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What to Watch While Stuck In Your Room

For those who love Halloween, it can be a bummer when it is over. These TV and film selections will help you brave through your post-Halloween depression. Who says that Halloween has to end after October 31st? You can watch these suggestions year-round, if you’re feeling it!

American Horror Story: Coven

By now, most people have probably seen American Horror Story. I, however, am new to the series, and have fallen in love with the third season, Coven. For those who are not fans, American Horror Story is an anthology series that hit the air in 2011 with its first season, entitled Murder House. Since AHS is an anthology series, each season has a unique plot with new characters; most of the actors do stay the same, however. Since seasons do not connect, viewers are free to watch the series out of order, as well as to skip over seasons that do not pique their interest. 

Coven is the third season of the series. This season begins with teenager Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) being sent off to a coven for young witches in New Orleans, LA, after discovering that she has inherited a witch gene from her ancestors. At the coven, Zoe meets her peers: former actress, Madison (Emma Roberts), naive Nan (Jamie Brewer), and voodoo descendant, Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe). Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) is the instructor at the coven, which is disguised as a school. Cordelia’s mother, the wicked Fiona (Jessica Lange), is the reigning Supreme witch of the coven, who yearns for eternal beauty more than anything in the world. Cordelia teaches the young witches how to wield — and conceal — their powers in order to keep the coven a secret, since discovery would likely result in being burned at the stake. 

Along the way, more witches are introduced. These ‘supporting’ witches include: Cajun swamp witch and wannabe Stevie Nicks, Misty Day (Lily Rabe), head of the coven council, Myrtle (Frances Conroy), immortal voodoo queen, Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett), and Marie Laveau’s sworn enemy, Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates), who is also immortal. Evan Peters also plays a major role in this season, as Kyle, a fallen frat boy who is resurrected as a Frankenstein’s monster-eque creature.

Coven is a particularly gory season of American Horror Story, and is also much more psychologically thrilling that the two seasons before it. Besides the basic plotline of the coven, each character (even supporting characters) get their own subplots. This season is also particularly striking, as there is a strong racial theme throughout the series. The voodoo witches are Black, and have had a longtime feud with the white witches. Queenie ends up feeling lost because of this, since she lives among white witches. She feels out of place not only because she is the token Black witch of the coven, but because she possesses voodoo magic rather than the standard variant of magic of her white peers. 

The acting in this particular season is so very strong. While all seasons feature big-name actors who blow audiences away in these quirky and creepy roles, Coven takes a more natural approach. Most of the characters are quite normal, despite their possession of magic (with the exception of Fiona, Kyle, Marie Laveau, and Delphine LaLaurie). The ability of the actors to play such convincing parts is beyond me. Wow. Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates also nail the accents that they use to portray Marie Laveau and Delphine LaLaurie, respectively. This season could not have been cast any more perfectly.

American Horror Story: Coven aired in 2013, and was created by Ryan Murphy, who is known also for his work on Glee, Scream Queens, Pose, and 9-1-1. The series is rated TVMA, and can be triggering for some, as there is a vast amount of gore and sexual violence throughout. Coven consists of thirteen 45-minute episodes, all of which can be streamed on Netflix.

IT: Chapter 2

By suggesting this film, I am assuming that you have seen the first IT film from 2017 — or perhaps even the 1990 miniseries. If you have seen neither of those, I would highly recommend them, especially if you plan to watch IT: Chapter 2. Otherwise, you will be lost for the entirety of this three hour Stephen King flick.

IT: Chapter 2 takes off where the first film left off. We get to see where the Losers Club has ended up 27 years after the events of the first film. Since the first film was set in 1989, the sequel takes place in 2016. The time period is a change from the source material (Stephen King’s IT), as the events of the book take place in 1958 and 1985 (when the book was written). It is said that the shift in the time period for the rebooted films was a tactic used to capture the interest of younger viewers, who would — presumably — be more familiar with 1980s and 2010s culture. 

In this sequel, the Losers Club reunites in their hometown of Derry, Maine, to fulfill the promise they made 27 years prior: to defeat It when it returns. All of the Losers have become relatively successful, though Mike was the only member to stay in Derry. Very early on in the film, one of the Losers commits suicide as an alternative to returning to Derry to battle It, so consider this to be a trigger warning. The six Losers who remain are baffled when they discover that they had no memory of Derry and all that transpired in the summer of 1989, until Mike calls to let them know that It has returned. 

CGI effects are considerably better in this film, and there are lots of them. Unlike the first IT,  IT: Chapter 2 depicts many of the original horror scenes from the book, which pleased fans of the book. While this film focuses on the adult Losers Club, the child actors do return to reprise their roles in flashback sequences. Since the child actors were preteens during the shooting of the 2017 film, they developed considerably since, so de-aging software was employed to revert them to their appearances from the first film. These kids stole the show in IT, (particularly Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Sophia Lillis), so it only makes sense that they would at least have feature roles in IT: Chapter 2. The employment of the flashback scenes is an excellent addition to this film, and the transitions into them are often so smooth — while managing to be sudden — that they give you the chills. 

The adult Losers are portrayed by an all-star cast: Jessica Chastain, James Ransone, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, and Andy Bean. Naturally, Bill Skarsgard returns to reprise his role as Pennywise. IT: Chapter 2 was released in 2019, and is two hours and 49 minutes long. The film is rated R, and can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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