Archive for TV shows

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

Awesometoberfest banner

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.

ghost-busters

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.

img_1858

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.

img_1865

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.

img_1863

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!


2012 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Advertisements

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

Awesometoberfest banner

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.

ilm_001

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

ilm_002 ilm_003
The young son unwittingly opens the sarcophagus and out pops the wrapped up prince.  And a chase around the kitchen table ensues.

ilm_004 ilm_005
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.

ilm_006
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.

ilm_007
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.

ilm_010
ilm_008
ilm_009

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.

scorpion-banner-2

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


2012 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

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

Awesometoberfest banner

In 1997 DIC Entertainment released the animated series Mummies Alive!

Mummies Alive title card

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.

mummies-alive-team-transformed-2

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.

alcatraz

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:


2015 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

The debut of new Western podcast Hellbent for Letterbox

Posted in Genres, movies, podcast, pop culture, Western with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2016 by Paxton

Hell Bent for Letterbox cover art LG

My good friend (and Nerd Lunch Fourth Chair Army officer) Mr Michael May asked me to co-host a podcast with him.  And I must be crazy because I said, “Sure, why not?”  And let me tell you why I said that.  First, Michael is awesome.  We love him on Nerd Lunch, in fact, we just recently finished up several episodes in a row with him (Janu-May-ary).  Second, Michael and I have a similar love for the Western genre.  So, Michael asked if I wanted to start an all-Westerns podcast.  There was no way I could say “no” to that.

So, this podcast is going to watch and review a different Western every month.  We will probably also watch and review certain Western TV shows as well as discuss a few Western books.  But the focus will be mostly movies.  I’m really looking forward to it because I have a few holes in my Western viewing that need to be filled.

Which, for this first episode, Michael and I set the table for the podcast.  We talk about our introduction to the Western genre.  We talk about some of our favorite Western movies, stars and directors.  We talk about what we hope to accomplish with this show and what types of movies and stars we want to “catch up” on.  And, at the very end, Michael reveals what our first movie review will be in our second episode.

So come check out the beginning of Hell Bent for Letterbox.  I don’t know if you can get it on iTunes just yet. but if not, it will be there soon.  Maybe even Stitcher at some point.

Regardless, you can listen to the show right here.

If you’re super excited about subscribing in iTunes and it’s not showing up, here’s the RSS feed you can drop into iTunes to subscribe manually.

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

Awesometoberfest banner

The Flash TV series debuted in September 1990.

The Flash_0E8zqTi

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.

vlcsnap-00188_ani

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

vlcsnap-00174

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.

vlcsnap-00192

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.

vlcsnap-00193

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.

vlcsnap-00195

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.

vlcsnap-00196 vlcsnap-00196b

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.

vlcsnap-00226b_anim

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

vlcsnap-00207b_anim

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

vlcsnap-00239 vlcsnap-00240

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.


2015 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

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

Awesometoberfest banner

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

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 001 Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 002

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).

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 003
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?

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 005 Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 006
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.

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 008
Interesting.  Jerry’s invisibility is not hampered by seeing your food through your stomach. Whatever he eats seems to immediately turn invisible.

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 011
But he still apparently casts a shadow.  Wait, what?!  What is the light reflecting around to cause that shadow?!

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 009 Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 012
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.

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 013
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.


2012 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Invisible Man TV series (2000)

Posted in pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 16, 2015 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

There have been a surprising number of invisible man series here and over in Britain. Instead of covering all of them, I decided to look at one that I was the most familiar with.

In the summer of 2000 a TV show premiered featuring a sci-fi based modern interpretation of an invisible man. It was called, oddly enough, The Invisible Man.

inv_man_2000_001

The show would last for two seasons on the fledgling Sci-Fi channel.

scifi_logo

I vaguely remember this show airing. If only for the “quicksilver” effect of the guy turning invisible.  It’s a more science-y update of the invisible man story.

Darien Fawkes (as in Dumbledore’s pet phoenix) is a thief.  And not a particularly good one.  He is caught and sent to prison for his third strike.  His scientist brother bails him out and promises him freedom if he’ll participate in an experiment for a few weeks.

invis_man_2000_003 invis_man_2000_004

That experiment involves an artificial gland that is surgically inserted into Darien’s head that excretes a special substance called Quicksilver that coats Darien’s body and turns him invisible.  At first he can’t control it, it can only be triggered by adrenaline.  Darien, at first eager to remove the gland, is just beginning to learn to control the Quicksilver through Tai-Chi when one of the lead scientists on the team double crosses everyone, kills them and attempts to trap Darien.  In the process, he kills Darien’s brother.

invis_man_2000_007

Darien barely escapes but is forced to go on the run from the rogue scientist.  He is approached by The Agency, the covert government division that funded his brother’s experiments.  It seems the rogue scientist also tampered with the Quicksilver gland so it’ll cause Darien to slowly go mad with rage the more he uses his invisibility and the longer he goes without a special serum.  The Agency offers their help and access to the serum if Darien works for them.

And that’s mostly the setup of the show.  There are some interesting ideas.  The effects aren’t that bad.  My main problem is with the actor who plays Darien, Vincent Ventresca.  He’s kind of a douche bag.  He’s supposed to be, but he does it too well.  I can’t root for the guy because he’s a dick.  And they try to make him rogue-ish and likeable, but that actually works against him.  He’s a two-bit crook who robs from elderly old men (as you see in the beginning and it’s actually what he’s put in jail for) yet he quotes Mark f**king Twain to one of the scientists.  Annoying.

The concept is interesting enough, that I did wind up watching a few episodes of the show hoping Darien’s edge would be dulled a bit as the show progressed.  I watched the 2 hour pilot and a few of the “gimmick” shows like the one with the “evil invisible man” and the possible return of the dead brother.  There’s also one with an invisible woman, but I didn’t make it quite that far.  But I did read far enough ahead on Wikipedia to discover where the government got the Quicksilver…but that’s a tale for another day.

The show isn’t bad, even if the lead is a bit unlikable.

invis_man_2000_008

This is funny. At one point Darien goes to an out of the way taco place to meet a government agent. As he walks in, hanging just over the cook’s left shoulder, oh so subtle-like, is the poster for the original Universal The Invisible Man.  Well played, Sci-Fi.


2015 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.