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Season 6, Episode #9: "Staired in Horror"
When R. Lee Ermey is the best actor in a movie or television episode, you know you're in trouble. D.B. Sweeney (who isn't even that foxy anyway) is a thief, murderer, and first-class jerk. We see him running through the woods in some southern state and he finds a plantation-like home and some dried-up southern-belle and the whole thing reeks of someone behind the camera having a thing for Gone with the Wind. He's a really bad actor and she's actually a much younger actress giving an inauthentic "old lady" performance. But the episode does get a lot better when the style really kicks in (director Stephen Hopkins has no real winners in the horror genre but his stuff sure looks GORGEOUS). As soon as Sweeney starts acting like an old man and can't give us his pathetic toughguy routine anymore. Think about that, seriously- he's bullying an "old woman." How tough is that? Thankfully- it's not sleazy at all, and the story gets really good once you know what the deal with the stairs is all about. And, shockingly- a classic twist ending. Surprisingly creepy.
Season 6, Episode #10: "In the Groove"
Miguel Ferrer is such a hottie. Now, here's a man who can (somehow) get away with a toughguy front. Though not so much in this episode, where he plays a frustrated D.J. whose show has a theme about sex. He just... complains too much. And, taking the awful twist into account, is so easy to manipulate that you realize he didn't have a strong character to begin with- unlike the toughguys in earlier episodes (i.e.: Lance Henriksen's Reno in "Cutting Cards"). The only person here with any real character is sitcom pro Wendie Malick, who is stunning as always as the evil, bitchy sister. It's not a great bitch role, but she looks great playing it. Then, we've got the blonde (Linda Doucett) who is pretty flat. I have a hard time believing she gets in anyone's head. Anyway, the twist in this episode is so bad, that you realize how much you wish they would have gone for something supernatural. Heck, the Ben Stiller Show did a parody of Tales from the Crypt that is a lot like this episode and that had a better twist than this boring "conspiracy" plot. Who else was waiting to see the ghost of the evil dead mother come back and kill someone? Also, not enough shots of Ferrer in those leather pants. Cameos include the adorable Rusty Schwimmer (Candyman, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday) as a jilted caller (why is she dressed like she works at a fast-food chicken franchise?), and - believe it or not - the real Slash from Guns 'N Roses playing another D.J. who I can only assume is supposed to be a fake Slash.
Season 6, Episode #11: "Surprise Party"
One bad door closes and another bad door opens. This time, it's Adam Storke stinking things up (his performance here makes Stephen Shellen in "Lover Come Hack to Me" look like Laurence Olivier) as a greedy little bastard son of a corrupt property owner (something to do with food, since he's a business man who owns a farm) who feels he must
visit the burnt-down building his father spent so much time at. Only to discover it's full of sorta-hippies having a drugged-out party there. Truly, the only plusses to this terrible episode are a little style and Bette Ford (I immediately thought: "Betty
Ford?! Is that the real Betty Ford?" I'm sure she didn't mean to copy someone else's name
). I don't know who she is or where she came from, but she's amazing here. She's so good, she should have been the old women in "Staired in Horror." The only moment (other than her scene) that sparked any interest in me whatsoever was after the bastard-son's non-fling upstairs, you look up and see... are there huge holes in the ceiling and wall? It's trickling rain outside- it's been raining during the entire episode. They would have gotten soaked! Painfully bad twist. Bad episode. Skip, skip, skip!
Season 6, Episode #12: "Doctor of Horror"
Finally; an episode in a string I can honestly say I had fun with! The comic talent here is just incredible- country singer Travis Tritt (who I didn't know was also an actor but is nonetheless very amusing here), the Weasel-King himself: Austin Pendleton (The Muppet Movie, My Cousin Vinny, Mr. Nanny, Guarding Tess), hunky wild-man Hank Azaria (who we all know is a genius and has huge mainstream credits to prove it), and an A-typically angry Ben Stein (usually he's just mockingly deadpan- Casper, The Mask). I laughed, I smiled, I was entertained and grossed out. The writing here is really good, the ideas are interesting, and the performances really work. However, it eventually suffers from the series' need for a twist. So, we get the most cliched and obvious choice for a twist, not satisfying or fun in the least. Otherwise, this is a great episode. And... newly-2nd careered Republican slimeball Stein is viciously murdered, then violated post-mortem by weirdo Azaria. Yay!
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