Wow. We've reached the end of this Maniacal countdown, and I have to say, it's been fun! Maybe I'll try something similar come Christmastime....
So, tonight is Halloween, and it's impossible to list just one thing. So many channels are having horror marathons. You can basically turn on Turner Classic Movies at any point today and be met with something worth watching. Here's their schedule. If you were to only watch one thing on the channel all day, though, I'd say make it the original "The Haunting" at 3:00pm. Here's the trailer.
I don't think any Halloween should pass without a viewing of the original "Halloween." Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be airing on any channel in an uncut or widescreen format. So watch a trailer instead.
Lastly, here's something that could be fun: Joe Dante directed tonight's "Amityville Horror"-inspired episode of "CSI: New York," which is on tonight at 10pm on CBS. Here's a little promo clip featuring Dante.
While I can deny it all I want, I know the holiday season is coming at me at full force once "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" airs, as it officially starts off the Holiday TV Special Season. I've also got to admit that most of the Halloweens I've spent in my lifetime have resembled Linus's night in the pumpkin patch in more ways than I'd care to admit.
Watch it tonight at 8:00pm on ABC, or half of it down below, (for as long as it's allowed up on YouTube).
I recently re-watched Philip Kaufman's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and it was better than I had remembered it being. I would even venture to say, probably blasphemously to some, that it's better than Don Siegel's 1956 version. In any event, it is, as "Repo-Man" director Alex Cox says in the clip below, one of those rarest of rarities: A good remake of a good movie. It's on KICU channel 36 today at 7:30pm, but if you want to see the naked bits, you had better just go ahead and rent it.
OK. Maybe not. But I know I did some stuff. Let's see what it was, aside from spending a LOT of time watching TV pilots and writing about them, that is.
Movies Seen: Eight. Which is a lot less than my usual total, and none were in a theater. I guess it was all that TV. The best was "Away From Her," although I probably watched half of the movie through tears. Not a happy movie.
Books Read: Three and they were all humor related. The first was a very light look at brain surgery called "I've Had Brain Surgery, What's Your Excuse?," which, being partially illustrated, was a quick read. The second was a collection of essays and such by Roy Blount, Jr. called "Long Time Leaving: Dispatches From Up South." I enjoyed a lot of it, but it's long, and covers a lot of his career, and it was a little annoying to find him repeating the same jokes in many, many pieces. I understand a good joke shouldn't just be told once and then placed into a vault never to be used again, so the fault is probably in reading all these pieces all at once. It would be less annoying if I'd read his, "Do you believe in infant baptism?" "Believe in it? Hell, I've seen it done!" joke once ten years ago, and then again this year, instead of reading it three or four times in the same book. Is all I'm saying.
The last book was "Dark at the Roots" by Sarah Thyre, who, if you have never heard of her, you might know best as the actress who played the gym teacher on "Strangers With Candy." (She's also married to Andy Richter, which puts them in the running for coolest Hollywood couple up there with Amy Poehler and Will Arnett.) The book was a(nother) memoir about a wacky childhood, and was pretty funny. I've got to give her props for being brutally honest about some of the incredibly embarrassing things she did as a kid, some of which I had never heard anyone admit to doing before. And no, I'm not going to tell you what those things are. Get the book. It's at the library!
Fancy Dinners Out: Two. One at Two (for two at six. Ha!), and the other at Street. It was prime rib night when I went to Street, and you can't really go wrong with that. And at Two I had a salad that came with both a poached egg and some steak. And I can't for the life of me remember what the dessert I had was. I guess it wasn't that good.
Live Shows Seen: One! Morrissey at the Filmore. It was kind of a rocky show. His mic cord kept getting stuck in some flowers that were on stage (he does like to whip that cord around) and during the very dramatic "How Soon Is Now?" his mic cut out a few times, and he was not pleased. Some fans also yelled something like, "Thanks for showing up this time!" at him because of his cancelled tour earlier this year. Which caused some other fans to scream apologies about his awful fans.
But he did take his shirt off. Twice! At first it was disturbing, but then I learned to love it. He's pushing 50, and taking that into consideration, he doesn't look that bad shirtless. (His pants, however, were all kinds of horrible.) If you'd like to see what I'm talking about, here's some grainy footage from a show in Bakersfield.
Does channel nine run uncensored movies anymore? PBS stations seem to be getting more and more skittish about all that stuff these days, so I am a little wary of recommending you watch "Carrie" tonight on channel nine at 10:00pm, because if it's cut up, it's not worth it. Basically, if the girls in the opening locker room scene are all wearing at least some articles of clothing, you know you're about to watch a censored version of the only Brian DePalma movie that doesn't annoy the hell out of me.
If I told you this movie is called "Blood of Dracula," you'd probably assume it's another Hammer Dracula movie, or at least some kind of standard Dracula fare. But if I told you it would have been better suited with the title "I Was a Teenage Vampire," you'd probably be more inclined to watch it, right? Well, like "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" and "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein," "Blood of Dracula" is a 1950s horror flick about a teenager, in this case, a girl, who is turned into a monster by an evil adult. And it rocks. Watch it on AMC at 4:15am.
A millionaire (Peter Cushing) invites a random group of people to his private island because one of them is a werewolf, and he wants to hunt it. Can you guess who it is during the 30 second "Werewolf Break"?!
This doesn't air until tomorrow morning at 6:00am on AMC, but that just gives you extra time to set those TiVos, because why would you ever want to miss seeing a movie called "The Brain Eaters"? Which is actually based on a book called "The Puppet Masters" by Robert Heinlein? (Which is a lot like "The Body Snatchers" by Jack Finney?) And features an unrecognizable Leonard Nimoy? And is only about an hour long?
Heh. That was fast. CBS has cancelled "Viva Laughlin" after just two airings. Which was two more airings than it deserved. "The Amazing Race" will take its place on November 4th, woo!
This is the part of the Fall TV season I look forward to with devilish glee: the cancellation of the sucky. This Fall there aren't any new shows I'm really passionate about, so I don't care what gets cancelled and will instead appreciate it when there's one less show on TV I feel the inexplicable need to watch.
"Curse of the Living Corpse" is a 1963 horror flick featuring Roy Scheider in his movie debut. "Carnival of Souls" actress Candace Hilligoss is also in it. I've never seen it, nor had I ever actually heard of it before, which surprises me. But you can't beat a title like that, right?
Here's a (crappy) look at the trailer. You can see the movie on AMC at 7:15am or on the 27th at 6:30am.
I hate to go for the obvious, but "Freaks" is freaky, which makes it perfect freaky Friday viewing!
Even all these years later the film's use of real-life "freaks" makes for an uncomfortable viewing experience. I won't get into whether or not Tod Browning exploited his unique actors, but it's safe to say there hasn't been a movie like it since. It airs on TCM tonight at 6:15pm.
And here's a clip.
Disturbing foot note (wait for it). Right after I watched this clip I looked out my window at a building across the street and I saw the silouette of a neighbor who was sitting in such a position that it looked like he had a foot for a head. Freaky!
"The Daily Show," or more specifically, Viacom, is continuing its fight against YouTube by creating a site that has every moment from "The Daily Show" online. Which is pretty cool in theory. Right now, probably because every one is checking it out, it's really, really slow. Also, the clips have annoying ads that run on the bottom of them periodically. But I was happy to be able to see one of my all-time favorite Colbert and Stewart moments again. See it below.
And this bit from back when they used to make fun of ordinary folk.
Perhaps the most perfect non-scary horror movie of all time, and a perfect choice for Halloween-time viewing, "Young Frankenstein" is airing at 2:15am on AMC tonight, with a repeat at 2:00pm on the 20th. Here's one of the movie's many, many funny scenes.
Indieplex is airing "Blue Velvet" tonight at 8:00pm, and they're promising a widescreen print. And they better not break that promise, because there's just no other way to watch it. It's not strictly a horror film, but it is often damned horrifying, so of course it fits right in with the season.
Here's the original trailer.
And one of those jokey fake ones, that's not half bad.
I had to work today (I work from home on Sundays so I can take a class on Mondays) and at the end of my eight hours I discovered I had worked on the wrong thing the ENTIRE day. I won't go into the specifics of my job, but it sometimes involves these tests, and to access the test we have to search through a long string of test ID numbers to find the current test we need to work on. It's a drop down menu so you can't just do a search for the number, and the problem is, there are hundreds of these tests, and many of them have very, very similar ID numbers. Like today's. Where it turned out I needed to work on test 745993 and not 735993. It didn't help that the sub-names for the tests were basically the same thing.
I don't know what we're going to do about that, but there wasn't much I could do, like spending extra hours tonight working on the right thing, because I had to finish a paper for my class that is due tomorrow. Which I did. After years and years and YEARS of college, my approach to writing papers seems to remain the same: I don't allow myself to leave the house, and instead procrastinate indoors the entire day, until I finally sit down and write for about an hour or two at 1am. Then I go to bed and do the same thing the next day. But, I got it done, and even though it's kind of sucky, I at least got to talk a little about my current favorite TV show in the whole wide world, "Mad Men." (The paper basically compares it to the family melodrama genre of the 1950s.) And speaking of "Mad Men," the season finale is on this Thursday and will be aired commercial-free. I really could go on and on about the show, but I will just reiterate that it is amazing, and it is the only show in recent memory that consistently avoids obvious and cliched turns of plot. I can not tell you how nice it is to see a show that has no "fantastic" elements, but still manages to completely surprise me week after week. I'm sad to see it go, but thrilled that it's been renewed.
And now, from the sublime to the ridiculous, as I need to watch "The Bachelor" for my SFist locals post tomorrow.
It's your basic crazy doctor storyline, but the brilliance comes in the execution. Here. Just watch the first few seconds of this clip and I guarantee you'll be creeped out. (The end of the clip is pretty darn creepy, too.)
Rumor has it, a remake of "The Tingler" is in the works, which, unless there are also plans to wire random seats in every theater it screens in, is a totally pointless idea. TCM will be airing the original at 9:45pm, and since it is unlikely your home has a chair that is set to administer small shocks during the film's crucial moments, (but if it is, can I come over?), I suggest you just take the film's advice and scream as loud as you can when the "scary" parts happen. It's funner that way.
I doubt any of you are actually watching "Kid Nation," and I don't blame you. It kind of sucks. But as seems to be the case with most reality programs, I can't seem to tear myself away. Especially when every week reveals another kid afflicted with Herpes Simplex 1. It's like "Spinal Tap" come to life, and it's awesome.
Alas, these photos don't do the severity of the outbreak much justice. I just hope next week they compete for a reward of a huge barrel of Blistex, because things are getting ugly in Bonanza City.
I don't think I've actually seen "Fright Night" in over 10 years, but I know I loved it when I first saw it at age fifteen. It had a good combination of laughs and scares, the dude who played the vampire (Chris Sarandon) was kinda hot, and it was obviously made by people with an appreciation for horror movie history (see Roddy McDowell's role as aging horror movie icon "Peter Vincent"). While it's on Flix today at 11am, I fear it won't be a widescreen showing, and this 2.35:1 ratio movie loses a lot when panned and scanned. If that's the case, perhaps it deserves a space in your Netflix queue?
"May" is a weird little indie horror movie about a socially awkward young woman who decides that if she can't gain friends the normal way, she'll just have to make some. Literally. It's on the IFC channel at 7:30pm and 10:50pm tonight.
If you always found Lucille Bluth a little terrifying, then "Play Misty For Me" is the movie for you. Directed by Clint Eastwood, it's basically the movie "Fatal Attraction" stole everything from, and is a lot more fun, save for some embarrassing musical montages featuring Clint and Donna Mills frolicking in the grass. It's on the Encore Mystery channel at 10:05am and 10pm, and re-airs on the 18th at 4:20pm.
I'm posting this one a little early, though still technically on October 8th, because the movie is airing at 4:30am on Sundance. Hopefully someone out there will read this and decide to set their TiVos accordingly. And why wouldn't they when the movie is called "Vampyros Lesbos"? Even if you can't read Spanish you can probably get the drift of what this movie is about. And yes, there's lots of boobies and blood in it, but it's also got a groovy, surreal '60s vibe thing going on, as well as a rad soundtrack. Here's the trailer, which is slightly NSFW.
I'm a little reluctant to recommend this simply because it's airing on a basic cable channel and will be full of commercials and edits. But the choices are limited today, so if you haven't seen it, consider this an opportunity to put it in your Netflix queue.
The movie is "Open Water," and it airs on that weird "Superstation" channel 33 at noon. If you have a fear of water, or sharks, or affluent white couples on vacation, this might be a really uncomfortable viewing experience for you. But hopefully in a good way.
Today's pick, which airs on the Sci-Fi channel at 11 tonight, is a movie I have never actually watched all the way through. I'm not sure why...
Oh, right. THAT'S why.
Apparently there are a lot of people out there who are more freaked out by creepy leprechauns than I am, because this movie has had countless sequels. But if you are of the belief that leprechauns are not in fact real, you'd be sorely mistaken.
You could basically turn on Turner Classic Movies every Friday this month and be met with a bevy of spine-tingling choices, but I've got to narrow it down to one today (and all the other Fridays this month). So, the choice is the original "Cat People," starring Simone Simone as a woman who's a real animal in the bedroom. Literally.
I don't want to be a spoiler sport, so if you haven't seen last week's episode of "Meerkat Manor" and plan to, don't read this. (Although I'll be as vague as possible.)
I just have to say that episode was one of the saddest things I have ever watched on TV. Ever. And it came as a complete shock to me, which made it even worse. I literally cried out, "Oh no!," got up off the couch, and ran to the bathroom to get some tissue because I had begun to cry.
I've mentioned "Race With the Devil" on this blog before, so I certainly couldn't let an airing of the film go unnoticed! It's on Movieplex at 11:50am, and Encore Action at 1:50pm.
Now, just because I keep talking about this movie doesn't mean I think it's a masterpiece or anything. But the fact that the bulk of the film finds a bunch of satanists chasing a Winnebago carrying both Warren Oates AND Peter Fonda means it doesn't have to be a masterpiece.
No one will be admitted during the terrifying snakes-in-the-cupboards scene!
All I do is love it, and this is how it repays me?
I noted the weird channel move of Bravo in my SFist post today, how it moved from channel 48 to channel 181, but how Comcast had no explanation for it when I called them. So when I came home tonight, I checked to see if the "Top Chef" finale was recording, and TiVo said it was, but it was actually recording another channel. I was now not getting channel 48 OR 181. So I called Comcast and got some snooty guy who was all smug about how it wasn't Comcast's fault, it was TiVo's and there was nothing they could do about it. He also informed me that On Demand doesn't work with TiVo at all--even though I was told it would when I signed up for digital cable. But fine. Whatever. If it's a choice between On Demand and TiVo, I'll take TiVo.
OR SO I THOUGHT.
TiVo doesn't have 24 hour tech support, so I tried to go in and see if I was just getting the wrong channel line-up, and went through the steps to check my cable set-up, which didn't seem to be working. So I tried to get out of that screen.
And the TiVo crashed.
And then told me it was now ready to begin Guided Set-up. You know, the thing you do when you get a brand new TiVo.
A brand new TiVo that doesn't have any programs recorded on it.
A brand new empty TIVo.
This is when fear overcame me. I expected the worst. All through the guided set-up thing, I was convinced I had lost everything; all my recordings all my season passes, everything. Tears were shed. I bit my nails for 30 minutes while the set-up went through.
THANKFULLY, that was not the case. Everything is still there.
Well, everything but the BRAVO CHANNEL!
I know I should be mad at TiVo over this, but really, I'm just pissed at Comcast and the fact that there doesn't seem to be any option out there for me that will play nice with the TiVo. No other cable choices, and DirectTV is all about their own lame DVRs. What else is there? The Dish network? Are they TiVo haters as well?
Today we have "Who Slew Auntie Roo?" (which is airing as "Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?"). Alas, it actually aired early, early this morning at 12:20am on Retroplex, but it will be repeated on October 8th at 2:05am. Set those TiVos! This is a horror movie take on the "Hansel and Gretel" fairytale, starring Shelley Winters as a crazy widow living with the mummified remains of her dead daughter. She soon lures a similar looking girl into her lair, but the similarities to "Hansel and Gretel" are not lost on the girl's brother...
This falls into the genre of "crazy lady" pictures starring aging actresses, such as "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" and "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte." It's not as good as those, but Winters always plays insane exceedingly well.
Today's film is a fave from my youth: 1984's "Dreamscape," starring Dennis Quaid and Kate Capshaw. Quaid is a psychic who can enter people's dreams, and he's hired by a clinic that is trying to help patients with recurring nightmares, one of whom turns out the be the President of the United States (played by Eddie Albert!) Christopher Plummer is the bad guy, and David Patrick Kelly (of, "Warriors!!! Come out and pla-a-a-ay!" fame) is the evil psychic. None of it is truly scary (it's a PG-rated movie) but I remember some of the dream sequences being pretty creepy, and the special effects were really good for the time.
I don't know why I would voluntarily do something that would require me to spend even more time blogging, but I guess I'm a masochist. A lot of my favorite blogs are doing some really cool Halloween countdowns, (check out Secret Fun Blog,Neato Ghoulville (nee Coolville), and Drunken Severed Head, to name just a few), so I thought I'd try something similar, finding a (hopefully) good horror, sci-fi, or thrill film (or Halloween special!) that will be airing each day of the month and posting something about it. That something might be nothing more than a YouTube clip, or an image, depending on just how frantic my day is going! (Also, this is all dependent on what cable has to offer on any given day, so the choices won't necessarily always reflect something I think is stupendously great.)
I wish I had access to all my old Musty TV newsletters (yes, that is all still trapped on my dead iBook), that could make this much easier, but such is life.
So, for today, October 1st, the movie is "Circle of Iron," which airs on Flix at 9:35pm tonight. It's a martial arts epic starring David Carradine, and is based on a story by Bruce Lee. I think it qualifies for the creepy movie list because there are some freaky monkey people in it! Check it out.
This all began over fifteen years ago as a weekly email newsletter called "Musty TV" in which I told subscribers about good movies airing that week on cable. Perhaps you were a subscriber. Then I started this blog. Then I started writing about TV for some other Web sites, too. Then my computer broke and I lost all my old "Musty TV" write-ups, and cried and cried--but perhaps I'll be able to recover them some day. And during it all, I watched a hell of a lot of TV. And still do.