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Old 03-06-2013, 03:34 AM   #14
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#40-21:


#40. "Loved to Death" (S3/E2)


What's Right with It: Full of ideas and moves at a crazy pace, yet remains in full control of everything it tosses at us. The music is eccentric, varied, smart, and moody. After a short while, you really believe death-by-sex (suggested by the aggressively ripping, almost metal, music that plays during the "I'm not fucked out" monologue: "the more I do it, the more I wanna do it") is possible. It's like several movies cut up and mixed together. The fact that Mr. Stronham's 2 shots of holding up the 2 different potion viles (love and death) are really the same one. "Grandma" likes sex and violence? Good for her. Re-viewings are better than the initial. For the most part, the cast is excellent. Mariel Hemmingway has a lot riding on her in the second half and does a great job at the empty and funny Stepford Wife type.

What's Wrong with It: Mariel Hemmingway isn't so great in half #1. Other than the fact that she doesn't look so great as a brunette, she's not good at blowing up at people over the phone. And in the episode's 28-minute running time, that phone is attached to her for a long time. Also, the twist is painfully obvious and not gracefully handled (awful rubbery facial appliance).




#39. "Split Second" (S3/E11)


Here's one of the show's sleaziest and most nudie-rific episodes. Michelle Johnson (Death Becomes Her, Dr. Giggles) shows off her huge boobs and gropes Billy Worth's crotch through his jeans in closeup... Can sleaze be compelling? (I must ask because I only usually come across it in the fairly neutered likes of The Happy Hooker or completely unserious, boobs squeaking as their owner runs a bar of soap over them in the shower in the odd Jim Wynorski flick. Might as well call it camp at this rate.) But, was anyone else freaking paranoid watching this episode? Leprechaun 4 features a sub-sub-subplot about a woman who can curse men to die by bearing her breasts. Of course, this isn't scary. Yet, the second I see MJ's knockers- I feel like that's it for Billy. He's a goner. But... does it matter; am I actually worried for him? I think I am. I'm sure worried for someone- it's hard to breathe at times during this episode. The moment the door opens as he's hurriedly rushing to pack his things, I knew there was going to be hell. But it almost feels as though the whole forest is watching them. Lit in blue light, music licking the edges of the screen like a horny devil, and the sight of one tree is symbolic of a blade to me (the painful kind). And the wood is full of those things. Then a beam of light shines through the doorway and you can almost see what's in the air. Call it a fear of exposure - like, whatever you're doing, at any time you don't want to be seen / caught - but I consider it a credit to Brion James' talent that he comes off as such an uncontrollable force of nature that he could be considered scary (I've seen him in other roles, not quite so psycho-eyed as this).

After that... it's pretty hard for me to be able to hold this episode's flaws against it. Other than a supreme lack of subtlety (within 10 seconds of going into the lumberjacks' common, there's a fart sound effect), I have difficulty even deciding what the real flaw is. I know what bothers me the most- the sexist black lumberjack. Why is he such a hypocrite? He'd "pet" her if she asked for it, yet he's the most self-righteous in preaching to all the guys how dangerous she is. Oh, and... in what I've discovered is typical for some episodes (therefore- some writers? hmmm) in this series, all the blame for the oncoming violence is placed on the women. For this to happen, there first has to be deadly danger in the place itself that can be molded by anyone- since it takes such a conniving woman to suss it out. Sexism wouldn't even be a concern were it not for the twist. Which has the stink of mob justice all over it. Did they all lose their sight? Artie was assaulted by Dixon, but could anyone in the world have actually blamed Liz for that? I guess somehow it's great that this large group of people have such good judgment in deciding who deserves to die- since, in possibly the most illogical moment in the show's entire run... Liz actually shouts "Kill him!" as Dixon swings the final blow. Um... why in the fucking hell would she do that? The threat of being caught turned her on but, once she's caught, that's all over. Appropriately, she looks rather concerned for Ted as he's beating the holy shit out of him. Then... she eggs him on? To say the least, we sorta need the faintest idea that she has an inclination toward enjoying the suffering of others. I'd call it an imperative. And then, there's the issue of that darn peanut gallery. I'm inclined to believe these guys are cheering on the carnage due to lack of sexual gratification. After all, it was Dixon's rule and he's the one we see getting torn to shreds. But the story is a little more preoccupied with the Wood Chopper's Competiton and how essential Ted's abilities are to their team. Uh... whatever keeps your boat floating, guys.

So... yeah, this episode definitely needs some sensitivity training. Meanwhile, other darts are thrown for why tensions are unreasonably high in this camp. She blames money for getting stuck in one hopeless situation after another, he blames pressure from environmentalists for some of his psychotic rage. But, more interestingly, there's the theory that good old-fashioned boredom will push anyone to extremes. I'll buy that. MJ's final narration is more than telling. It's almost comforting. Of course, I also believe the exceptional gore and the dendrological cleverness of the final death set-piece would make anyone's eyes light up.




#38. "Dig That Cat...He's Real Gone" (S1/E3)


What's Right with It: I'm going to have to refer back to Rhett again here. A message, as well as the story of a character who goes through something tremendous, is often nowhere without a big show and a lot of visual flash to throw you around. Good themes all around. The cast is fun.

What's Wrong with It: Much too overt. I mean... technically, what does having a membership with the NRA prove? That you own a gun. Now, if he were gettin' paid by them- my antenna would shoot up. (Plus, I really don't like Donner much as a person. If he ever had a legitimate complaint about something, I'm not sure he knew what to do with it. Talk to me when you direct something like Wolfen, Mr. Lethal Weapon.) (Entirely Useless trivia: "Earth Song" just came up in my playlist, as I typed ^that... I find this amusing.)




#37. "Mournin' Mess" (S3/E10)


What's Right with It: Rhett was right, I am glad Steven Weber is here. In fact, his performance is a little too good for this scummy character. Except that it makes you think he deserves what he gets in the twist all the more. The twist, as you can see from the pic above, is the stuff of Crypt legend. As for G.H.O.U.L.S., I think it's the "Unwanteds Layaway" part that really gives it away. That's bending over backwards to fill out the acronym (not to mention "layaway" is a word only used to suggest something that will be used again later). Rhett got the rest.

What's Wrong with It: This was easily one of my favorite episodes for a long time. But... the more I re-watch it, the less excited I get for the twist. Or, at all. At any point. More holes become apparent everytime. Like- no cut to a closeup showing the ear being ripped off. Or, the cheap music and the bad rush to get Weber in the coffin and ship him off to the dining room. Or the obvious "ha ha- now you're a bum just like your story." Or how beyond compassionless Ally Walker's character is, how unmerited her nastiness is. And she's really going for his throat too. Doesn't he get it bad enough in the twist? He's got to keep getting it over and over again. It's almost like this is acting as spurring motivation for why he continues being a jerk with women. But they're all pretty judgmental themselves. Except... for Ghoul Lady, Jess. Go figure. (Of course, it's part of the plot that the society members were all once homeless themselves. Even then, it seems like a bit of a stretch that Jess says nothing about Weber's absurdly messy apartment. It's like- he once spent a lot of time there. Enough to get it messy. But now his days are all booked up. Huh?)




#36. "The Secret" (S2/E18)


What's Right with It: A genuinely creepy and stylistically indulgent fairy tale. There's a definite Escape to Witch Mountain-vibe all throughout. Especially when you see Theodore's bedroom, which almost looks like a playground- reminding me instantly of Tony and Tia's accomodations. Then the gluttonous eating of nothing but pastry-sweets is obviously Hansel & Gretel. Meanwhile, there's a distinct Misery feel to the tension that amounts once he finds himself trapped with what seem like the quintessential hospitable guardians being way too generous. There's blue light everywhere (it worked for "This'll Kill Ya"). It's a gorgeous and lavish episode, from the mansion to the outdoors to the car to the bedroom. And all the scenes involving food and the guilt of eating are sure to touch a nerve with someone. I remember thinking it was a horrible thing to heap onto this poor kid: "just think about how you're depriving all the other kids of food" and whatnot. I'm not sure what time period this takes place in but I'm willing to believe making the kids out like "Hard Knock Life" victims was an interesting way to beef up the Theodore character (even though nobody but the mean warden/directress/headmistress resents him for anything he does). The twist is one of the show's best.

What's Wrong with It: This time, Larry Drake's performance is... given by a man who seems to think the bulk of the episode is about his relationship with the kid. The first time you watch the episode, it seems to be paced really well. But re-watches make it look like he's taking time away from more suspense scenes in the house. (A good way to get our minds off guessing the twist.)




#35. "The Bribe" (S6/E6)


What's Right with It: Upon first glance, this might seem like a nihilistic episode about what a sad, dirty, and sick place the world is, or that it's about that kind of poor father who has to struggle with hardship and tough choices. Instead, it's a twisted, intelligent, highly relevant social satire. One that subversively points the finger at the kind of Mel Gibson or Bruce Willis thriller hero and mocks them for their middle-class pandering, simplistic conservativism, and dopey demeanor. By revealing the naivety inherent in their not always obvious narrow-mindedness. Everything here's a double-edged sword. We already know how ugly and sleazy this strip club is and Puck is so obnoxious that it makes you think the only person you have to relate to is Zeller. We know how closely he clings to his naive beliefs. Like for instance, how people are either good or bad, and are not really somewhere inbetween. The image he has of his daughter as being so naturally, primly demure and clean-living when not under someone else's dark influence. The episode argues that there's no such thing as a clean life, there's just living or not living. Which is where the twist shows that the supporting characters who don't have a clear moral objective represent the former and the people getting in their way are the latter. It's like a reverse Romeo and Juliet, where the lovers take a look at the chaos around them and say, "we've got to get out of here." Then they do and the warring factions take each other out. Now, that's a happy ending! Great music too. (Who would think: this plot needs techno? Brilliant.) I don't know who Pray for Rain are, but I like 'em.

What's Wrong with It: The ant-guy scene. What... the fuck is he doing? And... is he disfigured? Why? (I think we all know fire burns people. Ugh.) I hated this scene more than anything in "Oil's Well That Ends Well." Gah!




#34. "None but the Lonely Heart" (S4/E1)


What's Right with It: As a cast, easily the show's classiest group. I mean... Tom Hanks cameos just to get his head crushed by a television set. That's comparable to John Travolta's cameo in Boris and Natasha (did you know he was in that movie?). Also, the rapping old lady from The Wedding Singer (Ellen Albertini Dow) is here... just to be a zombie for maybe 10 seconds screentime. Sugar Ray Leonard is here... just to get a shovel in his neck. Bibi Osterwald (As Good As It Gets, nominated for 7 Academy Awards) is poisoned, then gets to coat herself in the same horrendous-looking zombie makeup as Dow and Frances Sternhagen...yep, the Frances Sternhagen from Misery. Can you imagine the conversations that must have been going on on-set? So, anyway, this is all because Tom Hanks directed (no doubt because his main squeeze, Rita Wilson, was a cannibal mutant ghoul the year before) and... what can I say? It's quite a sight to see all this. Consider it a novelty, if you must (but, then, compare this to something like Movie 43- I dare ya) but it's a novelty that goes a long way. You might be expecting Hanks to pull back a bit but...no. There's blood, creative death scenes, a very large bodycount, freaky music, grab and shake you camera moves, and the twist is extremely grotesque. He really delivers.

What's Wrong with It: It sure could look better.




#33. "As Ye Sow" (S5/E2)


What's Right with It: Every season's got to have its' token "psycho-drama" episode yet this one really seems to hate that formula. It's entirely unpredictable throughout. The cast is utterly perfect, all performances beyond the line where average usually sits. Most of the time the episode is too absurd to be taken seriously. The camera movements are especially giggle-inducing. Hector Elizondo is definitely playing some brand of caricature (the scene where he's questioned about his wife's dressing habits is a standout moment). The plot is a bore on paper but, you really wind up getting into it. It's s'damn quirky.

What's Wrong with It: I can just see Rhett now (especially considering the episode that ranks right ahead of it)...but, this is not a memorable episode. It sure sticks out when you're watching it but you'll have forgotten it within a day of having seen it. I guarantee you.




#32. "The Thing from the Grave" (S2/E6)


What's Right with It: Not a lot, I won't lie to you. But the parts that are right are easily among my favorites of the show (especially the scene where Teri Hatcher goes to Kyle Secor's apartment after he's killed and is slowly given clues that something's dead wrong there). This was the first episode I ever saw (does anyone forget their first?) and since, I've always hoped I'd see more of what I liked about it in everything I watch. I might not even be making this argument without the episode's amazing music score. Had this played in any lesser episode, I might be saying the same thing. It shines over iffy dialogue, lackluster character writing, fumbled performances. But I would also call it well shot and suspenseful for it's combination of the two. Miguel Ferrer helps. Call it my one guilty pleasure ranking if that makes you feel any better.

What's Wrong with It: Oh my God, Kyle Secor is awful! I really wish his part had been recast. He's stiffer than Bogart at the time of "You, Murderer"s filming. On an unrelated note (I promise), his death scene betrays what Day of the Dead taught us- when you get shot, it kind of hurts like hell when you put pressure on the body part you were shot in. He just stumbles around, falls right on his shoulder and acts weak. What would Rhodes do?




#31. "Deadline" (S3/E12)


What's Right with It: It's a character study and the characters are immaculately handled. While the 4th season tried to be classy, this just is. Top to bottom. Which might not sound like much to rave about but, watch it again. It's more tense than you might be thinking. The scene of Vicki's death is probably the most eye-opening quiet moment in the series. Of note because, again, the rest of the episode is laying off, trying to slowly draw you in. It works. It's also probably the best thing Marg Helgenberger's ever been in- yet she made sure to piss all over her entire former career once C.S.I. made her a household name.

What's Wrong with It: The twist sort of leaves out important details. Like, a few... hundred. What, exactly, is he doing in an institution? Why is he here instead of in jail? What does that have to do with his drinking problem? When did the police catch him? What specifically gave him away? How long had he been there after he killed Vicki? Did he kill anyone else? Was there a trial? Am I really missing the point; was there any sign whatsoever that this, of all the possible endings, was coming? Is he really insane if he's talking to us (rather than, oh, say- Peter Dobson or Sam Kinison)? Some twists are done for the sake of a shock but this one is guaranteed to make you feel either cheated and mad about that or like you've just been tuned into another episode.




#30. "Werewolf Concerto" (S4/E13)


What's Right with It: I'm a cheeseball for Murder-Mystery Weekend plots (I even think it made for one of the few guilt-freely enjoyable episodes of Saved by the Bell). But this one really is a lot of fun with a new red herring every few minutes and a wonderful cast of familiar faces, all of whom are likable here. I won't bother running down the who's-who, I'm gonna guess you've already seen it. If not, I highly recommend it. It's not overbearingly scary but it is plenty spooky when it needs to be. The camera really gets you in there; it's very thrilling in a cheap, pulpy kinda way. Equally fun music score- I want to call it noirish but that genre's out of my depths. It just has all the right touches during its' excellent dialogue scenes.

What's Wrong with It: The extremely tactless, tasteless, and pointless murder of the newly-introduced maid. I'm all for upping the bodycount whenever but I don't even remember what killed her. I do however remember that it went on for far too long, there was no maid in any previous scene, and it felt really wrong. Beyond being pointless, it felt sexist. A simple clawing or biting death and some dang blood would do fine. They didn't need to thrash her around the entire room, banging her into various objects. If the episode needed padding, the opening chase scene could easily have been longer. If this was to show us how brutal the werewolf was, I think they throw it away the minute Beverly D'Angelo makes her speech about how "lupies" have a tendancy to act like giant apes. It's all the worse having this come directly after the episode decides to show this to us. Otherwise, we don't see the werewolf because we're still trying to guess who it could be.




#29. "Korman's Kalamity" (S2/E13)


When you drop something like The Brood as a reference, it's like giving the brain a steak. So much to work with. Back in 2009, Rhett's reviews are what made me finally plonk down the $11-17 per set and I finally watched the first six seasons. Among them, this episode was the one I was most excited to see again. Unfortunately, it isn't as wild and crazy as I was hoping for. For some horrible reason, after I saw this as a kid- my mind decided to remember it as monsters popping up everywhere, chomping on and clawing through people left and right. That it was about the monsters, period. So, naturally I was Rabid with excitement (har). In fact- it was on YouTube. Yet I decided I was going to see it properly. On DVD. I was pretty disappointed at first. But, there's still a lot to like about it. Colleen Camp is always indescribable. Yet, she always delivers. What she delivers... is indescribable. Cynthia Gibb is like a superwoman with dialogue. She swoops in, gets it all done in record timing, and keeps you invested. Then, there's Harry Anderson with his part-lost puppy, part-Seymour Krelborn put-upon everyman, part-frenzied sidekick (to everyone here, including his fellow comics and, even the monsters), part-hunky nerd (yeah, I said it), part-romantic daydreamer, part-kid brother... just a wonderful performance- one of the show's all-time best. I always knew he was good but, this good? He's definitely the best thing about this episode. Which is another lazy-day sort, presenting a nice balance for the other episodes attempting to be traumatizing, scary, or creepy.




#28. "House of Horror" (S5/E7)


An amusing mix of Hell Night with nothing but the best bits from Season 2's "Television Terror" and Season 3's "Mournin' Mess." A very good combination. It starts with a long series of juvenile jokes (kissing shoes with dog poop on them and various college pranks that feel like they were hatched by The Goonies), which kinda suggests we're in for another Goosebumpsy half-hour but it's much more gratifying thanks to a big cast of sympathetic characters and some pretty old-fashioned Halloween novelty antics ("creepy" sound effects, body parts that are probably fake, costumes with masks, fake blood, and dares to go into the haunted-house). It becomes progressively darker and less kid-friendly as it goes along but never devolves into mean-spirited nastiness. Though it does torture our leads for most of the running time only to throw two thirds of them to the ghoul sorority. Considering how wrong it could have gone, it's much better than it needed to be. It surprised me from start to finish. Objectively, it's a "take it or leave it" 30-minutes since it really is light on honest scares. But with Brian Krause (Charmed, Sleepwalkers) steaming up the place and Wil Wheaton crawling around in nothing but briefs... I'll take it.




#27. "'Til Death" (S2/E4)


It's slow to start and really plays slinky hottie D.W. Moffett as a shallow villain. Based on that, you'd think you know where this episode's going to go... but you have absolutely no idea! It reforms again, then again; no matter what your expectations are, they will be re-written. The tone is dark, tight, and tense... at first. Then it gets mysterious, which brings out some style (I'd tell you it's all the work of blue light but the shot of Margaret slowly opening Moffett's bedroom door while the wind blows her all around is breath-taking). Then, they add a zombie to the mix. I was not expecting this. Death brings out this episode's playful side- and how. Actress Pamela Gien, also at first undersold as an uptight frigid brat, is an absolute riot as the sing-songy doll-like domestic princess gone wild with increasingly uproarious one-liners. From rolling severed heads to the monstrous, crazed piano crashing away like the player was replaced by a gremlin, things get real fun! Sporting a huge cleaver (which she intends to use on someone)- Gien whines about a bullet hole in her expensive dress, comes back from blow after blow like The Terminator, and - in the funniest Crypt moment ever - makes a pun after being set on fire that made me laugh so hard when I first heard it, I'm sure the neighbors heard me! A rolicking good time that stands up on repeat viewings. Moffett initially came off like a hollow, petty louse but it turns out he was perfectly cast. He's very funny. Also... he cares about his servants? Where did that come from? I mean, we all know there's some racism implied when he ditches the far sexier Janet Hubert before he even meets another woman and later only stops short of strangling her because of the law. Though, I found this intriguing. Because she tells us the society they live in is the actual source of the discrimination and that he's really just a coward. So, he has a few more gears turning inside than it seems. If anyone is short-changed here, it's Hubert. But she does camp up the ending more than a little.




#26. "The Assassin" (S6/E8)


A profound creeper. At first, it would seem that it's trying to wring some cheap shocks out of the "she's a man!" twist. But... Shelley Hack is really creepy! It's almost as though her experience disposing of the clean-up agents pushed her from a calculated killer to an all-out psychopath. I mean... exactly how did those body parts end up in the dinner-party food again? I sure wouldn't eat over at her place. That roast she serves to the camera in the spine-chilling final shot is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen. Through pure suggestion. When I first saw this episode as a teenager, I thought she literally fed her dinner guests the corpses of the agents. Yet it wouldn't have needed to go that far. Just holding up that dead meat is enough to say: don't fuck with this woman. As that, it's like the scary side of Serial Mom. So, yeah- the cast is excellent. I'm so happy to see Dust Devil's Chelsea Field in something else horror related. Corey Feldman... jabbers a little more than he should but he's definitely interesting when trying to intimidate Hack with his "I'm still gonna kill you when I'm finished" threat. The pacing is lively and the action scenes are surprisingly faster and more furious than probably any of the previous episodes. Thanks to the tricky and sharp camerawork. It could use more musical experimentation but, all in all- a satisfying, sexually radical episode (and easily the best of season 6).




#25. "Easel Kill Ya" (S3/E8)


This episode might be deeply brilliant or it might be just okay. I haven't quite figured it out yet. Watching it, it's very mechanical. Smart but mechanical. For example- has anyone else noticed that Sharon really isn't right for Jack? She can't follow him at all. Their parting, regardless of who winds up dead before the Crypt Keeper signs us out, was foretold from the moment we see her robotically reciting the go-getter Obsessives Anonymous anthem. The counselor in that group doesn't encourage Jack to exorcise his inner demons and all Sharon can offer him is a home version of the same course. This almost feels like a two-shoulder conscience confrontation piece where both the devil and the angel sitting on either side are offering him bad advice. But they're also both right. Jack definitely needs a change of surrounding and focus but, unless he wants to spend his time getting her to face reality- is what he really needs in his life someone else to fix up? The twist is of course cleverly devised. Yet it doesn't work without a tragic loss. Although, there is also an undertonal suggestion that Sharon wouldn't have been hurt if she hadn't gotten involved with Jack. It's a sign- he's wrong for her too. So, that's his angel. The relationship he has with his devil, Mayflower, is as you can imagine much more interesting. So interesting that he even ends up in Jack's bed at one point. Not sure what's going on there either. Except, of course, that it's day in his reality with Sharon and night in his fantasy with Mayflower (calm down- that word doesn't always suggest wish-fulfillment). This guy is one of Crypt's best villains, played by an intellectually intimidating William Atherton. A manipulative, smarmy, and passive-abusive figure in Jack's life, you have to love his cocky "show me what you've got" attitude going beyond just the paintings Jack turns in to him. There's just something about that "I think you will" after Jack says he doesn't need anymore of his money. He seems to be pressuring Jack to prove he's morbid, turning it into a cool and detached challenge. He's preying on Jack's desperation then puncturing him to get more of it. I guess I don't have to think it's flawless to know there's something here. There's also a lot of gore. More of the show's best.




#24. "Death of Some Salesmen" (S5/E1)


What's Right with It: Rhett got 'em all again. Except that I want to say this is one of the darkest episodes of the series, bar none. It's insanely cynical, but wondrously disturbing. Calling it twisted doesn't do it justice. The music, the backwood family values, the loving way it photographs the Wynona character and tosses her some sympathy as though it were concerned she might be hurt by Ed Begley Jr's scoundrel heartbreaker, and the full meaning of the twist combine to form the pure definition of "grave." Something about watching this episode makes me feel closer to my own mortality. I'm going to guess that that has to do with how it's shot. The angles are beyond unsettling. The pacing is morbid (if there is such a thing). Every scene really takes its time unfolding the profoundly stomach-hardening story and though it's a very short story, it's a full-plated episode. On the surface, it just seems gross. It's something much more. I mean, the episode drives right past social commentary given the set-up involves paying back salesmen for selling cheap products that breakdown to people whether they can afford them or not. Does this family even have any "money"? It's possible they don't. They can take whatever they want from any salesman who happens by. So, what right do they have to be turning the tables on this guy? None. But, do they need one? Turns out, truer to real life, he was just in the wrong place at the right time.

What's Wrong with It: The dead bodies look like wax. Yet, the camera just can't help going in right for the closeup.




#23. "Dead Wait" (S3/E6)


Crypt really knows how to cast 'em, don't they? I'm actually talking about sexy actors. One could say they wanted the most luscious women and the manliest of men... not knowing what a turn-on they are. James Remar. Goddamn! Is it hot in here or is it just him? This time though they really put the rough man's looks to the test as a way for the character to prove his brains over others' brawn. The second he meets his ticket to Black Pearl Island (humor me, would you), he's criticized for not being a man of the land (for having smooth, clean, untortured hands). The starter scene of the episode has a choice- call him lazy because he's not out with his partner taking the same risks or insinuate that he isn't trusted to do the same tasks because he's a prettyboy. Meanwhile, he's sitting on the bed jeans bulging and tight tanktop arguing, "I got ideas too! Don't treat me like a fuckin' moron!" Later, he has to build his friendship with John Rhys Davies - a wise elder type here - on the strength of inner-quality. Another test, really. One we all know he fails since his only loyalty is to himself. But he's a very interesting guy as a character. Smarter than he looks but dumber than he claims to be. I mean, he can't really say Whoopi's Peligree saved his life. Yet there he goes, spilling his guts to her; "this is what I want, this is why I want it, this is why I'm worth it." But, hey, those jeans are tight throughout and his briefs are red to compliment his most prized feature. And this is only half the episode. The other half is all pure gross-out voodoo goodness. Nasty, bloody, gruesome, and with a plot that features loads of dark double-crossing. It's easily inspired for its' type with killer gore (that spurting-neck closeup is something only Troma usually have the guts to do) and a surprising ending: Whoopi Goldberg on the Crypt Keeper's David Letterman-esque talk show. I have to agree with Rhett that her priestess character is pretty flawed as a performance but watching a Hollywood megastar in their prime wielding machetes is beyond awesome. She's no Jason Voorhees but I thought she did great. Excellent twist too: he died as he lived- in vain. Then she throws his pearl away. Classic.




#22. "Split Personality" (S4/E11)


Okay- sometimes with this show, the work comes in matching the misdeeds of the character with the severity of the payback they get in the twist. Because there are some extremely downright nasty twists here. It's one thing to say: split personality = split person. If you want to show it, you might also want to make your main antagonist the king of all weasels. That's why the casting of Joe Pesci was a real bet-hedger. If there's a risk here, it's that he was too likable in My Cousin Vinny. But he has that history of playing irresistable slimeballs. And, as to be expected, he nails this gambling con artist, Vic. But, to further supplement the twist, he's made into a despicable, mean-spirited pig right from the start. (That "did you pay me to fuck?" hooker scene is straight out of a gangster movie. Um... thanks for the shot of gritty realism in our gold-digger fantasy?) There's actually a lot to his character. My favorite thing is his red car and matching red suit- I want that fucking suit! (This is actually one of the show's most colorful episodes by far, primaries everywhere and some green and pink later on.) But he tests his scumbag smarts by trying to pass himself off to the piercing brunette twins as a fine arts connoisseur when he actually thinks they have lousy taste. Suddenly, he's spouting lots of pretty convincing dialogue about their dead father's (Richard Donner in a framed-picture cameo) architectural achievements. With a lot of style and flair, this is a great free-wheeling little episode. Where the women become a device for more than just their looks. Though these twins are pretty creepy!




#21. "Spoiled" (S3/E13)


Another excellent cast. In this case, I'm going to throw in the word "underrated." Faye Grant, especially, is marvelous. As are Annabelle Gurwitch and Anita Morris. (Ever get the feeling women don't always get the recognition they deserve?) Alan Rachins has his work cut out for him competing with Grant's soap opera beefcakes but definitely has a certain dashing quality here. This episode may feel a little close to "Split Second" but I think it keeps character securely in-check and is far less abusive of the audience (unless the twist makes you squirm- but I'm not going to complain). The obvious scab to pick here is how undeserved the husband's revenge is. If ever a character deserved a free-pass to cheat on their spouse, it's this woman. And, yet, I say the ending works. The camera starts getting all tilty and Rachins starts getting very crazy. And fun. When it was her story, his scenes in the lab always focused on her and cut him short. Suddenly, it flips and it's his story. Which tests how good he can be at playing extreme. I think he does it very well (his insane laugh is amazing). In fact, I'd even say his crazy side is downright hot. The ending submerges us in some great drunken montage of tubes and bloody instruments (and that blood really pops in the shot, I've never seen it look more red). The soap opera mixed with mad scientist movie is a really interesting idea and I'm glad to see the makers here put it to such effective use. I have even more to rave about but Rhett already got most of that.

Last edited by DVD-fanatic-9; 03-06-2013 at 04:40 AM.
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