Outer Limits – Under the Bed (S1E10)

olunderthebed01Not to be confused with Under the Bed.

I feared I was on thin ice when I saw director René Bonnière had not only an accent grave in his name, but also an accent aigu.  What is this, Ray Bradbury Theater?

Ridiculously cute kids Jillian and Andrew Rosman are sent to bed by their single mother Sharon.  Andrew is missing his teddy bear and hears it beckoning him from below the bed.  Not being named Teddy Ruxpin, this is suspicious behavior even to a dumb little kid.  When he tries to retrieve the bear, his sister sees a tentacle grab him.  The girl does a great job of registering the attack, and even gave me a little chill.

After a particularly awful opening narration, TV’s favorite yuppie Timothy Busfield arrives to save the day.  He meets up with detective Caitlin Doyle who immediately suspects the absentee dad.

The next day, Busfield goes to Police headquarters where Doyle has dragged in Mr. Rosman for questioning.  I was happy to see the police station is at the Strughold Mining Company from The X-Files.


Left: Outer Limits, Right: X-Files. Are they ever going to fix those windows?

Being a 40-year old guy on TV, naturally Busfield has daddy issues.  Turns out they became estranged after Busfield’s brother mysteriously disappeared much like Andrew.  The next day, Busfield is again pumping the detective about Andrew’s father.

Busfield then asks Jillian to act out the abduction with dolls.  Jillian tosses the Daddy doll away.  As she is searching for a way to explain the abduction, Busfield again prompts her to implicate her Daddy.  “Not Daddy,” she says, tossing away the Daddy doll she already tossed away seconds before.  Jillian names the boogeyman as the abductor.

Jillian just won’t give Busfield the answer he wants so he finally resorts to hypnotizing her to get more information.  As she relives the trauma and screams about the thing under the bed, Busfield once again tries to inject Daddy into her mind as the culprit, “What makes Jillian afraid?  Is it Daddy?”  Thank God Jillian is more honest than Busfield, and she blames the boogeyman again.


This guy has more daddy issues than a season of Lost.

Later, Jillian is called to the window by Andrew.  As she opens the window, Andrew becomes the boogeyman and grabs her arm.  Busfield shows up and immediately asks again if it was her father.

This obsession would have made sense if that were the point of the B-story with his father, but it really wasn’t.  He never suspected his father was responsible for his brother’s disappearance.  This was just him being the worst, most leading anti-father child psychologist in history.

Busfield finally gets off the Daddy-wagon and figures out that it really is the boogeyman.  But not before Jillian is taken.  Busfield and the cop find Jillian and kill the boogeyman.  It is strange that zero-mention is made of her brother Andrew.  Presumably he is dead, so I credit them for not going for the feel-food ending.  It is just kind of strange that they don’t mention him or look for his body.

The last scene of the episode shows the Eiffel Tower and then a French kid about to be abducted.  I knew René Bonnière was going to jam France down our throats at some point.

Some good performances, and I actually got a legitimate chill.  But still only manages to be so-so.


  • The police station / Strughold Mining pictured above is located at the Britannia Mining Museum in British Columbia.
  • William MacDonald (Daddy) played 5 different credited roles in the X-Files.  I thought that would be a record, but there were at least 4 other actors in the 5-timers club.
  • Per IMDb, this is the 2nd lowest rated episode from Season 1.  Of course, the worst was White Light Fever.

All Cheerleaders Die (2013)

allcheerleaders01The  standard by which all cheerleader movies of any genre is judged is Bring it On.  This is no Bring it On.

The sad part here is that All Cheerleaders Die was so close to greatness.  You can still see sparkling gems scattered throughout like Leena’s Wiccan stones, but much of it is a mess.

We start out with a video profile of head cheerleader Lexi being taken by nobody Maddy.  Lexi is certainly cute, but like most everyone in this high school, is an asshole.  Kudos to the producers for getting the movie off to a great start by dispatching her quickly and cruelly.

The next year, Maddy puts on some eyeliner, let’s her hair down, and is suddenly gorgeous.  Maybe this is a sign that Hollywood has finally figured out you don’t ugly-up girls by putting glasses on them.

Maddy’s relationship with Alex is not clear — was she a real friend, or a hanger-on just doing a class assignment?  Clearly, she was not one of the cool kids.  The next year, she is trying out for Lexi’s spot on the squad.  We get a montage of the cheerleaders and football players practicing their craft,  Not to pick this thing to death, but an unusual number of shots are poorly framed, or shot too far from — or too close to — the subjects. Maybe they were hiding the stunt people; I never had this problem with Buffy, though.


If there was one frame of the whole squad looking decent, I missed it.

Maddy’s motivation seems pretty loose.  She hates Tracey because she started dating Lexi’s boyfriend Terry before a suitable mourning period.  Granted, despite being a dead-ringer for Tiger Woods, he is the most hatable guy I’ve seen onscreen in quite a while, but this is thin stuff.  But wait . . . for an hour, the film withholds the fact that asshole Terry raped her the previous summer.  It would have been better for her motivation to be completely mysterious rather than use this flimsy excuse about dating etiquette for half the movie.

Now that Maddy is on the squad, she no longer has time for her freaky Wiccan friend Leena.  But wait, wasn’t she just becoming a cheerleader to get revenge on them?  How did Leena get shut out in the process?  Again, we don’t know their relationship.  There are indications that she is either a) a stalker, or 2) a friend from Maddy’s pre-cool days, or c) a lesbian ex-girlfriend.  I think we’re all pulling for “c”, but a little nudge from the writers would have been nice.

The girls have a pool party.  “Bitches only.” They send the “Dawgs” away.  Maddy tries to drive a wedge between Tracey and asshole Terry by ratting out his infidelity. Mentioning that he raped her might have also caused trouble in paradise.  She then tries to steal Tracey away by coming on to her.  This is one of the aforementioned gems.

At yet another party, Leena is off by herself with her stones.  Maddy and Tracey start making out again.  Soon asshole Terry shows up and proclaims that the the football players will no longer fraternize with the cheerleaders.  Tracey tells him off and asshole Terry punches her in the face.  Hard.

The girls drive off and asshole Terry & his suck-ups chase them, quickly running them off the road.  The car lands in a river upside down.  A couple of the guys protest, but asshole Terry makes like asshole Ted Kennedy, leaving the girls to die.

Leena, following in another car, pulls the girls from the river and uses her Wiccan stones to resurrect them.  Their scene waking up at Leena’s house had a lot of potential, but the opportunity was largely squandered.  Like the party scenes, the large group of people was not handled effectively.  This seemed to be a recurring theme — not knowing quite how to handle a crowd, and poor choices on composition.

There were some nice shots and even whole scenes in the last half of the movie, but it frequently seemed confused.  Maybe this is the result of having two directors. With the exception of Leena’s neighbor Larry (Michael Bowen), I can almost make a perfectly sexist divide and say the female performers were all good to great, and the male characters were either zeroes or repugnant.

It is easy to say the tone was wrong, or inconsistent, or rushed.  But then there will be 10 examples of films where the abrupt tonal change worked.  Pretty much anything will work in the right hands.  Unfortunately, the 4 hands directing this film were not able to make it work.

2, 4, 6, 8, I did not appreciate.


  • What?  Is there no shower room at this high school?
  • Terry really should be treated like Brad in Rocky Horror.  Every time he appears on screen, the audience should yell “asshole!”
  • I’m far from high school, but Christ this is the worst music I’ve ever heard!  Pretty quickly got my fill of “bitches” and “dawgs” also.  I noticed the subtitles opted for the more traditional “dogs.”
  • Loved this shot, but again, they botched the composition.  Nice 3 feet of headroom when her feet should have been fully in the frame to indicate her 100% vulnerability and obliviousness to anything other than her desire to feed.allcheerleaders04

Ray Bradbury Theater – Tyrannosaurus Rex (S2E10)

rbttrex06I thought maybe we were back in the USA given the subject matter of this one.  Sadly, no.  And that is really too bad since it it features a uniquely American art form, and is personally relevant to Ray Bradbury.

Young Terwilliger brings a demo reel of his stop-motion animation to nasty, brutish film producer Mr. Clarence for review.  In case we did not know Clarence was a jerk, he is given a huge squarish protrusion above his left eye.  Cuz different people is evil. Clarence likes the demo, but grudgingly offers Terwilliger only $2,000 to do the special effects for his next film.

I am tempted to say his is the kind of film destined to be included in a collection of 20 for $5.  Sadly, none of those 20 has yet shown the skill and dedication required for stop-motion animation.  But, to be fair, I haven’t gotten to Gingerdead Man 3 yet.

rbttrex10Terwilliger accepts the contract and we watch him designing the dinosaur models.  We get small insights into the process, such as how the artists use peanut shells to impress texture into the clay skin of the models.  Also, that artists like peanuts.  The filming commences and we see a little of the painstaking work required to move the models 1/16th of an inch for each shot.

Despite the work Terwilliger puts in, and how much Clarence’s lawyer praises the effects, Clarence rolls out of the shadows to berate them both and claim ownership of the models.  He also demands constant changes to the bodies, more spikes, bigger teeth, angry eyes, claws like razors.  Clarence demands that the dinosaur be a monster!

rbttrex01Clarence is finally satisfied at the screening when he sees a dinosaur that is a true monster.  Terwilliger is a little fearful of his response, since the monster was clearly based on Clarence.  I guess there’s not much you can do to make a dinosaur look like a man, but giving it a huge knot over its left eye was a pretty clear shot across Clarence’s brow.

Leaving the screening, Clarence realizes the dinosaur was based on him and screams for Terwilliger — for God’s sake, let’s just call him T!  Clarence catches up to T in the studio and fires him, threatening a lawsuit.  The lawyer tells Clarence that the film was actually a tribute to him, hero of the motion picture industry.  The dinosaur represents the lonely, cunning, strong producer, all thunder and lightning, never appreciated.

Clarence, literally a blockhead, is vain enough to buy this load of crap.  He generously offers, “You’re both still on the payroll, but just until the preview.”  This is especially generous to the lawyer who pointed out earlier, that he had not been on the payroll for months.

At Le Cinema that night, the house is filled completely with hot French teenage girls, illustrating once again that I went into the wrong business.  After the movie, the girls swarm Clarence for autographs.  T is baffled by this response until he discovers that the girls are a Scout Troop recruited by the lawyer through his niece.


Final shot of the episode which suddenly puts the knot on the other side of the dinosaur’s head.

Clarence is reveling in the adulation, and the lawyer tells T, “Looks like we both still have jobs.”  This despite the fact that the lawyer had no job, and T was just a contract worker for that one film.  T points out that this time it is the lawyer who has created the monster.

Although, surrounding this bitter, lonely, middle-aged man with adoring underage French girls for the first time in his life might just be entrapment.


  • This episode and the short story are considered to be an homage to Ray Harryhausen, king of stop motion animation and friend of Bradbury since their teens.  A great overview of his work can be seen here.
  • No mention of Harryhausen, but a good article here on the group of young men in southern California who shaped sci-fi and horror during the 50s and 60s.
  • Out of 65 episodes in this series, this one is rated #64 by users on IMDb. That seems harsh.  It’s no masterpiece, but there is a little fun to be had here.  And God knows the bar is pretty low for this series.
  • Are there really this many open fires in the streets of France?




Night Shadow (1989)

nightshadow0220 horror movies for $5; what could possibly go wrong.  Part XII.

Infobabe Alex Jung is shown leaving KLOF studios.  There is a KLOF in Wyoming, but this seems to be California.  Also, KLOF is a radio station.

Having been offered a big promotion, she is heading back to her hometown of Danford to mull it over.  Reaching the town, she sees a Mansonesque man on the side of the road beside a car.  She wisely drives on.  An old friend of hers stops to help and is killed for his friendliness.

In the next scene, we are introduced to Kato Kaelin, best known as a friend of OJ Simpson during his murder trial.  Sadly for him, it is impossible for anyone of a certain age not to make that association.  He doesn’t help himself here with the giant mullet, but it was the 80’s.

While he is making out with his girlfriend, a couple of guys burst through the front door.  One is wielding a rifle, the other is wearing a Freddy Krueger bladed glove, and both have stockings over their faces.  After briefly scaring the couple to death, the two reveal themselves to be Kato’s friends and they all have a good laugh . . .  at them peeking in at the couple making out; and eavesdropping; and breaking down the door; and pointing a rifle at them.  In the friend department, that Kato sure has a type.


Christ, if there were pasta in the fridge, they’d be going all Lady and the Tramp.

The scariest part is the er, camaraderie of the three guys.  For a bunch of 30 year old guys, they are they most giggly bunch of 12 year old girls I’ve ever seen.  By that age, my father had been in 2 wars.  I had been in no wars by 30, but did shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

The one minor spark of life in the entire movie is when they close the front door and it falls off the hinges.  That’s it.  That’s the high point.  Of the whole movie.

Alex meets her brother at the local diner.  For reasons unexplained, he is Chinese.  In a good movie, that might be an interesting quirk, even more-so if uncommented upon.  Here, it mostly annoyed me.  I suspect they hired a Chinese actor just because the role called for some chop-socky later.  Across the diner, Alex locks eyes with Manson-man again.  There is clearly some sort of connection because there are several seconds of their faces with lightning bolts appearing in front of them.

nightshadow06The Sheriff happens by and breaks the trance.  When Alex looks back at the bar, Manson-man is gone.

Three bodies have shown up in Danford bearing signs of an animal attack; although one of them animals what throws his leftovers in a dumpster or car trunk.  By this point, some sort of hint of what this movie is about is long overdue for the audience.  However, rather than any exposition or foreshadowing, we get another shot of Alex and Manson-man locking lightning eyes.

Finally at 58 minutes in, the film decides it is about a wolfman.  Kato Kaelin does an excruciating homage to Bill Murray from Caddyshack.  The wolfman then kills Kaelin by . . . slashing his jugular?  Biting a chunk out of his neck?  Disemboweling him with a razor-sharp claw?  No, the wolfman runs him through with a pipe.  Don’t get me wrong, I think we were all happy to see it, and it was long overdue.  It just doesn’t exactly play to the strengths of a wolfman-American.

Eventually the wolfman is pinned against a building by a police car.  Alex’s brother takes a few shots at the car, and is able cause the gas tank to burst into flames.  So we don’t even get a silver bullet for our 90 minutes.

Trying to be positive, Brenda Vance as Alex was very watchable; given some decent material, she could have had a solid career.  Beyond her, there is not much to like.  Not the script, not the infantile acting, not the effects.  This movie has pretty much gotten the resting place it deserves.


  • As long as the OJ trial was mentioned, I feel compelled to point out the role that Kim Kardashian’s father had in getting him acquitted.
  • I can’t find a single US city named Danford, which seems odd.
  • Stuart Quan had quite the career in acting and stunt work.  Sad that of this mediocre bunch, he was the one to die young.  At 43, he lost consciousness after snowboarding and died.
  • In retrospect, I might have hard that Reno thing in a song.
  • OK, this guy wasn’t bad:


Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Malice Domestic (S2E20)

ahbabysitter03Carl and Annette Borden are at a going-away party for career girl Lorna.  She is moving to San Francisco and leaving her enormous dog Cassandra with the Bordens.

The Bordens have their friend Perry over for dinner.  Carl has stomach pains which Annette oddly attributes to strawberry shortcake.  In the kitchen, Carl doubles over and calls an ambulance.  His doctor agrees that it could have been the strawberries in combination with some other rich foods.  Not since The Caine Mutiny have strawberries been involved in such nefarious events.

The next day, Annette finds Carl passed out on the floor of her studio.  The doctor later determines that he ingested arsenic.  Although, it could have been that big-ass bong Annette is making.  Both times he has taken ill, Annette prepared the meals.

He throws the doctor out at his implication of Annette.  He looks through the studio and notices some of the paint is made with arsenic.  When Annette offers him some juice, he reluctantly drinks it.


My God! Look at the size of that bong!

They decide to take a vacation.  While Carl is packing the car,  Annette drinks from the wrong coffee mug, and Carl finds her dead on the floor.  Having established himself as the victim, it is easy for everyone to believe that Annette accidentally poisoned herself.

Quick cut to Carl in a car with Lauren and Cassandra explaining how he pulled it off.

The episode doesn’t play completely fair, but it gets the job done.


  • AHP Deathwatch: No survivors.
  • Phyllis Thaxter played Ma Kent in Superman.  The good one.
  • Not sure what’s going on with that title.  It kinda seems like Latin for “evil in the home,” an approximation of Hitchcock’s description of his series.  But it also sounds like a breed of dog.  Or cat.
  • John Meredyth Lucas wrote the Star Trek episode where they went to the Nazi planet.  That episode starred Skip Homeier from Momentum.