The Suggestion Box #42: Ghosts, and Cyborgs, and Monsters, Oh My!

Wondering what to do with your upcoming free time? Good thing we have some suggestions for what you should be watching, playing, reading, listening to, etc.

Thanks to Lauren’s Halloween Prep writeup currently in the process of coming together she doesn’t have anything to add to the Suggestion Box this time, so be sure to come back at the end of the month to check that out.

Ben’s Movie Pick: Afflicted Afflicted is an awesome blend of found footage horror and… something else that I won’t spoil here; odds are that you’ll be able to figure out what’s going on pretty early on. The movie builds up the main duo and creates a believable bond between them surprisingly fast, and does a great job documenting the titular ailment that one of them begins to suffer from during their trip around the world. Some of the developments are kinda cool and give off a similar vibe to Chronicle, while other findings are gross, unsettling, or both. You may be able to guess where it’s going some of the time, but it keeps you sufficiently entertained and scared throughout. Afflicted deserves way more love than it’s been given, and I urge any any and all horror fans to check it out.

Ben’s Movie Pick: Ghost in the ShellNot only is the 1995 masterpiece Ghost in the Shell an important landmark in the history of anime, but it was way, way ahead of its time. Like the also mind-blowing and groundbreaking anime film Akira, GitS helped popularize the medium in the West. Its wonderfully realized, beautifully animated world paints a bizarre, but eerily believable future for us, blurring the line between man and machine, drawing the blueprints that have been used in some of the other most popular cyberpunk franchises in the world (a big example being The Matrix). The questions about humanity and identity that GitS asks, as well as the themes behind the film’s narrative, have become even more relevant since its release, and are still being presented in today’s greatest sci-fi stories. And the truly fantastic action sequences have not only stood the test of time, but created a bar that most of the action films released in the last quarter century have struggled to clear. Overall, it’s a stunning experience that has seemingly aged backwards; it only gets more impressive as time goes on because of its growing relevance and how it continues to inspire more and more creators around the world.

And though it fails to match the intelligence and legacy of the first movie, the 2017 live-action remake is still an awesome action flick that faithfully recreates some of the series’ best moments. (Lauren’s Note: Ben definitely doesn’t speak for all of us.)

Ben’s Movie Pick: The Host Bong Joon-Ho’s The Host is one of the most unique and entertaining monster movies out there, and also has a lot more to say than your typical creature feature. It’s action-packed, scary, funny, pulls at your heartstrings, gets its messages across without ever slowing the movie down, and the creature design is top notch. Most of The Host’s main characters are strange, flawed, yet good-willed people, and the performances behind them easily get you to root for them, care about them, and hope that they can survive the completion of their mission largely unscathed. And as I said before, the monster itself is incredible. It’s physical appearance is equally unique and creepy, and the first time you get to see it is in one of the greatest scenes in monster movie history. The following scenes might not be quite as impressive, but they’re still all-around great.

Ben’s TV Pick: The Haunting of Bly Manor The Haunting of Bly Manor doesn’t quite match The Haunting of Hill House’s damn-near perfect balance of horror and drama (it leans much further towards the latter), but it’s still a poignant ghost story that I would highly recommend checking out. Though a significant chunk of the previous series’ cast returns, Bly Manor weaves a new yarn that is completely separate from Hill House, instead taking inspiration from Henry James’ book, The Turn of the Screw, which I haven’t read and therefore have no idea how closely the show sticks to the source material. The acting from both new and returning cast members is terrific (the standout in my opinion is T’Nia Miller, who is just incredible from start to finish) which helps distract from the slow pacing in the first few episodes, and the back half comes fairly close to recapturing the beautiful, frightening, gothic magic of Hill House.

So what do you think about these picks? What content did we miss over the past two weeks while we were spending time with these? Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know about everything (both current and simply new to you) you’ve been consuming lately!

And while you’re here, be sure to check some of the site’s other recent content:

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