Outer Limits – The Hunt (01/30/98)

Four people are taken out to the woods for a nice weekend of hunting.  The other four, that is. These four are going to be hunted for sport.[1]

They wisely take off running immediately.  Clute Nichols, his brother George, and nephew Eric pursue them with a guide.  George nails one, literally, with a steel arrow.  I don’t what kind of iBow he is using — it has a red light, but doesn’t seem to have any technology built into it.

When they arrive at the body, their guide Pete skins the victim, revealing him to be an android.  I can see no point to the skinning.  Yes, they are trying to emulate an actual hunt, but this is just crazy.  It is traditional in these hunts to keep the CPU as a trophy. Wouldn’t most dudes rather keep the head, though?  A moose-head is pretty sad, but a row of shiny terminator noggins on the mantle — awesome!

While they are taking pictures beside their skinned trophy, Clute’s nephew Eric is clearly not on board with the concept.  George explains the robots are destined for the scrap-heap anyway.  Environmentalists made sure animals couldn’t be hunted.  Clute tells Eric his grandfather killed polar bears on the tundra and lions on the Serengeti, like that’s a good thing.

George showing off the CPU of which he could only remember 2/3 of the name. Kudos for putting his cap on the dead android.  “Hey, look at me — I’m a hunter, I’m a hunter!”

I don’t know what these robots were used for, but they’re not very bright.  After running away from the hunters, and even after the hunters take time to pose with the corpse, somehow Pete is right on top of them.  He fires a warning arrow to get their attention, and explains the rules.  He says they will have a fair chance . . . although giving them the rules before killing the first contestant would have been a little more sporting.

If any of them make it to the final marker, they will be given their freedom.  They are given a 15 minute head-start, but the next scene is the hunting party enjoying a luxurious gourmet meal in a tent. [2]

We learn that there is a $40,000 fine for hunting androids, but a 1 year fine for hunting actual animals.  The androids have an inhibitor chip which prevents them from harming humans or each other; but they were programmed with a survival instinct.

At the android camp, Doc is working on Tara’s robot hand.  She regards humans as sadistic savages, but Kel defends them.  He says they can’t be sadists because they know androids can’t feel the pain they inflict.

The next morning, the hunters catch up to the androids.  George tells his son to take the shot.  He reluctantly lines it up, then purposely misses.  When George smacks Eric, Clute tells him that better not happen again.

The androids find a cabin in the woods.  There are weapons in the cabin, but the androids are powerless to use them.  Then they find schematics for their systems.  Doc reprograms Tara to be a killer then instructs her how to reprogram him.  Kel is having none of this.  He continues to take the human’s side.

The androids pound sharpened stakes into a log and hoist it above the trail,  When George breaks the trip wire, it swings down, one of the spikes slicing his stomach.  They go to the same cabin to bandage George. When they find the plans, Clute explains that they could be used to remove the inhibitor chip.  Clute left the plans and weapons there for the androids.  He says he is just giving George what he asked for — “to go on a real hunt.  Like the days before they were outlawed.”  Back when polar bears and lions had weapons, I guess.

Clute remembers when hunting involved skill and danger.  Just as George thinks his son is a wimp for not wanting to kill androids, Clute thinks his brother is soft for wanting to shoot “fish in a barrel”.  Hunting means “going after your prey on a level playing field.”

Now that the androids have a chance, however, Mr Level Playing Field  breaks out rifles with digital scopes.  Clute and Pete go scout around, telling George to stay put.  Naturally he drags Eric off into the woods, enabling Tara to steal some rifles.  Clute wings Doc, but Tara and Kel are able to help him escape.

After Clute sees the rifles have been stolen, he gets serious.  He again sees Doc and this time kills him, giving a big laugh.  They pursue Kel and Tara with mini-rocket launchers.  Tara is able to corner Pete and Eric.  Kel convinces her not to kill them, but to use them to negotiate a truce.

Kel suspects Pete is a android and slices him open.  He is an android who was once hunted.  He made it to the final marker and won his freedom.  They let Eric go, but the idiot George ends up shooting his son by accident.

Yada, yada, Clute and Tara end up dead also.  Pete and Kel get to the final marker and a game warden says Kel is free because he survived an illegal hunt.  He says he’d rather go back to the mines than live around humans.  So he is neutered and becomes a guide.

Another fine episode.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] That would have made more sense if I had grabbed the right picture.
  • [2] It is explained that the robots run on solar power, so they aren’t going to get very far at night. They are still moving around, though, so they could have made it a few miles.

The Hitchhiker – The Curse (02/25/86)

Local douche-bag Jerry Macklin takes an ancestral mask off his wall to show his party guests.  He shouts to his business manager, “What did I pay for this one, Mike?”  $4,000.  “I took this to an appraiser and he valued it at what?”  $16,000.  He figures to donate it to a museum, take a tax write-off and double his money.  He sees a another woman giving him the eye across the room and goes to her.

He asks if he knows her and she says no.  This is where being a woman is handy; his next question to a dude would be “WTF are you doing in my apartment?”  Her name is Tanya. Mike interrupts while Jerry is hitting on her.  Someone fell through a rotten railing at one of his properties and plummeted a couple of stories.  Since Tanya has disappeared, Jerry goes to check it out.

The place is definitely a fixer-upper, has character, is a slum.  He goes in and checks out the crumbling building.  He sees a snake slither into an apartment and, inexplicably, follows it.  The old woman living there knows his name.  She thinks it is strange that he owns the building but has never been there. He says he owns stock in General Motors but has never been to Detroit.

She asks what he is going to do about people being hurt in his building.  He says, “I’m going to make repairs.”  As she is stroking the snake, he says he will fix the railing, and fix the heat, “all kinds of stuff”.

He tells Mike about the building as they are working out at a gym.  There are 2 easily mockable things in this scene. First, Mike is wearing insanely short shorts.  Second, Jerry is only lifting 2 plates on his machine.  What is that, 23 pounds, sport?

Jerry wants to do the right thing.  He asks Mike how much it would take to fix the place up.  Mike says it would cost him the beach house he had been dreaming of.

Back at home, Jerry stares wistfully at a model of his dream-house.  There is a very creepy shot of a snake crawling around a hanging plant basket.[1]  Jerry carefully carries it to the bathroom and cleverly puts it in the shower stall.  He calls the super and says, “This is Mr. Macklin in 7-B.”  There is a knock at the door.  He abandons the call and opens the door to reveal 1) Tanya, and 2) that he lives in apartment 7-5, not 7-B.

Nice work with those 2 plates, he-man!

Tanya gives him a massage as he tells his favorite story, how he got rich.  Mike calls.  While Tanya slips into a negligible negligee, Jerry tells him to sell the building.  Tanya unbuckles Jerry’s belt — hey, she’s a snake handler, too!  Wait, you don’t think . . .

Tanya rubs him down with oil, then they have the sex.[2]  Jerry wakes up alone in the morning.   He sees a spot of blood, then more, then way more.  His right leg is a bloody mess.  He goes to the emergency room.  They clean off the leg and reveal a fresh tattoo of a huge snake from his ankle up to his thigh.

After he is cleaned up, he goes back to the building.  He accuses the old woman of siccing Tanya on him.  She says she didn’t sic anyone on him . . . wink, wink.  He shows her the tattoo (and the most precious little anklet sock — seriously dudes, there is no acceptable style where a guy wears less than a full sock).  She says he brought it on himself — literally on himself — by not making the repairs.

He says he will make the repairs and give the building to the tenants.  He asks if that will satisfy her.  She says, “It is not me you have to satisfy.”   He rips open his shirt and sees the tattoo has moved up around his chest.

Later at his apartment, he sees the tattoo has advanced over his shoulder and is up to his neck.  Tanya comes in.  She gives him a knife and tells him to cut off the head of the serpent before it strikes.  He sees the snake around his ankle begins to ripple.  His skin bulges.  We can see something running beneath the tattoo, working its way up to his neck.  A snake bursts its head through the skin near his neck.  He screams and falls to the floor.

When he gets back up, the snake and the tattoos are gone.  He throws the model of his beach-house out the window.  He looks out the window.  He sees the old woman walking away.

This is an example of what The Hitchhiker should be.  It is an interesting story, well-shot, an genuinely creepy.  Well-done.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] This is worth the price of admission for me.  There was a scene in the old movie Frogs which had a snake in a chandelier.  The question of how that snake got into the chandelier was a conundrum that still boggles my mind.
  • [2] In the commentary, Harry Hamlin says he got the idea of their sex scene from a copy of an old nudie magazine called Eros.  Really, no one could independently come up with the idea of inter-racial sex?

Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Coyote Moon (10/18/59)

Julie is stuffing the failing Sentinel Mesa Times newspaper into her shoe to compensate for a hole in her soul sole when a disguised VW Bus rolls into the Desert Hawk Service Station.

Things increasingly rare in 2017: Phone-booth, Real Boobs, Newspaper, General Store . . .

The Professor has rescued a baby coyote that was hit on the road while it was installing a giant Acme spring. The proprietor laughs at the thought of rescuing the animal. “Mister, we pay a bounty on coyotes in this part of the state!”  Inexplicably the Professor does not ask how much.

The gas-jockey says they are the most useless animal God created [insert political reference of your choice here; any answer will be correct].  The Professor says without coyotes, within a year they would be overrun with a plague of squirrels and rabbits; and presumably road runners. [1]

Julie hits him up for a lift to Sentinel Mesa.  The service station owner calls a vet, but the vet refuses to come work on a coyote.  When he comes back to tell the Professor, they find the coyote has ingeniously escaped from the cardboard box he was kept in.

On the way to Sentinel Mesa, Julie spots a man sleeping under a tree by the side of the road.  She yells, “Pops!” and tells the professor to pull over.  Pops jumps in the car and helps himself to the Professor’s cigarettes, and lighter.  The Professor is next railroaded into picking up Julie’s brother Harry, who is kind of a thug.

The rest of the episode is very, er, episodic.  That is not to demean the episode — far from it.  This is a fun episode which is well-performed and looks great.  It just gets tedious to document every scene; for you, I mean.

Throughout the episode, the Professor is constantly taken advantage of and scammed.  Edgar Buchanan is perfect as Pops.  He has an old-timer, country-bumpkin charm to him that masks what a snake he is.  You really want to like him.  Collin Wilcox Paxton as Julie is a paradox.  She seems to be a terrible actress, but she might have out-smarted me.  She comes off as such a sexy, feral maniac that you can’t help but like her.  Maybe Harry was adopted.

They descend on the Professor like a swarm of three locusts.  When they are done with him, they quickly ditch him by the side of the road and jump into a passing truck with their next victim.  The Professor isn’t done with them, though.

Not pictured: The Professor.

Excellent.  I rate it a full moon.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] Actually, the coyote did not do much to suppress the road-runner population. But then, running down the road was his idea of having fun, so maybe there weren’t going to be a lot of little road-runners anyway.
  • AHP Deathwatch:  No survivors.
  • Title Analysis:  Meh.  I guess the family was predatory like a coyote.  Not sure what the moon has to do with it.

Twilight Zone – Aqua Vita (10/04/86)

Composition 101: Do not put a woman wearing stripes in front of a louvered door.

Christie Copperfield is a big-shot news anchor reader driving her red Mercedes home after a gruel-ing 30 minutes of delivering press releases and spoon-fed spin from politicians. She spots her picture on the side of a bus and smiles at her own awesomeness. [1] BTW, the director gives his credit a classy shot just below her ANCHOR 5 license plate as she pulls away.

She opens her front door and sees what to me would be the most hellish scene in the TZ canon — a surprise party.  She struggles to blow out the 3.333 dozen candles.  That night in bed with her husband Marc, Christie confesses she is worried about what being 40 will do to her ratings.[2]  Her husband jokingly assures her, “You’ve still got at least 5 good years on your warranty, then I can trade you in for a couple of 20 year-olds.”  Maybe the twist will be that he is an alien, because there was not enough booze at that party to make a human guy say that to his wife.  All is well, though, and they plan a long weekend in Santa Barbara at the Shakespeare Festival . . . yeah, one lonnng f***in’ weekend.

The next day at work, Christie shares the make-up room with young reporterette Shauna.  She tells Shauna it is no fun to be turning 40.  Shauna shows Christie her drivers license which says she was born in 1938, making her 48 (the actress is 29).  Christie asks how that is possible, and Shauna produces a silver flask.  Christie says she can’t drink before the show, but Shauna assures her it is just water.  She declines.

Just seconds before Christie goes on the air, the producer tells her that news-bunny Shauna will be filling in for her while she’s on vacation.  So maybe he and her husband crashed here in the same spaceship.  While she is on the air, the news director tells the producer that Christie’s ratings are down, and that Christie is “old news”.

After the broadcast, Christie and Shauna go see Marc at his photo-graphy studio.  His current gig is shooting scantily-clad, athletic young women exercising.  Shauna helpfully says, “Remember when you had a body like that?”  She hands Christie a card for her miracle water, Aqua Vita.

The next day, the Aqua Vita man installs a cooler in Christie’s kitchen.  He has a big toothy smile and is dressed in a white shirt, bow tie, and hat like a 1950s Texaco Man.  When he tells her “it’s no charge for the first one, missy” she asks how old he is.  He stares into the camera and says ominously, “Don’t ask.”

The next morning, she is noticeably younger to herself and her husband, but not the viewer.  It was probably fine when it aired, but the You Tubes are pretty fuzzy and the DVDs are worse.  I’ll take their word for it.  Before they head out to Santa Barbara, she takes one last swig of water.  For some reason there is a sinister musical cue as the camera zooms in on the key that keeps out unauthorized drinkers.  The water tank, I could understand, but the key?

The next morning at the hotel, Christie looks at herself in the mirror and looks so bad I can even see it on You Tube.  She looks terrible — bags under her eyes, lines on her face, and generally run-down, like by a bus.  Thank God she is wearing a towel.  She puts on a scarf and big Jackie O sunglasses and tells Marc they have to go home NOW.

As soon as she gets home, she runs to the water cooler.  Despite the earlier shot of the key, the water is fine.  In fact, because of a continuity error, there is actually more water in the tank than when she left.  The water works immediately and she takes off the scarf and glasses to reveal her younger self.

Back at work, things are going great — her ratings are up and she is getting offers from other stations.  Shauna asks Christie to return the favor by lending her a few thousand bucks.  Christie understands when her next delivery of Aqua Vita comes with a price tag of $5,000.

That night, Christie gets up to get a glass of the magic water.  This somehow escalates to an argument.  Marc says, “I’ll be staying at the studio if you need anything!” and takes off.  For some reason — but not that reason —  he is next seen knocking on Shauna’s door.  She refuses to let him in, but the Aqua Vita man is making a late-night delivery.  For the price of this stuff, you’d think he could hire some help.  When she opens the door, Marc sees she has aged worse than [                ][3] and her hair has gone white.

Back casa de Christie, she drop a glass of the water and shrieks.  She panics and tries to sponge the water off the floor and disgustingly squeeze it into the broken glass.  OK, I get that it is $5,000 a tank, but that’s a pretty big tank.  We’re looking at about $20 of water on the floor; not enough to drink brown water out of a broken glass.

Marc returns and stops her.  When he sees her face, she has aged again.  She tells him the whole story.  He tells her she has to stop, but she says, “Look at me, Marc!  I’m old!”  Cyrano tells her, “No, you only look old.”  He tells her not to worry about her career — she is “a journalist, a writer, not just a face.”  Dude, stop digging!

She is worried about them as a couple.  She worries that strangers will see them and think Marc is a gigolo, or that she will be mistaken as his mother.  Without saying a word, Marc drinks a glass of Aqua Vita.  Wait — there was water in the tank this whole time?  Why does she still look old?  Why was she practically licking it off the floor?

The next scene is them as an elderly couple.  Well, as the Aqua Vita man explained they only look old.  They can still go have wild sex . . . whoa, did they think this through?  I hate to say it, but it is kind of sweet until Charles Aidman’s insipid narration ruins the moment.

While I would have liked a darker tone, it was a good episode.  At least the score was tolerable this time. Mimi Kennedy was a strange choice to play Christie.  She is not unattractive and is always good in comedic roles.  However, her character would definitely not have been successful just based on her looks; she must have actually had talent.  Maybe a more traditionally beautiful actress would have been a better choice.  This was 10 years before Fox News — where did all the info-babes work then?

Classic TZ Connection #1:  In The Long Morrow, an astronaut allows himself to age 40 years during a trip to match his sweetie’s natural aging on earth.  However, she put herself in suspended animation and dumps the old man when he returns.

Classic TZ Connection #2:  In The Trade-Ins, people can be transformed into their much younger selves for $5,000.  An elderly couple can only afford one procedure.  After agonizing over the choice, the old man — who is in terrible pain — gets transformed. Seeing the effect this has on them as a couple, he has them reverse the process and make him a suffering old man again.

Wow, dudes are always getting the shaft in the Twilight Zone.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] She also sees an old couple crossing the road.  I get the connection to the end of the episode, but it is pointless.  There is no irony, no foreshadowing, she will not give it another thought, and it is not her time-travelling future self.  Just a big obese NOTHING is done with it.
  • [2] In a radical departure for TV, the actor’s age is actually 2 years younger than the character.  In this case, I think there was no agenda — they wanted her to face a milestone birthday, and the actress they wanted was close enough.
  • [3] Hmmmmm, I hate to mention anyone specifically.
  • Title Analysis: Simple, efficient, unique — water of life.
  • Other segment:  What Are Friends For?  I doubt this was intentional, but the other segment in this episode also dealt with aging.  Fred Savage becomes friends with the imaginary friend his father Tom Skerritt had as a boy.
  • They still make Aqua Velva?  Who knew?

Chicago Confetti – William Rollins, Jr. (1932)

Coleman Fuller shows up in the office of detective Percy Warren.  His rich uncle Henry Fuller was bumped off and he doesn’t trust the police to get the killer.  He admits he found Warren by going to the Yellow Pages and backing up through the private dicks. Not only does he not seem to appreciate the insult to Warren, but that was also a shot out of nowhere against Nero Wolfe and V.I. Warshawski.  On the other hand, given that this was 1932, I guess we should just be thankful he didn’t find Charlie Chan in the Yellow Pages.

They meet up again at the office of Fuller’s lawyer Bond, Harley Bond.  Bond says if he had known Fuller was in need of some private dicking, he would have recommended a bigger agency.  Although, it sounds like Warren is getting dicked around pretty good as it is.

Bond says the fee for finding the killer has been set at $10,000 [1] by Carl Fuller, Coleman’s uncle.  Henry Fuller croaked and left $20M to his siblings, but excluded his bother John, and John’s son Coleman.  That’s a pretty good motive right there.[2]

To begin his investigation, Warren goes to see the Fuller’s valet Jobson.  After a pleasant chat, the valet hurries out to an appointment which the author seems to imply means he’s going to a prostitute.  Left alone, Warren asks the switchboard boy if he’d like to make a quick 10 bucks.

“I guess a 10 spot wouldn’t look bad to you, hah?”

He eyed me funny.  “Well . . .”

“Don’t worry.  Nothing like that, buddy.”

So what did the switchboard boy think Warren had in mind for $165 in 2017 dollars? This author has a one-track mind.  The dough was to allow Warren to take over the switchboard.  He takes a call from Jobson asking for Miss Kelly.  Jobson tells her to have an unnamed man meet him in room 311.  Warren traces the call to the Stopover Inn, hangout of the Lewis Gang.

Warren checks in to the Stopover and gets room 317.  He tiptoes down the hall to listen at the door of 311.  He hears two men talking briefly before the cops show up — well, one cop and the lawyer Bond.  A passing truck prevents him from hearing much.  The the cop, Bond and Jobson leave the hotel.  Warren sneaks on the ledge over to 311 to find the other man, but Miss Kelly catches him.  She spotted the other man and his description sounds like Spike Lewis of the Lewis Gang.

Warren goes back to Jobson’s building.  He calls up to warn Jobson about the Lewis Gang, but the call is cut short by a gunshot.  Warren goes upstairs and finds Jobson dead, but someone placed the phone back on the hook.  Warren looks around the valet’s home.  The first three rooms are bedrooms, then he goes to the bathroom, dining room and kitchen. Note to self:  Look into lucrative field of valeting.

Blah blah, for reasons I’m not even sure of, the rest of the story bored me to death.  At the end, after the lawyer Bond is naturally revealed as vile, opportunistic, immoral, but also a murderer, Warren and Coleman come together.

“And I suppose you know what a low-life like me wants to do when he’s come into a juicy bit of money.”

“Exactly,” he murmured.  He reached in his pocket and pulled out a full pint flask, and after I took a good pull at it, he finished it off himself.  “That,” he said, “is just about enough to last us until we reach the nearest speak.”

I looked him over again; and I liked his looks.

“Exactly,” I said.

I hope he kept the key to room 317; sounds like he’s going to need it.


  • [1] Holy crap — that’s $165,000 in 2017 dollars!
  • [2] Actually, it’s a terrible motive.  Why kill the guy if there is a chance you might end up back in the will someday?  Maybe he’ll need a kidney.
  • First published in the March 1932 issue of Black Mask.  Also that month: fore-seeing digital cameras will destroy his company in 75 years, Kodak founder George Eastman preemptively kills himself.
  • Title Analysis:  So bullets are confetti?  Kind of dopey.