Archive for the TV shows Category

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: The Ghost Busters episode 10 – The Vampire’s Apprentice (1975)

Posted in Dracula, Halloween, holiday, horror, monsters, pop culture, TV shows, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2016 by Paxton

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Today, I finally get to talk about the old live action TV show, The Ghost Busters, from 1975.  I talked a bit before about this show back in 2007 when I discussed the difference between The Real Ghostbusters cartoon and the Filmation Ghostbusters cartoon.  As I said earlier, I actually like the old Filmation Ghostbusters cartoon so I was excited to finally go back and check out the TV show that spawned the cartoon.

The show first aired in 1975.  It lasted for one season of 15 episodes.  It starred Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch and Bob Burns as bumbling paranormal detectives who use a “ghost dematerializer” gadget to send said ghosts back to the netherworld.

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The show made use of several famous monters in its 15 episodes including Jeckyll & Hyde, Dr Frankenstein and his monster, the Red Baron, Billy the Kid and, in the episode I’m about to look at, Dracula and his wife.

Here’s Dracula and his wife.  Since this show is a comedy, the duo are characterized as very slaptick and goofy.

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It’s interesting, the episode several times mentions that they are the GHOSTS of Dracula and his wife, which doesn’t really make a whole hell of a lot of sense.  They interact as if they are corporeal vampires, but in the beginning and the way they are dispatched in the end seems to suggest that they are ghosts.  Weird.

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The whole episode is weird and the humor is…eh.  At one point, Larry Storch’s Spencer is turned into a vampire. To ward all the vampires off, Forrest Tucker’s Kong hands them a “wooden steak” (Haha! Get it?).  Of course the vampires look at it oddly at first and then they theatrically recoil in horror when they realize it’s a “wooden steak”.  That’s the level of hilarity throughout this episode. Plus, there are constant jokes about how Dracula can’t remember anything because he’s getting old and he’s constantly running into walls when he turns into a bat.

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When it’s finally time to dispatch the vampire “ghosts” Kong grabs the “ghost dematerializer” and disintegrates Dracula and his wife back to wherever the hell they came from.

So I’ve finally watched this show.  It’s not great.  Definitely a product of the time, but the concept is solid.  I’ll check out a few of the other episodes with other more famous monsters.  I’m really interested in checking out the episode with Billy the Kid’s ghost!


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Angel vs Frankenstein (2009)

Posted in comic books, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday, horror, monsters, TV shows, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2016 by Paxton

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Back in 2011, when I did Dracula/vampires for my theme, I covered the appearance of Dracula in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  This included several comic book appearances with Buffy and Spike.  So, I thought I should next cover another Buffy character teaming up with another classic monster.  Let’s see if this one fares any better.

In 2009, IDW released a one-shot called Angel vs Frankenstein. It was written and drawn by the great John Byrne.

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The story takes place after Mary Shelley’s novel, which we get a brief recap of in the comic. It also takes place before Angel is cursed by the gypsy to have a soul.  So, after Frankenstein discovers Victor dead in the arctic at the end of Shelley’s novel, he decides to return to his home to claim the right as the last heir of Frankenstein.  However, the monster realizes he can’t do it alone, so the monster hires Angelus to return to Castle Frankenstein with him to help. However, Angelus has different ideas and throws the monster out of the stagecoach and over a cliff.  He then goes to the castle to claim the fortune for himself. But the monster didn’t die, and it makes its way back for his revenge. Queue Frankenstein vs Angelus fight.

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It’s a pretty good story. I like the setup. I love Byrne’s art. I enjoyed reading it. It’s only a one-shot, so it’s short, but Byrne makes the most of it.

Then in 2010, IDW released a sequel called, appropriately, Angel vs Frankenstein II.  This one-shot was also written and drawn by John Byrne.

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This takes place many years after the first comic. Angelus is now just Angel. He’s in America and working as a janitor at a mental hospital. He discovers the monster bound up in a hidden set of rooms in the hospital. Angel tries to sort out the mystery of how the monster got there but when the monster sees Angel, he goes off on a rampage thinking it’s Angelus and Angel has to stop him from tearing apart the city. We also learn a few secrets about the nature of this Frankenstein monster.

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Again, this is a good, if a bit more understated comic story. It’s another one shot, but Byrne makes good use of the characters and his art is great. I like the wrap up of the Frankenstein monster here. I’d definitely recommend these comics to a fan of Angel.


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: I Love Mummy (2002)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, mummy, nostalgia, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2016 by Paxton

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Okay, I went back and forth on several mummy TV shows to feature today, but I think I found a good one. And by “good one”, I mean it’s terrible. Let’s check out I Love Mummy, a UK-Canadian production from 2002.

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A family inherits an old house which inexplicable contains the sarcophagus of a 3000 year old Egyptian prince in the attic.

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The young son unwittingly opens the sarcophagus and out pops the wrapped up prince.  And a chase around the kitchen table ensues.

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After lots of screaming and the aforementioned chase around the kitchen table, we find out the prince is sort of a spoiled royal brat. We even flashback to ancient Egypt to see proof of his bratty behavior.

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After he died while surfing down the exterior of the Sphinx, he became stuck in purgatory. He’ll have to stay stuck in purgatory until he completes a list (on a scroll, of course) of things he has to learn on his own.  I wonder if this is where the idea for My Name is Earl came from.

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Obviously the family is reluctant to take this responsibility on, but the young son has become “attached”. So he doofuses his way into making the family “keep” the undead pharaoh. Because, let’s not forget, he is undead.

The show is, in a word, awful. I didn’t expect any better, to be honest. But there are two things that make this show interesting.  First, the daughter, Stephy, played by Kelly Turner, is crazy hot.

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Second, the mummy, Nuff, is played by Elyes Gabel. You may not recognize that name, but he’s currently the star of that CBS show, Scorpion.

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And after seeing both shows, I don’t think there’s that much a difference in quality between the two.


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: The Mummy: The Animated Series (2001)

Posted in cartoons, holiday, monsters, movies, mummy, nostalgia, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 18, 2016 by Paxton

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This year, despite my theme being mummies, I decided not to watch or review the most recent Universal The Mummy movies starring Brendan Fraser as Rick O’Connell.  I liked those movies okay, but I had other lesser known movies I wanted to watch and talk about first.  However, as a compromise, I decided to mention the animated series that is based on those movies.

In 2001, the WB aired The Mummy: The Animated Series. It was loosely based on the first two Stephen Sommers The Mummy movies.

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The main characters are, of course, Evie and Rick O’Connell, their son Alex, Evie’s brother Johnathan and the evil mummy Imhotep.  Rick O’Connell, surprisingly, is not voiced by Brendan Fraser (what, was he busy?).  He’s voiced by none other than Bo Duke himself, John Schneider.  There’s another character in here called The Minotaur that is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson who voiced The Joker in the 2004 animated The Batman series as well as a slew of other roles in super hero cartoons like Avengers Assemble, Hulk and the Agents of SMASH, Ultimate Spider-Man, Young Justice, etc.

The plot somewhat retcons the movies a little.  Back in ancient Egypt, Imhotep is in possession of the Scrolls of Thebes and is searching for the Manacle of Osiris. Just as he’s about to steal it, he’s caught and sentenced to be mummified alive (again, why ALIVE?!).  Flash forward to present day, Imhotep is revived by Colin Weasler and he begins the hunt for the Manacle anew.  Like in The Mummy Returns, Alex gets the Manacle on his own arm which causes Imhotep to hunt him to obtain it.  Rick and Evie battle Imhotep to keep the Manacle away from him with the help of the Medjai, sacred protectors of ancient Egypt.

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There’s a lot of Medjai back story in the cartoon as well as plenty of searches for things with “of” in the title (Manacle of Osiris, Scythe of Anubis, Lake of Eternity, etc, etc).  It’s a not bad, if not great, animated cartoon adventure series. About as good as those last two Fraser Mummy movies.


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Mummies Alive! (1997)

Posted in cartoons, holiday, monsters, mummy, nostalgia, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 12, 2016 by Paxton

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In 1997 DIC Entertainment released the animated series Mummies Alive!

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The premise is very mummy-y. Evil sorcerer Scarab kills the Pharaoh’s son but is entombed alive for his crime (why do they never KILL these guys? It’s always entombed ALIVE). He revives in modern day (1997) and searches for the reincarnation of the prince he killed. However, the prince’s protectors are also revived to protect him from harm. It’s a constant battle to keep Scarab from getting his hands on the reincarnated prince.

The prince’s guardians are all mummies each with the power of an Egyptian god. Ja-Kal uses the spirit of falcon, Rath uses the spirit of snake, Armon uses the spirit of ram, and Nefer-Tina uses the spirit of cat. They are able to call upon these powers for magical armor and abilities.

And in typical “cartoon magical transformations” form they call on the powers when they are in immediate danger but then it takes 30 seconds or more for all four mummies to fully transform and by then, in reality, they’d all be dead.

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To trigger their powers, the mummies call out the phrase “With the Strength of Ra!” Using these magical abilities depletes their strength, so once their strength is exhausted, they must rest in their sarcophagi to regain their abilities.

Along with Scarab, the mummies had to contend with a litany of Egyptian gods and monsters like Anubis, Set and Sekhmet.  But the best episode has to be the one where the mummies actually take a tour of Alcatraz (not even kidding).  Here’s the cartoon version of Alcatraz Island.

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The show only ran one season but managed to pump out 42 episodes.

You can check out the very first episode, Ra! Ra! Ra! below:

Here’s the episode called The Bird-Mummy of Alcatraz where the mummies take the tour of the infamous prison:


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Flash vs an invisible man (1991)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 23, 2015 by Paxton

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The Flash TV series debuted in September 1990.

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In episode 10, which aired January 1991, The Flash would come up against a villain who had invented a personal cloaking device, essentially turning him into an invisible man. That episode was titled Sight Unseen.

It’s a pretty cool episode. The pre-credit opening shows us a burglary, but it’s being done by someone invisible. We see keyboard keys depress and doors opening without seeing anybody onscreen. Then, after the alarms go off, we see the door open on it’s own and then the thief appears as if out of thin air.

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He looks very Shadow-like in the below shot as he dictates to what looks like a mini-recorder device about his plans.  .

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Not sure why he does this right outside the crime scene.  Stay invisible, dude, get to your hideout THEN do your “notes to self”

We get the weekly appearance of officers Bellows and Murphy.

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Bellows is the believer (right) and Murphy is the skeptic (left). However, while Murphy doesn’t believe The Flash exists, he spends most of his time trying to monetize the fact that other people do think he exists.  Here he tries to convince Bellows to sell $6 shirts to people for $20 a pop.

This show is clearly set-designed by the same team that did Burton’s Batman in 1989. Check out Central City Police Headquarters.

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In the stairwell that leads up to the crime lab where Barry Allen works, there’s a weird “science-y” mural painted on the wall.

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In this episode we get the debut of federal agent Quinn. And he’s clearly an a-hole.  He’s very driven and is obsessed with capturing the cloaking device used by the invisible man. He reminds me a lot of agent Milton Dammers in The Frighteners (right) as played by Jeffrey Combs about five years later.

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Several times in the episode we get to see invisible-to-visible reveals of the villain. Here’s a cool one where The Flash confronts the guy’s lair.

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And here’s one where the villain is thrown on the hood of a car and it turns the cloaking device off.

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Finally Barry figures out that he can see the invisible man with specially developed contact lenses with thermal vision.

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Honestly, I thought any invisible man’s downfall would be thermal vision. You may be invisible to light, but you’ll always give off a heat signature.

It’s a pretty good episode. No overt Wells-ian easter eggs. The scientist who develops the cloaking device is called Gideon. Which sounds kind of like Griffen, the protagonist from Wells’ novel. Also like Griffen, he’s British. He’s played by Christopher Neame who has been in a ton of stuff from this to Ghostbusters II, License to Kill and The Prestige. Coincidentally enough, he also would appear in one episode of Sci-Fi Channel’s 2000 TV series, The Invisible Man.


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Invisible Mouse (1947)

Posted in books, cartoons, Halloween, holiday, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 19, 2015 by Paxton

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The Invisible Mouse was an episode of Tom and Jerry directed by Hanna and Barbera and was released in 1947.

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It was a parody of the Invisible Man concept from both the HG Wells novel and the Universal Studios movie (which was released 14 years prior to the cartoon).

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As usual the cartoon starts with the rampant chasing and violence between Tom and Jerry. They chase each other up a flight of stairs, jump on the banister and start sliding down. Then Jerry shifts to a second banister to avoid….wait, WHAT?! I don’t think banisters work that way. What the hell is going on there?

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Jerry jumps on the counter, finds a “chemo set” and jumps in a random bottle to evade Tom. However, it seems that Jerry accidentally jumped into a bottle of “invisible ink”. And it’s turning him invisible.

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Interesting.  Jerry’s invisibility is not hampered by seeing your food through your stomach. Whatever he eats seems to immediately turn invisible.

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But he still apparently casts a shadow.  Wait, what?!  What is the light reflecting around to cause that shadow?!

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Jerry has lots of fun with his new invisibility. He gives Tom the classic “hot foot” and tees off on Tom’s backside with what looks like a 3 Wood.

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The short ends with Jerry banishing Tom from the house by getting Spike the dog to chase after him and then laying on Tom’s pillow drinking his chocolate milk. Which seems to restore Jerry back to visible?!  Okay.

Well, this particular version of invisible has some goofy rules but what can you expect from a Tom and Jerry cartoon?  It’s still a fairly enjoyable watch for fans of the show.


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