We live in a golden age of television. I don’t think there can be any doubt about that. Sometimes it seems that new shows and movies are debuting at such a pace that if you don’t pay attention for a week or so, something great could slip right by you.

And in August, that’s just what happened to me.

Brand New Cherry Flavor is an eight-episode horror series set in 1990s Los Angeles and following a young filmmaker, Lisa Nova (Rosa Salazar) as she tries to get her first feature film made. Based on the strength of her bizarre short film, Lucy’s Eye, she signs a deal with movie producer Lou Burke (Eric Lange), but after rejecting his advances, he steals the movie from her and attempts to shut her out of the process.

Enter L.A. witch Boro (Catherine Keener) and her curse-casting skills. From this point on, Brand New Cherry Flavor is bonkers AF, with every episode throwing some new twist into the mix that will make even the most jaded of horror viewers (myself included) sit up and take notice.

BNCF leaps onto the screen from the minds of Nick Antosca (Channel Zero, the upcoming film Antlers) and Lenore Zion (Chanel Zero, Good Behavior), and is based on the 90s novel of the same name by Todd Grimson – and good luck finding a copy, as it is looooong out of print, although it seems to be available on Audible. The series could easily stand as a fifth season of Channel Zero, as it shares a lot of the same sensibilities, from strange doorways to other worlds to reimagining body horror and zombie tropes into a grimy, slightly sleazy Hollywood vibe.

Everyone involved with the show brings their A-game, but the real standouts are Salazar and Keener. Salazar’s Lisa Nova has a borderline sociopathic intensity that translates fantastically on-screen whether she’s vomiting up wet kittens, masturbating a disturbing and mysteriously appearing orifice in her side, or pulling a massive tapeworm from someone’s eye. And Keener’s Boro is a thrift-store style goddess who’s just too damn cool for her own good. Along the way we also get welcome appearances from familiar faces like Jeff Ward (Agents of SHIELD), Manny Jacinto (The Good Place), and Eric Lange (Perry Mason, The Man in the High Castle, Narcos), all of whom bring intriguing complexity to roles that could otherwise be one-note.

Visually and narratively, Brand New Cherry Flavor is a cornucopia of color, textures, gore, sexuality, and satire. Pulling on influences as wide-ranging as films like Blood Diner, Chopping Mall, Videodrome, and Perdita Durango (you should have seen all these just to be good horror nerds, but if you only watch one, make it Perdita Durango), BNCF pushes just about every limit to its breaking point, crafting a dream-logic hallucinatory experience that viewers will not soon forget, even if you don’t know what’s going on at the moment.

I just wish that I’d watched it sooner, if only so I could fit in another viewing as Halloween gets closer and closer.

(Visited 36 times, 1 visits today)