Come Back to Me (2014)

comebacktome02Reno Nevada 2002 — Dale is listening to his mother and boyfriend have the biggest little fight in the world.

He stays out of it as long as he can, stroking his pet bunny, then goes to their bedroom where his bloody mother begs for help.  It is a pretty big leap that the next thing we see are cops rolling up to the front of the house.  Did the boyfriend just let him call?  Did a neighbor call them? Whatever, the cops managed to let the boyfriend escape despite having guns drawn on him, and another one vomits up his donuts after seeing the bloody woman.

Las Vegas 2014 — Dale moves into the sunny neighborhood of Josh and Sarah who bring him a plate of cookies as a welcome gift.  Dale gives Sarah a thousand well-manicured yard stare before saying that she reminds him of someone.  Josh is a croupier on the strip and Sarah is working on her dissertation on internet pornography.  Wait — I can get a degree for this?  Dale was wise to have moved to Las Vegas where apparently a grocery store bagboy can afford a $300,000 house.

Sarah begins experiencing night terrors, blackouts, sudden vomiting.  Also, a scar she received in a bad car accident 3 months ago has faded completely.

After weird neighbor Dale asks where she has been for the past week week during a vacation with her husband, she decides to check out his house which is conveniently unlocked.  Another night terror.

She goes to the doctor and finds that she is pregnant.  She goes to tell her husband who is pretty surprised as he thought he was shooting blanks.

She continues with the night terrors, frequently finding blood on her hands and clothing. Finally she wises up and installs a security cam.  She invites Leslie, her doctor / friend over to stay with her since Josh has understandably bailed.  We get a Paranormal Activity view of them sleeping in the same bed.  Sadly watching all that internet porn has not given her any ideas.

Leslie is awakened by her dog barking, leading to some chilling scenes which turn out to be more night terrors.  But this time both Leslie and Sarah wake up from it.  It scares Leslie into labor.  Being the queen of diversity, she knows the father was either Korean or Black, but she somehow gives birth to a white baby.

Sarah wakes up from more night terrors and checks the security cam to find out the nightmares are real.  Dale had come into her room and raped her,and cut her throat, and  placed her back in bed where she “woke up.”

She does a little research and and finds out about how Dale had mysteriously brought his mother back to life many years ago after the police said there was no way she could be alive.  She is now in an institution.  Leslie realizes that her baby was fathered not by her croupier husband but by the creepier Dale.

Sarah goes to the institution.  we only see his mother from the side. His mother knows that he murders women and brings them back to life.

As a kid he killed rabbits, girls, his mother couldn’t live with creating a monster, so killed herself but he brought her back.  Finally, she set herself on fire so she would be institutionalized aware from her son.

Then ending is really something special.  The movie itself os fine, but the ending is shocking and original.


  • It bugged me that Josh said he was a croupier, rhyming with soupier.  But that seems to be the preferred pronunciation.
  • Favorite Quote:  “I’d hold your hair back but I’m a sympathetic vomiter.”

Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The Percentage (S3E14)

OK, I’m just not understanding anything about this one. Alfred Hitchcock Presents has been my refuge from the frequent non-stories of Ray Bradbury Theater, the often hokey mess of Night Gallery, the uneven tone Tales From the Crypt, and frankly the 60 minutes of Outer Limits (which is usually pretty good, but it’s still an hour of my life). AHP has a great track record for being interesting, logical and pretty leanly written.

Gangsta Eddie Slovak has called a TV repairman (a guy who used to actually come to your house and fix your TV).  His wife is baffled that Slovak intentionally sabotaged the set, then called a repair shop in far away Queens.

Repairman Pete Williams rings the bell, so the appointment must have been three hours earlier.  Eddie opens the door and both men are all smiles as they recognize each other as old army buddies.

ahppercentage09Slovak’s wife Faye rats him out for purposely busting the TV so he could call Pete to take a look at it.  After she leaves, Slovak tears into Pete. He wants Williams to call him a coward for his actions in Korea. Williams seems like a nice guy and says he hasn’t thought about that incident in years.  Slovak says he hasn’t forgotten for one day that he “went chicken one day” and Pete covered for him at risk to his own career.

The titular percentage is the edge that Slovak thinks Pete has on him by keeping this little secret of his cowardice.  He offers Pete big money, even a house to make them even in his mind.  The more Slovak offers, the more Eddie insists he doesn’t want anything except what he can earn on his own.  He is perfectly happy with his modest life.

Slovak is baffled by that and wants to know how much it would cost to keep quiet about him being chicken.  “I gotta pay you back!” he yells at Pete.

They agree to go out to dinner with their wives and he tells Pete’s wife he wants to put some big money in Pete’s pocket.  His wife tries to talk Pete into taking the money, but he just won’t accept anything he hasn’t earned.  When Slovak goes to see Pete’s wife to see how it went, she is all over him.

ahppercentage15When Pete gets home, Slovak berates him for his cheap home, car and furniture, but Pete seems perfectly happy with his life.

A few days later, Pete’s wife invites Slovak over to talk about how to get Pete to take the money, and also to fool around.  Slovak is really only interested in evening up the percentage.  When Louise says she has not really talked to Pete about accepting the money, Eddie kills her.

Slovak is caught red-handed by Pete.  Slovak says to Pete that they are even now. “She made a play for me and I did the best thing I knew.  For your sake, Pete.  All for you. She was no good.”  Slovak implores Pete to make up a story to protect them both just like he did in Korea.  So he thinks he did Pete a favor by killing his wife who he clearly adored?  Pete rats him out to the police immediately.

ahppercentage16Pete goes straight to Slovak’s house. He tells Mrs. Slovak that her husband killed Louise and then they kiss. Hunh?  There was no foreshadowing of this at all.

Everyone did their job, but maybe they should have saved this one for the hour-long season of AHP.


  • AHP Deathwatch:  The two wives are still alive.  Don Keefer (Pete Williams) just died last year at 98.
  • Slovak was possibly named for Eddie Slovik, the only American to be executed for desertion since the Civil War.
  • Nice guy Eddie could have been named for Nice Guy Eddie, except Eddie was a dick here — Pete was the nice guy.  And Nice Guy Eddie came along 30 years later.

Crawl or Die (2014)

crawlordie00OK, I have no problem with shaky-cams, but combine them with strobing light and quick-cut editing, and this film is in a deep hole even before it goes into a deep hole.

A group of soldiers seems to be in a firefight trying to rescue some civilians on white jumpsuits.  They discover a hatch in the forest and send a woman down to investigate.  It seems to be their only option, so they all go down and seal the hatch behind them.

Oh great, the movie is a flashback.

A military commander is showing his troops a picture of the last fertile, virus-free woman in the wold.  The troops are to snag this woman, board The Oklahoma and take a month month journey to Earth-2.

OK, not a flashback movie, we’re back to the future.

They find the underground chamber leads to a series of hatches and tunnels.  They’re going to have to do a titular CRAWL (which is helpfully splashed on the screen).  They enter a long circular tunnel about three feet in diameter.  They whole time we hear the grunts of the reptilian creatures which are pursuing them.  So creatures and a virus — OK, I’m down with that.

crawlordie55As they debate taking a break so The Package (their code name for fertile Myrtle) can get some doctor prescribed sleep, one of the soldiers is pulled into a side tunnel by an alien.  And I mean, pulled the hard way, bending him backwards at the waist.  As the alien chows down on him, the others manage to get away.  I wasn’t under the impression that the aliens weren’t after them as a food source, but we’re not given much to go on.

As they reach another resting point, the leader Tank strips off her pants and gives them to the doctor to make bandages.  Having already dispensed with her jacket, she is now down to a sports bra and spandex panties.  She climbs 30 feet down another tubular tunnel and places lights every few feet so she will have a clear, lighted, unobstructed shot at the alien as it comes down the tunnel.  Unless, you know, she falls asleep.

Which she does.  She wakes up at the last possible second and begins blasting the creature.  Not sure if it is only mostly dead, she leaves Doc to keep at eye on it.  Big mistake.  We get our first good look at the alien and it is pretty similar to . . . er, an alien — the H.R. Giger kind, with the long head and maybe even a smaller set of choppers in its mouth.

crawlordie18So now we are down to Tank and The Package with half the movie left to go.  After coming to the end of the tunnel, they have no option but to climb through an even small hole which seems to have been burrowed through the earth.  This one is maybe two feet in diameter.  I must admit, this did get me squirming.  Every time you think she might have reached the surface or a chamber, its just more tiny tunnel with no way to back up.

Improbably, one of the aliens has squeezed his giant noggin into the hole and is right behind them.  And speaking of behinds, this movie has the most extraordinary number of butt-shots in history.  Not that that’s a bad thing — Tank has clearly been spending time at the gym.  Sadly, the alien catches up to The Package and kills her.

Tank cuts the rope and continues down the hole.  She makes it through the earthen tunnel to another piece of tube.  This one is so small, she can barely manage the leverage to wriggle through.  And yet that alien is still chasing her with that giant melon.

crawlordie54After dropping through a slot to another lower level, she finds the ony way out is a horizontal slit which is just comical at this point.  A C cup wouldn’t have made it.  The only way things could get worse is if the tunnel was full of dirt.  So it is, and she has to start digging her way through.

With 5 minutes to go, there were a few directions this could go.  The ending was a little bit of a cheat, but after the intensity of the past hour, I was fine with it.

Complete lack of characterization: I was fine with it.  After a few minutes I even had to turn on Closed Captions to see what anyone’s name was.

Lighting: This was a mess from the first jittery scenes all the way through the tunnels. Maybe it worked using the the flashlights to light the scene rather than real camera equipment. No problem.

Sound: I loved the relentless clawing, roaring, chomping and scraping in the background as a constant reminder of Tank’s predicament.

The only real disappointment is in the dialogue, of which there is thankfully very little — especially in the last scene which is stunningly lame.

Also, maybe I’m an old-fashioned guy, but I don’t want my heroine to be named Tank. Who would have bought Tank: Tomb Raider?  Although maybe it would have helped the dreadful movies.  A last name only like Ripley, I’m OK with.

Having a female protagonist named Tank is like having a cat name Frank — it just ain’t something I want to cuddle with.

I never expected to see a film more claustrophobic than Buried, but this is it.


This is just about the only decent shot we get of Tank.



Night Gallery – The Caterpillar (S2E22)

ngcaterpillar01This is another one of those segments considered to be among the best of the series — usually a sign of disaster.  In this case, however, it is totally accurate.

Joanna Pettet is in her third episode, lovely as ever, except for the still-too-long hair. Maybe she had a big deal with a  shampoo company at the time.  And her voice is amazing.

Rhona Warwick is in the open-air Borneo home she shares with her much-older husband John, doing some knitting and listening to the Victrola.  We know this is a period piece, not because of the Victrola, but because she is knitting.

Their house-guest / business associate Macy enters through the open doors and immediately starts bitching about the pouring rain.  He is just a chronic complainer about “Borneo, the China and Java Seas, the whole ruddy Malay Archipelago.”  And I assume his mispronunciation of Archipelago is out of spite . . . nah, it was a screw-up.

ngcaterpillar08When John goes out to make sure his storage sheds aren’t leaking, Macy asks Rhona how she can stand it.  He wonders how she “under 28 years of age, you’re an absolute knock-out , and you waste away out here in the Borneo jungle 5,000 miles away from everything you know” with a 66 year-old husband —  I agree, that is weird.  I mean the way he arbitrarily says “under 28”;  I have no problem with the 28 / 66 thing.

No matter how he berates Borneo or her husband’s age, she steadfastly maintains her love of her husband and desire to stay here for all their days.  Although, I expect she will, have far more of them than will her husband.

Realizing he is being a jerk, he asks for Rhona’s forgiveness and they shake hands.  At that moment, Robinson, a local handyman appears in the doorway to sell them some kindling.  Rhona acts little out of character, getting testy with Robinson.  She says, “We don’t observe many social graces here, but knocking before entering a room is still considered de rigueur.”  This is especially stinging since there is no door.  And he didn’t enter.


Official Captain Kirk lighting is used frequently for Macy.

After Rhona leaves the room, Robinson can tell that Macy has the hots for her.  He suggests that there might be something he could do to help that situation.

Later, Rhona sympathetically apologizes to Macy saying that she understands “what loneliness can do to a man — loneliness and abstinence.”  She seductively continues that she has a friendly suggestion.  He is understandably excited by this until she continues, “Take a cold bath, Mr. Macy.”  Zing!!!

After that unnecessary bitchiness, Macy decides to see what Robinson has in mind. Robinson tells him of a local insect, the earwig, which eats wax and has a fondness for the human ear.  If one were put in a person’s ear, it is not able to back out, it can only crawl through the brain continuing to eat, with a 1 in 10,000 chance of ever finding its way out.

Robinson knows some gents who could place one of them in Warwick’s ear that night.  It would take about 2 weeks to drive him mad with pain.  And all for the low, low price of £100.

ngcaterpillar30The next morning at breakfast, Macy feels a tingling in his ear that just won’t go away.  Dabbing it with a napkin, he finds he is bleeding.  The brainiac assassins have put the earwig into the wrong man’s ear — but, in their defense, it would be confusing to spot which man was 30 years younger, had black hair, had a mustache, was sleeping alone, was in the guest quarters, and had not lived in Borneo for the past 25 years.

He completely incriminates himself by running from the room screaming, “They put it in MY ear!  Dear God, they put in MY ear!”  This could have been the end on a lesser show like, say, most other episodes of Night Gallery.  But no . . .

Two weeks later, the doctor comes out of the Warwick house and describes Macy’s condition to Robinson.  Macy has his hands tied to the bedposts to keep him from clawing his face off to get at the earwig.  Red-eyed, with tears running down his face, greasy hair, two weeks growth of beard, agonizing contortions of his face — I don’t think we’ve seen this level of horror out of Night Gallery before.

ngcaterpillar31Miraculously, the earwig finds its way to the other ear and escapes from Macy’s brain.  Back on his feet, Macy admits he would have murdered John for a shot at Rhona.  He expects to be arrested, but is surprised to find he will not be prosecuted.

As one of the few earwig survivors, Macy educates the doctor as to what he experienced, “Agonizing driving, itching pain.  Anything would have been preferable — to be flayed alive, to be burned at the stake, to be put on the rack, to be hanged even would have been an act of mercy.”

Macy senses that the Warwicks and the doctor are holding something back.  The doctor admits that he examined the earwig.  It was a female . . . and it laid eggs in Macy’s brain.  Macy screams in a shot that goes from the interior of his mouth to the exterior of the house.  This was the To Serve Man moment of Night Gallery.

Wait, what now?

Great casting, great set, great sound effects with the constant rain and the bird at the end, great screenplay.  If they could have pulled off a few more of these, Night Gallery would be remembered in much higher regard.

Thus endeth Season Two on a very high note.


  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  John Williams played Shakespeare in The Bard.
  • Title Analysis:  The segment is adapted from a short story titled Boomerang.  I can understand making a change since that is a little vague.  But why a caterpillar? The insect in the story is an earwig, which is an actual inset, yet unknown to most people.  Wouldn’t that have been a more intriguing title?
  • Skipped Segment: Talk about an intriguing title — Little Girl Lost was a classic episode of The original Twilight Zone.
  • Wrote part of this at Starbucks, so was subjected to the Hulu version (i.e. commercial-riddled) of Night Gallery.  Stella Artois has a promotion about buying a limited edition crystal chalice (i.e. beer mug) and they will make a donation of “five years of clean drinking water to women in some 3rd world cesspool the developing world”.  Cuz, you know, f*** men.

Tales From the Crypt – This’ll Kill Ya (S4E2)

tftcthisll02George Gatlin (Dylan McDermott) pulls up to the police station and opens the hatch of his car.  It does not bode well that the director makes a huge mistake by immediately showing us who the corpse is.

Directorially, though, it picks up quickly.  In a nice touch, Gatlin grabs the corpse by the Chucks — oh, come on, he was sporting Converse sneakers! — and begins dragging him to the door. Gotta think that the pavement was wearing the back of his head pretty thin; and WTH did he park so far away?  The trip up the stairs to the door gives his noggin a floggin’ also.

He drags the corpse up to the desk Sargent and has a great opening line, “I’m dead and this is the guy who killed me.”  Then we get the dreaded flashback.

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