Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man” (dir by Richard L. Bare)


“It’s a cookbook!”

During the month of October, we like to share classic episodes of horror-themed television.  That was easier to do when we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens because every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.  In fact, there is exactly one episode of the original Twilight Zone on YouTube.

Fortunately, that episode is a classic.  In 1962’s To Serve Man, an alien (Richard Kiel) comes to Earth and invites people to return to his home planet with him.  He leaves behind a book.  When everyone learns that the title of the book is To Serve Man, they excitedly decide that the book must be an instruction manual on how to help mankind.  The truth, as we learn in the episode’s classic finale, is something a little bit different.

Here’s the episode!  Watch it before YouTube yanks it down.

(This episode originally aired on October 2nd, 1962.  It was directed by Richard L. Bare from a script by Rod Serling.  It was based on a short story by Damon Knight.)

Enjoy!

Horror on the Lens: Crowhaven Farm (dir by John McGreevey)


Sure, inheriting an old New England farm might sound like a fun idea but what are you going to do if it turns out that the farm is haunted by the spirits of a coven of witches?

That’s the question that Hope Lange and Paul Burke have to find an answer for in this enjoyably spooky 1970 made-for-TV horror film!  Lange and Burke both give good performances, generating a lot of sympathy for their unhappily married couple while director John McGreevey does a commendable job of creating and maintaining a nicely ominous atmosphere.

And, of course, John Carradine’s in it!  It’s simply not a rural horror film from the 70s without John Carradine!

Enjoy!

Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man” (dir by Richard L. Bare)


“It’s a cookbook!”

During the month of October, we like to share classic episodes of horror-themed television.  That was easier to do when we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens because every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.  In fact, there is exactly one episode of the original Twilight Zone on YouTube.

Fortunately, that episode is a classic.  In 1962’s To Serve Man, an alien (Richard Kiel) comes to Earth and invites people to return to his home planet with him.  He leaves behind a book.  When everyone learns that the title of the book is To Serve Man, they excitedly decide that the book must be an instruction manual on how to help mankind.  The truth, as we learn in the episode’s classic finale, is something a little bit different.

Here’s the episode!  Watch it before YouTube yanks it down.

(This episode originally aired on October 2nd, 1962.  It was directed by Richard L. Bare from a script by Rod Serling.  It was based on a short story by Damon Knight.)

Enjoy!

 

Horror on the Lens: Satan’s School for Girls (dir by David Lowell Rich)


For today’s horror on the lens, we have a 1973 made-for-TV movie called Satan’s School For Girls.

After her sister turns up dead, Elizabeth (Pamela Franklin) refuses to accept that official conclusion that it was a suicide.  Instead, Elizabeth is convinced that it was murder and that it has something to do with the exclusive school that her sister attended, the Salem Academy for Women.

Well, honestly, the Salem part is a dead giveaway.  I think we can all agree on that.

Anyway, this movie features a Satanic cult, an old school clique, and plenty of early of 70s fashion choices.  It may be silly but it’s also definitely entertaining.

Enjoy!

Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man”


On this day, 58 years ago, one of the most influential shows in the history of television, The Twilight Zone, premiered on CBS.  Created by Rod Serling, this anthology show not only featured some of the best actors and writers in the business but it also used tales of the unexpected to address some of the most pressing issues of the day.  (Many, if not all, of those issues remain relevant today.)  The Twilight Zone inspired a countless number of future filmmakers and writers and it remains popular today.  The annual New Year’s Eve and 4th of July marathons on SyFy continue to delight viewers both new and old.

When we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens, every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.  As I sit here writing this, while several episodes from the show’s later (and largely unsuccessful) revivals have been uploaded,  there is exactly one episode of the original Twilight Zone on YouTube.

Fortunately, that episode is a classic.  In 1962’s To Serve Man, an alien (Richard Kiel) comes to Earth and invites people to return to his home planet with him.  He leaves behind a book.  When everyone learns that the title of the book is To Serve Man, they excitedly decide that the book must be an instruction manual on how to help mankind.  The truth, as we learn in the episode’s classic finale, is something a little bit different.

Here’s the episode!  Watch it before YouTube yanks it down.

Enjoy!

Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man”


You know what?

I’ve spent this October irritated by the lack of episodes of the Twilight Zone on YouTube.  I mean, I understand the importance of copyright laws and everything but seriously, how can you take away the Twilight Zone in October!?

However, I finally managed to find one — and exactly one — episode of The Twilight Zone on YouTube.  And it’s a classic!  (And who knows how long it’ll be available so don’t hold off on watching it!)  Here is the classic “To Serve Man” episode of The Twilight Zone!

Enjoy and bon appetit!

 

Let’s Get Physical: Lee Marvin in POINT BLANK (MGM 1967)


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Lee Marvin  was one tough son of a bitch both onscreen and off, awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded by a machine gun blast in WWII.  The ex-Marine stumbled into acting post-war, and Hollywood beckoned in the 1950’s. His imposing presence typecast him as a villain in films like HANGMAN’S KNOT, THE BIG HEAT , and BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK. A three season stint in TV’s M SQUAD brought Marvin more acclaim, and he solidified that with his Oscar-winning role in CAT BALLOU, parodying his own tough-guy image. Marvin was now a star that could call his own shots, and used that clout in POINT BLANK, throwing out the script and collaborating with a young director he had faith in, John Boorman.

point2

POINT BLANK is a highly stylized revenge drama centering on Marvin’s character of Walker. The nightmarish opening sequence shows how Walker was left for dead on deserted Alcatraz Island by…

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Horror on TV: Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man”


TheTwilightZoneLogo


I shared this episode of The Twilight Zone two years ago for Halloween but the YouTube video has since been taken down. So, here it is again!


There’s a lot I could say about To Serve Man but really, all that needs to be acknowledged is that it’s a classic and features one of the best endings ever.


To Serve Man was written by Rod Serling and directed by Richard L. Bare. It originally aired on March 2nd, 1962.


Bon appetit!


Embracing the Melodrama Part II #68: Mazes and Monsters (dir Steven Hilliard Stern)


M_M_DVDIt’s amazing the things that you find when you randomly search the DVD section of Half-Price Books.  For instance, I found a very cheap DVD of the 1982 made-for-TV film Mazes and Monsters and I simply had to buy it.

Why?

Well, just look at the cover above.  Look at the ominous castle.  Look at the shadowy dragons flying around it.  Look at that Shining-style maze.  Look at the ominous tag line: “Danger lurks between fantasy and reality.”  And especially be sure to look at Tom Hanks gazing serenely over it all.

“Wow,” I thought, “Tom Hanks fights a dragon?  This is something that I’ve got to see!”

Well, there are no dragons in Mazes and Monsters.  There are a few monsters but they’re only briefly seen figments of Tom Hanks’s imagination.  The film is about a group of college students who obsessively play an RPG called Mazes and Monsters.  When one of the students (an annoying genius who wears wacky hats and is played by an actor with the surprisingly poetic name of Chris Makepeace) suggests that they play Mazes and Monsters “for real” in some caverns near the college, it leads to Robbie (Tom Hanks) have a mental breakdown.  Soon, Robbie is convinced that he’s actually a monk.  He breaks up with his girlfriend because he doesn’t want to violate his vow of celibacy.  (Of course, the real fantasy is that a college student obsessed with playing Mazes and Monsters would have a girlfriend in the first place but anyway…)  He keeps seeing imaginary minotaurs lurking in the shadows.  Finally, he runs off to New York on a quest to find “the great Hall.”  It’s up to his friends to find him and hopefully impart an important lesson about the dangerous reality of RPG addiction.

Or something.

Listen, to be honest, if not for Tom Hanks, there would be no reason to watch Mazes and Monsters.  It’s poorly acted.  It’s written and directed with a heavy hand.  There’s some nice shots of downtown New York City but otherwise, it’s visually drab.

But, because Tom Hanks is in it and he’s playing a role that demands that he go totally over-the-top in his performance, Mazes and Monsters is totally worth watching.  If you’ve ever wanted to see Tom Hanks wander around New York City while dressed like a monk, this is the film for you.  If you’ve ever wanted to see Tom Hanks start to tremble while explaining that, as a monk, he’s not allowed to kill minotaurs, this is the movie for you.  Most of all, if you’ve ever wanted to see Tom Hanks shrieking, “THERE’S BLOOD ON MY KNIFE!” while standing in an old school phone booth, this is definitely the movie for you!

Seriously.

Considering that Tom Hanks is currently viewed as being some sort of elder statesman of American film (and, even more importantly, Hanks seems to view himself as being some sort of national treasure), there’s something oddly satisfying about seeing him before he became THE Tom Hanks.  It’s good to be reminded that, at one time, he was just another young actor doing his best in a crappy made-for-TV movie.

Embracing the Melodrama #34: The Lonely Lady (dir by Peter Sasdy)


The_lonely_lady

“I guess I’m not the only who has had to fuck her way to the top!” — Jerilee Randall (Pia Zadora), accepting an award at The Awards Ceremony in The Lonely Lady (1983)

When I first started doing research on which movies were worthy of being considered for inclusion in this series about embracing the melodrama, I had no idea that it would eventually lead to me watching the worst film ever made.

However, that is exactly what happened.  1983’s The Lonely Lady is without a doubt the worst film that I have ever seen.  Normally, this is where I would say that the film is entertaining specifically because it is so bad but no, this movie just terrible.  Is it so bad that its good?  No, it’s just bad.  Is it one of those films that you simply have to see to believe?  Well, that depends on how much faith you have in God.  Does the film at least have a curiosity value?  Well, maybe.  As bad as you think this movie may be, it’s even worse.

Seriously, to say this film is a piece of crap is to do a disservice to crap.

The Lonely Lady tells the story of Jerilee Randall (Pia Zadora, who also played the girl martian in the classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martian), an aspiring writer who learns about the dark side of Hollywood.  The movie opens with Jerilee graduating from Valley High School and receiving a special prize for being the school’s most promising English major.  Now, from the very beginning, we run into several issues.  Number one, Pia looks way too old to be in high school and the fact that they decided to put her hair in pig tails doesn’t change the fact.  Number two, Pia Zadora is even less convincing as a writer than she was as a girl martian.

At the graduation party, Joe (played by Ray Liotta, of all people) violates Jerilee with a garden hose, in an amazingly ugly scene that pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the film.  No longer an innocent optimist, Jerilee moves out to Hollywood where she ends up married to award-winning screenwriter Walter Thornton (Lloyd Bochner).  When she secretly helps Walter rewrite his latest script (she replaces a long monologue with two lines of dialogue: “Why!?  Why!?”), Walter grows jealous and starts to taunt her by holding up a garden hose.  Jerilee and Walter divorce and Jerilee ends up sleeping with everyone else in Hollywood in an attempt to get a screenplay of her own produced.  Eventually, this leads to Jerilee having a nervous breakdown in which the keys of her typewriter are replaced with the accusatory faces of everyone in her life…

Bleh!  You know what?  Describing this plot is probably making The Lonely Lady sound a lot more interesting than it actually is.  Imagine if Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls was meant to be taken seriously and you have a pretty good idea what The Lonely Lady is like.

Furthermore, I’ve seen a lot of films that claim to be about writers.  Occasionally, we get lucky and the writer is played be an actor who you could actually imagine writing something worth reading.  (Perhaps the best recent example would be Paul Dano, who was completely believable as a critically acclaimed writer in Ruby Sparks.)  However, most of the time, we end up with actors who you can hardly imagine having the either the discipline or the intellectual ability to write anything worth reading.  And then, in the case of The Lonely Lady, we get Pia Zadora who is not only unbelievable as a writer but also as a human being as well.  Watching her performance, you’re shocked that she can remember to breathe from minute to minute, much less actually write anything longer than her first name.

I know it’s a pretty big claim to say that one movie is the worst ever made.  So, feel free to watch The Lonely Lady and then let me know if you agree.

(Be warned — this movie is NSFW and generally sucks.)