Monthly Archives: January 2014

TV Show Review: Season 1 of “The Following” (2013)

the-followingLast fall when I heard about the new TV thriller drama The Following I was intrigued. As an English major and gothic literature fan, as well as a huge horror enthusiast, I was even more interested after hearing the killer was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. I am, however, a stickler for watching television shows in order. So when I learned that The Following was premiering on a Monday night, I was bummed (I work Monday evenings). I was even more upset when I heard a colleague talking about how much she enjoyed the show “except for the gore.”

I don’t have a DVR and didn’t catch when the episodes were scheduled to re-air, so I had come to terms that I wouldn’t be watching The Following anytime soon. Early in the fall while I was browsing Netflix Streaming, I was stoked when I saw Season 1 of The Following available. The boyfriend and I sat down one weekend soon after and had a marathon , progressing through the first season in 2 weeks. I don’t know if I would have been committed enough to catch every episode as it aired weekly, so I am glad that the streaming option was available. It makes it convenient, especially for the two of us to watch at our own pace if we had to work late.

Overall Impression:

I am enjoying The Following. Sure, it is flawed and cliched, but I am invested in Ryan Hardy’s character. I don’t care for Claire; her melodramatic mother lioness character got old for me fast, but her son, Joey is tolerable-which is something I can’t say for most child actors. I really can’t stand Emma, but I dislike her to the point that I will continue watching to see her (hopeful) demise. There seemed to be an unnecessary emphasis on the relationship among Emma/Jacob/Paul but I will say it did add to the evolution of the story. Interestingly, serial killer Joe Carroll is intriguing to me; I don’t dislike him and actually do find him charming. Despite his obvious villain status, I his character is likeable, complex, and complicated.

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Plot-wise, the story evolved from a “whodunit” to more of an examination of an extremist cult. Carroll, who is imprisoned for much of Season 1, has managed to recruit an extensive band of followers (hence the show’s title The Following). Realistically some things bother me, like the prison where Carroll was housed should seriously be shut down; It’s a bit unbelievable for me to buy that no one noticed the dozens upon dozens of visitors Carroll received during his time served. And then also no one monitored the visitors’ conversations or inspected Carroll’s mail? Despite these story oversights, I still thoroughly enjoyed most episodes. I can honestly say the story evolved in an unpredictable way for me, at least early on in the season.


Looking into the future, I can eventually see the Poe angle getting tired. Ideally, I think it would be interesting to incorporate other horror literature-inspired killers, say someone obsessed with Lovecraft? It could be good if incorporated in the right way. Despite some of its issues, overall Season 1 was strong however I am a little concerned that unless some dramatic new devices or storylines are introduced, viewers will become bored.

Regardless, I’m definitely anticipating Season 2. I am still unsure if my schedule will allow me to “follow” along (ha ha, see what I did there?) in real time. I just may end up having to catch the second installment in marathon mode when it hits Netflix Steaming hopefully later this year.

Pros: Poe and literary angle, engaging story, Bacon and Purefoy give commendable performances, (generally) likeable characters
Cons: some plot holes, Season 1 concept might get tired unless Season 2 adds some “oomph”

Mashup status: Think Se7en meets The Killing and Prison Break

Rating: 7.5/10

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Too Horrifying to Watch Again: A List

In every film enthusiast’s repertoire there tends to be a handful of movies that, for one reason or another, are just truly un-rewatchable. I have compiled a list of those films that are for me, just too horrifying to sit through again. Some of them are just plain gruesome, while others just made me so uncomfortable during the first go ’round, that once is enough.

Disclaimer: Some of these aren’t necessarily considered straight horror but they do all hold horror elements. Also, the films listed here aren’t necessarily deemed “bad” movies, but for me, I won’t be re-watching anytime soon.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

This one is really two-fold for me. First off, I really get bothered by rape scenes. I know, I know, obviously well-adjusted people don’t generally enjoy rape, but watching rape in movies just makes me feel so uncomfortable.


The second reason A Clockwork Orange makes my list is that I am terribly frightened by eyeballs. When people poke or prod at their eyeballs, I just cant take it. Elementary school was the worst-remember when the kids would flip their eyelids inside-out? ::shudders:: And then there’s that one time when I was the first kid in class to finish  her assignment, the teacher called me over to her desk to help her “find” her lost contact that her eyeball.


Note: This was kind of difficult for me to look at even to post here.

Martyrs (2008)


This is probably on many-a-disturbing list. While the brutality and visuals are truly graphic, the torture was arguably not futile; there was a reason (while extremely questionable) why the secret society performed their controversial experiments. A step-up from the “torture porn” of say Hostel, this was much more psychologically disturbing beyond the surface level. I would be interested in re-watching the early scenes of Martyrs to fully appreciate the story, however I cannot get past the persecution and viciousness of the latter part of the film. Martyrs is true horror.

An American Crime (2007)


Part of what makes this story so distressing is that it is based on the true story of a young girl tortured to death by an adult caregiver, a housewife, who had several children of her own. The acting was amazing in this film, especially considering there were so many child-actors. While I won’t spoil it here, what is heartbreaking for me is the way the movie is directed. I was unaware of the real-life case this was based on and the ending-when Slyvia flees to her parents-really got to me.

Funny Games (1997 & 2007)


While this was certainly disturbing, I was more annoyed at the main characters than truly horrified by the death and torture. Yes, the scene with the young boy was extremely unpredictable, as well as heinous, but ultimately I felt like all of the characters-victims included-were bored with their roles. Additionally, I was really irked by Paul’s “breaking of the 4th wall” when he pulls a Zack Morris-acknowledging the viewers behind the camera.

Deadgirl (2008)


Again, the rape really was excessive. In fact, that was much of the film. I guess I just didn’t get the point of the movie.

The Mist (2007)


This was a fun movie up until the end. Lots of decent special effects and creatures, however the overwhelming sense of hopelessness in the final act is just too much for me to want to sit through again.

Kids (1995)


This is definitely not in the horror genre at all but it is scary beyond-belief and on a very real level. I remember watching this when I was in college. I don’t think I even kissed a guy for like a year afterwards. One could argue this is a good movie to screen to middle-aged kids during their sexual education classes.

Antichrist (2009)


Whether you find the film good or not, child death and genital mutilation make this a no-go for me on the re-watch scale. Somber, desperate, and bleak, the atmosphere is visually and psychologically haunting.

Honorable mentions: Frontier(s) (2007), The Strangers (2008), The Woman (2011)

The following I haven’t yet seen but I suspect they would fall onto this list. I do plan on eventually getting to them: Cannibal Holocaust (1980), I Spit on Your Grave (1978 & 2010), A Serbian Film (2010), Irreversible (2002), The Last House on the Left (1972 & 2009), and Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door (2007).

Notice: This list will be continually updated as I encounter other movies that fit this category.

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