Lost - the Finale / Original air date- 5/24/2010

Lost: the Finale / Original air date: 5/24/2010

    Starring: Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Terry O’Quinn, Naveen Andrews, Emilie DeRaven, John Terry, Dominic Monaghan, Henry Ian Cuscik, Jorge Garcia, Josh Holloway, Micheal Emerson, Cynthia Watros, Daniel Day Kim, Yunjin Kim.


Ben: Do you believe in God, Jack?

Jack: Do you?

Ben: Well, two days after I find out I have a fatal tumor on my spine, a spinal surgeon falls out of the sky. If that isn’t proof of God, what is?

-          From the episode ‘’The Cost of Living”

   Lost left a lot of questions about God ultimately unanswered. Then again, Lost left a lot of unanswered questions about a lot of things on a weekly basis.

   A brilliantly scripted TV show that was equal parts horror, Scifi, mystery, and even soap opera, Lost left us lost at the end of each and every episode, yet enthralled and excited and anxiously awaiting more. The show was so brilliantly scripted, in fact, that so many obvious references to God, redemption, and the afterlife were incorporated into almost every episode, yet a majority of viewers failed to catch on to these subtle {but obvious but cleverly concealed hints}, instead focusing on the wild plot twists and the complicated relationships between the main characters.

    Never before in the history of scripted TV has there been a show – that was originally considered to be a possible gamble and even a flop for ABC network – that captured such a wide audience, having become the number 1# TV drama – world wide – by the end of it’s first season. In retrospect, one would have never dreamed the series finale would have focused so intently on the subject of spirituality.

    The plot seemed much too simple and obvious at first; a group of rag-tag survivors of a horrific plane crash are stuck banding together despite skin color, religion, or personal background, to figure out a way survive on a mysterious island. In the opening sequence, we see Jack, the island’s only doctor and soon-to-be leader of the motley crew, lying on his back in the middle of a bamboo field, his only injury a cut on his back and some bruises. His clothes aren’t even soiled. How did he survive? Why isn’t he severely injured?

    When he hears screams and walks to a nearby beach, he finds a scene of bloody carnage straight out of one’s worst nightmares; people are dying, dead, bleeding, screaming. Fires burn everywhere, the air around them filled with black choking smoke. Yet, hardly anyone seems hurt, except for a select few. One of the first things that came to my mind was, How long can a show with this kind of plot last in a prime time TV slot? People crashing on a desert island? Hasn’t this been done before? Remember Gilligan’s Island?

   Think again.

By the end of the second episode, we have been introduced to a polar bear {on a tropical island?!}, a huge, unseen, screeching, howling monster that prowls the nearby jungle {hence the Scifi and horror elements}, plus a sixteen year old distress call that has been playing over and over again –in French, no less – coming from somewhere on the island.

Nope; no spiritual element there, folks.

   Yet, in the third episode, Jack tells Kate; ‘’We all died three days ago, Kate. Everybody deserves a second chance.”

Died?! Wait a minute…

   I’ll just go ahead and let the cat out of the bag; yes, they all died, folks, and were stuck in a purgatory of sorts, until they had redeemed themselves for all of the sins that had landed them on the island to begin with. It may sound a bit far-fetched to some, but thanks to the multi-talented writing team of J.J. Abrams, Carlton Cuse, and Damon Lindelof – plus a very talented cast who seemed to have literally made for their perspective roles – the public viewing audience was treated to almost six years of a TV series that broke all the rules on conventional TV, crossed all the boundaries, made us laugh, made us cry, made us fall in love all over again, all the while providing a much-needed spiritual boost scripted TV has been in dire need of for a long, long time.

   I won’t give away any more spoilers, but I will leave you with this thought in mind: If the concept of watching one hour and fifty-one minutes of spiritually uplifting TV that will leave you feeling revitalized, actually fulfilled by the experience, I recommend this finale highly. You may cry tears of sorrow knowing that this landmark TV series has ended, but you also find yourself crying tears of celebration for a show that had the guts – and the heart – to propose a question so many other TV shows seem to avoid; ‘’What does God have to do to get your attention?”

   You may just find the viewing of this finale a life-changing experience. 

Horror Films of the 1980s 

Horror Films Of The 1980s
Written By; John Kenneth Muir
McFarland Books / 2007/ $59.95

    Let me begin this review by saying this; John Muir’s filmbooks are in a genre all their own, a genre to themselves. They are not quite a film analysis, yet, they aren’t quite a film fan appreciation, either.
   I’d say they lie somewhere in between. I have read quite a bit of horror film criticism – and analysis – in my day, and John Muir is one of the very best, if not the best, I have ever encountered. As a major-league fan of 1970s {and 80s} horror films, these books were a definite must-have for my personal horror library.

    What separates John from the rest is he covers these films well beyond the garden-variety ‘’capsule’’ reviews {I call them ‘’lazy’’ reviews} and covers each and every one above and beyond the call of duty.
  He writes simply and clearly, yet always including a lot of invaluable information, the info including extensive credits listings, a detailed synopsis, plus an almost always lengthy commentary as well. And even at the times he does include a capsule review, it is still much more detailed than you’d find within your public library basic guides to films.

    One of the most appealing things about John Muir, to me, is the fact he is evidently a diehard fan of the genre – like myself – and he seems to have the wonderful and very rarely found gift of gab. I have interviewed him for my magazine recently, and he was one of the most pleasant interviewees I have had the pleasure of working with. He’s just a nice guy. Which, in my opinion, in the publishing business, is a big plus.

One of the most amazing aspects of these books is the meticulous way in which they were created, the attention to detail. I thought myself a ‘’horror connoisseur’’ until I read these books, then had to re-evaluate just how much I really knew about the horror cinema genre after all.
     Some of the films listed here I’d never even heard of, and the ones I had seen were exposed in such a much better light through John’s presentation, I realized the films contained scenes and spoilers I’d never noticed the first time around, or even the second time I’d viewed them.
  A top notch, informative overview of 1980s horror films, it is a brilliant and essential guide for any horror film enthusiast. This book is infectious, a guilty pleasure, like a candy bar is to a diabetic. These books are an utterly remarkable success in my personal opinion, and I can’t wait to dive into Horror Films Of The 1970s as well.

Hopefully, we will see another sequel {Horror Films Of The 1990s} somewhere on the horizon.

My Rating: 5 stars {Out of 5}

1980's Retro Film Review: Maniac - 1980

Yeah, yeah, I know; this film is old news, right? Think again. 
Since it's original release in December or 1980, Maniac has become something of a cult classic phenomenon, being one of the only original ''splatter'' films to be first slammed by critics as ''a sleaze-exploitation film,'' to go on to achieve cult status, and with good reason. 
The plot may have been fairly cliche, but don't let that fool you. Frank Zito is a middle-aged, sweaty, smelly, sloppy loner who is, unbeknown to his neighbors, a schizoid serial killer who scalps hookers and nails their hair onto the heads of mannequins he keeps in his apartment. Sound cliche yet? Maybe, but old Frank does his best to incorporate new and improved ways to kill his victims, including death by garrotte, scalping, decapitation, stabbing, slicing, and shotgun head blasts. He may be sleazy killer, but you'll have to give him points for originality, anyway. 
  First time director William Lustig does incorporate some cliches here, but back in the 80s, what filmmaker didn't? It was the golden age of slasher/splatter films, and everybody went along for the ride. Difference here was, Lustig had the ever-dependable sleazoid -creepy performance of The Godfather veteran Joe Spinell, over the top but great special FX by a young Tom Savini, and a haunting musical score by Jay Chattaway. And, unlike some of it's brethren, it actually succeeded in genuinely creeping you out, made you feel...slimy, while a lot of the genre films of that era only succeeded in making the viewer sick at their stomachs. 
Maniac was a real tour-deforce of psychological and slasher terror, and went way beyond the typical slasher. After watching this film, you may feel a little dirty, feel like you need to take a shower, but you won't shut off the DVD player feeling like you've wasted your rental fee, either. 

My rating: 4 stars out of 5