“What Kind of Killer Do You Think Stops to Save a Dying Fish?”

Well, the Clarion West Write-a-Thon finished up last week, and I succeeded in writing things! Perhaps they weren’t the stories I should have been focusing on, necessarily, but it’s been a dark year, and it’s still only August. Sometimes, the joy of fanfic is more important than the projects that might someday get you paid.

Per usual, I offered up a movie review/essay as a possible reward, and two sponsors took me up on it. The first sponsor, Tom, has donated to the WaT several times now and has delighted in making me watch everything from classic SF that I’ve never seen (Dune) to laughably terrible movies about Big Foot that no one should see (Night of the Demon). Today, however, we’ll be discussing a film I have watched before, albeit not in a very long time: the late 90’s SF neo-noir, Dark City.

To my relief, it actually holds up pretty well.

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Triple Spooky Scoop Review: Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Hostel, and The Legend of Hell House

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

First Watch or Rewatch: First Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Hulu
Spoilers: Absolutely, and not just for this film. I will also heartlessly spoil Alien, Aliens, Scream, AND Halloween
Grade: Chocolate

I enjoyed this. I wish I could judge it against the 1956 film, but unfortunately, I haven’t watched that movie since I was 16 (studying McCarthyism and the Second Red Scare in US History, natch), and while I liked it at the time, I remember very little about the film now. Still, this 1978 remake is a lot of fun, and hey, look at all these people in it! Jeff Goldblum as a spiteful and atypically charmless writer! Leonard Nimoy as the evil psychiatrist version of Spock! (I’m specifically thinking of “This Side of Paradise.”) Robert Duvall as some rando priest on the swings! (It’s an uncredited cameo.) And, of course, Donald Sutherland as our fluffy-haired love interest turned doomed protagonist. I can’t believe I’ve finally seen the movie for this GIF! (You might think said GIF would’ve been a spoiler, but since I almost always see it in a “no, God, not YOU” context, I didn’t realize what was going to happen until right before it did.)

Also? Veronica Cartwright is the actual final girl here! Sure, things aren’t looking great for her right now, but nevertheless, Nancy is a side character–the second female lead, even–who makes it further than anyone else in the film, and I am fascinated by that. Try to think of other horror movies where that even happens. It’d be like Halloween where Annie makes it instead of Laurie. Or Tatum outliving Sidney in Scream, or Vasquez surviving Aliens when Ripley does not. (Or hell, Veronica Cartwright herself in Alien.) It’s pretty much just not a thing, is my point. Besides, Nancy’s really clever: she’s the one who figures out how to evade detection, successfully continues doing so when Elizabeth cannot, and hey, she likes to read! I’m extremely excited to add Nancy to my list of Interesting Final Girls.

There are, admittedly, a few moments that are pretty hard to take seriously, like the mutant dog or how it initially looks like Earth is being invaded by space sperm. On the other hand, the scene where Donald Sutherland takes an axe to his own half-formed pod face is pretty great, and the moment when Elizabeth crumples apart is surprisingly sad. It’s always great when a horror movie can hit you with surprise Feels, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers successfully does this for me.

Hostel

First Watch or Rewatch: Rewatch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Other – Personal Collection DVD
Spoilers: Definitely
Grade: Strawberry

I first watched Hostel (and reviewed it*) way back in 2010, and at the time, I really enjoyed the movie. But I also hadn’t seen it in several years, and had a sneaking suspicion that I’d feel differently about it now. My suspicions proved accurate.

Even now, I still don’t hate Hostel. But things have changed in the past decade, and one of those things is my tolerance for watching assholes be assholes for any elongated period of time. We’re with these dudes for about 40 minutes before we really get what we came for, and while it does make sense to have a lengthy first act when the bulk of your horror is  gory, torture-based violence . . . like, who wants to sit through 40 minutes of these little shitheads running around, being jerks, and seeing a truly improbable number of tits? (Jesus God, the ludicrous amount of tits in this movie.) It seems like there are two ways to fix this: either make these characters a lot more likable, or have Oli and Josh go missing much earlier in the film, putting the focus on Paxton as Amateur Detective rather than Paxton, Infuriating Dick.

Other problems I have with Hostel: a) Paxton’s backstory, not because of the backstory itself but because of just how lazily it’s dumped into the script, like, this is a teachable moment on How Not To Handle Exposition, b) how Josh, our only gay** and non-villainous character, dies, and c) Kana’s suicide, because come on, what the actual fuck. If she’d decided to kill herself months or even days after the fact, okay, that’s one thing, but to have her jump in front of a train here, just five minutes after escaping, because half her face is fucked up? Thanks, I hate it. Honestly, I hated this ten years ago, too, but when I read that the actress thought it was plausible, I tried giving it the benefit of the doubt. No more. This is total bullshit. Absolutely cannot deal.

All that being said, there are still things I like about this movie. For instance, that Achilles tendon shot remains fucking iconic. I think it’s interesting that Paxton is the only person you actually see murder anyone on screen. (Well, except for the Bubblegum Sociopath Street Gang, of course. I still kinda adore these random violent little children.) I actually like a lot about Paxton, if not Paxton himself: his ability to speak German, his revenge scene, his general ingenuity when it comes to survival. (Not to mention, Jay Hernandez’s performance; he’s pretty great in this.) Again, this is fascinating trope subversion because Paxton seems like the kind of asshole who gets killed off halfway through, when instead that’s Josh, our shy, asthmatic Nice Guy. Josh is such an obvious Final Boy that I really enjoy his surprise death–or would, anyway, if it weren’t for the Bury Your Gays thing.

*As always, the older the post, the more horrified I am by it. I do stand by some of my opinions in this review (I’m not linking to it; you can find it if you really want to), but I’ve also grown as both a writer and a feminist, and some of this review is just hideously painful to reread. It’s particularly jarring, too, because I mention some things about myself that just blatantly aren’t true . . . only I hadn’t realized that yet. Ah, the slow, frustrating process of self-discovery.

**Josh’s sexuality is not directly stated, but it is heavily implied.

The Legend of Hell House

First Watch or Rewatch: Rewatch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Amazon
Spoilers: Yup
Grade: Vanilla

I enjoyed The Legend of Hell House when I watched it on a whim last year, but I think I might’ve enjoyed it even more on the second go-round. The things that bothered me then still bother me now, unfortunately: like, the (apparently toned down) erotic hauntings are total bullshit. The only reason Ann is even here is so that someone can get possessed by a horny ghost. (You’ll notice it’s always the women who are getting “sex-possessed” in these movies.) The character literally does nothing plot relevant, not once, and considering this story really only has four characters? Come on. Florence, at least, is extremely plot-relevant, but she also decides to have sex with Daniel the Friendly Ghost in order to free his spirit, or something–only to find out that Daniel never actually existed; instead, Florence gets raped and possessed by Evil Belasco’s Ghost.

So, yeah. That’s . . . that’s a lot. But there is genuinely a lot to enjoy, too: the premise is basically my dream story, like, a scientist, a psychic, and a traumatized sole survivor–who’s also psychic–are hired to uncover the mysteries of the spooky haunted house? People, I’m in love. I also really like how this movie deals with physical mediums versus mental mediums and how our skeptical scientist does believe in psychic energy and scientific exorcisms; he just doesn’t believe in actual ghosts. I enjoy all of the trances and hauntings that aren’t based in shitty erotica, like, there’s some decent atmosphere in this movie. Young Michael Gough as Evil Preserved Corpse is perfectly creepy. And the mystery of “Who Is Actually Haunting Us?” is pretty fun throughout, although I will say that I’d like the “multiple ghosts” theory better if the mediums came across a fake ghost besides Daniel. (Say, Evil Belasco was impersonating someone Ben knew from the last expedition.) Also, while I quite like that it was Belasco All Along, the big reveal about his homicidal Napoleon Complex is, I think, pretty underwhelming. Although credit where credit’s due: the clues leading up to this in Ben’s backstory are pretty expertly handled.

The Legend of Hell House doesn’t always get a ton of love (at least, not when compared to other classic haunted house movies) and clearly there are things I’d like to change. But I honestly do think it’s a pretty neat take on the sub-genre and well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it before.

“Why Is There A Watermelon There?”

It’s the final week of the Clarion West Write-a-Thon and, coincidentally, my last week before vacation. Which means you probably won’t see me around much for a little while. Before I go, though, I have my second (and final) WaT reward essay to share. While last week we discussed John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness (a film where Satan is a bunch of green goo in a vat, and bugs are fucking everywhere), today we’ll be shifting gears to talk about The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, a film where a brain surgeon/comic book hero/test pilot/rock star/physicist saves the world with his buddies, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, from hostile aliens.

My friends, this movie is an experience.

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Lil Spooky Reviews: The Thing, The Haunting, and The Haunting of Hill House

Well, Halloween’s behind us, so this is the last of these little horror reviews for a while . . . but possibly not the last of these “Watch A Handful of Things And Write About Them In One Go” posts. Obviously, I can’t do this for every movie; some films absolutely require 8,000 words dedicated solely to why they could’ve been so much better. But I must admit, I do like how the brevity of these Baby Reviews allows me to discuss more than 1-2 movies per month. Although, it should also be said that it took me approximately five seconds to break my own 1-2 paragraph rule for said Baby Reviews, so. We’ll see.

The Thing (1982)

First Watch or Rewatch: Rewatch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Hulu (with a free trial month at Starz)
Spoilers: Nope

One of the difficult things I’ve discovered about reviewing movies is that time often changes your perception of a film. I first watched and reviewed The Thing back in 2010, and I liked it, but there were definitely aspects I thought could be improved: specifically, I thought we needed to see a few more hints about how and when certain characters were assimilated. Over time, though, the parts of this film that stood out in my memory were all the things I liked, and as such, my perception of the movie as a whole grew fonder, even without rewatching it. (Sometimes, the opposite happens, too. Case in point: Birdman.)

Rewatching The Thing this week has only reminded how much I really enjoy this film. I had many of the same reactions I did when I first watched it (gleefully grinning at all the gore, considering Frozen MacReady a viable future Halloween costume, loudly snorting when MacReady insists he has a calmer temperament than Childs, wishing these assholes would stop spending time alone, especially with their backs to their goddamn doors, etc), but the ambiguities about who got infected when bother me considerably less this go around. I had a pretty great time watching this. It is easily my favorite John Carpenter film to date.

Also, the best line of the film remains thus: “I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I’d rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!”

The Haunting

First Watch or Rewatch: Rewatch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Amazon
Spoilers: Yeah

This is actually even worse than I remember. But it doesn’t start out so bad. I was particularly surprised to find that Eleanor (Lili Taylor) didn’t annoy me quite as much this time around; perhaps I was thinking more of her character in Six Feet Under, or perhaps no one can be as annoying as Eleanor from the original film. Owen Wilson’s character, on the other hand? Yeah, I was actively rooting for him to get decapitated in that fireplace. I’m also frankly a little disappointed that Liam Neeson’s character survived because, boy, didn’t he become an asshole in this version of the story. I completely forgot how he lied to everyone about the true nature of the experiment, and I’m not sure I ever really bought his change-of-heart near the end.

Still, this movie’s biggest problem is that it’s just not scary. They reproduce some of the novel’s classic spooky moments. A fountain spits out blood because sure. They fill the place up with every creepy cherub statue they can find, but none of that’s the same as giving the movie atmosphere. For a horror movie, it’s surprisingly well-lit (possibly too well-lit) and definitely too full of silly CGI gags that are particularly laughable in 2018. (Not that the practical effects are much better, since I actually saw the string in one scene, and I almost never catch shit like that.) There is no subtlety to this movie, none. And some of the adaptation changes, like, what? Why is Eleanor suddenly the great, great granddaughter of the second murdered wife, or whoever? Did we really need to create a generic “I must save THE CHILDREN” narrative? Whose bright idea was it for the ghosts to invite Eleanor via telephone; didn’t we learn our lesson from House on Haunted Hill? And who the fuck let this line get through: “Well, I’m family, Grandpa, and I’ve come home!”

The Haunting isn’t scary because it’s shot like a shitty action film that just happens to come with CGI ghosts and a wee bit more violence. Ultimately, that’s not terribly surprising because it’s directed by Jan de Bont, who’s better known for movies like Speed, Twister, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. (In fairness, I actually really enjoy two of those movies.) The only positive things I can really about The Haunting are these: one, I like Mrs. Dudley, as I usually do, and I just wanna start ominously muttering “in the night” and “in the dark” to random people, and two, I still really like Theo. She’s the first openly bisexual character I remember seeing in a movie, and while she doesn’t get nearly as much to do once Eleanor really starts investigating the house’s muddled, boring backstory, she’s still the most likable character of the bunch. Also, she lives, which is obviously impressive.

The Haunting of Hill House (2018)

First Watch or Rewatch: First Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Netflix
Spoilers: Sorry, but YES

I really enjoyed watching this, but I was also wildly underwhelmed by the ending. So, it’ll be interesting to see how my perception of this show changes over time.

The first episode didn’t grab me right away, probably because I mostly find Adult Steve to be a bit insufferable, but after that I quickly got sucked into the story. The show is atmospheric, creepy, sometimes horribly sad. I was invested in most of the characters and certainly the group of siblings as a whole. (Theo and Luke were my favorites.) I loved how each of the kids were psychically sensitive in some way, although I wish we could’ve seen more of that at times. (Shirley’s dreams, for instance. I am a 1,000 times more interested in Shirley’s dreams than in her one time fling with some dude at a funeral home convention, especially since that whole subplot feels like filler for a thematic ending I didn’t really buy anyway.) I also thought the twist that Abigail was real was fantastic, although I don’t quite like how the reveal itself is handled, which we’ll discuss in a bit.

What’s amusing about the show’s extremely polarizing finale is that, going into it, I worried I’d find the episode too ambiguous and/or bleak for my tastes. Instead, it went the exact opposite direction, with a big tonal shift that I couldn’t quite buy and a moral that landed like an anvil. What’s especially frustrating is that, honestly, a lot of the episode does work for me. For instance, I like that Ghost Nell saves all of her siblings, but I don’t like that between her and Hugh’s sacrifice, the remaining Crain children do absolutely nothing to save themselves. I like the idea of Ghost Nell’s speech about time and love and confetti, but good God, it goes on too long, as does basically every other speech in this episode. I have never seen a show that loves its monologues like The Haunting of Hill House, and while they mostly work for me (despite how much attention they call to themselves), the ones in the finale seem considerably less successful, like, at a certain point, you just want the ghosts to all walk around with signs that say “Moral Here.”

And while I’ve been actively fascinated by the idea of optimistic or uplifting horror for years, I just don’t buy nine episodes of dread and one episode of triumph; the balance isn’t there. Bittersweet, I would’ve gone for. I can’t tell you how much I love the line “this house, it’s full of precious, precious things, and they don’t all belong to you.” At the same time, the show is so busy telling us ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE that I feel like it loses itself in the end. Admittedly, that’s never been one of my favorite morales, but I especially don’t buy it in an episode where Steve goes back to his wife (like his dad once did, oh, the subtle parallels) and gives a non-apology about how ghosts are wishes and marriages can be haunted instead of just saying “Here is why I’m so fucked up, and I’m so sorry I lied to you and hurt you for years instead of dealing with my own shit.” You know how in Daredevil, Season 2, when Karen is supposedly writing the news but she’s actually writing some poorly worded thematic bullshit about how everyone’s a hero? This whole ending feels like that scene to me. I understand it, but that doesn’t mean I buy it.

Finally, a handful of random thoughts:

A) Theo’s not-quite-GF showing up at Nell’s funeral like that’s a totally normal thing to do feels totally invasive, completed weirded me out, and prevented me from shipping those two at all.

B) Theo learning to let her guard down and Theo throwing away the gloves that keep her from psychically intuiting everything she touches are so not the same thing. (Seriously. SO MUCH thematic bullshit.)

C) I get that all the kids are damaged in some way, but I never fully buy the transition from Young Helpful Steve to Adult Asshole Steve, though I do find AAS at his most compelling when you realize why he and his wife split. Like, what he’s done is awful, but also, I totally get his whole “we’re sick in the head and sick in the blood” damage.

D) Mek and I were pretty sure Nell was the Bent Neck Lady well before they revealed it, but her death scene was still remarkably haunting and tragic.

E) Mek and I realized who Abigail was once she died in Episode 9, but while a Big Reveal moment in Episode 10 is fine, it feels misplaced (and oddly rushed) near the end of Episode 10, awkwardly shoved between Adult Asshole Steve having seen Something and Hugh’s Big Reveal that he’s already dead.

F) Every ghost story should include Mr. Homn. That is all. (ETA: Well, every ghost story should include Mr. Homn but apparently doesn’t. Research mix-up, alas.)

Coming Soon-Ish: Fairy Tales, Fables, Magic, and Murder

American Fable

Ooh, this looks interesting. I’m loving the blend of fairy tale, Americana, and horror, not to mention the cinematography just looks stunning. Watching this trailer, it’s kind of like seeing Guillermo del Toro meet Kansas. It’s pretty awesome. Plus, Richard Schiff?

Dude. I am officially excited for this movie.

The Lure

Um. Well.

First, this is a red-band trailer, so definitely NSFW. It also appears to be a carnivorous stripper mermaid horror story on acid, so. You know. If I ever watch it, I suspect it’s gonna end up winning for either Best WTF Movie or Worst WTF Movie. Impossible to tell at this point, really.

Alien: Covenant

Okay, this is definitely not a new trailer, but I hated Prometheus so much that it took me a month to even bother giving this promo a try.

Overall, I have to admit: it looks pretty interesting. The trailer has an especially strong start, not to mention I see we’ve used a slow, melancholy cover song to seriously up the creep factor. (Slow, creepy cover songs are the latest Inception BRAAAAM noise. I’m not knocking them; they can be pretty effective. It works here, for instance. Also, while I primarily associate this song with Moulin Rouge, I’ve now listened to, like, five different versions of it and I haven’t quite made up my mind on which one is my favorite. Moulin Rouge, after all, has what? Three different versions alone?) We also get a brief glance of our new crew, almost all of whom are guaranteed to end up messily dead, AND Michael Fassbender is in this, which is good because he was one of the only redeeming things about the last film.

Still. Despite the strong trailer, my interest in actually watching this movie is low and will probably remain low until I hear solid reviews about it from people whose opinions I trust. Because yeah. I really didn’t like Prometheus.

Sleight

This looks intriguing. Without the speculative element, I’m not convinced it would be my thing, but once someone throws in a little magic, I’m like, “OOOH, I wanna watch.” And I would like to watch this. It feels . . . kind of new. I’m into the genre-bend.

I will admit, though, that I’m not sure if I’m gonna be able to take Dulé Hill seriously as a villain after watching him as Gus for seven years on Psych. Then again, I’m pretty sure I didn’t think I’d be able to see him as anyone but Charlie after watching The West Wing, so who knows? Maybe I’ll be able to watch this movie without thinking of scenes like this.

Tangled: Before Ever After

I don’t think I’ve ever watched a Disney Princess Movie sequel of my own volition, but . . . goddamn it, if I can find this on Amazon, Hulu, or Netflix, I probably will check it out. It’s a lead-in to a new TV series, and it looks pretty cute–even if the change-up in animation does throw me off a bit.

I’m excited to see that actors from the original cast, including Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi, are going to star in this. And holy shit, the range of other actors who are set to appear for at least an episode . . . we’re talking Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Clancy Brown, Ashley Judd, Jeremy Jordan, Peter McNicol, Jonathan Banks, etc. That’s some pretty awesome talent right there.

Finally, The Belko Experiment

This trailer’s technically months old. There’s a much more recent one available, but I liked this particular trailer better. It has a better build. Also, more violence.

This looks exactly like the kind of movie Mekaela and I would rent. “Office Space Meets Battle Royale?” Yeah, I’m there. The script was written by James Gunn, which is exciting, and it’s got a huge ensemble cast of people I mostly recognize from TV. It would be nice if someone surprising would live for once, like, maybe not the guy talking about how killing is wrong or the lady he seems to be protecting. I don’t have a favorite yet, although Tony Goldwyn, I’m pretty sure, is coming to a bad end. (Sean Gunn probably isn’t making it, either. And Michael Rooker doesn’t have the best track record of surviving his movies.)

One way or another? I will definitely be watching this one.

Coming Soon-Ish, The Netflix Edition: Zombies, iPhone Brains, and Voltron

Santa Clarita Diet

OMG YES THIS.

I adore Timothy Olyphant, and it’s been a while since Drew Barrymore has done anything I’ve been interested in, and I’m so, SO down for real estate zombie shenanigans. Please, PLEASE, show. Be as good as I want you to be.

The Discovery

This tells you . . . not a whole lot, but it’s certainly intriguing, especially as it suddenly seems to change genre (with some helpful musical cues) from “independent romantic dramedy” to “surreal SF horror.”

IMDb, slightly more helpful, tells me that the story is set “one year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified,” which apparently leads to a whole bunch of suicides? And there’s a cult of some kind, and mad science, and Robert Redford may or may not be evil? I’m not sold, exactly, but I’m intrigued.

iBoy

Meh. I don’t mind the totally silly concept, but I’d be a lot more interested in this if Maisie Williams was the one who woke up with the smart phone brain. Lucy the vigilante? I’m up for that. Lucy, the damsel in distress? Less so. (To be fair, it looks like she does get to hold a gun at some point, and I like getting to hear her swear. Still, my interest remains low.)

Deidra & Laney Rob A Train

This looks pretty cute but also potentially grounded with some real emotional weight. There are a lot of great comedic beats here–“Oh, you mean the robbery we’ve been planning all week? Yeah, I’m sure about it.”— and I’m pretty excited about a sibling story where the sisters are working together instead of, you know, Opposites Who Hate Each Other. I’m not familiar with either of the young actresses here, but they both seem fantastic. I could definitely give this a try.

Finally . . . .Voltron: Legendary Defender – Season Two

I didn’t watch Voltron when I was young; I was a Power Rangers kid. I don’t think I even heard of Voltron until I was in my 20’s, so I’m wildly outside this show’s demographic: far too old for the kids it’s intended for and a tiny bit too young for the nostalgic adults. But I recently decided to check out the first season anyway, mostly because someone online recommended it, and then I saw that Steven Yeun and Bex Taylor-Klaus voiced main characters. I would probably watch many, many terrible things so long as Steven Yeun and Bex Taylor-Klaus were attached to it.

The first episode didn’t do a whole lot for me, but once we got past all the set-up stuff? I had a lot of fun with it. I didn’t expect the season to end on a cliffhanger, though, so I was extremely happy to see that this trailer for Season 2 went up the same day I finished the last episode. That was some lucky goddamn timing right there.

As far as the trailer itself goes, it looks cute and enjoyable and I’m looking forward to finding out how the Paladins all find each other again. Also, how Zarkon keeps tracking them down (I assume it’s an actual plot point), and also what’s up with that shiny alien magic goo or whatever Keith got all over himself last season? Like, they’re going back to that, right? They have to be going back to that.

Season 2 comes out soon; in less than 24 hours, in point of fact. It’s probably the only good thing that will actually happen tomorrow.

“Comets Don’t Make Course Corrections.”

I still haven’t quite gotten around to seeing the not-exactly-critically-beloved Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. (I’m not particularly jazzed about going, either, but I do want to check it out for myself. I like making up my own mind about shit, particularly if Batman’s going to be involved.) However, I knew I wanted to watch Man of Steel before I made my trip to the theater, so a few weeks ago I finally sat down and put it on.

cover2

Man. That long, dreary ass film did not help motivate my interest in Batman v Superman AT ALL.

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15 Favorite Key & Peele Sketches

Well, Key & Peele is now over, which means two things: one, the world is weeping, and two, it’s time for everyone on the internet to post lists of their favorite Key & Peele sketches. (Actually, that’s not true. The time to do that, apparently, was yesterday while leading up to the Big Finale, but I prefer to be fashionably late, cause, like. I was doing stuff yesterday.)

Anyway. Here are fifteen of my favorites, although full disclosure: they aren’t in any kind of order, and there’s a more than decent chance that I’ve forgotten some. Also, many (if not most) of these are uncensored, so beware. Profanity and hilarity follow.

1. Sexy Vampires

This is, hands down, easily one of my favorite skits. Admittedly, if I ever became a vampire, I’m probably use that as an excuse to buy myself some black leather pants that lace up on the sides, but still. Practicality is a virtue, and hissing is just annoying. Also, Brother Tyrell probably has my favorite reason for becoming a vampire ever.

2. Text Message Confusion

Because come on. We’ve all been there. Er. Haven’t we?

3. Family Matters

The funny thing is, I actually watched Family Matters when I was a kid, but I honestly don’t remember any of it, so watching this, I was like . . . wait, was there really a transformation machine?

It doesn’t matter. This gets dark and twisted SO FAST, I love it. And Tyler James Williams as Jaleel White? So fantastically funny and creepy. I definitely want to watch this kid in more stuff.

4. The Batmans

I like all of the sketches about the super excitable valets, of course, but this one’s probably my favorite. “See, how are you supposed to block a batarang from going in your butt with a carefully crafted query?”

On Key & Peele, they only ask the important questions.

5. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Man, I don’t even watch Cosmos — I know, I’m a terrible nerd (although, in my defense, I’m not really that kind of nerd) — and I thought these sketches were hysterical. If you didn’t see this episode itself, the clip above is basically like part three of a three-part joke, but really, I’m counting all of them. They’re in the same episode, so it’s not cheating.

6. Dad’s Hollywood Secret

It’s so painful and so awful and so funny, all at the same time.

7. Slow Brotion

Okay, this one’s just silly, but it makes me crack up every single time I watch it. It’s one of my “I’m in a bad mood and I want something happy, damn it” videos.

8. Power Falcons

Yeah, I’m just a sucker for Power Rangers nostalgia. Man, I loved that show when I was nine, that terrible, terrible show. Also: “That’s racist? Aw, see, forget it. Black Falcon out — GREEN Falcon! Green Falcon, DAMN IT!”

9. Alien Imposters

“Was he an alien too?”
“Yep.”

Heh.

10. Menstruation Orientation

Usually, a couple of guys making period jokes? Not my favorite thing in the world, and by that, I mean I usually want to punch those guys in their annoying male faces. (Nope, I already know all the jokes you want to make now, men. Please don’t comment with them. I promise you I’ve already heard it before.) But this, this works for me. There are definitely some men who should have to sit through orientations like this. Or, alternatively, they could just have a plague of locusts fly out of their dick.

11. East/West Bowl 3 – Pro Edition – Superbowl Special

Honestly, Key & Peele’s entire Superbowl Special was probably the best thing about the big game last year (especially every snippet we got with Queen Allison Janney). But here I’m just focusing on their East/West Bowl skit because of all of the various East/West Bowl skits on Key & Peele, this one has to be my favorite. I love that they threw actual football players into the mix this time around.

12. Civil War Re-Enactment

For the life of me, I cannot find an official version of this video — why, I don’t know, since it appears that every other Key & Peele sketch ever made is available through Comedy Central on Youtube. Anyway, I’m including this one here (until it inevitably gets taken down) because — as a Californian who is more than a little baffled at the constant glorification of the Confederacy — it is absolutely one of my favorites.

13. Aerobics Meltdown

Okay, I don’t even know how you come up with the idea to set a tale of attempted murder and vengeance to an 80’s jazzercise talent show, but obviously we need more ideas like it.

14. Dungeons & Dragons & Bitches

kanye the giant

Okay, apparently I spoke too soon when I said that every Key & Peele sketch could be found on Youtube because I can’t even find a shitty bootleg copy of this one. So, if you want to see what happens when Kanye the Giant joins the D&D quest, go here. And you should because it’s pretty great.

15. Obama’s Anger Translator – Meet Luther

Finally, it was just too hard to pick between all the awesome Obama/Luther sketches, so I just said, “Fuck it,” and went with the original, although I came really close to picking this one introducing Michelle Obama’s anger translator instead. But honestly, every single one of these sketches is pretty awesome. Can you believe we had a speech where the actual President had Luther translating for him? Man, that was amazing.

Christ, I’m not looking forward to the 2016 election at all.

But anyway, that’s what I’ve got for you today. Any other Key & Peele fans out there? Lemme know what skits would have gone on your top-whatever list.