Monday, July 14, 2014

The Strain is really good and if you like vampires you should watch it

"...a virus exists only to find a carrier and reproduce, that's all it does and it does it quickly. It has no political views, no religious beliefs, no cultural hang-ups; it has no respect for a badge, it has no concept of time or geography. It might as well be the Middle Ages except for the convenience of hitching a ride on a metal tube flying from meal to meal to meal. That's how a plague begins. So you still wanna be the first one through the door?" --Ephraim Goodweather (CDC doctor).

Spoiler Alert, you have been warned. The pilot episode of "The Strain" pretty much had me on the edge of the couch seat the entire night. The setup for the story is masterful. It starts with a plane that's in the middle of landing when a flight attendant in first class gets a call from another flight attendant at the rear. When she goes back there to investigate, her frightened co-worker says there is a lot of noise coming from the cargo hold. Is it a wild animal? Whatever it is (because it's not completely revealed in this episode) it has enough strength to break through into the passenger area of the plane and in the two minutes it takes to land a plane, manages to kill everyone on board (I'd never heard of the phrase "we got ourselves a dead airplane" but I kinda really love it for the ominous way it rolls off the tongue).

And that's just how the show starts. The mystery quickly builds from there as we are introduced to a brilliant CDC doctor in a custody fight with his wife, a Pawn Shop dealer who has what looks like a human heart in a jar of brine that's infected with hundreds of worms that feed on human blood, and a pale faced gaunt guy with strange eyelids (and who doesn't actually breathe). The pale-faced gaunt guy seems to be the one orchestrating the events in the pilot episode. He's aware that the "cargo" has arrived at the airport and then with what looks to be a wealthy philanthropist, makes further plans to transport a 9-foot-tall coffin filled with 500-pounds of dirt across the Hudson River.

There's plenty of gore in this first episode. A guy gets drained of so much blood he pretty much mummifies on the spot. But the vampire that's draining him smashes his head like a huge melon. It was pretty gross. And the scene where the autopsy guy gets made into lunch for a bunch of newly risen corpses is pretty frightening.

All in all, I'll be watching this series all summer. It's great if you love horror. Even greater if you love vampires. The tension is high, and the ticking clock showing just how little time has passed since event zero just seems to add to that (as what's really going on here is the world is in the first hours of an apocalypse that will destroy all civilization).

Bravo Mr. del Toro. Bravo.


  1. Figured it would be gory. Will watch it today. Ten to midnight was way past my bedtime.
    Besides - I finally watched Snowpiercer last night!

  2. Didn't see this, but did see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes over the weekend. I'd give it an enthusiastic thumbs up.

  3. I forgot to watch it. I'm going to catch it ondemand. I always enjoy hearing your take on shows and movies.

  4. So no sexy vampires who fall in love? It'll never work.

    Moody Writing

  5. Ick. I had to move the pic out of the way quickly as that was too much for me. Glad the show lives up to expectations.

  6. AAAGH!

    I CANNOT look at something gross coming out of a human eye. Or into it. I really have a low gross-out tolerance level.

    Ghost stories I love, vampires not so much. But I hope you have a great time with this series.

    And a human heart with hundreds of worms? I am so not gonna look at that.

  7. I watched the show. It got some mixed reviews online but I thought it was pretty good myself. I had started the book the day before and must say that the show is sticking pretty close over the course of that one episode.

    I'll keep watching too.

  8. I'm getting a bit tired of the vampire/werewolf/zombie thing. I am finishing Walking Dead and then no more for me for a while.