14 October 2011

October 14th

The Munsters: "Herman's Child Psychology" (1965) directed by Ezra Stone
At the end of this episode, Herman runs into an escaped circus bear.  The bear is really just an actor in a horrible bear costume, but it still freaked my little one out.  "I don't want to watch this," she told me.  Kids are awesome.  They see the world in such a completely different way, that a weird-looking fake bear is even more disturbing than a real bear.  We continued to watch, anyway, and I think she smiled when silly Herman began to waltz with the creature.

The Munsters: "Herman, the Master Spy" (1965) directed by Ezra Stone
Herman goes scuba diving and is picked up by a Russian fishing boat by accident.  There, he charms the socks off of the crew while Moscow and the Pentagon try to figure out if he's a spy.  Ah, the Cold War.  If my little one were older and able to ask me what this episode was about, I think it would take me a good 20 minutes to explain the history.  We're so far from this point now, it almost feels like watching an episode about the War of 1812.

The Munsters: "Bronco-Bustin' Munster" (1965) directed by Ezra Stone
Once again, Eddie signs Herman up for a task he's not at all prepared for.  This time, Herman is to ride a bucking bronco at the local rodeo.  Grandpa changes himself into a horse in an attempt to give Herman an easy ride, but, of course, there's a switcheroo and Herman ends up riding the meanest horse there.  The weirdest past about this episode is the stunt double who actually rides the bucking bronco.  He's a really short fellow with a huge, puffy Herman shirt on.  It looks like a marshmallow riding a horse.

The Munsters: "Herman Munster, Shutter Bug" (1965) directed by Earl Bellamy
Herman accidentally takes a picture of a bank robbery in progress.  The robbers then take the Munsters hostage and hide out in their mansion.  The best part is when the robbers improbably allow the Munsters to go about their usual routine.  We get to see them freak at Lily tarnishing the brass, Eddie practicing funeral dirges on the organ, Grandpa playing poker with the Invisible Man, etc.  Classic.

The Task (2010) directed by Alex Orwell
I guess the base idea here isn't bad.  To update the classic "spend a night in a haunted mansion to win a prize/inheritance" story, they make it a reality show about a haunted prison.  Unfortunately, they also decided to make the film tremendously boring.  The reality show we're forced to watch for the first 90% of the movie is idiotic.  The contestants are forced to do such "scary" things as walk around in the dark, sit in a gas chamber chair and -- gasp -- eat cooked meat.  Plus, inexplicably, they make the lone black character lie in a hole filled with shit for pretty much the entire film, a task far worse than anyone else has to do.  I'll just leave it there and not explore any potential biases the filmmakers may or may not have.  When the movie is nearly done, the real ghost of the sadistic prison warden finally gets down to really killing the cast and producers.  But, by then it was hard to care (or stay awake).

And that's the last of the After Dark Originals for this year.  There were only 7 films instead of the usual 8 due to Re-Kill being yanked from the lineup for reasons not explained.  What wretched crop.  Instead of the usual two films that I like from a batch of these, there was only one.  Although I do enjoy the mystery of popping in a movie from one of theses fests with no knowledge of what I'm in for, the reward-to-punishment ratio is getting pretty harsh.  I won't weep if this is After Dark's final year. (4/10)

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