Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Every Haunting Hour Ever #28: Brush with Madness
Original Airdate: November 5, 2011
Director: Neill Fearnley
For those who thought Pumpkinhead was a disappointing follow-up to Flight, then strap in because Brush with Madness will cheer you right up!
When comic book geek Corey (Dylan Minnette) gets yelled at by his favorite artist Allan Miller (Mackenzie Gray) during a comic book convention upon asking too many questions, Corey steals Allan's brushes and comes up with his own creation only to learn that Allan's brushes have the power to turn fantasy into reality when he and his friend Emma (Chanelle Peloso) are pursued by a villain called the Mad Artist (also played by Dylan Minnette). In a twist ending, it is determined that Allan was the one behind the whole thing trying to create his new comic book. He then shreds it so that he won't get a lot of questions about it from his fans which he states to his bodyguard.
One of the things that makes this episode great is the portrayal of both the fans of comic books and creators of comic books. With this kind of story, it would've been very easy to put most if not all the sympathy with one side. However, the sympathy is distributed a bit more equally to both sides in this episode. For example, we see how much the main character Corey loves the work of Allen Miller and how excited he gets when he is able to meet him at Comic Con. However, he unwittingly sets Miller off and thinks that he's a jerk and presumably has his heart broken. On the other side of the coin, we see how afraid and stressed out Miller is because he feels that his sanity and possibly his life are at stake due to his obsessive fans stalking him, despite the fact that he obviously loves working on comics and doesn't want to let the obsessive fans get in the way of giving back to the non obsessive fans. Speaking of Miller, that brings me to my second point.
The other enjoyable element of this episode is Allen Miller himself. Unlike most other Haunting Hour villains, his motivation is a bit more understandable and fleshed out and because of this, has a few more shades of grey to him. While I still enjoy Haunting Hour villains like Fear and Dr. Mangle, it's nice to see a villain that changes things up a bit and makes more of an effort to stand out from the crowd.
Another thing I just love about this episode is the illustrations Corey makes with Allen Miller's brushes are amazing. They look as though they were taken right out of a creative and well painted noir style comic book with the heavy use of shadows and lack of colour. In fact, the illustrations alone could make for a really great standalone comic book. Not only are the illustration well made, but they're also used as a clever way to foreshadow later events in this episode. For example, Emma becomes concerned for Corey, but he lashes at her and says that painting the panels is inspiration and art for him. Emma leaves angrily, while Corey completes a panel with the Mad Artist in it. He doesn't realize however that outside his house, a stranger who looks exactly like the Mad Artist is standing out side his drive way, watching him paint through his window, exactly like on of the panels he had previously painted on the wall. Later in the episode, Corey wakes up in horror as he realizes that he covered his entire bedroom wall in comic book paintings. Going downstairs in his house, Corey hears someone outside his front door. Looking outside, he realizes that someone painted a black "X" on his door. Racing upstairs, he realizes that he painted panels where the Mad Artist states that "An X marks whose next". He also realizes that the "Mad Artist" has an extremely close resemblance to Allen Miller.
Some people say that the problem with this episode is that the ending is a bit too dark. For me however, it's one of the highlights of the episode because it shows how much of an impact the obsessive fans have had on Miller's life and how far he is willing to go to solve his problem, even if means hurting and possibly killing other people.
Overall, Brush with Madness takes two rather mediocre Goosebumps stories (Attack of The Mutant and The Blob that Ate Everyone) and turns them into something great. Like with Fear Never Knocks and Creature Feature, it's one of those episodes that I can watch over and over again and never get tired of it. This is definitely an episode that I can add to my list of personal favorites.
Overall Grade: A