Friday, November 13, 2020

Barbecue's Bonfire 11/13/2020: Cuffs and Riffs Edition


   Welcome back to another weekly installment of Barbecue's Bonfire! Since this past Saturday was Re-Halloween we celebrated by watching some Tree House of Horror, playing Zombicide, and checking out what was left at our nearest Party City. On Sunday afternoon we reorganized the closet where we keep our various holiday decorations and began putting up Christmas decorations. It's taking a bit but it's beginning to feel like that special, festive time of the year. I hope you're all doing well and starting to get into the holiday spirit! What have I been up to this week? Well first up, we're going to have to talk about The Mandalorian...

  The Mandalorian Chapter 10: "The Passenger" is a more self contained story than many previous episodes but I'm completely OK with that. It's definitely more of a horror episode with some terrifying ice spiders and the threat of Mando and his passengers freezing to death. Despite being a more standalone story, we're still seeing elements from other episodes carry over into this one. Din Djarin and the Child are still being hunted, leading to an incredible ambush scene. I love how the Mandaoliran fights! Seriously, his use of a jetpack in this episode would definitely be a move worthy of an Inspiration Point in D&D 5th edition. There's also a scene specifically referencing the events of Chapter 6: "The Prisoner" which is pretty cool. It's nice to have "standalone" episodes while still having the actions of previous episodes affect what happens. This one wasn't as hard hitting as the season premiere, Chapter 9: "The Marshal" and I definitely wanted to see Boba Fett appear, but it was still a good episode. Plus, Baby Yoda eating the eggs was hilarious and horrifying. More after the break...

   Mystery Science Theater and RiffTrax both have channels on Pluto TV. I'd never heard of Pluto TV until last week when my wife started using it to watch some election coverage. After playing around with it I discovered that it's pretty cool! I've watched a few parts of a few MST3K episodes and RiffTrax's The House on Haunted Hill and Manos The Hands of Fate. How amazing! Seriously, I could probably cancel my subscriptions to all other streaming now (except Disney+, cause I gotta watch Mando).

   I'm continuing my readthrough of all of the Stephen King novels I haven't read before and now I've made my way to 1992's Gerald's Game. This isn't a long book (only around 300 pages) but I actually attempted this one back in 8th grade. I wasn't ready for it then, I guess, as I stopped shortly into it. It's a strange book as it takes place essentially in one place while the protagonist, Jessie Burlingame, is handcuffed to a bed in a remote cabin. After her husband dies of a heart attack while leaving her in this predicament Jessie is left alone with the company of the voices in her head, the memories of the childhood sexual abuse she suffered, and a mysterious specter. It's not a "fun" book but it's actually a well written tale of the horrors and long term effects of trauma. It's not for everyone and at times it is incredibly grotesque, but it's an interesting novel that moves away from supernatural horror to something more insidious. At times while reading it I thought this would have made a better short story or novella but it's definitely not dull and really fleshes out Jessie Burlingame's character well a she struggles to survive. 

   We watched one of The Simpsons' Tree House of Horror episodes before Halloween, a second on Re-Halloween, and now my daughter is nuts about them. They seem to be a good mixture of spooky and funny so that she's enthralled but not terrified. This week we've watched installments II, III, and IV. These really bring back some memories and are still quite hilarious. I love all of the riffs and parodies on films and Twilight Zone episodes, most of which I wouldn't have got when first watching these. My favorites? From II it's Lisa's Nightmare, a play on the Monkey's Paw ("The turkey's a little dry!", from III it's "Clown Without Pity", a parody of The Twilight Zone episode "Living Doll" and the story from Trilogy of Terror, and from IV it's "Bart Simpson's Dracula." I'm a big fan of Bram Stoker's Dracula and this is a respectable 6-7 minute parody of it with some great quotes. "He's a vampire?"

Lastly, let's check out the most popular reviews this week...

Teela from Masters of the Universe Origins is on her second week and now she's up to the top! What can I say? Teela's a beloved character from one of the greatest properties of them all! I think she's the best figure in the line so far and a worthy successor to the vintage toy.

Beast Man from Masters of the Universe Origins is on his fourth week and he's still sitting strong, though he has been knocked down a notch by Teela. Who knew the guy was such a hit with the kids? These figures seem to now be in good supply and more collectors and casual fans should be able to get their hands on them.

Man-At-Arms from Masters of the Universe Origins is here again for his third week. I'm really waiting for this line to find its own identity, like 200x or MOTUC, but these are still fun toys for the price point. This version of MAA kind of looks like Nacho Libre though, right?

Panthor at Point Dread from Masters of the Universe Mega Construx is another new review from this week. I'm really loving the Mega Construx MOTU line and this one is fantastic, especially because we get the Talon Fighter and Zodac! Woohoo!

Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ultimates is the first newcomer on the list and he's great proof that major league butt-kicking never left. Turtle Power is still strong after all these years and Super7's new line is perhaps the most radical yet. 

Evil-Lyn from Master of the Universe Mega Construx is another newcomer on the list this week, though she's in good company as 5/6ths of the list is Masters of the Universe related. The Mega Construx line seems like it's doing well and Evil-Lyn is a popular lady, so I expect her to hang around a bit. I'll probably start reviewing the rest of this series of minifigures next week, so stay tuned!

Well, that's all for this week dudes and dudettes! Keep it real and keep collecting! Also, today's Friday the 13th so don't get hacked up or anything. 

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