Monday, June 12, 2017

The Twilight Zone - Execution



I can think of few Twilight Zone episodes—Black Leather Jackets, Caesar and Me, The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine to name three off the top—that could better exemplify the show at its most average and unextraordinary as Execution. It just doesn’t reach out and grab you with its story or characters, and this coming from the first season when the show was just hitting its stride. I think visually it is rescued from the doldrums of Black Leather Jackets and Caesar and Me, but for the most part this could be the worst episode dealing with time travel. And never has an ending been more contrived and unsubtle in getting its point across. I have to admit that the reason I chose this as my next TZ episode to write about for the blog was it came to mind when I was putting together my write-up for Back There, due to Russell Johnson’s involvement in both that episode (which also deals with time travel but a bit more ambiguously) and Execution. All that said, Execution doesn’t even exist in the same playing field as Back There. Hell, Execution is minor leagues. Well, maybe it is peewee baseball. Just the same, that isn’t necessarily to blame the actors. They just didn’t have a lot to work with.

Salmi (the space pirate, Captain Tucker of Lost in Space fame) is a shady, disreputable, unapologetic, conscienceless criminal in 1880, being taken to a barren tree to hang for shooting a kid in the back. He is about to perish as the horse under him is popped on the ass but a scientist, played by Johnson, “rescues him” through a time travel machine, not realizing such a terrible mistake it was. Salmi let loose on New York City, unprepared and not ready for such activity (the “noise” of the city is tough on his ears), turning on Johnson because the scientist irritates him about good behavior, justice, and knowing right from wrong in conversation. This conversation, unwisely by someone who is supposed to be highly intelligent, is aggressively initiated by Johnson knowing that he’s felt this “disquiet, something in the eyes and face about him”—meaning Salmi—towards Salmi, and the results (Salmi breaking a lamp over his head, killing him, as Johnson went for a gun) are not the least bit surprising. I look down on Johnson and couldn’t necessarily feel sympathy because he just knew better and yet asserted his opinion on Salmi not taking into account, it seems, how this rather unpleasant-looking fellow might react. Wouldn’t precaution be the order of the day? If I felt some discomfort with this guy I plucked from 1880, wouldn’t I be careful how to address him? Yet Johnson goes right at him about conscience and proper civilized behavior. Salmi then retaliates with his retort on “well, Mr. Fancypants, how would you survive in the Old West where there’s cold, poverty, and lack of a good place to sleep?” and Johnson has nothing to say. In fact Johnson looks like a dummy when Salmi properly tones him down by telling him that he should step into that time travel contraption and journey backward to 1880 and see how he’d make out / survive.



I think the best sequence of the episode, besides the cool silhouette of hanging men, is Salmi’s terror on the city streets—a direct opposite reaction from FW Murnau’s Sunrise where the city is astonishing not horrifying—as he confronts the bright lights of neon, the harsh sounds of cars and the juke box, and a gunslinger on a television set. Breaking apart the juke box with a chair, shooting the television using Johnson’s gun (and then shooting at a cop), ripping apart a phone booth he gets “trapped inside”, and encountering another thief in the night when he retreats back to Johnson’s office; Salmi’s anguish and anxieties are heightened stylistically (in direction and performance). That alone pretty much saved it for me from totally just shitting on it. Johnson is so utterly wasted…I’m glad I have Back There to keep the sour taste out of my mouth. Salmi is good at heels so his “waste of humanity” suits his face and style, although I think he is also a rather effective actor in the right authoritarian part when need-be. I dug the shot of a fallen Johnson, the shattered lamp all around him, and the recording equipment playing back his reservations about the kind of man he used his time traveling machine on. The part with the burglar (complete with scar on the eye!) is just quite a loud point towards comeuppance. Salmi meets his 1960 counterpart in Than Wyenn and doesn’t outlast him…Wyenn strangles him with the rope from a curtain, pretty much a less flattering means of suffocation as compared to the “neck tie party” version of meeting his end in the Old West. Wyenn, then, inexplicably, turns on the machine and goes inside it! Then off he goes to the rope meant for Salmi, suffering the lynching meant for the crook he had just strangled! It is preposterous and highly implausible. I often do go with it, but this means of giving Wyenn justice is just too much to swallow. That said, seeing him in the Old West and the reaction of those who sentenced Salmi to die is rather amusing…it is quite an image.



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Dexter - Seeing Red

Sure enough, Pellegrino pops up yet again, as Rita's loathsome, trouble-making ex. Tonight's episode presented Dexter with yet anoth...

Ahs

Ahs

Edc

Edc
Blog's Dead all Over
"... perhaps we invent artificial terrors to cope with the real ones."

--host, Donald Pleasence, Terror in the Aisles (1984)

Sbut

Sbut
Snip. Snip

Hal

Hal
There are many things under the sun
---Dr. Werdegast, The Black Cat

hal1

It's Halloween, everyone's entitled to one good scare.

Jtm 2

Jtm 2

Rave

Rave

Mrub

Mrub

Gb

"Back off, man. I'm a scientist."

--Ghostbusters

sm6

sm6

Rv1

Rv1

Nas

Nas

nos3

nos3

Lok

Lok

Po

Po

Ra6

Ra6

dawn

dawn

Dracula's Daughter ('36)

Countess Zaleska: Be thou exorcised oh Dracula, and thy body long undead find destruction throughout eternity in the name of thy dark unholy Master.

mh2

mh2

z2

z2

Hiii

Hiii

Fred

Fred

Ghspo

Ghspo
Movie, so-so, but poster, cool

Enl

Enl

nos4

nos4

gm

To a new world of gods and monsters!


No 2

No 2
Jason Lives

clothes line

clothes line

Ahorr

Ahorr

Cbi1

Cbi1
Case of the bloody iris

Wsha

Wsha

Mouth3

Mouth3
In the Mouth of Madness

Fdfn2

Fdfn2
Freddy's Dead '91

Vyr

Vyr
Vampyres 1974

Sh fr

Sh fr
Friday the 13th Part 2

Vlov

Vlov
Carmilla's kiss

f133

f133

Edpos

Edpos

Ttf2

Ttf2

Jm2

Jm2
El Hombre Lobo

Psycho '60

It's sad, when a mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son. But I couldn't allow them to believe that I would commit murder. They'll put him away now, as I should have years ago. He was always bad, and in the end he intended to tell them I killed those girls and that man... as if I could do anything but just sit and stare, like one of his stuffed birds. They know I can't move a finger, and I won't. I'll just sit here and be quiet, just in case they do... suspect me. They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching... they'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly..."

Kife

Kife
Knife is calling, Psycho 2

Meg

Meg
Meg Tilly, Psycho II

ring 2

ring 2
the ring 2002, "the tape"

poster

poster

exor1

exor1
"the visitor" The Exorcist (1973)

Conj

Conj

Tz1

Tz1
"Masks", Twilight Zone

In the kitchen, The Shape

In the kitchen, The Shape
In the kitchen, The Shape

exc4

exc4

Ps56

Ps56

Hun

Hun
Murders in the Rue Morgue 1932

Ps89

Ps89

Cof

Cof
Victor and Paul, with their Monster

pcushig

pcushig

His

His

Efny

Efny

sus

sus
I'm going to grind you down to blood and screams.

--Innocent Blood 1992
Rest in Peace, Robert Loggia

wb

Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.

WZ

WZ

Edfen

Edfen
"Do not enter the city...It belongs to the dead now."

h1

h1
Look behind you!

Bs

Bs
"There is no terror in the bang, only the anticipation of it."
--Alfred Hitchcock

linnea

linnea

Amer

Amer
Taste of metal

The h gang

The h gang

Nlc

Nlc
Old Skool Nostalgia

Hp

Hp

Smoke

Smoke
Got a smoke?

Strek

Strek
Live long and prosper

Hill

Hill

Castle

Castle

SRW

"This seems to be the place where the plot begins to thicken..."
--Spooks Run Wild (1941)

Frere and dummy

Frere and dummy

Mlove

Mlove

Alone/dark

"There are no crazy people, doctor. We're all just on vacation."

--Alone in the Dark (1982)

Lips

Lips

Fhz

Fhz

Ph

Ph

Vestron

Vestron
Vintage VHS

sm 3

sm 3

Monique parent

Monique parent
Erotique in Review

Were5

Were5

f13

f13
November 2015

Bmate

Bmate

--Wes Craven

I think there is something about the American dream, the sort of Disneyesque dream, if you will, of the beautifully trimmed front lawn, the white picket fence, mom and dad and their happy children, God-fearing and doing good whenever they can, and the flip side of it, the kind of anger and the sense of outrage that comes from discovering that that's not the truth of the matter, that gives American horror films, in some ways, kind of an additional rage.

Ms45 w

Ms45 w

Churcvh

Churcvh
The Church 1989

Ww

Ww
The Whip and the Body 1963

Lsho

"Now, no novacaine....it dulls the senses"

--Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

Christopher Lee

Every actor has to make terrible films from time to time, but the trick is never to be terrible in them.

Vampyros lesbos

You are one of us now. The Queen of the Night will bear you up on her black wings

The Unknown 1927

No....not sick. But I have lost some flesh.

Alonzo, the Armless.

Ckvh

Ckvh

Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)

Glen: We'd like to speak to the Townsends, please.

The Butler: They are not available till after sunset.

Bw5

Bw5

Jill

Jill

Mad Love 1935

Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: Gala - who? Not wanting a statue of him, are you?

Doctor Gogol: I don't want a statue of Galatea. You see, she was a statue herself. Pygmalion formed her. Out of marble, not wax. And then she came to life in his arms.

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [calling to his assistant] Start the motor, Henry. There's queer people on the streets of Montmartre at this time of night.

Doctor Gogol: [handing him his card] Here, a hundred francs if you deliver the statue to my house.

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [reading card] It's a go, Dr. Go... gol. First thing in the morning.