After fourteen seasons, Supernatural‘s storylines have undergone a few changes, to say the least. All those years ago, the show’s premise was simple: two brothers on a road trip go searching for their father, hunting ghosts, monsters, and demons along the way.
It’s easy to forget that the show’s origins were rooted firmly in horror. After the third season, angels were added to the mix, which drastically impacted the storyline of the subsequent seasons. As it should! You can’t confirm the existence of Heaven and Hell in a series’ mythology and then not continue to explore it. The result was that the show shifted to more of a fantasy focus. While still dark, the show lost its focus on pure horror. Even the episodes that had Sam and Dean Winchester go back to their roots decapitating vampires and torching ghosts still had a focus on an overarching storyline that leaned toward fantasy.
That’s not to say that the show lost its ability to be scary. I’m a huge Supernatural fan, and you can see a previously posted list of some of the scariest episodes here if you are so inclined. On the whole though, it seems that horror fans have gradually drifted away from Supernatural.
On November 1, Supernatural aired the fourth episode this season, entitled Mint Condition. This episode is a horror lovers DREAM! While it is not a scary episode, it is a love letter to slasher movies.
Dean Winchester, the eldest of the brothers, has always been my favourite. A huge part of why I love the character is his love of all things pop culture. At the start of this episode, Dean is holed up in his room, binge watching a marathon of a fictional slasher series, Hatchetman, and eating pizza.
I have never related to a character so much in my entire life. From this moment on, I knew I was in for a treat.
The rest of the episode did not disappoint. While it aired the day after Halloween, which I think probably hurt its potential to attract horror fans, it had a reason for doing so. While the episode is set on Halloween night, the killer in Hatchetman returns the day after Halloween every year to take avenge his death in a violent “prank.”
The writers went so far as to create a trailer for their fictional 80s slasher movie, which in itself is a love letter to the genre. The tone of the trailer actually reminded me a lot of the fictional trailer at the start of The Final Girls (“Kumba-NOOOOOOOO!”). In a brilliant scene, scenes playing in the movie are intercut with present day as the fictional Hatchetman comes to life.
The episode is a clever look at fandom, with the plot surrounding a collectibles shop. It shows the love, but also the toxicity that can be found in fandoms today. At the end of the day, why can’t we share the things we love?
To my surprise, social media in the last couple of weeks outside of Supernatural fan groups seems to be pretty silent about this one. Do you not follow Supernatural? Did you miss it in the post-Halloween slump we all experience? Either way, do yourself a favour and check this one out. It stands alone, with only a couple of references to the ongoing plotline.
For a show that deals with…well, the supernatural, it does surprisingly few Halloween-themed episodes, so to get one was a real treat. And Dean Winchester breaking down his top Hatchetman kills was something that I didn’t realize I needed in my life until I saw it.