Night Visions – The Occupant (08/09/01)

Bloody hell!  This is the other episode that prompted me to rewatch this series 14 years later.  A View through the Window was just as great as I remembered, so I had high hopes for this one.  Unfortunately, like yesterday’s episode, it is silent running due to copyright issues.


Bridget Fonda is enjoying a quiet night at home with a glass of wine.  She falls asleep watching Ray Bradbury Theater (just an assumption) and finds an empty plate and crumbs on the counter of her meticulously kept kitchen.  So naturally she calls the cops.

After they leave, she goes upstairs and puts on some lipstick to go out to dinner alone.  A guy tries to pick her up in the restaurant.  He maybe thinks she’s a hooker.  Hard to say with out sound.  She goes back home and find a dress has been taken out of her closet, and her make-up tray is in disarray.  So she calls the cops again.

She continues seeing signs of an intruder.

nvoccupant01I can see that if this episode had sound, it would be as I remembered it — just as A View through the Window was — absolutely awesome.  Not only will I not spoil it, I won’t even watch the rest of it.  Someday it will surface with sound and with a decent transfer. It will be worth the wait.


  • Directed by Joe Dante (Gremlins).

Night Visions – If a Tree Falls . . . (08/09/01)

OK, this should be interesting.  And by “interesting” I mean not interesting.  Due to copyright issues, I’m watching this episode like a silent movie.  And I mean really silent, not even a peppy piano score.

nvifatree1A car containing a young couple and a 3rd wheel dude in a wacky backward cap is driving along a lakeside road.  The guy driving has an earring, so backward hat guy is in the unusual situation of not being the biggest douche in the group.

The car hits a rock and they do a Thelma & Louise off the bank into the lake.  Luckily no one was Kopechned, so their response is mostly laughing and splashing each other. The horseplay ends, however, when they have a hallucination of the car going down with them still in it.

nvifatree7Walking back along the road, Backward Hat Guy and The Girl dive out of the way of a truck.  Earring Guy just stands in the road and the truck swerves around him.  They pick themselves up and continue walking.  They are apparently discussing the accident since there are a couple of flashbacks of the sinking car.

Then they are walking around a school.  Some priests are lighting candles, and Earring Guy shows up and gives a confession.  We get a visual of the car resting on the bottom of the lake with the three people still in it.  The Girl and Backward Hat Guy are running across the campus when they suddenly vanish.  As each of them disappear, they seem to re-inhabit their bodies in the submerged car.  This is evidenced by a blink rather than them reacting, “Oh shit, I’m going to drown!” and swimming to the surface.  While Earring Guy is still confessing, The Girl and Backward Hat guy reappear on the lawn, puking up water.

Like Ted Kennedy, Earring Guy only returns to the submerged car the next day. Unlike the senator, he dives down and tries to open the door.  The Girl and Backward Hat Guy show up as he is still under water peeling back the convertible top.  He manages to extract his friends’ bodies, but his body remains buckled-in as the car slips down into a crevasse.

nvifatree8He sees his friends on the dock disappear once again.  He screams “It was supposed to be me!”  Hey, I’m a lip reader!

As the paramedics are hauling the bodies away, we get a close-up of an eye which is shedding a tear of blood — nice shot, but I have no idea who it is supposed to be.  We have just seen all six of their eyes, and no blood-tears.  Live Earring Guy is holding a rose, which he drops in the water.  It sinks past Dead Earring Guy still in the car.

So why is Earring Guy still alive?  It might have made sense if he was not also still in the submerged car.  But this perplexes me — Backward Hat Guy and The Girl faded away or re-entered their corpses.  On the other hand, there are now two Earring Guys. What happens when they haul that car up?  Even Candace Hilligoss had the good manners to rendezvous with her dead body.

Granted, I’m working only from the visuals, but I just can’t combine these elements into a plausible story.  It would have made far more sense to have Earring Guy holding the rose, then fade away, and then the rose drops into the water sinking past his bloated corpse.


  • Title Analysis:  Just speculation and maybe giving the producers too much credit. Backward Hat Guy and The Girl permanently rejoin with their dead bodies only after their dead bodies are witnessed by a fisherman.  So like the proverbial tree falling in the forest . . . are they really dead if no one sees them?
  • Point For:  Earring Guy does not rejoin his dead body because the fisherman did not see his corpse.
  • Point Against:  If they are dead, why do they seem to have corporeal bodies?  The driver sees them clearly enough to swerve, Earring Guy confesses to the priest, and the other two are dodged by people in the school hallway.
  • Point Break:  What I should have watched instead.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The $2,000,000 Defense (11/02/58)

ahp20000005Lloyd Ashley (Leslie Nielsen) is on the witness stand being asked if he hired a private detective to snoop on his wife.  He believes his wife was having an affair with his investment adviser.

He is also asked if he went to the adviser’s house and confronted him with a .32 caliber pistol.  Ashley does not deny any of this, but claims he just meant to frighten him. Unfortunately, the man lunged at Ashley, he dropped the gun, and it discharged when it hit the floor.  The next witness is a ballistics expert who testifies that a gun dropped on the floor would not discharge.

During a recess, Ashley offers his attorney, Mark Robeson, half his net worth if he can get him off by any means.  That would amount to to the titular $2,000,000.  Robeson wisely asks for the offer to be put in writing.

Back in his office, Robeson loads a pistol and slams it down on his desk to see if it will go off.  It does not, leaving him to earn his $2,000,000 fee by shooting himself in the arm.  Now he can get the ballistics expert back on the stand and use himself as an example of how slamming a pistol down can make it go off.

ahp20000004He further makes his case by giving the expert the loaded pistol and asking him to slam it to the ground.  When the expert refuses, the case is won.  If the gun will fire, you must . . . If the gun will discharge, you must . . . if the gun will go off, you must . . . . oh hell, just acquit already.

Back at Robeson’s office, he and Robeson toast the acquittal.  For some reason that I can’t figure out, Robeson has blank checks on Ashley’s account handy in his desk.  The man he shot was his investment adviser, Robeson is just his lawyer.  Whatever, Ashley happily signs a $2,000,000 check.

He then takes Robeson’s pistol out of his desk drawer and accuses him of also having an affair with his wife — Christ, what a tramp.

The private investigator who uncovered the first affair also discovered Ashley’s wife having an affair with Robeson.  BANG.


  • AHP Deathwatch:  No survivors.
  • 22 years before Leslie Nielsen starting going for laughs in Airplane!.
  • The ballistics expert also played the father of Dennis the Menace.  I must be getting old — the moms in these old series are starting to look pretty good to me.
  • Hulu sucks.

Twilight Zone S4 – No Time Like the Past (03/07/63)

tznotime01Well, its obvious we’re watching another Serling script.  The opening four minutes of the episode consists of two men barely moving, and giving speeches rather than conversing. There are are, however, some cool sets.

After adjusting a few settings, talkative Harvey sends his long-winded friend Paul Driscoll back in time.  Driscoll’s first stop is 1945 Hiroshima where he — the only Caucasian in WWII Japan — has somehow managed to get a meeting with a high-ranking official after just 6 hours.  Sadly, he has demonstrated a Marty McFlyian grasp of timelines.  Rather than giving himself enough time to make a real difference, he now has only a few minutes to convince the official that Hiroshima is about to have the big burrito dropped on it.  Sadly, Driscoll’s warnings are not heeded and Hiroshima is indeed bombed, saving 200,000 allied lives that would have been lost in a land invasion.  Wait, I’m not seeing the problem here.

tznotime04Next, Driscoll is transported to 1939 WWII Germany, although apparently a bizarro-world where the Nazi flag spins in the opposite direction.  We are treated to some fabulous footage of noted bad-egg, Adolph Hitler. Driscoll unpacks a rifle and points it at Der Fuhrer ranting on a balcony. He expertly assembles the rifle, loads it, dispatches a hot maid, gets Schicklgruber in the cross-hairs, and I’m not sure what happens — the gun doesn’t jam, but the bullet doesn’t fire.  He ejects it and reloads, but the SS busts in. Again, he could have built in a little more time; maybe by killing baby Hitler, especially if he was crying in a theater.

Finally, Driscoll materializes on the Lusitania before it is to be torpedoed by the Krauts. Having not learned his lesson, he has only allowed himself 5 minutes to warn the Captain.  Sadly, he fails here also and returns to the time tunnel.

The professor tells him that the past is inviolate, rather than in sepia which everyone expects; it can’t be changed.  Driscoll decides to try another trip to the past.  This time, using the miraculous machine to travel back for good, to find a home in 19th century Indiana.

tznotime11Ending right here would have made a middling 30 minute episode. However, in the most blatant padding seen yet in the 4th season, this opening bears about as much relevance to the rest of the story as a Simpson’s couch gag.  But did the 2nd half pad out the 1st half, or vice versa?

We next see Driscoll walking down the street in 1881 which he describes as being a paradise, free of “atomic bombs and world wars.”  Although, he must be avoiding eye-contact with all the widowed women, fatherless children, and dudes with missing limbs from the Civil War, less than 20 years past.

He heads to a bar because, in 1881, it is happy hour all the time — $.05 beers.  He spots a newspaper that says President Garfield is coming there to give a speech.  He realizes that Garfield will be assassinated on that date, but opts to let history takes its course.  At the boarding house he is hot for schoolmarm Abigail Sloan and decides to let nature take its course.  Sadly, the owner tells hims she’s “a moral girl.  I mean real moral.”

tznotime09One night at dinner the other boarders are treated to more speeches.  Another resident pontificates about how America should plant its flag everywhere and bring civilization and freedom to the world with an army of a million men. Then he goes off on the Indians, wishing “we had 20 George Custers . . . as if you could actually make savages understand treaties.”

Driscoll is seething at the man’s ranting.  He finally responds, “I’m just some kind of sick idiot who’s seen too many young men die because of too many old men like you who fight their battles at dining room tables.”  Hard to argue with that, but then he continues on and on.  It’s a good speech, and makes valid points; it just lacks the natural cadence of a conversation.  Despite their opposing positions, Driscoll is no less of a dogmatic blowhard than the warmonger.

Driscoll walks out and Abigail follows him.  He kisses her, but President Garfield cockblocks him by being assassinated.  He tells Abigail that they can’t do this because it is wrong, especially with her.  Barring another Marty McFlyian imbroglio, I never could figure out his meaning.

Driscoll remembers a tragedy that will befall the town and Abigail.  While trying to prevent the tragedy, he actually causes it.  Distraught, he goes back to his own time. His lesson: You can’t do anything about the yesterdays, so change the tomorrows.

I really didn’t care for it the first time around.  Fortunately, I fell asleep and had to view it again.  There are several weaknesses: Serling’s speechifying, the feeling that this was two episodes jammed together, Dana Andrews’ monotone performance, the similarity to other episodes . . . where was I?  Oh, yeah, I disliked it less on a subsequent viewing; not a ringing endorsement, I know.