Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Murder, She Wrote Meets Parker Stevenson... and it was heaven




I keep no secrets here at Made for TV Mayhem so I will confess that my current obsession is Murder, She Wrote. After many years of dismissing J.B. Fletcher as a detective for the geriatric set, I came to understand the pure magic of Cabot Cove. Sure, lots of people get randomly murdered, making New York City look like Disneyland. But I call that ambiance. You never know when the local crab shack is serving up a pot full of mysteries!

I'm also not shy about how boy crazy I am, and there's been lots of tasty treats popping up in old Cabot Cove. I recently watched an episode with the delish Jared Martin, and the pilot does indeed feature Bert Convy (I will be covering that episode in the future, mark my words). But CBS really cashed in their machismo chips when they got Parker Stevenson to appear in a season 2 episode called Sticks and Stones. Parker is great as Michael Digby, an interloping travel writer who invites himself into Jessica's house and life. At first he seems like one of those obnoxious ne'er do wells, who have no appreciation for small town charm, but he quickly becomes J.B.'s confidante after a couple of murders are committed.

I've always thought Parker had a great sense of comic timing, but because he's so damn heavenly, I think it tends to get overlooked (as I'm looking him over, you dig?). He's so much fun in this episode, and if I didn't completely lust after him already, I would be completely lusting after him.

Let me set the scene here... There is yet another random murder in Cabot Cove, followed by a series of crank letters which sets the town into a tizzy. After another murder (set up to look like a suicide, but by season 2 we knew better), Jessica is on the case, and she enlists Michael as a tasty lure for Lila (Betsy Palmer).



Let's take a look at Michael, shall we?



Michael's goofy entrance




You can tell he's a nerd because he totally wears glasses




He's a ridiculous person because he tucks his pants into his boots (or maybe it was just the 80s. Tough call)...




Hey, this goofy guy could totally be a male model




But he's also a silly, sloppy drunk!




No comment!




Even Jessica wants him!




Who am I? I'm the interloping ne'er do well, that's who!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bernard and the Genie (1991)



Network: BBC
Original Airdate: November 23rd, 1991

I have a long history with Lenny Henry. I first discovered him in high school when The Lenny Henry Show used to air on Bravo (hey, anyone else remember when Bravo used to show nothing but uncut, commercial-free foreign films and British comedies? Good times). I was going through one of my typical teen angst moments, which lasted from ages 14 – 19 (and then some) when I caught an episode of the show and did something I never did in those bygone goth days… I laughed. Henry’s humor sometimes borders on the silly but it’s always effective, and dammit, he’s just so friggin’ lovable. I was instantly smitten and followed his career as best I could in those pre-internet days. A few years later, when I realized I didn’t have to wear black on the outside because black was how I felt on the inside, Bernard and the Genie was released on video. At this point I was working at a video store, and I’m certain the second the film shipped to our store, I checked it out. It was the very first time I saw Alan Cummings and like Henry, I instantly feel in love. The combo was perfect for this sweet little Christmas film.


Cummings is Bernard Bottle, an up and coming art dealer who gets dealt a bad hand of fate, thanks to his greedy boss, Charles Pinkworth (Rowan Atkinson being appropriately sleazy). In one day, Bernard is blacklisted from the art world and dumped by his girlfriend, who has left him for his best friend. And right before Christmas! Thank goodness when the ex cleared out his place, she left this weird little bottle which produces a big black genie named Josephus (soooooo Just Our Luck)! Of course, not every one of Bernard's wishes turns out perfect, but a wonderful friendship is formed between goofy djinn and man!


This is one of those zinger movies you either love or hate. The jokes fly faster than the speed of light, and it helps if you are familiar with some of the British references such as Melvyn Bragg (Bragg was also a fixture on Bravo as the host of the excellent South Bank Show), and if you love the 80s the way I do, you will love the Bob Geldof cameo! Regardless, Bernard and the Genie works because of the chemistry between the forever likable Henry and uber-adorable Cummings. I had not watched this film for many years when I decided on a whim to give it a go earlier this week. I can’t even tell you how much I still enjoy it. It’s so sweet natured and genuinely funny that I still find myself laughing out loud at many of the jokes. I would say it’s the perfect holiday film for those who tend to get blue around Christmas. I don’t mean to quote Bernard, but it will make you as happy as Michelle Pfieffer’s underpants! Now, that’s fab!


For more Christmas on TV Mayhem, click on the following links:

Terror on the 40th Floor
A Mouse, A Mystery and Me
The Gathering (written by guest blogger Joanna Wilson)
Ebbie
Nestor, the Long Eared Christmas Donkey

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Come Get Your Rankin-and-Bass-On!


Hey guys, with Christmas right around the corner (I know, I can't believe it either), I thought I'd re-post a link to a review I contributed to the beyond awesome Christmas TV History blog. I wrote about my all time favorite Rankin and Bass special, Nestor, the Long Eared Christmas Donkey. I actually gave the film its annual spin the other night, and it's still one of the sweetest and most moving films I have ever seen.

And now it's your turn. What is your favorite Rankin and Bass special? I know almost everyone will say Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer, but please leave a comment and share a little Rankin and Bass love!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Darkroom: The Bogeyman Will Get You (1981)




Network: ABC
Original Air Date: December 4th, 1981


Darkroom was a short lived television series which premiered in 1981 and enjoyed a short but sweet six episode run (featuring 16 stories) before sailing off towards obscurity. Aside from rerunning on the USA Network in the early 90s, this clever anthology series seems to have all but disappeared.
Darkroom came out at just the right time for my budding love of being scared silly. I was ten when I first saw The Bogeyman Will Get You and through the many years of sampling other warped products, it stuck with me because it was clever and subtlety creepy. This segment was written by Robert Bloch and starred a then-unknown Helen Hunt as well as the famous child actor Quinn Cummings (who was way too old for dolls when she appeared in The Babysitter the year before). These girls play sisters who tend to let their imagination run away with them. This might come in handy when a darkly handsome man from their past shows up. Not surprisingly, as soon as he appears in town the first body washes up in the local lake. He’s hiding something alright, and Hunt will soon find out that his secret is not quite the one she was expecting.


How I adored stumbling upon this treasure one dark Friday night. At the time, I was not aware that it was an episode of Darkroom, but when I began to dig back into my TV-laden memories, this was one of the first things which appeared before me. It was some years later that I was able to actually re-watch the episode, and it’s only gotten better with age, even if the end reveal is a little ridiculous (in fact, I think I remember chuckling a little back then too). It’s all about the build-up, baby, and there’s lots of sneaking around through dark rooms to make this episode a rather exciting watch.


 James Coburn was the host of Darkroom but when the show reran on USA I believe his host segments were removed, probably to make room for more ads. That is truly a shame, since I think we can all agree that Coburn can turn on the sinister factor when needed!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Initiation of Sarah is on Impact on Demand!


If you have Comcast cable and you love TV movies, today is a good day! They are currently airing The Initiation of Sarah!

Impact is a great little on-demand channel that airs mostly 80s and 90s B action movies with a little soft-core erotica, comedy and horror thrown in for good measure (and obviously, some stuff from the 70s pops up as well). It's all about balance, right? I was happily surprised to see Sarah is available to an audience who may have missed it the first time around. Impact's YouTube channel wouldn't let me embed the video, but you can watch a clip preview of what they are showing this month here. And you can keep up with their schedule additions on their Facebook page.

Sarah is also streaming on Netflix as well. And you can read my review here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The People Have Spoken: TV Movies are In, In, IN!



I'm not kidding... Today just may be the official Made for TV Movie Day. I'm calling my representative.

The A.V. Club tackled the lost respect for classic television in their awesome article We Need a TCM for Television. It's mostly about series television but there is definitely some love of the oft-maligned classic TV movie. And for the record (and just in case you couldn't guess by my blog theme), I agree with every word. God bless and goodnight, right?

And as luck would have it, The New York Times, of all places also took on the world of small screen films in their article Made for TV Movies, Reborn on Cable. Sure, it's about the new, invigorated state of the made for TV movie, but there's some nice history in there, including a mention of one of my all time favorites, Seven in Darkness!

While I would prefer a return to the fun, sometimes sentimental (in all the right ways, mind you) world of TV movie horror and romance, I am thrilled beyond words to see so much attention turning to a piece of history which seemed all but forgotten.

And now I have a question, if the higher powers decided to actually give us a TCM for TV, what kind of programming would you like to see? Movies and otherwise. Please leave a comment and let me know what you want to see back on TV!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Winter Kill (1974)





Network: ABC
Original Air Date: April 15th, 1974
There’s no doubt that Andy Griffith did his best to shun his good natured country boy persona by making some very interesting, and often quiet dark, made for TV movies during the 70s (and of course A Face in the Crowd… I know a little bit about other movies sometimes too). He lent his performances as the bad guy some dark justice as audiences would see in both Pray for the Wildcats ("I'm a hippie with money!") and Savages (both were released also released in 1974). In Winter Kill he returns to his more recognizable good guy shtick, but there’s not much of his signature joviality to be seen as he finds himself on the trail of a cold-blooded killer in a small, snowy mountain town.


Griffith is Sheriff Sam McNeil, an officer of the law who is caught off guard when a mysterious sniper starts picking of the locals. After each kill the menacing marauder leaves the number of the victim behind, painted in the snow or in some visible spot, and McNeil attempts to link all the victims together. In a voice over, the audience is given snippets of a diary belonging to a wide-eyed teenager named Cynthia (Elayne Heilveil). This device puts us one step ahead of the sheriff - and one step behind the killer. There is no shortage of suspects and Mayor Bickford (Eugene Roche) is hot on the heels of McNeil to catch the culprit so they can open their town to tourists without fear of losing business (It’s like Jaws on dry land with a sniper!) As the evidence begins to unfold, a serious of odd happenings also take place, and then there are a couple of twists galore! In short, my kind of flick.


Directed by ex-DGA president Jud Taylor who was a stalwart of the TV film (and served as president of his guild from 1981 – 1983), he also directed the stylish and creepy Shelly Winters TV horror flick Revenge. Winter Kill is no less stylish with its serene, snowy, small town settings which place a stark contrast on the cold blooded murders (no pun intended!). Shot mostly in Big Bear, the old school architecture of the snow town elite looks fantastic on Warner Archives DVD.

Winter Kill is an excellent film. The acting is fantastic, with lots of interesting and likable characters. Sheree North plays MacNeil’s main squeeze and the gorgeous John Calvin is his right hand man. The best performance might be Joyce Van Patten who always makes the snow just a little more icy with her bitch-perfect delivery. Lawrence Pressman, Tim O’Connor, Louise Latham, a young and studly Nick Nolte and of course, Roche, are all given some nice moments as MacNeil works his way through his population of suspects.


The opening murder scene is tense and frightening, and really sets the pace for this underrated thriller. There is a murder a little later that quickly turns into something far more devastating, in one of the slick twists.

The movie was intended to be a pilot for Griffith, and although it was not picked up, the actor repackaged it as a show called Adams of Eagle Lake, but only two episodes aired before it was replaced by The Rockford Files. He then managed to repackage this idea again (and again, it turns out!) with two more TV films. Girl in the Empty Grave and Deadly Game were both released in 1977, but no other series came of them. Grave was definitely a far more light-hearted version of Winter Kill, and if I remember correctly, a pretty fun film.

While looking up this movie I found an interesting article about how two such famous television faces – Andy Griffith and James Garner – could have such opposite results when they returned to television. This article poses the theory that Maverick and Garner aren’t that separate, while Griffith attempted to considerably alter his familiar television image, which turned off television audiences. Something to think about, eh?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Columbo is on Me TV!



I should have posted this a few weeks ago, but Me TV added Columbo to their schedule recently. It airs at 8 pm on Sunday nights, and like the tried and true Columbo fan I am, I still enjoy watching the episodes on television (even though I have most of the DVDs). I'm old school...

Anyway, Me TV has a truly fabulous schedule and if they are in your area, please check them out!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wyatt Knight (1955 - 2011)



I had wanted to wrap up my This Blog Possessed theme for Halloween and as you know, time got away once again. But once I read of the passing of Wyatt Knight, I had to set some time aside to say something.

Wyatt was best known as Tommy Turner from the Porky's series. Without question, Porky's II is the greatest teen sex comedy known to man, and part of that is because Wyatt was such a gifted actor. I actually remember the first time I laid eyes on him, because my teenage crush went into overdrive! He was funny and adorable and always great fun to watch.

While I've seen the Porky's trilogy numerous times, I only remember seeing one other performance of his, which was a brief appearance on The Waltons where he played a soldier in a 1979 episode titled The Torch. I was much older at this point, and just getting to know The Waltons for the first time via TV Land. Did my heart do an extra pitter-patter when I saw him? It sure did.

It turns out Wyatt had a pretty nice career on TV and appeared in some TV movies. Here is a list:

Murder in Texas (1981)
Dirty Work (1985)
Promised a Miracle (1988)
Those She Left Behind (1989)
Family of Spies (1990)
The American Clock (1993)
Maniac McGee (2003)


Maniac McGee was directed by Porky's director Bob Clark, who passed away in 2007.

He was also on Family Ties and Chicago Hope, among many other shows.

In the early 2000s I corresponded with Wyatt because he had made a movie with David Naughton that I was hoping to write about. I believe the film was called Rave, but never came out (and indeed, the credit has been removed from Wyatt's IMDb page). He saw that I wrote under the name Amanda by Night and joked that I should call myself Amanda by Knight, which as you can guess, made me giggle... and still does. He was always very kind in his emails, taking the time to answer my questions while throwing in a couple of jokes if he could squeeze it in. I never met Wyatt face to face, but I really treasure our brief correspondence. I was absolutely devastated when I read that the police believe Wyatt committed suicide, leaving behind a wife and two children.

The last time I corresponded with Wyatt was when Bob Clark died. He wrote to me, "There are no words." And that's pretty much all that can be said here.

RIP Wyatt. You will be missed.

Wyatt wrote and produced and starred in a short film called Stages in 2002. His co-star was Cyril O'Rielly who was also from the Porky's trilogy. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube, but here is Part One:




UPDATE (11/17/2011):

Wyatt's wife released a statement about his suicide and she said he was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-hodgkins lymphoma and had endured much pain. You can read her statement here.

I've been thinking a lot about Wyatt and his family and I just wanted to extended my deepest sympathies to his family and friends. I am so sad he is gone.

Monday, October 24, 2011

This Vicar Possessed


I have just bonded with the Vicar of VHS! It was a warming experience, one that I always get when I find another This House Possessed fan. I don't want to say we are legion or anything, but I think you are starting to get the point. The Vicar had already written an an excellent ode to the house with the best blood shower in the world, and you can read it here. I was so pleased that he agreed to tackle this House again for my blog, and it's forever amazing how much we latch key kids had in common! It makes me want to buy a world a Coke.




This House Possessed
Memories by the Vicar of VHS

I was born in 1971, and thus grew up in the late 70s and 80s. Kids today, with their Netflix and their Internets and their video-on-demand, would find it hard to believe the amount of effort horror-addicted children like me had to put into getting their horror fix. Scouring the listings in the newspaper and the weekly TV Guide, eyes peeled for anything at any hour on one of the big 3 (count 'em!) networks that might give that frisson of fear. Begging parents to allow us to stay up late for the Creature Feature, taking afternoon naps and loading up on sodas for stamina--and more often than not getting a near-unwatchable print of some public domain garbage for our efforts.

So whenever the genre wheel of the TV movie of the week spun up a horror flick, my brothers and I felt like we had won the lottery. And it was a golden age of made-for-TV horror--Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Gargoyles, Bad Ronald--classics, every one. But the one I remember most, and with the greatest fondness, is 1981's This House Possessed.

I was ten years old in 1981, and my younger brother was just six. I guess my parents were a little permissive about what they would let us watch--but after all, this was Movie-of-the-Week stuff, right? How bad could it be?

Well, for me, the answer was not bad at all--I loved the "high-tech house goes berserk" premise, and as a big fan of Parker Stevenson's work in The Hardy Boys TV show, I was thrilled to see him battle supernatural forces in between rockin' singing gigs. I found the movie exciting, tense, and an all-out blast.


Can Ella shatter glass? So can this house!

My brother, however, did not. He was more than traumatized--he was scarred. For weeks afterward whenever one of the family slipped off to take a shower, within moments my brother was right there at the door, banging frantically, shouting again and again, "Are you all right? ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?!" And as for being in the bathroom by himself with the door closed, forget about it--he needed an escort to shield him from blood-spewing shower heads and possibly explosive mirrors.

Eventually, with time, his fear faded, and the story has a happy ending--he grew up to be almost as much a horror geek as his big brother. And a year or so back, we got to bond over a viewing of THP as adults, and both found it just as much fun as ever.

I don't know how long it was before he showered again, though.


Yet another pensive toast for This House Possessed!

And please visit Vicar's site Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies! You will not regret it!

Friday, October 21, 2011

This John Possessed


I am very excited to present Made for TV Mayhem's first crossover episode, which is titled Blood Shower Power! In this episode Dorothy Zbornak (Amanda By Night) appears as a foil to Laverne Todd (Aunt John)! We are here to present the crossing of Kindertrauma and my site as we present tonight's Name That Trauma! We are sort of like Svengoolie if he was an independent and sarcastic woman in the 80s. And by we, I mean mostly Aunt John who wrote about one of his earliest kindertraumas. Shelly Smith is tonight's other guest star, and she'll be acting alongside an angry house and a freaky shower.



Name That Trauma : Aunt John of Kindertrauma on a Bloody Bathroom

In the late ‘70s/ early ‘80s, my folks were still on top of their parenting game and strictly enforced a 9pm bedtime. Special exceptions were granted for very special episodes of The Incredible Hulk and that was about it. When the clock struck nine, you had to be in bed.

(Best Sophia Petrillo voice) So picture this... one night a young Aunt John awakes after the mandatory bedtime and comes down stairs in his family's split-level home looking for a glass of water. He is wearing footed pajamas and he is parched.

When he gets to the kitchen, he spies his mother five steps down in the family room doing some ironing and watching TV. Knowing he should not be out of bed and if his Mom catches him -- there will be a shit-storm of epic proportions, Aunt John takes a seat on the top of the stairs from the kitchen to the family room to see what his Mom is watching. Usually she is watching the taboo series The Love Boat or Fantasy Island -- taboo in the sense that both air after 9pm.

This night, however, it was different because it was neither The Love Boat nor Fantasy Island, there was a blonde lady getting into a shower who clearly was not Cruise Director, Julie McCoy. The water started and then it turned to blood.

Aunt John picked himself up from that top step and ran back to bed. Glass of water be damned, he was not thirsty. For years and years, he thought about that scene, especially when he would be taking showers in strange bathrooms, and he would wonder where it came from.

Flash forward to when Aunt John finally meets up with Unkle Lancifer 25 some odd years later and they came up with the idea for Kindertrauma. Along with Dark Night of the Scarecrow and Snowbeast, This Is House Possessed stands as one of Aunt John’s personal Name That Traumas!

We all have them.



Blood Shower Gallery:








Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This Caelum Possessed



I've know Caelum Vatnsdal under several names through the years. Originally we became buds on a horror movie webgroup where he posted as Kraken and The Mighty Kraken. Then I knew him as the author of the incredible book They Came From Within: A History of Canadian Horror Cinema, which is where I learned his real name (and am hard pressed to pronounce it correctly!). Then, I saw him over at Kindertrauma where he shows up under the name Walter Paisley, and now he tells me I can find him as the "Exclamation Point Provider" on the Hi! It's Burl blog! Whew, from a kraken to punctuation marks, Caelum has always been a good guy, a great writer, and someone who was equally obsessed with This House Possessed (OK, maybe not equally because that would make him deranged)! I was so happy and honored that he was willing to give me a few words in an attempt to separate his convoluted memory from a convoluted film!

And when you are done here, please stop by Burl's blog and check out his This House Possessed review!




This House Possessed
Memories Brought to You by the Letter C... for Caelum!

How unusual is it to feel a tremendous fondness for a movie you remember almost nothing about? It’s proof, if it were still needed, that movies, even schlocky TV movies, can affect us on a purely emotional level and achieve an importance well beyond what their actual artistic merit can bear.

What I remember best about This House Possessed is the lead-up to it, actually: the excitement created by the promos that no doubt filled the airwaves in advance of its February, 1981 broadcast date. This was the way it was with any Television Event, from the Night of Kings (a double feature of King Kong ’76 and The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb) to the genuine 3D broadcast of Gorilla At Large (glasses available at your local 7-11!) to the sprawling epic that was Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. Anything vaguely horror or sci-fi was, for me, a big night of TV, and so This House Possessed qualified in spades.


If I make everything pretty the bad will go away, right?

I dutifully sat down and thrilled to the movie on that dark February night, and the next day it was the talk of the schoolyard. I’ve thought about it often in the thirty years since, but my actual hard memories have narrowed to the following: 1) One of the Hardy Boys was in it; 2) The house was of classic California Modern design, rather than the spooky, cobweb-strewn piles that were more typical of the genre; 3) the house liked to watch what was going on inside of it on a closed-circuit TV system; and 4) it featured a scene in which some kind of fire-spitting electrical cable was whipping around a kitchen, shooting sparks at the Hardy Boy and his girlfriend.

And that’s about it. Despite the title, I’d assumed, probably because of the frequent shots of TV monitors, that it was more of a Demon Seed situation involving a computer-run dwelling than a standard possession. Recently I watched the movie again, or at least kind of skimmed through it, and frankly I’m still not sure. Essentially, I think, the house is a creepy pedophile stalker, possessed by little more than its love for seven year-old girls and cringe-inducing yacht rock. It’s not a house that thinks things through: its plot to reclaim the girl of its dreams, now that she’s grown up into cute nurse Lisa Eilbacher, is so ludicrously convoluted as to defy belief, the more so since it depends on the appeal of Parker Stevenson singing some of the most dreadful elevator music ever committed to tape.


The TV makes a love connection!

But kids don’t care about any of that; and that is why I loved This House Possessed when I was nine; and that is why I love it today. On top of the hazy but pleasant memories, the movie offers some surprisingly gruesome deaths for a TV movie – Slim Pickens, who plays the world’s most unlikely soft-rock manager, gets an especially bloody demise. I was a little disappointed to find that the fire-spitting cable scene I remembered turned out to be an invention, or at least an amalgam of several different scenes, but isn’t that always the way with childhood memories? Even when they’re TV movies starring Parker Stevenson, Lisa Eilbacher and Slim Pickens, they’re never quite as great in real life as they are in your mind.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This Micky Possessed



I met Micky Worley through the always friendly comment section of Kindertrauma, but while we shared a love of childhood sufferings, we ended up bonding over our unbridled lust for Parker Stevenson. And through this common obsession, we established a pretty kickass friendship. But I'd smack her down if she stood between me and Parker! But I'm sure she'd do the same! (By the way Micky, I'm kidding, I'm sure you could whoop my sorry behind anyday!)

Micky (aka Mickster) was kind enough to take a few minutes to offer up why she loves House the way she does... and believe it or not, not all of it has to do with Parker!



This House Possessed
Brought to You by the Memories of Mickster

My family always enjoyed made-for-TV scary movies. My dad was the scary movie fan because my mom claims now that she does not like scary movies. Anyway, when This House Possessed appeared in the TV Guide circa 1981, it was a cinch that the Mickster family would be watching. I know personally that I was extra excited since it starred my favorite Hardy Boy, Parker Stevenson (Ahh, the mere mention of his name makes me giddy as a school girl). The movie did not disappoint! Parker is super-sexy singing some cringe-worthy tunes. Lisa Eilbacher is beautiful as his nurse with a mysterious past. I will say that I would not have been pushing Parker Stevenson’s character away for getting a little too fresh the way she did, but that is just the old Mickster fantasizing. The title character in the movie, which is the ultra modern possessed house in question, is to die for…literally. Except for the house killing and/or terrifying all the visitors, it is perfect! If the house let the owners chose whom to kill or terrify, it would be perfect! Someone needs to get off his or her duff and release this spooky classic on DVD immediately!


He's so beautiful, she can't even look at him!

There's lots of Mickster-ness to be found at Kindertrauma, but why don't you start with her review of Jack's Back

Friday, October 14, 2011

These Sisters Possessed


Seriously, who doesn't love a good catfight? While we don't get to see Sheila and Tanya square off too much in House, the potential for squashed white clogs and torn fur stole madness is always there. Carol and Jeanette McMahon are sisters who I don't think get into too many catfights. I feel this way mostly because I know they share a deep love for House, and that has to be the one bond that brings people together...

They both wrote a little ditty for me about why they love the house that loved the girl that loved the rock star. Let's proceed, shall we?


Carol McMahon:

What's not to love about This House Possessed? You've got hotty hot hot Parker Stevenson being a rock star, Shelly Smith being trashy, dopey Slim Pickens, and a super creepy old lady who lives in a shack. I love so many things about this made for TV movie that it's hard to narrow it down for this little retrospective - so I'm gonna get out my vaseline coated skylight filter and sorta generalize in a hazy way.

One of the things I love most about This House Possessed is just how far, as an adult, you have to suspend your disbelief for this movie. I mean, watching it as a kid it all makes perfect sense (and, believe it or not, is actually scary), but as an adult, you really can't think about it too much. You can't analyze it at all. You have to just let if float over you. You have to believe that a house can not only become obsessed with a child, but also has the capability of using any TV in the general area as an ersatz monitor. You have to believe that a woman can be covered in blood that is spraying out of a shower nozzle one minute, and then can waltz out the front door with no evidence of blood on her. And you have to believe, with all your heart, that a house can, within seconds, turn the temperature of a swimming pool up to the boiling point in order to kill a creepy old lady.

Watching This House Possessed makes me yearn for the days when nothing had to fit into a perfect little box to make sense. It makes me get all nostalgic for that feeling of getting lost in a story - any wacky, silly, crappy story - and thinking that every single turn of events is completely and totally plausible. I mean, it is possible for a house to love a little girl and remain obsessed with her as she becomes an adult, and, not only, keep tabs on a rock star in a club through an analog TV set, but also, cause him to faint and then recover from the fainting attack in the same hospital where the grown-up girl now works (and where the rock star can somehow still be monitored through that same TV set), thereby luring the grown-up girl back to the house so as to entrap her there forever. It could totally happen.

Oh, This House Possessed, you always make me feel like a kid again.


Jeanette McMahon:

First of all, I was in the Parker Stevenson camp of Hardy Boys fans, so it was destined for me to hold this cheesefest of a made-for-TV horror flick close to my heart. It has everything - hairless chest shots of Parker as Gary Straihorn, a temperamental and questionable rock star (complete with the song "Sensitive You're Not," the one that inspired the embroidered tea towel that my sister made for me); A chemistry-free love story between Parker and Lisa Eilbacher (who also did her time on Hardy Boys), who plays Sheila, a live-in nurse helping him recover from the stress of rock stardom; a simultaneous chemistry-free love story between Sheila (or Margaret, according to the house) and the house itself - a house which is an awesome brown and tan vision of late '70s/early '80s rock star glamour and architecture; Slim Pickins as the affable rock star manager (who doesn't need more Slim Pickins?!); a creepy, cryptically prophetic "rag lady" with smeary lipstick and bottlecap-lensed eyeglasses (played by Joan Bennett, the original matriarch on Dark Shadows); multiple murders that scared the crap out of me as a kid (my favorite being a toss-up between the librarian's electrocuting/crushing gate death and the rag lady's overheated pool death); Sheila/Margaret's final pleading words directed at the house, which is going up in flames, "If you love me, you'll let him go - you'll let me go! Oh, please!" Even Barry Corbin and David Paymer make appearances. What's not to love?


This smeary faced lipstick lady is for you, girls!

Do you know what else there is to love? The blogs these girls run! Please check out Carol McMahon at Craftypants Carol Fancy Crafty World and then go on over to Jeannette's faboo JLMShisksablog for more of the awesome!

And do you know what's even way cooler than that? Here is a look at the ultra-incredible This House Possessed dishtowel Carol made for Jeannette:


And Jeanette sent me this supremely cool bootleg box art. The house looks mad:


Hey girls, if you ever want to adopt another TV movie luvin' sister, I've got my paperwork ready. And I'm house-trained!