Category Archives: TV

The Strain Review (Spoilers!)

Original review: http://www.snatchzine.com/blog/2014/9/19/small-screen-the-strain-review

The New Breed of Vampire Is… A Worm?

The_Strain_2014_Intertitle

The Strain is attempting to redefine vamps. After some rather unfortunate mishaps in the shape of Twilight, every single vampire-related form of entertainment media has been unfairly tarnished. The Strain, however, is taking more of an I Am Legend approach (not the Will Smith movie, people! The novel) and the premise is fairly interesting. Basically, you are infected due to some parasitic worms invading your body (anyone remember Animorphs?) and taking over your brain, essentially killing you and possessing you will some form of demon (like in Buffy, when they would be, like, demon, but still them, yah?).

The only thing is, well, the execution of this rather interesting re-invention of the vampire genre is pretty poor. With some sterling acts on board like Sean Austin (The Goonies) and of course, the legendary Guillermo del Toro, I must admit I had much higher hopes. Perhaps that is the problem? There is one thing for sure though, it is pretty addictive but no consolation for the end of True Blood.

The other major issue with this new series is the distinct lack of really interesting and powerful female characters. *yawn* No surprises there! The main female lead, Dr. Nora Martinez, may be a biologist and therefore highly educated P.H.D. holding woman but both lead men are still expressed as her superiors. Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather is her boss, head of her CDC team and Abraham Setrakian is a professor (arguably to doing both in intellectual terms).
As well as this, she just continues to re-enforce gender stereotypes.
Unlike the men, she cannot bear the thought of killing one of these vampiric creatures, as she still sees them as human. The two men, Eph and Abraham, have a no mess, straight-forward attitude. They try to keep it together and realise the realities in which they face – they must kill these infected humans (many of which died prior to infection anyway). Nora becomes very upset by the idea of killing and temporarily refuses to help. While Nora isn’t presented as necessarily weak for this choice, she is no doubt the more emotional and irrational party.
Nora is also madly in love with her superior, Eph, and they previously had a sexual relationship when he separated from his wife. However, her love is very much unrequited. Eph is still in love with his ex-wife and is desperate to find her and insure her safety after discovering her new boyfriend is infected and attacks their son. He makes it pretty bleedingly obvious that all Nora is to him is a sexual comfort and colleague. Although he obviously harbours more affection for her than his other colleagues, it appears she is a close friend with benefits. Nora obviously maintains hope, however, and continues to be his lapdog and take second place to his wife.

Aside from Nora, the other female characters are very underdeveloped and similarly steeped in stereotype. They are all obviously intelligent (in fact, every single character appears to be highly educated) but in one way or another cut down to size. Jim Kent’s wife is portrayed as a strong and dominant personality yet she is completely reliant on her husband due to the fact that she is dying of cancer. Nora’s opinionated mother suffers from dementia and Dutch, the British computer hacker has a mess of a personal life. Dutch is presented as being very self assured, yet she had no idea why she was hired to close down computer systems in the area. She is also very cliched, as it is implied she had some form of sexual relationship with her house mate (who then stole from her), is British (therefore liberal) and well, a computer hacker (therefore weird, alternative and offbeat).

While the men are by no means un-flawed, there are many more male characters to pick from and they are the ones who ultimately have the power. The sexual fluidity of characters and no end to the number of strong females featured in True Blood obviously makes it the better show. Sorry Del Toro, maybe stick to the movies.

Verdict: 7/10

TV: Lizzie Borden Took An Axe

In 1892…

Lizzie Borden took an axe

And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father forty-one.

Photo Taken From mylifetime.com (Credits: Chris Reardon)

Photo Taken From mylifetime.com (Credits: Chris Reardon)

Lizzie Borden was clearly not fond of her parents, and subsequently has gone down in history for her acts of brutality against them. Note: it wasn’t actually that many ‘whacks’. Borden was acquitted and the case is subject to much debate to this day, could a woman really kill her own parents? I’d like to think she did, possibly just because it’s dramatic and an axe is a pretty bloody way to slaughter your own parents. Plus it makes a far more interesting horror movie and she burnt a dress covered in ‘paint’ just a few days after the killings – cunning! (were people really that naive back then?)

Anyway, as well as public debate, Lizzie inspired non other than a rock band (go figure?), I thought here is as good a time as any to add some much needed hair metal action:

Moving on from that (FYI the band are still going, but they sadly have lost their glam metal essence…)

This year horror veteran, Christina Ricci will be taking on the role of Sunday school teacher turned hatchet-weilding killer, in Lifetime’s exclusive made for TV movie, Lizzie Borden Took An Axe.

I am super excited that we, here in the UK, are now privy to this brilliant channel – home to The Witches of East End! We have no official date for the UK Lifetime channel’s airing… but the movie will be gracing US televisions on January 25.

Thanks to Bloody Disgusting, we can finally see some video footage that is available for our region! Woop! So, here it is!

Lizzie-Borden