Posts Tagged ‘Hannibal’

If you are as big a nerd as I am (and if continuing trends are accurate, you probably are, because the meek are inheriting the Earth and all that), you’ve probably heard a bunch of news about Doctor Who over the past week or so that has made fans of the show and just people in general who are friends of those fans freak out. These pieces of news boil down to three main points:

  1. Steven Moffat, showrunner for the show since Series 5 and writer since Series 1, will be stepping down from his position at the end of Series 10. The showrunner position will be taken over by Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall.
  2. Because of the Olympics and everything else happening in 2016 this year, we won’t get any new episodes of Doctor Who till the Christmas Special at the end of the year. Series 10 will start up in the Spring of 2017.
  3. Peter Capaldi, who play’s the Doctor’s 12th incarnation, may also be leaving the show at the end of Series 10, so as to let Chibnall start fresh with a new Doctor.

Okay, the first piece of news isn’t that big a shock. Moffat’s retirement has been rumored for a while now, and we can see that he’s leaving the show in good hands, seeing as Chibnall has written some pretty well-known episodes of both DW and its spin-off Torchwood. The second piece…annoying, to say the least, but considering that this year is going to be pretty crazy, perhaps a good call by the BBC.

As for Capaldi leaving…I know that the average Doctor stays around three series. That’s how it’s been since DW came back in 2005. But oh my God, doesn’t it feel a little too soon?! Even my dad is a little amazed that Capaldi’s leaving, and he only knows the show as that thing his kids are obsessed with and that he’ll have to check out if he ever has the time for Netflix. And yeah, it’s been too soon, and Capaldi’s Doctor has only had so much time! And let’s face it, while I liked Jenna Coleman’s Clara, she did at times overshadow the Doctor. I was really looking forward to seeing the Doctor grow and have adventures without having an appendage that took up so much of the story (there, I said it, are you happy?!).

But I’ve had time to calm down, and I have to say that if Capaldi does want to leave, then so be it. I’m not going to be too happy about it, but I’ll accept it if I have to. I just hope that Capaldi decides to stick around for two more series instead of one, or at the very least Series 10 is just the most awesome thing ever.

And now I’m thinking, “Who’s going to replace Capaldi?” Trust me, you’re all probably thinking it by this point as well. And I know that they won’t be announcing it until probably a few months before we see this new Doctor. Still, I thought I’d jump the gun and give my predictions for who would make a great 13th Doctor (technically 14th, but let’s not get crazy here). Heck, my Predictions post for Batman vs. Superman actually hit the mark a little, so maybe I could actually get this right.

And let me just say before I start that I will not be putting Benedict Cumberbatch on this list. Yeah I know, lots of his fans would love him as the Doctor, but seriously, the guy’s already playing a Doctor and Sherlock Holmes! He’s got enough iconic roles to fill up an IMDb page!

So here it is. The actors and actresses who I think would not only make great Doctors, but maybe take Doctor Who in an interesting new direction for a whole new era.

Hayley Atwell

Hayley Atwell

Not just my top choice, but the top choice of a lot of people. Her name’s come up several times already as a possible successor for Capaldi. Not surprising, considering she’s got quite the resume, most notably as bad-ass, takes-no-shit 1940’s secret agent Peggy Carter in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Atwell’s also done two DW radio dramas, so she’s definitely familiar with the franchise already. She would have no trouble taking the TARDIS key in hand, and Atwell’s already expressed interest in playing the Doctor, so why not?

Plus if the BBC decides to listen to the fans and give us our first female Doctor, Atwell would be a great actress to set the bar with.

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejiofor

12 Years A Slave‘s star was a name brought up back in 2013 when speculation about who Matt Smith’s replacement would be was at its height. Not surprising, considering the depth and strength he gave in that movie and in many other roles. Eijiofor would make a very great Doctor. And not only does he do dramatic roles very well, he can do funny and quirky (he played Lola in the movie Kinky Boots, if you need proof of that), so he could probably do some fun one-liners every now and then.

And in a show where the lead has always been a white actor, this could also be a very interesting and welcome change.

Rebecca Hall

Rebecca Hall

In 2011 the BBC made a horror movie called The Awakening, which I thought was a weird little flick that tried to get into our heads and failed miserably. However, I thought the lead actress in that film, Rebecca Hall, did absolutely great. And Rebecca Hall has a great list of films to back her up: Frost/Nixon, The Town, Iron Man 3, Transcendence. She can do a lot of different roles, and I think a versatile actor is important for anyone who wants to play the Doctor.

And if she’s the only part I really enjoyed in a horror film, then you know she should be seriously considered.

Ace Bhatti

If that name sounds at all familiar to you, that’s because he played Principal Haresh Chandra in the DW spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures, being both comic and serious at the same time in many different episodes of the series. Honestly, he was one of my favorite characters from that show (which I’m surprised that more DW fans haven’t seen). And apparently he’s got a very long resume outside of SJA, including a very big role on the show EastEnders (which I haven’t seen but I’ve heard good things about). He could make a very good Doctor, and considering that plenty of actors who had smaller roles in Doctor Who later went on to play bigger roles (including Capaldi and Sixth Doctor Colin Baker), this would be only continuing a well-known tradition.

Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris

Plenty of people know her as “oh, the actress who plays Moneypenny in James Bond, right?” but she’s done a lot more roles than that. In addition to Skyfall and Spectre, Harris has done 28 Days Later, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom as Winnie Mandela, for which the actual Winnie Mandela basically said that it was the best portrayal on film of her person.

With that sort of resume and endorsements, Harris might make a very good Doctor. I sort of imagine a warm and kind Doctor, who really hates getting violent but if she gets angry even Daleks will run away from her. Kind of like the Tenth Doctor with a mix of Third’s mentor-like charms.

Jon Oliver

Jon Oliver

Enough said. I know he probably won’t leave making fun of society while at the same time improving it on HBO, but the guy’s great. I’d love to see him as the Doctor.

And my final choice:

Mads Mikkelsen

Mads Mikkelsen

I know, I know. He’s not British. He’s not even Irish! He’s Danish! He’s practically not allowed to play the Doctor! But come on! Have you seen his resume? He was amazing as Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal, as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, and he’ll be in Doctor Strange and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story later this year. And he actually does a pretty good British accent. Can you imagine him in some fancy 19th-century garb with a side of futuristic tech? He’d make a great Doctor, and I would love to see him in the role.

And I’m not afraid to say it!

 

So those are my choices for who should be the 13th Doctor. But tell me, who do you think would be a good fit for everybody’s favorite Time Lord? Do you think I’m on to something? Do you think I’m totally off? Is there a name I missed? Do you hope Peter Capaldi will stay a bit longer as well? Let’s discuss, my fellow Whovians.

And Steven Moffat and/or Chris Chibnall: if you happen to read this and you’re looking for some new blood to help you write kick-ass episodes of Doctor Who, give me a call. I’ve been keeping a long list of ideas for stories with the Doctor and I would love to write them for you. And these ideas could also work as novels, which I’ve plenty of experience writing, so I could do my stories that way as well if you want.

Like I said, give me a call. I’d be more than happy to head over to Wales to discuss the matter further.

Advertisements

It’s been one week since what could very well be the series finale as well as the third season finale of Hannibal, based on Hannibal Lecter and other characters created by Thomas Harris, premiered. NBC has declined to keep the show going, and while the show’s producers Bryan Fuller and Martha De Laurentiis, as well as series star Mads Mikkelsen and the many, many fans of the show (“Fannibals” or “Lecterites”, if you will), would love to see the show go on in some form, there is a chance that the show will have to hang up the carving knife and that everyone associated with it will have to move onto new projects.

Personally, I hope that the show is still able to go on, maybe as a feature film as Fuller has hinted at, or maybe moves to Starz or Amazon (though if it’s the former and not the latter I may have to wait till the show is on DVD or Netflix, depending on my financial situation). Also, I think it’s a good investment to keep the show going. Yeah, Hannibal has always been ratings-challenged, which is why NBC cancelled it in the first place. However, they knew a show focusing on a serial killer was a risk to begin with, and they still went with it for three years, as did huge legions of fans.

Why? Well obviously Hannibal Lecter is a famous character who was already well-known because of Harris’ novels, the movie Manhunter, and the three Anthony Hopkins films. But that only drew people to the show in the first place. The reason they stayed is because the show’s creators managed to take the concept of a serial killer show, and elevate it to art. Fuller and his team could’ve simply created a simple procedural show with serial killers like The Following with a famous literary and film character in the mix. Instead they built on that premise and made most of the sets exquisite to the eye, turned ordinary conversations into psychologically and philosophically engaging character explorations that could evolve into verbal tennis matches sometimes, and gave every shot a purpose in how it was filmed.

Add into all that the brilliant characters: Hugh Dancy as the socially-troubled empath profiler Will Graham, Lawrence Fishburne as the ends-justify-the-means, will-do-anything-to-catch-the-killers FBI director Jack Crawford, and of course the quiet gentleman devil with a love of grilling up those who are rude or offensive, Hannibal Lecter himself. Every character brings something to the table, making you want to watch them interact with each other right up until the very (sometimes bloody) end. And of course, the brilliant writing. Even at the show’s less exciting moments, the writers till were able to make you want to keep watching, to find out what happens next. From the growing relationship between Will and Hannibal in the first season, to the terrifying flash-forward at the beginning of the second season, and Will’s struggle to truly rid himself of Hannibal in the third season, it just kept you watching.

Hannibal is art. Creepy, bloody, psychologically strange and terrifying art, but it is art nonetheless, and that’s something you don’t usually see with television shows. I honestly can’t say if Hannibal will go on in some form or another (I’m not psychic), but if it doesn’t, at least we know that it had an ending that tied up most of the loose ends of the story, and the ones left behind we can easily guess at. And with streaming and DVD releases, fans could still watch it and relive the beautiful psychological horror that the show was.

Still, I hope for more. The show was awesome, and Fuller had a vision to continue the show, even if he couldn’t get the characters from Silence of the Lambs (I would’ve loved to see how they changed up Clarice Starling and Buffalo Bill, seeing as I found one annoying and the other slightly comical). If allowed to continue, we could see some award-worthy horror on our screens someday.

So while we wait and squirm and wonder at the show’s fate, I’ll continue to hope. Because if the story of the strange relationship between a man and a monster in a man’s skin can intrigue me and so many other people, then surely it can attract a TV executive or two. And the story that ended too soon won’t end at all.

Oh and NBC, why do you keep doing this to me?! First Dracula, then Hannibal? Stop cancelling these creepy genre shows I really like!

Last night as I was dropping off to sleep and feeling happy about setting up that new blog of mine (thanks to everyone who’s already signed up to follow that, by the way), my mind started to wander, as it usually does right before I fall asleep. This time around my mind went to horror stories (yeah, it does that quite often too), and I started to ponder character depth and development in horror stories. At some point I realized that in horror, you often have either characters who are very well-rounded and developed, or you have characters that are little more than archetypes, e.g. the Skeptical Dad, the Final Girl, The Psychic Child, The Expert, etc. And you know what else I realized, what made me get up out of bed and write this revelation down before I fell asleep and forgot? Sometimes these stories require different level of character development, depending on what the story is.

Let me explain. In certain scary stories, such as Stephen King’s The Shining (the book, not that poorly adapted Kubrick film), the characters are more than just archetypes and we get to know them very well. This is because their inner conflicts are just as important to the story as is the outer conflicts happening with the hotel. Jack Torrance is trying to keep his cool and be a good husband and father for his family after so many screw ups, while also fending off his desire to drink and the mental assaults of the hotel. His wife Wendy is trying to keep her family together while also keeping an eye on Jack in case he reverts to bad habits. And Danny, psychic and wise beyond his years, is trying to stay strong and endure the hotel’s attempts to kill him because he knows a lot is riding on his father taking care of the hotel through the winter. How they react to situations and grow as characters is just as important as what is happening within the hotel, so King makes sure they are well-developed.

Part of the terror (in the book, anyway), comes from the conflicts these characters wrestle with inside themselves as well as the ones the hotel sends them.

Meanwhile other stories don’t need as much character development. Take Insidious 3, for example (yes, I’m using the third entry in a horror film series, but bear with me). Besides main character Elise Rainier, most of the characters in the film do not get much character development. In the Brenner family, who are experiencing all these supernatural happenings, you don’t see much beyond the roles they play in the story: Quinn is a pretty girl with dreams of acting and is being victimized by a spirit, her dad Sean is the scatter-brained parent trying to keep his family together through grief and tragedy, and the annoying younger brother Alex is…well, the annoying younger brother. Despite not getting a lot of characterization though, these three characters do actually get some growth in the story: Quinn’s car accident and the spirit attacking her causes her, her brother, and her father to get out of their own little worlds and come together as a family to save Quinn’s life.

And of course, there are those stories that require little or no characterization or growth at all. This is common in slasher films, where the characters are often reduced to archetypes or roles (anyone who’s seen Cabin in the Woods knows what I’m talking about). This also happens in a short story I had an idea for recently (and that I might write as soon as I finish editing Video Rage). In this story, I decided that I wouldn’t spend time going over why the protagonist’s younger brother is a bratty kid or why the antagonists are as freaky as they are. The reason I decided this is because the events of the story are where the terror and intrigue come from, not from any inner growth. This is usually the case with slasher films as well: the events of the story are where we get our terror and excitement from, so more attention is pointed towards telling the story than going over any inner conflicts of the characters.

Half the fun of this show is seeing these two interact with each other.

What I’m driving at here is that how much character development is required from a story depends a lot on where the excitement and fear is coming from and how essential developing a character is in order to keep a reader or viewer invested in the story. In the case of a Nightmare on Elm Street film or the story I mentioned above, we’re reading or seeing the story because we know that the story’s events is where we’re going to get the excitement we paid to read/see. In the case of stories like The Shining or most episodes of Hannibal though, a major reason why we’re investing time into the story is because of the characters, not just what’s happening around them. This is especially so in Hannibal, because most of the conflicts and intrigue comes from the characters, their psychological states, and how they play against one another. We’re there not just because Hannibal Lecter is a famous and charismatic serial killer, we’re also there because we like seeing how Will Graham’s relationship with Lecter changes and evolves over time.

And knowing how much to balance of these two elements–character development and story-focus–is very important. Look at the remake of Poltergeist that came out recently. It was an awful film, and one of the many problems it had was that they tried to insert character development near the beginning of the film and failed miserably. Early on it focused on the dad losing his job and trying to find a new one, as well as mentioned something about the wife being a writer. I think the filmmakers were trying to translate this into an arc where the family tries to stay together and come together through rough circumstances, but ultimately the whole thread of the dad looking for a job and the parents trying to keep the family together fails to really get resolved or come together and ends up feeling unnecessary to the story. You’d think that it would just be enough to say the dad got promoted or transferred or a new job and leave it at that!

So whether it’s a zombie flick, a novel about a haunted house, or a psychological horror TV show, knowing the balance between character development and story-focus is just as important as creating a memorable and creepy villain or writing the story in such a way so that the story actually remains scary rather than goofy or just plain stupid (*cough* Friday the 13th remake *cough*). If you do, you’re more likely to write a good story worth remembering than you are to write garbage that horror fans sift through trying to find a nugget of gold.

I’ll certainly keep the balance in mind with the next story I write.

Sorry it’s coming a little late, but you know, my crazy life. And I wanted to watch it taped so I could fast forward through the commercial breaks.

Anyway, I liked this season of AHS much better than Coven last year. In terms of tone it was closer to the first season, though it had some more lighthearted moments than Season 1. Also, the show’s creator Ryan Murphy -incorporated a few musical scenes, so he’s either testing the waters for a crossover with his other show Glee or he’s just trying to keep things fresh. I definitely think it’s the latter. But like I was saying, this is some pretty good horror. Like previous seasons, you can’t tell where the story is going, and no one’s safe from death. Unlike previous seasons, nobody comes back to life or dies twice (shocker!) and the final episode of the season doesn’t just feel like filler with minimal scares to wrap up loose ends, but an actual episode that is kind of terrifying and very entertaining. There are a few loose ends, but I think we can assume what happened based on what happens in that episode.

Also, this is the first season to connect with another season (Asylum), and apparently all the seasons connect, so I’m wondering how they’re going to connect that in upcoming seasons. Minor detail, but it’s important to talk about.

Anyway, back to the review. What I really liked about Freak Show, besides the final episode actually being pretty good, is that the writers were able to tell a really beautiful story about people on the outskirts of society, and while also keeping things scary and interesting. Everyone has their own story, their own darkness, and their own potential to be evil. In fact at several times many characters cross the lines from good folks to villains and then back again. It’s very hard to pin down a central villain, especially during the first six episodes or so. I guess it shows that in an imperfect world, where most of the characters are scared or in trouble with the authorities, you’ll do what you have to in order to survive.

I also like how the story twists and turns, taking us in directions we couldn’t see, and still keeps things within reasonable bounds of imagination. And I loved the guest stars: Neil Patrick Harris and Jamie Brewer as Chester and Marjorie the Doll, Wes Bentley as Edward Mordrake (my favorite minor character) and quite a few others. But the main cast! Whoo, were they amazing. Sarah Paulson playing a pair of conjoined twins and did it so convincingly, I forgot it was acting and CGI! And Finn Wittrock as Dandy Mott deserves an award, playing the most horrific serial killing chameleon I’ve seen outside of Hannibal. And I loved Jessica Lange as Elsa Mars, who is just as evil and as tragic as any character in this show, but with quite the theatrical flare. Plus all the actors playing the freaks! Some actually have certain conditions, others are actors, but all are amazing in their roles.

Finn Wittrock, the man who played Dandy Mott. I hope he comes back for Season 5, he was definitely my favorite actor this season.

The one thing I did not care for is that Twisty the Clown, who appears in the first four or so episodes, is given an intellectual disability and his mental illness as the reason for which he kills. I swear, I’m tired of people with mental retardation being portrayed in these things as serial killers! I’ve known people with intellectual disabilities. At the worst, they can be difficult to handle in a bad mood, but they are normally sweet and kind. Why they’re portrayed over and over this way, I’m not sure. Honestly, the only times I’ve been okay with it is the Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchises, but only then. (Please see my article on tropes that need to be retired for more on this subject).

All in all, I’m giving American Horror Story: Freak Show a 4.5 out of 5. Scary, entertaining, beautiful, and a great 4th season for the anthology series with wonderful performances by all the actors in the show. I’m looking forward to the next season (which has been ordered). I hope it’ll be as dark as Asylum. I wonder what they’ll do for Season 5. I heard a rumor that it might be magicians, and there’s reasons to believe that might be it. Other contenders could be a prison season (though that might be too close to Season 2) and one taking place at a summer camp (a favorite of horror fans everywhere). And there’s always the chance of a high school filled with evil, I guess.

Well, that’s all for now. I’m heading to bed. Friday’s a shorter day for me, so I want to be wide awake for it. Goodnight, my Followers of Fear. I’ll try to write tomorrow or the day after if I can. See ya then!

Can you say, tailored to my tastes?

This morning Epic Rap Battles of History released their latest video, which this time around is serial killer-themed. To be specific, it’s Jack the Ripper, the famous Victorian serial killer whose identity has never been discovered (contrary to popular reports) rapping against Hannibal Lecter, born in the novels of Thomas Harris and made famous in portrayals by Anthony Hopkins and Mads Mikkelsen. The two killers are played by Dan Bull (Jack the Ripper) and ERB star EpicLloyd (Dr. Hannibal Lecter).

And here I thought they couldn’t make me any happier when they made Stephen King vs. Edgar Allen Poe. I hope they do Stan Lee vs. Walt Disney some time. Or Alice Liddell vs. Dorothy Gale. Or maybe even Anne Rice vs. Stephanie Meyer! Those would be awesome.

Actually, I kind of predicted this battle: back in June when this video came out, I hoped for a Jack the Ripper vs. Freddy Kreuger video. Well, I got one half of that combo, didn’t I?

Anyway, enjoy the video. I certainly did.


Who do you think won? I’m having a hard time deciding, personally.

Only the worst of the worst get to hang out here.

Yesterday we took a look at my choices for #10-6 for my top villains list for 2014. Today we look at the Big Bads, the worst of the worst, the folks and creatures we should all fear in our sleep. These top 5 villains are the ones that have amazed, impressed, and/or terrified me the most.

And remember to click here if you’d like to compare #10-6 and #5-1 from last year. Here we go! Mwa-ha-ha!

5. Jennifer Blake (from Teen Wolf)

Once again we have another villain from Teen Wolf, this one from the first half of season three. At first, you think the only thing that the main characters have to worry about is a pack of Alpha werewolves, but then Jennifer Blake comes into the picture. At first just an innocent English teacher who becomes Derek Hale’s love interest after a close encounter, she is actually the Darach, a Druid gone bad, and she has all sorts of dangerous magic on her hands, which she enhances through elaborate human sacrifices. All in the name of revenge against t;he Alpha werewolves who betrayed her several years ago. Her devious tactics, her theatrical flare, and the lengths she’s willing to go are enough to put her above the wily Nogitsune, who was only out for some twisted laughs.

4. The Murder House (from American Horror Story)

I’ve always maintained that a setting can be as much a character as your other characters, and that especially goes for haunted houses. In this house in particular, we feel it as a character, a force with a devious and wily personality for drawing in the innocent and guilty alike, twisting their minds and then trapping their souls forever. All for a very dark purpose that isn’t revealed until the very end of the first season of the groundbreaking FX show. Trust me, you do not want to spend the night in this place. EVER!

3. Dr. Oliver Thresden/Bloody Face (from American Horror Story: Asylum)

Movie and TV serial killers are hard to make unique. A few even come out looking like carbon copies of Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. In AHS‘s second and much darker season, they not only give us a serial killer with character development, but with a soul. Dr. Thresden originally arrives at Briarcliff Manor to perform a psych evaluation on protagonist Kit, who is believed to be the infamous serial killer Bloody Face. Dr. Thresden ends up staying on to help update Briarcliff’s outdated methods to treating insanity. He takes a special interest in leading lady Lana Winters, a lesbian who, after some failed aversion therapy, he deems sane. After helping her to escape the asylum though, he reveals himself to be Bloody Face, and he is looking for a woman to be his mother, his real mother having abandoned him years ago. With an unhealthy preoccupation for human skin and for his mommy, Bloody Face may at first seem like a bad copy of Leatherface, but in reality he’s unique in so many ways. Played by actor Zachary Quinto, it’s no wonder this character was nominated for so may awards, and won a few as well.

2. Hannibal Lecter (from the books by Thomas Harris)

Our only returning villain from last year, Hannibal Lecter earns his spot for his incredible ability to continue to terrify and manipulate us on the NBC show Hannibal. Honestly, watching Mads Mikkelsen perform in the iconic role is a dark pleasure. In this previous season, he managed to keep the authorities dancing around him, even as some of them began to suspect that he was the Chesapeake Ripper. What’s most horrific is that he almost manages to get protagonist Will Graham to become just like him, a monster without a conscience who likes to see what happens on impulse. And the way he sets things in motion is like watching a Rube Goldberg machine in motion, only with people involved. Until the very last episode and the awesome twists and turns, you’ll be on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next I’m looking forward to season 3 next year. I hope they can keep up the fun!

1. The Weeping Angels (from Doctor Who)

Our winner this year for Top Villain is another creature from Doctor Who, but this one is slightly stranger and more sinister than the Daleks. The Weeping Angel is a strange being. It can only move when it isn’t seen, thus it keeps its hands over its eyes in case its working with one of its own kind. When they take their hands off though, they reveal monsters that are anything but angelic. And you literally can’t even blink in front of them, because they can move even between the opening and closing of your lids to get you. Once they do, they’ll send you back in time so that you die maybe hundreds or thousands of years before you were born, while they feed on the displaced time energy that results from your timeline into the future being erased. Created by show runner Steven Moffat, these are probably one of the Doctor’s most terrifying enemies, enough to make my sister scream in fright when they feature in an episode. If you ever watch the episode in which they debuted, Blink, you’ll know why.

 

That’s all for this yer. Join me in 2015 for another Top 10 list. Maybe making the list will be thesis deadlines, because that will be one of the scarier things I’ll have to deal with in this coming school year.

Anyway, hope you had fun reading my Top 10 Villains list. Have a good day, my Followers of Fear. And let me know what you think of the list. Who do you think should have gotten on? And was there anyone here you agreed or disagreed with? I’d love to hear your thoughts.