12 October 2010

October 12th

Frogs (1972) directed by George McCowan
Courtesy of Hulu, it's an eco-horror movie fresh from the 1970s.  I was really wondering how they were going to make toothless, small, squishy frogs threatening.  Turns out they didn't bother.  Despite the title, this is really about all of nature deciding to attack mankind.  The titular frogs mostly just watch as their more lethal brothers -- snakes, gators, snapping turtles, etc. -- do the dirty work of killing the polluting monkeys in their midst.  It's all rather boring in practice.  Everyone once in a while, a member of the family featured in the film with fall prey to a critter in an incredibly improbable manner.  For example, a lizard decides to knock bottles labeled "poison" (?) over while a man is in a greenhouse.  Rather than, you know, leaving the greenhouse, the man sticks his face in the cloud of fumes arising from the broken bottles and dies.  It's hard not to root for the killer lizard when my own species acts so stupidly.  The frogs do get their chance at the end of the film by taking down the family's elderly, paralyzed patriarch.  How they killed him by jumping all over him, I don't know.

I did get a kick out of seeing a young Sam Elliott as the hero of the film.  Though lacking a bushy mustache or long hair, he's the same gruff guy I loved in Road House and The Big Lebowski.  Anyway, not a bad way to waste time at work, I suppose. (5/10)

Tales from the Darkside: "The Odds" (1984) directed by James Steven Sadwith
Though it has the fantastic Danny Aiello and Tom Noonan in it, the episode isn't particularly special.  A familiar-looking man keeps winning larger and larger bets with a bookie.  We find out he's the ghost of a man who lost everything in a bet with this same bookie and then killed himself.  As a final bet, the man bets that the bookie will die at 8 A.M. the next morning.  The bookie wins by cheating and dies laughing, knowing no one ever beat him.

Noonan isn't as creepy as he would later be in Manhunter and The House of the Devil, so the episode comes across as rather low-key and nonthreatening.  Not really a story from the Darkside; maybe something from the mauve-side.

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