We’re only a third of the way through “WandaVision,” but if this recent episode is any indication, we can expect an avalanche of strange occurrences and sudden twists to occur every single week. Episode 3 of “WandaVision,” aptly titled “Now in Color,” comes to Disney+ with another 40 minutes of laughs, love, and absolute madness. The show starts off how the second episode ended, in brand spanking new technicolor!
For those unaware, “WandaVision” is the newest project from Marvel Studios, and it’s the first in a long line of miniseries that all share a connection to each other and the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. It follows everyone’s favorite odd couple — Wanda Maximoff and Vision (last name not included) — after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Back when this idea was first announced, it was met with excitement from some and exhaustion from others. I’m only a little bit ashamed to admit that for a while, I landed on the latter.
If you told me there was a movie being made about Ma Rainey, the legendary blues singer who inspired the likes of Bessie Smith and Langston Hughes, I’d sit back and buckle in for a jazz-filled good time. If you told me the movie was based off a play written by August Wilson of Fences fame, I would immediately unbuckle myself to go and grab a pair of tissues.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen, directed by McG and starring pretty much the exact same cast as the first film, was released exclusively on Netflix earlier this month and is described by the service as a “teen comedy horror…sequel.” Thanks to the sequel’s release, the original went from a cult-favorite film to the first in a cult-favorite franchise. Much like the majority of its cast and crew, The Babysitter: Killer Queen is more of the same kind of material we got from the first movie. Yet, for whatever reason, I enjoyed this one a lot more.
Directed and written by Sean Durkin in his latest film since 2011, The Nest tells the story of Rory O’Hara, portrayed by Jude Law, who after a seemingly successful life of entrepreneurism in the States, moves back to London in the late 1980s so he can work for his old company. Along with his loving wife Allison (Carrie Coon) and their children Samantha and Ben (Oona Roche and Charlie Shotwell), the family moves into a luxurious, countryside house, and as this summary might hint, things begin to take a “twisted turn” once they arrive.
When it comes to psychological horror, there is one unwritten but common and maybe even obvious imperative: you have to mess with your audience’s mind. The true horror doesn’t come from a man in a papier-mâché Halloween mask or a creepy-crawly creature from the fifth dimension like you’ll see in other scary movies. It comes from mystery, the feeling that you never have any idea what is actually going on in the film you’re watching, as well as the sense of dread that confusion might entail. So I guess you could say Rent-A-Pal is a pretty good psychological horror — one certainly deserving the genre label.
If you search the name “Ellis Haizlip” in your preferred search engine of choice today, you won’t get a lot of results. There is no Wikipedia page, and his IMDB spotlight is slim, to say the least. Most of what you’ll get are stories and reviews about Mr. Soul, the documentary detailing the life and career of Haizlip and his time as the producer and host of “Soul!” from 1968 to 1973. A documentary, I might add, that most people wouldn’t even know to search the name of because much like the person it’s analyzing, it wasn’t massively advertised. Still, Mr. Soul is just as important to American life and TV as the man himself was.
On August 28, 2020, the world stood still. As I sat in a diner, patiently awaiting my “breakfast for dinner,” I did what every person nowadays does when there’s nothing else to do: I checked my phone. The first thing I saw when I opened Twitter and looked at my timeline was the most shocking and heartbreaking news I never knew I wasn’t prepared to hear. Chadwick Boseman, star of Black Panther, was dead at 43. Boseman passed away peacefully, surrounded by his wife and family, according to the statement made on his official Twitter account. I sat there in shock and disbelief, hoping and praying that this might be some sort of joke. That maybe his account had been hacked, or I was stuck in some sort of lucid dream. It didn’t take long for the swarms of tweets and replies full of the same amount of disbelief to come in, as well as the responses from those who knew him or wished to know him more. Then I realized it was real.
Tesla stars Ethan Hawke as the titular inventor who navigates life in the 1800s, one of America’s most “brainstormy” times. Around him are a handful of equally inventive and enigmatic characters, such as Anne Morgan, portrayed by Eve Hewson, and George Westinghouse, portrayed by Jim Gaffigan. And of course, you can’t have a Tesla movie without his famous frenemy and rival in the electricity circuit, Thomas Edison; a role that is perfectly performed by Kyle MacLachlan in small doses. Edison isn’t in the film a whole lot, but he manages to steal the show in a manner accurate to how his real-life inspiration repeatedly stole Tesla’s thunder.
Personally, I believe the horror genre doesn’t get nearly enough credit these days. I’ve struggled to figure out just why that is. Perhaps it’s because of the over-saturation of the genre, the fact that there are quite literally hundreds of films to choose from, many of them admittedly not exactly something to write home about. Maybe it’s because even when horror was at its peak, when the big monsters like Dracula or Jason Voorhees spooked audiences during the Halloween season, horror was advertised as something of a niche genre; meant only for those who could truly appreciate the shock, schlock, and gore of a scary movie. Or maybe it’s because no on-screen jump scare could ever compare to the horrors of reality that many of us have to live through on a daily basis. Either way, the horror genre is pretty underappreciated and often times overlooked when awards season comes around.