All posts by Danny Horn

About Danny Horn

Product Manager at the Wikimedia Foundation. I write a daily blog, Dark Shadows Every Day, about the 1960s vampire soap opera. Founder of Muppet Wiki and Tough Pigs, a Muppet fansite.

Inhumans 70b.4: But Here We Are

You know, sometimes it’s important to step back and focus on the things that are truly insignificant, and that’s what Ryan and I have done with our 4-part podcast explaining and condemning the 2017 ABC-TV disaster Marvel’s Inhumans.

It’s the season finale for my series of podcasts with the Signal Watch on terrible Marvel products of the past, and we willfully squander that time discussing episodes 7 and 8 of this utterly ridiculous show.

This time, we dig into the big questions, like: How do you make a show that’s entirely about genetics when you don’t anything about how genes work? and: Why would you make a show about a race of superheroes where you don’t tell us what anybody’s powers are?

Give us a listen and enjoy the schadenfreude, as we find out what happens when reach exceeds grasp by a very wide margin.

Also: I’m calling this a season finale for my Signal Watch podcasts, because it’s probably time for me to stop taking over Ryan’s show and actually start one of my own. That won’t happen until I’ve settled into the Superman III coverage for a bit, so I’m not sure when it’ll launch, or what it’ll be about. But I’ve really enjoyed these podcasts, and I plan on doing more of them, so stay tuned for that.

Speaking of Superman III: I’m going to take one more week to get ready, and I’m planning to be back to regular posts in the second week of October. Superman III is a real watershed for the genre and I have all kinds of interesting things to discuss with you. I’ll be back soon!

Chapters

— Danny Horn

Inhumans 70b.3: Are We the Baddies?

This is where we are: A family of selfish, hyper-destructive idiot moon mutants have been forced against their will to go on vacation in Hawaii, which they insist on believing is a nightmare, despite the fact that everyone is super nice to them, and they’re having a wonderful time.

Yes, Ryan and I are still watching Inhumans, and we have a whole four-part podcast to prove it. This is part three, covering episodes 5 and 6, in which the royal family of the moon continue to bumble around Oahu, wrecking everything they see.

This is the point when the writers start trashing their entire premise, taking everything that we thought we knew about the main characters’ stupid civilization, and completely contradicting it without even really noticing that they’re doing it. The smartest character on the show turns out to be the beautiful surfer dude, and both Ryan and I somehow fall completely under his spell.

Nobody else gives you this kind of deep coverage of inconsequential failed superhero television shows, so check it out, and we’ll be back next week with the final installment!

Continue reading Inhumans 70b.3: Are We the Baddies?

Swamp Thing 3.45: Six Million Dollars

This is my final post for Swamp Thing, which is the traditional time for me to talk about how the movie earned the highest opening-weekend returns in history, and was the #1 box office draw for months and months. At least, that’s how it worked for Superman and Superman II. There’s a bit of a different situation with Swamp Thing.

In fact, I’m not certain how much Swamp Thing made. I typically use Box Office Mojo as my source, and Swamp Thing doesn’t appear on their 1982 domestic box office listing. Their data only goes back to 1977, and for the first six or seven years, they don’t have information on every movie. Part of the problem is that Swamp Thing wasn’t in wide release: it opened in different parts of the country any time between February and August. The other part of the problem is that nobody cares except me.

I found a site called Ultimate Movie Rankings that says Swamp Thing made $6.4 million domestic, and where they got that number I haven’t a notion. But let’s go with that.

Continue reading Swamp Thing 3.45: Six Million Dollars

Swamp Thing 3.43: Wes’ Lament

WIDE: The shaft of sunlight now falls full on Swamp Thing, rimming him with incandescent gold — and the most extraordinary thing is happening.

CLOSE SHOT reveals his feet are altering — his toes elongate until they’re no longer toes but roots, piercing between the great stones of the dungeon into the black earth beneath.

INSERT. IN CROSS SECTION, we see the roots plunge down between the stones, through the earth and into water. 

FULL SHOT — The monster’s body swells, powerful, unstoppable. And suddenly, something on his right side waves up — where his arm had been severed there now is a thin, vine-like extension of wirey green flesh and sinew — split at the ends into tendrils — expanding and growing! 

Continue reading Swamp Thing 3.43: Wes’ Lament

Inhumans 70b.2: I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon

Dig this: a family of rich, spoiled moon mutants are the rulers of an unstable and unsustainable civilization the size of Bitter Lick, Iowa, which is based on a clearly oppressive caste system in which poor people who don’t have superpowers are forced to spend their lives underground, digging with their fingernails to find crystals that will help the wealthy 1% turn their children into supermutants.

There is an inevitable and sorely-needed military coup, and the royal family’s college-age niece, in a panic, gets her magical teleporting dog to scatter the family around Oahu for some reason, where they instantly start breaking laws and assaulting people. 

So the driving question of the series is: How do the people of Hawaii band together to contain this dangerous situation?

This is part 2 of our four-part Inhumans series on the Signal Watch podcast, where Ryan and I discuss episodes 3 and 4 of this fascinating and absorbing series. Like the series itself, we’re probably shedding half of our audience with every episode, so please take a listen, because we do not want to be left alone with this television show.

Continue reading Inhumans 70b.2: I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon

Swamp Thing 3.42: The Monster at the End of This Movie

Suddenly,

says Wes Craven’s script for Swamp Thing,

when we’re in very close, something bright pokes through. We see it’s a talon, perhaps three inches long. Then another, and then a whole hand of some sort — half eagle, half reptile — thrusts out.

Without warning, the transformed Arcane bursts out of his egg — a horrendous, lion-maned, hyena-faced monster ten times more horrendous than Swamp Thing. It lets out a terrifying SCREECH that shakes the very walls of the place!

Well, I don’t know about terrifying, but horrendous? Nailed it. I couldn’t agree more.

Continue reading Swamp Thing 3.42: The Monster at the End of This Movie

Swamp Thing 3.41: A Disaster on Every Count

“Unable to consummate his love for the beauty,” writes Vincent Canby in the New York Times, “the beast must satisfy himself by camping it up in the swamp.”

“How refreshing,” agrees John Engstrom in the Boston Globe, “to find a bad movie that knows it’s bad, and wears its badness proudly.”

Newsday says “It has an astonishing verisimilitude to the low-budget ’50s horror movie,” and Variety says that Wes Craven “tries in vain, through old-fashioned music, characters and dialog, to re-create the ’50s B-monster movie.”

This brings up a question that I’d never even considered: Is Swamp Thing supposed to be camp?

Continue reading Swamp Thing 3.41: A Disaster on Every Count

Inhumans 70b.1: Welcome to the Family Madrigal

Marvel’s Inhumans is a 2017 TV show about a family of rich, spoiled moon mutants who make every situation they walk into immeasurably worse. It’s got a lead character who can’t talk and can’t use his superpowers, ruling a doomed moon kingdom the size of an average urban high school built on an unnecessary slave caste system. After a completely understandable coup topples this corrupt regime, Black Bolt and his chuckleheaded family end up scattered around Honolulu, where they break laws, injure people and destroy everything that they come into contact with.

I was part of the select group of people who actually watched all eight episodes on ABC five years ago, and now I finally get my chance to tell people everything that is wrong with this ridiculous show. This is the first part of a thrilling series on the Signal Watch podcast where host Ryan Stearns and I watch two episodes of Inhumans, and tell you all about the experience.

In the first podcast, we discuss episodes 1 and 2, including the boring sets, the insane costumes, the Flintstones-style use of mutants as appliances — and why I believe that this terrible show inspired the Encanto gift ceremony.

Inhumans is available on Disney+ if you want to watch the episodes before you listen to the podcast, but it’s not required.

Continue reading Inhumans 70b.1: Welcome to the Family Madrigal

Swamp Thing 3.40: The Unconcluded Caramel Kane

Snuggled up to a half-caff carafe of magic Jekyll juice, the mad wizard Arcane has found his petard and is busily hoisting himself. And then who should saunter by, but the incomparable Caramel Kane?

This bright young thing is listed in the credits as Arcane’s Secretary, but you and I and the other avid readers of the Swamp Thing novelization know her true identity. It’s Caramel Kane, the missing daughter of Senator Michael Kane, which is an intriguing bit of backstory that the novel mentions once, and then forgets about it completely.

Of course, it’s the prerogative of the author of a movie novelization to add some splashes of local color, giving the minor players a name and, if we’re lucky, something of an interior life. They generally do this pretty haphazardly, because they have to write fifteen pages a day, and going back to edit a previous passage cuts into their drinking time.

Continue reading Swamp Thing 3.40: The Unconcluded Caramel Kane