#SetTheVCR is like a TV Pandora’s box. Well…more like a Cabinet of Curiosities: open it up and you never know what you’ll discover.
Monday, October 24
Mid-Century (Anytime / Peacock)
The horror-thriller follows a husband and wife’s weekend in a mid-century modern vacation rental turned deadly when the husband discovers the owner is a psychopath with a backyard of buried secrets and designs on his wife.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: INDEPENDENT LENS: TIKTOK, BOOM (10 P.M. / PBS)
Independent Lens is an independent documentary film showcase on PBS. This week’s doc will focus on TikTok, Boom an exploration of the popular and disturbing social media platform.
Growing up it was the responsibility of parents to have The Talk with their kids. The Talk of course was the sex talk…where do babies come from. It was awkward for most parents and gross for all kids and it became a rite of passage. The Talk (always in air quotes) has slightly shifted now because the times have shifted. Now The Talk parents have with their children is how to navigate your public identity online especially on social media platforms like TikTok. For TikTok, Boom director Shalini Kantayya offers a helpful primer because a discussion on the platform can escalate into confusion. Her documentary dissects the popular platform across several tenets: global political challenges, security issues, the algorithm…that damn algorithm and of course cultural interests. Especially through the lens of digital natives who may not possess enough healthy skepticism when engaging TikTok. I’ve seen this documentary and it’s worth checking out. Hopefully it’ll go…viral. Programming Note: As always with PBS check your local schedule for dates and times; however as of today it is streaming on PBS.com.
Tuesday, October 25
Unsolved Mysteries: Volume 3 (Anytime / Netflix)
The infamous series returns with a three-week event (October 18, today and November 1) featuring more unexplained deaths, baffling disappearances, and bizarre paranormal activity.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: CABINET OF CURIOSITIES (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
From macabre to magical, gothic to grotesque or classically creepy, these eight equally sophisticated and sinister tales (including two original stories by del Toro) are brought to life by a team of writers and directors personally chosen by del Toro.
Happy Halloween…here’s: “8 blood-curdling tales of horror.” 2 of the tales are adapted from H.P. Lovecraft short stories; Lot 36 is based on an original story by Guillermo del Toro as is The Murmuring. David S. Goyer is adapting a Michael Shea short story, so the writing is creepy enough to open the Cabinet of Curiosities. I like that the official title of this Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities transforming del Toro into a Hitchcock like figure: “Good Evening.” Programming Note: Starting today Netflix will stream 2 episodes every day until October 28.
Wednesday, October 26
The Good Nurse (Anytime / Netflix)
Suspicious that her colleague is responsible for a series of mysterious patient deaths, a nurse risks her own life to uncover the truth in this gripping thriller based on true events (which you can see on November 11 when Netflix releases the documentary: Capturing The Killer Nurse.).
SAMMY SUGGESTION: BARBARIAN (ANYTIME / HBO MAX & DISNEY+ CANADA)
When you hit some speed bumps on the road of life, sometimes all you need is a change of scenery.
I think I liked this Justin Long horror movie. Kinda need to see it again. It’s not exactly linear. It’s weird and it’s creepy and it’s funny. Still, Happy Halloween. (What did you think of this??)
Thursday, October 27
Tales of The Jedi (Anytime / Disney+)
Two Stories of Fate. One Destiny. An anthology of six original animated shorts, each story featuring Jedi from the prequel era is now streaming.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: 101 SCARIEST HORROR MOVIE MOMENTS OF ALL TIME (ANYTIME / SHUDDER)
A Shudder Original: master filmmakers and genre experts celebrate and dissect the most terrifying moments of the greatest horror films ever made.
Here it is…the Top 10 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time. I’ve so enjoyed this docuseries. If you’re a horror nerd this is appointment television. Shortly after movie goers saw Psycho; many became terrified of showering. (Janet Leigh who was murdered in the scene only took baths moving forward.) Jaws made people afraid of the water. A horror scene lingers; past the end of the movie when the Sun has come up and the horror has been vanquished but a scary scene…a moment stays with the audience long after the house lights come on. “In this eight-episode new series from the producers of Eli Roth’s History of Horror, master filmmakers and genre experts celebrate and dissect the most terrifying moments of the greatest horror films ever made, exploring how these scenes were created and why they burned themselves into the brains of audiences around the world.” Here we go…all 8 episodes are out now: let the debates ring out. What are your scariest horror movie moments of all time?
Friday, October 28
World Series: Game 1 (Anytime / Fox)
The October Classic Begins! Philadelphia Phillies vs Houston Astros who’re at home. Batter up, let’s play ball!
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE DEVIL’S HOUR: SEASON 1 (ANYTIME / PRIME VIDEO)
A gripping psychological thriller where Lucy’s nightmares draw her into a hunt for a serial killer in a world where nothing is as it seems.
This six-part mind-bending thriller features a number of faces you’ll instantly recognize. Like Peter Capaldi. PSA: The Devil’s Hour is the hour between 3am and 4am, or 3:33am specifically, regarded as a time when unexplainable things can occur. I’m not sure how time zones affect the evil…although the 1980 slasher New Year’s Evil offers some cheezy clues. (The killer’s “New Year’s resolution” is to kill women at every stroke of midnight. lol!) Lucy is woken every night by terrifying visions at exactly 3:33am. And now…her name is connected to a string of brutal murders in the area. It may not be The Devil’s Hour but it’s “High Time” Lucky finds out just what is going on. Programming Note: for more Doctor Who related hijinks you can watch David Tennant in Steven Moffat’s Inside Man on October 31st on Netflix.
Saturday, October 29
High School (Anytime / Prime Video Canada)
A coming-of-age drama based on the memoir of the same name from Tegan and Sara Quin. It makes its Canadian debut; it’s still streaming on Amazon Freevee in America.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: LOUIS ARMSTRONG’S BLACK & BLUES (ANYTIME / APPLE TV+)
The documentary offers an intimate and revealing look at the world-changing musician, presented through a lens of archival footage and never-before-heard home recordings and personal conversations.
Louis Armstrong got a Last Dance. Rightfully so. “Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues offers an intimate and revealing look at the world-changing musician, presented through a lens of archival footage and never-before-heard home recordings and personal conversations.” Fresh. It’s directed by Sacha Jenkins who directed Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James, Fresh Dressed (a hip hop fashion doc) and Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men. I recommend all of those docs. And now I’m recommended this Louis Armstrong doc. An excellent way to jazz up your weekend.
Sunday, October 30
Hosts John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon, and Jennifer Palmieri hit the ground running as they track the unfolding political drama with control of Congress up for grabs, President Biden’s agenda on the line, and the future of American democracy hanging in the balance.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE SIMPSONS: TREEHOUSE OF HORROR XXXIII (8 P.M. / FOX)
Stephanie Treehouse of Horror is an annual series of Halloween-themed episodes of The Simpsons with 33 anthology episodes between 1990 and 2022. Each episode typically consists of three separate, self-contained segments.
One of my favourite Halloween traditions: Treehouse of Horror XXXIII. The happy horror mockery of pop culture via The Simpsons. This year’s episode offers 3 segments: A parody of the anime series Death Note. A parody of the 2014 film The Babadook. A parody of the 2016 TV show Westworld. Oooooh. How amazing is it this follows Not It; last week’s Pennywise send-up with Krusty. Season 34 is special.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.
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