Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The Foghorn (03/16/58)

ahpfoghorn001Lucia Clay (Barbara Bel Geddes) is tossing and turning in bed, drenched in sweat, dreaming.  A foghorn blows and she turns in bed, saying, “Why did I do that?” leading the audience to believe she just farted. Well, any viewer in the Kevin Smith dick & fart joke generation.

She reflects back to the first time she met Allen Bliss (Michael Rennie). She was dancing with her fiancee John at a high society party.  John was angling for an entry into Allen’s business.  After meeting Lucia, Allen was angling to get into hers.  During a dance, both Allen and Lucia learn their preconceptions were wrong — she was not a money hungry shrew, and he was interested in things more varied and finer than the almighty dollar (remember, this was 1958).

ahpfoghorn003Out on a foggy balcony they discuss the excitement of not knowing the path ahead.  He suggests that she should board a ship on her honeymoon and sail and sail until they hit the Fortunate Isles.  He wishes he had the strength to tell off all the bankers and do the same. They are having quite the moment until the butler announces a call for him from Mrs. Bliss in Boston.  D’oh!

Their paths cross again on another foggy night.  It is very thick and people are squinting trying to see — oh no, wait, they’re in Chinatown.

Apparently it is the the Chinese New Year given all the fireworks and paper mache dragon heads.  Allen suggests they get their bearings somewhere warm like one of the 200 Chinese Restaurants on the block.  Allen is happy to hear that Lucia has called off her engagement to John.

They pursue things their common interests that she could never share with John, ahpfoghorn005browsing a bookstore, a favorite poem, sailing, eating Chinese food, constantly getting lost in fog.

Eight weeks later, Lucia says she must stop seeing Allen.  She doesn’t care what people say, but everyone from her parents to the housekeeper is talking about her running around in the fog with a married man.  She wants to end it before she really falls in love with him — so apparently she does care.  Seeing just the opportunity he has been waiting for — i.e. his last chance — he tells her he is getting a divorce regardless of her answer to his proposal.

Still tossing in bed, she screams out Allen’s name, fearing something awful has happened.  Her screams have brought — what? — a nun into her room.  She tells Lucia she is not at home, and that there has been an accident.  Lucia still screams for Allen, but the nun says she will get a doctor.

ahpfoghorn006Lucia remembers being back in the Chinese restaurant, waiting for Allen. Finally she leaves and finds Allen outside, once again in the fog.  His wife won’t give him a divorce.  Screw that, he tells Lucia the next day as they are sailing that he has bought two tickets to Canton — the man loves his Chinese food.  He’ll leave his wife enough money so that she won’t miss him.

Unfortunately, the fog starts rolling in on them.  There is a calm and Allen loses his bearings, not having a compass or sextant or radio or brain.  They could row, but have no idea which direction.  They are not sure which foghorn they are hearing, but it turns out to be coming from a ship which plows over Allen’s boat like Al Czervik’s over Judge Smails’.


Terrible old age make-up and looking not nearly as good as Barbara Bel Geddes did on Dallas almost 50 years later.

Sadly, Allen was killed.  She looks at the Chinese Wishing Ring Allen had just given her the day before and sees her hands are not young and beautiful.  They’re pruny, and it ain’t from the water.  She looks into a mirror and realizes she has been in a sanitarium for 50 years. And drops dead.

Everyone is entirely adequate. And I must admit I was completely suckered in by her face never being seen except in the flashbacks.  It was almost an Eye of the Beholder moment.

But it just didn’t do much for me.  I don’t like flashbacks in general, and the rest was a little too melodramatic for my tastes.  I can imagine it being the bee’s knees back in 1958, though (two years before the classic TZ episode).


  • AHP Deathwatch:  No survivors.
  • The doctor mentioned she had had no visitors for 50 years.  What a family of assholes.
  • The passage Allen has her read in the bookstore is from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese.
  • Not related to Ray Bradbury’s short story of the same name — one of his more famous short stories, even made into a movie, yet not included in his 100 Most Celebrated Tales Collection that I foolishly bought.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The Right Kind of House (03/09/58)

ahprightkind02Well, right kind is a very subjective term.

Mr. Waterbury sees a sign for Ivy Corners, population 6,000 and seems to like the cut of the town’s jib.  Although, if I know AHP, the population will soon be 5,999.

He goes to the real estate office of Aaron Hacker to inquire about a house that he has his eye on.  Even though Hacker has the listing on the house, he tries to steer Waterbury to another home. Waterbury offers $9,500, but the owner Sadie Grimes is asking $50,000, possibly explaining why it has been on the market for 5 years.

Waterbury goes to see Sadie and shocks her and Hacker by agreeing to buy to house for the outrageous $50,000.  As if that isn’t enough, she pulls the geezer trick of giving him a lemonade and making him listen to an interminable story about people he doesn’t know  Sadie tells him about her dead youngest son who had gone to the big city and become very successful.  He used to send her money every month, but something went awry.ahprightkind01

Michael never told his mother about his problems, but he showed up in the middle of one night after 9 years. He just claimed to be sick of his job, so he quit and came home to mommy for a few weeks.  In reality, he admits he was fired and is very protective of a little black bag he was carrying.

He hung out for a long time, never going out.  And this was in the days before ESPN, blogging and internet porn, so what did I — er, he — he do all day?  His mother treated him like Little Lord Clavin, but the black bag was never seen again, and she never searched for it, having little interest in porn.

One night, it ended as he got late night visitors who were either the rest of his gang or the most persuasive Jehovah’s Witnesses ever.  When Michael would not donate the loot, whatever their identities, they killed him (although to be fair, that doesn’t sound like a Jehovah’s Witness).  The sheriff tells his mother that Michael had been a naughty boy in New York.  He and three other men had held up a bank and stolen $200,000.  Michael ended up ahprightkind03with all the loot, see?

An insurance investigator with the sheriff is more interested in finding the $200,000.  Ms. Grimes denies seeing the money or even the black bag. That was 5 years ago, and she immediately put the house up for sale for $50,000.  She asks Waterbury if he thinks the bank would accept $50,000 as full restitution for the theft.  He seems to think so after this long.

Waterbury has caught her in a lie about the little black bag, and she readily admits it. She was waiting for the only person in the world who would pay $50,000 for this modest house — a person who thought there was $200,000 hidden inside.  And that would be the man who killed her boy — her 40 year old boy.  He would have been on his own gwown-up health care plan for 14 years.

ahprightkind05Waterbury smugly tells her that she shouldn’t have told him this story until after she called the police.  She calmly replies that she didn’t tell him the story until after he drank the lemonade. LOL.  OK, that deserves my second ever 🙂 .


  • AHP Deathwatch: James Drury is still with us.
  • So I guess the population will indeed go down to 5,998 as Waterbury croaks and Ms. Grimes is sent to the big house.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The Return of the Hero (03/02/58)

The scene:  Wartime France.  Hitchcock’s opening and closing remarks are very subdued this week due to the gravity of the story.  This isn’t ordinary Americans being killed after all, it’s . . . well, more on that later.

Gendarme, stop that man -- he has no baguette!

Gendarme, stop that man — he has no baguette!

Cafe owner Leon is forcing his daughter into a marriage with the butcher.  Therese has her eye on the salami of a soldier named Sgt. Andre, though, and is heartbroken by his discharge; I mean, that he as been discharged.

Andre’s friend Marcel is telling a barfly how he saved Andre’s life.  He tells her Andre is rich and engaged to a baroness.

Andre is much more humble and honest, telling Therese that a few kisses in the dark meant nothing, that a soldier needs a girl, it was never going to last past Marseilles.  She tells him she wants to be with him anyway, to look after him.  He brutally says he  wants to get back to his family.

ahpreturnofthehero02Meanwhile Marcel is still talking up Andre to the barfly — how he has a yacht, has a winning racehorse. One of the disbelievers at the bar calls Andre’s mother to verify Marcel’s stories.  Andre takes the phone and tells his mother — now seen in an evening gown at a glamorous party — that he will be home in 2 days.

BTW, the Countess is played by Iphigenie Castiglioni; I wonder if that is the same Iphigenie Castiglioni that was in Hitchcock’s Rear Window?

He says he invited a friend to come home with him.  He assures them all that he is fine, but his friend has lost a leg in the war.  His family, the snooty society folk are aghast! The friend has not had time to get a prosthetic leg, so he will have to walk on crutches or — avert your eyes, ladies — a wheelchair!

His fiancee says, “That’s terrible!  To bring a cripple in here.  He won’t fit in.”  Well, we really can’t judge her until we measure the doors.

Andre’s mother sympathetically is only thinking of his poor friend.  She says he is welcome, but “don’t you think it will be a little awkward?  He won’t be able to ride, or swim, or dance — he will be so out of it!”

When Andre says the man saved his life, his mother promises the best life for him . . . just so it’s not too close to the family.  They will be happy to send him to Switzerland to recuperate, but “don’t bring him home!  Not Now!  It would be so depressing having such an unfortunate boy around.”

ahpreturnofthehero04After the call, he tells Marcel that he can’t take him home with him now, because he is not going home.  He tells Therese to marry the butcher and lead a long and happy life. He then hobbles out on crutches, revealing that it is actually him who has lost a leg, and he was testing his family’s reaction.  Therese runs after him, and will probably catch him . . . what with having two legs.

Alfred says at the end that he will dispense with his usual gallows humor as this show has no desire to make light of men who have suffered as a result of war.  Hopefully next week he can have us rolling in the aisles again with tales of murdered Americans.

ahpreturnofthehero05This episode was OK, but another missed opportunity.  Marcel was seen walking around, so we know he is doing OK.  There are tell-tale crutches prominently displayed leaning against the bar in several scenes. And the accents made it an effort to listen to the dialogue.


  • AHP Deathwatch:  Susan Kohner is still with us.
  • Sir Alfred is correct, there is nothing funny about wounded soldiers.  But it did remind me of the classic sketch by Dudley Moore and Peter Cook.
  • This idea has apparently become an urban legend even showing up in Snopes, but its roots go back even further.

Phantoms (1998)

We open with a scene reminiscent of The Shining — a small car on a winding road through the mountains.  Only without the ominous music and awesome cinematography.  On the other hand, the car contains 2 hot babes, neither of whom are Shelly Duvall.  So call it a draw at this point.

Lisa and Jennifer Pailey  drive into Jennifer’s home of Snowfield for Lisa to get some relaxation from the big city.  Jennifer, who has a medical practice there, says the town is seasonal, going form 4000 to 400 during the year.  The town seems deserted, though.  When they get to Jennifer’s house, her mother is dead on the floor.  And the phone is dead on the desk.

When the car won’t start, they walk the four blocks to the police station.  They find dead bodies there also, sadly not due to capital punishment.  They arm up and become even hotter.  They wander into a bakery where there are more dead people, but grizzlier — severed hands still rolling dough, and severed heads in the oven (OK, those were clearly suicides).  The good news is they find three living police officers there; the bad news is two of them are Liev Schreiber[1] and Ben Affleck.

Image 013While investigating a hotel, the third cop.who might as well have been wearing a red shirt rushes outside at the sound of a screech.  The others rush outside when he screeches, but all that is left is his gun spinning in the street.  Soon Liev is killed also by what appears to be a giant moth.

Peter O’Toole is brought into the picture as a reporter for one of those sleazy tabloids — you, know the ones that have 100% more credibility than the New York Times because of the NYT’s seething hatred and bias against anyone who doesn’t agree with their clustered, shrinking little band of followers.

It is about this time that I repeatedly fell asleep, was awakened by gunfire, then fell right back to sleep about 5 times until the credits rolled.  And I don’t really feel compelled to give it another try.

Image 009The beginning with Rose McGowan and Joanna Going was fine.  In fact the whole movie could have been them and it would have been better.  Ben Affleck has proven repeatedly that he is great behind the camera.  Who, for the love of God keeps putting him in front of the camera?  It’s got to be ego.  I didn’t see Steven Spielberg fighting no shark.

I never did entirely figure out his role here.  He is the sheriff of this, admittedly, small town at the age of 26.  Seems that he had time to go to college, get a law degree (I assume standards haven’t been lowered for that yet), get booted from the Secret Service and end up in Snowfield.  The picture might have benefited from having someone with a little more gravitas in the role. And not sporting that goofy coat and hat.

An officer with more experience might also have made firing Liev Schreiber one of his priorities.  They let this borderline mentally challenged resentful insubordinate deputy carry a gun?  He is such a drooling idiot before the attacks, that afterward, when I suppose he was possessed during one of my naps. there is no appreciable difference.

To be completely unfair, the intermittent portions I saw of the last half did not engage me at all.  The most telling assessment:  There is no Phantoms II.


  • [1] Schreiber is a good actor, just not who I’m looking for to protect me in a disaster.
  • If Jennifer was making a living as a doctor in a  town of 400 people, there must have been something wrong before the killer moths showed up and killed people and their sweaters.

Zombeavers (2014)

Zombeavers gets off to a very funny and unexpected start with hazmat haulers Bill Burr (Joseph) and John Mayer (Luke). After a funny conversation about Joseph dating a guy (but just for a week), then them discussing being banned from friend’s bathroom, Joseph runs into a deer, dislodging a barrel of chemical waste.

After fun, well-constructed, almost James Bondian credits which track the progress of the barrel downstream like a Bass, Saul Bass  It arrives at the home of the titular beavers.  It’s worth saying again, titular beavers.

zombeavers07Three hot girls are off to a cabin in the woods with no boys, no texting, and no tops (well, that’s more anticipation on my part).  If the movie maintains its pace and humor, this will be the Citizen Kane of horror/comedy.

zombeavers14There are so many good lines that it is pointless to to even discuss them.  This is easily the best horror comedy since Tucker & Dale, and even surpasses that benchmark. Whereas the T&D was mostly situational comedy or satires of horror tropes, Zombeavers ups the ante with a lot of very funny dialogue, a nice Jaws homage and even goofy throwaway shots (the skinny 14 year old kid with the “#1 Dad” hat?  WTH?). Even the standard wacky neighbor is genuinely wacky and hilarious.

Sadly, their 3 boyfriends show up.  They do come in handy when the first zombeaver shows up hiding in the bathroom, however.  Not being brainiacs, they decide to take a swim in the lake the next day with predictable results.  They swim out to a raft and we get a scene that is a beautiful balance actual horror, comedy, creativity and sexiness.  The bit with the dog is Oscar-worthy.

zombeavers21And the zombeavers are smart — I can’t even spoil how smart they are.  I expected the 3rd act to run out of steam, but it just never stops — twists, fire, whack-a-mole, it just goes on and on.

zombeavers23This is just great.  It even wraps up with some funny outtakes and a swinging Frank Sinatra / Tony Bennett style swinging ode to Zombeavers.  When the artists put this much effort into something that really could have been a VOD release in lesser hands, I really appreciate it.

Rating:  A


  • Title Analysis:  Really, there was no other option; it’s the reason the film was made. But you can’t put the emphasis on “zombie” or you’re left with “vers.  If you stress the “beavers” (of which we saw none, well of a certain kind), you’re left with “zom.”
  • In the last shot, we are visually set up for what I hope is a sequel by the same crew entitled Zombees.
  • Yeah, what’s the deal with this?zombeavers08