Posts Tagged ‘Supernatural’

One Day at Skinwalker Ranch – A Supernatural Story

April 17, 2021

Bobby Singer pulled his pickup off of the road and onto the dusty trail. He had driven through the night and was just now arriving in Ballard, Utah. It was nice that there was not an emergency but he needed something to take his mind off of Mary. He had made it clear to the Winchesters after her funeral what they had to do but they did not want to listen. That damned angel was in their ear. He had to get out of there. They asked him to stay but he reminded them that he was not their Bobby and he could do as he pleased. He had been hearing about this weird place that was all over cable for some reason. Usually, that meant it would be a scam or just an urban legend but it never hurt to check.

He passed under a big sign that read ‘Sherman Ranch’ but he knew that it usually went by the name ‘Skinwalker Ranch’. The latter name was based off of Navajo legends of the Skinwalker, a creature that Bobby knew was real. He doubted there were any real skinwalkers. He heard a lot of wild stuff about UFOs but he had never met an alien during the war or here on this Earth. He suddenly wondered if the other Bobby Singer had been here before. Maybe he was a damned fool for coming but he had driven the whole way, he might as well get out of the car. He did so and headed toward the main building.

A wiry young guy came out onto the porch. “Are you the new expert they called in?” he asked, squinting in the sun.

Bobby flashed a fake badge at the man. “Mike Kayser, Department of the Interior,” Bobby said gruffly. “Not here officially, of course.”

“Of course,” the man said. “I’m Ed Zeddemore, paranormal investigator.”

“Ever found anything paranormal, Ed?” Bobby asked, somewhat mockingly.

“Actually, yeah,” Ed said. “You haven’t seen our videos online? Ghostfacers?”

“Shit,” Bobby said. “That’s you. Yeah, I’ve heard of you.” He had seen the videos at the cabin at one point. Mary had cued them up and they had laughed at them together. Apparently, they had been along for the ride on some real ghost adventures. The Ghostfacers were losers but at least they had seen the real stuff and lived.

“Unfortunately, the Ghostfacers are done,” Ed said with a sigh. “My fault. I’m on my own for now. I miss Harry but he’s also doing his own thing. I decided to expand from ghosts into some of this other paranormal stuff. It’s been pretty interesting.”

“What do you think of this place then?” Bobby asked. “Is it a load of bullshit?”

“I’m not so sure,” Ed said. “The stuff that they’ve been describing sounds scary but matches some stuff I’ve heard of elsewhere. Have you ever seen a skinwalker before?”

“Can’t say that I have,” Bobby said, somehow with a straight face. “Not in person.”

“They’re big wolf-like creatures, walking on their hind legs and all stooped over and vicious,” Ed said. “I hope we see one.”

“That’s not a skinwalker, dipshit,” Bobby thought. “That’s a werewolf. Skinwalkers aren’t nearly as dangerous.”

Instead of saying any of that out loud, Bobby instead played it cool and noncommittal. “Sounds nasty,” he said. “Glad I’ve got my rifle in the truck.”

Ed nodded. “There are even weirder things here too,” he said. “They even talked about portals and wormholes.”

Now that got Bobby’s attention. He and several friends had traveled to this world through a portal and/or wormhole and he had no intention of going back. He was pretty sure there was nothing to go back to. Other portals usually led somewhere else bad like Purgatory, Hell, Heaven, or the so-called Bad Place. If there were portals around, it had to be dealt with. It may have been above his weight class but he could always get somebody on it after an investigation. Of course, this could all still be bullshit.

“The rest of the team is at Homestead B,” Ed said. “That leaves you and me here at Homestead A for the day and tonight.”

“Isn’t that cozy,” Bobby said, voice dripping with sarcasm.

Ed did not seem to catch the tone in Bobby’s voice. “Do you want a beer?” he asked.

“I think I’m going to need one,” Bobby said. “Show me what you’ve got.”

They headed into the house.

Media Update 5/7/20

May 7, 2020


Buzzfeed Unsolved: Supernatural

I was thinking about John Keel’s descriptions of Men in Black and I started to poke around for amusing alien docuseries. The first one I found was way too earnest and forceful. This one is lighter fare and a lot funnier. The series follows Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej of Buzzfeed as they travel and explore allegedly supernatural locales. They seem to focus on three major areas which are ghosts, demons, and extraterrestrials. Ryan is a true believer who freaks out a lot on location and works hard to try to convince himself and Shane. Shane is a skeptic and an adherent of science and practical application of facts. The only area that they are even remotely close to overlapping is with extraterrestrials. Shane believes that aliens are out there but doubts that they have visited Earth. The great thing is their chemistry. Ryan is excitable but not put out when Shane does not believe him. Shane is not a stick in the mud and is very willing to go along on any adventure that Ryan dreams up. They are a great team and allow the user to figure out which side they land on. Each episode is only about 10 minutes at most. I definitely recommend it and I will be following up on their other series.


DEVS

I had heard good things about this series from friends on Twitter and I am a big fan of both weirdness and Nick Offerman. The first thing I noticed about the show is how cool the visuals are from an art design direction. The show is beautiful but also eerie in its alienness. I was not disappointed if I wanted weird because I definitely got it. The show deals with bleeding-edge technology, some of which is stuff that maybe humans should not really dabble in. The show follows a mystery of a disappearance from a cult-like technology company. The show has an almost unbearable tension and a maddening mystery that I really want to get to the bottom of. Offerman is great as the charismatic yet creepy leader of the company, a shaggy-looking digital messiah and/or demon. Sonoya Mizuno is so excellent as an extremely bright young woman who is trying to parse what happened to her missing boyfriend. I definitely recommend this movie but it is not for the faint of heart.


The Endless

I had seen this movie sitting on my Netflix queue for a long time now. I had thought about using it for my yearly Halloween event but I kept setting aside. It is also not as much a horror movie as it is a science fiction thriller. There are definitely horror elements but it would not fit in as well with the usual October fare. This movie is about two young men who survived a UFO death cult but now want to investigate to see what exactly happened back then. The movie is very low budget which actually really adds to the creepiness. Writer/Director/Actor Justin Benson and Director/Actor Aaron Moorehead are great as the two brothers whose lives did not get any better after leaving a cult. The rest of the cast is full of eccentric weirdos who slowly reveal a bigger mystery to the brothers. The movie is also darkly comedic at times, blowing off a little tension here and there with some welcome humor. The music, cast, writing, and imagery lead to a crazy mystery that I found myself desperately curious about. I definitely recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:
High Visions – When I’m Dead, Just Throw Me in the Trash

Atsuko Chiba – Fata Morgana

Scary Potter – Wey

Lil Pøøch – Drag Me Down

Shampoos – Nightrider

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Exploring the Strange”
– I watched more Prodigal Son Season 1
– I watched more Bojack Horseman Season 6
– I watched more Scream Queens Season 1
– I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 3
– I watched more Elementary Season 2
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 10

The Road Vlogs – A Supernatural Story

April 21, 2020

The screen comes alive and there is Charlie, perfectly framed in the shot and obviously in a car. The viewer cannot tell where she is but Charlie looks happy and healthy.

Hey guys, Charlie here. I’m here in fabulous Wyoming. I decided to do these vlogs as kind of an update on what the Winchesters do on paper. You’d think Sam would have entered the digital age but those guys are old school. I guess their dad always used pen and paper so they have to? Anyway, this is encrypted six ways to Sunday and I don’t think anybody can crack it. If they did they would probably think it’s some Marble Hornets stuff. You guys remember Marble Hornets, right? Anyway, check the attached PDFs for any tips on attacking monster weak points for massive damage. Remember to like, comment, and subscribe. Just kidding. Hopefully, nobody sees these until long after I’m dead. Later.

The transmission starts again. This time Charlie looks more somber with a stitched-up cut on her face.

Hey guys, Charlie here. Vampires are dicks. I always thought they were kind of cool when I was a teenager. I had a total crush on a goth girl and we played The Masquerade. It was actually my first LARP. Anyway, things got pretty nasty back there but I got them all. I just also kind of burned down an arcade. That is the saddest news of all. The nest was in an old arcade and they weren’t even really playing any games. Who does that? They were totally preying on young teens. I can imagine myself as a teen gamer falling for it. Maybe. No, I was smart. Of course, I couldn’t tell that my boss was a leviathan. Forget it. Charlie out.

The transmission starts again. Charlie is in a much more jubilant mood, more of a party atmosphere.

“Hey guys, Charlie here. We’re having a blast. We totally just took out a lich. A lich! I didn’t think those existed outside of Dungeons and Dragons. We totally rolled a critical hit. Oh! Let me introduce you to the gang. I guess I got kind of lonely and I’m not hanging out with Rowena after I found out what she did to the other me. This is Tatty, she’s a faerie. No big deal. She actually knows Gilda so that’s awesome. Nudge, nudge. Say hi, Tatty. Oh and Bill is imaginary which is cool. He’s not really into appearing on camera, though. They don’t really pick him up. I’m not sure whose imaginary friend he is but he’s ours now. Anyway, we’re going to go celebrate. We’ve got a trunk full of wine coolers and beers. Peace.

The transmission starts again. Charlie is alone again but happy.

Hey guys, Charlie here. I’m taking a little break from hunting. I just needed a break. Did you know that Oz is real? Like, the Wizard of Oz? The other me actually went there and nobody told me. How crazy is that? Tatty didn’t even tell me about it and she’s from there. We kind of ran into Dorothy and it was super awkward. Apparently, the other me had a thing with her and it ended abruptly due to a shortage of dimensional travel. We had some coffee and talked it out and I might see her again but I don’t think I’ll see her like she wants me to see her. She is cute, though. Charlie out.

The transmission starts again. Charlie is really close to the camera. Her face is absolutely covered in blood.

If you’re watching this. It might already be too late. They are coming and they are coming to kill us all. I barely got away. For how long? I don’t know. Charlie suddenly laughs and backs up. Just kidding, I’ve always wanted to do a Help Me Obiwan kind of message. This is ketchup. I’m still on vacation. I just thought I would check in. These are fun to do. I’ll check in again in a few days.

The transmission comes on again and Charlie is sitting on the hood of a car.

Hey all you cool cats and kittens. That’s what she says, right? I’ve been totally binging lately. I saw Dorothy again and we watched Emerald City together. We both kind of liked it. It wasn’t very accurate but more accurate than the books. I’m heading back to meet up with Tatty and Bill. We might meet up with the Winchesters or Bobby or whoever. I’m ready to go hunting again. I’m ready to get back in the game. There are monsters out there and I know how to kill them. Check you later, guys.

<Although she did not suggest it, this one is for my friend Liz who is the biggest Supernatural fan I know>

Scoobynatural

June 11, 2018

(So I am just going for it here so this is your SPOILER WARNING for all 13 seasons of Supernatural but especially the newest one. These are my thoughts on one of the most recent episodes.)

So, recently the lucky 13th season of Supernatural was released on Netflix (#NotSponsored) and I have been greedily eating it up over the past week. Seriously, I am almost done all 24 already because even after 13 years, the show is still really good. In fact, I might even like it better the last few seasons. Everybody involved knows exactly what the show is and everybody seems to still be having fun. They also have a deep well of lore to drink from and they are constantly inventing new things to play with. Quickly for those who might not know and skipped my spoiler warning from above, I will sum up what Supernatural is. Supernatural is a show about two brothers who travel the USA, fighting and killing monsters and often have a huge crisis to try and prevent. They have saved the world several times over, often by beating mythical creatures such as demons, angels, leviathans, Death, and God’s sister. Along the way, they were joined by a fallen angel and a whole bunch of other allies. Sam and Dean Winchester (and Castiel their angel friend) have become iconic figures over time.

Over most of the seasons, the show would occasionally drop very meta episodes often thanks to the character The Trickster (aka the Archangel Gabriel). This past season’s meta episode is one where the Winchesters and Castiel are zapped into an episode of Scooby Doo. The specific episode they enter is “A Night of Fright Is No Delight” which is one I really do remember seeing. I love that they used an actual episode of Scooby Doo Where Are You? so that fans of the original show could have an extra good time. The normal plot of the episode is that Mystery Inc. is summoned to a mansion for a will reading. Scooby saved the life of a man and they stayed friends over the years. The will is read and everybody in attendance (which includes some unsavory relatives) is told that if they stay the night in the haunted mansion, they get a million dollars but if anybody leaves their share goes to whoever remains. As the episode progresses, relatives start disappearing until the gang solves the mystery. Of course, all of that changes when the Winchesters arrive on the scene.

The first thing I loved about this episode is that they picked an episode where the lawyer ends up being the villain. In the original episode, he and his partner dress up as the Green Ghosts. Also, the lawyer is named Cosgood Creeps (and his partner is Mr. Crawls). Tell us how you really feel about lawyers Warner Brothers. Obviously, if the lawyer can scare all of the heirs out of the house before dawn, he can keep the inheritance for himself. This carries on the Scooby Doo tradition of the villains committing bafflingly complicated white collar crimes. The plan here involves holograms, secret tunnels, dummies filled with corn syrup, and running around in costumes. I am a child of two lawyers and I recently became a paralegal myself so I always take notice when lawyers are cast as heroes or villains. Here, Cosgood Creeps, Esq. commits plenty of ethics violations along with various crimes chief of among them are probably assault and terroristic threats.

Most stories where “non-fictional” characters interact with fictional characters, the show deconstructs the original fiction. So, the episode has a lot of fun tearing apart Scooby Doo in a very loving way. The gang (later named Mystery Inc.) are five iconic characters who have become strongly rooted in popular culture for decades. The show has a lot of fun with these characters. First, as characters are murdered for real, the gang remains unflappable and chipper as they work toward solving the mystery. In the original show, there is no such thing as real monsters but even so, there are costumed psychos chasing them around and yet none of them dissolve into a gibbering, insane mess. Here, I feel like their fictional natures work hard against reality seeping in so they become parodies of caricatures. However, one joke is showing yet another elaborate trap constructed by Fred which at first looks like it is over the top as a form of parody. The only thing is, that is the actual trap from the episode which highlights how weird and dumb the traps always were.

There are some other interesting moments that play with Scooby canon. In this episode, the gang encounters their first actual supernatural event which completely unravels them. This will not happen again until Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island because The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo and Scooby Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf do not seem to be canon. The gang also gets injured for the first time which astonishes them. I was very interested in one short conversation between Velma and Daphne because it insinuated they had talked about boys together previously. This was never really shown on the original show as romantic subplots were not the focus. Scooby and Shaggy are shown as cowardly as usual, but interestingly Shaggy falls out of a window and breaks his arm. He mentions leaping from great heights previously and surviving unscathed. This is interesting because I realized the dangerous things that Shaggy and Scooby have done while running away from monsters. They are often seen as chickens but fear motivates them to do some incredible things. When it is revealed that ghosts are real, the gang are all shocked except for Shaggy who finally gets his “I told you so” moment.

The episode is set into motion by Dean’s love of television. This had been alluded to several times throughout the series. He was previously their guide when they were zapped into multiple other television shows. Sam and Dean both had messed up childhoods due to always being on the road with their monster hunter father so Dean often escaped into television. His brother Sam mostly retreated into books instead. The most important part of that for me is that Sam is usually the loremaster and this is one of the rare moments that Dean knows exactly what is going on. What is also interesting is that Castiel is very confused when he shows up later in the episode. In Season 9, the normally out of touch angel is blessed with great pop culture knowledge but he still does not remember Scooby Doo. A lot has happened to Castiel in the time since that episode so he may have lost some of that knowledge or he does not always connect with it the same way we might. Dean seems to have the same memory for characters and episodes that I do. I often remember plots and characters very well which is another reason why I do not rewatch a lot of things. Dean also claims that he idolized Scooby because the gang solved mysteries the same way the Winchesters do which I thought was actually kind of touching.

I also wanted to mention Dean’s crush on Daphne. In the episode, Dean constantly hits on Daphne while Sam is eventually hit on by Velma. This kind of references the pop culture question where guys are often asked which of the two they were attracted to. Dean is shameless when pursuing Daphne until he finally gets the hint that she is legitimately attracted to Fred. Sam is constantly rolling his eyes and reminding Dean both that Daphne is taken and a cartoon character. However, I can really only blame Dean for one of those things. I cannot count on only two hands the number of people who I have talked to who had a crush on a cartoon character when they were younger. It is a safe crush because you can revel in it without being able to go through with it. It is perfectly normal. The other barrier is that she likes Fred but Dean is convinced that she is “settling” because he hates Fred. My theory is that he hates Fred because he reminds him of the popular jock kids that may have picked on Dean when he was in school. Also, Fred is the stable, well-adjusted guy who often gets the girl. Once Dean realizes that Daphne is not just a mindless fictional character and actually has desires and a mind of her own he backs off.

The episode ended up being a lot of fun and way better than the one-note joke that I thought it might be. It played with tropes from both series while being funny, touching, and a great adventure. The animation was very good as it blended animation from the old Scooby Doo with something closer to the various newer Scooby Doo series. The animation style changed throughout the episode as things got more and more “real”. While many might have seen it as a silly one-off diversion, the episode really made me think a little deeper about both series. But I am a pop culture geek so that makes sense.

Interview Questions 9

June 19, 2017


If you could live in any TV home, what would it be?

This is a hard question because is it asking about a house or a household? I guess I will approach both questions to cover my bases. Which television house is easily answered since I have just been binging a certain show about a pair of brothers who kill monsters. I am talking, of course, about The Bunker from the later seasons of Supernatural. The Bunker is a protected underground lair created by the United States chapter of the Men of Letters, a group of people who researched monsters and magic for centuries. With the American chapter all dead, the Bunker just sits idle. I would love to have an underground lair hidden away from people with Internet access and a library of books about magic and monsters to read into to. Household means that I would be sharing a house with the fictional characters that usually live there. That question is a lot more difficult because those fictional characters already have an established organization. I would probably love to rent a room at the Dietz home after the end of Beetlejuice. Lydia is pretty cool, there are cool ghosts, and the Dietz parents are starting to mellow out. Magic and mystery without the danger.


What fictional character do you wish you could meet?

This one is also difficult. Most of the really cool fictional characters are often surrounded by danger. I would love to meet The Doctor or The Winchesters but they are constantly surrounded by world-ending danger. I do not need that in my life, I have enough drama. Likewise, I would love to meet Deadpool but he is himself dangerously erratic and I would not want to even be in the same city as him. The same goes for a lot of other unstable yet interesting people such as the Gorillaz, Fergus Crowley, and Frank Underwood. I do not want to go into such an unstable situation that my life or well-being might be at risk. I think I would most like to meet somebody nice, interesting, and who has done and seen amazing things. That would be Doreen Green aka Squirrel Girl. Sure she’s surrounded by crazy things all the time but she tends to unfailingly protect those around her and she has an enormously positive attitude. She has met (and beaten) Galactus and Dr. Doom (twice). She knows the Avengers. She hangs out with heroes and normal people. She has a habit of turning villains into heroes (or normal people). That would be my choice hands down.


Which Disney universe would you most like to live in?

While the main characters in Disney worlds are often put in danger and life-altering situations, the background characters are usually pretty safe. Of course, there are always exceptions like Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, and Finding Nemo/Dory. It is not like I wanted to live in those universes anyway since they are low-technology with the denizens just trying to survive under political systems that are mostly gone now. Aladdin is one of my favorite movies but there is still poverty, disease, and danger from corrupt politicians or overzealous guards. That leaves out potentially fun places like Atlantica, Motunui, Corona, and Arendelle. Of course, I am trading away one of my dreams of magic being real which is hard to give up but all of the worlds with magic tend to be pretty unpredictable. I am including The World Without Magic (which later gets magic) from Once Upon a Time (an ABC/Disney joint so it counts) because bad things happen every five minutes there. My choice would have to be San Fransokyo from Big Hero 6. A city where American and Asian cultures have fused and technology has advanced to awesome but mostly stable levels. The higher technology would feel a lot like magic (thanks, Mr. Clarke) and I would not have to answer to a feudal system, just the usual stupid American politics.

Legally Haunted: Stambovsky v. Ackley

April 14, 2017


Our childhoods warp us all.

There are many things that I think I have made abundantly clear on this blog that I love on this blog. I am here today to talk about two of them. The first is the supernatural. I am a skeptic so I do not actually believe that much of the supernatural actually exists. Unexplained phenomena are just things waiting to be explained by science. However, I still love fantastic stories for the great fiction that they are. Ghost stories are particularly epic and can vary on a spectrum from touching to terrifying. Even the most benign stories used to chill me to the bone until it dawned on me that all of the stories were unproven. Still, it is still fun to suspend my disbelief and get a little scare now and again.


I mean, I learned more law from this guy than my folks.

The second thing that I have gotten into more recently is the law. I am currently very close to getting a paralegal certificate at the local community college. My parents are both lawyers and so I grew up just outside of the legal profession. You see, anyone in the legal profession really cannot talk about their cases too much due to confidentiality issue. Also, it is probably best not to talk about such things in front of children as a lot of cases are either boring or inappropriate for kids. Now, I am facing the same thing as I work on an internship. So, you will never see me tell stories on here about my work and that is probably for the best anyway. However, that does not count for famous cases that I was not involved in.


I mean how can you tell that it’s haunted. That’s profiling.

When Karen Ackley and her family moved into their house in the 1960s, they were warned by neighbors that the house was haunted. She was pretty sure, after her own observations, that there were three ghosts haunting the house. One was a Navy Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War and the other two were Lord George and Lady Margaret who lived in the 18th Century. She brought in two of the usual charlatans (who I will not publicize) who confirmed her suspicions that the place was haunted. The hauntings mostly centered around experience Ackley’s daughter and grandkids had but there were one or two reports from Ackley herself and the man who would marry Ackley’s daughter. Ackley specifically wrote a piece for Reader’s Digest detailing, among other things, that the ghosts gave gifts to the children. These gifts disappeared later.


Who you gonna call? A lawyer!

Later, her family sought to sell the house and they did so to a Jeffrey Stambovsky. To his horror, he found out that the house he had just signed a contract to purchase was haunted by poltergeists. In any fictional world, he would hire some Ghostbusters to just clean the place out and have the Ackleys pay for it. In the real world. you apparently go to court. He filed for an act of rescission which is, in this case, a request for the courts to revoke or cancel an agreement. He wanted to back out of buying the house because he felt that the Ackleys owed him a duty to inform him of the poltergeists before he moved in. The argument was that the law should not compel performance of a contract that is not fair and open. By concealing the information about the ghosts, Ackley tainted the contract by not acting good faith. The dissenting opinion talked about the doctrine of ‘caveat emptor’ which is ‘let the buyer beware’. They insisted that Stambovsky should have done his research but the majority opinion granted the cancellation of the contract.


It was the biggest case of its kind since State v. Stantz, et al.

Nevermind that this whole ‘haunting’ was mostly made up of stories from children or adults who were breathing in paint fumes or were half awake. The New York courts had ruled that ‘haunted’ was an actual condition for real property to have. However, thankfully, at no point do they speak as if ghosts are a known thing that actually exists. The ruling is based on the bad reputation that calling a house haunted causes. Once you get past the Ghostbusters and Shakespeare quote in the opinion, the actual opinion is more about whether a seller should be able to get away with concealing information. The court held that taking advantage of a buyer’s ignorance is distasteful and should not be able to be hidden behind a doctrine like caveat emptor. It was a decision that helped promote fair dealing in the real estate market in New York. So now you know!

Redcross Pt. 8

March 25, 2017

Redcross

“A metaphorical key?” Marion asked. She pushed her glasses up in front of her eyes. “We are practical people, we deal in things we can observe. We leave metaphor to the poets.”

“I’m not so sure, Doctor,” Warren said. “I always enjoyed a little poetry before bed.” He smiled and Sarah could not help but smile too.

“Maybe not metaphorical, but maybe not a key you can hold in your hand,” Sarah said.

“That sounds like a riddle. What is a key you cannot hold, Sheriff?” Warren asked with a smile. Marion shuddered at that smile and Sarah was instantly reminded that Marion and Warren were feuding and that most people found Warren creepy.

“Please explain yourself, Sarah,” Marion said. “It is getting very late and I need the comfort of my own bed. What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about secret messages,” Sarah said. “Back in the big city, my friend Suzette and I passed secret messages. They were only visible at night. It was a special ink.”

“Interesting but what does that mean to us now. Sarah?” Marion asked. Sarah knew she was getting impatient.

“I think I get what the Sheriff is getting at,” Waren said. He accented the word ‘sheriff’ to remind the good doctor that she should be using the correct honorific. “Let my height be of use for once.” He reached up to the window and pulled the thick shutters open. Moonlight flooded the room from the small window there. Sarah’s stomach tightened as Warren pulled the sheet off the body. All three of them gasped as the moonlight touched the skin and images started to glow.

“How did you know that would happen?” Marion asked.

“I am as surprised as you are, Doctor,” Sarah said. “The special ink we used is nothing like this. That glow is actually kind of beautiful.”

“Yes, I suppose it is,” Marion said. She leaned in to study the glowing markings more closely. Sarah was struck by how close the woman could get to a dead body that was really starting to smell. “Some sort of tattoo. Well, a lot of them anyway and they used a special ink.” She looked over her shoulder at Warren and Sarah. “It’s a working hypothesis anyway.”

“Seems like a good one, I think,” Warren said. “As good as any I can think of at the moment, at least.”

The three of them stood there trying to make sense of the images on the skin. Sarah had no idea what she was looking at. The glowing kind of made the edges of the images fuzzy which made it hard to tell what the symbols were or what they meant. Sarah looked at Warren and Marion and she guessed the two of them were having no more luck with the symbols. It was not like she fully expected the two of them to use expertise outside of their field to solve the mystery but they were the smartest people Sarah knew. Just as she was about to give in and tell them to call it a night, Sarah saw something.

“Hey look,” she said. “There’s that pesky key.” Sarah pointed at an image that looked like an old key on the man’s forearm. As she did, the image started to glow brighter and then it started to move. Before Warren could pull Sarah’s hand away, the image itself reared up from the skin and caught Sarah’s finger. She stared in absolute shock as the thing snaked its way up her finger. The sensation was like ants crawling just under her skin. She was afraid to move. Finally, the key centered itself on her palm and the sensation stopped.

“What the hell was that?!” Sarah shouted and Warren put a comforting hand on her shoulder. It helped but only a little bit.

“I would like to revise my hypothesis,” Marion managed to get out. “I have limited experience with tattoos but I do not think they can do that. Are you alright, Sarah?”

“I think so,” Sarah said. “It didn’t hurt and it seems to have stopped but now I have this thing on my hand.”

“And this man was killed for having the key,” Warren said. “That puts a target on your back, Sheriff.”

“Don’t scare the girl, Warren,” Marion said.

“My dad didn’t raise me to scare easy,” Sarah said. “If anybody is going to have the key, it should be the Sheriff. We Redcrosses can take care of ourselves.” She reached down and touched the butt of her gun for a little bit of comfort. There was somebody or something out there that wanted this glowing key.

“Well, that is definitely true. I didn’t mean to imply that you’re defenseless, Sheriff.” Marion used the correct honorific. It sent a clear message.

“We are just worried because there is still so much we don’t know, Sheriff,” Warren said. “This looks like magic.”

“No such thing,” Marion said.

“I’m not so sure about that, Doctor,” Sarah said. “I just stole a dead man’s tattoo.”

“It’s late. We should look into this again tomorrow,” Warren said. He looked tired. Marion looked very tired too. Sarah could only guess at how tired she looked too.

“I must insist that you stay with me tonight, Sheriff,” Marion said. “That way I can observe you if this ‘magic’ affects your health adversely.”

“I can handle myself, Marion. But I’ll let you know if anything comes up,” Sarah said.

 

 

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Other Media

October 29, 2016

I was wondering what to do with this last Saturday before Halloween. I know I wanted to do a WILPW segment because I have not done one in a while. I was wondering what would be a good topic so I sat and had myself a think. I mean, I have already written a post about the Undertaker and another one about spooky performers or gimmicks. I thought about doing a segment on vampire wrestlers to match up with Monday’s theme but there are really only four or five of them. Maybe I will let that one simmer a bit longer and come back to it next year. Instead, let’s talk about Beyond The Mat and representation of sports entertainment in other media. By Beyond the Mat, I mean the episode of Supernatural and not the well-known documentary that led to a career resurgence for Mick Foley. This is going to be more spoiler-y than most of my reviews because I feel like it.


Shawn Harley vs. “The Hangman” Larry Lee

We start off immediately with a shot of Mike “The Miz” Mizanin before his most recent white hot Intercontinental title run. Of course, Miz was not playing himself or his WWE character. He played “Lightning” Shawn Harley, a rookie in the Top Notch Wrestling promotion. His character struck me as kind of Dolph Ziggler mixed with pre-sober Shawn Michaels. He is a young, promising talent who is a bit of an asshole backstage. The Miz has been on fire this year and this episode definitely has a bit of that Miz magic. I can think of few other performers suited to be ambassadors on the level that he has been. Plus, every single opportunity he gets in Hollywood just feeds his gimmick. The bigger his gimmick’s ego gets, the more of a treat he is for fans.


The Hangman’s unprofessional attitude pisses off Harley.

Anyway, the Winchester brothers are pulled into investigating Top Notch Wrestling when bodies start turning at each stop of their tour. At first, we are led to believe that it is Miz who is killing people. However, we know that he would just get Maryse to do it. The Miz faces an unprofessional oldtimer named The Hangman who gets hanged after their match. The brothers decide to attend the funeral to honor their dad. It turns out the Winchesters are huge marks for Top Notch Wrestling. Their father, John, used to bring them to shows when the three of them were not otherwise busy killing monsters. It really is a shame that none of this was mentioned in the previous ten and a half seasons. Even a shot or two of Dean watching an old wrestling tape in the Bunker would have been cool. Still, it’s cool that the brothers enjoyed sports entertainment.


Gunner Lawless makes his way to the ring.

The two have not really kept up with the product but Dean’s hero is an oldtimer named Gunner Lawless. Gunner is kind of a mix between Kevin Nash and The Undertaker and is played by a good stunt man. Anyway, the bodies that have been found have a symbol carved into them that indicate the soul has been stolen. Soul stealing was kind of a running theme in Season 11 so the boys are wary but think it is a demon. It has to be connected with one of the wrestlers on tour. Though if this was ECW, I would suspect Sign Guy. Cane Dewey? That monster!

The original Cane Dewey promo for those who are uninformed.

At one point, Shawn Harley spots Gunner meeting backstage with a suspicious man and overhears this man reminding Gunner what he owes him before giving him a packet of some kind. It looks like a steroid drug deal so Harley calls him out on it in front of the rest of the roster in the dressing room. Steroids used to be a rampant problem in the industry and, if you pay attention to headlines, they are still a problem. It was nice to see it addressed even if it was a little clumsy.


The crossroads demon himself.

However, we find out that Gunner has not been using steroids. He has gotten his longevity in the business from a deal with a crossroads demon. Crossroad demons have been part of the show since the first season. IT was nice to revisit the whole “deal with a devil” bit from way back when. When Harley (The Miz) gets too close to figuring out the truth, the demon urges Gunner to kill him. We get a great scene where Miz is begging for his life while tied to a chair. Gunner kills him anyway and we will never know if “Lightning” Shawn Harley would have won the belt. Dean and Sam burst onto the scene and are almost taken out by the Crossroads demon. At the last moment, Gunner pulls a face turn and takes the demon out. As the Hell hounds close in, looking for Gunner, he decides to take his punishment and turns down Dean’s offer of assistance.


The Winchester Brothers taking in a live show.

I really liked the plot of this episode. Finding out about normal things that John Winchester did with his boys is always great. Those kids had a hard childhood and knowing they had fake heroes similar to the ones I had is a great thing. In fact, at one point Dean gets a chance to play around in a ring. He takes a moment to strut and Wooo! like the Nature Boy and does a quick Macho Man impression as well. I do not know if Jensen Ackles is or was a wrestling fan but it was believable. In addition, Dean’s FBI alias for the episode is Agent Roussimoff which was Andre the Giant’s real last name. These details were really appreciated.

Woooooooo!

It is also neat to see the southern mythology of the crossroads demon mixed with a form of entertainment that draws a lot of its roots from the American south as well. It was also interesting to see the juxtaposition of the world of pro-wrestling and what the Winchesters do on a daily basis. Sports Entertainment, as we have discussed, has kayfabe which is the “fakeness” of the business. At the same time, Sam and Dean fight and kill things that everybody knows are fake but are actually real. I felt the whole mix of “fake” and real stuff very interesting.

Stitches (2012)

October 17, 2016

Clowns. Why did it have to be clowns? Well, it is because I picked this movie because I have always found clowns to be pretty damned scary. When I visited the Ringling Brothers circus with my folks when it rolled into downtown Baltimore when I was little, I was always pretty excited. I mean they had all sorts of tumbling and flashy stuff going on. They also had lions running around doing what I assumed was normal lion stuff. The lions at the zoo were always just lounging around so I never was super excited by them. Here they were jumping through hoops of flame. The clowns always made me wary. They circulated into the crowd before the show and even as a kid I did not like that attention. Something about them made me nervous. They were fine doing their act in the middle of the ring but if they came near me I squirmed. Now, clowns seem even more out of place to me and even scarier. I am fascinated by them but, thanks to Batman and horror movies, I see them more as cool and creepy villains rather than the joyful creatures they are supposed to be.

I wanted to do a clown movie this year. This is the third year I have done reviews around Halloween and the first year I covered a messed-up film called Clownhouse. So, if I was going to do a clown horror movie, the obvious choice was to do the recent horror movie called Clown. However, that was produced by Eli Roth and he is kind of a cancer on the horror genre so I did not want to have a bad time. Instead, I wanted to review the movie Killjoy from Full Moon Pictures. It turns out my brand new copy of all of the Killjoy movies (and all of the Puppetmaster movies) got lost in the mail so it will have to wait until next year. Do not worry, I will be discussing some Full Moon Pictures movies later this month. So, I went back to the drawing board and found this movie on Netflix. I was sure that it was not going to be hard to find another clown horror movie I had not seen yet and the internet does not disappoint. So, we get a more recent horror film that hopefully will fill my nightmares with clowns once again. At least they are better than the than the nightmares about high school.

I was not expecting what this movie would be at all. The first thing that I did not expect is that it is Irish and filmed in Ireland. One of the things I love about Netflix and about this project is that it has opened me up to new opportunities in foreign films. That means that there was almost automatically nobody in this film I would recognize and ends up being the case. This is great because I love diving into a movie full of unknowns so I can go in with no pre-conceived notions. The actors in this movie are all pretty young, especially since most of them are supposed to portray sixteen-year-olds. This is perfect because teenagers are one of the preferred demographics for supernatural killers in horror movies. The acting was good in kind of a punk rock, All Cheerleaders Must Die kind of way. They end up portraying high school as I remember it, petty and emotional but mostly harmless in the end.

When I read the description, I was prepared for a clown that comes back from the dead to kill the kids at the birthday party where he accidentally died. At best, I was hoping for a ghost clown that would haunt them or an undead clown who would savagely murder them. What I got was something somewhere between those two options. It was like Pennywise the Clown if Tim Curry had been directed to be scary. Another comparison I could make is Freddy Krueger if he had been a party clown instead of a Christmas sweater-wearing janitor and was a little more literal. I was not ready for the movie to have so much lore and world-building when it comes to clowns. The movie creates this whole weird occult conspiracy in the first few minutes that I could never have expected in my wildest dreams. The movie used elements from a lot of horror movies I have seen to create something entirely new and scary. The way the villain moves and the unique and terrible deaths they concocted for him are definitely very memorable as well. Most of his victims were decent people for teens and definitely did not deserve to die.

Overall, this was a dark horse of a horror movie just like Horns and The Babadook from last year. This is especially funny since the movie was originally supposed to star Daniel Radcliffe right after Deathly Hallows. The movie is definitely pretty scary but it has kind of a punk rock sense of humor to it as well. That punk rock quality also extends to the violence, though. This movie does not pull any punches with how cruel the deaths are. The practical effects and other special effects are exceptional and that means that the gore is very graphic and disgusting but in a good way. At one point, Stitches delivers a tagline of ‘This Clown Isn’t Funny’ and he’s right. However, he is kind of funny in an extremely dark, offbeat kind of way because he is just amusing himself. In that way, he would probably get along with Charles “Chucky” Lee Ray. It was a great movie and I definitely knew how much it had gripped me when I had to watch something happier directly after so I could breathe again. With all the clown sightings lately, I definitely enjoyed being scared by one that could not actually hurt me. I definitely recommend it.

The Hackette Family

June 18, 2016

Patrick’s family had walked these woods in western Maryland for generations. They had defended them during the War for American Independence and every opportunity since then. Patrick’s sister, Dawn, had once paid for a genealogist to come in and shake the family tree to see what fell out. The guy had joked that the family must have been cursed to die in battle. There was more than enough evidence for that theory. Men and women up and down the family line had died of unnatural causes. Most of those unnatural causes had been brutal and bloody. The truth was, the family was constantly in battle but they had never left the United States since the late eighteenth century.

Since arriving in the new world, the family had been blessed and cursed with sight beyond sight. The things most people dismissed as myths, legends and optical illusions were the things Patrick’s ancestors had killed with sword and musket. Through the years, they had kept the fight a secret. So the family had fallen to bears, wolves, gators, snakes and once a pack of rabid gophers. Anything but the actual creatures that killed them. It was not something you discussed in polite company and definitely not with some insensitive genealogist making bad jokes.

“What do we have, Al?” Patrick asked his cousin. She stood hall with a wide-brimmed hat, a thick canvas coat and a big sniper rifle.

“We’ve got three Beauregards holed up in Roscoe Hollow,” Allison said. She spat on the ground after which was sometimes her take on punctuation. Beaus were the family code for the wolfman creatures that showed up periodically. They were among the most intelligent of the creatures they faced on a regular basis.

“We’re the only ones available right now?” Patrick asked. He was not really worried, just curious. He climbed into the driver’s seat of the side by side that was parked in front of the cabin. Alison climbed onto the back and hooked her rifle onto the roof so it would not bounce around so much.

“Furble infestation in the southwest,” Alison answered. She banged on the roof to let Patrick know that she was braced and ready for him to drive.

“Damn,” Patrick said, “We got the lucky assignment then. Those things are annoying and deadly. We just got the deadly ones.” He gunned the engine and they were off toward the Hollow in the northeast of the forest. Patrick trusted Alison more than just about everybody else. One day he would be in charge of the family and he wanted Al as his right hand. She was a keen mind and a crack shot.

The drive was short but before they got there, they had to get out and walk. There were too many roots and it was darker under the thick foliage. Patrick went first after clipping a machete and a pistol to his belt. Al followed with her rifle swinging back and forth and a hard look in her eyes. The Hackette family was nothing to mess with. They did not raise any pushovers.

The two of them crept through the brush, trying to be as quiet as possible. The Hackette clan could just feel these creatures when they were near and Patrick could definitely feel them in that moment. He unfocused his eyes and tried to scan the terrain like a normal person scanned a word search. If he looked too hard he would miss these cunning beasts and they would devour him and Al before they could utter a sound. It was a dangerous job fighting these things but nobody else was going to do it. If they did not thin their numbers, the beasts might spread to other areas and make their presence known. They could murder untold amounts of people without anybody being the wiser.

Suddenly, one of the beasts used itself as a furry missile and tackled Al. She and the beast flew together for a few yards but she was able to roll free and clear of the thing’s terrible claws. Patrick drew his machete and met another one coming from the opposite direction. The machete sank into its side and the thing yelped with inhuman pain. Patrick tried to draw the machete against the wound but the thing pulled away.

Another lunged at Patrick but a shot rang out from Al’s rifle and the thing’s skull exploded into a fine mist and a jigsaw puzzle of skull fragments. That made the other two think twice about their aggressive behavior. They did not think long about their pacifism before they were after the cousins again. Patrick swung his machete and dueled with one of them while the other had Al scrambling for higher ground. Patrick was having a hell of a time with his opponent dodging and weaving but finally, the machete struck gold. In this case, gold was a fountain of blood as the Beau gave up the fight.

The final beast tried to run and Patrick almost felt sorry for it as Al lined up her shot. That shot echoed through the woods as the bullet hit the Beau right in the center of its spine. It slumped against a tree and then hit the ground. Patrick reached for a canteen to celebrate.


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