Beyond Chucky: Spooky Alternatives for Halloween TV

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The approach of Halloween brings an influx of horror to television and streaming, and this year the deals have classic appeal: reboots of “Chucky” on Syfy and USA, “Day of the Dead” on Syfy and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” on Amazon Prime Video. But if the familiar delicacies of these franchises – and the campiness or melodrama that go with them – don’t appeal to you, here are some recent or upcoming series that scare with a difference.

This is the third horror miniseries created by Mike Flanagan for Netflix, after “The Haunting of Hill House” (based on the novel by Shirley Jackson) and “The Haunting of Bly Manor” (based on “The Henry James’ Turn of the Screw). “Midnight Mass” emphasizes the cold and menacing atmosphere than previous shows, but it seems to benefit from not being linked to a specific literary source. (There is a general aura of Stephen King.) Especially in his early episodes, he feels more cowardly, more eccentric, and more human.

Much of the credit goes to the stars, Zach Gilford and Hamish Linklater. Gilford plays a native of a small, isolated coastal island who returns home after a period in prison for killing someone while driving while intoxicated; Linklater plays a cleric who arrives at the same time, temporarily replacing the aging priest on the island.

Gilford perfectly captures the guilt and resentment of the prodigal son – it’s a far better performance than what the series needs – and Linklater, with his knack for childish pomp, is entertaining as a well-meaning priest who brings ruin. to the island. Flanagan’s mix of Christian and vampiric lore and imagery is clever, although the latter episodes are a bit heavy in terms of sermon and philosophical exposition. Patience is rewarded with a long purification of blood and fire.

The Topic streaming service will broadcast this French mini-series on October 28 in the extreme thriller category, which represents a relatively high percentage of northern European television. A reckless policeman (Maïwenn) disappears during surveillance in the tunnels under Paris, and his mother (Nathalie Baye), a retired detective, sets out to find him in a story involving dirty cops, thrill seekers, mass graves and pursuits in very cramped spaces. It’s not for the claustrophobic.

As dark and tense as the series can be at times, what’s really scary is Baye, a French cinema superstar (10 Caesar nominations, four wins), who seems to have a blast playing the role of Dominatrix Catherine, the ungodly. relentless ex-cop speechless. An avatar of ability and recklessness on screen since the early 1970s, Baye looks perfectly at ease wielding a tattoo pen at a reluctant suspect or hitting her fair daughter’s ex-lover. because she wants to. Baye also takes the trouble, which is not common in this genre, to give a fully developed performance, as the startling revelations of the affair give Catherine a perspective on her flaws as a mother and as a colleague of hers. police. As a bonus, the series reunites Baye with Sergi López, his co-star in “A Pornographic Affair” (1999); their cranky exes in “Nox” might be the same characters two decades later.

America’s psychological crime drama ends just before the supernatural, but it specializes in creepy and weird vibes. Harry Ambrose, the broken-down cop played for four seasons now by Bill Pullman, is plagued with guilt, shame and feelings of inadequacy – he’s the real sinner of the title, at least in his mind – so naturally he falls. over the season – long cases involving secret societies or sects or Nietzschean psychopathic killers. We know he will solve them, because he is a stubborn and talented detective. But on any day, he’s not sure whether he can drag himself out of bed.

In the new season which began this week, the unlikely romance Harry found in season 3 has blossomed, which is great news as his partner, painter Sonya Barzel, is played by the wonderful Jessica Hecht. Its ability to transmit both astringency and heat, sometimes in the same line, puts a new light on Pullman’s Harry, which can sometimes look like a collection of annoying tics and grins and silences – now we have it. let’s see through Sonya’s eyes, and if she can take it, so can we. The season opens with the new couple vacationing on a picturesque New England island where Harry, who is now retired, almost immediately falls into the midst of a missing persons case that may involve racial animosities in the fishing fleet and growling naked moon worshipers.

This anthology of animated ghost stories is a Japanese analogue to American comic book-inspired series like “Creepshow”. Its ninth season was recently added by the anime streaming service Crunchyroll, but catching up with it wouldn’t be onerous: the episodes are four minutes long.

Rough and slightly rudimentary two-dimensional animation – like paper cutouts set in motion – pays homage to the kamishibai style of storytelling and street entertainment, which uses illustrated wooden planks. The stories are based on the usual assortment of Japanese folk tales and urban legends; the most recent bundle includes warnings about the dangers of visiting your new husband’s unusually large family or being born during the (non-existent) year of the cat.


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