Queen of the Outlaws: CAT BALLOU (Columbia 1965)


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Lee Marvin  didn’t get many chances to show his comedic side; in fact, I can only think of two off the top of my head: the John Wayne/John Ford outing DONOVAN’S REEF (1963) and the 1976 spoof THE GREAT SCOUT AND CATHOUSE THURSDAY (I’ll be charitably silent about 1969’s PAINT YOUR WAGON!).  Then there’s the comedy western CAT BALLOU, for which Marvin won an Oscar in the dual roles of drunken, broken down outlaw Kid Shelleen and hired killer Tim Strawn. Marvin’s marvelous, but if the truth be told, it wasn’t much of a stretch for Marvin to play a hard drinker and a macho tough guy… there’s a little bit of Lee in both personas!

We know we’re in for a good time right off the get-go when the fabled Columbia Torch Lady morphs into an animated, six-gun packin’ cowgirl, a sure sign not to take things too seriously…

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Horror on TV: Tales From the Crypt 5.8 “Well-Cooked Hams” (dir by Elliot Silverstein)


Tonight’s excursion into televised horror is the 8th episode of the 5th season of HBO’s Tales From The Crypt!  

In Well Cooked Hams, Billy Zane is a magician who murders an older magician (Martin Sheen) and steals that magician’s prized prop!  Zane quickly learns that it’s called a Box of Death for a reason.  Zane has a lot of fun being sleazy and Sheen’s over the top Russian accent simply has to be heard!

Thus episode originally aired on November 3rd, 1993!

Horror Film Review: The Car (dir by Elliot Silverstein)


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“THE CAR IS IN THE GARAGE” 

— Captain Wade Parent (James Brolin) in The Car (1977)

Yes, that’s right!  The car is in the garage and it’s hunting for blood!

The Car is a pretty stupid movie that doesn’t really work but at least it’s enjoyably stupid.  From the minute I started watching this movie, I knew that the only way I could recommend it would be if James Brolin shouted, “The car is in the garage!” at some point.  When he did, I had to cheer a little.  I love being able to recommend a movie.

The Car takes place in the small desert town of Santa Ynez.  Nothing much ever seems to happen in Santa Ynez, which perhaps explains why the police force is so large.  (Why wouldn’t you want to be a police officer in a town with no crime?  It wouldn’t be a very demanding job.)  Sheriff Everett Peck (John Marley) keeps the peace and sends his time talking about how much he hates bullies.  Wade Parent (James Brolin) is his second-in-command and has a 70s pornstache.  Wade’s best friend is Deputy Luke Johnson (Ronny Cox), a recovering alcoholic with impressive sideburns.  And then there’s a few dozen other cops.  Seriously, this tiny town has a HUGE police force.

One day, however, the police finally get something to do.  A black Lincoln Continental has suddenly appeared, stalking the roads around the town.  It doesn’t have a licence plate and the windows are tinted a dark red so it’s impossible to see who — if anyone — is driving.  Stranger still, the car’s doors have no handles.  When the car does show up, it seems to appear out of nowhere and once it’s run someone over, it seems to vanish just as quickly.

When the car first appears, it runs down two cyclists.  A few hours later, it kills an obnoxious hippie hitchhiker (John Rubinstein).  The only witness was alcoholic wife beater Amos Clements (R.G. Armstrong).  When Amos goes to the police, the car tries to run him over as well but instead, it ends up killing Sheriff Peck.

Now, Wade is in charge and he has to do something about the car.  Unfortunately, Wade’s girlfriend, Lauren (Kathleen Lloyd), made the mistake of screaming insults at the car when the car attempted to run down the school marching band.  Now, the car is stalking her.  Meanwhile, Luke is convinced that the car is being driven by none other than devil.  Wade says that’s impossible.  Luke points out that the car refuses to drive through consecrated ground.

And eventually, the car does show up in the garage…

The Car is one of the stupider of the many Jaws ripoffs that I’ve seen.  You’ll be rooting for the car through the entire film, which is good since the car kills nearly everyone in Santa Ynez.  (If any of them were likable, The Car wouldn’t as much fun to watch.)  It’s dumb but the film does have an appropriately silly ending and James Brolin does get to yell, “The car is in the garage!”

So, there is that.

Horror On TV: Twilight Zone 2.23 “The Obsolete Man”


I know that some people will claim that The Obsolete Man really isn’t a horror story but consider this:  What’s more horrifying than a world without freedom of thought or expression?  The Obsolete Man takes place in a world where books have been banned.  As a result, librarian Romney Wordsworth (Burgess Meredith) has been determined to be obsolete and, hence, is now scheduled to be executed.  Wordsworth appears to have accepted his fate but, as the Chancellor (Fritz Weaver) discovers, Wordsworth is far more clever than he originally appears.

This episode of The Twilight Zone was written by Rod Serling and directed by Eliot Silverstein.  It was originally broadcast on June 2nd, 1961.

Horror On TV: Twilight Zone 5.21 — “Spur of the Moment”


18 year-old Anne Marie Henderson (Diana Hyland) is being pressured, by her family, to marry Robert, a dull stockbroker (Robert Hogan).  However, Anne Marie is still in love with her former fiancee, David (Roger Davis).  As the day of her marriage approaches, Anne Marie suddenly finds herself being chased by a woman in black who yells at her not to get married…

This episode of the Twilight Zone was originally broadcast on February 21st, 1964.  It was directed by Elliot Silverstein and written by Richard Matheson.