Unfunny Business: Bela Lugosi in ZOMBIES ON BROADWAY (1945)


cracked rear viewer

wally-brown-mainBela Lugosi has always been one of my favorite actors. The master of the macabre sent shivers down my spine in such classics as DRACULA, WHITE ZOMBIE, and THE RAVEN.  But by the 1940s, morphine addicted and desperate for work, Lugosi took acting jobs wherever he could find them. He always gave his best in whatever he did, even in low budget nonsense like THE DEVIL BAT (a personal favorite of mine). In fact, if it wasn’t for Lugosi’s presence, most of these films wouldn’t be worth watching today. ZOMBIES ON BROADWAY is one of them.

Wally Brown and Alan Carney were thrown together as RKO’s answer to Abbott & Costello. The two vaudeville veterans have no chemistry between them whatsoever. Yet the studio continued to team them in a series of Grade B comedies. ZOMBIES ON BROADWAY was their next to last together and if it wasn’t for  Bela, there’d be…

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What Lisa Watched Last Night #128: Lethal Seduction (dir by Nancy Leopardi)


Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime original film, Lethal Seduction!

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Why Was I Watching It?

Because it was on Lifetime, of course!  Plus, with a name like Lethal Seduction, you knew it had to be good.  It’s not quite as great a title as A Deadly Adoption or Babysitter’s Black Book but it’s close.

What Was It About?

Mark Richards (Caleb Ruminer) seems like he has a great future ahead of him.  He’s a high school senior who has invented a new app and who is going to be attending Princeton in the fall.  Sweet Melanie (Tessa Harnetiaux) has a crush on him.  His best friend, Walter (Sam Lerner), is so desperately uncool that he makes Mark look really hot by comparison.  His widowed mother, Tanya (Amanda Detmer), is extremely overprotective but, fortunately, she’s being distracted by her new boyfriend, Randy (Brian Smith).

(Randy and Tanya work at the local aquarium and the entire film is full of oddly pensive close-ups of sharks and jellyfish swimming around.  They don’t have anything to do with the plot but they are pretty to look at.)

One day, while at the hardware store, Mark meets Carissa (Dina Meyer).  Carissa invites Mark home with her and soon, Mark is showering with Carissa, swimming naked with Carissa, having sex with Carissa, and getting handcuffed by Carissa.  (And why not?  App developers are sexy!)  Walter is jealous.  Melanie is scared.  And Tanya does not approve, especially after Carissa starts to encourage Mark to skip college and instead, move in with her.

That’s right, Carissa is an obsessive and homicidal cougar!  And, just in case you needed any reminded that she’s crazy, the film is called Lethal Seduction

What Worked?

This film was a lot of fun.  Frequent TSL commenter Doc Zeke and I had a lot of fun live tweeting it over on twitter.  The film is totally melodramatic, over the top, and ridiculous in that wonderful Lifetime fashion.  It was all very silly but it was a lot of fun as well.

Plus, Dina Meyer fully committed herself to playing the murderous Carissa.  She gleefully attacked the role with almost as much energy that Carissa devoted to attacking anyone who dared to stand between her and Mark.

What Did Not Work?

The film is full of close-ups of sharks and yet the sharks themselves are never really relevant to the plot.  Don’t introduce a shark unless someone’s going to end up getting eaten by the end of the film.

“OMG!  Just like me!” Moments

I related to Melanie.  It’s unfortunate that neither Mark nor fate treated her better.

Lessons Learned

All of Mark’s troubles could have been avoided if he had just listened to his mother and done exactly what she said.  That’s actually a pretty common Lifetime lesson.