Alrighty, so I’m gonna go ahead and apologize for the length of time it took to get this new edition of Drunk in a Graveyard up and going. Fortunately I do have a super good reason for taking this long to make a drunken update, and that reason is that I recently took a trip to Vancouver, BC (big ups to all my Vancouverites!) to see GHOST in concert, and let me just say they were.. in one word.. AMAZING. Hearing a whole crowd screaming “belial, behemoth, asmodeus, satanus, lucifer” was actually pretty surreal, and moreover I got some love from Papa Emeritus II due to being the only person with the balls (or bad taste?) to show up dressed as a Satanic nun. Regardless, the whole show gave me a big amount of the warm fuzzies so I recommend highly that if you have the chance to see Ghost, that you do. Their live show is so polished, it’s actually ridiculous, and they are currently touring with a great opener Ides of Gemini so if you like witchy music I also recommend checking them out.
Prior to my experience of seeing Ghost live in concert I actually came down with a horrible head cold/ear infection/sinus infection/strep throat combination on the weekend of 4/20 which is pretty much a go figure that the first 4/20 I have off in years in which my plans consisted of wine, pizza and horror movies, I was sick to the point of being zombified. For those readers not playing the home game, 4/20 is an unofficial holiday in which many of the unwashed masses congregate to smoke weed and engage in shenanigans.. because WEED. However, I learned the hard way this 4/20 that dope and Sudafed don’t mix.
So while everyone else was chilling out and having a pretty nice relaxing time, I was on the verge of psychotic collapse and potentially seeing God, which made for an enjoyable weekend as I lay gasping on the kitchen floor, wondering if I should have gone to Samantha’s birthday in the 3rd grade and if it really would have made all the difference.
Suffice to say I spent my 4/20 in a cold medicine induced haze, but all was not for lost, as Netflix debuted their new horror series Hemlock Grove on 4/19, and since I was already becoming one with the couch, it only made sense to marathon all 13 episodes.
..and my verdict is, is that that was 13 hours of my life that I will never get back. Netflix lied to me, you guys. NETFLIX LIED, See, I had watched the teaser trailer for Hemlock Grove in which you see the amazing werewolf transformation, which is actually pretty disgusting and if you’re anything like me, may have potentially given you a bit of a stiffy as to what might have been around the corner for this series.. I thought the series was going to be a straight out werewolf gore and fuck fest and sadly it was not.
So here we go guys, Hemlock Grove + SudaFed = what the actual fuck.
The series opens with the murder of a young girl, and it’s actually pretty gory so that is a big plus, and it introduces you to the main players – the Godfrey family and the Rumancek family. The Godfrey family is comprised of Olivia, the foxy as hell super bitch mom played by Famke Janssen who is sporting the worst British/European accent imaginable, son Roman, played by Bill Skarsgard (yes his brother is Alexander Skarsgard of True Blood fame), who desperately tries to swallow his Swedish accent the whole series, and finally daughter Shelley, played by Frankenstein’s monster. No seriously you guys, it looks like the female version of Tiny from House of 1,000 Corpses:
The Rumancek family consists of gypsy white trash mom Lynda played by Lilli Taylor (Nell from the Haunting), and son Peter Rumancek played by Landon Liboiron, who is a greasy and also dashingly sexy gypsy werewolf. Turns out that Hemlock Grove is a small town in Pennsylvania basically owned by the well to do Godfrey family, and the Rumanceks are the outcast gypsies who have moved to Hemlock Grove following the death of Nikolai, Grandpa Wolf, who it appears was basically a werewolf karate kid Pai-Mai style shaman? He looked kind of like if Mr. Miyagi and Bill from Kill-Bill met Chief Running Water and just sort of went with it.
What we find out, as viewers, from the get-go is that the Godfrey family basically owns this small town and are two things – very rich and also very shady. We get the hint, that super bitch Mom Olivia has potentially murdered her husband (which she totally did), and that weird son Roman is a fucked up little horn dog with a penchant for blood and cocaine (which seems legit if you ask me because who doesn’t love those things?). As viewers we are quickly whisked into this strange world of Hemlock Grove and we get shown three things in very quick succession – gore, gratuitious teenage sex acts, and even more gratuitous teenage drug abuse, which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise since this episode was directed by Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel 1 + 2), who also acts as producer for Hemlock Grove. Allow me to say right here, I kind of like Eli Roth? The question mark is there on purpose, because even I’m not sure if I actually do.. But he’s a smarmy asshole and that always gets points with me, plus his bit from Cabin Fever – “..he’s a professor.. OF BEING A DOG!.. FACED!!! SCRATCH-MODED!!!” is still enough to put me into giggle fits.
And I know it isn’t just me who finds his asshole cameo totally hilarious, fellow horror website http://www.bloodygoodhorror.com mentioned this exact scene during their Evil Dead podcast.. so I know it’s in the minds of horror-fans everywhere, and I’m pretty much always one drink away from just yelling that exact phrase pretty well constantly.. Also this:
This episode reeks of Eli Roth, from the crappy dialogue, which is barely discernible, around Bill Skarsgard’s Swedish accent and Famke Janssens’s shoddily put on British accent which they are both basically choking on to the point where one almost needs subtitles, to even come close to understanding what they are saying. I looked it up online and the fucking budget for Hemlock Grove was like $45 million.. You’d think with a crazy ass budget like that they could have afforded a decent vocal coach or a fucking Speak and Spell for the Skarsgard kid to practice on.
I really found Hemlock Grove to grab a hold of the viewer from the first episode because it basically has you constantly going, “..and then what happens” and like me you spend 13 hours desperately trying to find out just that. The first episode shows you so much crazy and random ass shit, without ever explaining any of it, and this is pretty much the theme of series.. it completely baffles the viewer with all this nonsense and then forgets to tell you why. It’s something like a comedian always on the verge of a joke, but never making good with the punch line. Anyways, because I spent so much of this series in a Sudafed induced stupor, I’m really only going to do a summary of the first episode and then shoddily rush through the rest of the season, because if you want to see this series, then you will, and if not, you aren’t actually missing out.
Like I said previously, beyond the haze of teenage sex, drugs, and freaky ass gore, the first episode is just this miasma of confusion. We learn that the Rumancek family is a line of Roma gypsies and that Peter Rumancek like his grandfather Nikolai is a werewolf. He and his mother both have a penchant for alcohol and stealing and are painted rather quickly as trailer park white trash, and are subjected to racial slurs about being “gyspy-scum”. Since I am sheltered and have spent much of my life in a closet eating Cheerios and combing the hair on all my My Little Pony toys, I have to say I do not think I have ever met a real gypsy, and certainly wouldn’t hate one if I did. I didn’t really know that some people hated gypsies until I watched Hemlock Grove, and it reminded me of a Coffin Joe flick I also recently watched called At Midnight I Will Take Your Soul in which the character Coffin Joe spends a good chunk of the movie yelling at a “gypsy”, despite the movie being set in Brazil, and I didn’t know there was gypsies in Brazil so.. learning is fun.
Also does anyone else know of Coffin Joe? I only recently heard of his work and only because he is being featured as one of the special guests at Phil Anselmo’s HouseCore Horror Festival in Austin, Texas, this October, to which myself and my hetero lifemate partner in drunkenness will be attending, so if you will be there send us a message and let’s definitely meet up and pound some brews. Anyways, Coffin Joe is this super creepy, possibly Satanic, possibly son of the Devil character, and he has these super gross and creepy long fingernails, which leads me to think that him and Roman Godfrey would get along just fine, what with Roman’s love of cocaine, and Joe’s obvious predisposed ability to be able to hand over bumps at a moments notice.
Back to Peter Rumancek, the greasy gypsy werewolf who is quite literally dressed in a white flowy peasant shirt and a brown leather vest on first glance and you’d think that since you were moving to a town of people that on a whole doesn’t have too much good to say about your racial background, that you wouldn’t roll up dressed as a charicature stereotype of your own race… or why you would roll up at all? I mean, I wouldn’t go say move to the Bible Belt, because I’d either end up burned as a witch or I would just spontaneously combust and neither of those things are good, sooo.. Also, one of Peter’s first encounters is with this creepy ass little girl who rolls up while he’s being a winner and laying out on a hammock, wearing shorts and drinking beer and she’s all like Nancy Drew up in his face, “WHO ARE YOU?” and starts beaking off about how messy his yard is and justifies herself in saying that she is a novelist, which is all fine and dandy but the bitch never writes anything in the whole fucking series, so that’s kind of just there for no reason.
Peter Rumancek, and I will give him credit for this, has the fucking patience of an angel, because if some strange ugly bitch rolled up into my yard when I was laying around getting my denim shorts and drink on and started beaking off to me, I would straight up beat the shit out of her and after kicking her ass for a while I would spray her with a garden hose and tell her to GTFO. No Sarah plain and tall better be rolling up on my shit acting high and fucking mighty while I’m chilling out. I would lose my fucking shit, so kudos to him for not cunt punting her. I think this also made me suspicious of the believability of this situation because what person, pray tell, what normal ass person would tolerate, let alone accomodate some random stranger just walking into their front yard and opening their big yap? Maybe I just live in a redneck town, but lots of people own pitbulls here and since Peter Rumancek is a werewolf, I could make a joke about “releasing the hounds”, but I think I’ll just leave it at this:
So this chick is giving Peter the gears about the state of his yard and that alcohol “kills brain cells” which is something only a 13 year old girl would say.. and made me wonder if she was at home drawing straight-edge X’s on her hands in her down time. Did anyone else ever notice how literally everyone who was straight edge aside from like Davey Havok of AFI, gave it up as soon as they were of the age to drink? I’ve always wondered if I was the only one to notice that. Anyways, after this chick makes her little rant about alcohol she points to a pentacle carved into a tree and goes “do you worship the Devil?” to which Peter replies that the pentacle is actually a good symbol and represents the four elements and the soul, and then he quips, “and it looks fuckin’ metal”, which is pretty legit and also an excuse for anything. When my mom asked me why I spent an hour rigging together crucifixes made of deer bones to hang outside my house, my first response was that it was to scare away the religious peddlers but I definitely added, “and it looks fucking metal”. I think we should all make an effort to respond in this manner next time someone asks you why you did something.. and I will certainly employ this the next time Scott asks me:
“uh.. why did you buy this huge unicorn painting?”
“BECAUSE ITS FUCKING METAL”
Other possible questions with which you could give this answer include but are not limited to, “why did you have an abortion?”, “why do drink so much?”, “why did you urinate on the church door last night?”, “why isn’t the phone bill paid?”, “why are we here?”, “why is there a stain on the carpet?”, etc, and so on and so forth.
…..back to Nancy Drew and the wolfman, and quite literally out of nowhere our quizzical straight edge novelist drops the “ARE YOU A WEREWOLF?” bomb on Peter and says that because his index and middle finger are the same length that that is an indicator of lycanthropy, and it’s pretty funny to note that though on close up of Peter’s hand his fingers are the same length, on a wide shot you can plainly see that they are note. Funny to note that my partner in crime Scott actually has his index and middle fingers of a similar length, but I can assure you that on a full moon he’s not howling and ripping shit up, he’s probably at home playing Civ, or sleeping. Also he is of the red-haired ginger persuasion, and I’m pretty sure South Park told us that redheads were vampires? or was that the Greeks? Man, if you think about it, Scott is apparently a vampire and a werewolf… move over Twilight, here at Drunk in a Graveyard we’ve got the best of both worlds:
Back to the completely fucked up conversation going on between Sarah plain and tall and Peter Rumancek, she has accused him of being a werewolf and subsequent to the conversation proceeds to go to school and TELL EVERYONE that he is in fact a werewolf, and then everyone actually kind of believes her for some weird reason? What makes this unbelievable for me is that this girl is later shown in the series to be something of a loner weirdo and in my high school experience, I was a loner weirdo and no one would have ever taken me seriously if I’d rolled up to school with one arm and said I was attacked by a bear, let alone if I’d rolled up and started accusing random people of lycanthropy… Hmm, actually now that I think about it, a lot of people at my high school actually thought I was a witch, so maybe it isn’t so unbelievable.. but I mean still.. werewolves?! If someone told me that so and so was a werewolf, my first response would be, “you mean like in the sack?” and then I would just assume they were crazy and probably try to distance myself from that as much as possible… One time I was at an all night bush party, pretty intoxicated watching the sun come up and this greasy hippie kid dressed like a cross between a zulu warrior and Sherpa told me that he had signed a pact with a demon and proceeded to put his fingernails under his eyelids and lift them up… and it was horrifying and to this day I am still somewhat haunted by this experience, not because I actually thought he had signed a demonic pact, but more to the order of being horrified at how many drugs this kid had taken in order to actually think that and that’s pretty fucked up. Some perspective on that being that Hunter S. Thompson was basically fuelled by drugs and didn’t think he was a demon, and actually was a pretty well rounded and somewhat intelligent individual, soo.. I have said it before and will say it again, A LITTLE DAB WILL DO YA FOLKS.
Again, Peter Rumancek is a saint because I would have just freaked out and told that chick she was goofy and gotten a restraining order and been done with it.
Even stranger than the angelic patience demonstrated by the Rumanceks is the entire grab bag of weird that is the Godfrey family. The Godfreys are obviously very powerful, and have quite a bit of money. Olivia is addicted to some substance that she puts on her eyeball and makes her all fucked up and woozy, her son is addicted to cocaine, blood and hooker sex, and her daughter is a phosphorescent monster that died in infancy and was brought back to life somehow.
…was that too much for you? Think about all the things I just wrote.. and then think even more about how none of this is explained in the entirety of the series. What’s that crap Olivia puts on her eyeball and why do the Rumanceks sell it to her? Why is the character of Shelley a phosphorescent she-beast? None of it is explained, but rather is carefully danced around in such a manner that leaves you naively thinking that in the next episode all will be revealed.
Though we do learn why Roman has such a penchant for blood and self-harm, and the reason is actually so mind-numbingly skull-crushingly stupid that I’m saving it for my big finale, so keep reading. This pretty much has concludes my rundown of the first episode and to save my readers the 13 hour cock tease I will quickly run through the rest of the series. If you want to know more about the finer points then you can watch for yourself.
Further on in the series we learn that Roman’s cousin Leetha is pregnant and she believes she is pregnant from an “angelic” visit she has apparently had in which an angel came to her and they did the humpity bumpity and now she’s knocked up. Further to that little scandal she is adamant about keeping the child. Later on in the series we find out that it was actually her cousin Roman who impregnated her using his uncanny ability to control people’s minds and left her with the suggestion of an angelic visit, which is actually pretty creepy.
Also in the series, and to go along with the Game of Thrones theme of incest we find out that Roman’s father who was killed by Olivia was not actually his father and that his “uncle” is actually his father, making Leetha his half sister, making the child born of their unholy union.. something close to the Hills Have Eyes and that’s about where I am going to leave it because, yeah, I’m not down with creepy brother sister fucking.
Caught up in this miasma of shit, more murders happen, all young girls, all viciously torn apart, and Peter and his family are accused of committing them and they become the town pariahs, meanwhile he finds himself in a gross teenage relationship with the pregnant Leetha and they engage in a rather appalling amount of teenage sex acts..
Roman spends most of the series looking at Leetha like a hungry wolf, engaging in a very strange “bro” relationship with Peter in which they are basically boyfriend and boyfriend, raping teenage girls, and doing a shitload of drugs. At one point Roman asks Peter to allow him to watch him transform into a werewolf and Peter lets him. Let me say right here that the werewolf transformation is entirely fucked up and involves the wolf literally coming out of the human skin and then eating the skin..
It’s pretty gory and really is part of the hook that suckered me into watching all 13 episodes, but you only see it once and the rest of the gore is somewhat subpar in comparison.
As Roman and Peter have become best boyfriends, they band together to solve the murders which Peter believes are being committed at the hands (paws?) of a “vargulf” or a crazy werewolf. Roman crashes his car while doing blow, goes crazy and invades the family compound and gets knocked the fuck out and spends a good few episodes in a coma in a magic fantasy land where his sister is no longer Frankenstein’s monster, and gives him advice which doesn’t actually end up pertaining to jack shit but looks pretty spooky so I guess that’s alright then?
Anyways, with the help of Peter’s hot ass gypsy witch cousin they find out that the “vargulf” has now used some sort of power to turn into a werewolf on the wrong moon, and Peter makes a bargain to do the same, but at the price of his face, and we find out rather unceremoniously that the vargulf is none other than Sarah Plain and Tall, who spends the better half of the series in a mental hospital going completely crazy because she is turning into a werewolf and her hair is turning white.. which is a really huge Ginger Snaps rip-off and pissed me off to no end, because Ginger is a fucking BAD ASS chick werewolf, and to pay homage without actually doing any justice to the whole chick werewolf thing is just a huge wank.
Also, Leetha’s bastard incest conceived infant kills her on the way out of her, and the baby lives and ends up being shown to Roman as his horrible spawn by his mother who reveals herself to be a vampire and she tells Roman that when she was young she one time fell in love with a gypsy boy and they ran away together and when they slept one night he stole the horses and the rings off her fingers and fucked off and she basically freaked the fuck out (logical) and then decided to cut off her weird tail and in the process dies.. Her father happens upon her and finds that she is now a vampire and welcomes her into her vampiric life because in Hemlock Grove-universe when you are a vampire, you have to kill yourself or otherwise die by your own hand in order to come into your vampiric powers.. At this she tells Roman that this baby is his child and he freaks the fuck out and does what any sensible person would do and slits his fucking wrists and becomes a vampire too.
That’s the big reveal, folks, suicide fucking vampires. Just when you thought Twilight had pussified vampires enough by making them glittery, nope, now they have to kill themselves in order to become vampires, which predisposes any vampires to vast states of mental instability (awesome). Also this seems like something out of an Atreyu album. Also, who’s fucking heard of Atreyu in like 5 years? NO ONE. Except for now. You can thank me later.
Honestly I feel actually kind of awful even telling you guys all this, because it sounds so stupid and absolutely ridiculous, but the sad part is that SUICIDE VAMPIRES were the big fucking reveal here. I mean yes obviously a whole bunch of other stuff went on plot wise, including genetic experiments, evil cult people, a werewolf killer with a penchant for getting talk to yourself hammered, and more most likely, but honestly I spent 4/20 so sick and high on cold medicine that this whole series was really just a blur of unsatisfied me. And more importantly to make matters worse, I fell asleep right after the pizza arrived and only got to eat it the next morning and was very disappointed.
And I mean what a bunch of horse shit for Bill Skarsgard hey, what with vampires being in the Skarsgard family and all.. Could you imagine the shame? My older brother is bad ass and also hot ass Eric Northman from True Blood, and I’m a suicide vampire.. like holy shit, talk about short end of the stick (fang?).
Honestly I really should have known about this series what with the whole Netflix/horror writer I’d never heard of thing.. but I really am just such a sucker for werewolves and monsters in general. I feel like the entire time I watched Hemlock Grove it was on the verge of something, like a word on the tip of your tongue that would eloquently describe your point and instead you just end up saying “FUUUUUCK” in a garbled voice and end up sounding like someone with an eighth grade education. I enjoyed the gore but really felt the teen sex and drugs to almost be too much (is there such a thing?) mostly because it bordered on the whole “because we can” thing, much in the same way that Netflix’s other series “House of Cards” did in showing Kevin Spacey gratuitously performing oral sex on that lady reporter. It was just nothing I really wanted or needed to see. I mean yeah I was pretty jealous of the cocaine mirror that Roman has in the tub with him, because that would be handy as all hell to have, so you could have a nice soak, do some aromatherapy, listen to Enya, burn a few candles, smoke a fat joint, bump a few rails.. you know, all the shit normal people do in the tub.
Anyways aside from a perpetual case of horror induced blue-ball and what-the-fucks, I have recovered from both my cold and my viewing of Hemlock Grove and leave you with my verdict.
Drunk in a Graveyard intoxicant verdict – take as much cold medicine as you can and don’t call me in the morning.
And so to not leave on such a bleak note, I will leave you with this somewhat interesting picture of Peter Rumancek’s mom that I randomly found on google in which she is cradling Steve Buscemi’s head like an infant in some kind of scarf thing because this single picture is actually more interesting than the entirety of Hemlock Grove. Enjoy and until next time, stay spooky little darklings!
One more thing, I’d really like to give some shout outs to all of the new people who have followed this blog, liked us on facebook, and followed us on twitter – keep it up! Also a big up to the I Spit on Your Podcast (@spitonyourpcast on twitter)crew, you guys make for some hilarious listening, and we appreciated the shout out on your last cast, keep up the good work.
Tweet us at @DrunkGraveyard, if you so choose/dare. If you have movie suggestions for us to review send them on over!
Pingback: IT (2017) & Some Thoughts on Remakes and Nostalgia Culture | DRUNK IN A GRAVEYARD·