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Where is Vic Morrow? Behind the camera
I wish I could say that any "Combat!" episode is exciting, but except for having a Littlejohn-centric episode, this one fell flat, for me.
Morrow does what he can with shots of Littlejohn stumbling deliriously through the woods, but once the children take over, only Peter Pan fans can really enjoy this episode.
Littlejohn is great, as always; and it's always fascinating to see, or not see, Vic behind the camera. But the children take over the show, and there are no children actors of the quality of Billy Mumy, Drew Barrymore, or even (hell) Asa Butterfield to give us some real scares. (Yes, I know, they were too young.)
Morrow did what he could with a floppy script. Not a great episode, though I want again to praise Littlejohn for doing all he could do to save it.
Morrow filmed some spooky woods and other spooky moments; almost, but not quite enough to save this episode. I hope that other viewers will like it more than I did.
Shadow Puppets (2007)
Marsters never "phones in" his acting
I bought the DVD because I'm a fan of James Marsters.
Yes, this movie must have cost every dime that it shows on screen. But also yes, I thought I knew within the first 20 minutes who the villain was, and I was pleasantly surprised to found that I can STILL be surprised.
I write this comment merely to remind, or to alert, other viewers that James Marsters is a professional Shakespearian stage actor, and as I was watching him more than paying attention to the plot, I found myself enjoying this movie. Sure, I was yelling at the plot-holes within the first 5 minutes; but if you watch just 5 minutes of Marsters with the sound off, you'll see how superb an actor he is. Forget the trite lines that he was paid to say; watch, instead, his body language and his facial language.
This is one great actor.
Oh, but who, besides me, died laughing when Marsters had to deliver, straight-faced, the line, "Well, at least you look better in your underwear than I do"? Ouch! Cheers all, Fiona
The Naked Monster (2005)
Hilarious, warm-hearted movie
I thank Ted Newsom for having finished this 12-year effort. Many of us are grateful to him.
I believe that one must be familiar with vintage horror movies to really appreciate the jokes. Thanks to my guy (known as Tim Sullivan (V) to the IMDb crowd), I've been learning about vintage horror films for a couple of years, so I was primed.
From the first moment I started laughing. Here is Ted Newsom, playing 'William Castle' (qv) to the hilt, with all the warnings about what audiences might find under their seats ... and yet parodying that old Castle-y buncum to the hilt! Yay, Ted! I laughed and laughed ... and when you came back to escort us away from the film, I cried.
The dialogue (which I blame on Ted Newsom, though I don't know whether he wrote it with friends) is absolutely delightful. If you enjoyed the puns in "Batman," then you will find this script to be many times more, er, egregious. Since I love bad puns, I laughed out loud even when the delivery was not perfect: because I could see what the actors were *supposed* to carry off, even if they didn't, quite.
Brinke Stevens, who has acted in nearly a hundred movies, is purely delightful (and sexy, for those of you who will enjoy the gratuitous sex; you might even enjoy the discussions among the characters about what constitutes gratuitousness). Ted, that was just plan brilliant.
So many parodistic effects that I admired ... Let me mention the sexy, nearly-terrifying tryst of the young, deaf couple (I wish *I* had thought that one up!); the hilarious discussion between Doctors Howard, Fine, and Howard (breathes there a man, with soul so dead / Who never to himself hath said, / This is the type of movie to throw the 3 Stooges into!); and, of course, all of the veteran scientists recommending what would be best to do, based upon their own past movies! Ted Newsom, you have made me laugh until I cried, and I have seen it only twice. I need several more times to identify Every Single Movie being homaged here.
I loved every pun, both verbal and visual. This is a brilliant movie. I congratulate you, Ted, and I hope that the eggs point toward a sequel!
The Laughing Dead (1989)
Poor horror movie is fun if you know the background
The delights of this movie lie in the fact that so many of the characters are played by writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror rather than by professional actors. Somtow's talents as a popular writer are hardly in evidence here, though he is clearly a gifted musician and composer; that really is him playing the piano. The scene in which he rips out the hearts of children one after another is hilarious rather than grotesque. Tim Sullivan brings as much soul-tortured emotion and dramatic range as he can to a silly script; his flailings and roars while being possessed are delightful. Gregory Frost, whose fiction is noted for comedic rage (much like the work of John Cleese and Carl Hiaasen), exudes a haughty if inexplicable fury at everyone around him, while real-life jokester Raymond Ridenour has a great time being himself (while named for science fiction editor Gardner Dozois). Larry Kagen, at the time a bookstore owner,is fervent and rather sweet as a doting husband who rises above his wife's attempts to henpeck him. Krista Keim, as his wife, is totally believable as a crystal-worshipper; according to Frost, she really did believe in the powers of crystals at the time the movie was shot. Premika Eaton delivers every line poorly and was cast because she is Somtow's sister, not for any innate talent; she is, however, pretty. Ed Bryant, a great favorite among horror fans, steals every scene he appears in; Sullivan reports that they had to shoot the 'great big armadillo' scene several times because the two of them couldn't stop laughing (and adds that Bryant was squicked by the scene of his own death). Tim Powers is barely visible as a zombie; look for his red flannel shirt in the zombie scene near the end.