Wednesday, October 27, 2010

At Back to Frank Black: Millennium/"Thirteen Years Later" Post Now Up!

Back-to-Frank-Black -- a dedicated and wonderful organization committed to the resurrection of Chris Carter's Millennium (1996-1999) -- is now posting my contribution to this year's Halloween week celebration. 

In particular, I've written a critical analysis of 1998's horror-themed episode titled, "Thirteen Years Later."  It's a very self-reflexive installment featuring a guest-appearance by KISS, not to mention clips of many horror movies (including John Carpenter's Halloween [1978]).

Please visit the site, support BacktoFrankBlack, and check out my article when you can.  It's always an honor and a privilege to work with T.L. and James, and I want to thank them for including my work in their annual Halloween Millennium bash.
Here's a snippet:

"While investigating “The Madman Maniac” case on a horror movie set in Trinity, South Carolina, F.B.I. detective Emma Hollis (Klea Scott) asks profiler extraordinaire Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) an important question about their current investigation.

She asks him if he recalls the serial killer called “The Frenchman” -- a figure depicted so memorably in Millennium’s pilot episode in 1996 -- and wonders if this case could be similar in an important way. Except that instead of a Scripture-quoting serial killer, the contemporary investigation involves one who utilizes horror movie “quotations” or allusions as his source of creativity.

Quite reasonably, this raises a procedural question. Shouldn’t the case’s investigators be watching and researching horror films to glean a sense of the Madman Maniac killer’s next move, as well as his motivations?

Frank is impressed and agreeable regarding this course of action.

Queue John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)…

This short scene is very much the lynchpin of the Millennium third season episode, “Thirteen Years Later,” and for two important reasons.

First and foremost, it suggests the leitmotif of Michael B. Perry’s complex story: horror movies serving as important clues in capturing a serial killer. And secondly, the very act of a horror-themed TV show delving into the horror genre (and referring to a previous episode in Millennium canon too…) heavily reflects the cultural context of the episode’s epoch.

Specifically, the year 1998 represented the pinnacle of the 1990s self-reflexive, post-modernist horror movement in cinema. This was the era of Wes Craven’s Scream (1996), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Scream 2 (1997), Urban Legend (1997) and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998).

More or less, all of these scary movies thrived upon the notion of killers taking horror movies as inspiration for violent behavior. And to varying degrees, the characters in these new-styled slasher films, realize they have actually landed in a horror film and either act accordingly and survive, or fail to…and die.

Intentionally mimicking this then-popular horror movie format, “Thirteen Years Later” both gazes at Millennium’s internal history (the events of the pilot, as well as Frank’s old case of over a dozen years ago) and the genre the series belongs to..."


  1. Thank you John for yet another brilliant piece of writing. It's an honor for us to have you part of our Halloween week as well as part of the campaign period!

  2. Great snippet! Heading over there now! Thanks, John.