Tag Archives: Michael Rooker

The Walking Dead Season 2 (so far)


The second season of AMC’s adaptation of The Walking Dead is taking a break until February 2011 (most likely coinciding with the return of Mad Men) and for the first time since the very first two episodes I’m excited. It only took seven or more episodes for The Walking Dead to actually get decent again, especially after the horribly embarrassing season one finale. I’m willing to suspend my belief and go along for a fantastic ride on most occasions (after all, we’re dealing with corpses rising and eating the living here) but believing the CDC is a time sensitive, thermonuclear device is ludicrous. Please, prove me wrong.
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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

I haven’t seen Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer in quite a long time; I was probably 13 the last time I saw it and it didn’t impact me the same way it did this time. It’s a rough film, extremely low-budget (costing around $110,000 to produce), and relies less on gore than malevolent motivation for its horror. Initially finished in 1986, Henry wasn’t released in theaters until four years later and supposedly the MPAA wouldn’t give it an R-rating – and it’s not because of the gore but because of the situations. Henry is rife with rape, incest, and brutal, sadistic murder which are not uncommon for the horror genre but there’s something particularly gruesome about this movie: a certain, grittiness which makes the film seem more like a documentary at times than a feature film. Continue reading

The Walking Dead episode 3

Episode three: “Tell it to the Frogs.”

“You take that stupid hat and go back to On Golden Pond.”

The episode begins on the department store roof from the second episode. From above the camera focuses in on Merle (Michael Rooker), handcuffed to a pipe. Merle has a problem: the keys fell down a drainpipe on the previous episode and the only thing separating him from a horde of zombies is a door barricaded with a lock and chain. Merle relates a story to himself, about punching somebody’s teeth out, the time he served for it; a look of genuine satisfaction on his face. This quickly turns sour, as Merle pleads to Jesus; acknowledging his past behavior but still begging for forgiveness. Merle’s going through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief originally discussed in the book On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). Following Merle’s bargaining, depression sets in and finally leads to acceptance. This is where Merle’s survival instinct kicks in and he uses his belt, attempting to reach a saw left behind by T-Dog (IronE Singleton).

Unlike the prelude from the first two episodes, this episode doesn’t feature gratuitous sex or violence. That doesn’t negate how frightening the scene is, since Merle’s actions (wonderfully executed by Rooker) are quite honest; I’m sure the best of us would react similarly in the same spot. Seeing another person at their most vulnerable is awful, displaying how Frank Darabont’s rendition of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead is a multi-faceted television series. It’s cinematic, explores many features of fear and terror, and investigates social issues. Instead of relying on non-stop action The Walking Dead is primarily a character piece, exploring character traits, morality, and the human experience. Of course an army of the living dead is an excellent catalyst for watching the show in the first place, but I’ve always found the people in zombie stories more fascinating than the gore itself. This week’s episode gives you just that. It’s a character piece, furthering the protagonist and surrounding players. The episode still features a good deal of violence, but it takes a back seat.
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