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Midnight Mass

Totenkindly

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Watched the opener today. We thought it was decent enough, albeit slow. As you know Flanagan, he likes to take the early time to set up the characters. It usually pays off later.

The color palette is lovely, focused on faded blue hues set against golden glowing hues. It's really nice.

Definite religious under/overcurrents.

Lots of cast from his prior films and TV shows are in this. Probably 10-12. I don't even hate Annabeth Gish here.

We could both see King's influence on Flanagan's writing, whether the language, or the imagery, or the themes.

Flanagan takes time to set up some family dynamics here, and some characters start out in the hole. The images that persist related to the opening scene are very striking.

We'll watch more this weekend.
 

Totenkindly

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Finished three episodes.

At times it can feel a bit slow. Much of it is just talking (which I already knew going into it). Very slow burn, slower than King's "The Outsider."

Townsperson everyone loves to despise: Bev Keane, the local ultra-religious anal-retentive zealot. She's a little too easy to hate at times and it will be interesting to see how things shake out with her.

I felt a little pleased I figured out two spoilers before their reveal, although they weren't terribly difficult:


Not sure what I think yet. It's been enjoyable, although I've preferred the two Haunting series more at the moment. MM can feel a little too indulgent to the tastes of its creator and hasn't totally locked in yet, although there are a few really stellar scenes so far, one of them involving a private meeting between Leeza and Joe. There's also an interesting conflict between Keane and the sheriff (who is Muslim) involving religious texts used in school.

Also it was pretty clear the old woman (the doc's mom) was a younger performer in a lot of makeup as soon as they appeared, unfortunately. But the acting itself is fine, it's the actress who played Danny's mom in Doctor Sleep. It reminds me a lot of aged Winona Ryder in "Edward Scissorhands" for some reason, maybe what she looks like and how she talks.
 

Abcdenfp

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I am enjoying it as well, I am leaving the last 2 episodes for tonight!
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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View attachment 24881

Watched the opener today. We thought it was decent enough, albeit slow. As you know Flanagan, he likes to take the early time to set up the characters. It usually pays off later.

The color palette is lovely, focused on faded blue hues set against golden glowing hues. It's really nice.

Definite religious under/overcurrents.

Lots of cast from his prior films and TV shows are in this. Probably 10-12. I don't even hate Annabeth Gish here.

We could both see King's influence on Flanagan's writing, whether the language, or the imagery, or the themes.

Flanagan takes time to set up some family dynamics here, and some characters start out in the hole. The images that persist related to the opening scene are very striking.

We'll watch more this weekend.
I like the poster. Drew Struzan? So much better than photos.
 

Totenkindly

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I like the poster too. I think Stranger Things released posters before as well.

Is there anything that Annabeth Gish was great in? Trying to give her a fair shake.

This is probably the best I've seen her overall (as the matter-of-fact, generally pleasant Dr. Gunning), but there's a moment where both my son and I burst out laughing when her response to a particular startling event consisted of something like, "It's interesting," in a barely excited voice when it should have either provoked utter frustration with faith issues or completely knocked her socks off -- any kind of emotional response, and it's like she just flew over the line with barely a rise.

I've only ever seen her in the last two seasons (original run) of X-Files paired with Robert Patrick as the Mulder/Scully replacement team (where I found her mostly annoying -- kind of a foo-foo new ager), and then Flanagan's Haunting of Hill House (where I really hated her -- she seemed horribly monotone), and now here, where I'm kind of low-level accepting of her presence...
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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I like the poster too. I think Stranger Things released posters before as well.

Is there anything that Annabeth Gish was great in? Trying to give her a fair shake.

This is probably the best I've seen her overall (as the matter-of-fact, generally pleasant Dr. Gunning), but there's a moment where both my son and I burst out laughing when her response to a particular startling event consisted of something like, "It's interesting," in a barely excited voice when it should have either provoked utter frustration with faith issues or completely knocked her socks off -- any kind of emotional response, and it's like she just flew over the line with barely a rise.

I've only ever seen her in the last two seasons (original run) of X-Files paired with Robert Patrick as the Mulder/Scully replacement team (where I found her mostly annoying -- kind of a foo-foo new ager), and then Flanagan's Haunting of Hill House (where I really hated her -- she seemed horribly monotone), and now here, where I'm kind of low-level accepting of her presence...
I'm not really familiar with Annabeth Gish, so I can't help you there. I don't think I've seen a single thing she's been in.
 

Lexicon

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I finished this series in like, 2 days. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll elaborate later so as not to give spoilers to those still watching.

One general comment: In our current age in horror, saturated with excssive jump-scares, grandiose reveals, superficial, bite-sized dialogue, and rapid/sped-up, digitally fine-tuned monsters that all offer quick dopamine and adrenaline hits for the viewer— in keeping with our ever growing need for instant gratification— this series deviates from that. Returns us a bit to the art of the slow boil. It sheds a lot of modern excess and relies mostly on the human element. Our most human element. And, we’re not snatched up and torn through the pages of a heart-pounding tale, but instead walked through the story as it unfolds around us in what eerily feels like real-time.

That aspect on its own, I found refreshing. I’ll leave it at that for now, and get into all the other plot-related specifics I liked later.
 

Totenkindly

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I just finished the fourth episode. Wow. Things just got real.

I also feel like Bev Keane just got more interesting rather than just being a rigid religious zealot.

I hate saying there might be too much talking. I normally eat that stuff up, and I also find what the characters are saying to be really interesting... but the pace is SO slow and my sleep patterns have been off so much lately, I kept nodding off despite fighting to stay awake. I feel bad even saying that, because I really liked what was being said -- and it was beautiful stuff, even if I didn't agree with some of it. But I think it's GREAT that characters are dialoging about it! And even the whole Muslim angle, with the sheriff and his son... good stuff.

I haven't seen a show quite like this, Flanagan is really taking a deep dive and not just stomping along well-traversed roads. I really am wondering where it is going.
 

Hypatia

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I just finished the fourth episode. Wow. Things just got real.

I also feel like Bev Keane just got more interesting rather than just being a rigid religious zealot.

I hate saying there might be too much talking. I normally eat that stuff up, and I also find what the characters are saying to be really interesting... but the pace is SO slow and my sleep patterns have been off so much lately, I kept nodding off despite fighting to stay awake. I feel bad even saying that, because I really liked what was being said -- and it was beautiful stuff, even if I didn't agree with some of it. But I think it's GREAT that characters are dialoging about it! And even the whole Muslim angle, with the sheriff and his son... good stuff.

I haven't seen a show quite like this, Flanagan is really taking a deep dive and not just stomping along well-traversed roads. I really am wondering where it is going.
This show sounds like it could be interesting. It's been awhile since I would sit down to watch anything with the 3 taglines of "Drama," "Supernatural," and "Horror" altogether, but I might get reinvigorated for a good, gritty tale.
 

Lexicon

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I just finished the fourth episode. Wow. Things just got real.

I also feel like Bev Keane just got more interesting rather than just being a rigid religious zealot.

I hate saying there might be too much talking. I normally eat that stuff up, and I also find what the characters are saying to be really interesting... but the pace is SO slow and my sleep patterns have been off so much lately, I kept nodding off despite fighting to stay awake. I feel bad even saying that, because I really liked what was being said -- and it was beautiful stuff, even if I didn't agree with some of it. But I think it's GREAT that characters are dialoging about it! And even the whole Muslim angle, with the sheriff and his son... good stuff.

I haven't seen a show quite like this, Flanagan is really taking a deep dive and not just stomping along well-traversed roads. I really am wondering where it is going.
Yeah, I really enjoyed Bev. I think they cast her really well. She was so good at drawing a prickly emotional response from me, haha. Hardcore Mrs. Carmody (The Mist) vibes, in terms of general personality. But, calmer. Gratingly human.


As for pacing, yeah, there are some drawn-out, slow parts. I didn’t mind them, but that’s not something I would be able to focus on, stylewise, for a series with multiple seasons. I think, since I knew the story had kind of a definitive end after 7 episodes, the draggy bits were easier to absorb. I did appreciate them, but I had a couple of impatient moments, admittedly. At the very least, even those were beautifully written.

I read somewhere that Flanagan had said in an interview that, as an ex-Catholic, this story out of all of his work was the most personal. That may explain a lot of the pacing, too...
 

Totenkindly

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Finished it -- once we got through Episode 5, it was early and "hey why not just blow through the rest?"

My favorite episodes were 5 and 6, I think.

I appreciate the deep dive into the religious discussion (Christianity and even a bit of Islam) vs more atheistic/naturalistic views of the soul/self. I felt like no one was short-changed. Normally Christianity is used as a cheap ghoul in these kind of horror stories, but I didn't feel that way here. Bev was more of your religious extremist, but there were many other approaches represented and a host of reactions in the townsfolk to what happened to them.

I kinda knew how Episode 5 would go based on the lead-up. It made it no less sad. I appreciated the catharsis and working through the perpetual guilt.

I also typically feel like Christian sermons and beliefs shown in most TV shows and films are either cheap, shallow, or sentimental and aren't like what it really means to deal with faith. I appreciated how the sermons by the pastor actually are pretty persuasive and charismatic and how they feel both fair and foul at the same time -- like, they are extremely inspiring and convincing if you are immersed in them, but if you step back and look at them from a distance, they can then feel wrong. I felt like Christianity got a fair shake overall. (I did not grow up Catholic, but I was immersed in various Protestant denoms and then evangelicalism for a few decades.)
 

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I listened to this podcast with Rohul Kohli a few weeks ago, where he discusses Midnight Mass, and found it interesting: Just The Facts with Alex Zane.


I've long thought the value of vampirism in fiction was just a metaphor for the narcissistic using of other people to sustain one's own comfort or feelings of self-worth - that maybe it's got so much holding power as a scary boogeyman precisely because there *are* people who exist by feeding on some vital essence of others, without regard for how that feeding is effecting those they're feeding from. So I loved how the story showed the way in which Christianity gets misused to feed off of people in that parasitic way, and how it's not even intentional; the people doing it can believe they're truly virtuous in spite of all the harm they're causing. An insidious tendency in religion is the righteous dehumanization of a group of others, which enables the religious group to effectively use that 'other-ed' group (and the individuals therein) as punching bags of a sort. To take their aggressions out on. It seems to happen easily where the focus is not foremost on not doing harm. And so, what I really liked about this Flanagan series is that it seemed (to me) like a cautionary tale about religion.

There's also something to be said about how people can tell themselves stories about how something that makes them feel better in some immediate sense is proof that it's a "good" thing, they can convince themselves of it for the sake of enjoying the comfort/relief guilt-free, and they can continue to lean hard into the "it's a good thing" narrative long after it's clear to anyone looking in from the outside that they're kidding themselves.

[spoilers]

The dog scene sucked to watch, but I guess ultimately it did humanize Joe in a way that made Bev's dehumanization of him especially shitty.

Unlike other Flanagan series, I didn't especially like this ending. I felt like any character bringing in an example of how religion can actually be used for good would have been a good contrast - even if they were killed off, it would have been better than simply *everybody* dying after yet another round of life's ubiquitous religious fanaticism whack-a-mole. There wasn't much closure at all.

In the podcast, Kohli explained that the moment Leeza said, "I can't feel my legs" was supposed to indicate the original vampire brought to the island had died (exposure to the sun, being unable to fly to other land from the island), to give closure. I can see that. It's not what occurred to me though, and I don't think it's really that clear.
 

Totenkindly

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In the podcast, Kohli explained that the moment Leeza said, "I can't feel my legs" was supposed to indicate the original vampire brought to the island had died (exposure to the sun, being unable to fly to other land from the island), to give closure. I can see that. It's not what occurred to me though, and I don't think it's really that clear.
Ironically, I immediately had thought the same as well -- and then in an article that came out the day after, Flanigan rebutted that.


...one could assume — as TheWrap did — that Lisa’s line means that The Angel did not make it away in time and was burned up by the sun as well, just off-screen... However, when TheWrap told “Midnight Mass” writer Mike Flanagan... what we assumed his ending meant, we were told our theory was wrong. But Flanagan does “love that that’s your read of it,” so don’t lose faith if that was your takeaway, too.

...Flanagan: “We’re not saying he died… Our hope really there was just to say that Leeza’s concentration in her blood had begun to tip back, that she was going to be OK. We didn’t want it to confirm about The Angel, in that way that you can never kill fanaticism, it’ll always kind of come back. But I love that that’s what it meant to you!”

I am still crushing on Rahul Kohli, btw... rofl

I've long thought the value of vampirism in fiction was just a metaphor for the narcissistic using of other people to sustain one's own comfort or feelings of self-worth - that maybe it's got so much holding power as a scary boogeyman precisely because there *are* people who exist by feeding on some vital essence of others, without regard for how that feeding is effecting those they're feeding from. So I loved how the story showed the way in which Christianity gets misused to feed off of people in that parasitic way, and how it's not even intentional; the people doing it can believe they're truly virtuous in spite of all the harm they're causing.

Vampirism (at least our westernized version) always seemed to devolve from Christianity, it's the anti-Christianity (a direct flip on the communion of Jesus and the symbolism of the blood baked into the myth, including the crucifix, etc.) although obviously there are many versions of vampirism in cultures that exist without the Christian elements. Just saying it should be the antithesis -- Jesus gives his blood to to speak to provide life, vampires take blood... giving vs taking -- but you rightly note how religion itself can be a kind of spiritual/psychic vampirism.

My college friend and I had some long discussions years back about what the Christian response to being turned into a vampire should be (we kind of agreed it would resemble what happens in Thirst and ironically what happens to Riley, the atheist). He was watching the show this week and texted me after episode 5. Power is such a dangerous thing, even (and maybe especially) in the hands of an idealist. You might think you are helping people by the very acts with which you destroy them. Riley rejected power and gave, rather than accepting the power and taking.
 
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Z Buck McFate

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I am still crushing on Rahul Kohli, btw... rofl

It's hard not to.

He mentioned that his favorite scene was the supply closet scene with Bev. It is a pretty fantastic scene.

"Our hope really there was just to say that Leeza’s concentration in her blood had begun to tip back, that she was going to be OK. We didn’t want it to confirm about The Angel"


See, this was actually my first impression. And it was part of what I didn't like, because it fit to cleanly/ was too much of a coincidence. Everyone dies, then she's instantly all "it's suddenly out of my system now!" Then when Kohli mentioned the connection to the original vampire, I was willing to forgive it. I could have sworn he said that came from Flanagan, but I guess that was just his own take. Maybe. But he mentioned that - because the Father just 'knew' when Riley didn't exist anymore - somehow the blood connects them (and that was set up to be the case, with the Father/Riley connection), and so the 'magic' disappeared as soon as the original vampire did. :shrug: I mean, it makes sense of it and it's a better explanation.

eta: And as far as wanting the threat to not entirely go away, I don't think it was ever implied the Father brought home the *only* vampire. I would have just assumed there were more out there somewhere, in spite of this particular one being killed.
 
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