Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 1.9 “The Pool Guy” (dir by Paul Shapiro and Brad Turner)

For tonight’s excursion into the world of televised horror, we have an episode from the 2002 revival of The Twilight Zone.

In The Pool Guy, Richie (Lou Diamond Philips) is a pool cleaner with a problem.  While his clients appear to believe that Richie is living a glamorous life straight out of a bad suburban melodrama, Richie actually feels as if his life is going nowhere.  He’s never even gotten seduced by a bored housewife!  Maybe Richie just isn’t a very good pool guy…

However, Richie has another problem, on top of all that.  A man keeps mysteriously appearing and telling him to “Wake up!” before then shooting him.  Immediately after getting shot, Richie wakes up somewhere else, just to once again be approached by the same man.

What is going on and why is Richie being charged $12,000 for the experience!?

Over the years, there have been quite a few attempts to revive The Twilight Zone and the results have always been mixed.  The 2002 revival featured Forest Whitaker as the host and was canceled after just one season.  That said, The Pool Guy is actually pretty good.  Philips gives a good performance and the episode’s central mystery is an intriguing one.

This episode originally aired on October 16th, 2002!



2015 in Review: The Best of Lifetime

Today, I continue my look back at 2015 by posting my picks for the best of Lifetime!  My nominees for the best Lifetime films and performances are listed below, with the winners starred and listed in bold!  Congratulations to all the nominees and winners and thank you for making this one of the most entertaining years in my long history of watching Lifetime movies!


Best Picture
Babysitter’s Black Book, produced by Robert Ballo and Ken Sanders.
Cleveland Abduction, produced by David A. Rosemont and Stephen Tolkin
*A Deadly Adoption, produced by Fritz Manger, Max Osswald, Will Ferrell, and Adam McKay.*
If There Be Thorns, produced by Richard D. Arredondo and Harvey Kahn.
A Mother’s Instinct, produced by Oliver De Caigny and Timothy O. Johnson
Patient Killer, produced by Barbie Castro.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, produced by Joseph Boccia, Don Carmody, and David Cormican.
The Spirit of Christmas, produced by Andrea Ajemian
Stalked By My Neighbor, produced by Robert Ballo.
The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story, produced by Ian Hay.

Best Director
Jason Bourque for A Mother’s Instinct
Doug Campbell for Stalked By My Neighbor.
*Rachel Goldenberg for A Deadly Adoption*
Alex Kalymnois for Cleveland Abduction
Vanessa Parise for The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story
Casper Van Dien for Patient Killer


Best Actor
Shaun Benson in Kept Woman
Dan Castellaneta in The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story
*Will Ferrell in A Deadly Adoption*
Travis Hammer in The Bride He Bought Online
Adam Kaufman in A Mother Betrayed
Eric Roberts in Stalked By My Doctor

Best Actress
Josie Bissett in A Mother’s Instinct
Anna Camp in Caught
Kimberly Elise in Back to School Mom
Kelli Garner in The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
*Taryn Manning in Cleveland Abduction*
Kelcie Stranahan in Stalked By My Neighbor

Best Supporting Actor
Ken Camroux-Taylor in Sugarbabies
MacKenzie Gray in If There Be Thorns
Richard Harmon in A Mother’s Instinct
*Patrick Muldoon in Patient Killer.*
Eric Roberts in A Fatal Obsession
Peter Strauss in Sugar Daddies.

Unauthorized Beverly Hills

Best Supporting Actress
Angeline Appel in Babysitter’s Black Book.
Barbie Castro in Patient Killer
Olivia d’Abo in Stolen From The Suburbs
Sarah Grey in A Mother’s Instinct
Jessica Lowndes in A Deadly Adoption
*Samantha Munro in The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story*

Best Adapted Screenplay
*Cleveland Abduction, written by Stephen Tolkin*
If There Be Thorns, written by Andy Cochran.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroewritten by Stephen Kronish and J. Randy Taraborrelli.
Seeds of Yesterday, written by Darren Stein.
Turkey Hollow, written by Tim Burns and Christopher Baldi.
Wuthering High School, written by Delondra Williams.

Best Original Screenplay
*Babysitter’s Black Book, written by Richard Kletter and Michele Samit*
A Deadly Adoption, written by Andrew Steele.
The Murder Pact, written by John Doolan
Patient Killer, written by Bryan Dick and Brian D. Young.
Stalked By My Neighborwritten by Doug Campbell.
Stolen From The Suburbs, written by Alex Wright


Best Cinematography
*Cleveland Abduction, Richard Wong.*
Fatal Obsession, Ronnee Swenton.
If There Be Thorns, James Liston.
The Murder PactBranden James Maxham.
Patient Killer, Bernard Salzmann
The Spirit of Christmas, Michael Negrin.

Best Costume Design
Grace of Monaco, Gigi Lepage
If There Be ThornsShanna Mair, Rebekka Sorensen.
Kept Woman
*The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, Gersha Phillips.*
Seeds of Yesterday, Claire Nadon.
The Spirit of Christmas, Jennifer Lynn Tremblay.

Best Editing
Babysitter’s Black Book, Ely Mennin
Cleveland Abduction, Henk Van Eeghen.
*A Deadly Adoption, Bill Parker.*
A Mother’s Instinct
Stalked By My Neighbor, Clayton Woodhull.
The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story, Allan Lee.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
*Cleveland Abduction, Dugg Kirkpatrick, Susan R. Prosser, Tina Roesler Kewin, Alan Tuskes, Alicia Zavarella*
Grace of Monaco
If There Be Thorns, Jenine Lehfeldt, Tana Lynn Moldovanos.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.  Jordan Samuel, Cliona Furey
The Spirit of Christmas
The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story, Amber Crombach.

Best Original Score
Dangerous Company
Cleveland Abduction, Tony Morales.
Her Infidelity, Russ Howard III
Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story, Matthew Janszen
*The Murder Pact, Matthew Llewellyn.*
Sugar Daddies.  Steve Gurevitch.


Best Production Design
Cleveland Abduction, Derek R. Hill.
*If There Be Thorns, Linda Del Rosario, Richard Paris.*
A Mother’s Instinct, Jason Sober.
The Murder Pact, Caley Bisson.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.  Rocco Matteo.
The Unauthroized Beverly Hills 90210 Story

Best Sound
*The Bride He Bought Online*
Dangerous Company
If There Be Thorns
Stalked By My Neighbor
UnGodly Acts

Best Visual Effects
Becoming Santa
If There Be Thorns
Last Chance For Christmas
*Turkey Hollow*
When the Sky Falls
Wish Upon A Christmas

Tomorrow, I’ll post my picks for the worst 16 films of 2015!


Previous Entries In The Best of 2015:

  1. Valerie Troutman’s 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw in 2015
  2. Necromoonyeti’s Top 15 Metal Albums of 2015
  3. 2015 In Review: The Best of SyFy

What Lisa Watched This Afternoon #121: If There Be Thorns (dir by Nancy Savoca)

This afternoon, as I wrote my review of Text To Kill, I was also watching another Lifetime original film.  If There Be Thorns had been taking up space on my DVR for a week and I finally had time to watch it!

heather-graham-if-there-be-thornsWhy Was I Watching It?

If There Be Thorns originally aired last Sunday but I missed it because I was busy celebrating Easter with my family.  However, I made sure to set the DVR because If There Be Thorns is the second sequel to one of my favorite Lifetime films of all time, Flowers in the Attic.  The first sequel — Petals in the Wind — wasn’t that good.  So, I was curious to see whether or not If There Be Thorns would be an improvement.

What Was It About?

Many years have passed since the end of Petals In The Wind.  Christopher (Jason Lewis) and Cathy (Rachel Carpani) Dollanganger are now married and going by the name of Sheffield. In many ways, Christopher and Cathy seem to be living the perfect life.  They’re in love.  They’ve got two sons, Jory (Jedidiah Goodacre) and Bart (Mason Cook).  Chris is a doctor.  Cathy is a ballet teacher.  And nobody is aware that Cathy and Christopher are actually brother and sister and that they spent several of their formative years locked in an attic together.

Strangely enough, however, Cathy and Chris happen to live next door to the remains of their former prison, Foxworth Hall.  Bart even breaks into Foxworth Hall and finds the magazine that so intrigued Cathy and Chris when they were teenagers.

Eventually, a mysterious woman moves into Foxworth Hall and starts trying to ingratiate herself with Jory and especially Bart.  What Chris and Cathy don’t know is that the woman is none other than their mother, Corrine (Heather Graham).  When Corrine’s creepy servant John Amos (MacKenzie Gray) gives Bart the diary of his puritanical grandfather, Bart starts to go insane and even tries to kill his adopted sister, Cindy.  Meanwhile, Corrine seeks forgiveness for her past sins, Cathy and Chris continue to obsess over the attic, and John Amos … well, John Amos just wants to kill everyone.

What Worked?

Oh my God, this movie is insane!  As opposed to the slow-moving and bland Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns was a return to the over-the-top style that made Flowers In The Attic so much fun to watch.  This is one of those films that you just watch with your mouth open, wondering just how much more messed up one family can get.  Director Nancy Savoca brought a flair for the surreal to the film and Heather Graham did a good job bringing Corrine to eccentric life.

A special mention should be made of actor MacKenzie Gray, who gave a wonderfully menacing performance as the hulking John Amos.  It was a great performance, one that was perfectly right for the film’s baroque style.

What Did Not Work?

Who would have thought that, after everything they had been through, Cathy and Chris would grow up to be such boring people?  Hopefully, they’ll be more exciting in the fourth film in the series, Seeds of Yesterday.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

There really weren’t any.  I don’t do attics.  But that’s okay — it was still an entertainingly weird film!

Lessons Learned

The sins of the past cannot be escaped.  (Especially if you insist on living right next door to the place where all those sins happened in the first place…)