Wicked Wednesday: Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)

Prom Night II is a sequel only by name. The Hammonds don’t make an appearance, and there isn’t even a reference to the events of the film. It airs on the side of paranormal more than a straight-forward slasher. Instead, if you haven’t caught on by now, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II is mostly about some girl named Mary Lou.

In 1957, Mary Lou is queen of her school. She’s provocative and promiscuous, and she loves letting people know. On prom night, Mary Lou leads around her date Billy as if on a leash. He gives her a ring (seemingly any boy would give her anything), and she sends him away to get her punch. She takes her opportunity to run off and shack up with a boy named Buddy.

Billy catches the two canoodling and becomes upset, though Mary Lou breaks up with him and sends him away. Billy decides to get his revenge on her when he finds a stink bomb in the trash of the boys’ toilets. When Mary Lou is announced queen, she takes the stage, and Billy throws the stink bomb on her. Only instead of going off, the flame sets her dress on fire and the girl goes up in flames.

Thirty years later, Vicki lives a much different (actually more 50’s) lifestyle. She’s restricted by her super-religious mother, and only goes with one boy, Craig. Her mother is a monster, and doesn’t allow her daughter to go shopping for a prom dress. So Vicki takes it upon herself to search the school prop room after her friend Jesse suggests it. She finds an old trunk, and in that a crow, a ring and a cape – all once belonging to Mary Lou.

But when Vicki opens the trunk, she doesn’t just find some great vintage items, but unleashes the vengeful ghost of a sexually-hungry prom queen.

Vicki brings the old things to her art class, which catches Jess’s eye. When she’s alone after school, Jess tries on Mary Lou’s things and even removes a gem from the tiara. And that little dabble in restoration ends Jess’s life. An unseen force wraps the cape around Jess, strangling her before tossing her out the window to her death.

The girl’s death is deemed as a suicide, due to the fact that she was pregnant. But Vicki is more suspicious. She has bigger things to worry about, though, like the creepy-ass visions she’s getting (including the worst one: her rocking horse growing a mother of a tongue). Her personality begins to change as well.

She goes to see the local priest, who is Buddy – Mary Lou’s former side-boy. Vicki admits that she thinks something is going on with Mary Lou. Father Cooper then goes to see Principal Nordham, who is both Craig’s father and Mary Lou’s jilted boyfriend. The two men had formed a weird friendship in the years after Mary Lou’s death. But Nordham refuses to believe Father Cooper when he claims that Mary Lou is back.

In school one day, Vicki slaps one of her fellow students. During detention, she’s sucked into the chalk board and emerges full-on Mary Lou. She kills off Vicki’s best friend by crushing her in a locker with telepathic powers! Mary Lou can do anything!

She uses those powers on prom night to throw Vicki’s mother through their glass door. In fairness to Vicki’s mother, she just caught ‘Vicki’ making out with Vicki’s dad. But like a boss, Vicki/Mary Lou heads off to prom like the demonic boss she is.

Nordham, worried about Vicki’s behaviour, goes to dig up Mary Lou’s grave, but instead finds the corpse of Father Cooper. Nordham knocks Craig out so he can’t go to the prom.

At the prom Vicki/Mary Lou kills nerdy Josh, who was trying to rig the prom queen vote in mean-girl Kelly’s favour. She manages to fix things (with her computer-manipulating powers?) and wins prom queen.

But in a very 2018 version of Carrie, Vicki/Mary Lou is shot by Nordham when she goes to get her crown. The girl is seemingly dead, but the charred corpse of Mary Lou emerges from Vicki’s body to wreck havoc on the students. Craig arrives in the nick of time to be chased around the school!

Craig gets to the prop room, where Mary Lou opens up a vortex in the trunk. He’s nearly pulled in when Nordham calls Mary Lou’s name. He gives her the crown and kisses her, seemingly freeing Mary Lou’s spirit. Craig opens the trunk and finds a very slime-covered Vicki inside. But it’s definitely gentle little Vicki, no Mary Lou.

And it’s all over right? Mary Lou got what she wanted. Killed one of her creepy boyfriends, killed a few students. But it wouldn’t be an 80’s slasher without a half-hearted twist. Nordham takes Vicki (who seems ok despite being shot multiple times in the chest) and Craig into the car to go home.

But the radio turns on, playing Ronnie Hawkins’ “Mary Lou.” Nordham turns to the kids, “They’re playing our song!” The man is wearing his sweetheart’s ring, carrying on the sequence of possessions.

I know everyone makes this obligatory sequel joke, but I think Prom Night II: Electric Boogaloo sounds like it would be a great film. I’d watch it. But seriously, Mary Lou is a pretty solid not-really-sequel sequel. It’s the right amount of outrageous 80’s that it’s pretty gross (that damn horse) and fun.

Mary Lou’s powers are a bit ridiculous. She can do pretty much anything. How did she get her demonic powers? Her being a ghost capable of possession I’d buy, but telekinesis and technokinesis is a bit much.

And I love the 50’s, but the styling in the movie was pretty off. “Mary Lou” and Ricky Nelson’s “Hello Mary Lou” weren’t even recorded in 1957. Which, you know, details. But it wasn’t just that. Why the hell was Mary Lou’s catchphrase “See you later…alligator.” Like what? I thought this woman was supposed to be sexy. I doubt that would get anyone’s heart racing, even in 1957.

The biggest issue most people have with this movie is the very heaving nods to other, better films. I say it works if you view it as an homage. Mary Lou is clearly not a film with the intentions of doing anything original. But the lifting of other films is so overt, it comes off as more amusing than lazy.

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II is certainly more fun than its predecessor. Don’t set yourself any expectations and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Come for the weird catchphrases. Stay for the creepy horse tongue.

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Wicked Wednesday: Elvira: Mistress of Darkness (1988)

After last week’s movie’s more, er, serious premise, I was in the mood to watch something cheesy and hopefully funny. And with Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, that’s pretty much as good as you can get. An homage to B-movies with silly characters and an absolutely ridiculous plot.

Elvira is an absolute icon of the genre. She hardly needs an introduction. But even if you’re new here, Cassandra Peterson plays the ditzy goth in her typical fashion.

After getting fired from her TV spot (you know, for not accepting sexual harassment from the station owner), Elvira gets news that a long-lost Great Aunt has put her in her will.

Wanting her own Vegas show, Elvira is in desperate need of $50,000. So the idea of inheriting a large sum of money immediately entices her to travel to Massachusetts for the reading of the will.

But once she arrives in Fallwell, MA, she quickly assesses that her “assets” and look make her stick out like a sore thumb.

Fallwell is a hokey town that looks identical to Kingston Falls and Hill Valley. Only with a lot less fun. The town’s elders are obsessed with chastity and curfews, leaving the other children frustrated (in more way than one).

Elvira’s car breaks down, stranding her in the town for the foreseeable future. She goes to stay in the local inn, but is nearly turned away. She goes to the bowling alley where two men start trouble with her. It’s a lot of the typical “uptight suburbia meets weird weirdo” but it’s quite cute, so it never feels very boring. There’s also a lot of gags about Elvira’s massive tits, but it never feels exploitative, and she certainly comes off as a woman who can hold her own.

At the bowling alley, she meets a guy named Bill who is the most nondescript man ever. But it works.

During the reading of the will, Elvira meets her ‘Uncle Vinnie’, the brother of the deceased Great Aunt Morgana. Elvira learns that she’s inherited three things: a house, a poodle and a book of recipes. Of all these things, its the book of recipes that Vincent seems the most upset about not inheriting. He offers to buy the book from Elvira for $50, and she gladly agrees to the offer.

Morgana’s house is decrepit, and not at all the sort of thing that Elvira can make quick money from. But before they can make their transaction, the book is hidden away by Algonquin the poodle.

The local kids help Elvira fix up the house, but she isn’t able to sell it to anyone. The quirky colours suit her vibrant personality more than anyone else in the town. But the students’ relationship with Elvira riles the locals. The principal and the town council agree to expel any student who associates themselves with the bombshell.

Though the threat doesn’t last too long. After failing to find a job in town, Elvira convinces Bob, who owns the local movie theatre, to show some non-G-rated films at this cinema. The kids sneak out for the midnight showing that Elvira hosts. It’s a success until one of the local idiots, Patty, ruins Elvira’s Flashdance number.

Bob goes to Elvira’s to comfort her. She decides to make him a casserole from her aunt’s cookbook. But instead of green beans with crunchy onions, Bob and Elvira get a beast-in-a-pot that they have to fend off. Thanks to Algonquin’s help, they both realise that Morgana’s cookbook is filled with magic.

Elvira discovers a letter addressed to her from her aunt, explaining that Elvira’s mother was a witch. She had sent Elvira away to be protected from Vincent, who sought only power. But Elvira was left with one thing: a powerful gem that she wears set in a ring.

With the knowledge that she contains real magic, Elvira tries to unleash the casserole monster on the local Morality Club picnic. Instead, though, the casserole fills all the adults in Fallwell with incredible lust.

At the next town council meeting, Vincent reveals that it was Elvira’s magic that did that to them. He then points out that witchcraft is still illegal in the town, and Elvira can legally be burnt at the stake.

Elvira is captured and brought to her pyre. She manages to escape by using the magic of her ring to create a storm. But while she was tied up, Vincent managed to get the spell book. He even gets the ring away from her, making him incredibly powerful.

Vincent terrorizes the locals and chases Elvira to her house. The two battle it out together, and Elvira manages to get the ring back. She bounces his magic straight back to him, and Vincent shatters – dead.

But Elvira’s house burns during the confrontation, leaving her completely broke and without any way of making money. Her dreams of having a show in Vegas are seemingly over. That is, until the locals gather to apologise to the way the treated her.

The lawyer announces to Elvira that she’s the only heir to Vincent’s estate. An estate that was much bigger than Morgana’s. And with that money – the woman has the ability to make her Vegas showgirl dreams come true.

There’s a little big of the 80’s where this type of film was allowed to exist and be entertaining at the same time. A lot of the humour was cheesy and silly, but it was joyful enough to work. I love a bit of suburbia-meets-weird. Like Pee Wee or even a tame John Waters film.

Performances from the greats like Edie McClurg (who has the best accent ever) just made it all the more enjoyable.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is a must for any fans. Honestly, how can you be a fan and have not seen this yet? But it’s also pretty fun for a good laugh. Sometimes darkness goes pretty good with a cheap pun.

Riverdale Ep. 35 recap “Chapter Thirty-Five: Brave New World”

After a solid run of episodes, Riverdale rounds up season 2 with a sleepy, predictable finale.

Unsurprisingly, Jughead is not dead. And neither is Fangs, which is one of the biggest cop-outs ever. FP claims that the deputy that called him with the news was lying as a ploy. He tells his son, who appears to be in the same hospital bed where the doctor was killed, that the Serpents don’t exist any more as a gang.

This is a complete lie. As FP is completely determined to send himself and Jughead away to Toledo to meet up with the rest of the family. But when Jughead gets out of hospital, he learns that most of the gang is living in the Whyte Wyrm after the sale of Sunnyside Trailer Park. The place where, incidentally, Hiram Lodge is planning his next acquisition.

Cheryl learns from her mother (who is, again unsurprisingly, in cahoots with Hiram) that Hiram is planning a raid on the Wyrm via his lapdog, Sheriff Minetta. Archie, Jughead and Cheryl manage to get the remaining Serpents out of the Wyrm and into the North Side where they get refuge in the Andrews house.

I feel like the biggest victim in all of this is poor Fred Andrew. He and Archie learn that the man that attacked them in their home was Tall Boy, the former Serpent who was being paid by Hiram Lodge. This, of course, confirms to Archie that Hiram is a horrible man. Because we haven’t already been beaten over the head with this one!

The core four then proceed to try to take down Hiram in their own ways. Veronica blackmails her father into giving her the million dollars back that she got through a shady ransom. She then buys the Whyte Wyrm (because she’s like, what, 17?) and dangles it in front of her dad. She makes him an offer: the Whyte Wyrm, the last remaining piece of the Southside he doesn’t own, in exchange for Pop’s – the one place that her friends still can call their own.

Hiram agrees to Veronica’s terms, but with one last addition: she gives up her share of Lodge Industries as well as her trust fund and allowance. The girl agrees.

FP agrees to stay in Riverdale, but retires (for real) from the Serpents, offering his still-teenage son the role of the head of the gang. These children are way too young to be leading gangs and buying real estate. Right? Or have times changed that much? (I’m not that old.)

Fred eventually loses the election to Hermione. Just incase you were wondering if everything in Riverdale had to be horrible. But the two shake hands and seemingly that makes things ok? But Archie isn’t happy.

He goes to confront Hiram, vowing to take him down once he has the correct evidence. This is such a Bad Move that it deserves to be treated as a proper noun. It’s hardly surprising when Hiram later has Archie arrested for the murder of that random dude at the lake (‘memba that?). But as this is Riverdale, I highly doubt that we will be spending season 3 watching Archie live his life out Orange is the New Black-style.

This is supposedly Hiram’s big idea to tear the core four apart. Not sure how this will work, but they hardly seemed to have got along this season and they still did pretty well against him. But with Archie out of the way for the summer, Hiram can move his plans into action. The plans to destroy all of Riverdale! Open brothels (thanks to Penelope Blossom), sell drugs (thanks to Claudius Blossom and the Ghoulies), just tear shit apart!

Why? Because this is the most cartoon-ish villain a show based on a cartoon can manage.

Betty’s plotline was one of the more boring this week. She’s been a personal favourite of mine, but she did at least have some great moments. With Polly’s insistence, she goes to visit Hal in prison. In a very Silence of the Lambs-moment, she tells her father that “You have no power over me” in which she suddenly finds she has exited the Labyrinth.

The darkness, is of course, not really in our dear Betty, but in Polly. The elder Cooper daughter is still with her weird cult and makes her moves to get Alice involved. I do hope the ‘Farm’ or whatever is a big role in season 3. It’s one of the more intriguing mysteries left in the show.

It’s a big of a shame the show couldn’t go out with a roar like it did last season. Much of the episode was left floundering, trying to wrap up plotlines that would have otherwise been deemed plot holes (student body president – ahem).

I am so sick of Hiram Lodge as a baddie. It’s pretty clear that he’s going to be front and centre yet again next season.

If this nonsense is to continue, the least they can do if allow us one punch to Hiram’s face. Just one. That’s all I’m asking for a satisfactory season 3.

But, kids, this is the end! A pretty limp way to end a really hit-and-miss sophomore season. It’s been fun. It’s been not fun. But it will all start again in October. See you then.

Wicked Wednesday: The Blood on Satan’s Claws (1971)

Here I am again, continuing my quest to watch more British horror films. Now this one, I had pretty high expectations for. And if I’ve learned anything about expectations it’s this: if they’re high, you’re going to be let down.

The Blood on Satan’s Claw is one of the few “folk horror” films made in Britain. It’s a small subgenre of films that focus on stories of folklore (go figure). But when discussing folk horror, there’s one ‘trilogy’ of films that should come to mind: The Wicker ManWitchfinder General and this week’s film.

I quite love The Wicker Man. It’s very subtle, but 70’s horror was good at that.

Unfortunately, The Blood on Satan’s Claw didn’t work for me. At all. Which, you know, is pretty disappointing considering its growing cult status. But it lacks the intelligence of The Wicker Man and bothers with plot as much as the WM’s American remake does.

In a small village, the young Peter brings his betrothed, Rosalind, to meet his aunt. This is scandalous to the aunt as the young ones claim that they want to be married the following day. Even worse – Rosalind wants to stay the night!! 

Just to put the girl in her place, the aunt forces Rosalind to sleep in the attic that night. Unbeknownst to them, local farmer Ralph unearthed a skull while ploughing his fields. The skull (which disappears) clearly possesses evil, which awakens in the night.

Rosalind is attacked by an invisible being, and begins screaming in the night. The family board her up in the attic until she can be taken away to an asylum. The aunt is also attacked (presumably by Rosalind), but disappears in the morning without a trace.

Curious, eh? Intrigued by what will happens to Rosalind and the aunt? Don’t worry, you’ll never find out what happens. There’s a frustrating lack of explanation. Like look, I understand mystery, but ignoring everything is lazy – not suspenseful.

The rest of the film focuses on a group of children after they find a claw. It possesses them with evil. They kill and rape the other local children for kicks.

But Peter decides not to take it, and appeals to a local judge for assistance. He brings in the assistance of some dogs and a…cross, thing to defeat the Satanic group of children. I’m not actually sure what the judge does because a. the film is pretty damn dark, b. it’s filmed so tightly that you can’t see anyone’s arms move, and c. the film doesn’t want to explain anything it’s doing.

But the party is busted up at some ritual that one of the Demonic girls tells the judge about. And that’s pretty much where The Blood on Satan’s Claw leaves things.

I feel like The Blood on Satan’s Claw and I could have gotten along much more if I didn’t have any expectations for it. I love atmospheric films, and this has so much of it (it’s truly beautiful when the camera allows for the scene some space). If you have an incredible tolerance for looking past plot-holes, this will probably please.

But really, it takes a lot more than a wreath of branches and some furry eyebrows to make a movie good.

Riverdale Ep. 34 recap “Chapter Thirty-Four: Judgement Night”

There is nothing more satisfying than being totally right in all your fan theories.

After the horrible ‘reveal’ that Mr Svenson was the Black Hood, Hal Cooper finally came into the light as the true serial killer.

Much of Riverdale was fending off the riots following Fang’s release from prison. The Serpents blame Reggie and the Northsiders blame the Serpents for the riots. Both sides eventually learn that it was Midge’s mother who shot Fangs, putting both sides on edge. But there’s a lot bigger things going on than just a simple North and South rivalry.

Last week’s episode left Cheryl fending for herself when the Black Hood came knocking at her door. She manages to escape and get her bow and arrow (and hunting cape). She scares the Black Hood away after shooting him in the shoulder with her arrow.

Cheryl calls Betty that she’ll be tracking the Black Hood through the woods. Betty later gets another call, but from FP, telling her that her father had been brought into the emergency room.

When she goes to confront him, she finds that Hal isn’t there anymore. Instead, in his place, is his doctor.

Hiram puts Hermione into action, telling her to go to the Register to offer up a million-dollar bounty for whoever caught the Black Hood. When the Lodge women meet at home, Veronica becomes upset about the bounty, assuming that the bounty will be paid for by the ransom money that she secured.

Veronica barricades herself in her dad’s office and begins searching his office for a clue about the money. What she finds instead of a folder labelled “October Surprise.” Inside are photos of Hermione and Fred together, along with an article tearing Fred (who is campaigning on Family Values) apart.

When Veronica confronts her mother, Hermione reveals that she already knew. The extent that she goes to stand by Hiram’s side is pretty unnerving. Veronica also agrees, and begins to tell off her mother for her blind support. But they are interrupted when Papa Poutine’s son arrives. He threatens to kill them, just like Hiram killed his father.

The Lodge women manage to barricade themselves in the office long enough for Hermione to get a gun. She kills the son, but she fully realises how little Hiram really cares for their safety.

Meanwhile, the Serpents and Archie’s pals have more to deal with than just each other. In last week’s episode, Jughead gets the call that their rival gang, the Ghoulies, have been released from prison after their drag race.

The Ghoulies confront the Northsiders at Pop’s, but Archie fends them off with a Molotov cocktail (taught to him by Pop!). The kids are saved when FP, Fred and Former-Sheriff Keller arrive on the scene.

When Archie and Fred go home, Archie notices that the back door to their house is opened. He’s then attacked by a Black Hood – one he recognises as having the same eyes a the man who shot Fred.

Fred, with seemingly the worst timing ever, walks into the room. He throws himself in front of Archie to protect him and is shot. The ‘Black Hood’ manages to get away. Thankfully, Fred is wearing a bullet proof vest, thanks to Keller.

But it’s not really the Black Hood (or is it). It’s Black Hood. For at the same time, the Real Black hood is sitting with his wife and daughter in their living room.

Hal insists on showing them a little home movie. In the movie is a little Hal (who looks a lot like my nephew, so I can think of that every time I see him now). It’s slowly revealed that Hal’s family was the one to kill off the Conway family. Hal, being Mr Svenson’s age, convinced the young boy that he really didn’t see Grandpappy as the killer of the Conways.

It takes Alice a moment to realise what is happening, until Hal forces Betty to say that Hal is the Black Hood. He then reveals that he had wanted Alice to record the whole conversation so that “people understand when they find us.” Eugh.

Alice taunts Hal into distraction by calling him a mama’s boy and “the worst serial killer ever.” Betty takes the opportunity to knock out her dad. Hal is arrested, but it isn’t the definite end to the Black Hood.

While Hal is being brought to the cop car, Betty sees Archie and tells him the truth. But when Archie claims that he was attacked by the Black Hood, the two become confused. Hal himself admits that he wasn’t the one involved in the debate shooting. Which can only mean one thing, right? Hiram fucking Lodge.

During their conversation, Betty gets a call from Jughead, saying his goodbyes.

It’s not just the Ghoulies that are back to create hell for Juggie as Penny Peabody is back, too. She sets her Ghoulies out to kidnap Toni. The situation is dissipated quickly when Jughead comes to get her with bow-and-arrow-toting Cheryl in tow.  But the news still angers the Serpents, who believe they are looking weaker.

In fairness, the Ghoulies are about as frightening as a latte-drinking hipster in Shoreditch. The make-up does them no favours. I think they’re trying to go Warriors, but it’s mostly just silly.

After FP announces Fangs’ death to the Serpents, the gang becomes hungry for blood. Though Jughead tries his best to stave things off, the gang vote to start a war with the Ghoulies.

To stop the war, Jughead offers Hiram an exchange. Hiram backs off with the Ghoulies and Penny (who are both paid by Hiram) and Jughead offers his life.

The final scene of the riots is FP carrying his son’s corpse to his friends. Seemingly Jughead was killed off by the Ghoulies and Penny. His Serpents tattoo is no longer there. But if there’s one thing I learned from watching Game of Thrones: no one is dead if they don’t have an on-screen death.

There’s a lot to talk about here.

For one, Cheryl as a superhero with a literal cape is my favourite.

But the reveal of the Black Hood was so good. It was almost as good as when Jason’s killer was revealed in season one (almost). It’s even more intriguing that we clearly don’t have the end to this story. It will be interesting to see whether no not this gets wrapped up at all in next week’s finale. Lochlyn Munro (who plays Hal Cooper) is so spectacular in this episode. I really hope he stays on as a menacing father in future seasons.

Thirdly, there’s no way that Jughead is dead. If you think the riots in Riverdale look threatening, I wouldn’t want to see the teenage girls that take to the streets if he actually is dead. The show would lose too much of its connection to the Southside plot line. Also Betty would be left out on a limb.

And most of all: I really, really want these Lodge women to take matters into their own hands. I would vote for Fred in the election, but if Hermione took control of her campaign, this woman could do something seriously good.

And it all ends next week. So we’ll see where season 3 decides to take things. It’s definitely been a mixed back, but so far these last number of episodes have done a pretty good job at making sure (mostly) everything has been paying off.

Wicked Wednesday: Witchboard (1986)

Withcboard was recommended to me a couple weeks ago. I had vaguely heard of this movie (the third in a trilogy), but the excitement level immediately went up after I learned that it was directed by Kevin S Tenney.

Tenney is the director of the fantastic and crazy Night of the Demons – a personal favourite of mine. The two films hardly share much in common. While NOTD is very much a campy teen slasher, Witchboard is a bit (if only a bit) more sophisticated with a more complex story and older cast (if only in story).

There are no witches in Witchboard, but rather the story centres around a Ouija board. One night at a party, smarmy yuppie Brandon brings his board to play with his ex-girlfriend, Linda.

Linda and Brandon contact the spirit of David, a 10-year-old boy who died in an accident. Brandon assures everyone at the party that he’s contact David a number of times. But when Linda’s boyfriend, Jim, begins to taught the spirit and the board, the spirit becomes angry and slashed the tires on Brandon’s car.

The next day, at his building site, Jim’s co-worked and friend, Lloyd, is killed in a freak accident. He comes home to tell Linda, who has spent her entire day alone chatting with a spirit on the Ouija board, which she believes to be David.

At the funeral, the couple meet a Lieutenant Dewhurst, who suspects Jim had something to do with the death. Jim’s hammer/axe disappeared the day of the accident. And Dewhurst informs that the sheeting that killed Lloyd had been tampered with – probably with an axe.

The more time Linda spends with the Ouija board, the more erratic and foul-mouthed she becomes. Eventually she admits to Jim that she’s pregnant, which they both believe explains away her behaviour.

But Brandon, Ouija board extraordinaire, knows better. He tells his worries to Jim, who tries to ignore him. The two are former-friends turned enemies (mostly due to Linda, obv). Before you can say “your gal’s gonna get possessed,” Jim receives a phone call at the site from his landlord saying that Linda had freaked out while at home alone.

After seeing how upset Linda is, Jim agrees to have a medium over. In pops “Zarabeth” – easily one of the strangest and more memorable characters in a 80’s horror film. The eccentric medium holds a seance with the couple and Brandon to contact David’s spirit, but the boy doesn’t hold up any resistance and leaves when asked. Brandon takes back his Ouija board, which had been left behind from the party.

Zarabeth is suspicious of the spirit, sensing that there wasn’t something quite right. She tells Brandon that she’s going to do more research that night, but she too is killed by an axe before she can tell Brandon of her discoveries.

When Brandon hears of Zarabeth’s death, he realises that he doesn’t actually have the Ouija board, but just an empty box. He meets with Jim, and insists that Linda is probably experiencing “progressive entrapment” which means she’s slowly becomes the target of a spirit.

While using the board alone, Linda hurts herself and becomes concussed. At the hospital, Jim learns that Linda is not actually pregnant at all. So the behaviour and morning sickness can no longer be easily explained away. He then fully accepts Brandon’s ideas on progressive entrapment.

The two men head out together to do more research on David. They are able to confirm his death, and that he did die at the age and way that he had claimed. Brandon and Jim then go to the place where David died. They try to contact him, thinking that they are safe because Linda is in a coma of sorts, but something goes awry. The spirit there attacked the two men, killing Brandon with the axe.

After the death of his friend, Jim continues the research. He goes to a local witchcraft shop and speaks to the woman there. Together they realise that this apartment is in fact haunted by the ghost of Carlos Malfeitor, a serial killer who murdered people with an axe.

Jim returns to his home, and realises that Linda is out of the hospital, and not in fact asleep. He sees Linda in full dress like Malfeitor – complete with a fantastic hat! Good fashion happens when you’re possessed!

But the argument and tussle gets the attention of Lt Dewhurst, who tries to stop them. But the man is knocked out, leaving Jim alone with Malfeitor. He manages to get a gun and shoots the Ouija board, exorcising the spirit from Linda.

And all seems fine. Linda and Jim get married. Jim (seemingly) doesn’t get arrested for any of the murders. But while their landlord cleans up their apartment, the Ouija board is discovered – still full of life.

Witchboard was much more enjoyable than I initially thought it might be. There was a sad lack of witches, sure, but it’s a zany little piece with pretty good characters.

One of the more interesting aspects of the movie was the focus on Jim and Brandon’s friendship. Many horror films rely on the Final Girl trope, but the exploration of a platonic relationship between these guys was pretty refreshing. It reminded me a bit of Keith Jennings and Robert Thorn in The Omen. But all the while, Linda never feels like a true victim, but a pretty strong character in her own right.

Just two dudes, solving crimes!

I’d gladly rewatch Witchboard. And I found a true kindred spirit with Zarabeth.

“Hang loose, stay cool, and don’t forget your psychic humor.”

Riverdale Ep. 33 recap “Chapter Thirty-Three: Shadow of a Doubt”

Coming around the final bend of its second season, Riverdale is being endlessly relentless in one of its most tightly written episodes yet. Each component of the storyline seemed to have weight and meaning (minus the Archie/Veronica sex scene. These two make as much sense as comic Archie and Veronica do: not at all). And if these past few episodes have anything to say about what we’re in for in the last two seasons:

We’re in for a very, very insane ride here, kids.

After her stunt with Nick St Clair (you know, in which she turned the tables and held him for ransom), Veronica is being “courted”. The other families of the mob are interested in doing business with the Lodges. So they send their sons to Veronica with business ideas to pitch to her. And because she’s a boss, Veronica is absolutely glowing with the idea of a challenge.

She goes through the boys pitches pretty quickly. But one, a casino, catches her ear. She agrees to move forward, intending to use the ransom money to fund her business venture.

But Veronica’s business idea is quickly shot down by her father. Claiming that the family of the boy is, in fact, super shady Hiram tells her that there’s no way to have a cleanly-run casino. And the Lodges don’t shady business anymore! Of course! But Veronica becomes even more determined, seeking out Former-Mayor McCoy’s legal advice on how to do things legally.

In the week leading up to the debate, Archie is going door-to-door supposedly campaigning for this father. But in fact is looking in everyone’s eyes to find the Black Hood.

Hiram suggests that Archie reform his Dark Circle gang. That way, the gang can work with the new sheriff. One that knows Hiram Lodge pretty well. Unsurprisingly, though, it’s all part of Hiram’s plan to create unrest in Riverdale. He’s such a cartoon villain, that I feel almost certain that he’s going to get his comeuppance before the season is through.

Things begin to get more tense in Riverdale when Moose admits that Midge was fooling around with a Serpent on the side (ironic that this matters considering Moose’s consistent fooling around with other men). Reggie decides to become Extra-Reggie and fully takes on the responsibility for taking down the Serpent that killed Midge.

See the giant leap in logic here? I mean, Reggie is a stupid jerk but certainly he’s not that stupid, right?

Fangs admits to Jughead that he was the one hooking up with Midge. He didn’t go to Sheriff Keller because he thought he’d look guilty. Only now that he didn’t admit it, he looks even more guilty. On Jughead’s footage of the night of the show, Fangs can be seen in the dressing room “giving notes” to Midge in her dressing room. That footage, of course, is still at the sheriff’s office.

Archie and Jughead go to meet the new sheriff together and get back the footage. Unsurprisingly, the new sheriff doesn’t hand it back. But instead decides to watch it for himself.

The footage of Fangs is leaked. Later in the night, the Dark Circle arrive at the Serpent hangout, the Whyte Worm. They set a dumpster on fire and slash the tires of the Serpents motorcycles. Reggie tells Archie that Hiram is paying the Dark Circle to do his work.

Thankfully Former-Mayor McCoy sweeps in to represent Fangs. She tells Jughead that without evidence enough to charge Fangs, he can be released with in 24-hours. But while those hours tick away, the people of Riverdale become more and more certain that Fangs has to be the killer (despite the fact that all he did was canoodle. Again, how does this make someone guilty in the sane mine of ANYONE??).

Betty, meanwhile, is suspicious that her father might be the Black Hood (me too). So she goes to Cheryl for advice. Cheryl suggests going to the police, but Betty is convinced that she needs to confront him herself. So they both agree to investigate for hard evidence.

The youngest Cooper finds her way in by offering to work at the register with her parents in the lead-up to the debate. She finds her dad’s planner and cross-references every Black Hood attack with his schedule. All of the dates match up.

While in the Register‘s offices she receives a call from the coroner that a corpse showed up. Betty is certain that it is Chic, and admits what she did to Cheryl. But the boy is not Chic. But the guilt cripples her anyway.

That night, Betty admits to her parents that she had been in contact with the Black Hood, and that she had ‘delivered’ Chic to the Black Hood. Hal admits to Betty that he too has “the darkness” inside. Then he says, “that’s why we need each other.” Making him look all the more crazy.

Cheryl and Betty break into the B&B room that Hal was renting. Cheryl finds The Nancy Drew Secret-Code Activity Book among his things. The same book that the Black Hood used to write a cipher for Betty. When she confronts Hal about the book, though, he claims that it was a birthday present he was saving for Betty.

At the debate, Hermione reveals that the Dark Circle was started by Archie. Once the group that aimed to keep Riverdale safe, the gaggle of boys are dark and sinister. But before anything can come of it, Veronica spots the Black Hood in the loft. He takes his gun and begins open firing on the crowd, mostly aiming at Fred Andrews. This all happened despite the new sheriff’s insistence that the security would be tighter due to the threatening note that Fred received.

But importantly, Betty seeks out her parents during the shooting and finds her dad in the crowd, making him seemingly innocent. But Betty still seems determined that her father is the one orchestrating things.

Veronica becomes irate when she sees how upset that her mother is after the shooting. Veronica tells Hermione to step-down but Hiram refuses to allow her to do so. She switches sides and goes to the Andrews household to pledge her allegiance to Fred’s campaign.

The more harrowing thing of this week’s episode, though, is not anything to do with a serial killer. When Fangs’ release finally arrives, a mob awaits outside the jail. The mob go after him, but he’s protected by his follow Serpents. While in the crowd, Archie sees Reggie walking towards the Serpents with something glinting in his hands,

Archie dives to stop Reggie but the gun still goes off – striking Fangs in the stomach.

It’s a very well-shot scene and despite the fact that Fangs is pretty much a throw-away character, it’s pretty hard to watch. The shooting pretty much spells the end of days for peace Riverdale, though. Their judgment of a boy not on trial is awful. It almost makes you think that the Black Hood has the right idea.

But the episode doesn’t rest on Fangs. While Betty awaits her father in “the place where it all started.” Cheryl gets a visitor at her home – a man with green eyes in a black hood.