Press that pause button and stretch those fingers. It’s time …
Guillermo Del Toro
To fully appreciate Peter Jackson’s last foray into Middle-Earth, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, one must understand it’s actually two separate movies. The first movie is a sour, pseudo-Shakespearean morality play that has nothing to do with Hobbits. The second movie is a heartfelt rumination about friendship and self-sacrifice. For those willing to overlook the sour for the sweet, there are great treasures to be found, as Jackson brings his trilogy to a suitably-epic conclusion.
With Metal Gear Solid’s Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro collaborating on a new Silent Hill reboot, simply titled Silent Hills, fans of the once great game franchise are in for something potentially very special. After making waves with the playable teaser a few weeks ago, del Toro introduced a terrifying new concept trailer for the game after he gave a brief history of the project and how he has always viewed Kojima as a very cinematic storyteller. The trailer takes the essence of the playable teaser and turns it into almost two minutes of nightmare fuel.
As Joseph Heller wrote in Catch-22, “Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.” The Strain is difficult to categorize. The cynical part of me thinks it was born mediocre and I’ve just been expecting too much from it. Perhaps this was always where we would end up, with Holocaust flashbacks and a sense that this isn’t what we signed up for.
After the fantastic final few minutes of last week’s episode, with its genital loss and general sense of momentum, this episode thankfully brings us further than where we left off, while also throwing in a couple of incredibly misguided leaps of faith (more on that later). I bring up this random small piece of Russian history not only to introduce the idea that The Strain likes to give us a small moment of promise and then painfully disappoint. Our core group splits up this week after a couple of separate disputes, mostly because of crises of faith.
There’s a lot of talk this week about being good, as in a decent person, and what that means. The writers lay it on thick with the scene between Jim and his wife, who has just been accepted into a cancer trial because of Jim’s deal with the devil. “Good things happen to good people, right?” she asks him. “Right?” It’s like she’s just rubbing salt in the wound of his already festering guilt.
We live in a burgeoning era of horror television. American Horror Story will begin its fourth season in the fall, and The Walking Dead will start its fifth. Penny Dreadful just finished an excellent debut season, and Netflix’s Hemlock Grove just put up its second season. True Blood, Supernatural, Bates Motel, Sleepy Hollow, Grimm. And of course, the most horrifying show currently on television, Hannibal. Horror is all over our TV screens, but if there’s one person who deserves their shot at it (presuming David Lynch isn’t interested), it’s Guillermo del Toro.
Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s vampire trilogy The Strain has captured the imagination of horror fans since its 2009 release. Adapted as a comic by writer David Lapham (Stray Bullets) and artist Mike Huddleston, Dark Horse has just released the hardcover collection of the first 11 issues comprosing the first part of the trilogy. Working in close collaboration with Del Toro and Hogan, the comic book is not merely an illustrated novel but rather a visualization that captures the spirit and content of the book. This is an adaptation in the true sense of the word, building off the existing material and adjusting it to fit an entirely new medium.