|Hey, not everything can be anthology related. Below is a listing of stuff you might also like to keep in mind.
American Gothic - Not since Kolchak: The Night Stalker has there been a series which seemed so perfect. Great scripts, great cast, and great production values. So, of course, it had to be canceled after one season. But what a season! The episodes were tight, gave complete information at a good pace (unlike The X-Files which always kept you guessing.), and showed us a jaw-dropping ending episode.
Babylon 5 - "The Inquisitor" - This series dealt a lot with people trying to understand who they are and what their place in the universe was. But none more than this episode where an inquisitor named Sebastian asks the really hard questions.
Baffled - Pilot starring Leonard Nimoy as a blind man with psychic visions. It's really too bad they didn't make this series. As good as any Kolchak: The Night Stalker episode.
Banacek - "Project Phoenix" - Most of the episodes on this show were real brain teasers. But this one was especially difficult. How do you steal a race car from a constantly moving train? The answer is pretty ingenious. This series starred George Peppard as the Polish sleuth who wasn't ashamed to come to the defense of his heritage. (Peppard actually won an award from the Polish community for his excellent portrayal.)
Bates Motel (pilot) - Norman made a friend. And after his death, he bequeathed his estate to the young man, played by Bud Cort. Cort decides to reopen the hotel. There's just one problem...mother's back. This made-for-television movie was a setup for a series where hotel guests would come every week and find some life changing catharsis. (Much like Nightmare Cafe.) It was very well done and Cort was excellent as the introverted young man. This probably didn't impress Psycho fans much since the horror level was pretty lightweight. (But it did make it perfect for prime-time viewing.)
Black Adder - Rowan Atkin's ground breaking comedy show. There have been several follow-up series where you're introduced to further generation of Adders. And all of them have been hilarious. One of the most interesting episodes dealt with the man who was writing the first dictionary...and Adder's attempt to get his life's work, a cross between a romance novel and porn, to be published.
Buffy, the Vampire Slayer - "Hush" - The Slayer has met baddies galore but never anything like the Gentlemen. These smirking, hovering demons have stolen everyone's voices so their victims can't scream. This episode only had dialog at the beginning and end. The last scene has a particularly nice twist.
Columbo - "Forgotten Lady" - Janet Leigh kills husband Sam Jaffe after he refuses to allow her to make an acting comeback. Leigh is great and holds up well under Falks scrutiny. Okay, I can't take it...I have to give you at least one spoiler on this site. This is the only episode in the series where the killer actually gets away with it. But you'll never guess why. "Identity Crisis" - Patrick McGoohan is excellent when he verbally spars with Falk. He even gives a nod to his series The Prisoner.
Dick Van Dyke Show - "It May Look Like A Walnut" - Hilarious parody of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. The telltale sign someone is an alien? An appetite for walnuts and no thumb. (What made this even funnier for me was that I watched this on Nick at Nite. During a commercial break they had a Keebler cookie ad where they showed what the three elves liked to add to their cookies. Chocolate chips, candy pieces, and yes...walnuts.
Dinosaurs - "Changing Nature" - For a comedy show, this was startlingly frank and has an unsettling ending to it. This was never broadcasted during the original run of the series, only during syndication. And after seeing it you'll probably understand why. Earl's company, aptly named WESAYSO, is responsible for the coming Ice Age.
Edge of Night - This soap decided to go all out during its last episode. A woman wanted by the police is followed down Wonderland Lane, is stabbed in M. Hatter's antique shop, and chokes out the immortal line, "Off with her head." And then there's the stuffed rabbit in the trash can. Confused? That's exactly what the writers wanted. Why have a conventional ending when you know the shows never coming back.
Fantasy Island (1998) (Pilot) This series was much darker than the original. Roarke, now played by Malcom McDowell, forgoes the white suit for more modern attire. It's also established that Fantasy Island employees are souls which are in a form of purgatory for one reason or another. One of the most interesting stories in this pilot deals with a woman who wants to be respected for her intelligence. McDowell plays this story off perfectly. And lets not forget Clia and Fisher, the never before seen Fantasy Island travel agents.
Friday the 13th: The Series -"Scarecrow" - This excellent series dealt with the recovery of cursed objects. This particular episode was pretty creepy. Using an animated scarecrow, a farmer harvests heads in order to harvest crops. "Vanity's Mirror" - Story of an introverted girl who finds a compact which makes people fall in love with her "until the day you die". Ending is a downer. Sequel to this story is the episode "Face of Evil". "What A Mother Wouldn't Do" - One of the few time when you'll actually feel sorry for the killers. A mother tries to save her child by using a cursed cradle (which saved a child who was a passenger on the Titanic). All it takes is seven deaths by water. The ending is a strange case of relief and sadness. "Femme Fatale" - An old-time studio director uses a cursed film to bring to life a character his aged, sick wife made famous. Interesting look at actors and the characters they play. [NOTE: This whole series was very good. And when I get a chance I do want to add this series to this site even though it isn't an anthology series.]
John Doe - Doe knows shoes...and mathematics...and world history...and everything else for that matter. Except who he is. As a walking encyclopedia he helps the police solve the most unsolvable crimes while trying to solve his own personal mysteries. (I'd call it a cross between Banecek and The Prisoner.) As of this writing, not even a full season has been broadcasted and there is already a large following on the John Doe website forum. And taking a cue from The Blair Witch Project, the website is highly integrated into the show and allows you to discover clues relating to Doe's cases.
Kolchak: The Night Stalker - Probably the most beloved, missed series in science fiction history. Darren McGavin and Simon Oakland's arguments are legendary as your blood pressure rises just by watching them. As I stated for another series, this one screams to be released in a DVD box set!
Law And Order - "Survivor" - This show is known to have good twist endings and this is one of the best. A coin dealer is murdered and the motive has nothing to do with greed. Expertly played with an ending that shocks the suspect to tears.
Little House On The Prairie - "Come, Let Us Reason Together" - "What the heck?!?!?" "Little House?" "Come on!" Yes, dang it, Little House! If you watched the first season or two you'd know that Little Nell was a little bitch. She constantly teased and was jealous of Laura. Now they're both grown up and Laura goes to help Nell give birth. Interesting insight into the perseptions we have as kids compared to those we have as adults.
Madam Sin (Pilot) - Most people don't realize this Bette Davis vehicle was a pilot. As the evil mastermind, she tries to convince Robert Wagner to help her organization. Good luck. This program would have broken a lot of 1970's television molds if it would have been made. Imagine, each week seeing a strong, rich, independent, evil woman plotting to take over the world. (Please, no Martha Stewart jokes.) It wasn't until Dynasty that we saw even a glimmer of this kind of female scheming.
Mad About You - "Up In Smoke" (Part 1 and 2) - This two part story has a nice Twilight Zone feel about it as the Buchman's learn what their lives would be like if they never met. (Kudos also goes to the two parts series finale "The Finale Frontier".)
Millennium - "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me" - A strangely hilarious episode from a very dark series. Four demons meet to shoot the breeze. Has parodies of several other FOX programs including The X-Files and Alley McBeal.
Mission: Impossible - "The Fountain" - Nice science fiction feel to this episode where they try to convince the bad guys that they have access to the fountain of youth.
Mission: Impossible (1988) - "The Fortune" - One of the IMF team is killed and they go all out for revenge. This is the only episode, to my memory, that Jim Phelps gets really, really pissed.
Ned Blessing: The Story of My Life and Times - "A Ghost Story" - Who stole the corpses head? This interesting story doesn't cop out and disprove a supernatural presence.
Nightmare Cafe - Two people are drafted by a mysterious cafe to be its new cook and waitress. But why? And who exactly is their cohort in creepiness Blackie? (played by Robert England) Each week the diner would mysteriously appear to those in need. And the helpful staff would serve more than the daily special. (Sort of a cross between The Twilight Zone and Alice.) Didn't even last half a season yet they released a soundtrack. Go figure. Great, original premise which wasn't even given half a chance.
Northern Exposure - "Old Tree" - Shelly wakes up one morning and can't talk. Instead, she sings everything. This cute story has an interesting musical number in it where Maggie is told the story of a particularly smooth snake.
The Others - Yet another series which was killed way too soon. (And yes, that was an intentional pun toward the final episode.) One episode of particular interest is "Eyes" where a gets horrifying visions after going through laser surgery. Effects are reminiscent of the quick moving terrors in the remake of The House On Haunted Hill.
The Prisoner - Probably the most debated series in history. What did it all mean? A spy quits, is drugged, and kidnapped to live his life in a place called The Village. No one has a name, only a number. So, can Number 6 escape or will Number 2 find out why he quit? To be honest, I don't think either question was answered by the last episode. (And yes, there was a final episode which most people thought would answer all questions). One of the few series that really defy description. [Over a decade after the last episode was broadcasted DC Comics put out an officially licensed four part story which was almost as intriguing as the series itself.]
Party Of Five - "What If..." - The premise behind this series was to show the relationship between five siblings who lost their parents to a drunk driver. This episode showed us what their lives would have been like if their parents hadn't died.
Roseanne - "Brain-Dead Poets Society" - Roseanne makes Darlene read her poem in public. One of the most memorable episodes of the series.
Search for the Gods (pilot) - This could have been The X-Files twenty years earlier. Three people search for clues which will lead them to metal pieces which have alien writing on them. Together, they form a tablet which could hold the key to alien visitation. (Sound like certain episodes of a show I just mentioned?)
Star Trek - "The Conscience Of The King" - A Shakespearean theater troupe may be harboring a historic mass murderer. Just goes to show you that the Bard has relevance in every century. "This Side Of Paradise" - Just wanted to mention that this episode was inspired by The Outer Limits (1963) episode "Specimen Unknown". "The City On The Edge Of Forever" - Kirk, Spock and McCoy are stuck in the past and must come to terms with the cost of peace. Excellent award winning Harlan Ellison story. "Turnabout Intruder" - Using alien technology, Kirk and a Dr. Lester have their personas moved to each others bodies. Interesting portrayal of gender switching.
Star Trek: The Next Generation - "Remember Me" - I loved it when an episode really screws with a character's mind. In this case, Dr. Crusher is the only one who seems to notice that members of the crew are missing. And then is told they never existed in the first place. "Encounter at Farpoint" - This is really a dishonorable mention. Several people in the science fiction community *ahem* were surprised Ray Bradbury wasn't mentioned in the end credits. The holodeck was obviously based on Bradbury's classic story "The Veldt".
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - "The Visitor" - Sisko gets trapped in time while Jake spends the rest of his life trying to free him. Tony Todd gives an excellent, poignant portrayal as the adult Jake. This episode has a few nice Bradbury touches to it. "Far Beyond the Stars" - Sisko seems to be stuck in an alternate universe where he's a writer for a pulp magazine. Interesting look into the discrimination facing African-American and women writers of the 1950's.
Strange Paradise - While most people remember Dark Shadows, few remember this series. Including me. The only parts I remember are...a man talking to a painting of himself that talks back, his wife is in suspended animation in the basement, and the maid continues to hound him about a stolen voodoo doll. That's creepy enough for me. Just wish I could find someone with episodes. *hint, hint*
The Waltons - "The Changeling" - Ghosts are haunting the Waltons? Yep, and it could be Elizabeth's fault. Interesting little Halloween tale.
Wild Wild West - Any episodes with Michael Dunn as Dr. Miguelito Loveless. Dunn was superb as the little madman that could. But don't get me wrong, West and Gordon never took the easy way out by spouting off short jokes. They knew all too well that Loveless was dangerous and gave him the respect he deserved.
X-Files - "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" - Peter Boyle plays a man with psychic visions who help Scully and Mulder find a serial killer who offs fortune tellers. Boyle won an Emmy for his performance and Darin Morgan won for outstanding writing. Really poignant ending and the best episode of the series. "Je Souhaite" - You've probably noticed by my other writings that I don't hold wishes in high esteem. This episode proves my point. Mulder gets three wishes from a genie who gives people exactly what they ask for. Yet again proving the big picture clouds the little details. Nice, cheery ending proves that Mulder was on the ball.
Brides of Christ - Ambitious mini-series detailing the lives of nuns during the turbulent 60's. What could be so earth shattering about nuns? See for yourself. Proves the sociological changes during that decade affected everyone.
The Cloning Of Joanna May - If you liked The Life And Loves Of A She-Devil you'll also like this made-for-tv treat also written by Faye Weldon. It doesn't have as much witty dialog as the former, but it still packs a punch. A woman finds out that 25 years ago her then husband had her cloned...three times. Now he's bringing the young women together to decide who will be his new Joanna. And just like in Life and Loves, you're left wondering whether there really is a supernatural force behind it all.
Dark Secret Of Harvest Home - One of the most under appreciated mini-series ever. Betty Davis plays the head of a small town community that still believe the old ways are best. (They're just not best for everyone.) [CONSUMER NOTE: Do NOT get suckered into buying the VHS release. It clocks in at about two hours which is only HALF of the program. Lets hope the DVD version will be released uncut. Whenever that may be. *shrug*]
The Life And Loves Of A She-Devil - The absolute best mini-series ever! Based on the best seller by Faye Weldon, Julie Walters expertly plays Ruth. A tall, heavy set woman whose husband leaves her to live with his mistress, a romance writer delightfully played by Patricia Hodges. You'd expect most television wives to cry a lot and then meet someone better. But not Ruth. She's a visionary who knows hell hath no fury...and fury, like desire, can be anything a woman wants it to be. A&E used to broadcast this series once a year around 1990. Strangely enough, each years broadcasts were different cuts with scenes added and taken away. Still, any of the versions are well worth watching! (Totally avoid the U.S. movie version She-Devil starring Roseanne Barr. It's hardly recognizable as the same story.)
Rose Red - Just when you thought it was safe to go into a haunted house. *sigh* A paranormal researcher leads a group of psychics into the money pit from hell. The voice overs are excellent as the mansions tale is weaved. As of this writing, a prequel is being worked on. Let's hope they get the same actors who were in the flashbacks.
Smileys' People - Long before he was Obi Wan Kinobi, Alec Guiness played the wise old man of the Circus. (aka British Intelligence) Amazingly intricate story which quickly pulls you in. George is 'recruited' out of retirement when an old friend is killed while trying to pass information on which incriminates an old nemesis. One of the few mini-series which you'll actually want to watch all in one sitting.
Storm Of The Century - Okay, I admit it, I don't like the ending. But up until that point this was a real nail biter. When two winter storms intersect over an island community a stranger shows up bearing bad gifts. No one knows who he is but he sure knows a lot about them. And he isn't afraid to spill the beans.
Abominable Dr. Phibes - Includes some of the most stylish murders you'll ever see. The always professional Vincent Price plays an organist who takes revenge on the people he believes are to blame for his wife's death. The sequel Dr. Phibes Rises Again is almost as good. And if you want to watch a Price triple header also get Theater of Death.
Abby - Supposidly the blaxsploitation version of The Exorcist. I think the background story goes like this... It was removed from the theaters after a lawsuit. Which is odd because the two story lines are very different. This movie deals with a demon which is released somewhere in Africa and...wait...that's the idea behind The Exorcist II. Hmmm... Was this a preemptive strike by a studio to safeguard a sequel? As far as I know this hasn't ever been commercially released. (Which is too bad because it's much better than The Exorcist II.)
The Adding Machine - Interesting character study of an accountant who has a nervous breakdown after being replaced by the latest and greatest office tool.
All That Jazz - Very loosely based on the life of Bob Fosse (who wrote, directed, choreographed, etc., etc.), this surreal look at the life of a choreographer is a must see! Even if you're not into dancing you'll find this story engaging as Roy Scheider deals with his work, smoking, his family life, smoking, sex, smoking, drugs, smoking and an enigmatic woman played by Jessica Lange. Yeah, you'll be able to figure out what's going on. But so what, you've never seen a movie pull off a closing scene like this one. The beginning shows the most accurate Broadway cattle call I've ever seen. (And yes, I have seen Chorus Line.)
The Beast Must Die - One of the best werewolf movies of the 1970's. It's been categorized as blaxsploitation but the production values seem too high for this to be correct. Gets a little cheesy when they stop and give you a chance to guess who's the beast. But so what, just fast forward.
Cannibal Women of the Avocado Jungle of Death - This movie is funny on so many levels. Shannon Tweed plays a feminist who is recruited by the government to track down missing soldiers. (Whose dog tags were found covered in guacamole.). Adrienne Barbeau has one line so hilariously bad that you can't believe she actually said it.
The Changeling - George C. Scott moves into a house that's haunted by the ghost of a child. Extraordinary psychological horror movie which proves you don't need blood and guts to make you shy away from the screen.
The Cheap Detective - Neil Simon followed up Murder By Death with this just as funny flick. Peter Falk plays a Sam Spade type detective (much like his role in the previously mentioned movie.) looking for a set of long lost, and rather large, diamonds. Eileen Brennan is a scene stealer as a sexy singer who has the hots for Falk.
Dark Forces (aka Harlequin) - Winner of several sci-fi movie awards, this film was chosen by Siskel & Ebert as a must see. A politician's young son, who has a terminal illness, seems to be getting better after a mysterious stranger shows up. (The boy's mother seems to be in better spirits as well.) Tour de force for Robert Powell who plays the enigmatic faith healer. And lets not forget about Broderick Crawford who has his own ideas about the mysterious Mr. Wolf. (I always wondered if this movie was a partial inspiration for The Crow. (comic book character later made into a movie series.)
Dead and Buried - One of the most underrated 80's horror movies. James Farentino plays a sheriff of a small town where the deceased seem to have unfinished business. Jack Albertson is great as the coroner whose trying to figure things out as well.
Dead of Winter - This movie took a lot of people by surprise. This tight, well paced thriller is about an actress who accepts the role of a lifetime. And I mean that literally. Mary Steenburgen is great and in the beginning bears a striking resemblance to British singer/songwriter Kate Bush.
Ed Wood - Perfect docudrama about a movie maker who became famous for never becoming famous. Directed by Tim Burton, one wonders whether his relationship with Vincent Price didn't have parallels with the Ed Wood-Bela Lugosi friendship. (Which is marvelous.) A tribute to all those that never receive fame in their lifetime.
84 Charing Cross Road - Anne Bancroft plays a woman who has a love of old books and contacts a British book store owner to fill her passion. Wait...that's not worded right. But then again... This film, based on the true story of Helen Hanff), covers the correspondence between the two over several years. Watching this is almost as good as curling up with a good book on a warm winter night. (During the movie you see that Helen Hanff wrote for The Adventures Of Ellery Queen back in the 1950's. If you want to see what books she ordered from the store you find that a listing here.
The Execution - Engrossing picture starring Valerie Harper as one of a group of five women who were in a concentration camp during World War II. After a man is recognized as a Nazi doctor who conducted experiments on them, all five make a pact that one of them will kill him. Interesting look into the aspects of guilt and questions whether a person who has paid for their crimes should continue paying.
Friendship, Secret, Lies - Most people don't understand why I like this movie. I explain it to them and they don't get it. Then they see it and the light bulb goes on. This made-for-tv movie stars Loretta Swit as one of four women who were sorority sisters together during a particularly memorable summer. Years later, the sorority is torn down and the body of a baby is found. The question is...which one was the mother? Excellent performances all around. What starts as a whodonit ends as a weunderstandwhy.
Gargoyles - Top notch horror movie which doesn't fall back on clichés. Unlike most creature features, the antagonists in this flick are articulate about their motives. Plays like an episode from The Outer Limits.
Ghost Story - Four old men discover a certain indiscretion of youth has come back to haunt them...big time. Most thought this was pretty light weight compared to the Peter Straub book it was based on. I think any movie that has the insight to give John Houseman and Fred Astaire starring roles is well worth seeing. And hiring Alice Krige as the ultimate scorned lover was brilliant. (Most people know her as the Borge queen from Star Trek: First Contact.)
Gosford Park - What was suppose to be a murder mystery is more a look into the mysterious unseen lives of servants. The whole cast is extremely excellent and the attention to detail is astounding.
Happy New Year - Peter Falk and Charles Durning ingeniously rob a jewelry store. Not much action, just good acting. This is one of those sit back and just watch films.
House of Long Shadows - Most people thought this was a disappointing use of talent. But this has the rare distinction of being the only film to star John Carradine, Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing. Desi Arnes Jr. plays a writer who goes to an old house to win a bet. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be the only one to take up residence. (Get this...it's a remake of Seven Keys To Baldpate which was done in 1915, 1917, 1925, 1929, and 1935. *whew*)
In This House Of Brede - Diana Rigg plays a nun? You bet, and she does a great job as a woman who tries to find her way in the world while staying inside cloistered halls. Not as sappy or preachy as one might believe. Watch this and then Brides of Christ for a good double header.
It's My Party - A man dying of AIDS decides to throw one last big party before he kills himself. Shockingly frank and uneasily funny at times, this film shows an uneasy to watch but true aspect of gay society. (And proves when it comes to AIDS sooner or later there isn't a happy ending.)
Legend - Ridley Scott's over the top fantasy epic. Tim Curry as the fantastically makeuped villian...Mia Sara as the innocent girl...Tom Cruise as the hunky young hero... Well, okay...two out of three ain't bad.
Legend of Lizzie Borden - Elizabeth Montgomery plays the infamous accused murderer. Sticks to the facts and includes the original historic ending. (Which most people don't know is exactly what happened.) Katherine Helmond expertly goes toe-to-toe with Montgomery in trying to find out whether her sister is guilty or not.
Love and Death - Woody Allen's version of War and Peace with Diane Keaton as his one true love. You know dang well that's not going to end good. Deadpan humor and interesting sight gags make this one of his best...and weirdest.
Murder By Death - One of the funniest movies ever. The worlds greatest detectives are brought together to solve the ultimate murder. Way too many twists and turns to keep track of. Just go with the flow.
Needful Things - This movie almost seems like an updating of From Beyond The Grave. Max von Sydow plays an antique dealer who has more up his sleeve than vintage baseball cards. Yeah, some episodes of Friday the 13th: The Series were better but Sydow's banter is well worth watching. Strangely enough, there is a televised version which is an hour longer.
Only The Lonely - John Candy has a handful when dealing with his mother played by Maureen O'Hara. He wants to get to know a nice young mortitian's daughter played by Ally Sheedy. But mom has other ideas. May be the last movie to show Wrigley Field before it was torn down. (When interviewers asked her O'Hara why she hadn't been in a film for almost 20 years her reply was something along the lines of, "They just stopped calling." Idiots.) If you want a double header also pick up the Albert Brook's comedy Mother.
Personal Services - Loosely based on the life of a woman who risks everything by opening up a house of leisure for needy men. (Okay, it's a house of prostitution. But after seeing this film you'll have a little more respect for the oldest profession.) Julie Walters, of Educating Rita fame, gives heartwarming depth to her role of a mother who tries to provide the best she can for her son.
Phantom of Hollywood - Most people will say this is a so-so rip off of Phantom Of The Opera and they're right. But unfortunately it has a sad place in Hollywood history. The outdoor sets you see destroyed in the movie aren't mock ups. You're seeing the actual destruction of MGMs famous back lot. [Interesting note: Debbie Reynolds said that she pleaded for the studio execs to leave them standing. That they could open them up to the public like an amusement park...and she would even sell tickets and convince other stars to help out on the tours. (Shades of what Universal Studios has been doing for years.) But, alas, they didn't listen. *heavy sigh*]
Phantom of the Paradise - Classic 70's schlock. This cult classic is a cross between Phantom of the Opera and Faust. Swan, a teen idol and record producer, steals Winslow Leach's music. (Gotta love that name.) After a tragic accident, Leach haunts Swan to protect his music and the lovely Phoenix. (Played by the always professional Jessica Harper.) Gerrit Graham is a must see as the hard rocker Beef. But William Finley, who plays Winslow, really carries this movie perfectly. Also, this film has an odd foreshadowing of the boy band craze. (Meaning, corporations controlling a groups public persona) If you're a fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show then give this movie a chance. [Interesting production note: Sissy Spacek, of Carrie fame, was the set decorator for the film!]
Pinocchio's Revenge - This tight chiller is about a doll of wood that might live up to its name. No clichés here. This one keeps you interesting and wondering until the very end. Almost as suspenseful as Dark Forces. (Don't get swayed by the redesigned videotape box cover. It was made to look like a lot of the other low budget films when it's a lot better than that.)
The Proprietor - The classic Jeanne Moreau plays a woman who proves you can go home...for a price. She returns to Paris to try and buy the house she grew up in and finds more than just memories. A parallel story also going on deals with Sean Young as a movie executive who wants to do a remake of Moreau's most famous film. This sub-story is a hilarious look into Hollywood's recent obsession with remakes.
Purgatory - Originally advertised as "not the same damn western", this highly intelligent made-for-tv movie packs a good punch. In this town, violence is avoided and picking up a gun a sin. (Literally!) Well worth seeing even if westerns aren't your bag.
Queen Of the Stardust Ballroom - Maureen Stapleton plays a woman who tries to get on with her life after the death of her husband. A real tear jerker near the beginning, shows great hope and determination in the face of an uncertain future. Long unreleased to video, finally made available on DVD.
The Rapture - Mimi Rogers plays a woman who feels the end is near. And she's not alone. Strangely engaging portrayal of the beginning of the end. This movie gives no easy answers and includes one truly shocking scene. Don't watch it alone...because you'll want someone to talk to after seeing it if for nothing else but to say, "Damn."
Rehearsal For Murder - Robert Preston plays a broadway director who reinacts his wife's murder in order to find the killer. Well done whodonit that yet again proves that television can be just as good as cinema.
Reversal of Fortune - Did Claus von Bulow try to kill his wife? That was the question on everyone's mind when the real life trial occurred. Over a decade later, we still don't know the answer. Which, strangely enough, makes this movie even more provocative.
The Ruling Class - One of the best movies I've ever seen! Peter O'Toole plays a man who must take his father's place in the House of Lords. One problem...for the past seven years he has believed himself to be Jesus Christ. Interesting look into the exact sociological aspect of who really is crazy. Alastair Sims, the best Scrooge ever, is a scene stealer as the Bishop. Has one of the funniest wedding scenes ever filmed.
Sebastian - Nice little British film about a code breaker and his group of female assistants. Not as tawdry as I make it out to be. Has the look of Casino Royale without the plot flaws.
Seconds - A middle aged married man is given the chance to break free of his old life for a new one. How? A full body transplant. There's just one catch... Isn't there always a catch? Even when Rock Hudson is happy you get this creepy feeling that something isn't quite right. And then it gets worse.
Seven Faces of Dr. Lao - Now here's a movie for all ages. Tony Randall plays Dr. Lao who has a very interesting circus. Some townsfolk find it more interesting than others. Marjorie Main, of Ma and Pa Kettle fame, has a small role.
Shattered - After a car accident, an amnesiac tries to piece together his forgotten life. When you reach the punchline you have my permission to go, "What the...!?!?!"
Shock Treatment - What was suppose to be the sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show was actually what original audiences thought the first movie would be like. I'm mentioning it because even if you saw it before you should watch it again. This movie could get more of a cult status due to its bizarre parallel to the current glut of reality based television shows.
Shock Waves - I remember getting scared by the trailer! Peter Cushing plays a former Nazi with a secret he thought was buried under tons of water. The unsettling silent menace is played to the hilt as these storm troopers from the sea do exactly what they were designed to do. One of the few movies which is actually better due to its lower budget.
Skidoo - I have a feeling this movie will NEVER, EVER, EVER be released commercially until ever major star in it is dead. This drug film, which was hyped by Timothy Leary, stars a who's who of 60's cinema. Jackie Gleason, Groucho Marx, Frankie Avalon, Mickie Roonie, Frank Gorshin, Peter Lawford, Burgess Meredith. Cesar Romero...who did I leave out?...Oh, yeah. Carol Channing who takes her top off. (No I'm not kidding.) You'll be dumbstruck when you see who has an acid trip. Hard to believe this was Groucho Marx's last film. The complete antithesis of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Well worth seeing once. (Just so you can see that even the biggest stars can make the worst mistakes.)
Sole Survivor - Robert Powell, who was also in Dark Forces, plays the only person to live after a fiery plane crash. Everyone wonders how while Powell wonders why. Interesting X-Files type of ending.
Strange Holiday - Classic tale by Arch Obler, creator of Lights Out. A man goes on a fishing trip and returns home to find a totalitarian society. Interestingly enough, this movie was only to be seen by employees of a car company. Remade for television decades later as What's Wrong With America?
The Stuff - Strange things happen to the people who eat the yogurt from hell. But you'd know that from the movie tag line which was, "Are you eating it or is it eating you?" It's odd that they've remade The Blob but haven't done a sequel to this movie yet. Maybe it's because yogurt has become so popular.
Sweet Home - I don't know what it is about this Japanese horror movie. Everything turns out okay at the end but there's still a strange unsettling sadness to it. This is an interesting haunted house tale that isn't the usual 'one big boo'.
The Swimmer - Burt Landcaster decides to go home one lap at a time. At first you think he's a little eccentric. But as it goes along the story has a Twilight Zone twist. This is one of the few movies where the ending actually surprised me.
Terror Train - Not your usual slasher flick. Jamie Lee Curtis pulls a prank which comes back to haunt her. And just like Michael Meyers in Halloween, anyone that gets in the killer's way is toast. Makes me wonder if this wasn't the inspiration for I Know What You Did Last Summer.
The Twonky - Directed by Arch Obler, creator of Lights Out. Gives a whole new meaning to the term 'reality television' as this boob tube makes a boob out of his owner.
Vanishing Act - Excellent made-for-tv movie starring Mike Farrell, better known as B.J. on M*A*S*H*, who's got a bit of a problem. His wife disappears and when she shows up again it's not the same woman. Once you find out what's going on you start wondering how it's going to end.
What's Up Doc? - The best car chase scene I've ever seen! (And yes, I've seen Bullit.) This underrated comedy stars Barbara Streisand as a freeloader who decides engaged Ryan O'Neil is her perfect man. Great dialog matched only by the zany antics of the supporting cast. This was Madeline Kahn's first movie roll playing the neurotic fiancé of O'Neil who shows pressure under grace.
Balance - Very innovative short film that's practically impossible to describe. I'll just say it's well worth seeing.
Vincent - Excellent short made by Tim Burton. A little boy thinks his life is based on the stories of Edgar Allen Poe. Expertly narrated by Vincent Price.
Barlowe's Guide To Extraterrestrials
Callahan's Crosstime Saloon Collection
Something Passed By
Archie's Girls, Betty and Veronica #75 - Archie - The girls sell their souls to the devil. No, I'm not kidding. If this was a Marvel comic book I would have guessed it was Assistant Editors Month.
E-Man - Charlton - A sentient ball of energy takes human form. Let the fun begin. Tom Sutton's creation had wit, charm, and a beautiful exotic dancer named Nova Kane. This series, published by Charlton, was about a decade ahead of its time.
Madam Xanadu - DC - Using a character originally introduced in Doorway To Nightmare, this fortune teller knows more than shes letting on. A modern day high priestess, she protects those who find their way to her doorstep. (That is...find their way or guided.) This special edition captures the essence of the character perfectly. Its too bad their interpretation wasnt made into a regular series.
Marvel Comics Super Special #11-13 - Weird World - Weird World made its first appearance in Marvel Premiere #38. A lot of camparisons were made between it and J.R.R. Tolkiens work. (Which isnt a surprise since Ralph Bakshis The Hobbit revitalized interest in the middle earth saga.) But this story stands on its own. Beautifully painted by John Buscema, this three part story gave a style and depth little seen in comics during the late 1970s.
Marvel Graphic Novel - #1 - Death of Captain Marvel - Comic books are kind of like soap operas. If you dont see the body theyre probably not dead. The publisher knew this and made sure all the readers knew that even in the Marvel universe a hero can fall. In Captain Marvel #34 the superhero puts his hand on a leaking canister. Now, years later, he discovers he has cancer. Conventional, unconventional, and even supernatural treatments have no effect. Distributed about a decade before the over hyped death of Superman.
Maus: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History and Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman, Fred Jordon (Editor) - The most respected comic series ever. It's at the top of the list of which graphic novels should be included in school libraries. What looks like a simple analogy of WWII is really a highly complex look into the injustices perpetrated on the Jewish people. By using this format younger readers can better grasp the severity of the holocaust. (And discuss ways to avoid such atrocities from happening again.)
Rog 2000 - Charlton - Long before John Byrne became famous for his work on Marvel's X-Men he did these short stories about a robot who could. Or at least thought he could. That might. On a good day. Hilarious at times, irreverent at others, these stories always brought a smile. Another gem in Charlton's crown. I believe Fantographics republished these stories during the 1980's.
Sandman written by Neil Gaimen
Stigg's Inferno by Ty Templeton - Vortex & Eclipse- This little known series deals with a man who accidently gets sent to hell. (Sure, right...weve all heard that before.) Did I forget to mention that hes suppose to run the place? If youve seen Peter OTooles movie The Ruling Class then you almost know what Stigg looks like. The author even has the first three issues of the series available online for free download! The site is here.
The Thanos Saga - Marvel - Whoever says Jim Starlin doesnt have foresight has never read this incredibly intricate storyline. The following are the titles and issue numbers: Strange Tales #178-181, Warlock #9-15, Marvel Team-Up #55, Avengers Annual #7, Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2.
Truly one of the best comic book stories ever told. Now, fast forward 13 years. Thanos decides its time to prove his devotion toward his one true love. A worthy continuation that kept readers on the edge of their seats. This storyline was featured in the following titles: The Thanos Quest #1-2, The Infinity Guantlet #1-6.
Its a MUST that you read these in order. All have been reprinted either in deluxe comic book or graphic novel format. [For diehard fans of this storyline, check out Starlins bedtime story in Star*Reach #1 where he tells us all about God and his latest creation...Death.]
Watchman by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons - DC - Considered one of the most intelligently written superhero series ever. After one of their own is murdered, members of a former team tries to find out who did it. The creative team of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons gives us a suprising look into the private lives of people who had very public ones.