“50 States of Fright” Anthology Exceeds Expectations

April 13, 2020 0 By Tannis

“The Golden Arm” Proves Sam Raimi Still has the Midas Touch in Horror

Premiering today (Monday, April 13th 20202) on Quibi, the mobile app designed for short films and shows, comes the brilliant horror anthology “50 States of Fright” by Gunpowder &Sky’s horror brand ALTER. The first episode, “The Golden Arm” is directed by horror legend Sam Raimi, and written by Sam and Ivan Raimi and stars “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”‘s Rachel Brosnahan and “Vikings” actor Travis Fimmel.

Released in a weekly series, “The Golden Arm” sets the bar incredibly high for any future horror attempting to tackle urban legends. As always, Sam Raimi presents the story in a visceral, tense, and bloody lens that allows the horror to seep into your mind slowly.

Not only is the episode incredible well-written and directed by the Raimis, Rachel Brosnahan and Travis Fimmel provide superb performances as the central characters. Brosnahan presents as simultaneously sweet and threatening, and progresses into outright terrifying through the use of outstanding practical effects and her range as an actor. Fimmel shines in a wholly different manner; while he seems initially threatening, his performance highlights how childlike the fear of the supernatural can make even the strongest seeming people become.

My only complaint about this episode is that I can’t immediately binge-watch the following episodes in this series. The next episodes cannot come quickly enough. Furthermore, you can all colour me $5 lighter as I go download Quibi on my iPad and sign-up for the monthly subscription because I need to be able to access this show for multiple re-watches of it.

Stay tuned to this article as I’ll be updating it weekly with my review of the episode premiering each Monday.

“Ball of Twine” is a Gown-Up’s Goosebumps

The second episode is director Yoko Okumura’s “Ball of Twine,” released on Quibi on April 14th 2020 was an absolute delight. The episode features Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) and Karen Allen (Indiana Jones) in fantastically written and executed roles on this Kansas legend.

Each episode thus far is immediately entrancing- it is quite hard to take notes on it while watching and often requires watching it twice just to take my eyes off the screen. The special effects in this episode are gorgeous and creepy- much like Karen Allen’s police chief.

Never in my life did I imagine that Karen Allen’s sweet, charming persona could transform into something threatening and sinister beneath her smile. However, as always, nothing in these episodes is ever what you expect it will be. The plots are well developed, the writing superior, the acting is next level, and I cannot gush enough over how much I love this show.

If you like urban legends, you seriously need to sign up for Quibi and start watching this show. I am adamantly endorsing signing up for the mobile show and movie service of my own choice- these write ups, along with previewing the episodes, are done as a volunteer activity for me. I seriously just love the show that much- this is my honest, unsolicited advice to any horror fan.

“Scared Stiff.” Just… Watch the episode and see for yourself.

The third episode by Ryan Spindell in the urban legend anthology stars Emily Hampshire of “Schitt’s Creek” and “12 Monkeys,” and James Ransone of “IT: Chapter 2” and hidden-gem-flick “Mr. Right.” These two actors are the reason for the delay in my review on “Ball of Twine,” because I am a long-time fan of both. Since I love Emily and James so, so much, it was even more difficult to take my eyes off the screen to take notes even with multiple viewings. Seriously- they’re amazing. Not only should you watch this episode, but you really should watch anything either actor has worked on.

Emily Hampshire shines as always. She’s delightfully unhinged, awkwardly entrancing, and I could watch her perform forever. James Ransone provides an equally intriguing performance with a less threatening Norman Bates vibes, but somehow equally as unsettling.

This show is literally, seriously, never what you think it will be. There are so many twists and turns that make it impossible to look away. I have absolutely no criticisms whatsoever.

Again, you really should get this app and start watching this show yesterday. The camera work is executed in such a way that watching it on the mobile device actually enhances the viewing experience of the show, and I typically hate watching videos on any mobile device. This show, and this app, they’re totally worth it.