Patti LaBelle Joins AHS: Freak Show [TELEVISION]

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VIA TVLine Patti LaBelle aka The Real Lady Marmalade and gay icon has signed on for 4 episodes of American Horror Story: Freak Show. She will play Gaborey Sidibe’s mother and will be one of the townsfolk who begin to unravel the mystery surrounding Twisty the clown killer. She joins returning cast Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Frances Conroy, Evan Peters, Angela Bassett and Denis O’Hare along with new comers Michael Chiklis and Wes Bentley.

So what do you think? I for one am clutching my pearls with joy. And I must say, I am very excited to see all the delightful period costumes and crazy effects. I mean who doesn’t love conjoined twins and 50s fashion? Stay tuned for more updates as October grows nearer.

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Penny Dreadful Series I [REVIEW]

70081c84jw1ei5cbuephaj20ll0vkdmoWe all have our curses don’t we? – Vanessa

When word first got out that Showtime would be bringing us a psycho-sexual horror show over flowing with characters plucked from the pages of classic horror lit; most horror fans either frantically searched for a fresh pair of panties after messing themselves, or got super butt hurt about it. The show was either going to be the first season of American Horror Story, or the fifth season of True Blood.

What we got was quite possibly one of the most consistent and well done horror shows in history. Within 8 episodes Penny Dreadful took us on a journey that managed to be as thrilling as it was unique. They some how managed to take what on paper sounds like a sexier version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and bring us atmosphere and character but the butt load. Be warned that I am going to get into some spoiler territory so ya, you’ve been warned or whatever.

The basic plot of the show is this: Sir Malcom Murray (Timothy Dalton) is searching for his daughter Mina who has been taken by dark and evil forces. He is joined by Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), the gorgeous, likely insane and definitely touched by dark forces herself. Vanessa feels compelled to use her connection with the darkness to help Sir Malcom find Mina. But this isn’t just a standard save the girl plot. As the show unfolds it reveals the incredibly troubled and complicated past that Vanessa and Mina’s families have shared through the years.

Joining them are Sembene (Danny Sapani), Sir Malcom’s hulking African man servant/body guard; who despite the fewest lines of any of the core cast remains a powerful presence. Sexy American sharp shooter Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) joins them as a hired gun trying to run from a bloody past.

In their quest to find out more about the monsters that have taken Mina, they come to Victor Frankenstein. A sad eyed poet who dissects bodies and pontificates about science as if it is equal parts prose and alchemy. Victor’s own dark past complicates his work for Sir Malcom to say the least. But I suppose that’s what happens when you have slightly homoerotic over tones with reanimated corpses.

Penny Dreadful manages to take all the elements so loved within the various works it draws from and manages to make them feel fresh and exciting. The show manages to include references to just about every important element of Dracula without it feeling ham fisted or as if they have a check list of easter eggs to get through.

The acting is fantastic throughout. It is a true testament to Eva Green’s talent that she is able to go from Victorian lady blushing while Dorian Gray flirts to an unhinged mess channeling the dead loved ones of her friends and revealing the other character’s darkest fears and secrets. Josh Hartnett gives a career best performance as Ethan, whether he is getting his drunken homo love on, or praying for his consumption riddled girlfriend. Timothy Dalton is in turns heart breaking and enraging as a man determined to do anything to save the last shred of his soul as represented by Mina.

The show manages to be one of the queerest on TV. While American Horror Story gave us Lana Banana, Hannibal gives us more gay subtext than cannibal puns and True Blood gives us beefcake galore and a few throw away gay day dreams, Penny Dreadful is like one giant queer melting pot. Dorian Gray is a proper bisexual, Mina’s brother is definitely friends with Dorothy, Mina and Vanessa have some strong Hammer Horror lesbian under tones, Victor might be a little too obsessed with building the perfect man and don’t even get me started on that kiss!

In addition to a riveting take on it’s source material, fantastic acting and a masterful plot, Penny Dreadful is gorgeously shot. Everything in frame is perfectly art directed, lit and filmed. By treating the costumes and sets as if this were a Merchant Ivory period piece and the practical effects and gore like something out of your favorite horror film, they manage a show that manages to be as delightfully pulpy as the titular horror stories and as exquisite as the worlds found in the novels by Shelley, Stoker and Wilde.

At just 8 hour long episodes which have finished airing, Penny Dreadful is the kind of show made for binge watching. And since it’s been renewed for a 10 episode second season, you can rest assured that the various plot points left unresolved by the first series end will be explored. If you are a fan of Hannibal, American Horror Story, you will fall in love with Penny Dreadful.

 

Fallen Angel Preview for AHS: Freakshow Fan-Made! [TELEVISION]

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Apparently the teaser for the upcoming season of American Horror Story subtitled Freak Show is actually a fan made fake!  THR has confirmed with FX that no teasers have been released for the new installment and that the video is just a well crafted work of fandom.

Penny Dreadful’s Queer Bent [TELEVISION]

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WARNING THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR PENNY DREADFUL EPISODES 1-5

Showtime’s Victorian Horror series Penny Dreadful is joined the ranks as not only one of the best horror shows, but shows period. It’s takes on classic characters from Dracula, Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and various horror tropes has been fantastic thus far. Along with magnificent performances by pretty much every actor (except perhaps Billy Piper).

But I had hoped for all that. What I didn’t expect was that the show would address queer content with such a delicious nonchalance. Victor’s obsession with building a man. His meek poetic nature and close relationship to his mother provide the audience with a character with a hint of gay subtext. And we have Dorian Gray as a proper bisexual.

But what really shocked me was when macho Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) ditches Vanessa (Eva Green) to go drinking with Dorian. And I nearly died of a stroke when after some absinthe, Ethan hauled off and kissed Dorian and they proceeded to strip. And the queerness kept coming after that with Vanessa’s flash back episode in which she had some heavy lesbian subtext with bosom buddy Mina, ruined her wedding and tried to molest Mina’s sissy brother (who proceeded to die in the wilds of Africa). The irony of a show so rooted in Victorian England would be so fluid and modern with it’s approach to sexuality is one of it’s strongest points.

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Penny Dreadful airs Sundays at 10PM EST on Showtime

Hannibal Season 1 & 2 [NETFLIX]

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Anyone who has read this blog likely knows I am absolutely OBSESSED with Bryan Fuller’s darkly gorgeous and brilliant series Hannibal. I mean I am always yacking about it. I badger co-workers into watching it and may have shouted at a stranger in a super market to give it a try. And now I am here to shout at you, people of the interwebs. For those of you in the terrible land of America, Amazon Prime has the exclusive rights to stream Hannibal. BUT if you are among the lucky Canadians (and possibly other countries? I’m not tight with any Swedes but if you’re reading this let me know in the comments if it’s streaming in your country).

Canadian Netflix is currently streaming both seasons. Both seasons? You ask! But wasn’t the finale like a month ago? Yes my dear it was! Netflix Canada seems to have had it almost as soon as it was done broadcasting. And now that it has been renewed for a third season, why not give it a go? The second season is even better than the first. The twists! The cinematography! The cannibal puns! It’s everything you ever wanted from a television show. And it trumps critical darlings like True Detective in just about every single aspect. It’s better than American Horror Story: Pick a Season. It is possibly one of the best shows ever.

So go on, fork over your 8 dollars and get to streaming! And for my non-Canadian readers, I’m not sure how to get Canadian Netflix? I don’t think it’s a thing per say since most content is American-exclusive. But our Netflix also has such delights as the 90s X-Men cartoon! So maybe it’s worthy trying? I dunno, or go fork over mad money to Amazon. It’s your body money, do what you want with it.

Sarah Paulson Tweets Twin Role [TELEVISION]

Looks like Sarah Paulson will be playing a set of conjoined twins this fall on American Horror Story: Freak Show. Paulson tweeted the image below saying:

So excited to be playing Bette AND Dot this season. Two heads are better than one!

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The fourth installment of American Horror Story is set in 1950s Jupiter, Florida. Jessica Lange will play the German ex-patriot who runs the last freakshow and cares for a gaggle of said ‘freaks’.  The cast includes series mainstays Frances Conroy and Evan Peters along with returning Gaborey Sidbe, Jamie Brewer, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Emma Roberts and Denis O’Hare. American Horror Story: Freakshow debuts October 2014.

American Horror Story Season 4 Subtitle Announced [TELEVISION]

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Ryan Murphy has announced the title for the 4th installment of FX’s hit horror anthology series and it is Freakshow. The show will be set in the 1950s and takes place in Jupiter, Florida. Jessica Lange returns for her final installment as a German ex-patriot. Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates are both set to come back, along with Denis O’Hare, Evan Peters, Frances Conroy, Sarah Paulson and Emma Roberts. No mention of Lily Rabe who has been reported as having a pilot in the works which could hinder her ability to star. But it’s likely she will make an appearance at some point as this would be the first season she didn’t have a role. Stay tuned for more news as well as a list of movies to tide you over until the Freakshow returns.

American Horror Story: Freakshow debuts October 12th 2014.

10 Reasons Hannibal Is The Best Show You Aren’t Watching [TELEVISION]

Hannibal_Title_CardFor those unaware, NBC’s Hannibal is one of if not the best shows on broadcast Television. Bryan Fuller’s Adaptation/Prequel/Re-Imaging/Fever Dream TV show about the titular cannibal Doctor Hannibal Lecter and FBI profiler Will Graham. The show is currently airing it’s second season. It continues to draw critical praise and has a devoted fanbase. However it has continued to struggle with ratings after coming close to being cancelled after it finished it’s first season. So without further adieu I give you 10 reasons why Hannibal is the best show you aren’t watching.

It’s By Bryan Fuller!

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 Fuller is essentially Joss Whedon on a fabulous acid trip. He’s had a long history of creating hilarious, poignant and morbid fair. He also happens to be perpetually cancelled after short runs on critically acclaimed shows that struggle with ratings. Where as Joss has Firefly, Bryan is behind cult classics Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies. He also gave us everyone’s favourite cross-dresser Eddie Izzard and Ellen’s wife Portia in the lush but doomed Munsters re-imagining Mockingbird Lane. He has one of the best eyes presenting lush technicolor with a heavy helping of death. Dead Like Me follows a dead girl who must spend time as a Grimm Reaper after a toilet falls from the sky and kills her. Pushing Daisies tells the story of a pie-maker who can bring the dead back with a touch, and features musical icons Ellen Greene (Little Shop Of Horrors) and Kristen Chenoweth (Wicked). Fuller creates bizarre and beautiful television, the kind that often thrives on cable and dies on the major networks.

The Cinematography Is Mind Blowing

tumblr_mlttxeDhHa1rvs9wso2_500The entire show is so meticulously crafted in every aspect. The clothing each character wears, the set design, effects, and everything within the shot is pretty much flawless. But more then anything it’s the cinematography that truly allows everything to look so lush and detailed. It speaks to the dedication and love the production puts into the show. It looks nothing like TV thriller and more like a lush art film.

The Dream Sequences

tumblr_inline_n2obx0xhVl1rxatc4In addition to it’s flawless waking world, Hannibal utilizes a fair amount of dream sequences, fantasies, and hallucinations. A big part of the plot if Will Graham’s ability to inhabit the mind of serial killers and how his work with the FBI may be affecting his sanity. Throughout the series, we see some truly mind blowing fantasy sequences, such as Will laying in bed and the room flooding with crashing waves (a nod to Julianne Moore’s suicide fantasy in The Hours). And I would be remiss to omit what is often referred to as The Stag/Raven-Stag/Wendigo. Introduced late in the first season, it is a naked humanoid with massive antlers, night black skin and the face of Hannibal Lecter. It is a testament to the quality of the show that such a bizarre vision can be incorporated into the series. In fact it makes The Rubberman on American Horror Story seem absolutely pedestrian.

THE GORE!

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Horror fans are often accused of liking gore to a point of vulgarity. And it’s true that it is not often that gore can exist as both truly disturbing and utterly beautiful. Shows like American Horror, Walking Dead and Game of Thrones have shown us plenty of gore on cable TV but I can’t recall a show on broadcast TV featuring so much gore. Each episode will usually involve at least one dead body at a crime scene. We are treated to women mounted on stag heads, people turned into bee-hives, people are flaying to resemble angels, cut open and turned into cellos, and even a mural made of corpses and a totem pole. But it isn’t the crime scenes that will truly gross you out. It’s Hannibal preparing various cannibalistic entrees to feed his guest that are truly gruesome. Very early on we see Hannibal as he prepares a pair of human lungs, pressing the air out, dissecting meat from ventricles. We see him make brain, tongue. He braises a piece of calf muscle and makes a people sausage scramble. It’s truly a horror fans delight!

 The Cannibal Puns

tumblr_mndqmsTCF91qe4ixoo1_500The only real moments of levity come from Hannibal’s various cannibal puns and double entendres. When everyone finally clues in that he’s been eating people this whole time they are going to feel mighty stupid. Hannibal is portrayed as the ultimate foodie and that provides plenty of moments of dramatic irony. Such as when Freddy Loundes talks about how horrible it is they are all eating meat.  It provides the perfect kind of dark humor required to keep the story from being too bleak while also not ruining the mood of the show.

The Gay SubText of it All!

tumblr_mo2z4v1DCj1qcxymno3_500In the Hannibal books by Thomas Harris, Clarice Starling ends up becoming Hannibal’s lover at the end of the third book (also titled Hannibal). Throughout their interactions, there is an obviously fascination which seems at times sexual in nature. Hannibal sends her perfume, buys her Prada etc. On the show, Hannibal’s obsession with Will Graham is at first presented as purely one of scientific interest. But what becomes clear is that the writers are subtle blurring the line between fascination and lust. Hannibal’s need to control Will is one thing. But he often goes above and beyond when it comes to screwing with Will’s love interest Dr. Alana Bloom. At one point he sends a serial killer to her home and they constantly fight about what is best for Will. It’s the stuff ships are made of! But whatever you do don’t read the fanfiction.

Hugh Dancy! Because!

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Hugh Dancy stars as Will Graham and he is pretty much the most adorable of all the various gifted crime solvers on TV. That’s right Sherlockians, he’s cuter then Bumblebatch Cumbersnatch. He’s also a stand out in a top notch cast. He will literally break your heart with his vulnerability and win your mind with his flawless portrayal of a man loosing his mind.

All The Guest Stars!

tumblr_mosi1oEjr81qgqr0ho1_500That is right! That’s Agent Dana Scully! The show features Gillian Anderson as Hannibal’s shrink. Anderson stands out as giving one of the best performances of her career. But that isn’t all. Over the course of a season and change we have gotten guest roles from Gina Torres (Firefly), Molly Shannon(SNL, Superstar), Cynthia Nixon(Sex and the City), Eddie Izzard (The Riches, Mockingbird Lane), Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction)  and Ellen Greene(Little Shop of Horrors). Add to that Katherine Isabelle(American Mary, Ginger Snaps), Michael Pitt(Funny Games, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and a rumor that David Bowie might make a cameo. And I would go to gay Canadian hell if I didn’t mention Scott Thompson (Kids in The Hall) who recurs as one of the three FBI lab techs. In short it is chock full of amazingly talented stars, often turning out deranged performances.

It’s On-Par Better Than Any Horror Show On Cable

hannibal-i-love-your-workHorror shows are all the rage right now. It started with genre shows in the vein of Buffy with shows like True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, Being Human, Teen Wolf etc. Then it got to be about darker fare like The Walking Dead. Then American Horror Story took the world by storm and everyone was clamoring to see it. And most recently HBO’s True Detective (which seems to be strongly influenced by Hannibal) has become a smash hit and much watch TV. But here is the thing, Hannibal is better. It takes the dark violent beauty of American Horror Story, the fascinating crime solving of True Detective and the no one is safe mentality of The Walking Dead, and prepares a 13 course meal of it. It has a quality not present in the various other horror movies turned TV shows that we are getting of late and it often surpasses the source material and other adaptations in terms of it’s brilliance.

You’ll Regret Not Watching It

giphy (1)Every nerd has one. The show that got cancelled too soon. For many it’s Firefly, or Twin Peaks.  These shows obtain cult status and are often trotted out by fellow nerds as a way to establish cred. “What do you mean you’ve never seen Firefly?” is a phrase I’ve heard leaving my lips before and countless other’s mouths as well. Hannibal has been ratings challenged with a rabid fanbase (Fannibals) and it has long been feared that despite it’s widespread acclaim it would be cancelled. Many fans are turned off by the idea of someone other then Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal. Or they have been put off by the decreasing quality of each film installment. But mark my words, this show will be appearing on top 10 lists and lists of under-rated shows for years to come. So what are you waiting for?

Hannibal airs Fridays at 10PM EST on NBC in the US and CityTV in Canada. 

RuPaul’s Scream Queens Tonight [TELEVISION]

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Tonight on Rupau’s Drag Race the queens compete in a horror film inspired challenge and most importantly Ru will be joined by special guest judges Linda Blair aka Regan from The Exorcist and Final Girl Bestie and Game of Thrones/Dredd/The Purge star Lena Heady. Drag Race airs tonight at 9 on Logo in the US and OutTV in Canada.