25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: SILENT NIGHT

Starring

Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations)
Jaime King (The Spirit)
Donal Logue (Gotham)
Ellen Wong (The Circle)
Lisa Marie (Planet of The Apes)
Courtney-Jane White (The Lookout)
Cortney Palm (Zombeavers)
John B. Lowe (The Butterfly Effect)
Brendan Fehr (Roswell)

Rick Skene in Silent Night (2012)A mysterious man dresses in a Santa Claus suit, complete with a mask. Once dressed, “Santa” captures and kills Jordan (Brendan Fehr), a police officer in the small town of Cryer, Wisconsin. Jordan is sleeping with the married Alana Roach (Ali Tartaryn) and is electrocuted with Christmas lights in his home. The following day, Christmas Eve, the Sheriff of Cryer, Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell), calls Deputy Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King) in on her day off when Jordan doesn’t arrive at work. Aubrey is a new addition to the police force, and is still reeling from the unexpected death of her husband John. She doesn’t think she’s a good officer as she is trying to live up to her father, who is a retired cop. Aubrey was going to spend the holiday with her parents but instead goes out to check on Jordan, finding his mangled body and Roach torn apart later in the day. Sheriff Cooper decides not to tell Mayor Revie (Tom Anniko) until the case is solved.Jaime King in Silent Night (2012)Meanwhile, the masked Santa killer goes on a murder spree, killing those who have done something he considers ‘naughty.’ His next victim is a bratty teenage girl who he kills with a taser, then he makes his way to the local motel, murdering a group of people during a softcore porn shoot. One woman manages to escape and tries to hide inside a Christmas Tree farm, but the killer chops off one of her legs and throws her feet-first into a woodchipper. Sheriff Cooper calls in Deputy Stanley Giles (Andrew Cecon) and goes out to find the killer himself, but comes back empty handed. Aubrey starts to suspect Santa Jim Epstein (Donal Logue), a local drunken Santa portrayer, drug dealer Stein Karsson (Mike O’Brian), and the perverted Reverend Madely (Curtis Moore).Rick Skene in Silent Night (2012)Aubrey attempts to interrogate Karrson, but he flees. Aubrey gives chase, but is nearly killed and only saved by Cooper. That evening, during the town’s annual Christmas parade, Aubrey searches for the killer, but is unable to identify him among a crowd of men dressed in Santa Claus suits, though she arrests Jim when he flees from her. The killer Santa continues on his spree, murdering Mayor Revie, his porn star daughter Tiffani (Courtney-Jane White), and her boyfriend Dennis (Erik J. Berg). The killer then arrives at the church and kills Reverend Madely for stealing donation money. Aubrey goes to Karrson’s motel room to arrest him, and is forced to kill him when he draws a gun.Rick Skene and Cortney Palm in Silent Night (2012)Aubrey notices a gift box that contains a piece of coal, and recalls that both the station and her father had received the same gift. Aubrey arrives at her parents’s home, only to find her father dead. Meanwhile, the killer attacks the station, killing Cooper, Giles, and Jim. Aubrey, along with the station secretary Brenda (Ellen Wong), are cornered by the killer inside the police station, where the killer tries to burn down the place with a homemade flamethrower. Aubrey is able to overpower the killer Santa and sets him on fire, but in the end he manages to escape.Rick Skene in Silent Night (2012)It is later revealed that the killer Santa is Ronald Jones Jr., owner of a local chimney cleaning and repair service, and he survived the flamethrower attack. During the hunt for the killer, Aubrey learns from another Santa portrayer that Ronald Sr. had crashed his ex-wife’s Christmas party many years ago, burning her alive with the homemade flamethrower. Aubrey’s father was the police officer that responded to the situation and gunned him down, only to find out that Ronald Jr. was in his father’s truck watching the entire time. The tragedy caused Ronald Jr. to go insane and seek revenge, dressing as Santa so he would not get caught during Cryer’s Christmas festivities.Rick Skene in Silent Night (2012)Now this is not a straight forward remake of SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT, but it does pay homage in a few scenes, if you remember how Linnea Quigley dies in the original you’ll know what i mean….its a solid film based on its own merit and storyline, some great gore and death scenes, and good acting by the most of the cast..unfortunately apart from Malcolm Mcdowell, who plays the sheriff, terrible dialogue and terrible acting, that was the only issue i had with it, because all round a great seasonal slasher, this will definitely be on the slasher/ horror list to watch every Christmas with all the rest,

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: ROSWELL – SAMUEL RISING

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MAIN CAST

Jason Behr (Dragon Wars)
Shriri Appleby (Swimfan)
Katherine Heigl (Killers)
Majandra Delfino (Traffic)
Brendan Fehr (Bones)
Nick Wechsler (Tru Calling)
William Sadler (Wonderfalls)
Adam Rdriguez (Ugly Betty)

SAMUEL RISING

GUEST CAST

Gavin Fink (View From The Top)
Sean O’ Bryan (Yes Man)
Navi Rawat (Feast)
Colleen Flynn (Project X)

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When an autistic child calls Max “Daddy”, Max believes that his lost son tries to contact him. Isabel organizes all kind of things to Christmas, again. And she determines the christmassy atmosphere with her ambition to a perfect Christmas with Jesse. Maria and Liz are playing the elves and they have to help Santa Claus – Michael. Max tries to help the autistic child by wanting to heal him, but it doesn’t work. Then, Max arranges that Isabel brings all three – Samuel, his mother and father – into Samuels dream. Whereby Isabel recognizes that Christmas is around family. Maria and Michael kiss again, but Maria pushes Michael away. She just want a friendship. Max confesses that he wanted to help Samuel not because of the child but only to use him in order to find his son.

A Touching second Christmas for Roswell and one that brings Autism to to the viewers mind, a powerful episode with a powerful message

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: ROSWELL – A ROSWELL CHRISTMAS CAROL

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MAIN CAST

Jason Behr (Dragon Wars)
Shriri Appleby (Swimfan)
Katherine Heigl (Killers)
Majandra Delfino (Traffic)
Brendan Fehr (Bones)
Colin Hanks (King Kong)
Nick Wechsler (Tru Calling)
Emilie De Ravin (Lost)
William Sadler (Wonderfalls)

A ROSWELL CHRISTMAS CAROL

GUEST CAST

Desmond Askew (GO)
Garrett M. Brown (Kick-Ass)
Mary Ellen Trainor (Ghostbusters 2)
Diane Farr (Two and a Half Men)

It is nighttime in a downtown Roswell Christmas tree lot. Max is measuring a tree because he has orders from Isabel (AKA the Christmas Nazi) to pick out the perfect tree. She has supplied him with a diagram and specific parameters of height, circumference, color and density of foliage. Michael is trying to get him to hurry up because he is cold and he wants to get to the hardware store before it closes, to get Maria’s present. Max suggests that, since she expects something significant this year, perhaps he should rethink the hardware store. Their attention is drawn to t! he sound of screeching tires. They look in time to see a father throw his daughter to safety, out of the path of an oncoming car, only to be hit himself. There is a sickening crunch as he hits the windshield, rolls to the ground, and lies very still. A crowd gathers around him; a man calls out for an ambulance; a woman says “He’s still breathing.”; the little girl keeps calling for her father. Max and Michael look on, distressed. Max is torn with indecision, but chooses to walk away when Michael tells him “Let’s go.” Cut to the next morning in the Evans kitchen. Diane’s news paper headline reads “Father of Two Dies Heroically in Tragic Accident”. Diane and Phillip commiserate over the family’s loss.2Phillip asks Max ‘Where’s the Christmas Nazi?” and Max replies that she is checking the lights on the house. Isabel comes in from the back door, dragging a small Christmas tree behind her, berating Max with “This is, by far, the most pathetic Christmas tree, I have ever seen. Did you even refer to my diagram?” Max apologizes, saying something came up so he had to run out that morning to get it and the choices were limited. Isabel is disgusted with him and says, had she known he couldn’t handle it, she would have squeezed it in herself, between the Hunger Drive and Christmas dinner at the nursing home. Diane brings up the family of the deceased father and, as Isabel mentions that she and others are considering organizing a vigil, Max notices the father sitting on top of the washing machine in the laundry room. Shocked, he walks over to him. Isabel starts telling Phillip about burned out lights and, turning to Max for his input, notices that he is standing in front of the washing machine. She does not see the father and sarcastically comments “Great, he’s doing laundry now.” Max stares at the father with uncertainty, then whispers “I’m sorry.” The father looks disdainfully at Max and says “How could you let me die?”f4d5d859641fc072At the Crashdown, Michael is trying to convince Maria to give him more time to get her gift, asking what difference it makes if he doesn’t have it until, say the 27th, instead of the 25th. Maria feels it makes a big difference and tells him “You give me that damn present on De! cember 25th or I’ll never speak to you again.” She then takes off to deliver Brody his lunch. Cut to the UFO Center. Brody tells her that he will be away for the next few days so she shouldn’t bother bringing his lunch. He is obviously down spirited but tells her everything’s fine when she asks. She reluctantly leaves, wishing him a Merry Christmas. At the Valenti home, Jim and Kyle are watching a football game on TV. After a disappointing play, Kyle says “His mind and body are in deep conflict. When one’s heart and one’s mind are not in balance, one’s body is the first to fail.” Disconcerted, Jim replies “I’m very concerned that you’re starting to make sense to me.” Tess comes in from outside, complaining about the day she had, amongst crazy Christmas shoppers. She sits on the ottoman, directly in front of the TV. They sway back and forth, trying to watch the game around her, as she tells her tale. Therefore, they are at an angle when a touchdown occurs and t! hey both execute a sideways cheer. They are only half paying attention to Tess as she tries to find out how they celebrate Christmas, without revealing her own interest. She learns that they have a plastic Christmas tree in the garage but they haven’t bothered to bring it in these past few years. Kyle adds “We like it in the garage. I use it to dry my socks.” She brings up Christmas dinner, and they say they have Christmas dinner at the Crashdown; all you can eat for $7.95. Clearly disappointed, Tess bravely smiles and says “Great! You know, I don’t celebrate Christmas anyway.” Jim replies “Great.” then he and Kyle cheer another play, not noticing Tess’ disappointment.
Image result for roswell A ROSWELL CHRISTMAS CAROLAt a store, Isabel discourages Michael from getting Maria an electric toothbrush for Christmas. She tells him “Think about all that you and Maria have shared, all that she means to you. Then start coming up with some ideas. OK? A Christmas gift should be personal, thoughtful, and something someo! ne would never get herself.” She tells him she has to go, rattling off a list of all the things she still has to do (rehearsal for the holiday pageant, dinner at the nursing home, wrapping presents) and complaining that she now has to add getting a Christmas tree to it. Michael hails the Christmas Nazi, as she leaves and she stops, turns and says “What did you say.” He pretends he said nothing but she knows otherwise. That evening, Maria and her friends are going to the homes of those experiencing misfortune, to sing Christmas carols. Max is watching, as they sing in front of the home of the father that was killed. His widow and two children are somber but appreciate the thought. The father, John, appears before Max and says “What are YOU doing out here?” Max replies “I just wanted to make sure they’re all right.” John responds “They’re not all right.” Max explains “If I had exposed myself last night, there are people I would have put at risk.”91d6d8965dd5bc4b1da7b0.80964457_John counters with “But it was OK for you to heal Liz Parker?” Max asks how he knows about that and he replies that he knows everything in Max’ mind, heart and soul. Max promises to watch out for his children. John asks for how long and Max replies “Until they’re OK.” Angry, John spits out “They’ll never be OK, Max! Don’t you understand that? They lost their father last night!” Max is visibly distressed and has no reply. Cut to the Crashdown, where Max reminds Liz that they had agreed to be friends and tells her “I think I need a friend.” Cut back to Maria and her friends going to the last house on the list – a 5 year old girl with cancer. The little girl comes out when she hears the singing and calls to her daddy to come out too. Maria is shocked when she sees Brody appear behind the little girl. He too is surprised to see her. Cut back to Max and Liz on her balcony. Max is telling her about seeing John get hit by the car, and that he could have healed him but didn’t. She tells! him he can’t hold himself responsible for that man’s life, that if he had healed him he would have risked exposing Michael, Isabel and Tess. John appears on the balcony and says “Well that was the sugar coated version, Max. Now tell her what you were really thinking.” Max cringes then, with a strained voice, says “I wasn’t thinking about Michael, Isabel and Tess. I was thinking about myself, in the White Room, and being tortured. I didn’t heal that man, because I was protecting myself. Why couldn’t I trade my life for his?” Liz tries to console him, but he is distracted by John, who is singing “Amazing Grace”, while he walks along the top of the balcony railing. Liz does not see John and is confused by his behavior. Scared, he tells her that John is haunting him – that he actually sees him. As he says “I have to do something.”, John falls backward off the railing. Max runs to him, reaching out to catch him, but nothing is there. John appears back on the balcony, s! aying “You need to restore the balance, Max.” Max says to Liz “I need to restore the balance.”
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The next day, Maria meets Brody outside his home. She learns that Brody’s daughter, Sydney, has inoperable bone marrow cancer. He tells her she’s with him for a few days, for Christmas. He apologizes for not mentioning her before but explains it’s hard to talk about. She tells him “If there’s anything I can do, anything at all…” He tells her she did enough just coming by the night before and compliments her singing voice. Sydney comes out, dressed as a princess, to tell Brody she’s having trouble with her crown. He explains that she is participating in the holiday pageant that day. Maria introduces herself to Sydney. She is quite taken with her and watches admiringly, as Brody helps Sydney with her crown. At his apartment, Michael explains to Isabel how a dirty, old, car bumper, he got for Maria’s Jetta, meets all her criteria: He personally knows how upset she is about how much they screwed up her car, it was Thoughtful of him to go to the junkyard to get it, and, it’s something she’d never get herself. Isabel sighs, then says she’s going to adjust her schedule to take him shopping and rectify this situation. Perturbed, Michael replies that he is not going to obsess over this present and make everyone else around him miserable.

 

Miffed, Isabel replies “What are you saying? That I get obsessed and make everyone around me miserable?” Michael replies “I didn’t say that.” Ranting, and pacing the room, Isabel says “You know, is it too much to ask, that ONE day a year, I can be like a NORMAL human being, with a normal life, and have a Merry Christmas ?” Michael replies under his breath “No, Mein Fuhrer.” Isabel whirls around saying “WHAT?” Michael pretends he said nothing but cringes waiting for the ax to fall. Isabel smiles knowingly, then as she prepares to leave, asks if she can leave some of her presents there, while she continues shopping. He says sure and breathes a sigh of relief when she leaves.At the grocery store, Jim tells Kyle to “go long” and tosses frozen dinner boxes to him, backing up into Amy’s cart in the process. They are VERY pleased to see each other. She not ices Tess and says “Oh my God, this must be the famous Tess; my daughter Maria has told me so much about you!” Smiling, Tess replies “I deny everything!” Amy praises Jim for living the Christmas spirit, by opening up his home to Tess. She tells him “This must be a very special year for all of you. You have a new member of your family!” It’s obvious that Jim hadn’t thought of it that way before, but he readily agrees with Amy. As Amy collects her turkey, she says “Remember Jim, if you ever want to stop by, there’ll always be a DeLuca Christmas pie waiting.” Jim replies “Thanks, Amy.” Tess has been observing their flirting with interest. At the park, Maria is telling Liz about Brody and Sydney. She’s been crying all day and tells Liz that she wants to BE with them, because Brody is such a good man, and Sydney needs a mother: Liz realizes that Maria is talking about marriage and reins her in by reminding her that she’s only 17 and that she can’t just step in and be! come someone’s mother. Maria realizes she’s acting crazy and Liz tells her she just cares too much but she should leave them alone and let Brody and Sydney have this time together. Maria replies “It’s so wrong. It’s Christmas. Christmas is supposed to have happy endings and miracles. Liz notices Max and gets an idea. Then hugs Maria to comfort her. Cut to Isabel, who is addressing an audience, welcoming them to Roswell’s 23rd Annual Holiday Pageant. She points out that they may know her as the Director of the Pageant, or as the President of the Hunger Drive or even as the Christmas Nazi. She looks pointedly at her parents, Max and Michael as she says the last. She then introduces the children, who all come out in various holiday costumes. Brody applauds enthusiastically as Sydney comes out. Liz runs up to Max and whispers in his ear. He looks up at Sydney on stage, then glances at Brody, then back at Sydney. John comes up behind Max and Liz and says “Looks like we have a plan.”

At Michael’s apartment, Max is telling Michael, Isabel and Tess about Sydney. Michael, repairing the bumper for Maria’s Jetta, angrily bangs on it as he reminds Max that healing Sydney will leave a silver hand print, which will act as a calling card to the FBI. Max disagrees, saying Nasedo destroyed all records so no one will make a connection. He realizes that he’s asking a big favor, that there are a million reasons not to do this, and only one reason to do it – he needs to. Isabel and Tess say they are behind him. Michael accepts that he is the “odd man out” and adds “We are here for a reason, Max. So, call me a selfish jerk, but I don’t think we should risk everything just so you can feel a little bit better about yourself for Christmas. It’s three against one, I’m voted down anyways.” Max tries to placate him but Michael interrupts with “You made your decision before you walked through that door. I know you did, I could hear it in your voice.  So, why don’t you just go do what you’re gonna do, and make sure you don’t screw up. That evening, at the Valenti home, Kyle and Jim are watching TV as Tess makes final preparations for their dinner. The home is very festive with all the Christmas decorations she has put up. She asks Kyle to get two more chairs for the dining room and is shocked to learn that there are no others. Jim tells her they usually eat in front of the TV so they had no need for more chairs. Upset, Tess responds “I have been cooking for 20 hours, while you two have been sitting back on the couch like two beached whales, not even noticing or caring that I am living here. tumblr_lvav9sne0M1qguk32o1_400OK, I am here! HELLO! Hello? So, since I’m LIVING here, I should have a DAMN chair to SIT in!” Jim and Kyle are shocked and chagrined by her outburst. Jim quietly says to Kyle “We could bring my desk chair over.” Kyle quietly responds “Good idea.” Tess asks where Amy will sit. This is the first Jim and Kyle are hearing ! that Tess invited Amy to dinner. Looking frightened, Jim asks when she’s coming. The doorbell rings and he goes into panic mode as he tries to sweep away the mess he and Kyle have made in the living room, and straighten up his own appearance, all the while yelling at Tess for inviting someone over without telling him first. He takes a deep breath, opens the door and greets Amy with a big smile. She’s all smiles too, thanks him for the note, inviting her over, says “I miss you too.” and steps into the house. Meanwhile, Max enters Brody’s home and sees John sitting in a living room chair. He tells Max he’s too late, Sydney was rushed to the hospital, and adds “Boy, do you have a dilemma.” Cut to Max knocking on Michael’s door. He tells Michael he’s going to the Phoenix hospital. He realizes it’s a little more dangerous and thought he should know. Related imageMichael responds “I’m going with you. I just want to keep you from getting us all killed.” Cut back to the Valenti hom! e. The four of them are all laughing and enjoying the evening immensely. Amy and Jim start reminiscing about their past, as Tess is bringing in the food from the kitchen. Kyle is especially pleased that Tess has prepared his favorite dish – 3 cheese potato gratin, with bacon on the bottom. He follows her into the kitchen and asks if she needs help carving the turkey. She smiles, says “I got it.”, and waves her hand over the turkey, creating perfect slices. He thanks her for putting the whole thing together, saying “This is the best Christmas dinner we’ve had in a long time. I mean two guys living alone, we just never really had the Christmas spirit.” They both notice how much Jim is enjoying Amy’s company and Tess says “Well, it looks like he’s got the spirit now!” Kyle smiles and says “That’s a really great gift that you gave him. To both of us, I mean.” Tess replies “This is a great gift to me too.” and proceeds to carry the turkey into the dining room, where it is! well received. Kyle watches her and smiles appreciatively.
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At the hospital, as they are approaching the door to the children’s ward, Michael arranges a signal with Max – “three knocks means we’re screwed.” Max goes into the room and kneels by Sydney’s bed. She awakens and asks “Who are you?” He gently tells her it’s OK, he’s just a dream and she should go back to sleep. She closes her eyes and he passes his hands over her body. Then he places his hand on her stomach. He breathes in sharply from the strain of the healing. We see flashes of her past – Brody holding her as a baby, running happily about her home as a toddler, etc. Weakened, Max stands up, then pauses when he sees the little boy in the next bed. John appears beside him and smiles, knowingly. Cut to the other side of the door, where Michael is standing guard and a nurse is becoming suspicious. Michael knocks three times. Max hears, but goes to the little boy anyway. The nurse approaches Michael a! nd says “Excuse me, I’m supposed to check this ward.” Michael responds “I’ll save you the trouble. Someone just checked it.” Cut back to the ward. Max is healing each child in the ward. One child awakens and asks “Are you an angel?” Max is getting weaker and weaker, his vision is impaired and he is stumbling from one bed to another. Cut to outside the door. The nurse has notified security and they are approaching. Michael goes into the room and locks the door behind him. He discovers that Max has collapsed and runs to him. Security is trying to break down the door. Michael looks to the heavens and says “If there’s a God, please help us now.” Cut to security and the nurse bursting through the door to discover the children all awake and playing on their beds. The window is open. christmas naziThe next day, in the Evans kitchen, they are all watching a news broadcast as one of the mother’s of the healed children is interviewed. She tells everyone that her son was cured of his cancer. Max is very pensive. Diane calls it a “miracle” and Phillip reminds her that all the children were undergoing experimental treatment. Diane thinks the imprint of the hand on the children should be enough to convince anyone that God was involved, eve n Max, who she hopes will join them for the midnight service. At Michael’s apartment, he is polishing the bumper (which now looks new), when Maria comes in. He quickly covers it. She tells him she heard about what he did for Sydney and the other children. He tells her it was Max, not him. She says “This whole thing with Sydney has made me realize how stupid I’ve been about this gift thing. I don’t need a gift.” He tells her he already got her one and she gets as excited as a child. She notices the smell from the polishing solvent and pulls off the cover. He tells her it’s not dry yet. She asks if it’s a Jetta bumper and he says “Not yet, but it’s gonna be.” She looks at him sweetly and says “Michael, that is so thoughtful!” He is pleased that she appreciates his effort, kisses her on the cheek and says “Merry Christmas.” She says “Thank you, Michael. Thank you.” Then she playfully swats him on the arm and says “So, do you want to exchange gifts now?” She po! ints to the wrapped presents Isabel left behind and asks if one is for her. Michael now realizes she expects more than the bumper as a gift, so he lies and says “Yes. I’ll go and get it.” He walks over to the gifts, not knowing how he is going to get out of this. He tells her not to look, as he picks through the boxes. He notices a note from Isabel attached to one that reads “Michael, just in case, Love, The Christmas Nazi.” Michael smiles, removes the note and sees a tag that says “To Maria Merry Christmas Love From Michael”. He hands her the gift and all excited she says “What is it? What is it?” Sitting in a chair, under his breath he replies “That’s a good question.” Not sure what’s inside will please her, he reminds her that he was in Phoenix saving lives, so he was strapped for time and then silently prays to God. She is astonished to find real pearl earrings. He is too. Sitting in his lap, she says “Oh my God, this must have cost you a fortune!” He replies! “I’m sure they will.” She tells him “These are the most beautiful earrings I’ve ever seen. But I don’t need this gift. This year, my gift is you.” and kisses him. Hopeful, he replies “So you don’t want the earrings then?” Dashing his hopes she replies “Oh no, I’ll keep the earrings.” and hugs him. He breathes a sigh of relief and shakes his head.

 

That evening, Max taps on Liz’ bedroom window. He thanks her for telling him about Sydney. She asks if he’s still haunted and he replies “I don’t think so.” She asks why he healed all the children. He replies “How could I not? How could I not use my gift?” She gently responds “As beautiful as that is Max, you can’t keep doing it. I know it seems like there’s no reason for those kids to have cancer, or for a father to get killed saving his child, or for any of it, but maybe there is. Maybe there is someone, or something out there that’s planning all of this. And maybe you have to respect it. You’re not God, Max. ! You’re the one who told me that. Will you come to midnight service?” He replies “I’d like to, but I don’t believe in God.” Her disappointment shows. He wishes her a Merry Christmas as he leaves. She shuts the window and resignedly says “Merry Christmas, Max.” Cut to Max and John walking outside John’s home. John assures Max that his family will be OK, because his wife is pretty remarkable. Max vows to be there for them if they ever need him. He tells Max he should go be with his loved ones now. He walks through the closed door of his home, then disappears.roswell2x10_0189Cut to Max at home alone, using his powers to fix a burned out Christmas light. Michael comes in. Max is surprised he is going to the midnight service saying “You don’t believe in anything.” Michael says he’s hedging his bets, since his prayers were answered twice in the past two days. He asks Max about his powers. Max replies that they are starting to return. Michael tells him he’s pissed that he didn’t hav! e the ability to help the kids in the hospital that Max couldn’t get to. He brings him to Brody’s house so Max can see Sydney and Brody snuggled together by the Christmas tree in their living room. Cut to the midnight service, being held outside; the choir is singing Christmas carols. Jim, Tess and Kyle are sitting together holding candles. Amy, Maria and Michael are in the row behind them. Jim and Amy smile at one another. Maria is wearing her new earrings and Isabel, a couple of rows ahead, notices and motions to Michael that he “owes” her. Diane and Phillip smile when they see Max approach. He kisses Diane then moves further down the row to sit next to Liz. She smiles at him and teasingly says “I thought you didn’t believe in God?” He takes her hand in his and replies “I believe in you.” It gently begins to snow.roswellOne of the most memorable episodes of the entire series and such a heart warming story for the holidays.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DISTURBING BEHAVIOR

CAST

James Marsden (Superman Returns)
Katie Holmes (Go)
Nick Stahl (Terminator 3)
Tobias Mehler (Wishmaster 3)
Steve Railsback (Lifeforce)
Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek)
Katharine Isabelle (American Mary)
William Sadler (Roswell)
Ethan Embry (Eagle Eye)
Derek Hamilton (Arrow)
Chad Donella (Smallville)
Natassia Malthe (Elektra)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Brendan Fehr (Bones)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (V)
Carly Pope (Popular)
Lynda Boyd (Power Rangers In Space)
Daniella Evangelista (Ripper)
A.J. Buckley (Pure)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)
Garry Chalk (Dark Angel)

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Steve Clark (James Marsden) is a high school senior whose family moves to Cradle Bay, a picturesque coastal town in Washington state’s Puget Sound with his parents. It has been nearly one year since Steve’s older brother, Allen (Ethan Embry), committed suicide which traumatized the family. Steve’s parents tell him that they have relocated from Chicago to Cradle Bay as a fresh start to move on with their lives.

During Steve’s first day at his new high school, he meets and befriends three outcast students, Gavin Strick (Nick Stahl), U.V. (Chad Donella), and Rachel Wagner (Katie Holmes). Gavin tries to tell Steve that he believes there is something evil about the “Blue Ribbons”—a clique of students taking part in a “special program” led by the school psychologist, Dr. Caldicott (Bruce Greenwood). Steve is understandably skeptical. The following day at lunch, Gavin walks in looking like a Blue Ribbon. When Steve tries to confront Gavin, he gets punched in the stomach for his impertinence. Later, after being chased home, Steve finds Blue Ribbon member Lorna Longley in his living room, waiting to seduce him under the pretense of helping his younger sister study. However, her heightened arousal causes her to suddenly behave erratically and smash her head into a mirror, after which she is taken to a medical facility under Dr. Caldicott’s care. Now Steve and Rachel must find the source of the Blue Ribbons as well as try and save the rest of the school before it’s too late. They find a CD-R disc that Gavin hid for them in the boiler room, containing a video he made of himself before his “transformation”, telling them about the club and about the history that he learned about Dr. Caldicott.
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During this, Steve also befriends Dorian (William Sadler), the school janitor, who appears to be mentally handicapped and hunts rats for the city for some extra cash. Dorian demonstrates a device called an E-Rat-icator which emits a soft, high pitched whine that is supposed to be innocuous but annoying to rats, which is an abysmal failure. Steve discovers that Dorian is actually highly intelligent, and carries classical literature pieces with him, and that he’s hiding because he wishes to be left alone and does not trust society. Dorian also tells Steve that he suspects that the entire community of Cradle Bay is part of a massive conspiracy made up of nearly all of the parents, as well as the local police chief Cox, the school principal and entire school faculty, who hired Dr. Caldicott to “re-program” their own children to become the perfect people that they want them to be and not free-thinkers. A little later, during an encounter where a Blue Ribbon known as “Chug” (A.J. Buckley) assaults Rachel in the school basement, the E-Rat-icator goes off, and immediately sends the student into a psychotic fit, driving him away. During their personal investigation, Steve and Rachel try to find out what exactly has been happening to the Blue Ribbon kids, which leads them to a mental hospital called Bishop Flats following a lead on the disc that Gavin left behind. Here, they find out that mind control is being used to make depressed, awkward and unruly teens become perfect so they can function properly in life, but the programming has some glitches that lead to momentary relapses which cause violent fits. Also at Bishop Flats, they find Caldicott’s daughter, Betty (Julie Patzwald), a failed project who spends her time repeating the same phrase: “Meet the musical little creatures that hide among the flowers”.

After escaping from the hospital, Steve and Rachel have a run-in with the town’s police chief Cox (Steve Railsback) who is also involved in the conspiracy and he tries to arrest them after learning from Dr. Caldicott about their excursion to the mental hospital. But Dorian shows up under the pretense that he is disposing of dead rats when he subdues the police chief and tells Steve and Rachel to leave town and go public with what they know about Dr. Caldicott’s work. When Rachel and Steve return home, they plan to get out of town along with Steve’s younger sister, Lindsay (Katharine Isabelle), but when they arrive at Steve’s house, Steve’s parents (Terry David Mulligan and Susan Hogan) reveal that they are also part of the conspiracy and that they moved to Cradle Bay for the sole purpose to sign him up for Caldicott’s program. Steve and Lindsay try to get out but they get ambushed by a group of Blue Ribbons waiting for them outside the house. They drag Steve and Rachel to the programming center, but Steve escapes and rescues Rachel, killing the medical techs as well as Chug who has been left behind to guard them.

They try to get out of town again with Lindsay and U.V., but the Blue Ribbons and Caldicott are waiting for them on the road near the ferry out of town. When hope seems lost, Dorian drives up, his car hooked up with multiple E-Rat-icators that scramble the mind control tech inside the Blue Ribbons’ heads. They chase after Dorian and try to destroy the E-Rat-icators, but, having been fatally wounded after being shot by Caldicott, Dorian drives his car off a cliff with most of the Blue Ribbons hanging onto his car. This leads to a final battle between Steve and Caldicott, which Steve wins by kicking Caldicott off the cliff. Steve and Rachel then leave town on the ferry with Lindsay and U.V. to begin a new life elsewhere without their parents.

The final scene shows a classroom in an urban high school with kids playing loud music, cursing, and acting up. They are informed that they have a new teacher. The well-groomed substitute turns around, and it’s Gavin, with the blue ribbon “twinkle” still active in his eye.Disturbing Behavior has essentially received much unfair criticism for what is a solid science fiction teen horror film.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE FORSAKEN

CAST

Kerr Smith (Final Destination)
Brendan Fehr (Roswell)
Izabella Miko (The Cape)
Johnathon Schaech (Legends of Tomorrow)
Phina Oruche (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Simon Rex (Scary Movie 3,4 & 5)
A.J. Buckley (CSI: NY)

While driving a delivery car across desolate desert badlands backroads self-absorbed twentysomething slacker Sean (amiable Kerr Smith) winds up running into both scruffy vampire hunter Nick (an excellent, charismatically ragtag turn by Brendan Fehr) and a deadly bunch of age-old itinerant bloodsuckers led by the smoothly malevolent Kit (the terrific Jonathan Schaech, who’s wonderfully wicked in a juicy full-blown nasty villain part). Opening with the arresting image of beautiful blonde babe Izabella Miko washing blood off her bare breasts in the shower, culminating with an exciting explosive climax, with a handy helping of graphic gore, raucous roaring rock music and rousing vehicular action sandwiched in between, this delightfully down’n’dirty low-budget Grade B exploitation horror flick sizes up as a tasty trashy treat. Writer/director J.S. (“The Slayer,” “Shadowzone”) Cardone elicits sound performances from the entire cast (veteran late, great character actress Carrie Snodgress in particular contributes a lively last reel cameo as a feisty old battle axe), keeps the unflagging pace fast’n’furious throughout, and, most importantly, delivers the unapologetically lowdown sleazy goods with a winning dearth of pretense and a hugely satisfying surplus of rip-snorting panache.

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Moreover, there’s a marvelously positive and optimistic statement about the redemption of Generation X in this movie: Sean starts out as strictly interested in achieving his own immediate goals in life, but by meeting Nick and joining forces with him to fight the vampires he overcomes his initial selfishness and thus redeems himself in the process. Cardone persuasively makes the point that the allegedly “lost” and hopeless Generation X has a latent capacity to amount to something; all they need is the right stimulus to spark them into action. Since I’m often perceived as a member of this “lost” generation, I found this message to be both very refreshing and extremely heartening. It’s nice to know that there are a few filmmakers out there like Mr. Cardone who haven’t totally written us off as a lost cause. A splendidly scuzzy and snappy dilly that’s one of my favorite fright features of the early 21st century which even comes complete with some pertinent social commentary about modern youth.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY (1998-1999)

MAIN CAST

Glenn Taranto (Crash 2004)
Ellie Harvie (The Cabin In The Woods)
Brody Smith (Rat Race)
Nicole Fugere (Cosas Que Nunca Te Dije)
Betty Phillips (2012)
Michael Roberds (Elf)
John DeSantis (Little Man)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Monika Schnarre (Andromeda)
Gabrielle Miller (Highlander: The Series)
David Lewis (Man of Steel)
John Astin (The Frighteners)
Jennifer Copping (Slither)
Samantha Ferris (Along Came A Spider)
Jessica Harmon (Izombie)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
David Palffy (Stargate SG.1)
Richard Ian Cox (Ghost Rider)
April Telek (Walking Tall)
Brendan Fehr (Roswell)
Morgan Fairchild (Chuck)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)
Courtnay J. Stevens (Ripper)
Christopher Shyer (V)

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The 1991 film The Addams Family had distinguished performers Angelica Huston and Raul Julia, and took over $100,000,000 at the box office. Both this film and its 1993 sequel, Addams Family Values, were based heavily on Addams’ original cartoons, and introduced a whole new generation of fans to the Addamses. A script for another sequel had already been prepared before the sudden 1994 death of Raul Julia ended plans for a third movie. Despite the apparent end of the film franchise, rumours of a return to the small screen persisted. In the meantime, original Gomez John Astin loaned his vocal talents to an Emmy award winning 1992 animated series, which lasted for two seasons. In 1998, the Fox empire negotiated the acquisition of the US Family Channel, which wud be re-launched in the fall under the Fox banner, with a large number of new original programmes and specials, produced in partnership with Saban International. Saban had established themselves as leaders in the field of economical children’s television throughout the 1990s. A number of original TV movies were to be produced for airing on the channel, with prior releases on the sell-through home video market. Among the initial raft of titles announced was Addams Family Reunion, which would star Tim Curry and Daryl Hannah. Produced hastily in California in the early months of 1999, it debuted on Home Video in the fall to almost unanimous derision.

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However, before production on the new film wrapped, Saban and Fox Family Channel announced that a 65-episode series of The New Addams Family would debut as part of the new line-up. The new series was to be a joint effort between Saban and Shavick Entertainment. The series, which would “mix characters from both the classic series and recent films”, was to be produced in Vancouver at a cost of $35 million and represented a near unprecedented advance commitment. Filming in British Columbia, with its generous tax incentives, not to mention a cast of relative unknowns, it was hoped that the series could be produced economically to a high standard. As a further budgetary measure, many of the specialist props, costumes and settings from Reunion were put to use in the new episodes.

With budget and the Vancouver location immediately precluding the participation of much of the Addams Family Reunion troupe, it would be a largely new cast which would front the new series. The new cast was assembled mostly from Canadian talent, with the exceptions of Nicole Fugere, who would reprise her role of Wednesday from Reunion and Glenn Taranto, a last-minute placement in the role of Gomez, cast after the initial choice proved unsuitable.

Originally, the producers had envisaged a Gomez more in line with the Hispanic silhouette Raul Julia embodied on the big screen. With this in mind, Frank Roman was initially cast in the role, beating out Glenn Taranto, who had offered an audition performance based on John Astin’s interpretation. However, once rehearsals were underway, it became clear that the tone of the episodes owed more to the series of old than the films, convincing the producers to reconsider their decision, awarding the role to Taranto. The actor had kept a signed photograph of the original Gomez, John Astin, in his possession for a number of years, and felt a special affinity for the role; over the years, a number of people had commented on his physical and vocal similarity to Astin.

Award-winning comedienne Ellie Harvie would play Morticia, along with Michael Roberds as Uncle Fester. Veteran performer Betty Phillips would play the wizened Grandmama Addams, whilst newcomers John DeSantis, Brody Smith and Steven Fox would essay the roles of Lurch, Pugsley and Thing, respectively. Production on the new episodes began in earnest in the Spring of 1998.

As it emerged, the new series owed much of its style and tone to the Addamses of the small-screen, and a large number of the original television scripts were adapted and revised as the basis for new episodes. This task fell largely to the show’s Executive Consultant, Peggy Nicol and her successors Arnold Rudnik and Rich Hosek. The remade episodes were generally heavily restructured and rewritten, often with only the barest bones of the originals retained.  The Fox Family Channel intended to use the established Addams format as the ballast for its re-launch, with stripped broadcasts throughout weekday evenings. With a mammoth episode count required in time for the October launch-date, the new cast would shoot at a frantic pace, with an average of only three filming days devoted to each episode.

A number of large regular sets were built in the studio to represent the Addams abode. Budgets and time precluded the building of an exterior to the mansion, which was instead realised with computer animation. A small exterior backlot set housed the gateway to the mansion, allowing for rare outside excursions. Like the original series, location shoots would be few and far between. With rapid production imperative, the crew often worked 14-hour days. Make-up alone could last as long as 90-minutes at a time. However, despite the highly demanding working conditions, the cast members generally relished their roles. Harvie, Taranto and Roberds based their performances heavily on their sixties counterparts, having watched the original show as children. Between them, they gradually brought their own broader interpretations to their roles, adding their own comic style.

An early seal of approval was found in the form of an inspired guest appearance by original Gomez, John Astin, in the role of Great Grandpapa Addams. Both Astin and the regular cast enjoyed the experience immensely, as Ellie Harvie recalled: “There was one scene where I was speaking French and he runs in and says, ‘Tish, that’s French!’ and starts kissing my arm and then Gomez walks in and says, ‘Grandpapa, what are you doing?’ There was a second there when he was kissing my arm and I thought, ‘This is too weird. I’m Morticia’!” Astin reprised Great Grandpapa for a further two episodes of the series. The New Addams Family premiered on the Fox Family Channel on October 19th 1998, following a huge publicity drive. Fox Family used the series as the cornerstone for their 13 Days of Halloween special, and followed soon after with The Addams Family Scareathon, a day of stripped repeats linked with specially filmed promotional spots by the characters.

In print, posters advertising the show appeared throughout the New York Subway system whilst TV-Guide magazine featured prominent advertisements for the show. A number of items were produced purely for promotional purposes. These included engraved cigar boxes, complete with a preview videotape, New Addams Family picture frames (filled with plastic bugs and bones) along with t-shirts, rucksacks and other sundries.

Concurrently, Cool-Whip dessert topping was showcasing a major promotion for Addams Family Reunion. The network aired huge numbers of specially shot promotional spots, whilst the characters themselves were featured as part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. Critical reaction was conservative, but generally positive.

Fox Family’s massive publicity drive paid off. In a press release issued shortly after the premiere, the network reported that: “Highlighting the prime time line-up was the debut episode of The New Addams Family, the highest-rated first-run series in Fox Family Channel history. Addams proved a particularly strong attraction to Kids 6-11, with the debut delivering a Fox Family Channel prime time series record 2.04 rating in that demographic. Having excelled as part of the Fox Family Channel’s re-launch, The New Addams Family was to prove a surprisingly short-lived revival, producing only one episode more than its television parent.

Sadly, the promising viewing figures and audience reaction were not enough to ensure a second number of episodes, and with its 65th episode, Death Visits the Addams Family, the new series bade farewell to its new-found fan base. Reportedly, during the final weeks of production an abortive proposal was made for a straight-to-video movie sequel. Ultimately, the motivations behind the cancellation are numerous, and neither Shavick nor Fox Family Channel have ever issued an official statement regarding it. However, certain facts and comments from production alumni do go some way to explaining the decision. For the network, it would seem that any interest in continuing beyond their contracted quota was minimal, as their huge order of episodes gave them a sufficient number of shows to exploit the series with its existing library. With large numbers of shows readily available, there was no immediate incentive for them to produce further episodes. The cast and crew had been engaged on fixed-rate contracts, which expired at the end of production. Having forfeited their rights to valuable residual payments for the series, it was inconceivable that they would agree to such frugal terms for a second run. While the news was disappointing to viewers, in fairness, the show’s production team had completed a quota of episodes far in excess of the annual 25 of most modern sitcom productions.

The disappointment of the cast and crew at the premature and abrupt nature of the cancellation was seemingly vindicated during the 2000 Leo Awards, where The New Addams Family retrospectively won eight awards out of a nominated nine

REVIEW: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

 

CAST

Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Dave Bautista (Riddick)
Vin Diesel (The Fast and The Furious)
Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead)
Karen Gillan (Oculus)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
John C. Reilly (Step Brothers)
Glenn Close (Hoodwinked!)
Benicio Del Toro (Traffic)
Lauda Haddock (Luther)
Peter Serafinowicz (Spy)
Gregg Henry (Payback)
Brendan Fehr (Roswell)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Alexis Denisof (Angel)
Ophelia Lovibond (4.3.2.1.)
Rob Zombie (Super)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
John Brotherton (Fuller House)
Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Wyatt Oleff (IT)

Lee Pace in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)Guardians of the Galaxy stars are a loosely shaped band of intergalactic scoundrels who go from being bad guys to heroes despite their own penchant for greed and self-preservation. Amongst them is a cosmic kidnapping victim who goes by Star-Lord, a terrible alias, which is why most folks call him by his Earth name, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, Parks and Recreation). Stolen from his parents in the movie’s prologue, Quill has become a spacefaring thief and scavenger. He has recently struck off on his own, betraying his adopted crew to sell a mysterious metal orb and pocket the profits. This action sets off reverberations, angering the orb’s intended recipient, a brutal thug called Ronan (Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies), and landing a rather large bounty on Quill’s head. Ronan dispatches one of his minions, Gamora (Zoe Saldana, Star Trek), to get him the object. Blows are exchanged. Chris Pratt manages the physicality with a surprising ease, while also making it okay for those of us sick of Andy Dwyer to like the perfomer again. Zoe Saldana is at her most badass, continuing to prove that she should be the star of her own action franchise. (She was the only thing good in Colombiana). Further complications arise, however, when her efforts are derailed by the presence of the aforementioned raccoon and tree.Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)Rocket Raccoon and Groot (voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, respectively) are misfit bounty hunters who intend to collect on Quill’s head. Rocket is a violent little bastard who is the product of some sinister experiments, and Groot is a kindly wood creature who comes from parts unknown. These two steal the movie, I promise you. Cooper’s vocal performance has a glee and abandon I’d like to see from him in the flesh, and those who remember how Diesel tugged at our heartstrings doing similar work in The Iron Giant will be pleased to have him work his magic here, too. Groot can only say one phrase, “I am Groot,” and like Woo shouting out a certain obscenity when talking to Al Swearengen in Deadwood, how he says it is indicative of its meaning. The computer effects team for Guardians easily bests even Dawn of the Planet of the Apes for creating believable, fully realized creatures that simply should not be.Lee Pace in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)The four bad guys tussle on a peaceful planet, and end up arrested. It’s in prison that they find their fifth Guardian, a shirtless bruiser called Drax the Destroyer (wrestler Dave Bautista) who has a grudge against Gamora’s former employer. He agrees to stave off killing her and go along with their prison break if it means they’ll take him to Ronan. And so an unlikely group of heroes is born.Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)The basic plot of Guardians of the Galaxy, which was co-written by Nicole Perlman and director James Gunn (Slither, Super), follows the Guardians as they first try to keep the orb out of Ronan’s hands and then, after they simultaneously lose it and discover what it really holds, get it back before he begins a path of destruction across the universe. The main genre is more adventure than sci-fi, and the tone lighter and more comic than a lot of recent superhero movies, but that’s what makes Guardians of the Galaxy so refreshing.