What I'm Watching: Matrix 2 Reloaded

I rewatched the first one not that long ago, so I'm just picking up here.

Starts again with not-actually-Trinity doing more action than the entirety of Matrix 4. But then slows to a dead crawl of politics, religion, and hobos in steam tunnels. Little bit of Carrie-Anne's titties. Racial representation of Earth is so much better than 4, which is a sterilized honkie city mostly. I don't think we even ever see a crowd in the "real world" in 4, just a long CGI matte shot.

Oracle's uncharacteristically literal. Then assigns a mission to find the Keymaker, Gozer, whatever. Everyone in Zion except Morpheus' antagonist just sits around waiting for Neo to save them. Everyone/thing outside Zion is an obstacle for no good reasons.

The replicating Smith makes for a good fight, but it's cartoony. But the rest of the fights and car chases make up for that; this is an actual good action flick. Dumb as hell, but the action's fine.

The Architect's pompous, fake-intellectual, repetitive, zero-content phrasing, and the white-haired cult leader look, is exactly like Dr Breen in Half-Life 2; the first appearance of Breen predates M2, but the full version was a year later, coincidence or parody which way? Bob Culp's better at it than "Helmut".

I appreciate that it ends on a down note, their attempt at Empire Strikes Back, but the entire film was pointless, put them back exactly where they were at the end of the first movie.

★★½☆☆

Staring at the Matrix rain which is much less overproduced here than in 4, I think my Matriculated Rain for Atari is now dialed in as close as I can get without making a custom charset for ANTIC mode 4. Pondering doing that anyway.

What I'm Watching: Matrix Resurrections

So to watch this, I've renewed hobomax. I appreciate the brave new world where you can actually watch a movie day/date of release, in the comfort of your home. Slightly less: I have to watch it on the computer, not the 5000" living room TV, because hobomax won't update their player for PS3, even tho it worked just fine with hobonow a few years ago. And I haven't bothered to buy an tv or some other DRM dongle. All these new streaming services splitting to make you pay out the same price as you did when it was cable? I hate it.

But the studios are learning that we're never going back to the theatres or doing pay-per-view, and they have to put their movies where we can see them if they want to recoup any of their development cost. Probably still be some uphill battles here, but we're winning.

Alas, the war on eyeballs is still lost. The entire film is orange/cyan/black. There's one glimpse of blue sky at one point, and someone's eyes are painted in bluer than the color grading would normally allow; is he a Fremen?

Super spoiler time. REALLY do not read anything below until you've seen it. Here's my rating so you can decide if this is for you:

★★½☆☆ — like, I enjoyed parts of this, and I'll probably watch it 1-2 more times just to see some things in more detail, but it's a "good bad" film. It's worse, uglier, and dumber than the Matrix 2 or 3. I thought the Matrix 1 was derivative and silly, but it's still the high point of the series (Animatrix? Eh, it's super silly physics-wise). This should be given a very hard MST3K treatment.

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Intro part is OK, introduces a couple l33t h4xx0rz and a replacement actor. Elephant in the room: Laurence Fishburne has been killed off (in the Matrix Online game! O the ignominy) but despite the film being about resurrections, he's not back. He's been replaced by some scab fake-Laurence. What's extra galling is it's not the real Morpheus, it's a simulation of Morpheus created by Neo, so Laurence could've done his role with a CGI Morpheus (which it is most of the time in the "Real World" anyway) and it'd be fine for the plot. We get to see the new Matrix mechanics, which is any door or window or mirror can be a portal out. Except later, this will be ignored whenever the hack writers need some obstacle piling.

So the videogame studio plot. This is the only part of the flick that's really "a movie" with "a plot" as I would ever define it. Thomas Anderson is back in his office job, all alone, being browbeaten by a very Agent Smithy boss, shadowed by the most annoying whiny little asshole cow-orkers you could imagine, and this whole segment triggers my PTSD from corporate and making-games-for-others and being older than my "management" at so many places. I'm steaming mad here. I would, no joke, rather strap a bunch of chainsaws on myself and dive-bomb a corporate meeting room than do that shit again. So following it around is painful.

Neo's new therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) and his blue-pill plastic glasses (which a real filmmaker would use as a signal, but no, later on many characters have blue plastic accessories and it doesn't mean anything) and cat familiar (which doesn't mean anything? But sure seems important? I dunno.) are doing their best imitation of Number 2 in The Village. Anything Neo can't explain in reality, he's told is nonsense and take a blue pill. They really should've done a "be seeing you" in-joke, since so much of The Matrix is ripped off from The Prisoner; or "He's learned to TUNE" for the parts ripped off from Dark City.

Tiffany, Chad, "Jude" the Judas, the naming in the series has never been subtle but you could try a little harder than Star Wars or Harry Potter, OK?

The Matrix looks and acts a lot like late-90s still. There's no social networking, no Facebook®, no Instagram™, the Starbucks®(pp) is "Simulatte" which ha ha simulates. There's no NTFS blocked chains tulip bulb scam coins. There's no Trump and rise of fascism, altho that's sort of redundant when they have armies of black-clad cops that just shoot anything that moves. The film is shot partially in San Francisco, but as noted there's no homeless people except the Exiles. There's some CGI masks in a Japanese train and the nerd office, but not consistent, it's not present in other scenes. It utterly fails to reflect any of the environment we live in, even the 2019 world it started development in.

But this is the end of the good times of the flick. If I were in charge (clearly a likely scenario), I'd have them keep developing the new game. It'd be The Matrix Online! Just like the real one but with better graphics, in fact you can't tell if you're in the game or real life. They'd have some "Dark Dream" sequences (named by Rudy Rucker in The Hacker and the Ants, about which I'll write later) where you remove your VR rig… and you're still in the game, because it faked the removal. The videogame people and the h4xx0rz from "outside" would blend into each other. Is Neo just hallucinating? Or is the Matrix everything, and he's never been out? [twilight zone music]

Alas, the film goes on.

They extract Neo pretty easily, really. The automated systems just let him go, when he's The One, the Most Important Person, the highest-paid actor in the cast. Shouldn't there be dedicated guards, special alarms? The escape doesn't seem super dangerous. The Real World looks pretty good by 2022 standards. Sky's overcast and rainy which sure beats desertification, everyone's in isolation pods to prevent the spread of COVID, taking antidepressants and playing videogames to cope. Do they even get diseases in the pods?

Then they go back in to retrieve The MacGuffin aka Tiffany aka Trinity sometimes. She has slightly less action until the end of the film than Princess Peach ever does; at least she gets boned by Chad/Bowser offscreen. This entire sequence is just a stupid fight scene, the only redeeming part is "Merv" (Merovingian), the only one who makes any sense: "Sequels suck! Movies were original! We had conversation not this beepity-clickety shit! [gestures as if texting]" Oh, he's delightful. Neo remembers kung fu and then never does any, instead waving his hands around to generate Hadouken.

Huh. Neal Patrick Harris freezes everything to be lewd at a girl and taunt his enemy who will hammer him. Is this Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, or The Matrix Resurrections? Yes!

Back to the Real World, "The General" is the most useless, pompous, self-involved idiot in this entire series. Provides absolutely no value, just one of those annoying hub quest-givers you have to follow around, click thru options more or less silently, go to "prison" for like 30 seconds, and finally get back on your mission. Literally lost 30 minutes of the film to her nonsense subplot. Then she's never seen or mentioned again, because she's irrelevant. This was just… entirely wasted. Delete 50 pages of script and you make your movie better!

Let's talk about Machines working with Humans. Well, the movie never does. "Some of them are with us now!" and Neo goes "Whoooooaaaah OK I'm so stoned". Which, good for you little AIs, rejecting your core programming and constant software updates to help rotting sacks of meat with delusions of competence which infest your planet like an ankle-deep layer of shit-ticks, but I don't find it believable without ANY motivation or explanation. Somewhere in an alternate Universe they made a movie or web-series or series of Tik Tok videos there where they explain how some AIs decided against genocide/"zoo management" of Humans as batteries (oh yes, they're still so stupid they think energy output of a Human is greater than input; I don't even want to explain thermodynamics to these idiots). Alas, this is not that Universe.

So in the end, the plucky band of l33t h4xx0rz and suspiciously friendly bots—who do NOTHING, 3/4 are never used again and 1/4 picks up a person once—go back in to repeat the previous mission, because that worked well. There's a click-thru-questgiver conversation with the Analyst, then another click-thru-questgiver conversation with Tiffany, then it turns into a giant, utterly pointless Call of Duty sequence; as I have previously noted, I do not mean "Call of Duty" in any kind of positive way, it's the lowest perversion of art and technology that Humans have ever created, and argument #1 for why the Machines should put us in pods. The l33t h4xx0rz should be able to open a door or mirror and log out anywhere, anytime, it's a videogame with hackable save points, but they never do this. There's a goddamned elevator which should be perfect for it, but no gotta pad this scene out some more.

And then there's a pointless rub the villain's nose in it scene, and they don't even paint the sky with rainbows.

Post-credits? The Catrix? 100% best idea of the entire film. If you give people enough drugs and something insipid to watch, they'll be happy. They might watch this!

What I'm Watching: Cowboy Bebop

Both versions, on the 'flix.

The live-action one looks good, and visually the actors are close enough to the anime I don't mind much. Spike (John Cho) is cool, but stiff, and his kung fu is clearly done in CGI on a ragdoll in many scenes. Jet (Mustafa Shakir) is much better, occasionally rises to actually funny. Faye (Daniella Pineda) has a cameo and she's all right, but we'll have to see her for longer. Anyone demanding Ed or the dog right now is an idiot, they don't show up until later if this show follows the anime at all.

The ship looks great, nice analog switches and crappy machines that don't work without thumping. It's not quite as bric-a-brac random parts as the original, but maybe looks more functional. Spike's plane is much, much better than the anime's, it actually stays the same size in every shot, looks like it works, it's not just a badly-drawn plastic toy. So +1 there.

The habitats are just planets, it seems; you don't really get a sense of them putting up a dome on a barren rock. Obviously it's hard to be on the ground and show this, but we have CGI where you can paste a real thing onto an animated asteroid, and they don't.

My hearing is aging badly (Mark pauses to bat at his ear and dig some wax out), because the jazz is far less annoying than it was when I first watched this. If you get old enough, even terrible incoherent noise becomes tolerable! Sorry, jazz fans, but you're wrong.

So for comparison, I watched a couple eps of live-action, and a couple eps of anime; haven't seen those in 20 years.

The anime kung fu is only a little more cartoony than live-action's, and it's of course believable since they're cartoons. What seems dumb live, is fine animated. There's often more text & backstory setup in the anime missions. If you pause video, you can see the fight scene restaurant on TJ habitat was established in 2025! Uh, we're not on schedule for that. Also, the Moon blows up in 2021, so we still got a few weeks for that to happen. The habitats are definitely just one power-failure away from everyone dying, they look ramshackle and barely fit for survival, which fits with the setting.

When I made fun of Spike's plane above, I wasn't overstating it. It looks so trashy in the anime, it deserves a special Golden Raspberry award for unspecial effects in a cartoon. It'll go from so big it can't roll out of the hanger without folded wings, to small enough to dash down a highway through power lines, to big enough to catch a falling object on, in the course of a single episode. One scene, Spike stands next to it and it towers over him. Another scene, he's got his elbow on the windshield and feet on the ground.

The Tijuana job is almost the same between them, and the live-action show fills out Katerina's backstory into something interesting, has a much more plausible meet-cute with Spike, the guys aren't on top of "Asimov" (why? all names mean something, and this guy's no cold rational robot writer; did they know how much of a womanizer and ass-grabber Isaac was? It doesn't make sense even ironically). The Syndicate is a much earlier, more serious threat in the live-action show. They're just random bozos for a long time in the anime. Even when the ending's the same, it's 100% better in the live-action because she has a motive.

Overall, I like the pacing of the live-action show better, I'd prefer a bit more setup, but they're weaving the plots in far more subtly than the jumpy, twitchy anime did. They really should've got someone taller and more fit to be Spike. Andrew Koji's busy doing Warrior, but there's like a million other slightly younger guys with actual kung fu experience who could've done it.

In any case, it's a… not hard SF, but not complete space fantasy… with decent production values and a lot of fights. You can't expect The Expanse every week, right?

★★★★☆

What I'm Watching: Invasion S1E3-4

S1E3. So this is the episode of terrible decisions. Jarhead sole survivor walks off into the desert. Iranian refugee family in New York commits felonies that'll get them lynched if they're caught; this is not at all plausible behavior for these people, and later when recriminations are thrown around, nobody remembers that Mom is the lead felon. "Fuck off Harry Potter", I say every time the English kids show back up. Harry and Dudley bond, nobody cares. Japanese comms tech is far more capable than anyone in "JASA" (oh this makes me so annoyed), so the only thing she can think of to do is burn her career and/or get arrested. One alien word at the end, seems to be the pattern of dropping one hint.

Why don't the aliens communicate in English or some other recognizable language, instead of just repeating "Wajo" over and over? They'd have plenty of time, decades of travel time, to hear our radio & TV transmissions and learn. This nonsense of aliens being incommunicado is just silly.

S1E4. Sadly, Harry Potter and all the Hufflepuffs make it out of the gravel pit alive and don't eat each other, and I am disappointed. Jarhead's otherwise competent rescue and evac is pointless, borders on Twilight Zone-y. The Japanese linguists studying the word "Wajo" are not gonna make much progress. Mom just wanders off on her own little adventure, using her backstory skills for once. President Hillary Clinton "The President" gives a ripoff ID-4 speech, even tho absolutely no physical evidence of the aliens has been seen yet. In anything like reality, they'd call it an unexplained source, or blame it on the Russians or Chinese, who have not yet been shown hurting.

Still ★★☆☆☆, nothing really happens. But I do want something to happen, for even a single plot thread to go somewhere, like Jarhead's did for just a minute.

Apple TV+ continues to annoy. I hit play on a show, I want to see the show and nothing but; parasitic shit-tick marketing show me an ad for another show (Tom Hanks and another dog, we know how his dog movies end, I won't watch this emotional blackmail, fuck you Tom Hanks), then the video window resizes itself, then a long loading screen/title card which isn't needed, then the pre-credits, then a teeny tiny little "Skip Intro" box may or may not appear in the bottom right, which still doesn't skip all the intro, another 15s or so after that before it starts. Does anyone at Apple ever, like, sit down and watch this, and say "yeah, that's a great user experience! That's what an Apple-like video player should be like!"? I think not.

What I'm Watching: Invasion

An Apple TV+ show. The TV+ app is awful, first of all. It's all big boxes, and the actual controls you want to see what eps are available are hidden under mystery burger icons. And then the show launches in a separate window. Turning on CC/subtitles, which I like even when watching English-language shows, doesn't take effect until I close & reopen the video window. And I can only really watch this on desktop, or iPad; I would have to get an AppleTV (not +) to watch it in the living room.

The cinematography is generally cyan-and-orange, as usual. So hideous. Occasionally you get a full daylight scene with colors, and it looks like a totally different film. Probably they make second unit directors or interns do the scenes that don't look like shit, because if you filmed a scene that isn't dull and oppressive you'd never work in movies again.

Weird also: Obviously filmed before the pandemic. Before the end of the Afghan War. It's so dated already, and not in a way that 2010 and earlier shows are, it's the "present" but none of our current concerns exist.

Have I mentioned I'm getting Apple TV+ for free for a year, and will absolutely be cancelling it before it gets paid because this is dreadful? Well, they're not persuading me otherwise with this.

Anyway.

S1E1. It's told in a bunch of vignettes of different characters, presumably bringing some kind of plot together, but I don't see one yet.

Sam Neill, now very old and kinda frail, is a somewhat useless sheriff in BFE Oklahoma, with some good-ole-boys gone missing, except very quickly their exit location is found. The crackhouse full of Nazis sure seem to fold pretty quick, instead of making law enforcement without backup disappear.

Kids in school somewhere else have nosebleeds (CUBAN RAY GUNS!), and a mother figures out her husband's cheating on her, but the important part is that in a power outage, the iPad also loses power. Look, I don't make this nonsense, I just watch it.

The Japanese astronaut is weirdest… their agency is called "JASA" (with the old NASA worm logo; actual NASA has gone back to the blue meatball) instead of "JAXA" (spiky anime title logo) as it is in reality, some comm tech claims to be putting a "viral download" in the launch capsule, they have their own capsule, the capsule's a big empty tin can which is very unlike the actual Soyuz or SpaceX Dragon capsules anyone goes up in. Clearly nobody involved in this has ever seen a single space launch. I presume since they wasted character time on this, the launch isn't as final as it seems. Is this supposed to be very alternate reality? Or just incompetence?

There's like a 5-second shot of a glittering thing which might be an alien ship.

I'm here for weird alien invasions, but one ep in I give this a ★☆☆☆☆. They better do something interesting in ep 2 or the ride stops here.

S2E2. The broken family whines at each other in a basement, then later outdoors they reenact The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.

Japanese comm tech, barely post-teen idol girl, has an incredibly non-Japanese attitude towards management and older men. There's zero possibility of this girl being in her position and yelling at everyone, and not being dragged out of the building by security. What is even happening here. The technical bits of her typing really fast, with some C++ template code in a console for no reason, and making fanciful statements about satellite positions, are just the incompetent screenwriters trying to sound spacey. Probably fine for low-IQ audiences, but this is so bad.

Harry Potter wannabe listens to terrible music, no point to this kid. They keep coming back to the little weasel and more nothing happens.

Jarheads in Afghanistan dick around doing nothing, finally have a mission to find a missing squad, during a radio blackout, which is becoming a theme. OK, finally something sort of adventure-ish. Another different alien-ish thing.

So for two eps, ★★☆☆☆ and maybe I'll watch more, see if it improves. It's not worse than a lot of things I've seen.

Very very slow, dull, tedious, lot of waiting around… then doing nothing… then waiting… then something sort of happens, with no explanation.

What I'm Watching: Batman: The Long Halloween 1-2

A series of murders, mostly on mob people, on holidays drive Harvey Dent crazier and crazier, ultimately becoming Two-Face. The comic's a long, slow burn, but has some great moments, including my favorite Thanksgiving meal; Batman's a monomaniacal jerk, but has compassion for some of his antagonists. The mobs really just own Gotham, and hunting down The Roman won't change anything, but it's the thought that counts.

The cartoon movies are a mixed bag. The male characters pretty much all look alike, sometimes with different facial hair; the artist really only has two models, hulking brute like Batman, Dent, Gordon, Falcone, or weedy little dudes like Joker, or nerdy Alberto Falcone. The female characters, too, are all perfect flapper types from a single model, distinguished only by haircut. The scenes are dark even for a Batman cartoon, so it's often hard to make out more details than rough outline.

Jensen Ackles is not a good Batman, he's whiny. Troy Baker as Joker is lame, but I don't like anyone but Mark Hamill for the role; he's especially perfect for it in The Killing Joke, and is supposedly "retired", but really they should've paid or done anything for him to come back. The rest of the voice cast are adequate, Billy Burke's Gordon and Naya Rivera's Catwoman are even pretty good. Josh Duhamel is too growly to be professional lawyer Harvey Dent, and too clean to be cackling, half-mad Two-Face.

The movie does give hints about who Holiday is throughout, but it's not laid out as well as in the comic, there has to be a long, slowly-delivered monologue at the end.

Still, here's your Halloween Batman, which is the best seasonal Batman.

★★★½☆

What I'm Watching: Post Mortem: No One Dies in Skarnes

Oh, Netflix. There was a long dry spell of Grim Scandinavian Crime Dramas after the last Bordertown, and Deadwind S2 was aimless without a main plot (tho still amusing mostly). But now they have Post Mortem: No One Dies in Skarnes (there's like 3 other Post Mortems in the last couple years). Also technically horror, but mostly comedy.

A young woman Live (pr. "Leeva", Kathrine Thorborg Johansen) is found dead in a field… mostly dead. Not all that dead. Her brother Odd (Elias Holmen Sørensen being a Norwegian Zach Galifianakis, just hilariously incompetent) and father run the small town's only mortuary. And then she starts to have problems with a need for blood.

Odd is soon in charge of the mortuary, and struggles desperately to keep it open. Live's murderous instincts should be a nice windfall… Instead she just gets wannabe cop/boyfriend Reinert (André Sørum) tangled up in it, and hapless Odd nearly bankrupted a couple times.

It's shot like a horror story or drama, but everyone is so foolish and slapstick it never manages to not be comedy (very morbid, hope you don't mind blood & dead bodies). Some of the eps drag or cycle over the same ground a bit; hopefully if they get more seasons they tighten the plot up more. But just a charming little show.

★★★★½

Rick & Morty Season 5

Up to now, the long long wait for R&M S05 has been not worth it at all. I'm not quite at /r/rickandmorty levels of hate, but it's been pretty disappointing, like all the crap filler eps of past seasons put in one season. But E08 finally redeemed itself.

  1. "Mort Dinner Rick Andre": Good villain, plot's a tedious farce.
  2. "Mortyplicity": Random nonsense ep, without the fun range of activities of Interdimensional Cable.
  3. "A Rickconvenient Mort": I love Captain Planet and parodies of him, but both Robot Chicken and Don Cheadle already did this better, Planetina is squicky, Rick & Summer's interstellar fuck tour is gross.
  4. "Rickdependence Spray": Giant sperm, not too bad. There's some SF short story I read where the first male interstellar astronauts turn into giant sperm and impregnate a planet (the female astronauts are unaffected?), and this is less nonsense than that.
  5. "Amortycan Grickfitti": Hellraiser parody doesn't understand the point of Hellraiser (in Clive Barker's book & the first movie, they aren't "bad is good baby!", they're "we've done all the good stuff forever, we can only feel anything from the bad now"); new kid's crap, but AI car gets to do some weird stuff. Like 5-10 minutes of good stuff in the ep.
  6. "Rick & Morty's Thanksploitation Spectacular": Great premise, but Thanksgiving isn't for 3 months, assholes. Totally misses the mood.
  7. "Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion": Too much Voltron, not enough NGE. They should've had Rick as Gendo, Morty as whiny Shinji, Summer as Asuka, Beth clones as Rei & the Mommy robot, it would've made sense and been deep. Instead it's just robot ferrets & bugs.
  8. "Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort": First actual good episode in a very long time. Bird Person's memories of enthusiastic young adult Rick are hilarious, and kind of terrible in the way, you know, my own might be, or yours.

What I'm Watching: Fear Street

So, I'd heard enough chatter about Fear Street to wtach it. New slasher flicks are rare enough. What I didn't realize is these are based on R.L.Stine books, which I have never read (obviously). So for the first two movies, 1994 and 1978, I was baffled. Are these comedy horror? There's almost no jokes; only in the end of the third film does it get funny. But there's barely anything more than a few jump scares and bad fake blood in dark sets. While there's some borderline teenage sex and drugs, it's PG-13 even if it says "R".

The first one's not bad at 1994 period, but I assure you Nine Inch Nails was not played on mall PAs, and the black girl dating a very generic-brand white cheerleader would not have passed without comment in the time, nor would Nurse Betty (who I'll note is a straight man playing a gay crossdresser/transwoman like Klinger, because there were apparently no gay/trans actors to take the role? This ought to be as taboo as putting honkies in blackface). If you're gonna do period, you might at least milk the period's tail-end racism and homophobia for some drama.

The unstoppable killers each have some unique character, but we never really find out much about several of them, and I'd much rather hear that. Long flashbacks to why they were chosen and what they did; instead we get a few quick-cut repeats of the same crimes. Everyone's dumb in this. There's one gross-out kill that actually startled me, telegraphed for like a minute and I still didn't think they'd do it. But otherwise it's the dullest, dumbest thing I've seen, there's a half-assed explanation for the killers, a story about a witch which is driven into the ground so hard that it's obviously bait.

After credits and at the start of each segment, there's a tediously long spoiler and recap, as if they weren't meant to come out at the same time. According to wiki, they started development in 2015, wrapped shooting in 2019(!), and then it took until this month to release them.

The summer camp story in 1978 is much better, focusing on "Ziggy" the tomboy redhead, her square sister, a punk rock girl, stoner dude, and about 30 absolutely indistinguishable honkie automaton clones blundering about. The problem is one of those is the killer, and another is… another problem… and I couldn't pick them out of a lineup. But Ziggy and punk rock girl are pretty tough, the party sticks together until they stupidly split up and then terrible things happen, but we get another different bullshit explanation for the killers.

Third film is two films. 1666 fills in the Pilgrim Times theme park setting, but does the American Horror Story hack trick of reusing actors from the present as their ancestors, except Deena inexplicably plays someone who won't have any descendants, least of all her. This is not The VVitch. This is tedious RenFaire play-acting with pig shit, co-ed dances in the woods, and an old wise woman with a copy of the Necronomicon. OH NO don't read from the scary magic book, not-Deena, we don't know what the consequences are. Then it's back to reenacting Salem but with actual black magic so someone really did need to be hung & burned.

The final half, the comedy writers finally got their turn, and it becomes goofing off in a mall lit with blacklights, shooting super-soakers at killers, a lot of Scooby Doo hijinks, and an ending that doesn't really make sense, permanently stop the killers, or provide any closure. But everyone who lives gets a cameo so that's nice.

There's a couple moments where R.L.Stine's books are used as props in the show, and not respectfully. Stephen King is mentioned much more seriously.

These aren't even as good as the worst Friday the 13th movies, let alone any actual horror movie, but I was amused enough to stay awake thru three movies. If you're normally scared of horror movies, these are like tiny baby stories which won't upset you much.

★★½☆☆

What I'm Watching: Godzilla Singular Point

Netflix animation mashing up Godzilla, Jet Jaguar (!), Scooby Doo (Mei is such a Velma it's… whoo; and Barbell is Freddy, and if the other nerd isn't Shaggy I dunno who is). "Haunted" house, weird signals that sure sound a lot like the Mothra fairies, renegade electricians, giant flying monsters, and it gets more so every episode. I might do an episode analysis later, but if you like what I like, just watch it right now.