Midnight Mass - Welcome to the Mike Flanagan's Castle Rock

Trivia: “Midnight Mass” was the name of the book the main character was writing in Flanagan’s Hush.

I know very little about this and I think I am going to keep it that way and just watch because I have liked so many other things he has done.

So I’ve started watching this today, and it’s good. It’s really good. Not really what I expected at all.

This is really great so far. We only got through the first episode, but I expect great things.

In one of the reviews I read it said that Crockett Island is a small town in Maine. Fictional I assume. We are two episodes in and I can’t tell what state this is taking place in.

The show itself is filmed near Vancouver.

I ask because they show the father and sons trap fishing for crab, but according to the State of Maine regulations on crabs, recreational users can take crabs by hand or with hook and line. The use of traps of any design is illegal.

The lack of hate here has convinced me to watch this - I saw part of a trailer but wasn’t paying a ton of attention so nothing’s been spoilered for me! This is on deck and I’ll get to it after Squid Game.

I had expected a standard horror series, but most of the first few episodes are more about character development.

I am such a sucker for the Flanagan shows. They just push my buttons. There’s something about the direction, the artifice of the dialogue, the emphasis on locations as character, that just sucks me in.

Watched episode 1 and I am pretty intrigued. Wish I had time to watch more this weekend. Clearly not quite on the same track as the Haunting shows, but I think that’s probably a good thing.

Also very glad to see Rahul Kohli in this. He was my favorite part of Bly Manor, and is a big nerd on Twitter.

This series was absolutely great, right up until the very end. Folks should definitely check it out.

The dad’s a fisherman who does it as his income. The regulations are probably different from recreational fishing. (And the mom has a whole rant about them in the first episode.) I don’t know if Flanagan gets them right, but…

Also, 3 episodes in and it’s super good so far. My eyes were not often dry during episode 3. Will say, it’s only lightly horror-tinged so far (though people who are sensitive to animal deaths should be wary, there are some in the first two episodes) but that does seem to be…building.

I really do not like Beverly Keane.

She is the real monster. Those of us that grew up in the Catholic Church recognize her. She represents a summation of everything I disliked about the church, taken to 11.

The show could do well with out introducing an actual monster which seems nonsensical to me.

Granted I’ve only watched three episodes.

Incidentally, he isn’t involved in any capacity as far as I know, and it’s certainly more obviously a Mike Flanagan joint…but I feel a strong Stephen King influence here.

It’s basically like a crazy remix of Stephen King books. The only thing it’s missing is the awful Stephen King dialogue.

Welp, it definitely goes full horror. The King comparison was even more apt than I thought initially, except it really remixes Salem’s Lot around notions of faith and the lead vampire’s desire to help his parishioners.

And still very much fuck Beverly. Ugh.

Three episodes in and enjoying it, but it’s a bit on the slow side.

The monster is a bit cheesy. I’m guessing this is going more like Salem’s Lot. The priest is spiking the sacremental wine with his blood or the monsters blood I’m guessing, which is what made the girl walk and the elderly mother recover from dementia. I guess they will become vampires?

Three episodes in as well and really enjoying it. I like the slow burn.

I’m two episodes in and it’s kinda good and sorta dumb but I guess I’m enjoying it.

Might be the best dead cat horror since–

We took it a couple of episodes a night to give us time to reflect and discuss. My wife and I enjoyed this, maybe more than any other Flanagan work.

Some spoilery thoughts in no particular order:

  1. I loved that religion, or Catholicism specifically, wasn’t just simply evil. It could’ve been really easy to have Father Pruitt be some cackling evil mastermind, but he was a flawed person trying to do good things. Religion was a source of violence or comfort depending on the person and the context.

  2. I’ve seen a lot of “vampire nobly sacrifices himself in sunlight” scenes in movies, but they always came off really cheesy. Riley’s suicide in the boat is the only one of these scenes that actually moved me. I’m sure that was mostly due to us having spent so much time with him in those episodes and hearing his struggle with guilt and alcoholism. Cutting from his peaceful dream to Erin’s screams at the end was brutal.

  3. Hamish Linklater as Father Pruitt/Paul was fantastic.

  4. Loved the bit with Henry Thomas revealing that actually, you can fight the urge and you don’t have to descend into madness and murder - at least for a little while. Long enough anyway to do the same as his son.

  5. I never really got a great sense of the vampire’s plan. Spread the “gospel” of his affliction, sure. But then what? Set up a vampire republic? He was obviously intelligent and patient enough to hide in a trunk and get transported to America, then pour his infected blood in the communion wine, but I never got the idea that he put much thought into what came after.

  6. Speaking of which, how did the newly rejuvenated Father Pruitt get back to the island from his trip abroad? I assume any ID he had on him wouldn’t work.

  7. The switch from slow burn character study with religion and addiction discussions to vampire massacre was - chef’s kiss.

  8. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck Beverly Keane so much.

  9. I did notice that no one ever used the word “vampire” which struck me as odd. Like when a zombie movie or show refuses to say it. Look, these people can’t go out in sunlight, and they need to drink blood. Say it at least once! Sheesh.

Anyway, great show.

Super spoiler-filled essay by Mike Flanagan.