Tuesday, January 17, 2017

NOSTALGIC 80s: HAMMER HOUSE OF HORROR-VISITOR FROM THE GRAVE


For a long time, at least until the late 90s, Nigerian Television was under the British invasion (Doctor Who, Mind Your Language, 'Allo 'Allo, Some Mothers Do 'Ave Them, Rent-A-Ghost, Robin Hood of Sherwood, The Invisible Man, Armchair Thriller etc.) and the German invasion (Derrick, The Investigator, Tele Match, Peter's Toy Box etc.), with a sprinkling of American T.V shows and cartoons. But I felt when it came to T.V; British Television really ruled and now that we are bombarded with the Mexican and Indian invasion (Telenovelas), I find myself missing a lot of the British stuff we had on our screens a long time ago.
And this is a question mostly for Nigerian viewers... who actually remembers the 80's British anthology series...  Hammer House of Horror?
Yes it was horror and yes it was definitely  not something parents today would allow their children to watch before bedtime. As a child I was scared yet rather interested in this series. Why? 
Pushing the scary aspect aside, I was always curious to see how each episode would end. Being an anthology, each episode was a different story and a story one just yearned to see the end of.
This series aired on LTV and somehow I managed to catch a few episodes. I'll start with the one I mostly remember...


                                                    VISITOR FROM THE GRAVE

One night, a woman shoots a man who tried to rape her in the face.

 The following morning, her husband comes home to find blood stains in the house and Penny hysterically tells Harry what happened. He finds the man's corpse outside in the woods and tells her the man was Charles Willoughby; a business associate. Penny insists they call the police but Harry pointed out that while she may not be arrested for using an unregistered gun, she might be sent back to a psychiatric facility- as Penny had a history of mental illness. She doesn't want to go through that ordeal again, hence Charles is buried, his car dunked into the lake and they keep their mouths shut.


But Penny kept seeing Charles' ghost leering at her; through her bedroom window, appearing as a waiter who served her a drink at a party (causing her to scream hysterically and carried out by Harry), she saw him again glaring at her from a car. Poor Penny lives in constant fear and takes a bit more of her medication than she should; more so after a policeman comes to their house, looking for Charles.

A friend of theirs-Margaret- is a medium and she conducts a seance; where Charles is summoned from the grave and told to leave Penny alone. But Charles malevolently insisted he wanted revenge and both woman collapse.
Margaret suggested a stronger medium; a male medium who would carry out what needed to be done... for a large fee and being a well off woman, Penny agreed to pay it; anything to get the malevolent sceptre off her back and leave her in peace. On the appointed evening, Margaret arrives with the man.

The seance begins... the Indian medium summons Charles who demands to know why he's being disturbed again. The medium demands that he leaves Penny in peace but again Charles' spirit is adamant... he wants revenge and he will get revenge on Penny. Terrified to the core, Penny screams and runs into her bedroom.
Harry breaks down the door only to face a grisly sight- Penny on the floor, her neck bleeding. Out of sheer desperation, the poor woman had commited suicide.

However... after the ambulance takes Penny's body away, what do the viewers see?
Harry bursting out laughing and twirling Margaret around; the 'Indian Medium' taking off his sunglasses, beard and turban... not only had he posed as a medium but was the same man who had posed as a policeman! And worse... much worse... there was Charles in a tracksuit with fake blood on his forehead... alive and kicking and pouring out champagne!
What was that all about???!
As the evil group unpack Penny's money and celebrate, we find out...
Penny was a wealthy woman. Harry and Margaret had a thing going on but if Harry divorced Penny, he got nothing. And as poor Penny was a former mental patient, the plan was to render her permanently insane and sent back to the mental facility and he and his mistress would enjoy her money with no interference.  The gun she had used on Charles (who was actively in on the plan) was loaded with blanks and he had been wearing fake blood and appearing her and there to frighten her even more. The unexpected plus-which none of them were sorry about- was Penny killing herself.
But as they laugh and toast one another, the lights go out...

And it was their turn to be terrified because the ghost, the real ghost of the woman they had wronged appeared through the windows and spoke...

                                                          I will be revenged

Pointing at the pile of money they more or less stole from her, the whole thing caught fire, no longer of use to them.



They could only stare helplessly as she repeated with ominous glee;

                                                     I will be revenged!


What started out as a malicious prank to render an innocent woman insane and steal her money brought damning consequences; a suicide, resulting from a real visitor from the grave. In a real life situation, what on earth would the culprits do after being faced by a vengeful spirit?
They would probably  cover their faces and moan, "Had I known..."

Monday, January 16, 2017

ON THE MOVIE 'OCTOBER 1'




Cast: Sadiq Daba, Kayode Aderupoko, Kehinde Bankole, Nick Rhys and introducing Demola Adedoyin.
Director: Kunle Afolayan


Synopsis:  A police inspector is sent to Akote town to investigate the rape and murder of some young girls. As the body count escalates, he realises he has a serial killer in his hands and that the murders are linked to a very disturbing secret. 


                       

Veteran actor Sadiq Daba makes a triumphant comeback in this dark thriller penned by Tunde Babalola and directed by Kunle Afolayan, his second thriller following The Figurine. October 1 is a carefully woven murder mystery set in an ethnically diverse community.The costumes and props were carefully selected to depict Nigeria in the 1960s and historical facts well presented via conversations among the characters and old radio and video footages.


The location was excellent, depicting a picturesque rural setting and the lives of the people of that period.  The plot does not follow the formula of most Nollywood movies- improbable scenarios or predictable twists. At first there were a few holes in the story but then were skilfully filled, except for one… Danladi’s background.





Daba was well cast as Inspector Danladi Waziri. As an actor from the old school, the audience would expect a lot from him and got it. However- no offence to the actor- his Hausa accent was a tad exaggerated in the film and his character’s background was rather scanty. He mentioned a son in passing and it was left at that, the audience don’t hear more about the son or of any member of Danladi’s family.  He’s brilliant and observant but wore a worn out, almost melancholic look on his face most of the time. The audience can’t help but feel there’s more about Danladi but it was never revealed- except his confessed disillusionment over an execution he drunkenly described as “not my finest hour.


Danladi’s sidekick, Sergeant Sunday (Kayode Aderupoko) first appeared to be the comic relief, not surprising as the actor is well known for his comic roles in Yoruba films.  His Nigerian Standard English is very awkward- he should have simply been made to speak Pidgin English instead. He serves as Danladi’s interpreter and go-between with the king and the community. But then we see him later as trying to be Danladi’s voice of reason. Far more schooled than his superior in his community’s norms and culture, he clashes with Danladi over an arrest that was in many ways impossible, not caring if he lost his job over it. 
Director Kunle Afolayan’s small but significant role of   Agbekoya proved yet again he’s versatile as an actor as well as a director. His character’s surly demeanour and abrupt answers to Danladi’s questions suggested he knew more than he was letting on and the heartrending epic scene between him and Danladi was enough to make the audience applaud him and weep along with him at the same time. 

Newcomer (Demola Adedoyin) debut was excellent. He played the recently graduated prince with confidence, like he was made for the role. Kehinde Bankole was also brilliant as the school teacher, Miss Tawa as well as Fabian Lojede who played the dependable and down to earth Corporal Omolodun. 




Scottish actor Nick Rhys’ performance as Waziri’s patronising British superior was also memorable. He represented the British top shots at the time- giving his subordinates instructions and at the same time looking down on them. However, we are glad to see him rather put out by the appearance of Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (Deola Sagoe in a brief and very unnecessary cameo). 



The movie’s running time is 145 minutes, an achievement since most Nollywood movies’ stories are usually split into two or more Dvds. Afolayan and Babalola left no stone unturned to give the Nigerian audience a thoroughly excellent movie. New viewers of October 1 would be especially touched by the last scene... Danladi staring at the portrait of Nnamdi Azikiwe placed after Queen Elizabeth II’s was removed; symbolising the hopes and aspirations of Nigerians as they entered the  new era of Independence. 


However, the audience would also be left to wonder, like Danladi. By not making the identity of the killer public, who was really being protected here?
This movie is one of the few that proves that we owe Nollywood more than a chance. It is worth a few hours of your time.

                                     

Monday, October 17, 2016

CRIMINAL MINDS' SEASON 12... SO FAR



Yeah, so far.
First- there's been grumblings about Thomas Gibson (Hotch) given the boot from the series after 11 seasons but people should remember that Gibson did wrong and was-if harshly- was punished for it. But apparently, people are still feeling sore about it, to the extent that some viewers stated on social media they will stop watching the show now that Gibson is gone.
Second- the abrupt way Hotch was written out of the show, which I have to agree was not cool at all. Okay, he did wrong, but come on... Hotch has been a fixture since Season 1, surely he deserved an on-screen departure, with him exchanging hugs and handshakes with the team. 
But his final scene in his final episode in Episode 2- "Sick Day"; firmly ordering a traumatised J.J (A.J Cook) to take a week off. Take a quick look at the departure of the previous characters:


Elle Greenway (Lola Glaudini) left at Season 2, her final episode was Episode 6- “The Bogey Man”. After what happened to her at Season 1’s finale, she simply wasn’t herself anymore and after refusing to take a psychological evaluation test, resigned from the BAU; placing her badge and gun on Hotch’s table.



Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin) left in the beginning of Season 3, in “Doubt”- Episode 1. Traumatised after the murder of his girlfriend at the hands of Frank Breitkopf in Season 2’s finale, he was seen driving off in his car, after leaving a letter to Reid in his cabin. But his actual final appearance was in Season 10, Episode 13- Nelson’s Sparrow, where he was shot dead by the unsub; devastating the team, especially Rossi and Reid.



Alex Blake (Jeanne Tripplehorn) left at Season 9’s two part finale; “Angels” and “Demons”. After Reid’s almost fatal shooting and a little boy being used as leverage against his mother- she quietly sent her resignation to Hotch and Reid sadly watched her leave after finding her badge in his bag.




Kate Callahan (Jennifer Love Hewitt) left at Season 10’s finale- “The Hunt”. After the rescue of her niece from the unsub and being heavily pregnant at the time (Hewitt really was pregnant), Kate decided to spend more time with her family and handed her resignation to Hotch in person.



Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), who had been on the show since Season 1, left at Season 11- his final episode was episode 18, “A Beautiful Disaster”. After the unsub’s arrest and the miraculous delivery of his son- Derek decided to leave the BAU to be there for his Savannah and little Hank. His departure was the most heartrending; saying goodbye to everyone and leaving the building after one more look at his colleagues at work in the conference room.

Hence, Gibson’s was sort of an all time low- in the next episode- “Taboo”; we are told he is on a “special assignment”. Just that, after 11 seasons!


Thirdly, there have been comments-both positive and negative- about the BAU’s newest member of the team- Luke Alvarez (Adam Rodriguez) circulating social media.
Criminal Minds has its die-hard fans, like most shows. But must people be so mean? Adam has been in 3 episodes so far and yet some viewers have taken an instant dislike to him; some people even saying he is a Derek Morgan wannabe. Derek and Luke are two different characters; Adam is not trying to emulate Shemar. And please remember this actor played Eric Delko in CSI: Miami, hence should be given a chance before being so judgemental and critical about him.
Fourthly, Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) is back- to much rejoicing but we are yet to know just how long she’ll be with the BAU this season.


And finally, Garcia’s behaviour towards Luke- I hate it. Since Season 1, I have had mixed feelings about the quirky and talkative analyst- ranging from amused to irritated. And right now, it’s irritation. Garcia hates change, we all know that. But if she can become friends with Rossi, Prentiss, Seaver, Blake and Callahan; why should she display such childish behaviour towards Luke? Luckily, Luke, who seems to indicate he has a few hidden demons, is more amused than offended by her. Yet I hope Garcia’s not exactly endearing behaviour towards him is not dragged on.


Season 12 shows promise, with the addition of Adam Rodriguez. But news is
there’s going to be yet another addition to the cast- Damon Gupton, who is set to play Agent Stephen Walker; and will appear in the season’s eighth episode.

Let’s see how quirky Garcia will behave with him