Horror on TV: FreakyLinks 1.13 “The Final Word” (dir by David Straiton)


Well, Halloween is nearly over and so is Horrorthon.  Here’s is our final episode of televised horror for 2020.  It’s also the final episode of FreakyLinks!

In this episode, Ethan Embry and the team try to prove that a murder was actually a supernatural occurrence.  Their efforts are recorded for a true crime television show.  The mockumentary approach is reminiscent of The Blair With Project, which was done by the same people who were behind FreakyLinks.  So, there you go!

It’s too bad that there was never a Baywatch Nights/FreakyLinks cross-over.

Oh well.  This episode aired on June 22nd, 2001 and it brought to an end the story of Derek Barnes.  Enjoy the show, everyone!  Happy Halloween!

Horror on TV: FreakyLinks 1.11 “Live Fast Die You” (dir by David Barrett)


On tonight’s episode of FreakyLinks, Ethan Embry and the crew investigate real-life adrenaline vampires!  Agck!

This episode features appearances from Jeffrey Combs, Dennis Christopher, Paige Moss, and everyone’s favorite, Eric Baflour!

This episode originally aired on June 1st, 2001.

Horror on TV: Freakylinks 1.7 “Still I Rise” (dir by Joe Napolitano)


For tonight’s episode of Freakylinks, we have a little something called Still I Rise.  It has a zombie theme to it.  Towards the end of the episode, Ethan Embry goes a little crazy.  (Far crazier then he went on Rex Manning Day….)

(C’mon, you know I was going to have to work in a reference to Rex Manning Day eventually.)

This episode originally aired on January 12th, 2001.  And you can watch it below!

Horror On TV: FreakyLinks 1.5 “Desert Squid! Myth or Legend?” (dir by Scott Lautanen)


On tonight’s episode of FreakyLinks, Derek and the team head down to New Mexico to investigate reports of a tentacle-bearing desert creature!  If not for the tentacles, I would say it was probably a chupacabra. Seriously, if you ever see a chupacabra coming at you, run!

(A friend of mine in college was nicknamed Chupacabra, mostly because he was kind of …. odd.)

This episode originally aired on November 3rd, 2000!

Enjoy!

Horror on TV: Freakylinks 1.1 “Subject: Fearsum” (dir by Todd Holland)


Remember Freakylinks?

If you don’t, do not worry.  To be honest, I had totally forgotten about it until, six years ago, my friend Janeen mentioned it to me.  Freakylinks is a show that aired on Fox back in 2000.  It only lasted one season and it was about this guy (played by Ethan Embry) who ran a website called freakylinks.com.  To me, that sounds like a porn site but apparently, it was actually a site dedicated to investigating the paranormal.

Freakylinks was produced by the same company that produced The Blair Witch Project.  A few months before the show premiered, in order to try to create some Blair Witch-style buzz for the production, the production company set up a website called Freakylinks.com and designed it to look like it was just some ghost hunter’s Geocities-style blog.  While the web site got some publicity, it didn’t translate into ratings and Freakylinks was canceled.   However, the entire series has been uploaded to YouTube and below you’ll find a pilot!

Prepare to take a trip into the past, to a time when the internet was still a mysterious and powerful thing and people apparently didn’t realize that anyone with time to kill could make a web site.

(I often wonder if the ruins of Geocities is haunted by the ghosts of dead blogs?)

(Let nothing get you down on Rex Manning Day!)

Horror on TV: Freakylinks 1.1 “Subject: Fearsum” (dir by Todd Holland)


Does anyone remember Freakylinks?

Don’t feel bad if you don’t.  To be honest, I had totally forgotten about it until, two years ago, my friend Janeen mentioned it to me.  (And to be honest, I’m not sure if I ever knew about it before then.  Memories can inconsistent, especially when it comes to obscure TV shows that didn’t last for very long.)  Freakylinks is a show that aired on Fox back in 2000.  It only lasted one season and it was about this guy (played by Ethan Embry) who ran a website called freakylinks.com.  To me, that sounds like a porn site but apparently, it was actually a site dedicated to investigating the paranormal.

Freakylinks was produced by the same company that produced The Blair Witch Project.  A few months before the show premiered, in order to try to create some Blair Witch-style buzz for the production, the production company set up a website called Freakylinks.com and designed it to look like it was just some ghost hunter’s Geocities-style blog.  While the web site got some publicity, it didn’t translate into ratings and Freakylinks was canceled.  The freakylinks.com domain is currently for sale if anyone wants to buy it and turn it into a paranormal porn site.  (Who says the two have to be separate?)

The entire series has been uploaded to YouTube and below you’ll find a pilot!

Prepare to take a trip into the past, to a time when the internet was still a mysterious and powerful thing and people apparently didn’t realize that anyone with time to kill could make a web site.

And, by all means, enjoy!

Back to School Part II #37: Can’t Hardly Wait (dir by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont)


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Oddly enough, the late 90s and early 2000s saw a lot of movies about teenagers that all had strangely generic names.  She’s All That, Down To You, Drive Me Crazy, Head Over Heels, Get Over It, Bring It On … the list is endless.

And then you have the 1998 graduation party-themed Can’t Hardly Wait.  Can’t Hardly Wait has such a generic name that, when you first hear it, you could be forgiven for naturally assuming that it stars Freddie Prinze, Jr.  Of course, if you’ve actually seen the film, you know that it features almost everyone but Freddie Prinze, Jr.  This is one of those films where even the smallest roles are played by a recognizable face.  In fact, there’s so many familiar actors in this film that a good deal of them go uncredited.  Jenna Elfman, Breckin Meyer, Melissa Joan Hart, Jerry O’Connell, and Amber Benson may not show up in the credits but they’re all in the film.  In fact, you could argue that Melissa John Hart, playing an impossibly excited girl who is obsessed with getting everyone to sign her yearbook, and Breckin Meyer, playing an overly sensitive lead singer, provide the film with some of its comedic highlights.

(That said, perhaps the most credible cameo comes from Jerry O’Connell.  He plays a former high school jock who ruefully talks about how he can’t get laid in high school.  He’s so convincingly sleazy and full of self-pity that you find yourself wondering if maybe O’Connell was just playing himself.  Maybe he just stumbled drunkenly onto the set one day and started talking to anyone who would listen…)

Can’t Hardly Wait takes place at one huge high school graduation party, which is actually a pretty smart idea.  The best part of every teen movie is the party scene so why not make just make the entire movie about the party?  Almost every member of the graduating class is at this party and we get to see all of the usual types.  There’s the stoners, the jocks, the nerds, and the sarcastic kids who go to parties specifically so they can tell everyone how much they hate going to parties.  Eric Balfour shows up as a hippie.  Jason Segel eats a watermelon in the corner.  Sara Rue’s in the kitchen, complaining about how everyone’s a sheep.  Jamie Pressly drinks and assures her best friend that she’s at least as pretty as Gwynneth Paltrow.  (“And you’ve got way bigger boobs!” she adds, encouragingly.)  Outside, Selma Blair frowns as someone hits on her with bad line.

Of course, Mike Dexter (Peter Facinelli) and Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt) are the main topic of conversation at the party.  For four years, Mike and Amanda were the school’s power couple but Mike decides to dump Amanda right before they graduate.  Mike feels that he’s going to have a great time in college and he doesn’t need any old high school commitments holding him down.  His best friends all agree to dump their girlfriends too.  Mike spends the party watching, in horror, as all of his friends go back on their promise.  Amanda, meanwhile, wanders around and wonders who she is now that she’s no longer Mike Dexter’s girlfriend.

Preston Meyers (Ethan Embry) struggles to work up the courage to tell Amanda that he’s had a crush on her ever since the first day he saw her.  Meanwhile, Preston’s best friend — the reliably sarcastic Denise (Lauren Ambrose) — finds herself locked in an upstairs bathroom with Kenny “Special K” Fisher (Seth Green).  (Needless to say, Kenny is the only person who actually calls himself “Special K.”)  Kenny is obsessed with losing his virginity.  Denise, meanwhile, won’t stop talking about the sweet and dorky Kenny that she knew way back in elementary school.

And then there’s William Lichtner (Charlie Korsmo).  He’s spent his entire life being tormented by Mike and he specifically goes to the party looking for revenge.  However, he has a few beers and quickly becomes the most popular senior at the party.  He even gets a chance to bond with Mike…

Can’t Hardly Wait is a favorite of mine.  It’s one of those films that doesn’t add up too much but it’s so so damn likable that it doesn’t matter.  It’s full of smart and funny scenes and all the actors are incredibly likable.  If you’re not rooting for Preston and Amanda by the end of the movie then you have no heart.  In fact, Can’t Hardly Wait is a lot like Empire Records.  They may not be much depth to it but it’s so sincere and earnest that you can forgive it.

You can even forgive the generic name.

Back to School Part II #31: Empire Records (dir by Allan Moyle)


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The 1995 film, Empire Records takes place in a fictional record store.  The store is located in a state called Delaware, which I’m pretty sure is fictional as well.  (Have you ever actually met anyone from Delaware?  And don’t say Joe Biden because we all know he’s just a hologram…)  Empire Records is a beloved institution, an independent record shop that’s as well-known for its lively employees as its amazing selection of music!

However, things are not perfect in the world of Empire Records.  The store is owned by a heartless businessman named Mitchell (Ben Bode).  Mitchell hates Empire Records and usually just lets the store manager, former drummer and Scott Stapp-lookalike Joe (Anthony LaPaglia), run the place.  However, Mitchell has decided to sell Empire Records to the soulless and corporate Music Town franchise.  Oh my God!  If Empire Records becomes a Music Town, the employees will have to wear orange aprons!  They won’t be allowed to wear anything too revealing or have any visible piercings!  And nobody will be allowed to dance in the aisles!

Over the course of just one day, can the staff of Empire Records find a way to save their store!?

It would be easier if not for the fact that a hundred other things happen over the course of that same day.  A shoplifter (Brendan Sexton III, who co-starred in the very different Welcome to the Dollhouse the same year that he appeared here) keeps trying to steal stuff and, at one point, he even shows up at the store with a gun!  Is it possible that he just wants to join the Empire Records family and is just hoping that he’ll be offered a job?

And then there’s Rex Manning!  That’s right — it’s Rex Manning Day!  Who is Rex Manning?  Well, he used to star on a show called The Family Way and his nickname is Sexy Rexy.  He has truly memorable hair.  Middle-aged people love him but most young people think that he’s a joke.  Rex is going to signing copies of his latest album at Empire Records and you better believe that he’s brought blue cheese salad dressing with him.  There’s a reason they call him Sexy Rexy and it’s not just that Rex Harrison is no longer around to object.  Rex is played by Maxwell Caulfield.  Caulfield steals every scene that he appears in and it’s hard not to feel that he’s playing a version of who he could have become if Grease 2 hadn’t bombed at the box office.

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And, of course, all the members of Empire Records staff have their own personal problems to deal with.  Fortunately, since this is a breezy and comedic movie, nobody has problem that can’t be solved within ten to fifteen minutes.

For instance, Debra (Robin Tunney) is suicidal and shows up for work with a big bandage on her wrist.  After clocking in, she promptly shaves her head.  Debra is depressed and troubled but guess what?  All she needs is for her friends to hold a mock funeral in the break room.  (And who is taking care of the customers while everyone else is eulogizing Debra?  Probably Andre but we’ll talk more about him in a moment…)

Berko (Coyote Shivers) appears to be Debra’s boyfriend but he doesn’t seem to be that good of a boyfriend.  Berko’s a musician and he wants to make it big.  Solution to his problem: an impromptu concert on the roof of Empire Records!  And you know what?  Coyote Shivers was not the world’s best actor but the song he performs, Sugar High, will stay in your head long after you hear it.

Eddie (James ‘Kimo’ Williams) has no problems, probably because he also works at a pizza place and he makes the best brownies in the world.  Except, they’re not ordinary brownies … hint hint hint….

Mark (Ethan Embry) only has one problem: his character, as written, is pretty much interchangeable with Eddie’s.  But, fortunately, Embry gives such a totally weird performance that you never forget who he is.

Lucas (Rory Cochrane) tried to help Joe out by taking the previous night’s cash receipts to Atlantic City.  Lucas, however, is not a very good gambler and ends up losing all of the money at the result of one roll of the dice.  Lucas’s problem is that Joe is going to kill him.  The solution is to spend almost the entire movie sitting on the break room couch and making snarky comments.

Gina’s problem is that everyone thinks that she’s a slut, mostly because that’s how the character is written.  Fortunately, Gina is played by Renee Zellweger and she brings a lot of depth to an otherwise underwritten role.  One of the film’s best moments is when Gina and Berko perform together because Zellweger really throws herself into the song.  Watching that scene always makes me want to sing along with them.  It’s funny that Zellweger has even a stronger Texas accent than I do and yet, she can really sing while I mostly certainly cannot.

sugar-high

Then there’s Andre!  Andre’s problem is that he ends up getting cut out of the film.  However, he’s still listed in the credits, which is how we know that he was played by Tobey Maguire.

A.J. (Johnny Whitworth) is an artist.  How can you not love a struggling artist?  His problem is that he’s in love with Corey (Liv Tyler) but Corey is obsessed with losing her virginity to Rex Manning.

Actually, that’s not the only problem that Corey has.  Corey, who is in high school but has recently been accepted to Harvard, is a driven overachiever.  Occasionally, we see her popping a pill.  Oh my God, is she using speed!?  Of course. she is.  How else is she going to be able to both study late and maintain her figure?  If I don’t seem too concerned about Corey’s pills, it’s because I pretty much take the same thing to keep my ADD under control.  They’ve worked wonders for me!

But not so much for Corey.  In fact, they cause Corey to kinda freak out and attack a cut-out of Rex Manning.  Fortunately, the solution to her drug problem is pretty simple.  She just has to splash some water on her face.

As for her virginity problem, well … it is Rex Manning Day!  Judging from this film and Stealing Beauty, it would appear that film goers in the mid-90s were obsessed with Liv Tyler losing her virginity.

Anyway, there are like a hundred overly critical things that I could say about Empire Records.  I’ve seen this film a number of time and there are certain scenes that always make cringe — like Debra’s funeral or when Joe starts banging away on his drum set.  A lot of the dialogue is overwritten and the whole things occasionally seems to be trying too hard.

And yet, I can’t dislike Empire Records.  In fact, I actually really like it a lot.  It’s just such an earnest and sincere movie that you can’t help but enjoy it.  Meanwhile, the cast has so much energy and chemistry that they’re just fun to watch.  This is one of those films where it’s best just to shut off your mind, say “Damn the man!,” and enjoy what you’re watching for what it is.

Add to that, I love that ending.  Everyone dancing on top of the store?  Perfect.

Horror on TV: Freakylinks 1.7 “Still I Rise”


Up until Friday, I had either never heard of a show called Freakylinks.  According to Wikipedia, it aired on the Fox Network back in the year 2000 and it deal with a guy named Derek (Ethan Embry) who took over an occult-themed web site after the death of his twin brother Adam.  The name of that website: Freakylinks.com.  (Incidentally, the real Freakylinks.com is currently for sale if anyone wants to buy the domain name.  To be honest, Freakylinks.com sounds like it should be a cheap porn site instead of a paranormal site.)  With the help of his friends, Derek would spend each week investigating paranormal stuff and then I guess posting it to his site.  I’m assuming that there was no YouTube back in 2000.  (And according to Wikipedia, I am correct!  YouTube did not start until 2005.)

Anyway, Friday night, I watched an episode of Freakylinks with my friends Janeen, Holly, Ven, Tammy, Elway, Kurt, Amber, Myrna, and Bec over at SyFyDesigns.com.  As you might guess from that list, Freakylinks appears to be one of those shows that works better if you watch it as a part of a group.  The episode we watched was called Still I Rise and it had a zombie theme to it.  Towards the end of the episode, Ethan Embry goes a little crazy.

And you can watch it below!