Saturday, June 20, 2009

CULT MOVIE REVIEW: Friday the 13th (2009)

Although I've objected vociferously to some horror film remakes in the past, I can't say that I had any real strong issues with a remake of Sean Cunningham's Friday the 13th (1980 - 1993) mythos. This may simply because several entries in the durable slasher franchise are already remakes of the very same story.

That story goes something like this: Young, irresponsible adults go to Camp Crystal Lake, even though they are warned not to (by the town drunk.) Once there, they smoke weed. They have pre-marital sex. Storm rolls in. Killer rolls in (usually with machete). Killer hacks up all but one of the youngsters, in inventive, gory fashion.

Rinse and repeat.

Now, of course, there are variations on that theme. The killer was Mrs. Voorhees in Friday the 13th; Jason in Part II, and a Jason impostor in Part V: A New Beginning. Camp Crystal Lake was closed (Friday the 13th), turned into a camp for training counselors (Part II), then re-named and re-opened (Part VI), and so forth.

But basically, you always knew that you were going to get your money's worth with the original Friday the 13 films. You'd get to see all the stock high-school characters again: the jock, the bitch, the geek/nerd/stoner and the Final Girl, who would battle it out heroically with the invincible killer. You'd get the conservative vice-precedes-slice-and-dice paradigm (moral transgression results in bloody demise...), the sting in the tail/tale (the surprise ending as the killer pops up ONE LAST TIME!), and the coup de grace (the gory, over-the-top death scene).

In some ways, the original films benefited from low expectations too. By slavishly repeating essentially the same tale (and same stock characters...) time in and time out, fans were conditioned not to expect anything utterly original or terribly surprising. And yet, some of the original films did manage to carve out unique territory, usually through gimmickry like 3-D, a humorous, self-mocking slant (Jason Lives!), or even the surprise addition of the supernatural (The New Blood),

But a contemporary remake of the Friday the 13th mythos promised, among other potential glories, the chance to stitch together something better and more cohesive than the lumpy, patch-work continuity of the scattershot Friday the 13th films. Those old movies swerved merrily from narrative contradiction to narrative contradiction (Jason was revenging his dead mother, who had been revenging her dead son, Jason...). Those movies took three entries to establish the iconic look for Jason (the hockey mask). In the later years, those movies even veered like a drunken sailor from Toronto...I mean Manhattan, to the depths of outer space, and on and on. By the 1990s, and the body-hopping Jason Goes To Hell, the whiff of desperation and creative exhaustion was all over the Friday the 13th movies.

With benefit of almost thirty years of reflection, a good remaker was in the enviable position to stand back, analyze, and then adopt all that was good about the Friday the 13th film series while discarding the bad and the stupid. So it seemed to me like a "remake" might really be that rare thing in the re-imagination sweepstakes: a win-win.

Also, I was buoyed when I read that Marcus Nispel was directing this new Friday the 13th movie. I admired and appreciated his Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (2003) for what it was -- a gruesomely effective scare machine -- rather than what it wasn't (a brilliant and mad work of art, like Tobe Hooper's classic original). Nispel's re-imagination had charismatic Lee Ermey in a deranged, villainous role, and staked out some original territory that seemed to honor the slaughterhouse spirit of Hooper and Henkel's masterpiece.

So I guess I'm just doubly disappointed that the new Friday the 13th movie is such...dead weight. It's a lethargic, by-the-numbers effort entirely lacking in either suspense or scares. Whenever the young adult protagonists are on screen, the film drags and dips to a mind-numbing flat line. Only during the kill sequences, ironically, does this remake come to life even in the most modest sense. Unlike Nispel's Chainsaw, there's not the slightest atmosphere of dread or inevitability in this picture. On the contrary, Jason does not seem particularly menacing or superhuman. He's brutal and quick (too much caffeine, maybe?) but not terrifying. Even the final subterranean chase sequence lacks intensity. This film just has no...spirit.

It's not that I was expecting Shakespeare, either.

I was not expecting the characters to be believable or identifiable people, and indeed they aren't. They are the same high school stereotypes writ large that have always populated these Friday films, given to endless drinking games and topless water sports. A mean bitch screws her best friend's boyfriend without a second thought; rich jocks believe that they're better than everyone else by reason of family legacy and wealth; and harmless "supporting" minorities (Asians and Blacks) smoke weed and dream about screwing the rich kid's girl before wandering face first into buzz-saws, screw-drivers or other destructive implements.

And I'm okay with that.

Nor was I expecting a deep social context beyond the conservative transgression results in retribution chestnut, and indeed, there isn't one here. Bad, immoral behavior indeed results in skewering, impaling, arrows-through-the-head and so on. The stuck-up Jock gets what's coming to him. So does the boyfriend-stealing bitch.

And I'm okay with that too.

It's not that I wanted something original or new in Nispel's film, and indeed, there's nothing original or new here. Instead, Nispel ransacks the best of the Friday the 13th lineage for the most effective imagery and storyline. He repeats the Jason bursting-through-window-shot from the climax of Part II, and the Jason-jumps-out-of-the-water jolt from the 1980 original. He repeats Jason's Mother Fixation from Part II, the Mrs. Voorhees decapitation from the 1980 film, and he even sort of revives the Jason-hunter/sister-seeker character from The Final Chapter. We also get to see the potato sack replaced by the hockey mask, as we did in Part 3D.

And I'm absolutely okay with all that too. Again, I expected a clever director to plunder and re-purpose the best moments of the previous ten films and incorporate them into this "unifying" tale of Jason. Why else remake Friday the 13th?

But what I'm not okay with, I suppose, is the fact that this entire enterprise appears to lack enthusiasm, energy, zeal and pace. What I'm saying is that I just wanted to feel..excitement. The rush of adrenaline. A little surge of fear generated by the fact that a fast-moving, machete-armed titan is pursuing some nubile young flesh in the dark woods.

But this film, much like Zombie's Halloween (2007), can't seem to function on the fundamental, most important basis of any slasher film: It simply does not frighten. It doesn't arouse or animate. At least in the case of Zombie's film, the remake narrative had something to offer in substitution for scares (Loomis's tabloid agenda; an exploration of Michael's white-trash background; etc.). Not exactly a fair trade, but at least the movie wasn't sleep-inducing. By comparison, Friday the 13th's narrative is a colossal dead zone. This 2009 film eats up time, but squanders it. It is brutal, but not bruising.

The thrill, alas, is gone.

And that's the one ingredient I hoped this remake would retain. An acknowledgment that the sturdy slasher form -- for all its ritualistic repetition -- can still eke out a few simple scares, still galvanize the blood. With the right director at the helm, our blood -- and Jason's blood - could surely pump anew, could surely be stirred. After all, these modern campfire stories survive for a reason: they speak trenchantly to our fear of the dark woods; to our subconscious need in a "safe" law-enforced society to face down predators; even to our belief that those who transgress against us will pay for their wrongs. And that those who are resourceful, brave, and moral will survive and endure. Even in the face of True Evil.

But this film just seems closed off to all such possibilities. You won't find any stimulation here. You won't find any fear here. You won't find anything to trouble your slumber, or make you fear a hike in the woods alone. The flaccid Friday the 13th makes me want to suggest a new, Horror/Hippocratic Oath for Remakers: First, Make Your Movie Scary. After that, genuflect, pay tribute, innovate, or surprise till the cows come home. But first, Do Our Psyches Harm. Scare us. Rattle us. Please...

In the final analysis, there are only two significant ways in which this Friday the 13th updates the franchise mythos for the twenty-first century. First, genuflecting to a cinematic epoch in which commerce is more important than entertainment, the discussion around a creepy campfire here focuses not so much on Jason and his legend, but rather on explicit product placement and beer brands. (Heineken of Pabst?)

And secondly, the very first breasts unveiled on screen...are fake. They are ugly, unnatural breasts, as egregiously phony, enhanced, and artificial as Jason's mongoloid-al make-up.

I remember the days when the tits were real, and so was the titillation.

Friday, June 19, 2009

CULT TV FLASHBACK #79: The Twilight Zone: "Come Wander with Me" (1964)

There are, perhaps, many episodes of Rod Serling's classic The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) more sharply-written, more morally-valuable, and more resonant in a simple, emotional sense than "Come Wander with Me." Many Twilight Zone segments also boast superior twist endings.

And yet, for my money, there are few segments more haunting or more dream-like than this fifth season phantasm, penned by Anthony Wilson and directed by a young Richard Donner (The Omen [1976]; Superman: The Movie [1978], Ladyhawke [1985]).

Whenever I return to The Twilight Zone DVD Box Set, this episode ranks near the top of my list of episodes to see again -- even if I've watched it recently; even though I know the story by heart. There's just something that draws me to it.

Simply stated, "Come Wander With Me" casts a hypnotic spell.

"Come Wander With Me" was the final episode of The Twilight Zone filmed/produced for CBS, and the third-to-last episode to air on that network in prime time. It premiered on May 22, 1964 and dramatized the tale of Floyd Burney (Gary Crosby), the so-called "Rock-a-Billy Kid." Burney is a cocky but insecure "celebrity," an up-and-coming music star without the slightest sense of originality, individuality or artistry.

As the episode begins, Burney has arrived at the foothills of Appalachia in hopes of "stealing" a song from the naive locals there and "conjuring" another hit to augment his singing career. He justifies this act of creative theft by noting that all the folk-music stars of the day do it...

This narrative set-up mirrors a real-life context of the times. From the 1950s-to-early 1960s, there was a folk music revival movement in the U.S., one in which a wide variety of artists imported the fiddle and banjo-style of Appalachian folk songs (often ballads...) from remote, poverty-stricken Appalachia into the nation's musical mainstream.

This local music style proved increasingly popular -- especially as the Beatnik "coffeehouse" movement came to life -- but so did the notion of Appalachia as a backward, violent, isolated realm of cultural separation and inscrutable mystique. This geographical region in the South East U.S. became increasingly feared and derided because of popular stereotypes; for the sense of it as a setting of oppressive fundamental religion and...ghost stories.

In "Come Wander with Me," we see such a world-view fully articulated. This Appalachia is a dangerous, foreign place that doesn't conform to the "rules" of life as Burney understands them. In other words, cash isn't God; and actions (such as pre-marital sex...) have consequences. And far from being an authentic musician (or even boasting a particularly "Up with People" attitude...) Floyd Burney is but a slick, self-centered celebrity looking simply to steal a resource. Even his car is gaudily decorated with the titles of his insipid hit songs. We recognize immediately that he's out-of-his-element...and playing with fire.

There's a great visual touch that inaugurates "Come Wander with Me." As Burney stops his car at the foot of a rickety, damaged bridge, we can see that a floorboard is missing directly ahead. So Burney exits his car, and steps over that gulf himself, unawares.

That missing plank in the bridge, however, is the specific demarcation point between reality and the supernatural; between the American mainstream and isolated Appalachia. And, as Rod Serling would no doubt declare, it's our point-of-entrance into...The Twilight Zone.

Once in the woods, the hungry, exploitative Burney begins hunting for his "new" song. He tells a gargoyle-esque junk/music shop owner "Anything you got is PD - public domain! You've got no rights!" and then graciously (!) offers to buy the old man's songs for a meager handful of cash. The local declines to help, but Burney refuses to relent...until he hears a recurrent, eerie melody emanating from somewhere deep within the forest ahead.

Burney passes into a heavy mist as he treads deeper into the seemingly-endless woods, and is so consumed with his mission that he misses something important nearby: his own grave-stone, jutting roughly out of the Earth.

As Burney goes in search of the obsessive melody, he misses something else too. In at least two separate shots, we detect a mystery figure shrouded in black...reaching out for him in the distance. This apparition appears in the background of the frame (as Burney hunts in the foreground...), and the long-shot, deep-focus composition crafted by Donner is creepy as hell. Because the figure is at first stationary -- and almost camouflaged -- we don't see it right off the bat amidst the ancient woods. When we do see it, we're startled. This Life and the After-Life have merged...

Burney soon discovers that the source of the song is an innocent young woman, Mary Rachel (Bonnie Beecher). This siren is beautiful, a bit sad, and all-together reluctant to sing Burney the entire song.

Ever the smooth operator, Burney romances Mary Rachel, even though she's already "be-spoke" to a local gent named Billy Rayford. Successfully taken-in by promises of a life with Burney, Mary Rachel finally reveals the melancholy song in its apparent entirety: a haunting, timeless composition by Jeff Alexander, called, appropriately, "Come Wander with Me."

As the song is repeated -- and as Floyd and Mary Rachel consummate their relationship 'neath an old willow tree -- the episode cuts to another montage that seems to fracture time: a series of progressive zooms leading into crisp dissolves. The zooms always draw us nearer to the intermingled duo (sometimes from doom-laden high angles). It's as though Fate itself has locked them in its cross hairs.

"That song was meant for me
," Floyd declares, more accurate than he realizes.

"It can't be bought," Mary Rachel counters, but Burney doesn't understand what she means.

Then a jealous Billy Rayford shows up -- a man with the odd, shambling gait and blind, lifeless stare of the living dead. There's a scuffle, and Burney (too easily, perhaps...) kills him.

Suddenly, Mary's song changes. It is no longer soft and melancholy. Now it is loud, strident, and fearful. A new verse emanates from the tape recorder and states "You Killed Billy Rayford...bespoke unto me..."

In fact, as Billy's brothers relentlessly hunt down Floyd Burney to avenge the death of their kin, Mary Rachel's song continues to morph and grow, adding new, more disturbing verses all the time.

Mary Rachel begs Floyd not to run "this time," but he does it anyway. As he flees, he sees Mary Rachel once more, now garbed in black...a mourner at his grave. And when the Rayfords finally come for Floyd, we never actually see them as human beings. Rather, they are suggested as inhuman Furies. They are depicted as long black shadows which stretch malevolently across the ground, and then, finally, eclipse the light over Floyd Burney's terrified face...

What "Come Wander with Me" circumscribes, however, is truly a vicious circle. A cycle without end and without beginning, very much like a song being composed before our eyes and ears. If we could ever truly feel what it likes to be trapped inside a song -- inside a personal melody -- I have the feeling it would seem just like "Come Wander with Me" because the story is graced with a sense of the inevitable, the inescapable.

And the main character, Floyd Burney, has already been "conceived" or "imagined" by the composer as the subject of this tune, and therefore cannot change his path, his destiny, his crescendo. He will always be the Rock-A-Billy Kid...the one who trespassed (by stealing a song and a woman...), and who paid with his life. The song tells us who he is; and he can never change because those verses are already written and sung. The song which can't be bought...defines him. He already "owns" it.

Or it owns him.

The less-important supporting characters, like the doomed Billy Rayford, are barely "human" at all. They are merely ciphers -- musical notes, perhaps -- who help bring the song round to its final stanza. As Mary Rachel explains, they do only what is expected of them. "He always comes here," she says, in regards to Billy. He has no choice in the matter, because this isn't his's Floyd's.

If you remember the story of Sisyphus, you might recognize "Come Wander with Me" as something more than a never-ending song. It's also a personal Hell for Floyd Burney (meaning, perhaps, that it occurs after his mortality ends, in Hell itself). Just as Sisyphus's punishment was to always push a rock up a hill, only to see it roll back down, and have to start over, our Floyd Burney must likewise re-live -- again and again -- the avaricious song hunt (and personal manipulation of Mary Rachel) that led him to his trespass and demise. In each refrain of the song (and of his personal Hell...) Mary Rachel begs Floyd to change his course (to hide, rather than run...) but Floyd is stuck in a rut -- like a record repeating on the same groove again and again. Even Fate (or is the Devil?) is seemingly against Floyd: when he returns to the junk music store to hide, all the musical instruments come miraculously to life to reveal his position to the Rayfords.

And, finally, when Burney states that he has "come too far, too fast to be buried in Sticksville," I wondered if he meant, perchance Styx-ville.

There's a majestic sweep, and subtle, cerebral horror underlining "Come Wander with Me." I'm deeply affected by the show, and have never forgotten it. I adopted the idea of a (different) "haunted song" to underline an early episode of my independent web series, The House Between ("Settled") in homage to "Come Wander with Me." And Jeff Alexander's particular composition has certainly outlived the specifics of this TV episode. The song was deployed to similar haunting effect in Vincent Gallo's 2003 film, Brown Bunny. Several contemporary bands have covered the tune too, and it even appeared in a Dutch insurance commercial in 2006.

But for me, it's virtually impossible to separate "Come Wander with Me" from Bonnie Beecher, Floyd Burney's personal hell, Applachia, or this unique, brilliantly-crafted episode of The Twilight Zone. This is a song (and an episode) I just can't get out of my head...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy 30th Anniversary McFarland!

Friday, June 19, 2009 is a very special day. That date marks the auspicious 30th birthday of McFarland and Company, Inc, a publisher located here in North Carolina (in Jefferson).

If you enjoy reading reference books about film or television, you certainly know all about McFarland and the company's considerable achievements by now. McFarland regularly produces exhaustive, scholarly books on a variety of cinematic and video ventures, and many of these texts have become reference book standards over the years. Bill Warren's Keep Watching the Skies is one such durable, widely-read classic. As is virtually any book authored by scholars and historians such as Tom Weaver or Vincent Terrace.

Over the years, McFarland has also introduced me to the stellar works of such authors as Eric Greene (Planet of the Apes as American Myth), Paul Kane (The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy), Joseph Maddrey (Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film), Paul Meehan (Tech-Noir: The Fusion of Science Fiction and Film Noir), and Alec Worley (Empires of the Imagination: A Critical Survey of Fantasy Cinema from Georges Méliès to The Lord of the Rings) to mention just a few stand-outs. I've become a fan of every one of those authors and I return to their works often.

Reading any of the above-mentioned titles, you can easily detect how careful research, breadth of coverage and intellectual imagination are trademarks of McFarland's extensive catalog.

As hard as it is for me to believe that so much time has passed, I began writing reference books for McFarland way back in 1994, some fifteen years ago. Back then, the company took a gamble on an unknown, twenty-four year-old author writing a monograph about a mostly-forgotten sci-fi TV series, Space:1999. Since that time, I've written approximately a dozen books for the publisher (with three award-winners in the mix...) and McFarland has been a major positive force and influence in my life. From my wedding in 1995 to the purchase of my first home in 1999, to the birth of my child in 2006, McFarland has been there.

So as June 19th, 2009 approaches, I raise my champagne glass to toast McFarland and thirty years of great books. If you want to read more about the company's illustrious history, check it out here. And let's plan on thirty more years of fantastic reading from McFarland...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

CULT TV FLASHBACK #78: Kolchak: The Night Stalker: "Horror in the Heights"

"I've seen more corpses than you've eaten TV dinners..."

- Kolchak, to a metro cop, in "Horror in the Heights."

On December 20, 1974, the short-lived ABC supernatural TV series, Kolchak: The Night Stalker aired one of its creepiest and most memorable installments.

In "Horror in the Heights," our Watergate-Era, crusading investigative reporter, Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) combats a devilish creature who can appear to an unwary victim as that person's most trusted friend or relative.

Penned by Jimmy Sangster (The Horror of Frankenstein [1970], Fear in the Night [1972]), "Horror in the Heights" specifically concerns a mythical Indian beast called a "Rakshasa" preying on Jewish senior citizens in Roosevelt Heights, a section of Chicago that Kolchak (Darren McGavin) reports doesn't "appear in the city guidebook." That's probably so because municipal authorities don't want to draw attention to the poverty-ridden slum. It's a place, in the INS reporter's words, where "fixed incomes" battle "galloping inflation."

Lately, there have been a rash of deaths in the Heights, and the non-plussed police officers blame hungry rats for the corpses -- stripped of skin -- that seem to be popping up at an alarming rate. Senior citizen Harry Starman (Phil Silvers) has a different opinion, however. He believes that the owner of a local Indian Restaurant is actually a Nazi, and that this foreigner is behind the killings of the elderly locals. As his evidence Harry shows Kolchak the swastika graffiti painted all over the Heights, and particularly in the Hindu's backyard.

What Kolchak discovers, however, is that the Swastika is actually a Hindu symbol, one often deployed to "ward off evil spirits." And it isn't the rats doing the killing either, but rather the demonic Rakshasa or "flesh-eater."

Far from being a Nazi, the old Hindu has devoted sixty years of his life to hunting the Rakshasas, beasts who "send emissaries into the living world" to see if the time is ripe for a re-appearance.

And when, precisely is the time ripe for the Rakshasa's return? The old Indian confides in Kolchak that it will be an epoch of "mistrust," "moral decline" and "decadence."

In other

The only weapon that can destroy a Rakshasa is a crossbow loaded with steel bolts, but the Hindu warns Kolchak that the Rakshasa is fiendishly clever...that it can appear to its enemy in the guise of a person most trusted and most beloved.

Kolchak isn't certain he believes all this, but then-- in darkest night -- he spots his dear friend, elderly Miss Emily, alone in the dark before him. Kolchak tells her not to approach, but she reaches out for him gently, saying that she's frightened...

Like virtually all episodes of this exquisite old horror series, there's a seedy, twilight, slightly unhinged aura to "Horror in the Heights." Early in the episode, for instance, an old Jewish man named Buck is confronted by the Rakshasa after playing an illicit game of poker on Friday night. Gambling on Friday is against Hebrew edict, and the Rakshasa takes the form of Buck's guilt: as his disapproving rabbi. Caught in the act, the repentent old man confesses to his rabbi, and the beast...takes him.

In a clever composition, the monster appears as the smiling rabbi when Buck's back is to the camera. But when Buck's front is facing the camera (in the reverse angle...) we see the back of an inhuman, hulking creature...moving into an embrace of death.

Another creepy scene involves a sweet, bickering, elderly couple taking a detour through a dark alley by nightfall, and encountering the Rakshasa. The camera goes wobbly in an immediacy-provoking first-person subjective shot, and the blighted urban location is convincing...and menacing.

The underlying theme of the show is that, in modern society, the elderly are preyed upon by all sorts of "monsters." In real life, those monsters are called poverty or crime. In the twilight world of Kolchak, the monster is a Rakshasa, a living embodiment of an old man's fear that he doesn't know "who to trust" in a world that has passed him by. Kolchak and his boss, Vincenzo, argue about the reliability of Harry's beliefs and Kolchak points out that "Old doesn't have to be synonymous with senility."

Old Age is an issue also affecting the Hindu Rakshasa hunter, who has grown so infirm that he can no longer complete his life's work: destroying the monster. He says to Kolchak, in a line I love (and I'm afraid that we will all eventually relate to, over the years): "I never thought I would be old, but look at me now..."

Kolchak: The Night Stalker often traded in ethnic myth and lore, and "Horror of the Heights" is no exception to that rule. There's some nice misdirection in the use of the Swastika, a symbol which has come to be associated with Nazis, hate-crime, racism and anti-Semitism. Here, the symbol -- in a Hindu incarnation -- represents the "Sun" and "groundedness." Similarly, the episode gets the ghoulish details of the Rakshasa mythology right: According to Wikipedia, "Rakshasas are notorious for disturbing sacrifices, desecrating graves, harassing priests, possessing human beings, and so on. Their fingernails are venomous, and they feed on human flesh and spoiled food. They are shapechangers, illusionists, and magicians."

Kolchak: The Night Stalker often made for rewarding viewing not merely because of the scary scenarios, or the seedy texture, but because of the colorful performances and overraching sense of gallows or black humor. That trait is in evidence here, too. Phil Silvers is terrific as the frightened Harry Starman, and there's a scene involving an obnoxious exterminator who eats a sandwich while spraying toxic chemicals on a yard. And Kolchak's inteview of a bored waiter at the Indian Restaurant is droll to say the least. And of course, McGavin always made Kolchak a true individual, not the cookie-cutter style "investigator" we see populating so many police procedurals or crime shows in the twenty-first century.

Finally, "Horror in the Heights" ends in the manner of all truly chilling campfire stories; by explicitly reminding us that the terror is still out there. As Kolchak dictates the tale of the Rakshasa and Roosevelt Heights into his tape recorder, he looks up -- almost at us -- and reminds travelers to be wary should they ever be walking alone at night on a "lonely country road"... and happen to see their "favorite aunt" coming towards them in the moonlight.


Monday, June 15, 2009

The House Between Nominated for "Best Web Production"

It's official! My independent web series, The House Between, just nabbed a nomination for "Best Web Production" in the upcoming, 10th annual Airlock Alpha Portal Awards (Formerly Sy Fy Genre Awards)!

The third season of my dramatic, low-budget sci-fi/horror series will be competing with official studio/network productions such as Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy, and Heroes: Going Postal, as well as the high-profile Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and Star Trek: Phase II. Something tells me that each of those other productions cost significantly more than our $700 an episode....

Regardless, it's a terrific thrill and authentic honor to be nominated, and to see our program situated beside these other web productions. Congratulations to all the nominees, and especially to all my House Between cast and crew members for again crafting noteworthy, award-worthy work.

Last year, The House Between placed second (by less than a hundred votes...), and it will be interesting to see how we fare on our second nomination.

As soon as voting commences, I'll write again and let everyone know when/how/where to vote. And may I politely ask you to support The House Between? In the meantime, don't forget to check out Airlock Alpha for a full list of all the official nominees.