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Season 1, Episode #4: "Only Sin Deep"
This one is such a fun flashback to cheese cinema of the late 80's / early 90's, a lot of it featuring trendy visions of the high-cheese big-money lifestyle of the city rich. Lots of white women's dress-suits with huge buttons and art-gallery apartment parties. And of course, a hooker as a main character (this being the same era as Pretty Woman, around half a year earlier) who gets a makeover and becomes accustomed to the high-life. And with music that sounds like the twin brother of Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (except for the horrible stuff at the apartment party). And, naturally a plot about the horror of aging is a good change from the typical slashers and monsters. There are a couple of little problems here, though. Lea Thompson's accent is one. She sounds like a man. It's that simple. She's trying to channel some deep New York / Brooklyn thing, and failing miserably. Then, how fast she hooks her blond beefy rich husband. And is he Mr. Perfect or what? Direct, generous, complimentary, and still as interested in her after the wedding and months of marriage as he was at the start. It just feels phony at times. He'll read a couple of lines like he wants to strangle her to death- both times he's asking her questions ("what are you- a psycho?!" and "what is this- the make-up counter at Macy's?!").
Season 1, Episode #5: "Lover Come Hack to Me"
This one had me hooked fast
. The Crypt Keeper intro has him chopping a meat-cleaver (another favorite movie-murder instrument of mine) into a pile of gore. Then, the story kicks in with stark insinuations of greed and a "you'll be sorry" warning - both great story elements. Then, a very Dolls
-like storm and big old haunted house that looks empty. Unlike Dolls though, this house is
empty (ala- perhaps, Hell Night) and that makes it creepier. Not to mention the blue-lit storm outside is amazing with these production values. This little TV show ends up lasting better than feature films of the time (After Midnight for example). And then, the amazing Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction, Needful Things, Freeway). You've got a one-woman horror show right there. She could easily have been the Karen Black of her day. But even though this looks great and gets me into it fast... there's no ascension to the next level. You know? The opening 8 or so minutes just leads to an overly-long sex / seduction scene (these really work better in vampire horror tales, where you expect a lot of sexuality and or elements of romance) and a couple murders that are cool but come abruptly on the heels of the awful performance of Stephen Shellen as the ultra-buff gold-digging husband. Just when you think his performance couldn't get worse...he starts talking to himself (trust me, if you see this later and haven't already- you'll wince). And a really way
too bizarre twist (this might be a lot more satisfying if she were Cinderella or Repunzel or something - someone you'd expect would be sexually repressed - doing this to the charming Prince who would come to rescue her). But, it's kind of worth sitting through. Even at its' worst, Amanda is still creepy. And, a scene of Stephen Shellen stripping is... well, let's just say: that's probably the reason they hired him in the first place.
Season 6, Episode #1: "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime"
This is actually one of my favorite TftC's. Because I love Catherine O'Hara. She's beautiful, sexy, brassy, and always hilarious. And because, naturally, I love a good cold bitch type. Which one could argue she was already playing in Home Alone (she's much more sympathetic in the "New York" sequel). And of course, Beetlejuice. Who didn't
love her there? Her and one hell
of a supporting cast including the way too cute Kevin Cooney (Legally Blonde), the ice-slick Brit pro Joseph Maher (Sister Act), Wesley Mann (Disney's Adventures in Wonderland), and the always scary, even in comedic roles, Peter MacNicol (Addams Family Values, Ghostbusters 2). I don't know if this is funny but (with the exception of the stupid guilt-ghosts that pop up a couple times) it sure is fun. And really tense. If you thought stuff like Ghosts of Mississippi and JFK are intense- try doubling that here. In fact, it's a little too intense. I swear I felt like I
was on-trial here. God knows people who take the law into their own hands and overzealous conservative judges are always scary (of course, I found the 1991 hicktown-court comedy Nothing but Trouble to be more outrageous). But it ends up being fun because O'Hara really does deserve what's coming to her. If only they had dialed down the supernatural stuff. I mean- why do the doors of this courthouse magically lead to rooms they're not connected to? This ain't Labyrinth
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