Taylor Hickson Talks Aftermath, Ryan Reynolds and More (Interview)

 Aftermath - Season 1

Taylor Hickson is currently working on the apocalyptic SyFy thriller Aftermath. She plays Brianna, a headstrong teen that is struggling to survive the end of the world with her family. Taylor’s co-stars are Anne Heche, James Tupper, Levi Meaden and Julia Sarah Stone.

Taylor was born and raised in Kelowna, BC Canada. She started working age 12 traveling and singing with her father on stages across British Columbia. As time progressed, Taylor began writing her own songs and graduated from high school a year early to work on her music career.

She stumbled into acting when a relative talked her into auditioning for an agency at 16. Taylor started landing roles right off the bat; she worked opposite Anthony Hopkins, Ray Liotta and Julia Stiles in the psychological thriller “Blackway.”

Next Taylor landed the role of Meghan Orlovsky in the blockbuster film “Deadpool” where she worked opposite Ryan Reynolds. She then starred in the biopic film Hunting Pignut. The film is based on writer and director Martine Blue’s life and follows the life of Bernice (played by Taylor) a 15 year old runaway who is trying to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance.

Ms. Hickson stars in the indie thriller Residue (produced by Motorcycle Boy Productions and XLrator Media) which will hit cinema screens in early 2017. The film follows James Clayton’s character, P.I. Luke Harding. The private investigator reads a book with somewhat sinister overtones and inadvertently puts Luke and his daughter Angelina (Hickson) in danger. Angelina has to fight for their lives and souls.

Taylor also has roles in the MGM film “Everything, Everything” and “Incident in a Ghost Land” working with Mylene Farmer, Crystal Reed and Anastasia Phillips. The horror thriller was written and directed by French filmmaker Pascal Laugier.

In “Aftermath,” Taylor plays Brianna, the fiercely independent teen daughter of Karen (Heche) and Joshua (Tupper) who is initially separated from her family and struggles to meet back up with them in the new apocalyptic world.

Taylor spoke with Mike’s Film Talk on Friday 18 November.

Photos by Ryan Orange Photography

The Interview:

Michael: Hello Taylor! Thanks for speaking with Mike’s Film Talk today.

Taylor: (Laughing) Well thank you for speaking with Taylor Hickson today!

 Michael: (Laughing) Right since the feeling is mutual, we’ll get right down to it. So, how did you get cast as Brianna? Did “Deadpool” or “Hunting Pignut” play a part?

Taylor: Wow… That’s a good question. I don’t think either one played a part. “Aftermath” was a new audition and it was really a bit nerve wracking thing for me. They didn’t know who I was… I kind of came out of nowhere, I was really new and they were willing to work with me. They saw potential and that is something I’ll be forever grateful for.

 Michael: Well you do a brilliant job on the show, in my own humble opinion. I love the character and love the arc Brianna has gone through.   Oh. I’ve got to tell you, I was speaking to Levi yesterday and he says “hi” and can he have his Bowie shirt back please?

Taylor: (Laughing) That’s fantastic. Oh my gosh I love him so much. I really miss him and he really was my older brother and Julia really was my sister. We totally have a sibling dynamic on and off screen. It made everything so easy and smooth and it was awesome.

Michael: He said much the same; that you all got on really, really well, on and off camera. So what’s it like working on the show. It really is pretty grim subject matter, isn’t it?

 Taylor: Yes it is quite a grim subject matter…

Michael: Do you have any favorite scenes?

Taylor: Absolutely! Most of my favorite scenes are the sibling scenes. I think there’s one coming up in the very next episode. There is a scene between Dana and me and a lot of pent up stuff comes out on the table that really needed to be said and everybody gets called out. It was one of my favorite scenes to shoot because she did such an amazing job. Julia is so talented and she made me feel like I was in real fight with my sister. Everything was so real that it was unbelievable she is just amazing.

Michael: I have to agree. I like the “kids” on the show. I am a huge Anne Heche and James Tupper fan, but the thing that has really stood out in the show has been the kids.

Taylor: Really? That’s awesome.

 Michael: Who has been your favorite cast member?

Taylor: Ooh…As a person or as an actor?

Michael: Both please.

Taylor:   Wow. That’s really hard…Actually there are pieces of all of them that I would use to build a favorite character or cast member. They are all such a huge contrast to each other but I have to say that I’m kind of in love with all of them.

 Right off the bat, I knew I was walking onto a project with a lot of respected artists who had long resumes and a lot of experience. I knew I had a lot of work to do. I also had a lot of studying to do. So I started watching them and the way that they worked and the way that they felt and the way that they spoke and moved.

 I learned a lot just by studying them as people and studying them at work. Anne (Heche) I watched a lot. Mostly because I felt that my character takes a lot from her. So I was watching her for a character aspect because she is incredibly talented.

Michael: Yes.

Taylor: I learned a lot from her and she mentored me a lot through the show and I learned so much. She pushed me to get better and work harder and that was something beautiful. She is not soft about it. She is not like “Oh nice try sweetie. It’ll be better next time. She is blunt and to the point but  because of the industry I’ve learned not to let my feelings get hurt and I found it to be very helpful. I pushed myself and we would go out for dinners and stuff and she’d sit down and talk to me.

 The whole cast are all so beautiful and it would be impossible to pick out just one favorite.

 Michael: You all seem to have a brilliant rapport and there is a splendid bit of give and take on the show. The way the show is set up, your character seems to take after her mum and Dana (Julia) takes after her dad. It all works out really well. Now your character has gone through an awful lot…

Photos by Ryan Orange Photography

Taylor: (Laughing) That’s an understatement…

 Michael: Yes it is, very much so. So how do you prepare for the heavy-duty scenes? Say, for instance, Dylan’s death or the death of Aunt Sally?

Taylor: Wow. You don’t. You don’t prepare for that. How could you prepare for someone’s spontaneous death? I think that is the aspect that you have to walk in with. You have to walk in that day and think ‘this is going to be some heavy sh*t,’ and you never know how it’s going to play out or what the director is going to ask you to do.

 There have been countless times that I’ve walked in with an idea or an interpretation of how I think the scene, or the mood of the scene is going to be. And then quite often find  that the scene will be rewritten. If that happens we all sit in the tent before hand with the director and the writer. Then if we’re not agreeing on something it’s “Okay go.”

 Then we all just spin out ideas until we find something that matches and find something that works. There are other things too; there was something I saw Anne do as an actor. The way that she would break down scenes was just incredible. She would catch stuff that blew me away. I was like,” How did you see that?” It would be something that I just read right past and because she is so on the ball she gets it.

 Plus she’s a mother; her son would be there quite often and working with her husband… She has so much on her plate. She was flying out and taping other shows at the same time. And the way she managed to keep her head in the game was so inspiring.

 Michael: She is a true professional.

Taylor: For example, the Aunt Sally [death scene] Anne said come on guys we have way too many women crying over this. She said, “I’m not going to do it.” What I watched her do shocked me, maybe even confused me and at the end of it, I thought, ‘wow, that is freaking brilliant.’

 She just lay down beside Aunt Sally and just; she almost had no emotion… What it made me think of was my grandma who had been very, very sick with cancer. She suddenly went from having three months to live to three weeks. I couldn’t quite understand, or cope. I think everyone goes through that at one time in their life, and when you’re not prepared for someone’ death it is a shock to the system.

 I was out with friends at around three in the morning and we were around the corner from my house, and we were listening to music in my friend’s truck and laughing and my dad called me at three in the morning. And my parents are very caring, they care a lot, and they knew where I was, just around the corner, and my dad called; he was in the gas station right behind me. He told me, “Your Gran has died.”

 I had seen her just three hours before, stroking her hair and she was telling me that she was ready to go. Life is so funny that way… I had no emotion at all and I stepped out of the car and walked over to an empty parking lot and just started walking and walking. Then I started sprinting and then I just fell down and I cried like I’d never cried in my life.

 So when Anne did that with Aunt Sally, I thought, she gets it. Then when it came to the crying part, she left that to me; to cry over Devyn’s body. That was a very hard scene, crying over Devyn and I’ve heard from other people on other shows that when they find out another character is going to die they say, “I can’t do this. I’m going to leave the show, I can’t do this.”

 I understood then what they meant. It was very, very hard.

 Michael: Quite emotionally taxing I should imagine.

Taylor: Oh absolutely. It’s like this show I’m working on now, I’m constantly fighting for my life in this movie and I’m just drained. It makes “Aftermath” look like a fun game. And I’ve been exhausted on “Aftermath.” This industry really beats you up but it makes you proud of the result when you look back.

 Michael: Definitely. On a slightly lighter note… You’ve used a number of weapons in the show. Although not quite as many as Matt or your mum. Did you get any special training for all that?

Taylor: (Laughing) No. They told me when I first got cast, “Yeah we’ll send you to all these shooting arenas and you’ll get some practice. We’ll do training with all of you and we’ll get you shooting like a Marvel villain. I was like, “Wow that’s going to be awesome.” I was thinking of them like “real” guns and that somebody was going to get hurt.

But things started happening so fast that we wound up having one day that was kind of like rehearsals. They said, “Okay! You’re all family now. But I never really got to shoot “proper” guns.

 Nerf guns and water guns were as bad a** as Taylor gets. I’ve never been paintballing or anything like that. So when we started the show I didn’t know how to hold a gun; the props people had to show me how. They were like; think about it, Brianna wouldn’t know how to hold a gun.

 And if you watch the show from the beginning she is just holding the gun and her arm will go flying when she starts shooting. Since that isn’t working, in Brianna’s mind she’s thinking, ‘now what have I seen in movies.’

 So then her other hand will start holding her wrist so it’s like “almost.” She finally figures out your hand goes under your other hand. As the season progresses you watch Brianna build her skill and confidence with guns.

 Michael: It tracks very well. Stepping away from “Aftermath” for the moment; are you still filming on “Everything, Everything?”

Taylor: No I’m working on another show right now. I’ve finished on “Everything, Everything.”

 Michael: So what are you working on now?

 Taylor: I’m working on probably one of the scariest, most horrible scripts I’ve ever read… In like the best way

 Michael: It sounds interesting.

Taylor: It’s raw and terrifying and beautiful at the same time. I’m working with Pascal Laugier and he is the most visionary director. I’ve never met anyone with the eye that he has, and the patience he has. We’ll spend two days shooting one scene, so taxing is a great word to use. It is very physically, emotionally and imaginatively draining and demanding.

 I’m very proud to be working with such amazing people. It’s got Crystal Reed from Teen Wolf, Mylène Farmer who happens to be the Madonna of France. She is an incredible, beautiful and amazing lady and the project is called “Incident in a Ghost Land.”

 I can’t say too much about it but if you look it up on the Internet, it’s just been put up on IMDb.

 Michael: It hasn’t been put against your name yet. It still shows “Everything, Everything” as filming.

Taylor: Well I’ve definitely finished my work on that film. I shot my part in Vancouver and then the company went down to, I believe, Mexico. I’m now working on Ghost Land.

 Michael: You had the starring role in “Hunting Pignut,” when will that be hitting cinemas?

Taylor: I don’t know. That one is still running through the festival circuit. I haven’t even seen it, if you want to know. Over half of Canada’s seen it and I haven’t even seen it. I asked for a link and they said, “No we want you to see it at the Whistler Festival premiere. So I’m like “Okay. I’ll wait.”

 All I’ve seen so far has been on the monitors or when we did ADR, that’s the most I’ve seen. It should be interesting; I’m not sure whether they’re going for theatrical release. Maybe in a few select theatres; like maybe in my hometown or one in Vancouver or something… It’s very Canadian so it may only be released in Canadian theatres. I’m not sure what the distribution plan is.

 Michael: You’re very busy right now; on screen at any rate. You’ve got Residue coming out in 2017 and I’m guessing “Incident in a Ghost Land” will be coming out either late in 2017 or 2018. Of course the big question goes all the way back to Deadpool, the first thing I ever saw you in, if they find a new director, will you be coming back as your character Meghan Orlovsky? Have you heard?

Taylor: I haven’t heard anything so I’m not sure. I believe they might have a new director; I’m not sure, there are lots of rumors. I’ve heard a lot of Marvel conspirators say that the character is in the comics. They say “your character is Megan Gwynn, aka Pixie, so you’re a Marvel character.” And I’m like, “I don’t think so… They didn’t tell me that.” And they go no you’re a superhero.

 So all the forums are convinced that I’m going on but I haven’t heard anything. But it would be fun to have another tiny appearance with another cast of Deadpool.

 Michael: I’ve got to ask… What was it like, working with Ryan Reynolds?

Taylor: Oh it was amazing. You know I’d been on a few smaller sets before because I was originally focused on music and it was massive. I didn’t really know how badly I wanted to work as an actor until “Deadpool.” I had worked with Anthony Hopkins before in my first role and that was incredible but it was just… I’d never had a chance to talk on screen and I didn’t really understand and I was trying to find my footing I thought it might just be a fun thing I did on the side. That was the thing that changed my life.

 There are all these people running around you and they all have different tasks, and a routine and here was this awkward teenager who knew nothing about anything and the atmosphere was very anxious. It was everything that would turn me off of acting and yet it pulled me in.

Photos by Ryan Orange Photography

 We spent an entire night with a scene and it was very playful humorous. Ryan is very low key and nonchalant about the whole thing and I think that helped because he didn’t add to the anxiety so I just started speaking with him, he was a producer as well, and he was throwing out all these suggestions: “What if Meghan came up and hugged me and I was like, “Yeah that’s great.”

 I would start teasing him, “Aw, I have to hug you again.” We were doing “pick-ups” and I had to start by hugging him already and he would say, “Shhh. Listen to the sound of my heartbeat.” He was so weird and funny that it made everything loosen up. Later, as I was still awkwardly holding him he said “Shhh” and started patting my head.

 It all seemed totally weird and he says, “I never noticed those things told the time before.” He was talking about the things; I don’t even know what they’re called that’s how new I am to the business. I called it a clapper…

 Michael: Yes…

Taylor: That’s what I call it. And he was saying he never knew it told the time. He was saying he knew that it had times on it to sync the camera and the sound but never knew it told the time. And he says, “I’ve been doing this for how many years and never knew these things told the time.”

 So I was singing this song by Salt N Pepa, “Shoop” because the scene originally started with us all singing “Shoop” we were sitting there and like rapping the song at the start but they cut it out. It was taken out for pacing since they wanted everything to click along. A lot of lines were taken out to make it move faster.

 My two friends in the scene were also both cut out.

 So we had to sing the song again and again to get it exactly right, they were playing the real music for sound and then had to pick it up later, which is probably why they didn’t use it. I said to Ryan that this song is going to be stuck in my head for two months and he says, “This frickin movie is going to be stuck in my head for two years.”

 Michael: That’s funny. To wrap this all up, I know you have some favorite charities. Would you like to give them a shout-out?

 Taylor: Oh yes, thank you! Definitely IJM (International Justice Mission), they are incredible. They do a lot of things for young people in third world countries and they save a lot of children who are sold into slavery, and sex slavery, and they are absolutely incredible. I’ve been doing work on and off with them since I was 13. They are amazing.

 Another one would be Craig and his brother Marc who do We. [Free the Children] Have you ever heard of We Day?

Michael: No I’ve never heard of it.

Taylor: It is amazing Craig and Marc Kielburger, the charity’s founders, do all these things to help children and their families. I’ve donated and worked with them to fundraise for so many things. We got one village a school. I’ve done lots of work for them over the years.

 They do it all over the country, they’ve been held in Toronto, or instance and they always have loads of celebrities and singers attend. The aim is to help the children and their families across the world.

 Craig and Marc started the charity when they were young children and I’m so proud of what they’ve achieved and I’m very proud to be part of Movement.

  Michael:   So what does your schedule look like right now? Are there any other projects you want to mention?

Taylor: Well, I’m working on the film right now (Incident in a Ghost Land) and that will take me up to December and then I’ll be attending Whistler Film Fest for “Hunting Pignut”. I’m auditioning for tons of things and I’ve gotten an offer for something in January.

 In March or April I’ll be doing a film called “GLO,” it’s short for Giant Little One and it’s a beautiful script. It’s a brilliant film that we’ve been trying to do for a while. If Aftermath is brought back, there may be a conflict, we won’t know till January.

 There will be another movie, called Dry Swallow, written by Joel Thomas Hynes who played Pignut in “Hunting Pignut.” So there are lots of open doors and projects to look forward to.

Photos by Ryan Orange Photography

 The Wrap Up:

 Taylor finished with her feelings about Aftermath and her onscreen family. She pointed out, quite rightly, that as the season has progressed the audience learns more about the Copeland’s and the show is evolving. We also talked about the “flying dragon” and what it was really called (Quetzalcoatl and not a dragon, as Levi Meaden pointed out in an earlier interview) that her character calls “the Q thing.”

Ms. Hickson also talked about the basis of the show. It is based on the Book of Revelation but since each culture has their own version of this apocalyptic series of events, these were included in the show, hence the Quetzalcoatl and the Japanese man eating plant.

She would love to see a second season of Aftermath be approved as her on-screen family have all gotten so acclimated to one another that she feels the show would be even better. Taylor mentioned the series was shot out of order and how odd it was to see the final product afterward and the difference between watching it and “living it.”

We also talked about the mythology that went into the creatures that appear on the show (like the Q-bird) and Taylor mentioned that after each episode the YouTube channel “Geeksiders” do a complete rundown on all the creatures and cultures of each Aftermath episode. Taylor revealed that the channel is incredibly thorough: “They knew more about the show than I did”

Taylor Hickson is a very busy young woman who is enthusiastic about her job and the business. A talented young actress that had high words of praise for her co-workers.

Aftermath - Season 1
Taylor and Julia Sarah Stone

We also spoke of muppets and fraggles and how Julia played a prank on her with some M&M’s.

There are two episodes of “Aftermath” left in  this season.  The show airs Tuesdays on SyFy and Space in Canada.

Note: Unless otherwise stated the images used are by Ryan Orange Photography or Eike Schroter. 

Van Helsing: Stay Away – Banished (Review)

 Van Helsing - Season 1

Van Helsing this week took a very dark turn. “Stay Away” moved on from the last episode’s events and Doc ends up being banished from Eden. More importantly, is turns out that those “turned” by Vanessa, stay turned.  As both Doc and Magdelene find out at the end of the episode.

Axel did not turn up in this segment so he may still be trapped in the quarantine zone in the bunker.  Mohamad, however, is at last reunited with his best buddy Sam.

The episode starts with Van Helsing and her little band of survivors being attacked by vampires. As they fight the attackers help comes in the form of a tall bowman and another archer from Eden.

Vanessa and her group follow the tall archer, Theo, back to a compound being run by Micah. The places feels like a religious colony and there are a number of very pregnant young women roaming the grounds.

Moments after Van Helsing arrives a vampire called Magdalene shows up, seconds before she arrives, bells ring out a warning and the mystery of the bells is solved. Micah and his followers provide Magdalene with blood as part of a “deal.”

Vanessa distrusts the place despite Micah and Theo’s assurances that everything is fine. Van Helsing takes a shine to the tall bowman and they bond over a katana training match.  Susan is less enamored of Theo and called him Zorro.

Sam spies a familiar bit of clothing on the washing line. It looks like Mohamad’s Nirvana t-shirt. He follows the man hanging up the washing and is locked into a room.

Susan has real misgivings about Eden. She asks Vanessa if she finds it odd that for all the pregnant women around the place, there are no children. Doc reluctantly delivers a baby via C-section. Van Helsing holds the baby.

She asks Micah about the lack of children in the commune and he explains how Eden works. It is not, he says, a cult. Susan still looks very skeptical and Micah says his motives are pure.

Van Helsing asks Doc about Axel. She reveals that she left him to die behind the quarantine doors. Vanessa realizes that Doc shut Axel in with Gorman and deserted the man who kept Doc alive for months.

Vanessa banishes Doc from the group.

Flesh goes to see Micah for counseling.  Van Helsing and Theo have their training match and play “getting to know you. Vanessa proves just how capable she really is.

Sam explores the room he is trapped in and discovers pictures of Micah and other people at Eden. Flesh comes out of his meeting with Eden’s leader a changed man. Micah offers to do the same for Doc and she refuses his offer of help.

Micah also reveals that he knows about everyone in the group, including why Vanessa is wanted by Julius. Sam escapes from his cell.  Vanessa and Theo share a meaningful moment and she actually bites him on the shoulder during their make out session.

She explains to Theo that she is similar to the vampires in that she has “abilities.” Van Helsing tells him about being able to kill Feeders or turn Vampires.

The two compare notes and Theo tells Vanessa  that Micah takes the babies and the mother’s to the resistance in Seattle. The human resistance group, says Theo, have taken back the city. Vanessa knows that this is not true.

Sam finds Mohamad and attacks the man who took him captive. The two men struggle as Mohamad urges his friend to let the man go. Sam kills the man.

The newborn baby and her mother are taken into the woods, via the road.  Micah’s second in command stops the wagon and helps the new mother and baby off the vehicle. She tells the mother that she is watering the horse.

(This is possibly a nod to the 1965 John Wayne, Dean Martin western titled “The Sons of Katie Elder.” In that film, the horse drawn wagon of captured  Elders are stopped over a stream. When the deputy in charge asks what they are doing the driver responds, “Watering the horses.” Cue one ambush where the Elders are meant to die.)

As the driver disappears into the woods with a bucket, Magdalene turns up for the baby and its mother. Van Helsing and Theo arrive in the knick of time and stop the vampire from taking the offering from Micah.  Theo had no idea that Micah was doing this.

Vanessa learns of the pact as Sam and Mohamad are caught trying to leave  Eden. Micah asks Flesh what they should do with the group and he suggests banishment. Handing a knife to Flesh he tells the man to think as they do.

Mohamad explains what Sam found. Van Helsing arrives and reveals that Micah has been giving the newborns and their mothers to Magdalene.  Flesh is furious and he killed Micah by putting the knife through the leader’s throat.

Flesh decides to stay and help the commune now that Micah is gone. Theo tells Vanessa that they will destroy Magdalene. He then tells her he will join her later. He gives her a katana sword to take with her.

Mohamad stops the group to ask where Doc is.

Doc has hunted down Magdalene to warn her about Theo. Doc then reveals that she was turned by Vanessa but she wants to turn back.  Doc offers to help the vampire escape if she turns her into a vampire again.

Magdalene agrees by biting Doc’s forearm. Nothing happens and Magdalene dislikes the taste of Doc’s flesh and blood. The vampire pushes Doc to the ground and tells her to stay away.

The doctor is not well and truly banished as she is not welcome in either camp.

Van Helsing this week was very dark.  The pact with Micah’s group and the local vampires was disturbing. (Although not too surprising as Tom Cavanagh usually plays rotters of some sort.)

More upsetting was the reveal that Doc was nothing as she appeared. So stricken by fear that she preferred being a vampire. Suddenly all her issues with Alex made perfect sense. He “saved” her, via Van Helsing’s bite, and the woman was happier as a vampire.

No wonder she left the Marine to die.

This will not be the last we see of Doc however. Like Jonathan Scarfe, who plays Axel, Rukiya Bernard is listed for all 13 episodes on IMDb.

We can reasonably expect both to turn back up. The big reveal though is not Doc’s preference to drink blood. It is that the vampires cured by Vanessa cannot be turned back. This is, in essence, “a game changer.”

Van Helsing airs Fridays on SyFy. Tune in and see how this series continues to evolve.

Cast:

Guest starring Tom Cavanagh as Micah, Christopher Russell as Theo and Gwynyth Walsh as Magdelene.

‘Channel Zero’ Candle Cove: Welcome Home – Finale (Recap/Review)

Channel Zero: Candle Cove - Season 1

There was only ever one way that Channel Zero: Candle Cove was going to end. Mike Painter was a doomed character and we knew it from the first time we saw him.  “Welcome Home” (it is hard to imagine a more ironic title for the season finale) sees the conclusion creep home with the horror of a mother killing her last remaining son to protect her granddaughter.

The finale moves slowly, like someone trying to move through waist deep molasses, and it draws out the ending.  Those expecting a cacophony horrors to leap off the screen will be disappointed.  Instead of a clash of disturbing images, the whole of episode 6 presents its horrors sparingly,focusing instead on the personal aspect of this tale.

Mike sacrifices himself so his daughter can live. He agrees to stay behind so Eddie can inhabit his body. (There is a splendid reversal of the Ringu effect where Lily crawls into the television screen to come out in the real world.)

At the start of the episode, Erica comes back looking for Lily. Mike explains that he knows where Lily is but only he can get her. Erica’s frustration manifests itself in her screamed demand to take her to Lily.

Mike takes his wife out to the field where Lily lays unconscious on the ground.  He makes his wife stay back and Mike walks over to Lily. Just like his vision at the start of episode,  the Tooth-Child takes some teeth and Mike wakes up in the Cove.

Eddie and Mike bargain over who will stay behind as the Skin Taker looks on.  Lily is released and as soon as Erica brings the child back, Marla leaves the house.

She is headed to Mike and on the way she runs into Francis Booth. The teacher attacks her with the hook. As she starts to give Marla the  killing blow with the instrument, Amy  shoots her.

The temporary sheriff tells Marla to step back and Mike’s mother grabs the hook and plants the thing in Booth’s ear. Back at the cove, Eddie tells his brother goodbye and starts to the television.

Amy holds a press conference and informs the reporters that Francis Booth was the murderer, back in 1985 and now. As she talks to the press, the former sheriff packs up his kids and drives away. The widower is heading toward a new start and leaving Iron Hill.

Marla is healing after Marla’s attack. Lily is coloring a picture.  She pauses and watches as the television show “Candle Cove” comes on. Mike enters the room and turns the television off.

There is a flashback to the day that Mike dies.  Marla pinches his nostrils shut and covers his mouth with her hand. She kills him in order to protect Lily and the world from Eddie’s power.

It is a shocking moment, but not altogether too unexpected.  All of Iron Hill can breathe a sigh of relief although Marla looks a bit troubled.

The slow almost dream-like presentation of the show’s finale, meant the tension never really let up. It seemed certain that the pint-sized new sheriff was going to be attacked by Booth’s children. In the end, however, she avoids harm and comes across as another local hero who defeats the evil controlling  the area and its children.

Mike tricks Eddie by replaying that card game where he cheated. Tantamount to playing chess with the grim reaper, this time Mike plays fairly and Eddie wins the game but loses the battle. He is stuck in Candle Cove with Mike.

Channel Zero: Candle Cove - Season 1

The former sheriff, whose wife the children killed, takes his two kids away from Iron Hill. Mike, lives on through Lily, who sees her father turn off Candle Cove when it plays on the television.

Channel Zero: Candle Cove ends with a slight whimper and a sigh. The climax of the finale is a bit of an understatement.  The only real violence comes from two middle-aged women who fight in the wood.

The most disturbing scenes deal with Mike facing the Skin Taker. Once as a burning entity in the hallway and later when the creature shoves sticks into its face and eye.

The series was easily one of the creepiest and most disturbing on television.  Kudos to all the players and show creator Nick Antosca. Only one real question remains, was Marla somehow “touched” by Candle Cove?

Cast:

Van Helsing: Help Out – Guilt (Recap/Review)

 Van Helsing - Season 1

The strain of being trapped in The Farm is beginning to take its toll on Van Helsing and the others. “Help Out” manages to cut the survivors down by two and Mohamad meets a girl in the woods outside the bunker.

It is the morning after the night before and John’s body is on the floor with blood surrounding its head.  Van Helsing begins cleaning the blood up and as she gets the corpse ready to be moved a hungover Axel and Flesh arrive to help out.

Flesh is troubled by Axel’s “disrespect” for the dead and later thanks the Marine for his help in “getting them this far.” The two men then discover a number of putrefied bodies in one of the kitchen freezers.

Vanessa and Susan share a bunk and later they kiss.  Van Helsing admits to her friend that when she killed John, she wanted to kill and could not wait to do it again.

Doc does an autopsy on one of the corpses. She suddenly vomits and believes it is down to the alcohol from the night before.  She tells Axel and Gorman that the new bodies in the freezer need to be moved.

Vanessa goes to help Axel and thanks him for “having her back.” As their conversation continues, Vanessa learns that he read her personal file back at the hospital. The atmosphere between the two changes.

Van Helsing locks Axel in the quarantine area but lets him out when a vampire appears. The Marine shoots the creature before he leaves area.

Mohamad runs into a woman, Emma,  who is gathering wild mushrooms and berries for medicine.  She initially thinks that he is a feeder.  After introductions they two go to find more mushrooms.

Axel and Susan try to hunt down the vampire and they discover that the thing has healed itself. They also find a room that looks like a abattoir with blood all over the walls.

Rebecca, Darius’ sister, sets up Quaid to take the blame for her bloodhound, Sheema.  She and the doctor return the woman to a human camp to be killed. This will allow the vampire to use Sheema longer as a way to hunt down the rest of the  resistance.

Doc discovers that her nausea is down to radiation and not her hangover. Once she finds the levels are way too high for them to remain in the shelter, Doc passes out.

Axel gets concerned and all the group, except Gorman, go to check on her. He manages to wake her up and she unlocks the door to the lab. Doc tells the group that the entire place has been contaminated. She hands out iodine pills to counteract the radiation.

Vanessa now distrusts Axel and Doc explains that if they do not get out quickly enough  the radiation will kill them anyway.  Susan and Doc get into an argument and Axel notices that the only one who is not getting sick is Van Helsing.

Emma kisses Mohamad and then runs off. She runs past two of Julius’ special vampires and they ignore her. Moments later Mohamad runs past and they ignore him as well.

Rebecca’s plan works and Quaid dies, shot by Taka after Sheema backs up the vampire’s version of events.

Axel finds Doc crying and she confesses that she was not trying to save Smith when she got bitten. Doc also tells Axel that she is a coward, not a  hero and that she is a bad person.

This scene is a huge signpost for what happens moments  later when the two go looking for Gorman.

The Marine comforts her. Susan and Sam come in looking for Gorman who has gone missing. Sam finds a way out of the bunker and the survivors all head out except for Axel and Doc.

Axel heads into the quarantine area and Doc holds the door open for him. Gorman finds Axel and the two fight. As they get closer to the door, Doc panics and locks them both in.

She screams through the door and runs off leaving the Marine to die. Gorman attacks Axel and the two disappear beneath the glass in the door.

Later a bloody hand raises up and smacks against the glass.

On top of the bunker the escapees are attacked by vampires.  Vanessa becomes a one woman killing machine. Doc climbs out of the bunker and tells Van Helsing that Axel is dead.  She says that Gorman bit him.

The fortified ambulance runs out of gas and Vanessa learns that Axel lied to her about her file. Van Helsing also finds out that she was meant to be taken back to The Farm before the vampires took over.

As Susan and Vanessa talk, the bells begin ringing again and she decides they need to check them out.

This episode finally allowed us to see what has been eating Doc for so long.  Her guilt over sentencing Smith to die and her continued cowardice in the face of the vampires is overwhelming. It is not, however, enough to let her save Axel.

Mohamad’s new friend may not be all that she appears to be.  It is a bit odd that Julius’ special troops completely ignored her. Although that could be down to their mission to find Van Helsing and bring her to back to Julius.

Clearly Axel is not dead, although he might have been turned by Gorman. Either way, the tough Marine may not be quite so attached to Doc since she left him to die in the contaminated bunker.

The feeling of this episode was one of confusion and melancholy. Certainly the group was not as tight, it was as thought the death of John broke something. Radiation sickness may have caused a lot of the disharmony but some it may be down to the group dynamic changing.

Vanessa is evolving, her abilities to kill are improving exponentially as the series progresses.  It is odd that Axel  lied about the file but he may have done so to make Van Helsing feel less exposed.

It will be interesting to see how Axel gets out of the bunker. With Mohamad searching for the group; the smart money is on the young man and  his new friend releasing the Marine from the quarantined section.

Overton and Scarfe have brought a lot to their characters and Bernard, as Doc, is just killing it. Heyerdahl has managed to make Sam much more than the big silent type. David Cubitt will be missed as his character was one we loved to hate. 

Van Helsing airs Fridays on SyFy.

Cast:

 

Guest starring  Chris Ippolito as Gorman,  Christie Burke as Emma, Jennifer Copping as Quaid  and Gwynyth Walsh as Magdalena.

Aftermath: A Clatter and a Chatter – Strange Days (Recap/Review)

 Aftermath - Season 1

The weird and disturbing world of Aftermath continues this week with “A Clatter and a Chatter.” The Copeland’s, and  Devyn are facing some strange days (as Boone says later on in the episode) and Aunt Sally turns up on the doorstep with Jeff Quantrell and things end badly.

Some of the new threats include a Japanese man-eating plant from mythology and bits of ground that look like fast acting quicksand. Other weird and wonderful changes in the status quo include demon possessed fever heads and what appears to be a Banshee.

The family outdistance the fever heads that were chasing them last week but  have run out of road.  Their attackers catch up.

A man on a white horse rides to their rescue. Devyn mumbles the “death on a pale horse” quote from the bible and the rescuer turns out to be an old Air Force flame of Karen’s.

Lamar “Booner” Boone has a base where he and a few others are keeping the fever heads and skinwalkers out. He is overjoyed to see Karen and Booner invites the family back to the base for some food and relaxation.

Her kids are somewhat dismayed to learn that their mother’s nickname was “Booty” and Joshua is not overly impressed with his wife’s old friend. Aunt Sally and Quantrell are running from the compound as it has been overrun with fever heads.

Quantrell is getting the fever and they rush to his cabin to get medicine to counteract the disease. They find the place ransacked and Sally pretty much forces Quantrell to take her to Karen. She is convinced that Booner will have more than enough medication to cure him.

Dana has a new fan, the young man who helped them get rid of the Japanese man-eating plants that were invading the RV. She asks Brianna for advice and Matt is not thrilled by this turn of events.

Aunt Sally has her hands full keeping Quantrell from going full fever head.  His conditions worsen on the trip. The car breaks down and they walk through the wood toward the base. Jeff is attacked by a skinwalker and he tells Sally to run.

Booner spends all his time visiting with Karen and does not go out of his way to be friendly to Joshua. Boone is clearly an alpha male and he is not happy that Karen is married.

Sally makes it to the compound. She stands at the gate asking to be let in. A sentry points his rifle at Karen’s sister. She points her gun at the man and threatens to shoots him.

Things get very tense and after a moment Sally is let in. Quantrell follows soon after.  He is clearly ill with the fever but Booner lets him in anyway.

An entire group of fever head skin walkers heads for the camp..  Booner sends out some of his people to drive them towards the compound. When they reach the compound he has explosives set off and they are all killed.

Quantrell gets free, he was restrained, and he kills aunt Sally.  Karen then kills him. The family watch as she lays down next to her dead sister.

“A Clatter and a Chatter” keeps the tension up. There were moments where things were a bit  “iffy” however.  For instance, the scene where aunt Sally and Quantrell have evacuated his compound. The expository line from Sally “So they overran your defenses and took over the base,” was almost laughable, but it worked…barely.

Another example was the “horde” of fever head skinwalkers being blown up. All the camera focuses on are the treetops and the “demons” rising upward, obviously cheaper than using a plethora of extras to show the massive amount of skinwalkers.

The man-eating  Japanese plant was a nice touch but the Banshee was a tad much. But it is, after all, the apocalypse and all sorts of myths have been brought to life.

Guest star Wayne Brady, better known by audiences as an affable gameshow host, knocked it out of the park as the bluff and somewhat earthy survivor who ran the camp.

So the Copeland’s have lost one of their number and Devyn is, so far, a poor fit.  The sheltered lad is having a hard time adjusting to life outside the commune and he could well be the next casualty. He does still dote on Brianna who feels responsible for the boy.

Aftermath continues to allow its characters to grow as each episode passes. Dana still has issues with guns but in this episode she fired one quite easily, although it was while going through a bit of a meltdown.

Matt is still not keen on Devyn and Joshua continues to maintain his low level sense of confidence which is quite impressive considering that he is married to a female version of Rambo.

Aftermath airs Tuesdays on SyFy and Space. Tune in and see what other new creatures and strange hazards will be introduced in these end of days.

 

Cast:

Guest starring Wayne Brady as Lamar Boone and Steve Bacic as Jeff Quantrell