Tuesday, January 29, 2013

F13:TS 25 - Interview with John D. LeMay

The website Twisted Central has an interview with John D. LeMay

Friday, January 25, 2013

F13: TS 25 - Brain Drain


Episode Recap #18: Brain Drain

Original Airdate: April 30, 1988

John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster
Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak

Guest cast:
Carrie Snodgress as Dr. Viola Rhodes
Denis Forest as Stewart Pangborn
Brian Paul as Dr. Verner
Francois Klanfer as Dr. Robeson
David Walden as Dr. Maxwell

Written by Josh Miller
Directed by Lyndon Chubbuck


 We open on a museum. In the lab, a Doctor Robeson is monitoring hope a below-level intelligent man functions doing menial tasks. Another man comes in and the doctor tells him he has something to show him that is big news. Robeson leads the other man to a secret room in the basement.  The patient, Harry, follows the men and spies on them.

Denis Forest, great actor, gone too soon.

The doctor shows the man a gorilla brain that is tied into computers, he has found a way to reprogram the brain to make it more intelligent. He says the brain is as smart as the patient he was doing tests on, maybe smarter. Robeson wants his friend to build hands of a sort, so the brain can use them. The doctor then takes his friend to show him something else, an item called a trephinator, something used to drain fluids off brains and spinal columns in the old days. This one, however, was modified to supposedly swap the intelligence of one person into another. Both men find it humorous that someone would actually think it could work. Anyone who used it would be dead in hours.

Another huge freaking antique!

Harry, the patient, has heard all the doctor said about how the machine works and when the other man leaves, he grabs Robeson and straps him into the machine. He sits in the other seat and pulls the lever. Both men are hit in the back of their heads by the trephinator mechanism. However, since it is a cursed antique, the machine does work, transferring Robeson's intelligence into Harry and vice versa.

Yeah, that's the stuff, man...

At Curious Goods, while Jack is complaining about again, Ryan is going through the mail and finds a letter about the trephinator from the manifest. He thinks they are going to get to go to Africa, but finds out Dr. Robeson has moved back and is working at the museum nearby.

At the museum, Jack finds out Robeson died a month ago after walking into traffic and being hit by a truck. Jack then spies a woman and approaches her, calling her Vi. She is Dr. Viola Rhodes, and she is just as surprised to see Jack. She tells him she is working at the museum for awhile. They both are very happy to see each other. Viola tells Jack to call her tonight, she wants to catch up. Micki and Ryan tease Jack and he tells them he was engaged to Vi once, 20 years ago. She wanted him to go to Kenya, he said no, and the engagement ended. Ryan tells Jack they found out Robeson had an assistant, Stewart Pangborn, who took over his research, so they go to see if he has any of the late doctor's belongings.

Jack cannot believe his eyes.

Dr. Pangborn is Harry, the patient who used the trephinator to steal Robeson's intelligence. He has gotten even more intelligent and has called on another man, Dr. Verner, to help him. Verner comments on how Stewart has some of the same mannerisms that Robeson had. Jack, Micki and Ryan come in and ask about the trephinator. Stewart says no and rudely tells them to leave. After they leave, Verner tells Pangborn he remembers Robeson saying something about a trephinator. Stewart takes the other doctor to the basement and shows him the trephinator, telling him it was a machine to measure the size of a person's brain. Playing on the man's ego, he gets Verner to sit in the machine so they can compare their brain sizes. Stewart pulls the lever and the machine hits both men, transferring the doctor's intelligence into Stewart. Dr. Verner then stumbles away and falls down the marble staircase. Jack calls for an ambulance as Micki notices the puncture wound on the back of Verner's neck.

At the store, the group tries to decide what their next course of action should be. Micki thinks they should talk to Verner, in the hospital. Jack comes into the kitchen, dressed up for his date with Viola. Micki comments on how good he looks and his cologne.

At dinner, Jack and Vi reminisce about their past. Jack tells her he was married once. Vi tells him she was married to her work. He asks what she is working on, but she says she can't tell him, but it is very exciting and experimental. She tells him she needs to get back to the hotel, she has to work early. Jack says she is the same old Viola. She says she isn't the same, she wouldn't make the same mistake twice.

Ryan comes back to the store and tells Micki he got an autopsy report for Dr. Robeson. Micki tells him she couldn't see Verner, he died before she could visit. Ryan tells her Robeson also had a puncture wound on the back of his neck.

At the hotel, Vi invites Jack up to her room and they share a kiss. Jack then goes with her upstairs.

It is like no time has passed for these lovebirds.

At the lab, Stewart, speaking in the accent of the doctor he just killed, tells the brain in his lab that it will make him famous.

It's alive! It's ALIVE!!!

Arriving home late, Jack attempts to sneak into the store, but Micki and Ryan are awake and waiting for him. They tell him about Verner dying and how Robeson had the same puncture wound. Jack speculates that the trephinator must have transferred their intelligence into Stewart Pangborn. Since the museum isn't opened yet, Jack says he was take a nap and then they will head over. Ryan asks if Jack is going to see Vi again. Jack says he is having lunch with Viola.

At the museum, Stewart tells Viola he is honored to have her working with him. She thinks the work is revolutionary. When she tells him they could get the brain learning language in months, he snaps, saying he wants results sooner. She tells him he needs patience, he wants her to work faster. She tells him she cannot help and then begins to leave to meet Jack. Stewart stops her, apologizing and asking her to come see one other piece of equipment. She tells him she has to go and will see it later.

Brains make a make clean up well.

At the museum, Ryan and Micki snoop around, looking for the machine. In the basement, Ryan remarks that the items are as strange as what they have in the vault. Micki adds that at least these items aren't cursed. They search through files and are about to give up when Ryan finds a file for a patient named Harry Bradden who is Stewart. Since they can see what his IQ used to be, they realize he is the one gaining intelligence using the trephinator.

In the storeroom of the basement, Stewart hears a noise and calls out for Dr. Rhodes. Micki is surprised that Stewart knows who Vi is. They try to be quiet, but Ryan bumps into something and Stewart keeps looking. Both Ryan and Micki have a hard time being quiet, so Stewart arms himself with a spear and searches the room. Micki hides in a crate. Ryan is just about to be discovered when Dr. Pangborn is paged by security. He hurries out. Ryan finds Micki in the crate and lets her out. She is shocked to see there was a mummified corpse in the crate with her. She wants to leave, but Ryan insists they keep searching.

Upstairs, in the lab, the see the brains in fluid, pulsing and alive. Ryan goes through more files, but finds nothing. They hear a guard come down into the basement. He looks around and leaves.

At the hotel, Jack and Vi are finishing lunch and Jack asks what is on Vi's mind. She tells him that she believe there is something wrong with the director of the program, Stewart. She says the program could be ground-breaking, however. Jack comments that is sounds like she could be around for awhile. She says she could be. Jack then pulls the old engagement ring out of his pocket and Vi says she would love to marry Jack now. He gives her the ring, telling her it was always hers. He wants to spend the day with her, but she says she has to go back to work so she can have the night free.

Micki and Ryan argue about what to do. Ryan says they need to find the trephinator, Micki says they should warn Vi first. Jack arrives and tells them he has news about Vi. Micki says Dr. Rhodes is in danger and fills him in on what they learned at the museum. They rush out, worried for Viola's safety.

Stewart chides Vi for being distracted, she says she just had a personal matter to deal with. he asks for her help with something and she agrees, following him.

Jack speeds to the museum, snapping at Micki and Ryan as they try to comfort him. He tells them Vi is going to marry him and he can't lose her. They tell him they want to help and he apologizes. Jack is in a near panic, worried he will lose Vi again, and this time, for good.

Stewart shows Dr. Rhodes the trephinator and when her back is turned, he hits her, knocking her out.

Arriving at the museum, the trio rush to find a way into the closed building.

Vi awakens strapped into the trephinator and before she can grasp what is going on, Stewart pulls the lever, transferring her intelligence into his brain.

Zoinks! That's smarts!!!

Unable to find a way in, Jack worries for Vi's safety. Searching around the back of the building, Micki comes across Vi, laying barely alive in the alley. Jack tells Ryan to get the door open, telling them there is only one chance to save Vi, they have to reverse the process and get her mind back from Stewart.

Stewart works with the brain using Vi's knowledge, getting it to make a sound. He tells the brain the world is waiting for them.

Inside the museum, the group brings Vi, hoping to save her. Ryan says Stewart could be anywhere. They bring her to the basement, looking for a safe place for Vi so they can go and look for Stewart. She begins to come around, but is incoherent. Ryan asks if Jack is willing t kill Pangborn and Jack says there is no other way, he can't watch Viola die. Micki and Ryan rush off to find Pangborn. Jack looks around for the doctor or the machine. In the lab he finds a gun and takes it with him.

Micki and Ryan, debating what to do about Pangborn and Viola, are stopped by a security guard.

Jack chases Pangborn, who sneaks up behind Jack and gets the gun away from him. Stewart tells Jack he knows what the woman thought and knew about Jack. Just as Pangborn is about to shoot, Vi stumbles out and rams into him, causing the gun to shoot wildly. Jack sees the trephinator and demands Pangborn tell him which seat to put Vi in to get her back. Stewart tells him it is too late, Vi's memories only live in his mind now. Both men struggle around the room, but eventually Jack gets the upper hand, stunning Stewart, who collapses into the trephinator seat. But before Jack can do anything else, Vi pulls the lever, and the machine hits Pangborn as well as the brain in the glass case. The brain in the case dies, Pangborn is given even less intelligence than he started with and Vi dies.

Poor Jack.
Would it have been better for him to have not reconnected with Vi?

Later, at the store, Jack rues the events, wondering if he could have done something different. Ryan and Micki comfort Jack as best they can. Ryan tells him that they do what they have to and, if they are lucky, it is good enough. Micki tells him to remember the time he did have with Viola. Jack speaks to Viola, telling her to wait and maybe they can be together, someday.


My thoughts: Quite an interesting episode! Not only do we get an unique and unusual antique with a very cool curse, we get a glimpse into Jack's past!

The trephinator is a great item, giving the user such a gift for the deaths the person has to give in return. It is yet another huge item for the vault, however. Going to run out of room before season one even ends!

Love the glimpse into Jack's past and the romance he rekindles with Viola. Sadly, he loses her again, but this time in the most awful and final way possible. Damn Lewis, yet again.

Love Micki and Ryan being the one to give Jack words of advice and comfort at the end, words he has given them many times before. They are all growing and changing, even if it is due to some horrible events along the way.

Also love seeing Denis Forest, yet again. He was almost a member of the cast!

One thing I have to wonder is what would have happened to our Curious Goods group had Viola lived and her and Jack married? Would have been interesting!

Next week: "The Quilt of Hathor (Part One)"

Friday, January 18, 2013

F13 TS 25 - The Electrocutioner


Episode Recap #17: The Electrocutioner

Original Airdate: April 23, 1988

John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster
Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak

Guest cast:
Angelo Rizacos as Eli Pittman
Frank Adamson as Warden Hobbs
Marcia Bennett as Peggy Hobbs
J. Winston Carroll as Judge Miller
Jennifer Cornish as Melissa Duvall
Ron Hartman as Mr. Downing

Written by Rob Hedden
Directed by Rob Hedden


We open, in black and white, outside of an old prison during a storm. The year is 1978 and a man is taken from his cell, his head is shaved and he is brought to the room with the electric chair. Other men and guards are standing, ready to witness this prisoner's death. Another man sits by the phone. When it rings, he has the unfortunate task of telling the prisoner, Eli Pittman, that his stay of execution has been denied. Eli professes his innocence, but they flip the switch and he is electrocuted. Once it is over, the doctor examines him and reports that Eli is not dead. The switch is flipped again, he is again electrocuted.  This time the doctor declares him dead and he is wheeled out on a gurney  Before they leave, he grabs the guard's hand. The other men want him back in the chair, but one man stops them, saying that he was pronounced dead and they cannot execute a man twice. Eli is taken away to a hospital to see what effects the double-electrocution has had on him.

The actor goes through three different looks in this one episode!

In the present day, Ryan is rocking out to some music while fooling around with a lightening lamp. Micki turns off his radio and Jack arrives with a letter they sent out about an antique. Seems it was returned as there was no forwarding address, but Jack says the doctor's name turned out to be phony, the medical association never heard of the man. Ryan asks what Lewis sold him and Jack replies that it was an old electric chair.

Flash to Haverstock Reform School where a teenage girl is just coming out of the nitrous oxide after her appointment. The dentist, Dr. Lindheim, who is the former prisoner Eli Pittman, says he was sidetracked from his schooling in the 70s, but went back cause he likes working with kids. Mr. Downing, who runs the school, comes in and tells the dentist how happy they were to have him come work there, but he is sad to report that the school will be closing in two weeks due to lack of funding. After Downing leaves, Eli flashes back to his execution and the men who were present but did nothing to stop it. Eli puts a hand on his dental chair, which is the electric chair re-purposed.

At the prison, Jack and Ryan are interviewing the warden about the electric chair, pretending to do research for a book on infamous antiques. He tells them about Eli Pittman being the only one who survived his time in the chair, saying it gained a little notoriety after the incident. The chair was sold to a private collector, whom Ryan speculates was Uncle Lewis. The warden tells them that Eli had been telling the truth, someone else ended up confessing to murdering his girlfriend.

Next, we see Dr. Lindheim aka Pittman with a new patient in his chair. He makes small talk with the young man, then flips the switch on the electric chair and kills him, vaporizing the boy's entire body, leaving only his clothes behind. Eli then gets into the chair and it imbues him with power from the murdered boy.

Eli could have resumed his life,
but his experience left him too damaged.

That night, an older man, Mr. Kendricks, is working late in his office. Eli arrives, letting himself in. He remembers the man as the one who wanted to put him back in the electric chair after he survived his execution. Eli introduces himself as Dr. Lindheim. The old attorney is under the impression the dentist has information about a man who was wrongly executed. Eli then reveals himself as the prisoner. Kendricks wants him to leave. When the old man has his hand on the doorknob, Eli grabs the other side of the knob and the electricity the chair filled him with flows through, killing Kendricks.

Eli can kill with no muss and no fuss,
but not without pain.

At Curious Goods, Ryan and Micki tell Jack they found a lot of information at the library on Eli. Jack says no one knows whatever became of Eli after the mental hospital. Jack recognizes Kenricks from Micki and Ryan's files as the attorney who was killed last night.

In his office, Eli x'es out Kendricks face from an old photograph. Two other faces are already crossed out. He makes a call to the office of Judge Avery, another man from the photograph. He learns when the man will be at home. He then pulls a patient file, the young girl from the beginning of the episode.

At the store, the trio is going over the Pittman files to try and find out where he could be now, when Ryan finds a paper about Eli's previous dental school ambitions. Jack suspects that Dr. Lindheim and Eli Pittman might just be one and the same.

At the dental office, Melissa is startled by Dr. Lindheim. He wants to know why she missed her appointment. She was unaware of any appointment, but since she will excused from history class, she goes with the doctor.

Melissa, as a poster child for the 1980s!

Jack, Micki and Ryan prepare to head out and alert all the other people involved with Eli's execution that they may be in danger.

Mr. Downing goes looking for Melissa and finds her room empty. He continues to search. Melissa is high on the nitrous oxide and Eli flips the switch, killing and vaporizing the young woman. He removes her clothes and hides them just as Mr. Downing arrives, asking if the dentist has seen Melissa. He lies and says no. After the man leaves, Eli gets into the chair to be imbued with the electricity once more.

Quite the big antique!
Between this, the mulcher, the Houdan box
and then the trephantor and playhouse,
it is no wonder they needed more room in the vault!

That night, Judge Avery arrives home, unaware he is being watched by Eli. Ryan and Micki arrive to warn the judge about Eli, but Eli confronts the judge first. He questions the judge about what the punishment would be for someone who wrongly executed an innocent man. The judges realizes who Eli is tells him not to come any closer. Eli agrees, but he grabs the same iron railing the judge is holding and the electricity course through, killing the judge. As Eli turns, he notices Micki and Ryan watching and chases them. Ryan trips and falls in a puddle and Eli places his hand into it just as Micki gets Ryan out. Ryan just barely avoids being electrocuted. The pair rush to their car and lock the doors, but Ryan dropped the keys in the street. Eli approaches and Ryan tells Micki not to touch anything metal, just as Eli reaches out to place his hand on the vehicle's hood ornament. Electricity surges throughout the car until Eli is drained of all power. Micki and Ryan avoid being killed and Eli flees into the night. Aware of how close they came to death, Ryan says he'll go look for the keys.

Amazing that they even got the car started and drove home!

At the store, Ryan and Micki inform Jack of what Eli is capable of and Micki says almost everyone in the photo is dead, except for one man and a couple of guards. Jack tells them that he found where Dr. Lindheim is working, at the reform school. He has made arrangements to visit the school. Ryan tells them to wear rubber boots and gloves.

Micki and Jack, in rubber boots, arrive at the school and talk with Mr. Downing. Eli spies them. Downing shows them around, believing they are interested in the antiques. Downing takes a call and says he will be right there. We then see Eli hang up his phone, a hypodermic needle in his hand.

At the prison, Ryan is showing the photograph of the men involved in Eli's unsuccessful execution to the warden, hoping to find out who the unknown man is. The warden says he was the jury foreman during the trial, Mr. Stridel. The warden says he has more info at his home and invites Ryan to dinner with him and his wife. Ryan says he will give him a call later.

Micki and Jack search the school for Eli's office. Downing arrives and is immediately injected by Lindheim, aka Eli, who places the old man in the electric chair. He takes out his dental drill and demands to know what the old man told Jack and Micki. When he professes ignorance, Eli drills without Novocaine  He asks again and the old man says they are just antique dealers. Eli then begins to drill again. Micki and Jack continue to search for the office. Downing is now nearly catatonic by the point, as Eli apologizes for what he has done.
Micki and Jack then see the lights in the building flicker and become concerned. Eli removes the clothes Downing left behind when he was vaporized then gets in the chair and becomes empowered with electricity once more. Micki and Jack don rubber gloves before entering the office. They find the place empty, the exit door ajar. Looking around, Jack recognizes the chair and Micki finds a stack of clothes on the floor. Jack then makes a needle into a magnetic compass as a way to find Eli. Following the floating compass, they are soon on Eli's path, through the basement of the school. Eli waits for them in the shadows. Jack seems a transformer and they are relieved to think the electrical sounds they here are merely from it. But when they turn around, the see Eli watching them. He steps closer, removing his rubber gloves, but at the last minute he turns and tuns away.

Micki and Jack must both be wondering
how the hell they are getting that home and into the vault!

Back at the store, Micki and Jack, after much struggling, finally place the chair into the vault. Jack is glad that Eli won't have access to it and will just have the final charge he got, but wonders why the man didn't use the electricity to kill them. Micki says he must be saving it for his next victim. Ryan arrives and tells them the jury foreman died ten years ago. Ryan thinks their job is done but Micki says that they still have to stop Eli, he is a killer on the loose. Eli still has a charge, as well. Micki speculates that maybe the final person wasn't in the photo. Jack says that warden Hobbs was the one who ordered the switch to be pulled.

After getting no answer on the warden's phone, the group rush out to his house. The man is just arriving home, unaware that Eli is watching from the bushes. Inside, Hobbs and his wife embrace and he asks about their dinner guest, Ryan. She says he hasn't called and the warden heads to his study. When the doorbell rings, Hobbs wife thinks the man is Ryan Dallion and lets him in. When Eli removes his hat, Mrs. Hobbs is surprised by his appearance, but says she expected him to be younger. Eli says he wants to surprise the warden and heads off to the study.

Micki, Ryan and Jack continue racing to their warden's home. When Eli and Hobbs do meet, Hobbs soon recognizes the man as the long-ago prisoner. When Mrs. Hobbs opens the door, she is shocked that this is Ryan. Jack sends Micki away with Mrs. Hobbs to find help and tells Ryan to go get the jumper cables from the car. He then rushes upstairs and tells the warden to get away from Eli. The man hides in a room and Eli tries to get in, but Jack keeps him distracted. Ryan arrives and attaches the cable to a radiator. Jack goads Eli, telling him that he has the chair and its all over now. Eli yells and attacks Jack, but Jack clamps the jumper cable onto Eli's hand. Eli winds up electrocuting himself and this time, he dies for real. The warden steps out of the room to find Eli's shriveled, smoldering body, Jack and Ryan watching.

Just how the hell do they explain this to the warden, much less the cops?

The next day, Micki is happy the sun is out, as Jack works on connecting Ryan's lightening lamp to his stereo. He tells Micki to put her hand on the globe. She does and thinks it feels kind of cool. Jack and Ryan snicker at Micki, who is unaware the electricity has sent her all of her hair to stand on end.

Micki can rock any look!


My thoughts:

I love it! Well written, this is an antique one wouldn't think of, but it has the potential to give super powers, in a way, to Eli. Sadly, it also turns him into a killer.

Funny how the chair is supposedly not cursed before Lewis gets it, but Eli does survive his electrocution. Merely a coincidence, I guess?

Love the unexpected in this episode. Eli survives and becomes - a dentist! So now he has a plausible way to lure people into his chair, even if it doesn't look like any normal dentist's chair. I mean, didn't people wonder what the head thing was for?

Also love how ingenious Jack is in this episode! He not only figures out a lot of what is going on and who Eli becomes, he also goes all MacGyver and creates a compass to track the killer then comes up with the way to stop Eli at the end. Bad ass Jack being all bad ass!

Love Ryan's quip about Micki and Jack wearing rubber boots and then we see them in rubber boots!

Love how weird the warden gets when he invites Ryan to dinner. The man is like giddy with excitement over the idea!

Also love Melissa's totally 80s look.

Just a great, fun, interesting episode!

Next week: "Brain Drain"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

F13:TS 25 - Tattoo


Episode Recap #16: Tattoo

Original Airdate: March 12, 1988

John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster
Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak

Guest cast:
Keye Luke as Lum Chen
Leonard Chow as Tommy Chen
Mung-Ling Tsui (Meung Ling) as Linda Chen
Denis Akiyama (Dennis Akiyama) as Hai Kwan
Harvey Chow as Frankie Wong
Von Flores as A.J.

Written by Dan DiStefano, Stephen Katz
Directed by Lyndon Chubbock


We open in the Chinatown part of the city, at a gambling facility where we see a young man named Tommy Chen, losing, again and again. As he leaves, he spots some men and runs. They pursue him and catch him. Seems Tommy owes the older man, Frankie, money and they are tired of waiting. Tommy promises to pay but the man demands his henchman cut off Tommy's thumb. Tommy begs for more time and Frankie relents, giving him 24 hours. Tommy flees.

As he makes his way through the back rooms of the building, he spies a woman tied up. A man is with her, drawing a tattoo on her leg. As Tommy listens in, the man tells the girl the tattoo needles he owns are magic. As he leaves, the tattoo of a scorpion comes to life and climbs up the helpless girl. Tommy watches. At the tables, the man is winning big. The scorpion bites the girl on her neck and she dies. Tommy can't believe what he has witnessed.

So creepy how she is all in white and then you see the white's of her eyes.

Upstairs, he finds the man at the tables and sees the pile of cash he has won. Later, as the man leaves, Tommy follows him. In an alley, the man stops for a smoke and Tommy jumps him and stabs him. When the man falls, Tommy searches his coat and finds the tattoo needles in their box. He takes them and runs.

Back at home, his grandfather, Lum Chen, scolds Tommy about where he has been and what he was doing. Tommy fights back, doesn't want to hear it. His grandfather tells him he has been acting shameful. Tommy tells him to wait and see, he will prove him wrong. Lum asks about the blood on his hand and Tommy lies. Tommy's sister, Linda, comes out and comforts her grandfather. He tells her Tommy has the same problem as his son, their father. He thinks the boy is headed for bad things.

Powerful set of needles.
Wonder if even the box is cursed?

In Tommy's room, the old man finds the tattoo needle box and examines it. He is disturbed by it, and turns it over in his hands. On the bottom is a sticker declaring the item came from Lewis Vendredi Antiques.

A "Vendredi" sticker!
Is the sticker cursed, too???

At Curious Goods, the group is doing inventory. Micki wants to stop, she's tired. The phone rings and Jack answers. Mr. Chen asks about Vendredi Antiques and mentions the tattoo needles. Micki and Ryan search the manifest. Jack says he will be happy to buy the needles back from him and takes down the man's address. Before he can ask more questions, the line goes dead.

Tommy has hung up the phone and tells his grandfather the needles are his. Lum tells the boy he must return them, they will only mean death. The two men struggle and Tommy strikes his grandfather, takes the needles and leaves. Linda comes to her grandfather's aid.

Always great seeing Keye Luke.
He was great in Gremlins!
I loved him in his stint on General Hospital, as well.

At an opium den, Tommy finds a woman barely conscious and proceeds to tattoo her leg.

Micki, Ryan and Jack arrive at Lum Chen's home. Linds tries to stop them, but Jack says Lum Chen invited them and enters. He asks the old man about the needles. Lum Chen lies and says a robber broke in and stole them. Linda tells them they must leave. Ryan says he sees no signs of a break in and wonders if Lum is protecting someone. They leave.

At the den, Tommy finishes a tattoo of a tarantula on the woman's leg and then leaves. At the gambling hall, he joins a game. The tarantula comes to life and climbs up the woman's chest. Tommy bets high and, as the spider attacks and kills the woman, he wins big. He hands bills out to the dealer and young woman. As he leaves, he comes across Frankie, who takes all the rest of Tommy's winnings.  Tommy tells the man he hopes to work for him someday. The man gives Tommy back ten dollars and tells him that should be enough, if Tommy is as lucky as he says he is.

The next day, in Chinatown, Ryan buys a box of crabs to get information about Lum Chen and his grandson. He says Tommy owes everyone some money. Jack tells Micki that maybe she can get some info from Linda. Ryan hands her the box of crabs to put in the back of the car as she winces.

The car must have stunk after that purchase!

Lum is in bed and Tommy apologizes for his actions the previous night and shows the man the cash he has won. The old man ignores him and throws the money back at the boy. He says he wants a grandson to be proud of, not cash. Tommy doesn't understand and Lum tells him to leave.

That night, Ryan recognizes Tommy from a picture of him and Linda he saw. Ryan follows Tommy through Chinatown. Micki and Jack head back inside to Lum Chen's home. At the gambling hall, Tommy tells his friend that he can't lose. He offers to show his friend how the tattoo needles work. Ryan follows at a distance.

Tommy is tattooing a clawed serpent hand on his friend's chest. Tommy lies and tells the man he will win big, as well, he just has to wait in the basement. Tommy goes back upstairs and joins a game.

Okay, Tommy is just sadistic!

With Lum Chen and Linda, Micki and Jack try to get information about Tommy's whereabouts  but Lum won't say anything and tells them good-night. As they leave, Linda asks Micki if Tommy is really in danger. When Micki says yes, Linda tells her where to find her brother.

Ryan finds the body of the young girl and jumps out. Tommy's friend thinks Ryan killed the girl and they fight. He raises a board to hit Ryan, but before he can, the tattooed hand comes to life and strangles him, killing him, as Ryan watches. Upstairs, Tommy is winning, again.

Micki and Jack leave Chen's and wonder why Lum is protecting Tommy if his injuries came from his grandson. They get in the car to head to the gambling hall.

At the hall, Ryan goes upstairs and sees Tommy winning. The owner of the establishment tells Tommy to leave, he believes the young man is cheating, as his streak of luck is too unusual. Tommy goes to leave and again encounters Frankie, who tells the boy he should be worried, if he can't get any more money. Tommy tells him he can't lose. Frankie leaves. Ryan follows Tommy, but loses him outside as Micki and Jack arrive. Ryan tells them about how the needles work. Jack says they need to find Tommy, he'll need money for his next game.

At home, Lum finds Tommy attempting to steal some Ming vases to sell for cash. They struggle and Tommy drops them, shattering them. He flees as his grandfather stares at the broken shards.

Later, Tommy is at a phone booth, begging the man on the other line to hook him up with some cash or a game. The man hangs up. Tommy calls Frankie and asks for more time, telling him he'll do anything. Frankie tells him to go home and wait for him, he'll be in touch. Frankie tells his henchman he has a player, so "the game" is on.

At home again, Tommy waits by the phone. Eventually, there is a knock at the door. Tommy answers and lets Frankie in. The man tells Tommy the game he has for him is the ultimate game of chance. Tommy takes the address, and Frankie tells him he must be precisely on time, not early or late. Frankie leaves and soon after, Tommy does. Linda sees the slip of paper with the address and grabs her coat to follow her brother.

Outside, Jack, Micki and Ryan attempt to follow Tommy, but they are stopped by Frankie and his goons, who won't let them follow the boy. He orders the three of them into his limo at gunpoint. Unseen by Frankie, Linda leaves, having found the address Tommy left behind.

Jack, Micki and Ryan are held by Frankie. When Jack protests and tells him this is kidnapping, he is stuck in the face. At home, Lum also spies the paper with the address written on it. When Lum calls to Tommy and Linda, he finds they are gone.

The group can't find a way out of the room Frankie locked them in. But Ryan does find a box of fireworks. They rig up the door and the fireworks blow it open. They flee as the rest of the fireworks go off. At Lum's, they ask where Tommy is. Lum tells them to mind their own business. Jack tells the old man Tommy is going to kill someone. Lum sighs.

They know how to make an escape!

At the gambling hall, Tommy attacks a waiter but Linda interrupts him and the man flees. She says she wants to help Tommy. He agrees, grabbing his sister and tying her hands and feet so she can't flee. He pulls out the tattoo needle.

Jack tells Lum that if Linda is with her brother, she could die. Lum gives Jack the slip of paper with the address and tells him there is a game there. he also gives Jack a needle that is from a monastery and it carries the mark of a healer. Jack thanks him and sends Micki to the address to watch for Tommy's arrival. Jack and Ryan head to the gambling hall to see if Tommy went there.

Tommy arrives at the address Frankie gave him and wonders what the game is. The man at the door says the game is life or death. Inside, Tommy is told to sit at a table across from another man. He is told the game is Russian Roulette.

Oh, Tommy. So confident and cocky.

At the gambling hall, Jack and Ryan find Linda tied up and a snake sliding over her body.

The gun is placed on a turntable and spun, to see who goes first. Tommy gets the first chance and picks up the gun. He cocks the weapon, places it to his forehead and fires. Nothing happens. He places it on the table and the other man takes a shot, which is also a dud.

Jack tells Ryan not to touch the snake, it is a coral snake and absolutely deadly.

At the game, both men take second shots that don't fire.

Jack loads the needle from Lum into a straw and takes aim at the snake.

Micki watches as Tommy raises the gun to his temple once more. He is confident he will survive, since he left his sister with the tattoo.

Jack blows into the straw and shoots the needle into the snake, killing it before it can kill Linda.

Micki watches as Tommy pulls the trigger and the gun goes off, killing him. As the people mill about, she slides up to Tommy and pulls the tattoo needles in their box from Tommy's jacket.

The next day, at Curious Goods, Jack tells them the needles are locked safely in the vault. Lum and Linda arrive and he offers thanks to them for saving Linda. He gives his grandfather's needle to them as a gift, and Jack says they are honored. Lum says he was mistaken, he thought the world has lost the tradition of honor and tradition. But he sees that those values are still present, in the three of them. Jack says the values haven't been lost, they were just misplaced for a time. Lum asks if Jack is a healer. Jack says no, but he has been interested in the art.

Lum points out that our little Curious Goods family is a good one.


My thoughts:

Great, different episode with a very cool cursed item!

The needles offer such a variety of possibilities  They bring luck to Tommy, but I would suppose they could offer a variety of things to whomever happened to be using them. And their tattoos themselves offer an endless array of ways for the victims to die. Creepy and unsettling, without a doubt.

I like how Lum is determined to stand by the honor of his grandson and family, constantly keeping mum to Jack about what is going on. Only until Linda is threatened does the old man finally back down.

Tommy is sad. You keep expecting him to show deep remorse, but his gambling addiction is so bad, he even uses his sister for a victim so he can win again. He is just too far gone.

Micki and Ryan are only slightly playful here, having small moments of humor. Things seem darker, more serious, and you can see it in the way the characters are. Slowly but surely losing their youthful innocence, thanks to Lewis and his damned curse.

The effects of the tattoos coming to life was nicely done, as well. Creepy, but effective.

Great episode!

Next week: "The Electrocutioner"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Not As We - Alanis Morissette

Not As We
by Alanis Morissette

Love this song.
She sings it so well.
Sad, but looking forward.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

F13TS 25 - Chiller TV Promo

Here's is the promo commercial for the show's run
on Chiller TV:

Sadly, I have never gotten Chiller,
so haven't been able to watch the show there.

Friday, January 4, 2013

F13:TS 25 - Vanity's Mirror


Episode Recap #15: Vanity's Mirror

Original Airdate: March 5, 1988

John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster
Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak

Guest cast:
Ingrid Veninger as Helen Mackie
David Orth as Scott Thomas
Gwendoline Pacey as Joanne Mackie
Zack Ward as Greg Mazzey
Gayle Cherian as Sylvia Ungar
James Loxley as Charles Meniger
Simon Reynolds as Russel Weigan

Written by Roy Sallows, Ira Levant
Directed by William Fruet


We start at night, with a not-so-attractive street flower vendor, Sylvia, selling a carnation to a businessman she likes. She gets too stalker-ish, so he tries to get away. But when Sylvia demands he look at her, he ends up gazing at the glaring reflection from the compact mirror she holds. Instantly, he sees her in a new light. She is beautiful and he falls for her. Sylvia leads him down an alley where he professes his love. She asks if he will love her til the day he dies and he says he will. Sylvia tells him to stand still then proceeds to pull the crank on a fire escape, sending the iron stairs into his head, killing him. She runs off and into the street, straight into the path of a truck. Sylvia is stuck and killed, as well. The crowd that gathers doesn't notice the teenage girl pick up and pocket the dead woman's compact.

Sylvia, you shouldn't be so careless after a cursed antique murder!

At Curious Goods, Micki is reading the manifest as Jack and Ryan come up from the vault. Jack says they have collected and locked up 23 cursed antiques so far. Micki says they aren't getting them back fast enough, since 23 is less than 10% of the items listed in the manifest. Ryan kids that they could hire more staff, but Jack warns that they cannot trust others with the items. Ryan then picks out a random antique from the manifest to be their next mission for recovery. His finger lands on the gold compact sold to Sylvia Unger.

Love this high framed shot of the store!

At the local high school, Helen, the girl who picked up the compact in the street, is snapping at her sister, Joanne, and her sister's boyfriend, Scott, for poking fun at her. Other kids then mock Helen, saying it is weird how Helen and Joanne can be sisters, since Joanne is so pretty and Helen is ... not. Scott then comes to Helen's defense to the group of guys, but only because Joanne doesn't like people being mean to her sister. They guys apologize, insincerely. Scott and Joanne make plans to meet that night as Helen watches, envious of her sister's happiness.

Russell, should you be making fun of Helen with that hairstyle?

Returning to the store, Ryan and Micki tell Jack about Sylvia's death. Jack studies the picture in the newspaper article about Sylvia's death and notices Helen in the background, picking something up off the street. From her jacket, they deduce she is a high school student.

How lucky that the photographer captured that precise moment!

Back at school, Helen is sitting outside, checking out the compact, when the boys again poke fun. One of them, Greg, comes over to her and asks if she is going to the prom. She says she has better things to do. Greg then asks her to the prom, jokingly. Helen tells him she would never go with him and he says the only way he would take her would be on a leash. Greg heads back to his friends as Helen opens the compact. Angry, she yells at Greg, who turns to look at her and ends up gazing into the glare of light reflecting off the compact. He is instantly smitten with Helen and wants to be with her, offering to carry her bags. Helen thinks this is another prank and tells him off, but Greg keeps trying to prove his devotion to her, saying he loves her. Helen is convinced and leads Greg off as his friends watch, stunned.

In school, Helen and Greg walk hand-in-hand, Greg wanting to spend every second with her. Helen likes the attention and the looks from other kids, but soon Greg's complete infatuation beings to annoy her. Helen tries to get Scott to notice her new boyfriend, but he barely acknowledges her. Outside, Helen has had almost enough of Greg when he says he will love her until the day he dies. This gives Helen an idea and she leads the boy to the trash compactor. She drops her handkerchief inside and he jumps in to retrieve it, eager to please her. She turns the machine on and Greg, unable to disappoint Helen due to the curse, stays inside until he is able to hand her the handkerchief. But by then it is too late and he is trapped. Helen happily walks away as Greg is crushed to death, still professing his love for her. Later, the students are all shocked by Greg's death, but his friends have a feeling Helen had something to do with it.

Alas, poor Greg, he ended up with a broken, hell, crushed heart!

Jack finds a picture of the girl from the newspaper in a yearbook and identifies her as Helen Mackie. Ryan comments on how bad her photograph is. Micki finds an address in the phone book and comes up with a ruse to see if the girl has the compact and Jack tells Ryan to go to the high school and see what he can find there. Jack says he will stay behind to figure out how the curse on the compact works, mentioning he may contact his friend, Rashid.

At home, Helen is eating and watching television as Joanne and Scott mourn Greg's death. They are both aghast at Helen's cavalier attitude towards the boy's death, seeing as how he had recently become so devoted to her. She shrugs it off. A knock at the door and Helen meets Micki, who says she is looking for a gold compact to purchase. Helen says she never saw anything like that and slams the door in Micki's face. Inside, the girl avoids Joanne's questions runs up to her room. Once there, she pulls out the compact and wonders just what it is all about. Then she takes out a picture of Scott.

Micki and Jack meet up with Ryan at the high school and he fills them in on Greg's "accidental" death. Since Helen already saw Micki, Jack suggests Ryan go undercover at the school to get close to Helen and see what she really knows.

The next day, as the kids set up the gym for the prom, Greg's friend Russell has words with Helen, telling her he knows she did something to Greg and he will find out what it is. Helen quickly pulls the compact and gets Russell to stare at it. He is cursed and falls for her. She leads him out of the gym.

Helen becomes a pro at wielding the cursed compact in no time!

Ryan is wandering the school looking for Helen and he finds her leading Russell off into the basement, so he follows. Helen takes her newest admirer into the utility area, looking for a way to dispose of him. Russell is oblivious, only seeing her as the love of his life. Helen leads him to a workshop area and demands the boy say he'll love her until he dies. When he does, she pushes his head onto a table saw. Russell is killed instantly. Ryan hears the boy's screams but arrives too late. Helen pulls out the compact, hoping to use it to stop Ryan, but he evades its shiny reflection and tries to escape. Helen chases after him and keeps flashing the cursed antique. Ryan ends up tumbling over a landing and falling down to the floor below. Believing him dead, Helen takes off.

And this makes how many injuries for poor Ryan?

At home, Helen is attempting to do her own makeup when Joanne comes in. She is happy to think her sister is going to the dance, but Helen is still harsh with her. Joanne keeps being nice, asking who Helen is going to the prom with and offering her help getting ready. Helen turns down any help. Joanne admires the compact and Helen is nervous as her sister holds it, opening and closing it. But Joanne leaves, giving the compact back to her sister.

At the school, Ryan comes to, briefly, before passing out again.

Scott waits impatiently for Joanne to dress for the prom. She comes down and he admires how beautiful she looks.

Outside the school, Micki tells Jack she can't find Ryan or Helen anywhere. They go off together to search.

Helen comes down the stairs, in her dress, with her hair and makeup done in an almost comical way. She asks Scott if he thinks she is pretty. He tries to be diplomatic, but she asks if she is as pretty as Joanne. He says yes, but in a different way. Joanne offers to help Helen fix up her makeup, but Helen takes it as an insult and snaps at her sister. Scott tries to make peace between the sisters. Joanne wants to leave, but Helen begs them to wait for her date to arrive. Scott convinces Joanne a few minutes won't hurt.

Have to wonder: were one of these sisters adopted?

Micki and Jack continue to search the school, having no luck finding Ryan. In the basement, rats begin to crawl towards the unconscious man.

Joanne and Scott tell Helen they have to leave and offer to give her money for a cab. Helen again asks if she is prettier than Joanne and then flashes the compact at him. Scott is caught in the curse and leans in to kiss Helen. Joanne doesn't like this joke and pulls them apart, slapping her sister in the face. Scott grabs Joanne and throws her into the wall, stunning her. He is angry that she hurt Helen, who goads him into slapping her hard across the face. Helen then says they need to fix it so Joanne can't hurt her ever again. Later, Helen and Scott leave for the prom as a couple, having left Joanne tied up with a noose around her neck, and a wobbly stool beneath her feet.

At the prom, Helen and Scott arrive together, shocking everyone who seems them. Scott is oblivious, telling Helen how lovely she looks. Helen takes all the attention, not caring that it is how she gets it.

Oblivious Scott and Crazy Helen, the Prom King and Clown.

In the basement, Jack and Micki find Russell's body and at first think it is Ryan. Relieved, they continue to search for him, unaware how close by he actually is.

Scott and Helen mingle as everyone stares. At home, Joanne is barely able to keep her footing on the stool. At the school, Micki searches the basement and eventually comes across Ryan, tossing rats away and getting him to his feet. She leads him away to safety. Ryan remembers the prom and they head there to find Helen.
Jack arrives at the Mackie home, searching for Helen or the compact. He quietly heads upstairs and finds Joanne just as she is about to fall and be strangled. He holds her and cuts the rope, freeing her.

In the gym, Ryan and Micki confront Helen, Ryan screaming at her that she didn't expect to see him again. Helen is shocked and tells Scott they need to go. He punches Ryan before they take off. Micki gets Ryan to his feet again and they go after the teens.

At home, Jack comforts a crying and confused Joanne.

Helen leads Scott across the campus, Ryan and Micki in pursuit. Helen doesn't know what to do. Scott says he loves her and she gets an idea. She leads the boy to a place they can be alone. Soon enough, they are on the rooftop of the school. Scott again professes his love and they kiss. Helen gets up on the ledge, Scott following. They slowly dance, mere inches from the edge of the roof. She tells him how special he is to her and he repeats the sentiment. A crowd gathers below and Micki and Ryan spot the couple just as Jack and Joanne arrive. They all rush inside to get to the roof.

Helen says she doesn't want to kill Scott, she doesn't want to lose him. They embrace as the others rush up the staircase. Helen realizes the only way to keep Scott is in death. As the group arrives and pleads with her to stop, she tells Scott she loves him then pulls him with her off the roof. Joanne screams as the pair falls to their deaths. Jack picks up Helen's discarded purse but is disappointed to find the compact missing.

A sad lovers' leap.

Later, the police question the students and Joanne. Jack asks why getting this item back is so hard. He tells Ryan and Micki he didn't find the compact. They take Ryan away to get medical attention.

At Curious Goods, Micki tells Jack the compact is out there, somewhere. He agrees, but tells her that no one ever guaranteed them that each attempt to get an item back will be successful. She says all the deaths were for nothing, then. Jack reminds her that they have been very lucky in getting the items back, so far. He says they will get another chance, since the compact can't be destroyed. It will turn up again. Micki wonders about all the people who will die because they weren't able to get this one locked up in the vault. Jack has no answer.

A not-used-to-losing Micki needs some wise counsel from Jack.

Back at the high school, an unknown woman finds the compact under a bush and picks it up.

The compact lives to kill again!


My thoughts:

A classic episode of the show! The compact is a great cursed antique and the twist of having it be female-centric is interesting. Sort of like a female version of the Cupid statue.

Helen is playing up for near-comic effect with her looks and inability to fit in with others, especially when she makes herself up for the prom. She really thought she looked good? Oh man.

Love the mention at the beginning about how many cursed items they have retrieved to date. This is the 15th episode, but Jack says they have gotten 23 items into the vault. Like how there are other items and adventures we don't see. Would have made a great premise for a book series based on the show!

Also love how Micki is so frustrated at the end, not being used to losing a cursed item and it still being out there, somewhere. Jack has to remind her that this is no guarantee and that they should consider themselves lucky they aren't dead and that they do in fact have some things locked away. Great point of view, and one we see again in the show.

The ending is a twist, as well, with Helen happy to have gotten what she always wanted and, instead of fulfilling the curse, deciding to just end her own life with the man she loves, no matter how she got him. She is a selfish girl, but I always wonder how much influence the cursed items have over the people who use them. To me, it seems that the curse amplifies the negative qualities in those who use the items.

Great episode with a dark message. Our heroes can do everything in their power, even risking death as Ryan did, and still come up with nothing to show for it. Makes their mission even more dangerous and their willingness to keep at it even more courageous.

Also, we get our first (I think) mention of Jack's friend, Rashid! And it is fun seeing Zack Ward in a role here. You might remember him best as Scut Farkus from "A Christmas Story" or any of the other dozens of roles he has had as a prolific character actor.

Next week: "Tattoo"