House of Spacey


Right now I am watching a Netflix original show titled House of Cards which is an American version of the famous BBC show by the same name. As I view episode seven I am amused that I am also going through The West Wing, a show that paints a more lighter picture of politics in Washington D.C. One is light the other dark, both having some realistic aspects of the political world yet also are fantastic versions of what is going on. At the heart of this gripping thriller drama is Francis “Frank” and Claire Underwood, who after being turned down for an important cabinet position go on the offensive and take the power that they were denied.

One of the best things about this show is watching Kevin Spacey act deliciously evil each week. Robin Wright is also excellent as his wife, Claire, who might be worse than he is at times. The subplots include Zoe Barnes (played by Kate Mara), an opportunistic journalist, and Peter Russo (Corey Stoll), a young Congressman. Both people are used by Francis and his sinister chief of staff, Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), to advance Francis’ agenda. A favorite moment of mine is when Francis delivers a sneaky and lie filled sermon to a church in the third episode. Its textbook Spacey and a shining example of his brilliance as an actor.

Although the subplots are rocky at times the main storyline is incredibly well crafted. Wright and Spacey’s scenes together is the foundation of House of Cards. Some of the comedy that actually occurs is unintentional or subtitle yet the drama is very focused and engaging. Plus for some reason Francis is from the South and therefore Spacey has a Southern accent that makes him appear friendly even as he stabs people in the back and destroys anyone who gets in his way.

There are no episode titles as each one is called a chapter instead. The pilot episode was as long as an actual movie and the show has the look and feel of a cable show. David Fincher is involved although different people direct each episode. I also enjoy it when Francis (or Frank as he’s usually called) breaks the forth wall and talks to the camera. I’m amused when he says what he is thinking even as he pretends to act civil. So far this is one of the best young shows and I like that Netflix is challenging traditional TV. Right now I need more than two seasons. Badly.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: The Innkeepers (2012, Ti West)


Even though I slightly prefer The House of The Devil, Ti West’s 2012 film The Innkeepers is a nice followup and was just as creepy. In fact this movie almost gave me a heart attack at times, especially with the freaky moments that kept lying just around the corner. The old inn that sarcastic Luke and naive Claire work at is an excellent place for a ghost story driven film, although granted most hotels, inns, motels and the like are usually perfect for horror movies. As The Shinning (1980) can attest to, and just like in that film the characters in this one are being affected by the place they are working at. The Yankee Pedlar Inn is an old place, and its finally being closed for business after over a century of being open. Luke and Claire are the two low wage employees tasked with overseeing the building while the master of the inn is away. Boredom sets in and they decide to investigate whether or not the inn is haunted by Madeline O’Malley, which leads to all kinds of trouble of course.

Really I love that Ti West specializes in quiet, atmospheric horror, which is why I’m not too surprised detractors of films like these call them “Boring.” Look there are actually jump scares in this one, yet I felt that West was mocking the use of such a device to frighten viewers. There is more humor in this movie than in The House of the Devil, and it works as a slight tension reliever while also lulling the viewers into a false sense of security. A couple scenes are downright spooky, particularly one where Claire and Luke are alone in a deep, black pitched basement, and another moment that I will only describe as being the material for nightmare fuel. Even so at times I found Claire’s character to be a tad annoying, where as Luke made a great foil for Claire and was the best element of the film.

Having Kelly McGillis play a psychic/alcoholic actress was a nice touch, and unlike some I didn’t mind the ending too much. While the last act does feature some questionable behavior I take it as the actions of someone who had become rather unstable, and its therefore a mixture of terrifying and tragic. Unfortunately Ti West’s The Roost is not available on Netflix, however his other works are and I look forward to seeing those as well. I would rather like it if he made a slasher movie for some reason, as West’s gift for making super creepy movies that get under you skin would serve him well there, I think.

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