Tales From the Darkside 101: The New Man

Vic Tayback, (who I remember from a childhood love of the show ‘Alice’), stars as a real estate salesman who’s extremely sensitive about the fact that he used to be an alcoholic, but has recently kicked the habit. One day, after setting up a particularly important sale, Vic’s young son turns up at the office. Of course, Vic’s sure he just has the one (13 year old) son, so this precocious little lad of six is a complete stranger to him. He does the only logical thing and drops the kid off at the police station, only to return home and find his wife furious at him – according to her, the little one is, in fact, their second child.


Tony Todd is too Good for This theatre: Are You Scared 2

Watching Tony Todd's recent turn on 24 made me realize that I haven't written much about the Candyman. I consider Tony Todd to be one of the finest actors of his generation, perhaps the finest to be working in genre film today. He's one of the only actors who can motivate me to watch a film solely by virtue of his presence in it, which inspired me to honor him here at the castle. By watching and reviewing the many, many direct to video movies that Tony Todd is too good to be starring in. So, with no further ado, I present:

Tony Todd is Too Good For This!


Avod Friday! The Disturbing List!

This week on the Avod the Divemistress and myself address the pressing issues of the day, like whether Christine was a good movie, and just how badly IGN botched their list of the 15 most disturbing movies ever made.

If you'd like to find out what those films are, you can always listen to the avod by heading over to its blog, right-clicking and downloading here, or just going to IGN and finding the list for yourself.

Actually, on second thought, don't do that last one, please.

Show Notes!

Harper's Island starts on April 9th on CBS at 10PM, Eastern Standard Time . If you're wondering where it plays in your area, please check your local listings - and then get ready to join in with the Avod and the great 'figure out who the killer is-a-thon!'

Tales From the Darkside!

Living in Canada, without access to premium television channels and the syndicated television programs they offer, I was never able to see Tales From the Dark Side, Monsters, or Tales from the Crypt. Aware of their existence by way of more fortunate genre-loving children, the shows attained a level of importance and mystery I associated only with the major horror franchises, the Fridays, Halloweens, and the like.

I finally got a chance to see a few episodes in my teens, when my local video store obtained a few VHS collected ‘best-of’ tapes. The episodes I watched on video have been largely forgotten. One was a diverting piffle about a magic computer, which may or may have not starred Harry Anderson, and another, which I have a much better memory of, starred Darrin McGavin, and was an ode to canceled television shows, and the aliens who want to know how their stories wrapped up. Kind of exactly like that one episode of Futurama. I’m thinking it was called ‘distant signals’, but I could be wrong.

It’s important to note at this point that the episodes I saw were, by and large, harmless. Nothing on the scale of Twilight Zone’s ‘Shadowman’. Because I hadn’t watched much real horror at this point in my life, I imagined myself immune to fear, and comfortable with any fiction, no matter how supposedly terrifying. Then I reached one episode that absolutely shocked me with its effectiveness. I was only able to watch it once, and the memory of it chills me to this day. After seeing that episode I swore off the series as a whole, and haven’t looked back since.


Crminal Minds 107: The Fox

Synopsis – It’s a cold night in suburbia as a happy family packs and prepares for their week-long trip to Disneyworld! All seems well enough, except for the fact that they can’t locate their dog… it seems that the dog is busy eating a drugged piece of steak while a serial killer lurks nearby. The next morning the wife wakes to discover her husband tied in a chair next to the bed. So who is she sleeping beside? It’s the serial killer!

Cut to three days later, as Mandy Patinkin and the team are looking at pictures, trying to figure out if it was a serial killer or murder/suicide, because while the rest of the family was stabbed, the husband was shot in the head, apparently by his own hand. While the evidence certainly looks bad, let’s consider how we last saw the husband:

Wouldn’t the welts from the gag make the coroner a little suspicious?


Medium drops the ball in the most spectacular way possible.

The Inside was not a beloved television show. Already having one strike against it by being about profilers, it suffered from a lead actress whose ability to emote hovered somewhere between Tori Spelling and a block of wood shaped like Tori Spelling. The rest of the cast, including Adam Baldwin, Peter Coyote, and the hilarious sister from Wonderfalls all did a stellar job, and the scripts, while not significantly above par, were certainly better written than any of the more popular procedurals it was up against at the time. It might have done better had it not been aired in the middle of the summer with no promotion, but Fox hates quality television, so what are you doing to do?

Among all the regular crime solving antics of the series was a single stellar episode, a fantastic piece of drama, and likely the best serial-killer themed entertainment in a decade. Actually, it wasn’t even a stellar episode. It was a stellar half-episode. The second part got bogged down in the standard dull cat and mouse morass that thrillers too often fall into with the killer giving clues to the cops in order to prove how smart he is and blah blah blah…


Avod Sunday! The Watchmen edition!

That's right, the time has finally come for Divemistress and the Count to discuss Watchmen, a film with which they had very different experiences. They also discuss Terminator, in a few of its different incarnations, and the best comic book movie of the decade.

Which, if that statement wasn't clear enough, is not Watchmen.

The episode can be downloaded here, through a simple course of right-clicking and saving the link as, or if you'd care to stream it directly to your speakers, just head on over to the Avod's blog.

Show notes!

It turns out that Bionicle, the toys that L'il Skynet was playing with are based on a combination of Hawaiian and Maori mythology.


Crminal Minds 106: LDSK

Synopsis – The episode opens with happy people playing in a park. The scene is meaningfully intercut with Greg teaching the nerd how to accurately fire a pistol so he’ll qualify to work in the field as an FBI agent, rather than just as a profiler.. Back at the park, the idyll is shattered when three people are felled by rifle shots to the stomach. Back at the shooting range, we’re given the in no way obvious that it will come into play later information that Greg carries two guns, one in an ankle holster. Then Greg announces that when he first became a profiler, Mandy Patinkin told him that you don’t need a gun to kill people. Nerd doesn’t know what that means, but Greg assures him that by the end of the episode, he will. But will he?

Finally the FBI gets a call about the sniper, only to have it revealed that they don’t like to use the word ‘sniper’ to describe them, but rather ‘LDSK’, or long distance serial killer. This is a semantic decision motivated entirely by PR – apparently profiling has never led to the capture of a sniper, so the public doesn’t have much confidence in Gideon and co’s ability to protect them from one. Of course, they’ve never caught an LDSK either, so it’s not like the name change is going to do their image a lot of good.


The Eleventh Hour has a distracting opening credits sequence.

By all appearances, The Eleventh Hour is a pretty generic ‘gimmick crime solving’ show, the twist being that instead of using bones or psychology to solve crimes, the main character, one doctor Hood, knows about science. And he uses that scientific knowledge to battle modern science-criminals in suprprisingly dumb cases, considering it’s a show about a genius using science.

I've only seen a few episodes, and it hasn’t lived up to the original, which had the benefit of featuring both Patrick Stewart and sinking ice cubes. That’s not what bugs me about the show, though. No, what bugs me is the brief opening credits sequence, shown here:


24 Deathcount Part 7: Episode 13

Finally it's another big week for Jack!

After spending two full hours in a jail cell or locked in a small room with the President, Jack was in full for tonight, gunning down four of Tony Todd's henchmen before finally killing the Candyman himself. It was incredible.

We also lost our first cast member of the season, as Bill sacrificed himself to save the president's life. Some of the tragedy of his death was undercut by how awesome it was (shooting a gun into the air, detonating a room full of explosive gas), but the loss of a long-running cast member was still sad. No Ryan Chappelle, but powerful.


I’m not ready to talk about Watchmen yet.

Saw Watchmen today. While observing the film it occurred to me that I am completely incapable of understanding whether or not it is any good. It seems that I’m so utterly familiar with the original material that I can’t relate to it in any way other than how it measures up to the comic. I’m sure non-fans of the book will think it’s great.

It’s obviously better than The Dark Knight or X-Men 2.

I’m not going to start listing things I reacted badly to, because I’ll be here all night. More to the point, though, there’s supposedly a 4+ hour cut coming that may alleviate some of my issues.


24 Deathcount Part 7: Episodes 7-12

It’s been an action-packed couple of weeks here on Jack 24, so let’s get to it. Hour seven was absolutely action packed, with Jack, Tony, and the rest of the post-CTU gang attacking Dubaku’s hideout. The editing is a little confusing in this scene, with plenty of people shooting and getting shot, but I’m calling Jack’s kills using a simple rule – if a shot of Jack firing is immediately followed by a shot of a mercenary being killed, it counts. Obviously, these numbers can swing another way if one of the Mercs shows up in the hospital in a subsequent episode. In this scene, Jack killed 6 people.

Often Jack takes a little murder break after a big episode, but not this time – Jack was back in rare form, stabbing an evil Secret Service Agent before shooting the rest of Dubaku’s henchmen to death. Between the stabbing and shooting, Jack killed 5 people.