Tales From the Crypt – On a Deadman’s Chest (S4E3)

An emcee introduces the band Exorcist to us and their inexplicably adoring fans.  The almost well-named lead singer Danny Darwin’s prodigious musical talent is matched only by his linguistic skills enabling him to work the F word in three times in three sentences.  I have to go back to Demosthones or maybe even Iggy Pop to find a wordsmith of such a skill.

Darwin, blissfully, takes a break from his godawful set to announce that his guitarist Bosch has gotten married.  The girls in the audience jeer as they would at a similar announcement from Justin Bieber; or like guys would the second he walked on stage.

Darwin drags Bosch’s fiancee Scarlett (Tia Carrera) onto the stage, much to her displeasure.  He warns Bosch not to get pussy-whipped, calls Scarlett a bitch and pushes her off stage.  So that Dale Carnegie course really paid off.

Bosch drops the guitar and walks offstage.  Stopping the show, Darwin follows, and Bosch attacks him as much as a guy with big hair, earrings, a necklace and a mesh shirt can.  He demands an apology, but Darwin says it is was just a joke, further demonstrating his grasp of the English language, and communication in  general.

tftcdeadmanschest04Darwin goes to his dressing room where there are a couple of skanky sluts.  They say they hate Scarlett, too because she treats them like skanky sluts.  So far there is exactly one person in this episode that I don’t loathe (although her taste in men is appalling).

One of the skanks, Vendetta, starts to grow on me as she unzips her leather top.  Sadly, she has destroyed her beauty with a dreadful new tattoo of a snake curled around her breast.  She tells Darwin to look closer, and he sees a tongue slither out of the snake’s mouth.  She promises to reveal the location of this magical tattoo artist if he will sleep with her.

The next morning, she drops Darwin off at the home of Farouche, the magical tattoo guy.  Farouche is also a tattooed douche-bag, but he has an eye-patch treats Darwin like shit, so I kind of like him.  Darwin wants a tiger, but Farouche says he will decide what to create; he “finds what is inside and brings it outside.”  Like my lunch when I think that low-lifes like these are the future of our country.

When Farouche is finished, Darwin races to a mirror — a common practice for him, I imagine — and sees that the artist has put a massive tattoo of Scarlett on his chest.  Outraged, he refuses to pay and storms out.

tftcdeadmanschest14Back at the house, Scarlett comes in and immediately tears into Darwin for being unprofessional.  She reminds Darwin that Bosch writes and produces the songs and that a lot of labels would love to have him as a solo act.  His reasoned response is, “You’re trying to break up the band, you stupid bitch.  Can’t you see we’re the hottest band in the country?”  Which is why they share a house.

At the small club (where the hottest band in the country plays every night) he finds Vendetta and accuses her of giving Farouche a picture of Scarlett to tattoo on his chest.  She has her first reasonable suggestion and gives Darwin the name of a plastic surgeon who can remove the tattoo.  Because this is the chick whose advice is gold, baby!  The doctor does his thing, but a ghost of the Scarlett tattoo remains.

tftcdeadmanschest17After apologizing to Bosch and telling him he wants to keep the band together, he skips the next gig.  While the band is playing, he sneaks back into his own house while Scarlett is slipping into the tub.  While Bosch is headbanging on stage, Darwin does some headbanging with Scarlett, and not the good kind.  He viciously slams her noggin repeatedly against the tile wall until she is dead.

Bosch comes into the dressing room and asks Darwin (as he is putting on his guy-liner) if he has seen Scarlett, which just baffles me.  The band was on stage during the murder.  Didn’t anyone miss the lead singer?

Darwin tells Vendetta that he killed Scarlett.  He peels the bandage off his tattoo scar and the tattoo has fully returned.  When he finally makes it onstage for the second set, something is bouncing around under his shirt .  He runs offstage, belts Vendetta, returns to the mirror and has a chest-burster scene that makes Alien look tame.

He then engages in a little self-surgery of the non-plastic variety.  As the climax is spoiled in the first shot of the episode, I don’t feel the guilt that I also haven’t felt spoiling every other episode.

A good episode with brief moments of greatness, largely ruined by too many entirely repulsive characters.

tftcdeadmanschest23Post-Post:

  • Title Analysis:  Again, no thought was put into it.  First of all, it’s not “Deadman’s Chest”, it’s “Dead Man’s Chest.”  Second, who is the titular dead man?  The only person killed is a woman.
  • Danny Darwin is an awful name for this character.  If you want to keep Darwin (and there really is no reason to), name him Darwin Dedmon (I have never known anyone with the last name Deadman), then change the title to Dedmon’s Chest.  Both problems solved.
  • All I can think is that Darwin is almost an anagram for drawing?
  • Gregg Allman, as the club manager, was far more normal that I expected.

Proxy (2013)

proxy001Esther Woodhouse is at the doctors’s office with some sort of enormous tumor; no wait, she’s pregnant. The doctor is running an ultrasound, and everything looks good.  Of course, they told Rosemary Woodhouse the same thing.  On the way to the bus stop, she is conked on the head by someone in a red hoodie who then repeatedly bashes her baby bump with a brick and robs her.

Fortunately, it seems that an ambulance is very quick on the scene.  Not so fortunately for her or me, she regains consciousness just in time to see the bloody corpse of her dead baby being cut out of her.

A detective comes to her hospital room.  Not much is learned except that the father was from a sperm bank.  Next she gets a visit from Mary Wilkins, a social worker at the hospital.  Esther doesn’t have any friends or co-workers to contact.  By the time she gets home, even her goldfish is dead.

Esther goes to a support group.  She is befriended by Melanie who lost her husband and son when they were hit by a drunk driver.

She returns aimlessly wandering in the hospital where she was treated, does jigsaw puzzles, applies for a job at a department store.  While there, she sees Melanie and stalks her for a while.  Melanie seems to be searching for her dead son as if he were merely lost in the store.  She makes a scene, crying, calling over the store manager.  She says she is going to look outside, then calmly walks to her car.  She gets a little boy out of her car and takes him into the store.

proxy014Esther and Melanie get together again for coffee in the park.  Melanie says she used to bring her son here.

Later that day, someone in a red hoodie breaks into Esther’s house and rapes her.  It turns out to be her lesbian lover Anika.  The first attack was a ruse that Esther dreamed up.  Lot’s of lying going on here.

Melanie calls late at night for another coffee klatch.  Esther tells Melanie that she was nine months into a healthy pregnancy and loved the way people treated her.  Not being much of a looker, she was unused to this attention.  But she never wanted to be a mother.  She tells Melanie she is the only one who understands and kisses her on the lips.

Melanie gets up to leave and Esther tells her she saw her with her son at the mall.  Melanie slaps her and tells her not to call again.

I could go on and on, and actually did — damn you Chromebook for not having a backspace key!  But there are so many interesting scenes and twists that that they have to be seen to be appreciated.  I was wary of the 2 hour running time, but the film fills the time.  It is slowly paced, but there is always something happening and your mind is constantly working to stay up with it or out-guess it.

Director Zack Parker has a few amazing scenes which are Hitchcockian in their twists and in the great use of Bernard Herrmann style scoring.  Really great stuff.

proxy026Anything else would be giving away too much.  For most posts, I spoil freely because it just ain’t that big a deal (and, really, who am I spoiling?  Searchbots?).  This should be seen with fresh eyes.

Post-Post:

  • Alexa Havins — wow!

Outer Limits – Out of Body (S2E20)

oloutofbody01Dr. Rebecca Warfield (hey, it’s TV’s Roz from Frasier!) has been in a fatal car accident and is having an out-of-body experience; also an out-of-focus experience.

Her really sketchy (by today’s standards, but I kinda dig it) ghost hovers above the street and looks down at her bloody carcass.  Turns out it was just her recurring nightmare, but this time it was different as she actually died in the dream.

Roz is trying to get funding for her research on the human soul.  She is showing the committee a film of a chimp named Duncan in the hyperspace chamber.  This puts  him into a near-hibernation state, but resembling REM sleep in a human. Somehow this is supposed to show that the chimp is having an out-of-body experience and part of his soul is going to another dimension.  I don’t get the connection, but I wasn’t a call-screener for a shrink for 10 years.

oloutofbody06One committee member asks when she is going to put a human in the chamber (hmmmm, I wonder who the first one will be).  Another member (Hey, it’s TV’s Cigarette-Smoking Man (aka CGB Spender) from The X-Files!) wants to know on what moral grounds she is conducting these experiments.  He accuses her of presuming to know God’s will and questions how such sacrilegious research come to be sanctioned.

Back at the lab, she asks her assistant Amy if she believes she has a soul.  Not surprisingly, since he is wearing a cross necklace, she sheepishly says yes.  That night she gets a visit from CGB and tells him about Roz’s research.  She tells him Roz believes we are made of sub-atomic vibrating loops; basically the silly-String Theory.  CGB doesn’t care about the details, he just knows that such sacrilege must be stopped.

After losing her funding, sure enough, she goes into the chamber herself.  The computer goes berserk, as they are wont to do, and takes the session to Level 5.  This could all have been prevented by making four the highest number.  As it shuts down, Roz runs to Amy’s station to see what when wrong, but Amy can’t see her —  her body is still in the chamber.

oloutofbody07She finds she can walk through walls and people, and instantly zip from place to place.  She overhears a phone conversation telling her husband Ben that she has been taken to the hospital.  Roz and Ben get to the hospital at the same time despite her ability to instantly teleport anywhere.  Corporeal Roz is still unconscious.

She drops in at Amy’s apartment and CGB stops by by.  They are clearly in cahoots — she admits to him that the power went out of control and she froze before she could find a way to stop it.

Roz starts swinging her hand through the phone, the TV, all of Amy’s electrical appliances trying to make herself heard — same trick Geordi and Ro tried on ST:TNG. She later tries the same trick at the hospital.

Back at the lab, Amy turns on the light and says she can feel Roz.  She commands her to make the light flicker like she did at the hospital.  We can’t see Roz, but we do see the light flicker.  Just when we expect logic to prevail, Amy screams, “This is the devil’s work!  Man’s arrogance must be stopped!”

Joloutofbody10esus Christ, we’re back at the hospital again.  The doctor starts using a heart defibrillator on her, but she dies, and ghost-Roz fades out.

When another patient who just had a near-death experience tells her husband that he talked to Roz, her husband rushes back to the lab.  A flickering light tells him she is there. Her husband gets in the machine, but Amy takes an axe to it, and it blows up.

So they are together again.

Post-Post:

  • Canadian DVD Title:  Voyage Astral.
  • That was some bizarre wreck.  The other car is completely upside down, but Roz’s is right beside it and right-side-up.  So how did the other one flip in place like a rotisserie?
  • They have GOT to find a way to get that black-lunged son-of-a-bitch on the X-Files sequel.  A clone?  Was Jeremiah Smith still alive by that point?

Starry Eyes (2014)

starryeyes00Sarah starts out her day in front of a full-length mirror, trying to pinch an inch.  She fails admirably which is good because she works at a Hooteresque joint called Big Taters.  It is also good for her other career: aspiring actress.

She sees a casting call for a movie called The Silver Scream and registers to audition. One of her friends says she hopes that is just a working title.  Despite a performance-anxiety nightmare the previous night, she gives a great audition.

She gets a callback.  In the 2nd audition, she is asked to disrobe.  She is subjected to a strobe light which has a great effect on both her and the viewer.  It freaks her out so she is finally able to “let herself go”.  It keeps the viewer’s rapt attention with the bursts, the after-effects, and gazing intently to see if we get to see the titular Big Taters.

She finally gets to meet the producer, but he is more interested in slipping his hand up her skirt.  So she bails and begs for her job back at Big Taters.  Within 24 hours, she completely sells out and calls to beg for another chance with the producer.  Which she is given.  Actually, I’m sure that little pill her indie director friend gave her played a role also.

starryeyes11At the producer’s house, the pill is taking effect and she collapses on the floor.  Which is convenient as she gets in the casting crouch and services him.  She wakes up back in her own really sloppy bedroom.  She is still kind of spaced out and looks awful.

She gets progressively more disgusting, fighting with her friends, peeling off fingernails, drooling black goo, vomiting up maggots, killing her friends, and there is a thing crawling around in her stomach.

At this point, I am really reminded of Contracted and Pretty Dead where we see pretty girls devolve into vampires or zombies.  I would include Life After Beth in that category although Aubrey Plaza ain’t everyone’s cup of Earl Grey.

starryeyes24She is literally reborn from the ground.  There is a gift box awaiting here where she emerges from the earth.  As I recall — and it gets fuzzy here — it contains lingerie.

Whether she wears it to walk home or barter a cab ride is not clear.  In the next scene, her roommate finds her under the sheets of her bed, nekkid.  My interpretation is she walked home naked, but maybe that’s just me.  Then some stuff happens.

As I recall, she is now part of the vampiric cult, and puts on a pentagram.

Note to Self: Don’t send the disc back until you write the post.  Seems like I enjoyed it, but damn if I can remember how it ended, and I just saw it two days ago.  It was better than this post — that I can say with confidence.

Post-Post:

  • Many of the girls in this film seem to have enormous teeth.  And I say this having just watched Kimmy Schmidt.  Luckily I like big giant teeth.
  • Been trying to come up with a good slogan for Big Taters.  Nice Tots?  I da Ho?   Clearly I have failed.
  • I liked the title The Silver Scream.

Ray Bradbury Theater – The Concrete Mixer (S5E5)

Ettil Vyre, “bearer of the most famous name in [our] military tradition”, is refusing to go Earth on what he considers to be an ill-conceived escapade.  The Assigner brings in his wife and son to shame him into going.

Tomorrow, Vyre will be part of the invasion of Earth.  Vyre shows his son some old Earth pulp sci-fi magazines of the kind that Bradbury started writing for.  Vyre’s grandfather brought them back from a visit to Earth and they are now forbidden.

Martian leaders believe generations of Earthmen have been reading these magazines where Earth always prevails against constant Martian invasions with one young man, lean and muscled, with a name like Mick or Rick leading the way.  I’m sure our advancements in X-Ray Specs and Giant Mushrooms from the magazine’s back pages gave them pause, as well.  Vyre says the Earthlings “will be ready and waiting for us, yet we fly to attack and die.”

During the journey on the worst designed, most obvious model of a spaceship, The Assigner describes Earth as “what a silly name, what a silly planet, what a silly people.”  He vows to crush them; and by them, I mean, us.

Unexpectedly, they get a video transmission from Earth.  Is it the President?  No, it is William Summers, of the Association of United American Consumers.  My initial thought was that this was Bradbury’s commentary on consumerism, he turns out to be a pretty nice guy.  He extends a welcome to the ships which is strange as he started his message, “Attention Martian invasion fleet.”  He says they are all brothers, which The Assigner concludes is a trick.

rbtconcretemixer12They land and The Assignor looks out the porthole.  “They’re ready for us!” he warns.  “I can see strange weapons!”  This guy has a mind about as sharp as Phobos.  The Assignor opens the hatch and they walk out to face the evil, murderous Earth bastards.  In one of best RBT twists, the emerge into a parade where the “weapons” are batons and brass band instruments.  Thank God they weren’t using the flaming batons or there could have been a massacre.

A little girl comes forward and hands The Assigner a bouquet of flowers.  He responds by calling for the group to surrender.  “You must realize your position is hopeless!”  They are surrounded by reporters as they march to the welcoming committee.  They are presented the key to the city, or actually “the key to Earth” and told that they “have conquered . . . our hearts.”

rbtconcretemixer19The Martians are offered champagne, hot dogs, popcorn, etc.  They march into the city where everyone turns out in the street to welcome them.  One guy is selling T-Shirts that say “I Metta Martian” which is misspelled two ways.  Vyre is still leery, and the Assigner still wants to kill them all, but they parade down the street.  And the Assigner sure is hanging on to those flowers.

Vyre freaks out when he encounters a barking dog, and turns to see a giant clown head, and is almost hit by a car.  He takes off running, finally stopping out of breath in a junkyard.

His crew, on the other hand, is now being hit on by earth-babes, are wearing leis, handed beers and treated like visiting royalty.  Well, if we offered the Queen a beer, a hot dog and a lei.

rbtconcretemixer25The Assigner calls his men to attention, but they are having too much fun.  Finally he drops the flowers.  Vyre sends a telepathic message to his family.  He tells them he was naive to expect guns and bombs,  “We have been dropped like a shovel full of seeds into a large concrete mixer.  Nothing of us will survive.  We will be destroyed not by the gun, but by the glad hand.”  He vows to make a last attempt to save their souls.

I can see why this isn’t part of The Martian Chronicles.  This is the rare story where Earthmen are not the evil, genocidal conquerors.  Basically, the Martians are just dumb-asses.

Coincidentally an old woman with a bible approaches hims and asks if “he has been saved.”  She asks if he would like to go to a better place, a place of milk and honey.  He says yes thinking she means Mars, so I guess they have bees and cows on Mars. When she stats singing, he walks away .

The downtown is still like Mardi Gras with music, drinking, dancing, but sadly lacking in beads-for-boobs bartering (which, frankly, might have saved a lot of Indians).  The Assigner runs across the street to meet Vyre and is hit by a car and killed.

A fat movie producer wants to put Vyre in the movies.  Turns out his name is Rick which makes Vyre crazy.  He runs out into the street, sees the Earthlings an the Martians are starting to wrestle and fight.  Like The Assigner, he doesn’t look both ways and is run over.

Back on Mars, Mrs. Vyre is playing The Imperial March which she tells her son “is one of our victory marches, except they never really had a chance.”  So the Imperial March came from Mars?