Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Skeleton Crew

You can skip this little "intro" if you want, but before I get to the book and stories, I just feel I need to go on record with something. I love Stephen King. LOVE the guy. I don't feel like I say it enough, so I'm doing it now---I love him so much, I'd read his grocery lists. There are three reasons I love him like I do:

1. I love his work. (The Shining, Misery, and the stories I'm about to wax on below, Skeleton Crew, topping the list just slightly behind my hands-down favorite book in the world, On Writing). Oh, and speaking of writing . . .

2. I love his openness in discussing the craft of writing. Every time I read something he's written that's personal, about himself or about how he writes, I damned near fucking *die* because it's so honest and true and it just resonates inside me . . . I obviously can't write as well as he does (yet?) but I find myself agreeing with how he describes the process and how writers in general are and think. I like him as a person and have come to think of him as an excellent teacher, as well.

3. He's a huge part of my history. Maybe even a guiding force in what I decided to do, before I even knew it. What does a elementary school girl who was into horror films at way too early an age do when she's not able to watch scary films? Read scary stories, of course. Once when I was about seven or eight and at some ridiculous card club party or something that my parents hauled me and my brother to, I was extremely bored because there were no other kids there, and started investigating the bookshelves for anything interesting. What I found was a paperback of The Shining, and what I thought was an extremely disturbing illustration (over there) on its cover. Ha! No more boredom, I paged through it trying to find scary moments and *begged* my mother to ask the friend (whose book it was) to let me bring it home. Later, I started rating the coolness of my mother's friends by how many King novels were on their bookshelves; Karen Sheehan won that honor; I think she had all of them.

I grew up on King. I grew up on horror and sci-fi stories, whether films or books didn't matter. I do what I do now (write about stories I love and try to make up my own) because of all this. I love stories so much it gives me a constant thrill knowing there are more in existence than I can ever imagine, and that a big part of my life is to dig into them. Like what Henry Bemis's life would have been like at the library, had he not broken his glasses----I am Henry Bemis with stacks and lists higher than I am tall.

LL's copy looked like this.
All right. Now that that's out of the way, here we go:

Skeleton Crew, 1985, by Stephen King.

For Scares: The Mist, The Monkey, The Raft, Gramma
For Shudders: Cain Rose Up, The Jaunt, Beachworld, Survivor Type
Clever as Hell: The Wedding Gig, Word Processor of the Gods, Uncle Otto's Truck

That covers almost all of them, which is to say the entire collection is great and fun to read. The three I'm choosing to write about in a bit more detail are (funny enough) three that I completely skipped over in my younger days, but ones I really dug this time around. A lot.

1. Mrs. Todd's Shortcut.

"David, friend of a caretaker named Homer, is an older man who is spending his later years hanging out at the local gas station in a small town. He narrates a tale about Mrs. Todd, who is obsessed with finding shortcuts. Homer admires her persistence but begins to have doubts, as there are only so many shortcuts someone can find. Mrs. Todd's habit of resetting her odometer shows remarkable evidence that something weird is going on." (Wikipedia). 

This is really a women's story. I project myself, my thoughts, my experiences and philosophy onto any character that I remotely identify with--- and I loved this little "journey." Unable to carry a child, always volunteering, racing around trying to get things done, husband seemed to be gone a lot; yeah, Ophelia Todd deserved a short cut. It's funny to read a male perspective of a woman sometimes, in this case, an older guy's, but the things he remembered about Mrs. Todd were kind of sentimental and sweet---hair in a "hoss-tail," calling the car the "go-devil," how her eyes and face changed and made her look younger when she smiled or got excited, and so on. My favorite passage gave me a happy, pro-woman kind of feeling . . . 

"Her eyes turned toward that little go-devil in the driveway, and narrowed. Then she smiled. 'Or to drive, Homer. A man will not see that. He thinks a goddess wants to loll on a slope somewhere on the foothills of Olympus and eat fruit, but there is no god or goddess in that. All a woman wants is what a man wants---a woman wants to drive.'" 

You got that right, babe. 

2. The Reaper's Image

"A museum curator, Mr. Carlin, ushers a man named Spangler through the building, recounting the storied history of a rare Elizabethan mirror, which has been plagued by incidents of attempted destruction. Carlin tells the skeptical Spangler the image of the Grim Reaper is rumored to appear in the mirror, standing close to the viewer. Spangler scoffs, but feels unnamable horror when he looks into it . . . " (Wikipedia)

The buildup was what got me in this one, almost like a condensed version of the same kind of scary in The Blair Witch project (wait, wait, wait---OH JESUS SHE'S MAKING HIM STAND IN THE CORNER) but for some reason mirrors are all the more terrifying, aren't they (Bloody Mary)? This was the most fun of all the stories to read, partly because it scared me but also because it was so to-the-point. I liked that. 

"Spangler took his hand away and looked into the glass. Everything in it seemed a little more distorted; the room's odd angles seemed to yaw crazily as if on the verge of sliding off into some unseen eternity. There was no dark spot in the mirror. It was flawless. He felt a sudden unhealthy dread rise in him and despised himself for feeling it. 
'It looked like him, didn't it?' Mr. Carlin asked. His face was very pale and he was looking directly at the floor. A muscle twitched spasmodically in his neck. 'Admit it, Spangler. It looked like a hooded figure standing behind you, didn't it?'"

3. The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet.  

"Henry, an magazine editor, receives an unsolicited short story from up-and-coming novelist Reg Thorpe, and considers the story to be very dark, but also a masterpiece. Through his correspondence with Thorpe, Henry learns of – and, due to his own alcoholism, eventually begins to believe in – Thorpe's various paranoid fantasies." (wikipedia). 

Do all writers love reading stories about other writers? Because I sure do. So many of King's characters are writers, and I think an ongoing theme for a lot of them is being trapped or thrust into the obscure, the fantastic, or the bizarre (which happens in his novels again and again) because for writers, these things are completely business-as-usual, together with an, I don't know, heightened sensitivity or tendency to over think and over-feel normal situations as well as the strange ones. Anything is fair game for a writer. I loved this one, a lot. 

"When you shoot yourself with a flexible bullet, you really don't know what the outcome is going to be."
Oh, Jesus Christ. On second thought . . .

"'Hello from Bellis. I am sorry for your problems, my friend, but would like to point out at the start that you are not the only one with problems. This is no easy job for me. I can dust your damned machine with fornus from now unto forever, but moving the KEYS is supposed to be your job. That's what God made big people FOR. So I sympathize, but that's all the sympathy you get." 

"The curse of serving writers is that they are all selfish." 

Yes, quite true. But you think I wouldn't want an elf-muse to FORNIT SOME FORNUS onto my typewriter? Be my guest! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mr. Reese

I don't like them, either.
But if someone is to have guns, I'd prefer it be me . . . 
People are really starting to get into this show, and I can't express how much that thrills me because it's pretty much my favorite thing, ever. I mean, even if the show was terrible (which it's not), LOOK AT THIS GUY! It takes a while to kind of adjust to his slow, deadpan deliveries and the way he just sort of soft-spokenly badasses his way in and out of crazy situations, but damn. It's not exactly an Eastwood scowl, but a constant, very serious, furrowed-brow sort of intensity and I just love it.

As I probably wrote before, there is a scene in the pilot episode (which I believe is still available on during a little stakeout next to an elevator where a man is about to be assassinated, together with his kid. Snatch/Go music starts in, the bad guy and his hostage on one side of the elevator doors, Mr. Reese and his hostage on the other----he doesn't do anything but shake his head but it's goddamned brilliant. Of course there's a standoff and a bunch of shooting after the guy and his kid safely leave the building, but it was the headshake that totally floored me this time around (together with the Marsha-the-Mannequin old school elevator dial just like the one in The Twilight Zone "The After Hours.") The bummer of course is that there are no clips of it, none, anywhere, otherwise I'd be sitting here, holing up for hours, watching it on a loop. So this one was the next best I could find: (oh, and can you spot the Tales From the Crypt-alum cameo?)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

LOST Finale: Lightsaber battle

I just needed this in my life today, and my kids request it every time LOST is mentioned, which is to say, often. Enjoy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

American Horror Story

I've held out as long as I can, but damn----this show is freaking AWESOME. If you like horror films and you're not watching this show, you should be. Here's why:

I'll get the mop . . .
1. It's well-acted. Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Jessica Lange, and Denis O'Hare (RUSSEL EDGINGTON from True Blood) are great actors, but even the other secondary characters are solid.

2. It's the bastard son of a lot of other really excellent horror films, notably Psycho (the house, Bernard Hermann-esque score) and Rosemary's Baby (the pregnancy) but there are nods to many, many others. "You're gonna die in there," (Reagan from The Exorcist); creep hovering near close line looking up into window (Michael Myers in Halloween); credits and music very much reminiscent of Se7en and . . . I don't know, grotesque other stuff, maybe Alien Resurrection (experiments in jars?) or mad scientists in general. It's fun noticing these things. I half expected the crazy ass neighbor (Jessica Lange) to bring over a "chocolate mouse" for her to eat, but I suppose by then there really was no need---Rubber Man done got the job did, as it were.

3. It's scary. Well, creepy mostly (those credits!). Lots of scurrying around in the background and just strange, unexplained business that keeps popping up here and there. I've of course filed this under "things I will not watch when I am alone in the house . . . "

Don't make me kill you again . . . 

4. There is an underlying mother theme going on here that I may or may not explore for Examiner, but trust me, it's there. I have a very strong suspicion that this whole story got going because the doctor's wife lost her baby; taking a baby away from a mother is the one thing you just can't do (Kill Bill).

Dr. Ben: killer body but huge jerk

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tales From The Crypt, Season 3

Now *this* is what I'm talking about. These are the kinds of episodes I associate most (positively) with the show, this is what it's all about. Four of these six are honestly big favorites of mine; watching them all in a row was really fun.

1. The Trap 

"An abrasive husband comes home to tell his wife that he has lost his job again. She reminds him that they are behind on their bills and suggests she get a job. He refuses. Instead, he comes up with a scheme to make a lot of money quick. Calling his coroner brother over, he tells them his plan to fake his own death and collect his half a million dollar life insurance policy." (IMDB). 

This is entertaining because of the lead actor, Bruce McGill. ("I'm Lou Paloma. Blow me.") That, and the story is kind of funny, too. Michael J. Fox directs and has a cameo; I think it all comes together just fine. Also, I like Terri Garr, who played the wife.

2. Loved to Death.

"A classic "boy wants girl, girl is unresponsive to his attentions" storyline gets the Tales from the Crypt treatment, as a young man gets a Love Potion by his mysterious landlord, in an attempt to win over the girl of his dreams. But things soon get out of hand..." (IMDB). 

Clearly I'm no fan of Andrew McCarthy's, but this one is definitely in my top five, ever (adapted from The Twilight Zone's "The Chaser,"). I mean, be warned, it's extremely annoying (I don't know which is more so, the actors or the characters they're playing) but it's a good one. The twist is ridiculously fun; the original had the new Mrs. knitting some baby booties (to stop what ends up happening in this). Ha ha; be careful what you wish for . . . .

3. Carrion Death

"A sadistic serial killer has unforeseen complications when pursued by a determined motorcycle cop in a barren desert." (IMDB).

Not the strongest in the lineup, but worth watching. 1. Kyle McLaughlin, Agent Cooper in the bad boy role? Yes. 2. There are some silly bits of comedy in this crime story, dancing with and talking to corpse antics, etc. 3. The effects with the vulture are really terrible, but terrible enough for you to suffer through or someday show your kids to illustrate just how differently films and shows were made before computers did everything.

4. Abra Cadaver

"A former potential surgeon sets out to wreak revenge on the brother who's cruel practical joke prevented him from realizing his dream." (IMDB).

I always liked this one; it's just really unnerving. Tony Goldwyn had just come off the Swayze-assassinating character in Ghost---this will be cathartic for anyone who held a grudge (which is probably no one, or no one that reads this, anyway). This whole experience was like being buried alive, but above the ground, with people messing with him. Shudder.

No, no, NO! It's all WRONG!
5. Top Billing

"An unattractive and unlucky actor can't get a role because of his looks. His agent and girlfriend leave him. But he doesn't intend to give up - he wants the role of Hamlet." (IMDB). 

All right, here it is, y'all. MY FAVORITE EPISODE IN THE SERIES. I don't know how many times my brother and I watched this (since we recorded it on a beta tape somewhere, probably), but it was a lot. A little background----I had no interest in reading Hamlet (or Shakespeare) until after seeing this, and for those who think television has no intrinsic value to children or teenagers, I'll have you know that I quoted Hamlet's speech by Yorick's grave for Martinson (OPIE) in whatever literature class he taught junior year---just because I felt like throwing it into the essay question and because even then, I was probably laughing hysterically about this show and Biggs----the son of a bitch gave me like five bonus points for it (moving my score up to like 104%, thanks very much). God dammit, sometimes I'm fucking brilliant.

Anyway. This is damned near perfect, this is. It's well-written, well-cast (not only Lovitz, Boxleitner, and Astin, but Sandra Bernhard, Louise Fletcher, and Kimmy Robertson are all excellent), SARCASTIC as hell---"I especially love the last commercial you did, you know, that tango over the top of a disposable DOUCHE!" And the theater bit is perfect. On the characters---my favorite is Biggs (always calling the director "your vastness" or "your bloatedness,") along with his gestures and that lisp . . . I'm giggling now just thinking about it. Obviously John Astin steals the show, but the supporting characters (and how they were written) are brilliant and I think that's what really makes it. I'm not saying anything else because building it up too much would be a mistake, but just know that this is one of my very favorite things, ever in the universe. Myles Berkowtiz was the screenwriter on this . . . BRAVO, sir, BRAVO.

6. Dead Wait

"Red Buckley is a natural red head in search of a one-of-a-kind black pearl." (IMDB). 

This is another one I really like; Whoopi Goldberg, John Rys-Davies, James Remar, and yes, fricking VANITY (Nikki Sixx's heroin buddy) all star together. The way she says, "worm tracks," is actually pretty brilliant----but even though it's all really fake-looking, those worms are downright nasty. Ick, but great ending.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Everything's Eventual.

I first read this years ago on my breaks when I was still doing days at Sbux; I loved them all. I picked it up again hoping to enjoy them just as much the second time and did. I just think it's an extremely well-rounded collection and I don't know, just really pleasing. These stories are different from King's novels, obviously, in that they're shorter and more direct, but they're also pretty different from other collections of shorts that he's done in the past. It's not just subject matter (though many of them are a touch more light-hearted than something like The Monkey or Survivor Type) but many of the stories are also terrifying (I'm thinking specifically of 1408, which I've written about before). I think what I like best about this collection is the overall vibe or feeling of the stories that compose it; I'd finish each one and I don't know, just grin and reflect, sometimes wanting to start all over and read them again. They made me happy.

1. Autopsy Room Four. This is one of the more light-hearted ones; easy to read, clever, drops little hints nicely about what actually happened to the "patient," and so on. If you're a fan of the season 3 Tales From The Crypt episode "Abra Cadaver," you'll probably enjoy this, too. And for what it's worth, I myself also enjoy the word "boomslang," and seek it out in my son's various snake anthologies just so I can say it aloud.

2. The Man in the Black Suit. I liked this, and found it extremely frightening. I loved the details, the dog named Candy Bill, the Gordy Lachance sort of feeling to it, the man and how he looked, fire for eyes, all of it. Something bigger that I love about this story (and others like it, and there have been a few) is the idea of these characters who see or experience something awful, live their whole lives without forgetting it, and then spill it, detail for detail---as if nothing has faded. Folk-tale-y, scary campfire stories.

"Even before he reached me, I recognized the aroma baking up from the skin under the suit---the smell of burned matches. The smell of sulfur. The man in the black suit was the Devil. He had walked out of the deep woods between Motton and Kashwakamak, and now he was standing here beside me. From the corner of one eye I could see a hand as pale as the hand of a store window dummy. The fingers were hideously long."

3. All That You Love Will Be Carried Away. Melancholy, random, and very detailed, this one is. The graffiti made me laugh; the loneliness of the character made me sad. I really loved the way he (King) chose to end it, though. Occasionally ambiguous endings annoy me but this one was perfect.

4. The Death of Jack Hamilton. Forgive me, but I didn't read this one this time around; I inadvertently skipped it because I think it reminded me of having dizzy pregnant spins in the break room at work (in 2009). Bad memories. And honestly, if I can make a polite criticism, I usually require my gangster stories to involve someone hot (Ray Liotta, De Niro, Johnny Depp, etc.) with a lively soundtrack. No offense.

5. In The Deathroom. This was enjoyable, short and direct, but in terms of endings it was a small letdown because it kind of cheated. The overall story worked for me, the descriptions of characters and the setting of the death room were properly sinister (you'd never catch me in *any* country south of the border for these specific reasons), and I was interested. At the risk of sounding ungrateful though, I wanted to know how he busted out of there.

6.  The Little Sisters of Eluria. Yeah, skipped this one, too, but only because I wanted some perspective from The Dark Tower series, which I haven't read any of yet. I'll come back to it once I have and then we'll talk.

7. Everything's Eventual. I LOVED this. I just find it so clever and brilliant, the details, especially. What a setup. This story is really one of my favorites, ever.

"I fished the chalk out of my pocket and dropped down on one knee. For one second I thought the whole works had gone out of my head, and that was bad. I felt despair and sadness trying to fill me up and I thought, No, don't let it, don't let it, Dinky, fight it. Write anything, even if it's FUCK MRS. BUKOWSKI'S DOG.

But I didn't write that. I drew this shape, I think it was a sankofite, instead. Some weird shape, but the right shape, because it unlocked everything else. My head flooded with stuff. It was wonderful, but at the same time it was really scary because there was so fucking much of it . . . If someone had come along, I would have ignored him. Shit, if Mrs. Bukowski's dog had finally broken its rope, jumped the fence, and clamped down on my ass, I probably would have ignored that.

It was eventual, man. It was so fucking eventual I can't even tell you."

8. L.T.'s Theory of Pets. I giggled a lot at this one; calling the cat "Screw-Lucy" was probably my favorite. I don't actually think the violent bit at the end (wife's demise) was the best, but the story had so much heart and ridiculous silliness that won me over, I still dug it.
Tom Berenger played the writer? No way! 

9. The Road Virus Heads North. I liked this one a lot; I think everyone has a framed picture in their past that they're scared of----my mother told me that once when she was little, her sister told her that the woman in the picture in their bathroom (Sylvia) was watching her. And after she said this, my mother thought the eyes really were watching, seemed to move with you across the room, etc. The thing about this story that got me were the subtle changes in the photo at first (fangs a bit longer, arm extended differently, tattoo, no tattoo? etc.) but then after he realizes that it's indeed happening, the picture just goes off the hook. Nice.

10. Lunch at the Gotham Cafe. Wow; this was another one I really loved. I don't know what I liked most about it, the crazed French dude (Guy the Demon Waiter) or King's little explanation before the story and knowing that this entire creepy story was born from such a seemingly minuscule little interaction between King and a waiter. Genius.

"'Forgetful of me you shouldn't have been!' Guy screamed, sounding like Yoda in the Star Wars movies. 'Your hateful dog! . . . Your loud music, so disharmonious! . . . Eeeeee! . . . How you ever---'

There was a large pot on one of the front burners of the lefthand stove. I reached out for it and slapped it at him. It was over an hour before I realized how badly I'd burned my hand doing that; I had a palmful of blisters like little buns, and more blisters on my three little fingers. The pot skidded off its burner and tipped over in midair, dousing Guy from the waist down with what looked like corn, rice, and maybe two gallons of boiling water."

11. That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French. This is my normal kind of story; reminded me very much of The Twilight Zone episode, "Shadow Play," or even LOST, without the changes in characters or you know, time travel and stuff. Any time a Crown Victoria (Crown Vic!) is used in a story it thrills me. Grand Marquis or Caprices too, for that matter. Precognition might seem like a cool trick to some, but I think the story captures a really disturbing and ominous aspect to it, pairing it with being caught in an endless loop like they were . . . yee.

12. 1408. Yes, yes, YES! Another absolute winner. I'll tell you in all honesty that I first read this at work in the break room (and had to constantly glance behind me while doing so), then read it for the second time in the bath last year (and got extremely shivery and uncomfortable) and then earlier this week, had to put it off for a day because the night it came up on the rotation, Matt was out that night for a concert. I was not willing to read it alone in the house at night because I knew it would completely mess my shit up (and bad), despite having read it two other times before. This one terrifies me; I think it's the scariest of anything in King's collected works. I just find it so . . . unsettling and well done. This is so wonderfully crafted and subtle in its evil that I think it might be the most goddamned genius thing I've ever read, or close to it, anyway. In the link up above, I mentioned my favorite bits of writing, here are a few different ones:

"In the picture where the fruit had been, there was now a severed human head. Yellow-orange light now swam off the sunken cheeks, the sagging lips, the upturned, glazing eyes, the cigarette parked behind the right ear."

"The thought of Olin smirking (in his deferential New York hotel manager way) and saying I told you so didn't bother him, and the idea that Olin had somehow induced these strange perceptions and horrible fear by chemical means had entirely left his mind. It was the room. It was the goddamned room."

13. Riding The Bullet. I was fooled by this in that I assumed for sure that the old piss-smelling guy was the monster, but you know how I feel about the elderly by now, I suppose. It had a lot of heart (mother/son experiences, memories, devotion, etc.) and it's pretty clear that King felt very strongly about his own mother from many of his stories, but this one definitely stands out.

14. Luckey Quarter. I loved this, and loved that it was the last one in the book. Light, wonderfully random, and entertaining. Wasn't there a Twilight Zone with Dick York dealing with something similar?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tales From The Crypt, Season Two, the final seven.

1. Fitting Punishment.

"Mean and stingy cheapskate funeral home director Ezra Thornberry treats his deceased clients with an appalling lack of respect. Following the death of his mother, Ezra's naive teenage nephew Bobby is forced to live with the nasty old coot. Complications arise when Bobby disapproves of Ezra's unscrupulous business practices." (IMDB).

Horrible and mean. Not even worth watching or discussing.

2. Korman's Kalamity.

"Jim Korman (Anderson) is a comic book artist for the popular comic, "Tales From the Crypt." His overbearing and ruthlessly mean wife (Camp) is constantly nagging him and bothering him at work. While taking some experimental fertility pills, the side effects start to take hold. Strange things begin to happen all over the city, strange creatures start to appear... creatures that Jim has drawn." (IMDB).

I have a little tenderness toward Colleen Camp, everyone's favorite T&A French maid from Clue, so this one wasn't the worst, but her character is really awful. Comic nerds might like it just because of the subject matter, but probably not.

3. Lower Berth.

"Enoch, the two-faced man, an attraction at a sideshow, falls in love with a 2,000 year old mummy, eventually leading up to the conception of their bastard child, The Crypt Keeper." (IMDB).

Horrible and mean. Baby Crypt Keeper's "history" is kind of fun though, in an extremely creepy sort of way.

4. Mute Witness to Murder.

"Young woman Suzy looks out of the window of her apartment and witnesses a man murdering a woman in the apartment directly across from hers. Suzy is so traumatized by what she sees that she's rendered mute. Suzy is placed in the care of Dr. Trask, who alas turns out to be the man who committed the murder she witnessed." (IMDB). 

Horrible and boring. Tries unsuccessfully to adapt Rear Window to some twisted, creepy updated 90s version but is really blunt and uninteresting.

5. Television Terror.

"A TV shock journalist gives an on-air tour of an eerie haunted house." (IMDB). 

This was scary to me; old people are scary even without chainsaws. There was a lot of creepy lurking, and not just ghosts that want to scare, but to *harm* and like, dismember. Very 1408.

6. My Brother's Keeper.

"The reckless Eddie and the correct Frank are Siamese brothers connected by their waists. Eddie wants to convince Frank to be submitted to a surgery with 50% of chances of success, but Frank is afraid. When Frank meets Marie in a bar, he falls in love for her and decides to risk. But a secret is disclosed with fatal consequences, affecting the relationship of the brothers." (IMDB).

Semi-entertaining. But still pretty obnoxious. Nice sex scene with the pro.

7. The Secret.

"Orphan boy Theodore is adopted by the Colbys, who are an eccentric rich couple with a very dark secret." (IMDB).

This is the very first episode I ever saw; it's not great, but it will always be nostalgic. Grace Zabriskie as the vampire mother seems perfect to me now, she looked really good. You'd think that kid would start having horrible bouts of diarrhea from all that junk food, wouldn't you? Larry Drake (Dr. Giggles or Crazy Santa from "All Through the House") makes an appearance. But still not all that interesting.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tales From The Crypt, Season Two

Yes, I know it's been far too long. Would you believe that I've been working on this for nearly a week? I had a post started and saved that actually OMITTED these following episodes as they were so incredibly lame, but I'm trying to stay true to my word here. So fair warning, these really won't be anything close to official "reviews," more just like a list of reasons to stay away from them . . .

1. The Sacrifice. "Hotshot insurance salesman James becomes involved with the beautiful and seductive Gloria Fleming, who's the wife of crude tycoon Sebastian Fleming. James and Gloria decide to bump Sebastian off for his considerable money. They succeed with killing Sebastian, but things go awry when the meddlesome Jerry enters the picture claiming he has photographic evidence of the murder." (IMDB).

 The best thing about this was Jester (Michael Ironside) from Top Gun as the scheming ex. I really can't remember much, other than an old dude getting pitched over a balcony and then someone having videotaped it from across the way. I thought the femme fatale lead was Jennifer Beals but it was actually Kim Delaney. Meh.

2. For Cryin' Out Loud. "A greedy rock promoter tries to steal the money raised at a benefit concert when his conscience intervenes." (IMDB). 

 This one was sort of all right. Katey Sagal (Miss Killbasser? and what was with that French Tickler thing?) was a nice touch, but she's in it only briefly before getting stuffed into the luggage. It's just silly and fun but still kind of weak, with an extremely weak premise. I think he may have stabbed himself in the ear, though, and ear damage really makes me squirm.

3. Four Sided Triangle. "Farmer George is attracted to Mary Jo, the nubile young woman who helps out with the chores. The problem is... she's in love with a scarecrow." (IMDB) 

On this one I'm just kind of speechless. Patricia Arquette is in it, without a bra (as Donald pointed out to me while we discussed it earlier) but I was just really disturbed by it and its very rape-y theme. Eddie from Major League ("Jo-Boo needs a refill") plays the icky farmer who seems to have a problem keeping his hands and dick to himself. The wife is Missy Dandrige from Pet Semetary, so casting is all right, the story is just extremely ridiculous. Nice scarecrow. And can someone explain the title to me?

4. The Ventriloquist's Dummy. "Wanting to improve his craft, a ventriloquist seeks out his long retired idol and discovers a shocking secret." (IMDB). 

This one is the diamond in the rough; if you see any episodes from the second season, see this one. I won't spoil anything, because it's seriously worth being surprised by the "twist," if you can call it that, but this one works due to, 1. Don Rickles, and 2. the actions of the "twist," after it's revealed. I laughed hard, and a lot. I kind of want to watch it again, actually.

5. Judy, You're Not Yourself Today. "A housewife stressed out by her husbands reckless behavior welcomes an elderly cosmetics saleswoman in to her home. Only to discover that the old hag has another more devious motive." (IMDB). 

Um, quite possibly the weakest one I've ever seen. Carole Kane and the grandmother from Happy Gilmore were decent, but the story is super bad. Super bad.