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POOL SHARKS is a very predictable episode of the MONSTERS TV show. It
feels like the writer came up with a single line idea - how about a guy
playing pool with a vampire? - had it greenlit, and then struggled to
write a 30-minute screenplay around it.
Very little happens in this story, other than the usual old vampire clichés are paraded out again to very little effect. The acting of the male lead is particularly dull, as he's completely uncharismatic, although Rebecca Downs is fairly effective as a sexy female vampire. This kind of story can only end one way, really, and the climax holds no surprises.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Finally a really good tale on "Monsters" using a pool game as a battle
between a potential feast for an alluring vampire who uses her
seductive wiles to lure her usual opponents to their doom. The title
for this episode, "Pool Sharks" is apt and clever as the two competing
against each other both have secrets and may be more than they appear.
With a nice noirish atmosphere of the pool hall setting (not to
mention, a smooth jazzy score to add flavor to this setting) and
compelling characters, "Pool Sharks" actually adds a little va va voom
to what is still a tale of predator versus prey, a high-stakes pool
game the decisive factor in who lives and who dies. Tom Mason is Gabe,
walking in one night as Natasha (the luscious Rebecca Kyler Downs) is
(we're led to believe) playing a game of pool where if her *mark*,
Lester (Irving Metzman), wins he gets a kiss, having to pay her if he
loses. Lester is an undertaker with a hearse parked outside and after
Gabe takes him to school, he takes a hike. We'll just say that there's
more to Lester than meets the eye. This is where Natasha and Gabe, both
seemingly attracted to each other, decide to compete in a game of pool,
the stakes being whoever is victor gets the "actual person" as prize.
Now there's more to this bet than you might think..
Not particularly a "spook show" or "creature feature" as one has come to expect when watching an episode of "Monsters", but I thought "Pool Sharks" give the rather tired vampire story a nice spin even if some of tropes associated with the Bram Stoker type of bloodsucker remain such as the reviling of the crucifix, the importance of getting your meal before the sun comes up, and the use of a stake to the heart as a killing method. The cast of characters are really good, which helps matters a great deal; Downs is especially memorable as a sexy vamp in a tight-fitting black dress, with red lipstick and soft hair that sets the men at awe (and rightfully so). The pool playing should be mentioned as we see some amazing shots displayed during the competition.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Monsters: Pool Sharks is set in some backstreet watering hole of a bar
where sexy babe Natasha (Rebecca Kyler Downs) is playing pool, then
Gabe (Tom Mason) walks in & they have a few games together. They are
both impressive pool players & the game is very tight when the stakes
are suddenly raised, it turns out that Natasha is a blood drinking
Vampire who prey's on men & had previously killed Gabe's brother. Gabe
is now looking for revenge & the loser of the bet will have to pay the
ultimate price, their very life...
Episode nine from season one of Monsters this originally aired in the US during December 1988, written & directed by Alan Kingsberg I didn't think Pool Sharks was one of the better episodes but it's not too bad & it's certainly better than The Legacy (1988) from earlier on in the season. The whole concept about a man seeking revenge on a Vampire isn't anything original but this is a nice twenty odd minute take on things as it's set entirely around a pool table in a bar. There isn't much to Pool Sharks really, Natasha & Gabe play pool while sussing each other out & finally revealing their ulterior motives to each other. There's not much of a twist here in this one, it tells it's story effectively enough but it's fairly straight forward stuff. The dialogue is quite snappy & it certainly passes the time harmlessly enough but it's a bit forgettable & rather unremarkable.
The one set used here look good & the production values are fine. I still don't understand how Gabe managed to make that last ball jump out of the pocket & it's never explained. It's fairly obvious the two leads can't play pool themselves & whenever there's a trick shot their face is always off screen so some professional pool player can make the shot for them. There's a bit of blood in this episode at the end but little in the way of horror or gore, this is more of a character piece than anything else. The acting is alright & Rebecca Downs makes for a sexy pool playing Vampire.
Pool Sharks is the second Monsters episode about Vampires after The Vampire Hunter (1988) which is the slightly better episode although Pool Sharks is still watchable enough, there's just not that much to it when all said & done.
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