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Blades of Glory

Turn Up the Thermostat

10 Memorably Frosty Movie Characters

Catch Batman Returns and Batman & Robin throughout December on IFC.

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Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

If there’s one thing Hollywood isn’t short on, it’s ice queens (both literal and metaphorical), cold-blooded killers, and chilly villains. Like Batman & Robins Mr. Freeze, these frosty movie characters will have you reaching for the thermostat all year long. Okay, fine, Mom, we’ll go “put on a sweater”  instead! Is it getting colder in here, or is it just us?

1. Penguin, Batman Returns

In the hands of director Tim Burton and a delightfully game Danny DeVito, Oswald Cobblepot, neé Penguin, is one of the more nefarious villains Batman has faced onscreen, especially in comparison with the pun-loving Mr. Freeze of Joel Schumacher’s candy-colored Batman & Robin just five years later. He kidnaps babies and ice princesses, bites people’s noses, and pushes victims off roofs to their deaths. Oh, and he also manipulates Gotham into electing him Mayor by playing into their fears and creating mass hysteria. Fun fact: Screenwriter Daniel Waters (Heathers) specifically wrote the role for DeVito.


2. Jadis the White Witch, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe

It would be difficult not to fall under the spell of Jadis, the White Witch of Narnia; so beguiling is she when we first see her arrive in a beautiful sleigh pulled by white reindeer. We soon discover, however, Jadis is a ruthless, manipulative, tyrannical ruler who turns all who disobey her to stone and has blanketed Narnia in endless winter (“but never Christmas!”) for over a hundred years, fearing her power will be usurped in a fulfillment of a prophecy that two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve will cause her great downfall. First embodied by Barbara Kellerman in the 1988 BBC television adaption, the ever transformative Tilda Swinton won raves for her portrayal in the 2005 film, simultaneously seducing and terrorizing a whole new generation of visitors to Narnia.


3. The Winter Warlock, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

Rankin/Bass gave us a slew of classic, occasionally bizarre (see Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July and The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus) Christmas specials during the course of their 27-year partnership (the production arm of Rankin Bass Inc. shuttered in 1987). Their 1970 special, Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town, falls squarely within the classic end of the spectrum, and its villain-turned-hero, the Winter Warlock, has become one of the more beloved stop-motion characters to appear on our television screens. Winter (voiced by Keenan Wynn), as he’s called for short, has been scaring trespassers on his lands for years before our loving hero, Kris (Mickey Rooney), melts his heart by giving him a toy train as a gift. And because this is a feel-good children’s movie, Winter learns how to be a kinder person through a highly catchy, semi-inspirational song, “Put One Foot in Front of the Other.” If only every winter could be so easily tamed…


4. Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg, Blades of Glory

The real world of figure skating has seen its fair share of campy routines and costumes, slightly creepy pairings, and outright backstabbing (Tonya and Nancy in 1994 anyone?) but conniving siblings Stanz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler, respectively) of Blades of Glory might just be the creepiest and campiest of all, fictional or otherwise. With a penchant for slightly incestuous routine themes (“Forbidden Romance” featuring JFK/Marilyn Monroe), these reigning U.S. National Pairs Champions will do anything to keep same-sex pair Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) from taking the gold at the World Winter Sport Games, including blackmailing their little sister, Katie (Jenna Fischer) into helping them. Thanks to the perfect casting of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler, Stranz and Fairchild not only have double axels in their arsenal, they’ve got plenty of snippy one-liners, proving their tongues are just as sharp as their skates.


5. Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix

Depending on who you ask, Dolores Umbridge (a perfectly cast and terrifying Imelda Staunton) may be more hated than Voldemort in the Harry Potter series and not without reason. Though she dresses head-to-toe in violent shades of pink, has kitten pictures all over the walls, and says everything with a smile, make no mistake the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic turned Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher has a much darker agenda. From hating “half-breeds” to using cruel and unusual punishments against students to passing numerous “Educational Decrees” banning various types of objects and behaviors to having professors fired, Umbridge was a major source of ire for everyone at Hogwarts (except maybe Draco Malfoy). Author J.K. Rowling herself has said she feels the “purest dislike” for Umbridge. We’d say Voldemort is worse, but we “must not tell lies.”


6. The Thing, The Thing

Here’s the thing about The Thing: in John Carpenter’s 1982 cult classic film, you’re never quite sure who is still human and who is being imitated by the parasitic alien of the title. In fact, both Carpenter and star Kurt Russell have said that at various points in the film, even they aren’t sure who is who. Thus, anyone and everyone at the American research base in frozen, desolate Antarctica can be the villain, leading to an overwhelming sense of paranoia among its inhabitants with chilling results. Interestingly, The Thing and Blade Runner both opened the same day in 1982 to mixed reviews but are now both hailed as sci-fi classics by audiences and critics alike. Case in point? It’s tradition for the crew at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica to watch The Thing on the first evening of winter each year. Also, Quentin Tarantino reportedly used unused music from legendary composer Ennio Morricone’s score for The Thing for his upcoming film, The Hateful Eight, which is perfect given both films star the ever irascible Kurt Russell.


7. Annie Wilkes, Misery

Kathy Bates is no stranger to playing off-kilter characters, but none are quite as terrifying as Colorado nurse Annie Wilkes, who is definitely a cautionary tale of taking fangirling to the extreme (Tumblr, beware!). There are no lengths to which Annie will not go in order to force kidnapped author, Paul (James Caan), to resurrect her favorite character, Misery, including drugging him and, famously, breaking his feet with a sledgehammer. Though she won the Best Actress Oscar, Bates reportedly had a difficult time filming the more violent scenes, crying in between takes and was actually the third choice for the role behind Anjelica Huston and Bette Midler.


8. Miranda Frost, Die Another Day

The James Bond franchise has never been one for subtlety in its naming of characters (Pussy Galore, anyone?), so it comes as no surprise that Miranda Frost winds up being quite literally the frosty femme fatale of Pierce Brosnan’s last turn as the superspy. Played by a pre-Gone Girl Rosamund Pike, Miranda is a former Olympic fencer turned publicist for baddie billionaire, Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens), by way of MI6. Ever the cool-headed woman, she seduces Bond in a room at Graves’ Icelandic ice palace before revealing her true allegiances in a standoff between Graves and Bond the following day. During Pike’s press tour for Gone Girl, the press nicknamed her “Bond Girl to Gone Girl,” because of how similar her characters are in both films: blonde, cold-hearted, and out for blood.


9. Box, Logan’s Run

The year is 2274, and humans live in a utopia of sorts, except no one gets to live past the age of 30. So naturally when Runners Logan 5 and Jessica 6 attempt to escape, they’re almost killed by a food-gathering robot named Box (Roscoe Lee Brown) in his frozen cave. Box has a certain predilection for freezing Runners like artwork and keeping them in an icy gallery of sorts. A much longer version of this ice cave sequence was shot where Box asks Logan and Jessica to pose for his ice sculpture (What is this, Titanic?), but was ultimately cut due to extensive nudity and fears it would not pass the MGM censors. Because of the size and construction of his costume, actor Roscoe Lee Brown often had trouble moving and especially getting back up if he fell over on set.


10. Catherine Tramell, Basic Instinct

It was the leg-crossing seen round the world; one that has come to define the manipulative, mysterious novelist Catherine Tramell (a tour-de-force performance from Sharon Stone). After being accused of murdering her rock star boyfriend with an ice pick, Catherine strikes up an affair with the detective, Nick (Michael Douglas), assigned to her case. Thus, the ultimate cat-and-mouse game begins with Catherine using her sexual prowess as a means of achieving her own agenda. Like Nick, you’re never really sure if Catherine is the killer, but one look from Sharon Stone’s icy facade is enough to leave anyone dead in their tracks.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

E.coli-class-

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

ecoli-computer

IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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via GIPHY

We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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