REVIEW: STEPHEN KING’S IT (1990)

CAST

Tim Curry (Legend)
Harry Anderson (The Escape Artist)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Dennis Christopher (Fade To Black)
Richard Masur (The Burning Bed)
Annette O’ Toole (Smallville)
Emily Perkins (Ginger Snaps)
Tim Reid (That 70s Show)
John Ritter (Bad Santa)
Richard Thomas (The Waltons)
Jonathan Brandis (Seaquest)
Michael Cole (Chuka)
Olivia Hussey (Black Christmas)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Venus Terzo (Arrow)
Frank C. Turner (Alone In The Dark)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Steve Makaj (Stargate SG.1)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)
Megan Leitch (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Laura Harris (Dead Like Me)

In Derry, Maine, 1960, a young boy named George “Georgie” Denbrough is lured to a storm drain by a strange, yet seemingly kind, man dressed in a clown costume named Pennywise. After a brief conversation, Pennywise reveals his malevolent nature and murders Georgie. Georgie’s older brother Bill is taunted by Pennywise as well. He and six other outcast children, who form a group called the Losers Club, discover they are all being tormented by the ambiguous clown. The rest of the group consists of the overweight but smart Ben Hanscom, asthmatic Eddie Kaspbrak who lives with his overprotective mother, Beverly Marsh who lives with her alcoholic father, comical Richie Tozier, Jewish boy scout Stan Uris, and African-American student Mike Hanlon. In turn, all of them are bullied by the psychotic Henry Bowers and his gang.

The Losers soon theorize that Pennywise is not a human being, he is instead an otherworldly creature that surfaces every thirty years in Derry to murder children and therefore they dub him “It”. To avenge Georgie and others killed by It, the Losers venture into the sewers where the clown lurks. They are followed by Henry and his friends Victor Criss and Belch Huggins, who threaten Stan, only for It to kill Victor and Belch, but spares the terrified Henry, whose hair turns white. It, as Pennywise, catches up to the Losers and grabs Stan, bragging that he is immortal and eats children. Guessing It’s powers are based around imagination, the Losers fight back using the same power, melting Pennywise’s face with imaginary battery acid and Beverly smashes a hole in his head using a silver projectile. Pennywise escapes wounded, and the seven make a promise to return and kill him should It resurface. Henry is arrested and institutionalized when he confesses to murdering his friends and the children It killed.

Thirty years later, in 1990, Pennywise returns and begins murdering children in Derry. Mike, a librarian still living in Derry, summons his six friends back to Derry to fulfil their vow. Bill has become a horror novelist married to actress Audra Phillips, Ben is an architect, Beverly is a fashion designer but in an unhappy relationship, Richie is a late night TV comedian, Eddie runs a limousine service but still lives with his mother, and Stan is a real estate broker. While five of them agree to come, Stan commits suicide in his bath tub and writes “It” on the wall in blood. The remaining six are individually scared by Pennywise, before reuniting for dinner, though Pennywise frightens them there too. They soon learn of Stan’s suicide shortly after.

Elsewhere, an older Henry is visited and befriended by Pennywise who sends him to Derry to kill the Losers. Audra also arrives in town following Bill but falls victim to It’s paralyzing “deadlights” and falls into a catatonic state. Henry wounds Mike, but is killed by his own knife during a scuffle with the other Losers. With Mike hospitalised, the five remaining Losers decide to destroy It for good. They confront It, who now appears as a monstrous spider. Eddie is killed by It, but Beverly mortally wounds It with her slingshot, and the Losers tear the spider apart. They remove the comatose Audra and Eddie’s body from the sewers, burying him in Derry’s cemetery.
The Losers go their separate ways, free from It’s torment forever. Richie is cast in a film, Beverly and Ben get married and are expecting their first child, and Mike recovers. Bill manages to coax Audra out of her catatonia by going on a ride on his childhood bicycle, which had once freed a young Stan from his fear. With It gone, the Losers can move on with their lives and leave Derry behind.Tim Curry is amazing as Pennywise, bringing a truly terrifying dimension to the evil clown. There are incredible performances from the child stars, all of whom are engaging and. The adult versions of the children are also excellent, particularly Tim Reid, Richard Thomas and, of course, the late, great John Ritter.  It’s worth mentioning that the DVD of “Stephen King’s It” contains an excellent commentary by the actors mentioned and the director, Tommy Lee Wallace (who also directed “Halloween 3:Season Of The Witch”). It is full of great trivia and anecdotes and John Ritter’s charisma and genuine love of the project shines through. So if you’re a fan of great horror and don’t mind developing a fear of clowns, then I highly recommend this under-rated gem of a movie!

REVIEW: STARGATE: ATLANTIS – SEASON 3

Starring

Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Torri Higginson (Dark Waters)
Jason Momoa (Aquaman)
Rachel Luttrell (A Dog’s Breakfast)
David Hewlett (Rise of TPOTA)
Paul McGillion (The Flash)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
Kavan Smith (Mission to Mars)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Eye)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Julia Benson (The Order)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girl)
Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Heather Doerksen (Van Hesling)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Robert Davi (The Bad Pack)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
Kate Hewlett (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Nels Lennarson (Horns)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Megan Leitch (IT)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Claire Rankin (Taken TV)
Leela Savasta (Big Eyes)
Laura Harris (Dead Like Me)
Kenneth Welsh (Timecop)
Brenda James (Slither)
Caroline Cave (Van Helsing)
Lara Gilchrist (Battlestar Galactica)
Daniel Bacon (The BFG)
Andee Frizzell (Flash Gordon)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)

Atlantis has emerged as the name not of a location that cannot be moved, but of a truly mobile city that can relocate . well, to anywhere. The season ends with the city blasting off into space. Season Three had some great moments. The season finale . was splendid. And the season featured what may be my favorite episode of the entire series so far in “Common Ground,” in which the Genii kidnap Sheppard and enclose him with a wraith who is allowed to feed on no one else.Christopher Heyerdahl in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Christopher Heyerdahl has played the wraith in this episode he was allowed to give this particular wraith a dignity and complexity not allowed any other wraith with the exception of Michael. He gradually drains the life out of Sheppard out of sheer necessity before the two of them, cooperating as human and wraith never have before, manage to escape from the Genii. Then, in a moment that could lead to interesting plot developments in the future, we discover that the wraiths cannot only drain another creature of life, they can also imbue them with it, and as a sign of comradeship he heals Sheppard.Joe Flanigan in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Season 3 sets up many changes that carry over into the fourth season, with becketts death in Sunday and Wier leaving the show, and Amanda Tapping taking over, its a great season leaving leaving things on a cliffhanger to be resolved in season 4.

REVIEW: THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA – PART 1

Kiernan Shipka in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)

Starring

Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men)
Ross Lynch (Muppets Most Wanted)
Lucy Davis (Wonder Woman)
Chance Perdomo (Killed By Debt)
Michelle Gomez (Bad Education)
Jaz Sinclair (Slender Man)
Tati Gabrielle (The 100)
Adeline Rudolph
Richard Coyle (5 Day of War)
Miranda Otto (Lord of The Rings)
Lachlan Watson (The Ultimate Life)

Miranda Otto, Lucy Davis, and Kiernan Shipka in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Bronson Pinchot (Lois & CLark)
Abigail F. Cowen (Stranger Things)
Adrian Hough (The Fog)
Gavin Leatherwood (Wicked Enigma)
Justin Dobies (Get The Girl)
Kurt Max Runte (Elektra)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Smallville)
Ty Wood (The Haunting In Connecticut)
Darren Mann (Giant Little Ones)
Christopher Rosamond (Van Helsing)
Gavin Leatherwood (Wicked Enigma)
Alvina August (The Intruder)
Megan Leitch (The X-Files)
Alessandro Juliani (Man of Steel)
L. Scott Caldwell (Lost)
Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica)
John Rubinstein (Angel)

Kiernan Shipka in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is the latest incarnation of a long-running teen archetype — the half-witch, half-human, all-American girl, fighting to grow up on her own terms and being front and center in an ever-mutating story about girldom and its discontents. Every iteration is different — the Archie comic book, the groovy Seventies cartoon, the post-Sassy Melissa Joan Hart 1990s sitcom, the macabre new Netflix thriller. Like A Star Is Born, it’s a story gets told over and over, because each generation’s Sabrina has a new tale to tell. But there’s always the premise there’s something inherently occult about being a teenage girl in a hostile world — that growing up female means living a secret life the straight world will never know.Michelle Gomez, Kiernan Shipka, Ross Lynch, Jaz Sinclair, and Lachlan Watson in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)And the superb Chilling Adventures is the first version that’s an outright horror story. Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa takes the Archie Comics milieu and gives it a dark and edgy makeover, as he did on the CW’s fabulously lurid Riverdale. Mad Men‘s Kiernan Shipka is a truly fearsome teen, trapped in the interzone between high school and the netherworld. This time, instead of tangling with Britney or N’Sync, she’s taking on her devil-worshipping coven and its misogynistic satanic patriarch. “This is totally the Sabrina for 2018, in so many ways,” Shipka told Variety. “She’s a woke witch.”Kiernan Shipka in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)Sabrina started out as just another bit player in the Archie Comics universe. She made a brief Archie’s Madhouse appearance in in 1962, when it hard to say if America was more terrified of “teenage” or “witch.” But tellingly, she never came into her own as a Sixties character, and didn’t get her own comic book until 1971, after the show became a hit — it was TV, not the comics, where Sabrina blew up into an icon. Her story really starts with the 1970 Saturday-morning cartoon, from the era of Scooby Doo or Josie and the Pussycats. She’s just another fun-loving student at Riverdale High who keeps her witchcraft a secret, hanging with Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead and the gang. The occult was huge on kiddie TV at the time, from the Groovie Goolies to The Funky Phantom, but there was something about Sabrina that set her off as a star. She lives in a haunted mansion with her old-school witch aunts, bubbling cauldrons and all, though she uses her ear-tugging magic to battle the forces of evil or just flip the record on the turntable. As the theme song explains, “Her magic power can get her out of trouble!”Miranda Otto, Richard Coyle, Lucy Davis, Kiernan Shipka, Tati Gabrielle, Abigail F. Cowen, and Adeline Rudolph in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)The next Sabrina debuted in September 1996 — one of the decade’s funniest and realest teen shows. Melissa Joan Hart, already familiar from Clarissa Explains It All For You, lived her so-called life with a couple of Lilith Fair-era feminist aunties and the gayest cat in TV history, a glorious feline bitch queen named Salem. It was full of the uncoy feminism that saturated Nineties girl culture, with guests from Da Brat to Blondie to Britney Spears. Melissa and Britney teamed up for the epochal 1999 “You Drive Me Crazy” video — clearly a friendship too perfect for this world.Kiernan Shipka in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)Of all the Nineties’ teen superheroines from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Powerpuff Girls, the sitcom’s Sabrina had the most authentic ordinariness. It wasn’t a dark show — it was full of Nineties optimism that these young women were about to take over the world and get their due. (Broomsticks are so last century.) Like the time that Sabrina sneaks off with her friends to a Violent Femmes show — “classic Eighties rockers!” Gordon Gano serenades the girls with “Please Please Please Do Not Go,” after she dazzles him by casting a “half-hour infatuation spell.” The aunts are proud of how Sabrina behaves herself, so they let her take her first solo flight. The perfect song blasts on the soundtrack: Liz Phair’s “Supernova.” Sabrina’s face is pure joy as she surfs the astral plain on her vacuum cleaner, bopping to Liz’s guitar. In a way, this episode sums up all the best hopes and dreams of American pop culture in the Nineties, just as The X-Files‘ “Memories of a Cigarette Smoking Man” summed up what we feared about ourselves. Patriarchy was a nightmare Sabrina was waking up from, along with the rest of Gen X. We believed teen witches were our future.chilling-adventures-of-sabrina-season-1-spoiler-free-review-sabrina-harveyThe Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a darker show, for darker times — the optimism of the 1970s or 1990s versions would look absurd now. This is Resistance Sabrina. For the first time, our heroine has male authority figures running amok in the witch culture she’s inherited. Shilpa’s supernatural adolescent has to battle jock bullies at her human high school, but she also has to battle the Dark Lord, who wants her to sign herself over to him in the Book of the Beast. She belongs to a coven called the Church of Night, who are heavily into devil worship with human sacrifices and flesh-eating. She also attends the Academy of Unseen Arts, where she’s menaced by high priest Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle) and a trio of mean girls inevitably known as the Weird Sisters (the excellent Tati Gabrielle, Adeline Rudolph and Abigail Cowen). And just as the 1990s version had Paul Feig as her high school teacher, now her principal is Bronson Pinchot, from that show’s TGIF predecessor Perfect Strangers.Screen-Shot-2018-10-03-at-10.43.00-AM-1000x570Shipka has the gravitas to make this Sabrina the toughest yet, a violent femme who comes on like Joan of Arc crashing into a mastermix of Harry Potter and The Craft. Shipka broke out of Mad Men as Sally, Don Draper’s reckless daughter. She became one of that show’s biggest revelations, the rarer-than-rare case of a child performer who grew up into a real actress, capable of pushing the drama further. (When the series began, there’s no possible way anyone could have guessed how lucky they got casting Shipka — her chops made the historic heights of Seasons Four and Five possible.) And just like Sally Draper, her Sabrina is growing up well-versed in the evil that men do. In Chilling Adventures, she’s visibly realizing she’s going to fighting this battle long after high school is over — a young woman already steeling herself to be the bad-ass senior-citizen witch she knows she’ll have to be. This Netflix I-love-you-but-I’ve-chosen-darkness YA scream is more than just a great high-school horror trip. It proudly carries on 50 years of teenage witch tradition.