Parent Trap: Hawaiian Honeymoon (1989)

Seven months after the third movie, everyone goes to Hawaii. Yes, Susan Wyatt and Sharon Grand (Hayley Mills), the Wyatt twins — Lisa, Jesse ad Megan (Leanna, Monica and Joy Creel) — and their dad Jeffrey (Barry Bostwick). Jeffrey has inherited a resort just in time for his honeymoon with Susan. Sharon plans on taking care of the girls, but seeing as how this was a two-parter, there has to be some drama.

Mollie Miller directs (she also did the third movie) and this was written by John McNamara, who created the series Aquarius and The Magicians.

This movie has my favorite thing ever happen: both Susan and Sharon have exactly one photo of themselves together from their childhood and, of course, it’s the publicity photo of them in the tent from the first film. No one was there with a camera. It would be impossible to have this image. And here it is, captured, a memory of their past which is our past which we remember directly than them.

Parent Trap III (1989)

Three years later and it’s time for more entrapment of parents.

Jeffrey Wyatt (Barry Bostwick) is the widowed father of identical triplet teenage girls — Lisa, Jessie, and Megan (Leanna, Monica and Joy Creel) — and after getting them off his hands all summer, he has to tell them that he’s now engaged to Cassie McGuire (Patricia Richardson), who is redesigning their family home with the help of Susan Evers (Hayley Mills), who has already divorced Brian Carey from the last film.

The girls have some drama too, as Lisa is dating two boys, David (Chris Gartin) and Hawk (Jon Pennell), and gets the help of her sister Jessie, who ends up having to sing Janet Jackson karaoke. Well, Lisa and her sister get in trouble and she responds by letting her dad know how much she hates Cassie. Susan then tells the girls that she did the same games with her sister when she was young.

You know what? They still play those games and this is one of those movies where the leads break up a marriage at the altar. Or before. At the storage shed, I guess.

Mills said that she would never do another sequel and here we are, after Good Morning, Miss Bliss became Saved By the Bell and she didn’t just make this one, she made the sequel, which was also directed by Mollie Miller. This was written by Deborah Amelon (who wrote Exit to Eden) and Jill Donner, who wrote Voyager from the Unknown and seven episodes of the series that would come from it, Voyagers!

The Parent Trap II (1986)

25 years after the first film, Sharon McKendrick Ferris (Hayley Mills) is a divorced single mother living in Tampa. Her daughter Nikki (Carrie Kei Heim) is a lot like her mom used to be: unhappy, sick of moving around and not wanting to attend an all-girls school.

As Nikki goes to summer school, she becomes friends with Mary Grand (Bridgette Andersen, who would go on to star in Cannon’s Too Much) and the two decide to fix up Mary’s dad Bill (Tom Skerritt) with Sharon and therefore get to see their parents happy and have their friendship not go long distance. When the first few dates don’t go well, the girls get Nikki’s aunt Susan Evers Carey (also Hayley Mills) involved.

Sharon figures it out and decides to go on a date with Susan’s husband Brian (Alex Harvey) and that seems like really taking things too far. Then again, Susan is on a date with Bill pretending to be Sharon, so who knows with these sisters who seem to swing.

Well, through the magic of tween trickery, Sharon and Bill get abandoned on a boat that goes out to sea and end up falling for one another. Oh Disney TV movies, how you twist, you turn and then you do things that make no sense after it seems like we’ve already reached the end of the movie.

If you’re a fan of Mills, the names Nikki Ferris and Mary Grand reference her parts in The Moon-Spinners and In Search of the Castaways.

Ronald F. Maxwell is an interesting pick for a Disney Channel director, seeing as how he made Little Darlings. This was written by Stu Krieger, who also was the scriptwriter for Where the Boys Are 84Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century and Phantom of the Megaplex.

There would be as long a wait until the next movie.

Night Gallery season 2 episode 17: The Miracle at Camafeo/The Ghost of Sorworth Place

As always, I enjoy when Night Gallery only has two stories and room to stretch out to better tell them. But are these tales worthy of the longer time they’ve been given?

“The Miracle at Camafeo” was directed by Ralph Senensky and written by Rod Serling from a story by C. B. Gilford. The holy shrine of the Nuestra Senora de Camafeo is supposed to be able to cure any damage to the human body. That’s why Joe (Ray Danton) and Gay (Julie Adams!) Melcor have come here. However, Charlie Rogan (Harry Guardino) thinks this is all part of a half-million-dollar insurance fraud.

Of course, he’s right. And he’s angry, because actually sick and infirm true believers come to this shrine every day, praying for intercession, and here comes Melcor, using it to be able to act like he can walk. Thing, as they often do in the Night Gallery, have a way of working out.

If this story is familiar, it was also used in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and was titled “Strange Miracle.”

Senesky directed both stories tonight. “The Ghost of Sorworth Place” was written by Alvin Sapinsley and inspired by the story “Sorworth Place” by Russell Kirk. Ralph Burke (Richard Kiley) gets lost in the Scottish countryside and finds an old home in the middle of nowhere. Looking for lodging, he’s turned away by the maid, Mrs. Ducker (Mavis Neal Palmer), but the house’s owner, Ann Loring (Jill Ireland!) directs him to a local inn.

She invites him to tea, but not before he learns that she’s a widow. Her philandering husband had a weakness for alcohol — and “the evil” — and Ralph wonders why she stayed in this small town. That’s when this gets weird — and wild — as Ann tells him that she can’t enjoy physical love after her abusive marriage, but needs a man who will protect her from her husband’s ghost. And he’s coming…tonight.

This is a tense episode with an ending that lives up to the build.

The director has a blog and man, it has some great insights into this episode, including an admission that he sees it in a better light today: “In December, 1971 at age 48 I thought THE GHOST OF SORWORTH PLACE was a failure. Now in March, 2020 at age 96 I’m not as sure.”

This story was filmed back to back — with two days break — with the first story in this episode. And those steps that cause the end of this tale, well, they’re the same steps from last episode’s tumble for Mr. Peddington.

Wow! An episode that I have no complaints about. What a magical time!

When Michael Calls (1972)

Helen Connelly (Elizabeth Ashley) is going through a change in life, finally leaving her husband Doremus (Ben Gazarra). But maybe she misses him. And maybe she’s losing her mind, as she keeps getting phone calls from her fifteen years dead nephew Michael. And maybe it’s the supernatural because with each call, someone dies.

Before it’s all over, Michael’s brother Craig (Michael Douglas), a psychiatrist at a school for disturbed children, reveals that yes, that’s Michael’s voice; then no small manner of deaths happen, like a police officer’s body falling out of a tree in front of kids and someone murdered by bees.

When the movie moves from its ghost story origins in the latter half, it loses a bit. But it’s a fun TV movie that doesn’t ask much of you and delivers some small screen chills (and kills).

Based on the book by John Farris (who wrote the screenplays for The Fury and Dear Dead Delilah),  this is directed by Philip Leacock (Baffled, Dying Room Onlyten episodes of Gunsmoke) and written by James Bridges (he directed and wrote The Paper Chase and The China Syndrome).

For some reason, in the VHS era, this was re-released as Shattered Silence.

Deathmoon (1978)

Jason Palmer (Robert Foxworth, Frankenstein) has been having issues with stress and his doctor recommends a vacation. Hawaii sounds nice. Except, well, Hawaii is here Jason’s grandfather once worked there and got cursed by a coven and now, all of the Palmer males become werewolves.

It could happen.

Directed by Bruce Kessler (tons of TV work, including Cruise Into Terror) and written by Jay Benson and George Schenck (The Phantom of Hollywood), this movie mixes werewolves — without leis — with Joe Penny as a hotel detective and Palmer’s romance with Diane May (Barbara Trentham).

Not into it yet? What if I tell you that Debralee Scott of Welcome Back, Kotter and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman took a shower in it? A made for TV shower, you pervert! And for the ladies, Dolph Sweet, the gruff dad from Gimme a Break!

This has a fine time lapse transformation, but come on. We needed a scene where Palmer has a I Was a Teenage Werewolf freakout while wearing a Hawaiian shirt. That’s the kind of insanity I demand. That said, for a TV movie, this is fun.

Here’s a drink to go with the movie.

Cubby’s Cove

  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat (or you can substitute almond syrup)
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  1. Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a chilled glass and get ready to howl.

APRIL MOVIE THON 2: The Owl (1991)

April 28: Alan Smithee — IMDB has 115 movies credited to the Alan Smithee pseudonym, which was created by the Directors Guild of America for use when a director doesn’t want their name on a movie.

Alex L’Hiboux (Adrian Paul, Highlander: The Series) — his last name is the owl, get it? — is a vigilante who is known as The Owl because he hasn’t slept since his wife and daughter were killed eight years ago. Thanks to a young girl named Lisa (Erika Flores), he takes on a case to find her father and reconnects with the policewoman who helped him on the night of the tragedy that changed his life, Danny Santerre (Patricia Charbonneau).

Originally broadcast as a television pilot on CBS from 10:45 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. on Saturday, August 3, 1991 — this is what we call burning off a pilot — this was a 48-minute episode. When it was released on home video, every single shot ever filmed was reused and padded to make it 84 minutes long. Director and writer Tom Holland asked for his name to be taken off the home video.

Brian Thomson, who plays the bartender who is The Owl’s frenemy, was the Night Slasher in Cobra, Bozworth in Fright Night 2 (which Holland did not work on) and Shao Khan in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.  Oh yeah, speaking of people in Cannon movies, Rick Zumwalt — Bull Hurley from Over the Top, Joshua in Penitentiary III and Boom Boom in Rockula — also shows up. And holy Canadian crap, there’s Alan Scarfe, the dad from Cathy’s Curse!

You know why people liked the Punisher back before his logo became a Nazi flag for cowards? Because you could have empathy for what he’s been through. The Owl seems like such a jerk that it’s hard to ever feel anything for him.

Night Gallery season 2 episode 16: Lindemann’s Catch/A Feast of Blood/The Late Mr. Peddington

There are only seven episodes left in the second season of this show and here’s hoping that there’s some magic in this journey into the Night Gallery.

“Lindemann’s Catch” was directed by Jeff Corey and written by Rod Serling. In anyone else’s hands, the end of this story would be like the comedy moments that litter this series. Yet there’s a lot of sadness in this story of Captain Hendrick Lindemann (Stuart Whitman), a fisherman who finds a mermaid (Annabelle Garth). The rest of his crew dreams of the money they’ll make by exploiting her. He dreams of love. He wants her to be able to live on land with him and even magic can’t make that happen.

“A Feast of Blood” is directed by Jeannot Szwarc and written by Stanford Whitmore. The teleplay is based on “The Fur Brooch” by Dulcie Gray and that title refers to the strange gift that Sheila (Sondra Locke) has been given by the much older Henry Mallory (Norman Lloyd). She’d rather be with someone younger and handsome, anyone but Malloy. “I’d sooner die than stay with you,” she yells and she gets her wish.

“The Late Mr. Peddington” has Thaddeus Conway (Harry Morgan) meeting with the widow Cora Peddington (Kim Hunter, Planet of the Apes) to plan the funeral of her husband. She needs the cheapest affair possible, as her husband left her just a $2,000 life insurance policy to live on for two years before she is given his substantial wealth. Randy Quaid makes an appearance as the embalmer in a story that really goes nowhere, but what do you expect from Jack Laird? This was based on “The Flat Male” by Frank Sisk and directed by Jeff Corey.

This episode feels like it’s kind of stalled out. I’m holding out hope that there will be a few great stories. I know “The Sins of the Fathers” is coming and that’s the thing keeping these reviews coming. That said, “Lindemann’s Catch” has a cold and dreary feel and at the end, when the captain dives into the water, ready to choose death over a life without a love that he feels as if he has connected to, Serling shows power even in an episode with some of the silliest special effects. One should be upset or frightened at the end instead of feeling the urge to laugh. Otherwise, that’s the bright spot of this Night Gallery.

APRIL MOVIE THON 2: The O. J. Simpson Story (1995)

April 28: Alan Smithee — IMDB has 115 movies credited to the Alan Smithee pseudonym, which was created by the Directors Guild of America for use when a director doesn’t want their name on a movie.

The Alan Smithee here is Jerrold Freedman, a director who also made a lot of TV before ending his career with this, including episodes of The X-FilesNight Gallery and movies and TV movies like Kansas City BomberA Cold Night’s DeathUnholy MatrimonyThe Boy Who Drank Too Much and The Comeback.

Written by Stephen Harrigan, who also write a John Denver TV movie, this movie has to decide when OJ is a good guy and when he’s, well, a monster who beat and killed his second wife.

Bobby Hosea is Simpson and he was a former football player, which helped. Jessica Tuck is the doomed Nicole Brown Simpson. If you’re looking for famous people, well, there’s Terence Howard as young AC and Bruce Weitz as Robert Shapiro. But otherwise, one imagines that actors really avoided being in thsi cash-in movie, which was filmed in 1994 and not aired until after there was a jury for the trial.

The one thing I learned is that the biggest fight that OJ had with his wife, the one that led to the 911 call when he attacked her, was over her saying that he’d never win an Oscar being in a movie called The Naked Gun. Now, I’m not saying OJ was right, but I love The Naked Gun and Nicole nearly kept the world from seeing Nordberg going down the steps in a wheelchair. He’s still wrong and a murderer, but for that moment, for the first time ever, I understood a bit of how he felt. That’s filmmaking.

APRIL MOVIE THON 2: The Venus of Ille (1981)

April 25: Bava Forever — Bava died on this day 43 years ago. Let’s watch his movies.

In 1981, RAI-TV in Italy showed six hour-long films based on stories by 19th century horror/fantasy authors that were directed by several Italian genre talents, including Marcello Aliprand (the writer of L’arma, l’ora, il movent), Giulio Questi (Django Kill…If You Live, Shoot!Death Laid an EggArcana), Giovanna Gagliardo, Piero Nelli, Tomaso Sherman and, most essentially to this article, Mario Bava.

“La Venere Dille” (“The Venus of Ille”) would be the final filmed work that Bava would create and it was written and co-directed by his son Lamberto. Adapted from Prosper Merimee’s story, it starts when a bronze statue of Venus is uncovered. Originally a source of celebration and wonder to the rich and powerful, the workers of the small village see the female carved form as a cursed objet d’art that can move on its own and take on the form of others. Certainly, that’s what happens when Clara’s (Dario Nicolodi, who was also in Bava’s Shock amongst her many, many contributions to cinema) fiancee Alfonso (Fausto Di Bella) places her ring upon its finger while drunk one rainy night.

Meanwhile, an antiques expert and artist named Matthew (Marc Porel, The Sister of Ursula) has been summoned by Alfonso’s father Mr. de Peyrehorade (Fausto Di Bella) to assess the value of the statue. He’s been sketching it for some days before he realizes that he’s been drawing Clara. Or is the statue becoming her?

Shot in 1979 and not aired until after Bava’s death in 1981 (and after Lamberto started making his own movies, including Macabre), this was shot on film and therefore seems of much higher quality than just a TV series. It serves as both a fitting close to Mario’s career and a wonderful gift to his son, as well as an opportunity for the two to work together on a piece of art.

The whole affair looks gorgeous with one moment of rain across the face of the statue and another where Matthew is drawing near it but obviously already obsessed with Clara, the soon-to-be wife of a friend who doesn’t seem to be all that great of a person. The story doesn’t suffer at all from being a TV episode, as at a bit over seventy minutes it has time to stretch out and engage you.

You can get the entire series from Severin.

EDIT: Thanks to Scott for catching a horrible typo. Much appreciated.