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.

SALEM HORROR FEST: Morgiana (1972)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This movie was watched as part of Salem Horror Fest. You can still get a weekend pass for weekend two. Single tickets are also available. Here’s the program of what’s playing.

Juraj Herz is most often associated with the Czechoslovak New Wave and his 1969 film The Cremator. A Holocaust survivor who had sixty of his family die in the camps, he was a self-taught director who gravitated toward horror while also keeping his eye toward fairy tales. He commented once that dark humor was a form of expression and he believed that even serious films should be laughed at.

Based on Alexander Grin’s Jessie and Morgiana, this film explores the hatred between two sisters, Klara and Viktoria, both played by Iva Janžurová. Yes, their father may have given all of his fortune to Klara, but Viktoria is left with a small castle of her own. But the final push toward the overwhelming resentment  Viktoria feels is when her sister falls for the man she loves, Lieutenant Marek.

That’s when she begins to work alongside Otylie, a gypsy sorceress, to create a poison that no one will ever discover has killed her sister. As Klara grows ill, Otylie takes advantage and begins to blackmail Viktoria, who responds by literally casting her into the sea.

And while Klara is always clad in white and seemingly the damsel in distress, her sister is forever in black but worse, unable to escape not only the guilt and shame, but even the ghost of Otylie who will never leave her even in death.

So who is Morgiana? Why, she’s the cat. A cat so essential that she has her own point of view shots throughout the film.

The write-up for this film promises that the poison given to Klara open her mind to “kaleidoscopic hallucinations” and that is, if anything, less hyperbole than it should be. This movie practically explodes and delivers a cosmic freakout filled with ancient Tarot cards, distorted lenses and a deluge of only the fanciest of clothes (the hat budget on this movie had to be excessive), the most extravagant of makeup and filled with sonic fury, delivered by Lubos Fiser, who also composed the music for Valerie and Her Week of Wonders.

This movie is drugs and I want to overdose.

Night Gallery season 2 episode 15: Green Fingers/The Funeral/The Tune in Dan’s Cafe

There are three stories in this episode, which often feels like too much, but I promise to be open minded as we get close to the end of the second season of Night Gallery.

“Green Fingers” was directed by John Badham from a Rod Serling script, which was based on an R.C. Cook short story. Elsa Lanchester (once the Bride of Frankenstein) is Mrs. Bowen, who is great with a garden but in the way of Michael Saunders (Cameron Mitchell), a real estate mogul just going near manic to get his hands on her home and develop the area around it. Yet when he sends a henchman named Crowley (George Keymas) to rough her up, Saunders learns that even in death, Mrs. Bowen can make anything grow. I really disliked how the ending breaks the fourth wall, as this feels more Laird than Serling.

“The Funeral” is about funeral director Morton Silkline (Joe Flynn) planning the final resting moments of Ludwig Asper (Werner Klemperer, Col. Klink). The budget is sky high, the guests include vampires and Jack Laird as Ygor and it’s basically one long blackout gag. Directed by John Meredyth Lucas and written by Richard Matheson, this left a bad taste in my mouth.

The final segment is “The Tune In Dan’s Cafe” and it has some of my favorite art of the entire series. It’s the only directing work of editor David Rawlins and has a script by Gerald Sanford and Garrie Bateson from a story by Shamus Frazer.

Joe and Kelly Bellman (Pernell Roberts and Susan Oliver) have a marriage that, well, is no longer a marriage. The vacation that was to save it failed and they’re left in this blank bar, the only people there, trapped in the void that is their lack of connection. The jukebox comes to like and only plays one song, the sad favorite tune of long gone couple Roy Gleeson (James Davidson) and his girl Red (Brooke Mills). She ratted him out to the police and took the money and ran. Now, that jukebox — every jukebox they put into Dan’s — keeps playing that same song.

Man, I loved this story and how great it looks, with repetitive images of the jukebox being destroyed. It elevated this entire episode.

It’s nice to be surprised by Night Gallery. Stick around when you watch this episode, as the final story really makes it.

APRIL MOVIE THON 2: The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here! (1972)

April 19: Weird Wednesday — Write about a movie that played on a Weird Wednesday, as collected in the book Warped & Faded: Weird Wednesday and the Birth of the American Genre Film Archive. Here’s a list.

Andy Milligan was a maniac who made movies filled with maniacs. By all reports, he was in the same constant bad mood as nearly every one of his characters, just as willing as them to start screaming no matter what, no matter when. This may have been because he inherited the same bipolar disorder or schizophrenia that his mother had. Forget the words of Stephen King, who said that Andy’s films were made by “morons with movie cameras” and instead, just imagine the chaos of each film’s shoestring budget set with a fastidious Andy melting down and then savor the results.

The other thing about the Milligan Cinematic Universe is that often there will be supernatural beings. The Mooneys in this movie are all werewolves who transform once a month on the night of the full moon. Pa (Douglas Phair) has spent nearly all of his near-two hundred years of life trying to cure his family, which includes his caretaker Phoebe (Joan Ogden), the sadistic Monica (Hope Stansbury) who mutilates vermin and Malcolm (Berwick Kaler), who is so far gone that he’s kept locked up.

There’s also Diana (Jackie Skarvellis), who has come back home from medical school along with a new husband named Gerald (Ian Innes). She’s the last hope for the Mooneys, as she is the only one who doesn’t gain fur once a month.

Shot in London — along with The Body Beneath, Bloodthirsty Butchers and The Man with Two Heads — new scenes were added when producer William Mishkin wanted to cash in on the success of Willard. Those scenes — one has Andy in it — were shot in his Staten Island home. Milligan had a hard time getting rid of the rats, even when he tried to give them away to the audience that would come to see this film. He also plays the gunsmith who creates silver bullets and Mr. Micawber, a man who sells flesh-eating rats that have already bitten off one of his arms and a lot of his face.

Despite being set a century before, we can see and hear cars, as well as see electrical outlets, but man, Andy made all the costumes himself by hand and I can just imagine him getting out the patterns and swearing the whole time, shouting about thimbles.

The greatest thing about this movie is the title, which had to lure people in because it’s so good and then people would be confronted by a toxic family just shouting and snipping and screaming and that’s the real movie, not the furry masks or flesh-consuming vermin. That’s what I’m here for.

Here’s a drink recipe to get you through the film.

Red Eyed Black Rat

  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 3 oz. dark rum
  • 2 oz. cola
  • 2 maraschino cherries

This one is pretty simple. Pour the juice, rum, then cola over ice and enjoy. For extra fun, drop in the cherries and pretend they’re rat eyes staring at you in the dark of the wasteland.

You can watch this on Tubi.

APRIL MOVIE THON 2: The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie (1972)

April 10: Nightmare USA — Celebrate Stephen Thrower’s book by picking a movie from it. Here’s all of them in a list.

Most folks know Jack Starrett from playing his Gabby Hayes-like character in Blazing Saddles. Or maybe they know him from all the biker movies like The Born Losers and Hells Angels on Wheels. Or maybe some of the other movies he directed, like Run, Angel, Run!Nam’s AngelsSlaughterRace with the DevilCleopatra Jones and Hollywood Man.

That said — I’ve never heard of this movie and it kind of blew my mind.

Virgil (Ken Howard, The White Shadow) is a traveling salesman who thinks, at first, that he’s going to have some easy sex with a girl he meets on the road, Rosalie (Bonnie Bedelia). But she’s too young, he’s too nice of a guy and, well, things feel too strange. They’re only going to get stranger.

Based on The Chicken by Miles Tripp, this was written by SAS soldier and sculptor Anthony Greville-Bell, who also wrote the script for Theater of Blood, another movie produced by his co-writer, John Kohn. Rosalie is a character who can only come out of fiction, a feral wild child who is also hopelessly gorgeous, yet starts the film burying someone and spends most of this movie decimating Virgil, leading him to break his leg and live out Misery years before the book was even written.

She claims that she had a dream that her grandfather had this house, a place where she has made Virgil into a near-invalid and where only one other person encounters them, Fry (Anthony Zerbe), a total scumbag who just wants the gold buried somewhere near the house. And by house, I mean falling apart shack somewhere in the dusty and abandoned American Southwest.

Also known as Someone to Watch Over Me, this movie somehow finds you cheering for Rosalie, as Virgil is the white upper class man who is brought low by sex appeal and, well, the ability for her to at once appear helpless and capable. For a movie with only one extended location and two characters taking up most of the running time, it works and Bedelia is incredible. Is it any wonder why she ended up in Needful Things and Salem’s Lot? Maybe King was karmically paying her back for outright stealing so much of her character in this movie.

You can watch this on YouTube.

NEW WORLD PICTURES MONTH: Cries and Whispers (1972)

How did this site come to have an Ingmar Bergman movie about four women dealing with cancer on it?

Roger Corman.

After nearly every film distributor in America rejected this movie — Bergman had only asked for an advance of $75,000 — New World Pictures bought it for $150,000 and spent an additional $80,000 to market it. It made a million dollar profit and was Bergman’s biggest American film ever.

Agnes (Harriet Andersson) is in the final stage of uterine cancer and her maid Anna (Kari Sylwan) and sisters Maria (Liv Ullmann) and Karin (Ingrid Thulin) have gathered. It’s hard for Anna, who has lost a daughter yet she has stronger faith than the sisters. This allows her to be more comfort to Agenes, while Maria is dealing with the fact that the man who broke up her marriage, David (Erland Josephson) is the doctor of her dying sister. So while

Both she and Karin have had their issues with men, as the affair with David led to Anna’s husband stabbing himself, an act close to what Karin did, stabbing herself in the genitals to avoid her husband’s touch. At the end, as the women deal with the death of their friend or sister, the best they can hope to have would be memories of one day.

There are many themes here, depending on what you wish to see. Bergman claimed it was influenced by dreams as a young child and his feelings about his mother. The four women can all be seen as one aspect of her. He also believed that this movie was as far as he could go in cinema, saying “I touched wordless secrets that only the cinema can discover.”

Is it about the Bible? The way women explore the world? Gender roles? Myth existing within the actual world? All of those things?

I’m just still amazed that somehow a Bergman movie ended up on this site next to all the Jess Franco and Dario Argento movies.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This was first on the site on March 18, 2018.

The basic story of Bone is simple: a rich couple deals with a home invasion. But this movie has Larry Cohen at the helm, so it’s going to be anything but basic. The man who is there to take them for everything soon learns that the couple is anything but rich. And they’re anything but happy.

Bernadette (Joyce Van Patten, St. Elmo’s FireGrown Ups) and Bill (Andrew Duggan, In Like FlintIt Lives Again) are a seemingly rich Beverly Hills couple. Bill’s a used car salesman who feels that he’s the only one working hard, symbolized by his wife refusing to even getting up to answer the phone while he cleans the pool. Then, a rat gets stuck in the drain. That’s what brings Bone (Yaphet Kotto, AlienLive and Let Die) into their lives.

Mistaking him for an exterminator, they ask him to pull the rat out. He does and instead of hiding it from them, he confronts them with it. He then takes them hostage as he goes through their home looking for money.

It turns out that the couple has little in liquid assets and is deeply in debt. Their son may be in Vietnam or he may be in jail. And it turns out Bill has a secret bank account that Bernadette knows nothing about. Bone commands him to clean out that account and bring him the money in an hour or he’ll rape and kill his wife.

Bill ends up taking his time as he realizes how little he loves his wife. He drinks with a lady (Brett Sommers from TV’s Match Game) that explains how her husband died from too many dental x-rays. Soon, he’s been seduced by a young girl (Elaine May’s daughter Jeannie Berlin, The Heartbreak KidInherent Vice) who steals from the system, attracted to her offbeat ways and youthful spirit.

He comes home without the money. But meanwhile, after learning how to make eggs — she doesn’t cook anymore — Bernadette and Bone have gotten drunk and ended up on the couch together. He explains to her how raping white women and the black mystique used to take him so far, but today, black and white love is commonplace. What started as him continually saying he was going to rape her has turned and she begins to seduce him, kissing him and “doing all the work.” He talks about how black men have trouble now making love and she tells him that it’s not just black men.

After they bond, Bernadette tries to convince Bone to help her murder Bill for his insurance. They ride the bus to the end of the line, then chase Bill to the beach. He tries to win them over with a used car pitch to keep him alive, but Bernadette smothers and kills him. Bone realizes that he wants nothing to do with this life and leaves.

On Cohen’s website, the characters in this film are broken down by how they relate to the world: Bill is The Establishment who may be open to change. Bernadette is liberation and feminism that has been held down. The X-Ray Lady is the real Establishment, the old guard ready to die off. The Girl is the hippy love generation already giving way to the darkness of the 70’s. Then there’s Bone — facing racism but willing to play with it to get what he wants, as he says, “I’m just a big bad buck, ready to do what’s expected of him.” He even talks about how he’s held onto the past, enjoying his part of the world of racism because it was easier and there was a role. Now, in this new world, he doesn’t know who to be.

The character work in this film is superb. Witness the scene where the girl explains to Bill how she was raped as a child and that’s why she’s attracted to old men like him. Even when he tries to connect with her by telling her about the Street & Smith pulps he bought as a kid, she still tries to connect him to the rapist who took her virginity as she begins to make love to him.

If I didn’t say it yet, Yaphet Kotto is fucking amazing in this movie. His performance is quite literally a tour de force. He’s always great in everything he’s in, but in this film, he’s transcendent. I also love that he borrowed Cohen’s red sweater for a scene late in the movie and never returned it.

Amazingly, this was Cohen’s first film. It’s assured and poised, straddling the line between art film and exploitation.

NEW WORLD PICTURES MONTH: The Big Bird Cage (1972)

I always say, “This movie has an all star cast” and often I mean, “It has an all star cast for me.” This would be one of those times, but man, look at this cast:

Anitra Ford, forever Laura from Messiah of Evil.

Pam Grier, taking her third trip into WIP hell for New World.

Sid Haig, as always making movies better just by being in them.

You can say the same for Vic Diaz.

And Carol Speed, Abby herself!

Grier and Haig play Blossom and Django, fun loving criminals and radical guerillas who kidnap Terry (Ford) during one of their crime sprees and get her sent up to a jungle prison hell. The kind of jungle prison that has a big dangerous device for processing sugar that keeps claiming the lives — life is cheap in a Jack Hill directed and written movie — of the inmates.

The script gets flipped when Diaz plays a gay guard and Haig has to seduce him to start the big jailbreak. But can Terry forgive Blossom and Django? Or will there be a reckoning once they escape the bamboo bars of the Bird Bird Cage?

Other prisoners include Candice Roman (The CultUnholy Rollers) as Carla, who seemingly will bed anyone; Speed is a sex worker; Marissa Delgado is losing her mind; Ted Bracci (The Centerfold GirlsHuman Experiments) makes with the jokes and Karen McKevic plays the six foot butch.

Beyond Ford being hung by her hair in this movie — that has to be someone’s fetish — she is dropped off at a cove in the beginning of the film that was also used in Apocalypse Now. As for Hill, he’d follow this movie by making two starring roles for Grier: Coffy and Foxy Brown.

NEW WORLD PICTURES MONTH: Night Call Nurses (1972)

Jonathan Kaplan’s directing career took him from Truck Turner and this movie to Heart Like A WheelThe Accused and Brokedown Palace. Recommended to Roger Corman by Martin Scorsese, he made one of the many nurses movies that New World Pictures released.

Written by George Armitage and Danny Opatoshu, NIght Call Nurses follows the formula or so it seems, introducing three student nurses: Janis (Alana Stewart, who was also Alana Hamilton, as she was married to both Rod and George once), Sandra (Mittie Lawrence, The New Centurions) and Barbara (Patty Byrne, Fuzz). The script changes early as this starts with a suicidal jumper and has each of the girls deal with the hospital’s inefficiency, racism and sexism as their stories unfold. Sandra falls for a trucker hooked on speed. Barbara breaks a radical named Samson (Stack Pierece) out. And Sandra gets caught up in a free love cult.

Nearly every man in this movie is horrible, from Dick Miller’s sleazy truck driver and Dr. Bramlett (Clint Kimbrough) to Dennis Dugan as a transvestite nurse who is stalking the girls and isn’t afraid to carry a meat cleaver. The free love encounter group also has Lyllah Torena (Fly Me) and Dixie Peabody (Bury Me an Angel) in it.

This was the first film produced by Julie Corman. In Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen and Candy Stripe Nurses – Roger Corman: King of the B Movie, Kaplan said, “I’d never seen a Nurses movie. Corman laid out the formula. I had to find a role for Dick Miller, show a Bulova watch and use a Jensen automobile in the film. And he explained that there would be three nurses: a blonde, a brunette, and a nurse of color; that the nurse of color would be involved in a political subplot, the brunette would be involved in the kinky subplot, and the blonde would be the comedy subplot. The last thing he said was “There will be nudity from the waist up, total nudity from behind, and no pubic hair.” Now get to work!” He soon figured out that all he had to do was “deliver the nudity, the thrills, the kinkiness, and the comedy, that had become Roger’s trademark — and I did.”

I mean, it’s hard to hate a movie with the tagline “It’s always harder at night.”


After Angels Hard As They Come, Joe Viola and Jonathan Demme went to the Philippines to make this women in prison film. This time, nurses Bunny (Andrea Cagan, who went from acting to ghostwriting memoirs for Pam Grier, Grace Slick and Diana Ross), Lynn (Margaret Markov, Run, Angel, Run!), Ellie (Rickey Richardson, Bonnie’s Kids) and Sue (Laurie Rose, The Wizard of Speed and Time) are kidnapped by resistance fighters and asked to teach them medicine. They escape, get taken by the even worse corrupt government the guerrillas are up against and now we have a New World Pictures movie.

Unlike so many other WIP films, there’s not as much assault in this, so it has that going for it. However, it’s more like they tried to sneak in some lessons about politics instead of making an exploitation movie. It’s a noble thought, but when you call your movie The Hot Box and have a poster with a topless woman —  other than bullets covering her — in cutoffs blasting a machine gun, you expect something else.

That something else would be Caged Heat, which Demme would get to direct after Corman saw how well he did on second unit for this movie.

You can watch this on Tubi.