Paul Downey's Blog

Telling You What You Dont Want to Hear

Screams of Boredom


I think we all called it from the first announcement but MTV’s Scream TV series is truly dreadful.

Having now being added to the Netflix UK schedule I swallowed my pride and took in 3 episodes earlier this evening before turning it off. Some would say that was 2 episodes too much but I thought I would keep an open mind and hope it would improve; it didn’t and in fact it got even more tedious.

The premise that Scream’s whodunnit theme could be extended to a TV series was skeptical enough to begin with, but when they fail to execute the ‘rules’ if you will that made the film series a money maker, it just smacks of blind ignorance.

Clearly the late Wes Craven had very little or no input into this woeful imitation of his classic genre defining classic.

The infamous Ghostface mask is nowhere to be seen, which was probably the only thing that could have tied this show to its slasher roots; alas we have a poor replica of sorts.

There’s always cries from the horror fraternity when we hear that our favourite flicks from yesteryear are becoming TV series (Friday the 13th is next on the CW), as it appears the ‘in’ thig right now; but others have shown it can work.

Anyone who has read this blog before knows how much I enjoyed the Hannibal series which has recently been cancelled; whereas Scream has a second series greenlit; logic? Just poor taste really.

If there was one show Scream could have learnt from it would have been Bates Motel, the prequel series to the Psycho tales of Norman Bates, which has been effortlessly updated to the modern day.

That has just been renewed for a further 2 seasons following its third run earlier this year.

Safe to say unless Scream undergoes a huge face lift, it won’t be seeing any renewals never mind multiples anytime soon.

If you want your horror fix with some added laughs stick to Scream Queens or wait until American Horror Story Hotel starts next week.

Season of the Witch


Usually one horror film will come out of the Sundance Film Festival and be lauded as the next classic that we all must see.

This honour in 2015 has been bestowed upon Robert Eggers’ 17th century set ‘The Witch’.

Having only seen the trailer (below) it is very hard to judge what many have already seen, but the atmosphere it carries throughout really stays with you after its 150 second are up.

After one of their children is kidnapped, a family must decide whether to venture into the forest and confront the potentially evil being which holds their baby captive.

Because of the time it’s set in expect a gritty, dark and gothic tale and with only a brief glimpse of the aforementioned ‘Witch’ in the trailer, expect more nearer to its release in 2016.

Here’s the trailer for ‘The Witch’

Queens Worth Screaming About


Tuesday night saw the premiere of Ryan Murphy’s latest show the horror comedy Scream Queens. Starting with a double episode we got to know the students from the Kappa Kappa Tua sorority.

Mixing the casting from his previous efforts American Horror Story and Glee the show effortlessly combines a who-dunnit serial killer mystery alongside some slapstick comedy.

It’s not short of familiar faces too with Jamie Lee Curtis playing Dean Munsch and guest stars Nick Jonas and Ariana Grande also making notable contributions.

The key to Scream Queens’ strong opening is that it simply doesn’t take itself too seriously and has some fun. The best kind of horror films of recent times are ones that can poke fun at themselves whilst sticking to their horror principles.

With American Horror Story hitting the buffers for the first time last season with inconsistencies and Jessica Lange leaving, Scream Queens could become its natural heir.

I’m sure there will be plenty of red herrings and secrets revealed along the way to finding out who is behind the Red Devil mask, let’s hope this is just the beginning and it goes from strength to strength.

Scream Queens will debut on E4 in UK this Autumn.

What We Need From Creed


The second trailer for Rocky spinoff ‘Creed’ recently hit the net and has certainly got fans of the franchise talking again.

Although Rocky Balboa in 2006 undid some of the mess that was Rocky V, many still felt there was more story to tell. So here we have Balboa taking on the ‘Mickey’ role of coach and training the late Apollo Creed’s (Carl Weathers) son Adonis to become the next prospect.

In some great casting Director Ryan Coogler has brought in Michael B. Jordan, who he had worked with previously on the superb and gritty Fruitvale Station, as Adonis.

Forget the disaster that was Fantastic Four, under the right tutelage Jordan has got some serious talent as shown previously on Friday Night Lights and The Wire before Fruitvale.

We also have a real life World Champion involved in the mold of Super Middleweight king Andre Ward and light heavyweight contender Tony Bellew; who will no doubt revel in a more villanous role.

Stallone has also finally given up the ghost of boxing as he nears his 70th year and has taken the natural backstep to trainer. There will be many homages to the glory days and odd cheesy line, lest we forget that it’s a Rocky film, but Creed definitely has potential to be another knockout.

Creed is released this November.

AJ Needs to Make Some Haye


After seeing Anthony Joshua’s latest destruction of supposedly his sternest test Gary Cornish; it seems time to fast-track the heavyweight prospect to the next level.

The 6’6 giant from Watford is set to face arch rival Dillian Whyte in December in what again is being billed as his biggest test to date.

I’m sure we all remember not too long ago we we’re singing the praises of David Price as the British saviour of the Heavyweight division, but given his shaky form he seems to be fast becoming another also-run in a mediocre division.

At the moment there seems to be realistically one man who can give Joshua credibility and a taste of the next level; one David Haye.

He has been inactive since twice pulling out of fights with Tyson Fury due to injury but if his body can handle a good training camp; the Hayemaker has the power, speed and ring nouse to give the big man some serious problems.

Joshua is of course more mobile that the giant Nikolai Valuev who Haye beat for his heavyweight crown many moons ago, but coming up from Cruiserweight he is used to being the smaller man in the fight.

The likelihoood is that if Joshua does vanquish Whyte with the ease of his previous roster he will be pinned with Dereck Chisora, who is rapidly becoming a gatekeeper fighter.

It would be a fascinating contest, and Haye does now how to sell a fight, with his charisma and Joshua’s ability this could be a contest for the ages. After Fury vs. Klitschko this is definitely another heavyweight fight for fans to get excited about.

Social Media Gets Sinister: Unfriended (2015) Review


It’s become a burden now for any film which uses the line ‘From the producers of Paranormal Activity et al…..’

Luckily Unfriended is one of their better efforts, dealing head on with this generations obsession with social media and giving it a deadly twist or three.

We open to find a girl called Laura Barns had committed suicide after an explicit video of her was posted on a version of YouTube for all the world to see.

From here we meet Blair and her five friends who chat online using Skype, Messenger and Facebook to chat openly and privately between themselves.

The mysterious ‘billie227’ then enters the fray posting to individuals and the group with cryptic messages posing as the deceased Laura Barns.

Is she alive after all, or is it some kind of imposter ready to play some games?

As a social commentary Unfriended is very relevant with cyberbullying and some of its extreme cases always making big headlines sadly over the last few years.

It also begs the question of how well we know our friends and even lovers?

Blair as we find out during the opening scenes is looking to lose her virginity to boyfriend Mitch (also part of the online group) at their Prom which is coming up, but from coming across as starcrossed lovers we find that everything isn’t what it seems.

This could be a metaphor for Unfriended in general, this false sense of security we feel when accessing and sharing our thoughts and actions with the world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Remember that photo on your phone that you don’t want anyone to see? What if it got posted on your Facebook wall, how would you react?

This is the sort of scenario the group finds themselves in as ‘Billie227’ twists the knife metaphorically on them using the game ‘Never Have I Ever’ to effectively rip their friendships apart at the seams.

Despite having six characters and the now deceased Laura Barns to focus on, we are given enough snippets into most of the characters to know whether we will route for them or not barring one but they aren’t that invested in the bigger picture.

Just when the formula of the constant web cams is getting a bit tiresome Unfriended shifts it up a gear in gruesome fashion as one of the group meets a bloody end. From here the film kicks on as really ramps up the tension focussing on the individuals and their parts in the bigger picture.

It’s an age old story of the sins committed previously coming back to haunt them, but done in a more modern way. Having said this, don’t expect Unfriended to age well as any film that incorporates a specific piece of technology will live and die by it; lest we forget Halloween Resurrection’s use of webcams way back in 2002.

Thankfully Unfriended is a much slicker and smarter film than Resurrection, although don’t expect any spinoffs anytime soon like Paranormal Activity, this is very much a stand alone effort.

Unfriended has its flaws, but you have to admire the idea which is quite refreshing and executed very well.

Continuing The Feast


The dust has now settled on what could proved to be the final season of Hannibal.

Bryan Fuller always stated that every season should conclude like it was the final reel, and this did not disappoint. The show went for broke on par with Season 2’s bloodbath ‘Mizimuno’, and for many of us gave a fitting close to an excellent show.

I must say I was skeptical when I heard the season would be split in two with 2 very differing storylines; Hannibal on the run and the Red Dragon arc.

My fears were dumfounded as they pulled off the transition with ease and cleverly wove the story together like a patch work quilt.

Mason Verger met a horrific end and many other characters did not fare so well including Cordell, Pazzi and lest we forget poor old Dr. Chilton.

But what now? There have been thousands of fans on Twitter, Facebook and beyond voicing the need for a 4th season, but where do you go from where we were left?

In a perfect world we would get another season of the Will/Hannibal relationship possibly incorporating themes from the Hannibal novelisation then move on to the Silence of the Lambs arc.

Fuller has already stated he would have liked Lee Pace (Guardians of the Galaxy & Pushing Daisies) to play his Buffalo Bill with potentially an actress of African-American ethnicity playing Clarice.

In the immediate none of this looks likely with Mads Mikkelsen recently bagging a role in the Star Wars spin off Rogue One and Hugh Dancy cast in new Hulu series ‘The Way’ and Fuller also now committed to the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

But would this be such a bad thing? As much as I want to see more I feel that if this is the end for the show it went out with a bang and on its terms.

Shows like Heroes have shown that despite a drop off in audience that given time and fresh evaluation shows can return, although the jury is out on whether it will be worth the effort having fallen so rapidly from its first series highs.

One thing is for sure though, if Hannibal Season 4 is released in 2 years of 5 years, it will definitely be worth the wait.

Hannibal Season 3 is released on DVD and Blu Ray in October.

Behold a Great Red Dragon


This weekend’s San Diego Comic Con has been tinged with sadness for fans of the recently cancelled NBC series Hannibal.

The massive positive to come out of the panel of the show featuring Hugh Dancy (Will Graham), Martha DeLaurentiis (Producer), Bryan Fuller (Creator) and Richard Armitage (Francis Dolarhyde); is the first full footage of the Red Dragon story arc which begins in episode 8 of the third season.

A time jump of three years will come to pass after next week’s mid-season finale; we don’t know who gets out alive but don’t expect Dr. Lecter to go into his cell without a fight or two.

Armitage’s casting as Dolarhyde looks inspired from the footage below with ‘The Tooth Fairy’ a very conflicted and partially tragic character alongside being a vicious serial killer of families.

Behold a Great Red Dragon –

Could Clarice #SaveHannibal ?


One of the most interesting tidbits to come from Hannibal series creator Bryan Fuller in the lead up to the third and potentially final season is his revelation that he has spoken to Jodie Foster about being part of the show.

Most likely behind the camera, Fuller in an interview said,

“I’ve asked Jodie Foster if she wanted to direct an episode, because she’s a brilliant Director. But that’s the only conversation I’ve had with Jodie Foster.”

If Fuller could work his magic and get Foster on board in some guise for a fourth season elsewhere from NBC maybe there could be life in the series yet.

Having the original Clarice Starling involved may also help convince MGM into loaning the rights to the Silence of the Lambs characters such as Benjamin Raspail, Buffalo Bill, Barnie, Senator Ruth Martin and her daughter Catherine oh and how could I forget ‘Multiple Migs’….

Given Fuller’s vision for the story so far it would be fascinating what he could with the Buffalo Bill arc with potentially 10 hours of television to play with.

We could see the descent of Jaime Gumb as he struggles with his identity, from rejections from sexual re-assignment clinics to his ill-fated relationship with Benjamin Raspail to his murderous spree as Buffalo Bill.

Visually it could be horrifically stunning as only Hannibal can be.

The second half of the third season of Hannibal will see Fuller adapt the ‘Red Dragon’ storyline and give Francis Dolarhyde aka ‘The Tooth Fairy’ his own POV in the same way Will and Hannibal have had previously.

Expect the story to be modernised and adapted to fit in with the series, but it seems the basis will remain the same with Lecter caged up and feeding scraps to Will who is now married but has been co-axed back into the hunt by Jack Crawford.

Having already seen the burning wheelchair last season for Freddie Lounds’ ‘fake’ death expect something more completely twisted in store. Are other characters safe too? Alana? Bedelia and even Jack?

Expect some more bloodshed and loss before Hannibal dines for the final time on NBC.

Savoring the Final Hunt


The news that Hannibal will be no more after the current third season is starting to sink in with Fannibals.

Safe to say ‘Contorno’ was the show at its glorious and bloody best. Hannibal’s enemies are starting to close in on him; Will, Chio, Jack, Alana, Pazzi and of course Mason.

This week’s episode was lifted mainly from the ‘Hannibal’ book by Thomas Harris with many scenes cleverly switched around and adapted to incorporate the overall narrative.

It will be fascinating to see how this plays out next week as Will and Hannibal meet again, and what will be the fall out from that.

One of the reasons Mads Mikkelsen is arguably the greatest visual portrayal of Lecter yet is the way he strikes quick and decisively; almost like a wild animal. As with Pazzi and in a previous episode when he slits the throat of his and Bedelia’s dinner guest.

Hannibal has the upper hand on most because they don’t know what he is, but Will and Jack do and this could be his undoing.

Mason has also been offered some of the funniest lines of the series so far, his ‘spitters are quitters’ in ‘Contorno’ certainly caused a chuckle.

So the table has been laid for the final supper for Hannibal, the only question now is who will he be dining with?

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