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The following guest review is from one of my oldest and dearest fiends, Shane ‘Prof. Brian O’ Blivion’ Migliavacca of the fangtastic blog The Cathode Ray Mission. This cat knows his horror biz, so you’re in good hands for this one!

SCREAM – THE TV SERIES – SEASON ONE

•             RELEASE DATE: Available May 10th on DVD
•             WRITTEN BY: Various
•             DIRECTED BY: Various
•             STARRING: Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Carlson Young

By the early ’90s, the slasher genre had been beaten to death worse than one of Jason Voorhees’ victims. And much like one of Jason’s victims, its bloated corpse would fall out of the cupboard from time to time, a lifeless shell of its former self. Not really scary… more a mild inconvenience. The slasher landscape had become loaded with countless Freddy, Jason, and Chucky clones; worse yet were the “not” horror films—thrillers with all the trappings of a slasher, but not willing to call themselves a slasher (they usually involved a crazy nanny, babysitter, or nurse on a rampage). That was until 1996, when Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson (both of whom are involved in this first season, which obviously is to the show’s benefit) reanimated its corpse like a pair of Herbert Wests. The film took all the standard slasher tropes and not only poked fun at them, but incorporated them into the story in innovative ways. The first SCREAM film managed to be a good slasher film and funny at the same time. The second film upped the stakes, as a good follow up should. Part three was a bit of a disappointment. And part four turned out to be a nice return to form for the franchise… which brings us to the TV Series.

If you’re like me, you hear “horror remake” and “TV show” in the same sentence and you jump out the nearest window like Helen Hunt on angel dust. But wait, before you take a header out a window, hear me out.

Instead of being a continuation of the films, the show charts its own path (with a tie-in being that much like the first SCREAM, the series starts with a bang as we get a pretty cool stalk and slash sequence with a celebrity victim and it’s bloodier then I was expecting for an MTV show). Gone are Sidney Prescott, Gale Weathers, and Woodsboro. Instead, we’re introduced to the town of Lakewood. A viral video used for cyberbullying leads to a series of murders with the target of these killings being the local teens, of course. These murders may be related to a mass murder in town twenty years ago. We get a nice mix of your usual slasher film characters: the good girl, the film/crime nerd, the wanna-be filmmaker, the slutty rich girl, the dangerous loner dude, and of course, jocks. While tropes, I really dig these characters. The nerd dude is funny, the good girl isn’t just a goody good, the slutty chick is actually nice, and the jocks… well they suck, as jocks do. The filmmaker is the most interesting of the characters; without spoiling anything, there’s stuff going on with her I can’t wait to see explored in the second season. Also of note is that the show has all the meta-humor of the films, only updated.

Now, I’m a big slasher film fan, especially of ‘80s slashers, so I don’t mind your usual slasher cliches, provided that they are well done. I have to say SCREAM – THE TV SERIES do them well. I dig the legend of deformed mask wearing killer Brandon James and his murder spree twenty year prior; it’s a classic slasher set up. It also serves to distinguish itself from the SCREAM films’ backstory.

If there was one down side to the show, it’s the mask. I understand why they didn’t use the classic Ghostface mask, but I still miss it.

As for the actual DVD, I’m not a tech dude, so I can’t tell you about aspect ratios and all that, but the picture was nice and crisp. Also, if you were like me and watched this on MTV when it aired, you know about the channel’s tendency to have those damn on screen pop up things telling you what song is playing. Thankfully that crap is gone and we get to see the whole picture.

Another plus is that you can binge watch it, of course. An often overlooked little bonus I look for on TV shows on disk is the play all option. I hate it when that’s not included; SCREAM has it, thank you! Shows like this with a strong mystery element and likable characters, I just want to watch a bunch in one sitting (I’m the guy that watched the final season of BREAKING BAD in one lonely Saturday night binge… because I am the danger baby!)

We also get a nice little gag reel included in the bonus features, as well as about five minutes of deleted scenes (also with a play all option thank you very much!), and some cool promo adds for the show.

So, if you can’t tell by now, I highly recommend SCREAM – THE TV SERIES, especially if you’re a fan of the Scream franchise, slasher films in general, or TV shows with a central mystery element!

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Before I slink back off into my crypt, I’d like to bring a lil’ shindig to your attention that I attended recently known as Chase Con! Ol’ Chase (well, not too old, this is only the event’s second year!), is one of the most eccentric events of it’s kind. Among the normal cosplayers, video game tournaments, artists featuring such legendary creators as Kevin Conrad (KISS Psycho Circus, Spawn the Dark Ages) Bill Anderson (Silver Surfer), and Richard Bonk (Ascension) as well as up-n-commers like Sally Peck as well as celebrity guests like THE CROW‘s Rochelle Davis, you also get artisan beef jerky, honey, tattoo artists (yes, they were actually tattooing on the convention floor), and a wedding (wait…what??)!

As you can tell, this is a tad different than you average convention; and to me, that is this event’s greatest strength! I really hope they embrace this off-kilter aesthetic even more for upcoming shows, for as bizarre as it seems, folks seemed to be having a great time!

I plan on returning in coming years, and if you find yourself in upstate New York around this time next year, you should drop in and give Chase Con a look see for yourself! You can keep up on all of the goings-on with the con right here!

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Also, ol’ monstrous Michale Graves and the cats at Hydraulic Entertainment have announced a new project; an acoustic version of his last album When World’s Collide called Bedlam! Head here to learn all about how you can help the project come to fruition!

With that, it’s time for this bat to fly the belfry!

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