Spoiler-Free Review of “Lovecraft Country” on HBO: Jaw-Dropping Terror

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“Stories are like people…you just try and cherish them and overlook their flaws but their flaws are still there…”

Lovecraft Country is a new series from executive producers Misha Green, Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams. The show premiered on August 16th 2020. It will feature 10 episodes, airing weekly (approximately 55-60 minutes in length). The show stars Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett, and Courtney B. Vance.

Based on the novel by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country introduces us to Atticus Freeman, a former African-American soldier who is on a quest to find his missing father during the 1950’s. His uncle and former childhood friend agree to help him, as they encounter threats involving racism and the supernatural along the way.

Here is the trailer:

Lovecraft Country starts off with an out of this world opening that will immediately have you questioning reality. While the show brings us some frightening horror that will leave goosebumps on your flesh, the real terror is embedded within the racism and white supremacists, reminding us that monsters and evil can come in many forms.

But, has Lovecraft Country done enough to continue capturing our attention week after week? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Lovecraft Country HBO 1
Images courtesy of HBO

A talented cast with lots of potential.

The characters are intriguing, but we have a lot to learn about them. However, I can say that the performances are already beyond brilliant. I just hope that we get the character development we need because these three actors are so incredible and I want to continue watching them shine across the screen.

Lovecraft Country HBO 2
Images courtesy of HBO

The last thirty minutes of the pilot episode are beyond terrifying.

My attention may have been wavering throughout the setup of the episode. The pilot is actually quite long, but when I got to the last thirty minutes, it was like time stood still. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and there were some moments that actually truly frightened me. I definitely felt the J.J. Abrams vibe here, but it worked. More please! Although…I might have to watch with the lights on.

Lovecraft Country HBO 3
Images courtesy of HBO

Visually breathtaking.

The lighting and the colors used were just stunning. I also thoroughly enjoyed the soundtrack. It really helped transport me somewhere else without overdoing it.

The Cons:

Lovecraft Country HBO 4
Images courtesy of HBO

Slow moving at times.

It felt like there was a lot of setup throughout the episode, but almost for the wrong things. I wanted to know more about our main characters, but my attention began to trail off several times and this was a long episode.

I’m not really sure what this show wants to be.

While I knew that there would be several genres blending together in this show, I was a little lost at the end. There are elements of sci-fi, horror, and drama, but I’m not sure if the show has necessarily claimed its true identity just yet. However, I’m still invested enough and I would like to find out more.

So am I in or out?

Lovecraft Country HBO 5
Images courtesy of HBO

I’m in about 75 percent! The last thirty minutes changed my tune quite a bit. The show reveals a lot and really exposes the horror of Sundown towns and extreme racism. There is enough going on to give this show the potential to become something truly magnificent. However, I’m hoping that its wavering identity doesn’t get in the way because this talented cast deserves an entertaining story. Either way, I’m planning on watching the remaining episodes and I have high hopes.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Lovecraft Country in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

PLAY BY THE RULES…STAY ALIVE…

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A harmless night of fun turns deadly for six college friends but the game has only just begun. Take a mystery thrill ride right from your own living room. Dash and Seek is out now! I hope you enjoy!

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Spoiler-Free Review of “Castle Rock” Season 2 on Hulu: Lizzy Caplan as Annie Wilkes gets this Slow-Burn Horror off to a Chilling Start

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

Just in time for Halloween, Hulu has released the first three episodes of Castle Rock season 2.  I loved season 1 so much and it featured some of the most brilliant episodes on television that I have ever witnessed.

Seriously, if you haven’t seen season 1, episode 7 (The Queen) yet, I highly recommend it.  So that being said, Castle Rock season 2 has a lot to live up to, but I am excited that they are taking the anthology approach, as we get a new story with different characters.

Castle Rock is a psychological horror series on Hulu based on the characters and setting of Stephen King.  There will be 10 episodes for season 2.  Similar to the format with season 1, Hulu has released the first 3 episodes as of October 23rd 2019 and it will continue to run weekly episodes on Wednesdays.  Season 2 stars Lizzy Caplan, Tim Robbins, and Elsie Fisher.  

Season 2 follows a nurse named Annie Wilkes, based on the character of the same name in Misery.  While Castle Rock is not necessarily a prequel, it does bring us familiar elements from both Misery and Salem’s Lot

Annie has a lot of psychological issues and she is on the run with her teenage daughter when she arrives in Castle Rock.  Annie mostly keeps to herself, but when she goes through withdrawal from her medication, her hallucinations start to become all too real, as she finds herself doing some very bad things. 

The plot and characters certainly have a lot of potential, but will season 2 be able to hold its own?  Let’s find out!

The Pros:

Castle Rock season 2 1
Images courtesy of Hulu

Lizzy Caplan is beyond captivating as Annie Wilkes.  

Her performance will chill you to your core, disturbing you in just the right way.  Caplan absolutely nails the role and is the best part of the show so far.  She immerses herself completely in this role, bringing you wild eye stares and horrifying reactions that are so real and terrifying.

The perfect dose of psychological horror.

I love that this show brings you along for the ride, unfolding the mystery with its audience.  While a lot of the scares are psychological, there are some edge of your seat moments that remind us just how deadly an unhinged paranoid person can be.

I think it also works to the show’s advantage not following a specific plot from Stephen King, allowing familiar characters and settings to take on a life of their own, which makes this show unique and original.

The Cons:

Castle Rock season 2 2
Images courtesy of Hulu

A lot of setup.

There are a lot of elements to digest after watching the first three episodes of season 2.  You may find yourself slightly overwhelmed by this, but I had the same issue with season 1 and it ended up paying off, as other elements were revealed later on.

Slow moving at times.

Each episode is about 50-55 minutes in length and the show does move at a slow pace from time to time.  The show is more of a slow-burn psychological horror, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make it difficult to binge-watch all at once.  You may want to try one episode at a time, but I thought that there were enough things going on to keep your attention.

So am I in or out? 

Castle Rock season 2 3
Images courtesy of Hulu

I am in 100 percent!  Lizzy Caplan’s performance is enough to keep me invested, but I love the intertwining between the two works from Stephen King, while creating a new story that branches off into something completely different. 

After watching the first three episodes, I am excited to continue watching weekly and I think this will actually make the watch that much more entertaining, as bits and pieces of the mystery are presented.  If you haven’t started watching yet, I highly recommend it, especially if you are a Stephen King fan.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Castle Rock in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

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Ranking the top 5 moments from “The Passage” season 1 episode 7: “You Are More Powerful Than You Realize”

Happy Tuesday TV fans!  After watching Fox’s The Passage season 1 episode 7, we learned that “there’s some scary stuff coming,” but when will it arrive?  Will Amy bring it forth or will her humanity help her see the light?  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch yet.  In last night’s episode, “You Are Like the Sun,” we learn more about Brad and Lila’s past and find out how they lost their daughter, Eva.  Meanwhile, Carter attempts to connect with Amy, Jonas refuses to give up on Elizabeth, and Shauna confronts Fanning.  My top 5 moments from The Passage season 1 episode 7 are:

5

“I’m gonna find them.”

During the episode, Clark makes the decision to go after Brad and Lila to help them.  Brad and Lila are separated from Amy, which is definitely not a good sign, as the government is looking to eliminate any possible threats to Project Noah.  Clark has previously been an obedient soldier, but he now realizes that Project Noah is a horror show and he is looking to finally do the right thing.  We learn that this is not the first time that Clark has saved Brad after learning more about Brad’s past, but it looks like Clark is ready to join the good fight.  Welcome to the team!

4

“We’re waiting on you.”

Fanning has been promising for quite some time that bad things are coming, but it seems like a lot of talking so far.  Even Shauna confronts Fanning within his mind, realizing that Fanning has become too preoccupied with Elizabeth joining them.  Shauna reminds him that Elizabeth may not choose him and also talks about having a “humanity hangover,” admitting that she does care about Clark, which is important.  Previously, I got the impression that Shauna was merely manipulating Clark, but now it seems like her humanity is still present, as her feelings for him are real.  We know that there is a connection between Shauna and Clark, but what will happen when the glass wall between them shatters?  Will Shauna choose darkness or humanity?  We’ll have to wait and see.

3

“I choose you.”

Elizabeth’s condition continues to get worse, but Jonas does not want to give up on his wife, which is heartbreaking to see.  Dr. Sykes does all she can to help, but tries to remind Jonas that Elizabeth has the same symptoms as the other subjects, which is not a good sign.  Fanning continues to try and lure Elizabeth over to the darkness, tempting her with life over death, but ultimately Elizabeth chooses Jonas.  Elizabeth tells Jonas to shut off the machines, accepting her fate.  Jonas doesn’t want to say goodbye, but he respects his wife’s wishes and tells her he loves her over and over again, which brought tears to my eyes.  While I didn’t think that Elizabeth would make it, I’m happy that she made the decision to stay away from Fanning’s offer, but this will only fuel Jonas that much more.  Jonas is ready to eliminate Fanning, but what will happen when these two finally face off?  I personally can’t wait to see it.

2

“You are more powerful than you realize.”

While Amy worries about Brad’s fate, she receives a mental visit from her buddy, Carter.  She recognizes that Carter has changed; reminding us that Amy is very capable of seeing things as they are, even though she is just a child.  Rather than tempting Amy with darkness, Carter appears to be warning her and tells her that he is trying to be better, but “hunger makes you do weird things.”  Can Carter be trusted here?  Initially, I thought so, but it looks like this may have been a different strategy, as Carter tells Amy that she can go anywhere.  Amy confides in Carter about her guilt over her mother’s death and she desperately wants to see her again.  Amy’s mind projects herself into her old apartment with her mother, as she embraces her and tells her how much she loves her, which is a touching moment.  However, the happiness is interrupted when Amy hears a knock at the door and immediately recognizes Fanning on the other side.  Amy used her abilities to do something she truly desired, but does that mean that she has now invited the darkness in as well?

1

“Start over.  It is possible.”

We get an important glimpse into Brad and Lila’s past, which is beyond tragic.  We see Brad and Lila’s daughter, Eva, who is full of love and life.  After her soccer game, Eva explains that she needs markers and Brad makes the decision to go over to the convenience store across the street.  The store is held up by a robber and Brad tries to keep him calm, but Eva walks in the door and startles the robber, causing him to turn around and shoot her.  We witness one of Brad and Lila’s therapy sessions and Lila tries to talk about getting back to work so that she can help people, but Brad seems distant and unable to even comprehend this as an option.  Brad does not identify the suspect in a lineup and ends up taking his life with his own hands.  Clark has been Brad’s best friend for a while and he intervenes and covers it up to protect him.  Brad’s guilt begins to overwhelm him and Clark is the one to suggest that he joins him at Project Noah so they can make a difference, which is how this all started.

Brad and Lila’s past is so horrific and it’s understandable that they drifted apart, but they are now being thrown together repeatedly, but it is under extremely dangerous circumstances.  We have seen several signs of a renewed spark between these two, but I’m not sure if they will get the chance to pursue it.  Either way, their connected past is revealing and it’s understandable why Brad feels such a close bond with Amy, as he will do anything to protect her.  Lila gently reminds him that Amy is not Eva, but Brad wants to keep her safe no matter what, as he is still holding on to his grief.

Overall, I thought this episode was more of a setup for what’s to come, but there were some truly heartbreaking moments within it.  We only have one more episode left before the two hour season finale.  There has been so much talk about Fanning’s plan, but I would like to see the vampires escape at this point so that we can witness what they are truly capable of.  The vampires have been in a bubble for a while now, so I think it’s about time that they are unleashed onto the world, but will anyone be able to stop them?  Stay tuned!

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on The Passage in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**Goodreads Giveaway currently going on for The Search for Alice (100 copies available) from 2/21/19-3/14/19. Enter Goodreads Giveaway Here!

**I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

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Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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Ranking the top 5 moments from “Riverdale” season 3 episode 9: “No Exit”

Happy Thursday TV fans!  After watching the CW’s Riverdale season 3 episode 9, we were reminded that “in unity there is strength,” but is that truly enough to handle all of the evil and corruption going on in our favorite bubble gum pop town?  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch yet.  In last night’s episode, “Chapter Forty-Four:  No Exit,” Archie is attacked by a bear and begins to have some vivid dreams that could be quite meaningful.  Meanwhile, Veronica plays “deal or no deal” with her father, and Betty realizes that being a queen is actually hard work.  My top 5 moments from Riverdale season 3 episode 9 mid-season premiere are:

5

“I’m their Griffin Queen.”

Well sure, maybe you are Betty, but are you really able to continue housing all of these girls you valiantly rescued from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy?  Betty quickly begins to realize that this is a very difficult task.  It’s one thing to swoop in for a rescue, but what comes next is always that much more challenging.  Betty looks for help from some of the more reliable parents in town and it seems like she may have a temporary solution, but it’s only a matter of time before her reign may end.  Either way, we support you, Betty!

4

“We’ll go, but we’re keeping our jackets.”

So this episode finally gave our favorite couple, Cheryl and Toni, some much needed screen time.  While Choni is told to “break it up” at school, they turn on the heat and decide to break into Hiram Lodge’s residence to leave their mark…so to speak.  The plan backfires when Jughead asks them to return the valuable egg they stole and they are asked to turn in their jackets and go.  Cheryl doesn’t go quietly; however, as she reminds Jughead that Fangs should also be punished for his actions.  While Cheryl and Toni exit begrudgingly from the Serpents, Cheryl is not about to lose her latest fashion statement and reminds Jughead that they will be keeping their jackets.  Although I’m not sure that Cheryl and Toni will stay gone for long, it makes me wonder if Jughead is truly ready to be a leader and handle all that comes with it?

3

“You are not the villain you think you are.”

Archie is still off handling his own inner demons and is brutally attacked by a bear.  While Archie calls for help, he begins hallucinating or having vivid dreams that had me wondering if I was hallucinating along with him.  While it’s clear that Archie is focusing on his enemy, Hiram Lodge, perhaps the bigger villain is his own guilt.  I have to say that I was right there with dream Fred Andrews when he told Archie to just come home already.  Although, that may be a little bit difficult for our main character right now.

2

“Has anyone ever told you, you’re a bad-ass?”

During the episode, Veronica continues to struggle to maintain power over her father, as he stirs up some more trouble.  Hiram is all about making Faustian deals, but is he able to truly tame his daughter?  Veronica ends up securing protection from the Serpents, which seems like a great solution, but it’s only a matter of time before Hiram comes up with a new plan.  Will Veronica be ready?  Perhaps, but it seems like her attention has drifted elsewhere, as Veggie fans celebrated when she and Reggie shared their first kiss.  Is Veronica truly ready to move on from Archie, however?

1

“We go to join thee.”

At the end of the episode, we are left with a lot of setup for what’s to come.  Alice sends the girls from Sisters of Quiet Mercy off to the farm and informs Betty that she only missed Edgar by “like five minutes,” but it looks like the second half of the season will finally give us some concrete answers about the farm.  Jughead also decides to send Fangs under cover, which may be more than he is able to handle, but it looks like he is up for the challenge.  The Sisters of Quiet Mercy are bailed out and leave behind the cryptic message:  “We go to join thee,” which Betty eventually figures out, as the Sisters go to join their “Gargoyle King” with their sacrifice.  Was this by choice or was someone else pulling the strings here to keep them quiet forever?  Finally, Archie is non-responsive when help arrives, which begs the question:  is Riverdale really about to kill off the main character of the show?  This is not the first time that Archie has faced a life or death situation, but something tells me that he’s going to be all right.  Overall, I was slightly disappointed with the episode, as it felt more like a filler or transition one.  It did provide us with a lot of setup for what’s to come, but I would like to see more content highlighted, especially since one of the teaser trailers suggested that Betty is going to be reunited with her father, Hal, very soon.  Stay tuned!

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Riverdale in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**I would love it if you would take a moment to check out my Whizbuzz Book page via the link below for everything you need to know about my new book, The Search for Alice, including my author bio page and links to my website and social media sites!  Thank you!

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Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

When Kallie Bennett, a jaded teenage girl plagued by her alcoholic mother and her peers molded out of sheer bubble gum perfection, chases after Alice in Wonderland herself, she ends up lost in her own version of Wonderland, which forces her to face her utmost fears and introduces her to familiar characters with a dark twist. Among these characters is Ches, a gorgeous vampire with a conflicted conscience, who becomes Kallie’s guide and blossoming love interest. She also crosses paths with Queen Hartley, a manipulative witch who has the power to strip away one’s memories and imagination, which brings a bone chilling new meaning to “off with their heads.” In The Search for Alice, Kallie starts to realize that her Wonderland is just as frightening as her own reality and that she cannot always run away from her problems. She must figure out a way to defeat Queen Hartley and return home before it is too late, but she soon learns that escaping Wonderland means leaving Ches behind forever.

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