Video: Discussion of the X Files Episode Home

Below is a link to my latest YouTube video, where I discuss what is possibly the most disgusting 44 minutes on network TV ever, aka The X Files episode Home!

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The Eclipse, Part 1: My Review of Gerald’s Game

When one thinks of horror, often one thinks of horror movies.

You have your classic horror movies, such as Friday the 13th, Halloween, Poltergeist, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.

Or, for a little more modern fare, you can always watch films such as Horns, or Get Out.  Those are good for a fright as well.

These movies are fantastical in some ways.  We all know that someone cannot possibly be shot 23,889,209 times and still get up to chase sexually precocious teenagers and kill them in inventive ways (although that is a good way to burn that free 100 or so minutes you may have that day.  More if you watch the cut scenes on the “extras” menu.)

But often, real life can contain plenty of horror…

And no, I am not talking about the latest American Horror Story, aka the Drumpf presidency, although the survivors of the Bowling Green Massacre may not agree with me on that alternative fact!

But seriously, just turn on the news any given night, and tell me that man’s inhumanity to man is not the most horrific thing out there?

And there is one guy who understands this very well, and who has written some compelling literature on the subject, as a matter of fact…

You guessed it, we are talking about Stephen King!

*insert shocked look right about here*

King has been called The Master of Modern Horror (but you can call him The Master for short), and for good reason.

I mean, a killer clown that hunts kids?

Check!

A vampire that effectively turns a town into a ghost town that any sane person would want to avoid at all costs?

Check!

A rabid St. Bernard that makes you want to avoid car trouble at all costs?

Check!

An evil entity that haunts a town, and forces you to agree with the statement “Dead is better?”

Check and mate!

While most of the above horrors are not actually “real horrors,” one of King’s greatest strengths as a writer is his ability to include elements of realism in his writing.

The Shining is a prime example of this.  Most of us have at least seen the Kubrick adaptation, and quite a few of us have probably read the book as well.

So we associate The Shining the famous phrase “Redrum” (spell it backwards, for the uninitiated), along with a haunted hotel and a scary lady who is a permanent residence of a room with a famous number

There is also the matter of the guy in the dog costume…

Well, back to my point.

Which is that King can insert reality into his works.  The Shining is a great example of this, because it deals with alcoholism, unemployment, child abuse and the list goes on.

In other words, we can relate the above list, since we have all experienced at least one of those things in our lifetime.

And that is what makes the story so terrifying:  since we can relate to those topics, it is not that far out of left field that there may be a haunted hotel somewhere out there, where we avoid room 217 (or 237), along with the hedge animals and fire extinguishers, because if it can happen to the seemingly normal Torrance family, it sure can happen to us.

King writes about people.  These people may be placed into extraordinary situations, but they are still people, who could, at least theoretically, be any one of us.

And these people do not always fight supernatural monsters,  Often, humans are the monsters, and what a human can do to a fellow human is far worse than what a haunted hotel or even a rabid St. Bernard can do to us.

One of King’s books that deals with man’s inhumanity to man (or, more appropriately, woman) is Gerald’s Game.

Gerald’s Game contains hardly any elements of the supernatural, but it is still a frightening read.  The monsters in this book are human, so the scenario is one that is plausible for anyone.

So strap in (but don’t handcuff yourself), and get ready for the ride that is Gerald’s Game.

As always:

Continue reading

Keeping it in the Family: My Review of Home

Ah, taboos…

You, the things that “polite” people don’t talk about?

Although the concept of manners does not seem to stop folks like George RR Martin, Stephen King or Clive Barker.  But then again, the rules of earthlings do not apply if you are a god!

Sutter and Martin

And what better way to talk about taboos than to watch an episode (or 20) of The X Files?

Kids today will never know the struggle.  Today, we have Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Story, etc.  In other words, shows that push the envelope.  Shows that “go there”.  Or, at least in the case of a certain unnamed show that features a couple of sexy ass bikers, trigger some angry letters from pissed off parents over a “sex montage”

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But I grew up in the 90’s.  It was considered edgy when Jessie OD’d on caffeine pills in Saved by the Bell, for pity’s sake! So if I wanted edgy, I was relegated to sneaking R-rated movies from the video store…this was one of the few instances where early-ish puberty was actually a good thing, since 12 year old me actually did look 17.

saved by the bell

But then, we had The X Files.  And dinner table conversations became interesting, to say the least (at least at my family’s house, which is why I love my family.  Taboo? What’s that)

Every week, it seemed like The X Files “would go there.”  Circus freaks.  Guys that ate human livers.  Cannibals that were ground up and fed to their chickens.  Major-ish characters being killed off…the list goes on and on.

However, no episode of The X Files had ever managed to earn a “viewer discretion” warning.  Chris Carter decided that he could not have this, and brainstormed, until he came up with an episode that would earn that warning…it was a personal milestone!

Crack_the_censors

And that personal milestone  episode was titled Home.  Home contained lots of familiar elements:  murder, a creepy small town, adorable yet kinda dopey local authorities, along with plenty of blood and gore.  However, Home also addressed one of the biggest taboos of all (well, except for Jamie and Cersei):  incest.  And the products of incest, aka the children born of such unions.  And Chris Carter and the rest of the team were cheering somewhere, because they finally produced something that actually had to come with a warning label, and is rarely even shown in syndication today.  Meeting personal goals is a good thing!

Jamie and Cersei 2

With that being said, here is my recap and review of the nasty little piece of work, otherwise known as Home.

Oh, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The episode begins with a woman giving birth to a deformed baby.  The baby is then buried by three deformed men, in the middle of a rain storm.  The name of the town that these events occur in is Home, Pennsylvania.

Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are sent to the town of Home, PA, to investigate the death of the baby, at the request of the local authorities, who are not equipped to deal with a murder in the normally peaceful town.  The corpse of the baby is discovered by some local kids during a baseball game.

Agent Scully performs an autopsy on the deceased infant.  She discovers that the baby was born with multiple birth defects, but its lungs contained dirt, meaning that the baby was buried alive.  Mulder and Scully speak to Sheriff Andy Taylor about the baby and potential suspects for the murder, and notice that that they are being observed by the people in the house across from the baseball field.  Sheriff Taylor tells Mulder and Scully that the house belongs to the Peacock family, who have lived there since the Civil War.  The house has no running water or electricity, and the Peacock family is self-sustaining, growing their own food and raising animals for slaughter.  The parents of the Peacock family were said to have perished in a car accident a few years prior, leaving only the three sons as survivors.  It is also implied that the family practices incest.

Scully suspects that the deceased baby is actually a member of the Peacock family, and that the men (as there are no known living female Peacock family members) may have kidnapped and raped a woman.  Mulder and Scully investigate the house, and find blood, along with a rusty pair of scissors.  At the request of Mulder and Scully, Sheriff Taylor prepares arrest warrants for the remaining three members of the Peacock family.

That night, Sheriff Taylor is uneasy, and is awakened by car pulling up in the driveway, with loud music playing.  Unable to get to his revolver, Taylor grabs a baseball bat, but is overcome by the three Peacock brothers, who beat the sheriff and his wife to death.

The next morning, Scully and Mulder meet Deputy Paster at Taylor’s house.  The deputy suggests that he and the agents ambush the Peacock house, as he is saddened and angered at the savage death of Sheriff Taylor.  Scully deduces that someone must have told the Peacock brothers about the warrants, as the warrants were issued by telephone and the conversation over the warrants was probably overheard by someone in the house.  Scully also receives the genetic test results from the FBI’s lab, and thinks that a mistake was made, as the tests show an extreme genetic imbalance that she does not believe can be possible.  The results also indicate that both parents were members of the Peacock family, which Scully believes to be a mistake, as she thinks there are no surviving female members of the Peacock family.

Mulder, Scully and Deputy Paster descend upon the Peacock house.  The deputy dons a bullet-proof vest and enters the house, only to be decapitated by one of the many booby traps.  Mulder and Scully distract the brothers by releasing their livestock, and then sneak into the house, weary of the multiple booby traps.

When they enter the house, Mulder and Scully encounter the Peacocks mother.  She is living underneath one of the beds, and is missing both arms, both legs and most of her teeth.  However, she is coherent enough to indicate that she is not being held against her will, and that she believes her sons to be in the right, despite the fact that they have murdered two people.

The Peacock brothers realize that they have been tricked and rush into the house, attacking Mulder and Scully.  After a struggle, the agents are able to kill two of the brothers.  However, they then realize that the oldest brother, Edmund, has escaped with the Peacock mother.  Mulder and Scully then issue an arrest warrant for Edmund Peacock, and block the roads out of town, in the hopes that he cannot escape and will be caught to face justice.

At the end of the episode, Edmund Peacock is seen driving a stolen vehicle, with his mother in the trunk.  His mother tells him that they must find a new home, so that they can start a new family.


My Thoughts

Home is tasteless.  And disgusting.  And just plain nasty.

In other words, I love it.  One of my favorite episodes of The X Files, in fact.

First of all, let’s talk about the gore.  Gore is not necessarily taboo, but this was a cable show from 90’s.  See the above post about Jessie and the caffeine pills.

So, yes, I was pretty impressed with the gore, after I decided to take a trip down memory lane and watch this episode again.  Some of it may seem tame by today’s standards, when shows like Sons of Anarchy depict people being burned alive and Jax going crazy with his metal pipe, like it’s going out of style.  But I think that the killing of the sheriff and his wife would be unsettling even today, as the manner was so brutal.  That scene made me a little jumpy…I know I won’t forget to lock my door any time soon!

The booby traps set by those Peacock boys were ingenious, to say the least.  They say everyone has a talent.  That must mean everyone, even genetic mutant freaks:  their talent is setting booby traps to kill unsuspecting law enforcement officials.

home 2

Another thing I love about this episode is that it is chock-full of “Mulder-isms.”  You know, the silly little one liners, delivered in Duchovny’s usual dry manner, the manner that only he can pull off?  Telling Scully that the Mulder family passes the “genetic muster.”  Changing his mind about moving to the country, since he can’t watch the Knicks game.  This is one of the few episodes of this show that I actually find frightening, and Mulder’s humor lightened things up just a little bit.

home 1

Ok, let’s get to the good part…

Yes, the taboos…

And there were so many of them…let me count the ways…

First of all, infanticide.  That is a subject that makes people pretty uncomfortable, and for good reason.  What person who has a beating heart would not be uncomfortable with the death of a baby?  Especially the deliberate murder of a baby, even if the said baby is deformed beyond belief and probably doesn’t have much of a chance anyway (see post about the genetic tests run by Scully, which seem to come back with results pretty quickly, even for TV time).  Seeing a baby die, much less murdered, is pretty awful.  And the way that they evidence was disposed of was pretty callous:  the corpse was buried in a field and then found by kids, of all people.  And the corpse was not implied, the producers actually showed a good bit of it.  In other words, definitely not your typical 90’s TV fare, or even TV fare of today…but you knew that!

home 4

And we have…

drum-roll-please

Yes, the incest!  You know that’s what you want to talk about here!

There are not too many taboos in modern society.  Our culture has loosened up, at least somewhat.  But incest remains a taboo to this day, and likely will remain a taboo for a long, long time.  And for good reason:  human beings are not meant to procreate with other human beings who are closely related to them.  Apparently, there is this whole thing about a gene pool and yada, yada, yada.  So most “civilized” societies have done everything they can to make incest unappealing:

joffrey 2

Granted, he looks harmless, but I would say this guy is pretty unappealing.  Or maybe appealing in an extremely douchey kind of way.  I must say, purple is his color, though!

All kidding aide, incest makes people uncomfortable, even though it was actually practiced for centuries, and still is practiced in many parts of the world today.  But somewhere along the way (well, probably when folks figured out that when they went outside the family, they were less likely to pass down pesky conditions such as hemophilia), incest became something outside of the norm, and we were taught to fear it.  In other words, something that is feared that much becomes great fodder for horror movies…

And a certain TV show centering around a couple of hot FBI agents.

The X Files just reinforced our fears of incest.  Would you want to meet these guys in a dark ally?

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These guys had no morals.  None at all.  They murdered people.  They dropped trou on command for mommy dearest, in the name of continuing the family tree (well, I think that tree would not actually be a tree, more like a circle, but you get my point).  They were implied to be “not all there”, but were actually pretty cunning for “not all there” (see the post about talent and ingenious booby traps).  In other words, they personified the incest taboo, reinforcing the fact that we are now “civilized” and have discontinued the practice, if we are smart.

And if you were looking for the ending of this particular episode to help settle your nerves, well then, I have some bad news for you…

The X Files has its share of ambiguous endings (Chinga, cough, cough), but the ending to Home is just downright unnerving.  For one thing, the body count.  I know The X Files is scary, but some truly innocent lives were lost:  a baby, a sheriff and his wife and a deputy.  And these people were all murdered in pretty horrible ways:  being buried alive, beaten to death and decapitated by a booby trap.  Sure, Mulder and Scully lived to fight another day, but I got no sense of victory  from this episode…

Which brings me to my next point…

The bad guys won!  Sure, two of the three Peacock brothers were taken down by Mulder and Scully (barely) but the family still survived, since the third brother managed to escape, along with mommy dearest (they probably discovered the joys of car sex too).  So now they are able to keep it in the family, and produce more monsters somewhere else.  And if anyone else tries to bring them to justice for their crimes, he/she will probably have a fate similar to that of Sheriff Taylor.  And that is a comforting thought (sarcasm font activated for your reading pleasure).

home 6


 

Well, that’s it for it my thoughts on the family friendly episode otherwise known as Home.  Join me next week as I run away to join the circus.  Well, not really but I am doing the next best thing:  watching and reviewing Humbug!

Tune in next week:  same Bat time, same Bat channel!

batman and robin

True Detective Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 6

Yes, sometimes you just need a reset.

Actually, sometimes a reset is just what the doctor ordered (well, as long as the doc in question is not evil Rick Springfield…ewwww).

Pitlor 1

And as I stated last week, True Detective certainly benefited from the reset.

Again, this week…the benefits of the reset were certainly visible.  In fact, the game has kicked into full gear, and we are finally making some progress…

With that being said, here is my recap and review of True Detective, season 2 episode 6!

And, as always:

Homer spoiler

 


Synopsis

The episode begins with a confrontation between Ray and Frank in Frank’s house.  Ray wants to know why Frank sent him to the wrong man, as the man he killed did not rape his ex-wife.  Frank responds that he was given bad information, but that he will track down the man who gave him the information, if Ray will help him recover a hard drive owned by the deceased Ben Caspere, as the hard drive main contain clues to Caspere’s murder.  A truce is then called between the two men, and Ray leaves Frank’s home.

True Dective 2

Ray then visits his ex-wife’s rapist in prison, and tells the man that he intends to badly hurt him for what he has done to Ray’s family.  Ray visits with his son Chad, but the visit is uncomfortable, as it is being supervised by a state official.  Ray then heads home, and indulges in drinking and a massive cocaine binge, smashing all of the models that he and Chad built.  Ray calls him ex-wife and attempts to make a deal with her:  he will allow her full custody, as long as she agrees to not reveal Chad’s parentage to him, if it turns out that Ray is not his father.  His ex-wife reluctantly agrees to these terms.

Ray 2

Frank and his wife Jordan pay a visit to the bereaved family of Frank’s deceased business associate, Stan.  The couple offers comfort to Stan’s widow and son.  Frank then meets with people whom he thinks may have information in regards to Ben Caspere.  Frank tortures one man, and the man gives up the name of a woman, Irina, who may have information on the blue diamonds that once belonged to Caspere and were sold to a pawn shop. The woman tells Frank that an unidentified police officer told her to sell the diamonds.  Frank convinces the woman to meet with him, but finds her murdered once he arrives at their pre-arranged meeting place.

Frank 1

Paul continues to track down the blue diamonds, and meets with a jewelry store employee who once sold them in his store.  The owner speaks of a robbery/shootout in 1992, and of two children who were orphaned due to the incident.  The owner tells Paul he knows little about the children, other than their approximate ages in 1992 and that they then became part of California’s foster care system.

Paul 1

Ani makes preparations to attend the sex party to obtain information.  Paul and Ray place a tracking device on her so that they may know of her whereabouts.  Ani boards a bus, and has to give up all her personal belongings, including her cell phone and purse.  Ani arrives at the party and is almost immediately drugged by the hosts of the party, and is propositioned by a much older man.

Ray and Paul spy on men making some kind of land deal, similar to the one Frank had made with Ben Caspere.  Ray and Paul then steal some of the documents so that they can be reviewed.

In the meantime, the drugs are affecting Ani, and she begins to have terrifying flashbacks of being molested as a child.  However, Ani purges the drugs from her system, and steals a carving knife.  Ani then notices Vera, the subject of her missing person case.  Ani rescues Vera, and stabs a man with the knife, escaping from the mansion.  Ani and Vera then are rescued by Paul and Ray, who speed away from the mansion as quickly as possible.


My Thoughts

Well, then.

Finally…

The confusing, winding road known as True Detective, season 2 is finally leading somewhere…

And…

ermahgerd 1

Yeah, in a nutshell, I suppose.

This episode may be the most eventful episode of the season so far.  Like the shots of highways and traffic this show seems so fond of, this season started out slow, and was almost meandering.

Not this episode.  This episode sped down the open road, much like the car that contained our heroes in the final scene.  So buckle in guys, and let’s get ready to take a ride!

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First of all, the show now seems to want us to be invested in the characters.  We got to see Ray have a cocaine and booze infused temper tantrum to end all temper tantrums.  We also got to see the alleged gangster Frank console a dead friend’s child.  Now, I don’t think this is coincidental.  The show is gearing up for something major.  A death perhaps?  It would seem that way, although maybe that thought is just a little bit over-simplified.  However, I do think that there will be something major that will happen with one or more characters in one (or both) of the upcoming episodes.  So right now, this is just speculation, but only time (and the remaining two episodes) will tell.

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Another curious thing that I noticed about this episode was the photograph of two children with dark hair, who would be in their mid to late twenties if they were still alive today.  The two Chessani children have dark hair, and appear to be in their mid to late twenties.  Somehow, I don’t think that this is a coincidence either.  Chessani’s daughter has even stated that her father is “evil.”  And we know that Mayor Chessani himself is a shady character.  So it does not seem to be much of a stretch to speculate that even his means of acquiring children would perhaps be surrounded by shady circumstances.  The children were orphaned by a robbery that went wrong.  Or were they?  Was something even more sinister at work?  Again, its pure speculation, and only time (and the next two episodes) will tell.

Well, ok.  You want to get to the good stuff, right?  Right?  RIGHT???

Yes, the “sex party” scene.  The one that the internet has been abuzz about for the past several months…

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Well, not quite as creepy as this movie, although the entire last 7 minutes or so of the episode probably would have made Kubrick proud…

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In all seriousness, the scenes at the sex party were very, very well executed.  I loved how we could see the party from Ani’s perspective, who happened to be stoned out of her mind (well, until she took it upon herself to change that).  I also loved how the past and present was merged (Ani appears to see her molester at the party and the two settings bleed into each other).  My heart was literally in my throat the entire length of the part, and I am sure my sigh of relief once Ani escaped was audible.

Oh, and speaking of Ani…

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I think we are in for a major character arc, and soon (I know, only two episodes, but still).  The flashbacks scenes were creepy and just confirmed my suspicions…Ani was in fact molested as a child.  And we don’t know who the perpetrator was…could it have been the creepy Dr. Pitlor?  Or maybe one of her father’s other creepy friends?  Hell, could it have been her father himself?  At the very least, Ani’s creepy dad was probably complicit in whatever abuse she endured as a child.  She has seemingly repressed it up until now (although I am wondering if Dr. Pitlor had something to do with the repression as well, since he seems to be good with mind games, in a literal sense).  My heart also broke wide open for Ani during the final few minutes of the episode, as she was weeping.  I don’t think these were tears of joy or even from the trauma of that horrible party…I think they were actually tears of sadness and shock from the sudden recovery of her past memories.  My heart aches for Ani, and I hope that the show gives us some answers and some closure for poor Ani.

 

 


 

Well, that’s it for this week’s dissection of the roller coaster ride known as True Detective.  Join me next week, as we delve into the penultimate episode of murder, corruption, sex and all that other good stuff.

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