What Netflix’s User Review Removal Means for Horror Fans

By the end of August, user reviews of programming on Netflix will be a thing of the past. CNET reports that, “you’ll no longer be able to post written reviews as of July 30, and then in mid-August existing written reviews will be removed,” and the speculation is that this move coincides with Netflix’s intention of phasing out third party content and increasing the amount of their own original content available on the platform.

While Netflix has a lot of great programming, it isn’t exactly known for consistency across all of its offerings, and viewers are bound to regret several impromptu viewing choices when searching for lesser-known titles. User reviews were one way for viewers to decide if a program was worth their time. Obviously, numeric metrics can’t always account for personal tastes, but it’s usually a safe bet to skip something with an extremely low score. So, what will the removal of user reviews look like for horror fans? Fortunately, our genre of choice is in better shape than many other genres! read more

‘Psycho’ Actor John Gavin Dies at Age 86

Hollywood veteran John Gavin passed away on February 9th at the age of 86 in Beverly Hills, CA., due to complications from pneumonia after battling leukemia.

Gavin landed his first role as Johnny Hutchins in the 1956 film, Behind the High Wall.

He is best known for his performances in Imitation of Life, Spartacus, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Horror fans best remember Gavin for his portrayal of Sam Loomis in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.  Of that role, he later claimed that he was “terribly disturbed” by the amount of violence and sex that was in Psycho. read more

Buy / Wait / Rent: November 2017 Blu-Ray Releases

We sift through the new release heap so you don’t have to!

Welcome to Horror News Network’s Buy / Wait / Rent, a monthly article devoted to the most highly-anticipated horror releases on blu-ray. Here you will find the best home video releases of each month, along with our opinion on whether each film is a must-own on the first day of release, something you should wait to buy until it goes on sale, or something you’re better off renting for a one-time watch. And now, on to the notable new releases of November 2017! read more

Bates Motel – Season 5, Episode 10: The Cord Review and Analysis

We were promised a true end to this story. And we were rightfully reminded to bring our tissues. What an agonizing list of farewells…

Farewell #1: Alex Romero – Romero finally finds his way to Norma’s makeshift grave after letting his hostage go and heavily coercing “Norman” for directions. His vengeance hits the pause button when he sees her discolored (yet still beautiful) face. Watching the reunion from behind, “Norman” offers his sympathy, which unpauses the anger and summons a vicious beating. Romero returns to the grave, professing his love to Norma and promising her a better burial. In his broken and weepy state, he is an easy target for Norman who bashes him in the skull with a rock. Norman wins the ensuing struggle, gets ahold of Romero’s gun and does not hesitate to shoot twice. While he has not formally avenged his wife’s death, he manages to inflict a fatal wound with his dying words. “You killed your own mother,” he says. “You can’t hide from it.” And with this declaration, Norman is released from the psychological cocoon. read more

Bates Motel – Season 5 Episode 9: “Visiting Hours” Analysis

With only one episode to go, we find ourselves moments from the public hearing of Norman Bates, charged with three counts of murder carrying a maximum penalty of death. Amidst the mug shots, fingerprints and a brutally honest meeting with counsel, anyone and everyone who is part of Norman Bates is frozen with fear. “Serial homicides”, “multiple life sentences”, “maximum security prison”, “not guilty by reason of insanity”…these phrases hold more weight than even Norman’s strongest personality can handle. The mother/son/protector morph is once again portrayed as two bodies in one outfit. The change from one personification to the other seems to happen at the flip of a coin although the reflection of Norma in the cell window is once again magnificently orchestrated. read more

Bates Motel – Season 5, Episode 8: “The Body” Analysis and Recap

Let’s start by saying that I’m glad my neighbors didn’t call the police. If I heard me scream like that, I totally would have. Luckily, I let loose an equally loud (albeit awkward) laugh just to let anyone listening know that I was okay. If you’re unaware of why I shrieked, read on…

This week’s episode picks up moments after Norman’s frantic 9-1-1 call. Sitting in the front room with Sherriff Greene, he is still lucid. Terrified, but lucid. He begs to be out of that house and on his meds. While in the interrogation room, Norman haphazardly recalls the details of Sam Loomis’ murder. He can’t remember where the well is or why he killed Sam, mimicking a blackout that occurred after the act instead of during. Greene accuses Norman of making it all up to gain attention. In the holding cell, Norman takes his medication. Distraught that his confession is being questioned, he is unable to keep his doppelganger away. She angrily appears and tosses him to the floor. After forcing him to puke up the pills, she cuddles him and soothingly tells him that the world is cruel place undeserving of his kind soul. She then knocks him out cold on the corner of the stainless steel commode to remove him from the situation. At this point, Norman as we know him is gone….at least through the end of this episode. Possibly through the end of this series. And while we’ve grown accustomed to “seeing” Norma as Norman, she is now wearing his clothing, a step toward a deeper merging of both personas. Our views of Norman smoothly transition between the physical forms of male and female – so fluid that Norman’s reflection in the holding cell window has long, blonde hair. For crying out loud, what do I even call this incarnation going forward? How about “Norman”? Sure. Let’s go with that. read more

Bates Motel – Season 5 Episode 5: “Dreams Die First” Analysis and Review

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. But instead of a gargantuan tusked pachyderm, let’s make it a Barbadian bombshell with hypnotic hazels.   Rihanna effortlessly delivers Marion Crane in the broad sense of the classic character: she’s seductive, elusive and totally committed to a better life with her beau Sam Loomis. She is preyed upon in the workplace and quick to fake sick to stick it to the scumbag who flaunts his cash as a pickup line. A&E’s “Bates Motel” owns the rest of THIS Marion Crane. Unaware that her boyfriend is already married, criticized for her lack of education and, most importantly, already a past guest at the Bates Motel, Rihanna brings a coy angst to a character who is redefined in this century. As show creator Carlton Cuse told Vulture, “Fundamentally, it was not going to be possible to make Marion Crane an empowered woman of 2017 if she just died in the shower.” ( read more

Bates Motel – Season 5, Episode 4: “Hidden” Analysis and Review

If Driver A is traveling south at a distracted speed while Pedestrian B is running north at an equally distracted speed, and the two collide, how revolting will it be to find that Pedestrian B is dead as a doornail? And so begins Episode 5, with Chick standing over the roadkill of Caleb, confirming what I (unsuccessfully) willed was not going to happen in last week’s review.   I whimper yet part of me is relieved. An already simple and impetuous man, Caleb would not have survived a world without Norma and Dylan. He would have self-imploded – killed or been killed in a short matter of time. Upon being released from the basement, he cried, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go.” That decision was serendipitously made for him. Godspeed, Calhoun. read more

Bates Motel – Season 5, Episode 3: Bad Blood Analysis and Review

Did you ever get the feeling that you know something you’re not supposed to know?  And then next thing you know, you’re in the thick of it….this secret cosmos you weren’t supposed to know about suddenly and openly playing itself out? So begins Episode Three, breaking down the fourth wall we have hidden behind until this point.

We pick up exactly where we left off with Caleb recovering from his bash upside the head and Norman still in his wig, frock and high heels. (Go, Freddie Highmore for working those pumps better than I ever could.) Our heart crumbles at the sight of Caleb, beaten both physically and mentally, as he regains consciousness handcuffed to a support beam in the basement.  His blow to the noggin allows him to see his sister for a moment until she morphs into his demented nephew.  Before the closing credits, we see the character of Caleb in all his glorious dichotomy. Bound to a pole through the majority of the episode, his physical strength is robbed from him and we are left with a weak, fragile man. He has always been incapable of accepting his relationship with his sister but his love for her is unrivaled. Enraged and unable to negotiate his release, Caleb drifts through dreams and flashbacks that are horribly intertwined with the reality of Norma’s death. Pure anguish personified. Norma-via-Norman visits Caleb and tells him that both her son and her brother are in love with her and therefore, the three of them cannot live happily ever after. This is the final push for Caleb who now no longer sees Norman’s face but that of his adoring sister. He professes his love while holding her hand and goes to a place beyond despair – a place with no sister, no son, no purpose. read more

Bates Motel – Season 5, Episode 1 “Dark Paradise” Review

With three sparkling 2017 People’s Choice Awards in hand(Favorite Cable TV Drama, Favorite Cable TV Actor (Freddie Highmore) and Favorite Cable TV Actress (Vera Farmiga) Bates Motel returned for its fifth season on February 20th. At the San Diego Comic-Con last July, the show’s panel “officially” announced that Season 5 will be the end. We have known this for a while, with executive producers Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin professing their 5-season vision all along. And according to Ehrin, “It’s going to be cathartic as shit. Bring your tissues.” (Yahoo!TV) read more