Bring Back HBOs Carnivale

 

Sofie : You know, the people in these towns, they’re asleep. All day, at work, at home. They’re sleepwalkers. We wake them up.

 

Enter the world of Carnivale. A down trodden melancholy look at life for a group of mysterious outsiders belonging to no other but the travelling circus in the dust bowl era. They are hardened hustlers that support one another through the events and strange encounters they’re faced with while on the road.

Ben Hawkins is the newcomer who is swooped up after being caught in the middle of an economic dispute dealing with his family’s land and the banks that want it. His last known kin being his abusive mother suddenly passes away and he’s left with no one. The Carnivale troop is reluctant at first to pick him up because they notice the chains around his ankle signifying he’s an escaped convict. But they take the chance and hide him while on their way to their next show. Thus the story of Ben Hawkins and the characters of Carnivale unravels.

I believe that Carnivale is one of the most important shows HBO has ever produced as far as amazing storytelling goes. Daniel Knauf had the gift of weaving old Americana folklore with the realism of a generations need for escapism during the depression. I was a fan of the shows slow pace which isn’t something many people can appreciate now a days. A mere 2 seasons didn’t grant the show enough justice.

For we are the carnivale audience left shrouded in mystery. Our questions are looming as we’re strangely drawn to the freak shows, waiting in line to see the world’s strongest man, and drifting past the eerie backdrops of props and stages.

Is it possible for the world of Carnivale to be revisited? If Chris Carter can successfully revive the X-Files, then I have hope for Daniel Knauff. I remember the web rumours going around about there being a Carnivale movie to give fans some kind of closure, but nothing came about. Although it’s been a lifetime since the show last aired I still believe that the cult of Carnivale will never die and will continue to grow. It will be revived in one form or another and there will be new tales wrapped in mysticism waiting to envelop us.

 

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Morgan (2016)

 

 

Morgan is a science fiction/thriller about a seemingly corrupt corporation who’s employed scientific team has been given the task of observing and “raising” a conscious droid. The movie immediately begins by showing us Morgan’s aggressive side. She’s shown attacking a scientist played by Jennifer Jason Leigh during an observation session. Throughout the film you see Jennifer’s character recuperating in a room with bandages over her eye and she’s still in a weakened state resulting from the attack. We get a sense of empathy and trust from the staff of scientists and staff working closely day to day with Morgan. She refers to her attack as an “accident” and also freely uses the word love. She appears to share the same naivety, innocence, and curiosity that any human child her age would have but underneath that appearance lingers something darker. The corporation starts questioning whether or not they should terminate her and they send in an agent to investigate her and the staff. This agent needs to collect her own data in determining how everyone should proceed with Morgan.

I enjoyed this story and believe it was executed well. I enjoy good twists and love stories about artificial intelligence and human droids. The cast was great. I’m biased because I really like Paul Giamatti, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michelle Yeoh, Rose Leslie, and I’m keeping my eye out for future films starring Anya Taylor-Joy of The Witch. I appreciate that the ending didn’t feel rushed yet the action didn’t dwindle. There’s a lot to the premise that they could’ve gone into a bit more but other than that I found it to be good story telling.

Rigor Mortis 殭屍 (2013)

rigor

 

 

A retired actor, Chin Siu-Ho moves into an old run down apartment building after an attempted suicide where he meets an eccentric group of tenants and the apartment manager Uncle Yin. He eventually finds out that the building is haunted by hostile spirits and a vampire. Uncle Yin abandoned as a child, is a vampire hunter and the apartment manager. One of the tenants falls to his death down a flight of stairs running from a demon. He’s found by one of the tenants and the neighbors tell his wife.
The wife is so devastated that she decides to turn to black magic and gets help from a warlock to bring him back. The warlock recites a ritual and puts an intricate mask on the deceased husbands face but warns the wife to never take it off. While left alone with his body, she examines the mask on his face and begins to mourn because of all the cherished memories she has of him. She finally goes against the warlocks advice and removes the mask. He is now free to wreak havoc in the apartment building with a thirst for flesh and blood.

The actor begins to experience more of the supernatural prompting him to investigate the buildings dark history which he learns more about from Uncle Yin. From there he and Uncle Yin become adversaries in an attempt to cleanse the building of it’s evil spirits and demons. You’ll get a glimpse into the lives of eccentric tenants bound together by the supernatural. They’re caught between two dimensions. One of the living and on the other end of the spectrum a world of everything else you’ve ever read, watched, or heard about the creatures of folktales and the paranormal. The story reminds me of Ghost Busters but it’s darker, never campy, and more action packed. The protagonists literally fight the creatures from the netherworld. They still use relics to aid them but as you’ll see if you watch Rigor Mortis it proves to be a very arduous task.