylias but are threatened to behave by Mr. Mascaro and a machine gun. They play the processional. Mr. Mascaro marries Moira and Virgil in another brief ceremony. Once again, Virgil removes his mask to kiss the bride. Moira is surprised by Virgil’s small head but this time she speaks eloquently about falling in love with Travis. She is surprised by how much she cares for him. They are both marvels and monsters and are meant for one another. Now the world has something to really worry about. The band plays a final song over the credits.

This movie is absolutely insane and that is why I love it. It was anything but formulaic and a lot of the acting is way better than you would expect from a B-Movie. In particular, Kristopher Logan (Virgil Travis) and Debra Mayer (Moira Yulin) have amazing performances. This is also surprising because it was Mayer’s first film. I could listen to the two of them talk to each other for hours. There are also no good guys in this movie. The Caged Babies are prisoners but also revel in Cindy Agami’s “death”. There is nothing to cheer on except the movie itself and what depths it will descend into. It is an atypical horror movie. The deaths mostly include filthy rich people who maintain their wealth through unscrupulous means. That makes it almost a perfect movie for me.

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