The Transfiguration (2017)
Written & Directed by Michael O’Shea
Milo is an orphaned teenage boy living in New York City. He lives with his Army veteran brother who is unable to get a job, never explained but implied by either physical or mental injury. Milo has a secret though, he is a vampire. Or Milo believes he is a vampire and has marked out on his calendar the nights he will feed. He’ll stalk bathrooms or hang out in Central Park late into the night, using a secret pen knife to slit his victims’ throats and then lapping up their blood. In the midst of this very dark existence, Milo meets Sophie, a girl who has just moved into his apartment building. They strike up a friendship that becomes a relationship, and Milo attempts to keep his secret from Sophie while fighting his urge to feed on her.
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The Untamed (2016)
Written & Directed by Amat Escalante
In a cabin in the woods, far from the city, live an old scientist and his wife. Inside their barn, they house something fantastic and terrific. But if that’s where you think the film will spend most of its time, then you are wrong. After a teasing opening sequence, shot with beautiful horror, we follow Veronica, a young woman enthralled with the thing in the barn. Veronica is injured after an encounter and meets nurse Fabian. She introduces Fabian to this same object of pleasure and revulsion. Fabian’s sister, Alejandra is married and dealing with the increasing drudgery of domestic life and the distance of her husband Angel. Angel is secretly having an affair with Fabian behind his wife’s back, but the latter breaks it off after feeling his devotion grow to the thing. It becomes very apparent that this story will only end tragically.
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The Shadow Year (2008)
By Jeffrey Ford
It’s the mid-1960s on Long Island, New York, and an unnamed preteen narrator is beginning a year of his life he will never forget. This is his last year in elementary school and he, his brother Jim, and little sister Mary become embroiled in a mystery that no one else in their neighborhood seems to take note of it. It starts with the disappearance of a local boy and then rumors of a peeping tom carousing the backyards at night. The narrator spies a strange white car driven by a man dressed all in white whose presence seems to correlate with the prowler. Then his sister Mary, an odd one who allows her imaginary friends to speak through her, begins to show the possibility of clairvoyance, knowing where neighbors are at precise moments when she should not be able to. This shadow year will linger for our protagonist and what he learns will haunt him decades later.
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The League of Gentlemen Series 1
Written by Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith & Jeremy Dyson
Directed by Steve Bendelack
The fictional Northern England village of Royston Vasey is not a place you would want to spend much time in. This does not bode well in the opening scene for young Benjamin Denton who has come by train to visit his Uncle Harvey and Aunt Val. But he is just one character (the majority played by Gatiss, Pemberton, and Shearsmith) that make up this mosaic of depravity and dark humor. There is Mr. Chinnery, the veterinarian with a long accidental kill streak, Pauline the brutal jobs trainer for citizens on the government dole, and the trio of Brian, Geoff, and Mike, lads who were friends since school but have risen to very different levels of success. The worst though is high on the hills outside of town, operating a local shop for local people: Edward and Tubbs, a terrifying duo of inbred killers. Did I mention this show is a comedy?
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Black Hammer Volume 1: Secret Origins (Dark Horse)
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Dean Ormston
It’s been ten years since the heroes of Spiral City was pulled from their reality and deposited in a small town that they cannot escape from. Abraham Slam. Golden Gail. Colonel Weird. Madame Dragonfly. Barbalien. They all live in hiding to one degree or another, trying to suss where exactly they are and how they get back home. After a decade its become somewhat normal and worn some of them down. Golden Gail was a woman in her fifties but, like a reverse Shazam, is trapped in her child form until they can escape. Colonel Weird seems to be a living ghost fading between the small town and a tangle of time where he visits his past and future selves. Barbalien, already an exile from his homeworld of Mars, struggles to deal with the feelings he has developed for the town’s preacher. But across the cosmos, a stranger in Spiral City nears closer and closer to finding these lost heroes.
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My Favorite Books and Comic Books of 2017
Click the book cover for my full review of each book.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
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Super Dark Times (2017)
Written by Ben Collins & Luke Piotrowski
Directed by Kevin Phillips
New York’s Hudson Valley in 1996 is the setting for this story of a deadly accident and the eventual breakdown of the teenagers who caused it. Zach and Josh are standard bored out of their mind teenagers, regularly unsupervised which allows them to get into a moderate amount of trouble. While hanging out with obnoxious classmate Daryl, the accident as mentioned above occurs and leaves the two friends scrambling. They fail to support each other, and as a result, the guilt slowly overtakes them leading to a horrifying climax.
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