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Sampo & Erhardt

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Episode guide: 1003- Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders

Movie: (1995) A grandfather tells his grandson a pair of stories featuring the legendary wizard Merlin.

First shown: September 12, 1999
Opening: M&tB are into 1920s-era college pranks
Intro: Pearl’s latest IMS assignment makes Servo a despotic ruler, briefly
Host segment 1: “Niche reviewers” Crow and Servo review each other
Host segment 2: Servo acquires a magical spell book, which turns Mike into an infant. Waah
Host segment 3: Mike shows off his collection of Ernest Borgnine childrens’ books
End: Bobo is disguised as an evil toy monkey
Stinger: Little kid sings: “Rock ‘n’ roll martian…”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (289 votes, average: 4.47 out of 5)

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• I’m doing these in episode number order, but in fact this was the last new episode of MST3K shown until season 11 came along. A rights problem developed with the movie, and the episode was put on the shelf for many months, and it was still on the shelf when the series finale aired in August of ’99. Finally, a few weeks later, it was finally cleared and shown. It WAS nice to get one more episode, but watching it was a little weird.
• But taken on its own, and leaving out the context, this one is pretty much in line with the “very good not outstanding” level of work we’d already gotten in the previous two episodes. The riffing is great, most of the segments are at least mildly amusing and this movie is very watchable.
• Mary Jo’s thoughts are here.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 5
References.
• It’s certainly not the first time we got a movie that was in fact two shorter films slammed together (see “Monster A Go Go” or any number of combo TV episodes) but it’s happening here too. The second half, the one involving poor bedeviled David and the evil monkey, was originally a short film called “The Devil’s Gift.” More about it here. The movie the kid is watching is clips from “The Devils’ Gift.”
• Lots of then-current references in this one, including then-household names like Madaleine Albright, Larry “Bud” Melman and Kenneth Starr.
• Segment 1 is great fun. Very well written.
• Obscure reference: “Mona!” It’s a reference to this commercial.
• I’d forgotten about all the many John McEnroe jokes. The guy does look like him. “Grow some hair, son.”
• Segments two and three are low-key and fun but not hugely memorable.
• In joke: “They just got ‘Barb Wire’ at Blockbuster!” The Pam Anderson movie “Barb Wire” came out, produced by the same movie company, as “MST3K: The Movie.” The cast managed to find out that a shortage of funds meant that only one of the two movies was going to get a wide release and plenty of promotion. “Barb Wire” was the horse they backed.
• LOTR reference: Shadowfax
• It’s not like this movie has any shortage of stupid dialog, but the line “You look like a man who likes his trinkets” takes the prize.
• I wonder who’s running Servo in last bit. Probably Patrick.
• The end segment, with Pearl addressing the camera while Bill and Kevin upstage her with a parody of the vacuuming bit from the movie, is very funny.
• Cast and crew roundup: No crew and only one member of the cast: George Milan was also in “War of the Colossal Beast.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike.
• Fave riff: “Remember to believe in magic, or I’ll kill you.” Honorable mention: “Tonight on ‘Old Lady Gets Killed.'”

193 Replies to “Episode guide: 1003- Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders”

  1. Rose from NJ says:

    #150 – for the longest time, I thought Crow was saying “Bat Guano”!

       6 likes

  2. Depressing Aunt says:

    #151 That’s funny, I used to hear it that way, too. I also used to think Crow and Tom were doing “mixed” reviews–because they had mixed feelings for each other–instead of niche reviews.

    This is another comfort episode for me; I’ve watched it too many times. (Last night, in fact–when I finally realized the kid’s dead fish was at the bottom of the bowl, not floating. That monkey really WAS evil!) The “movie” is engaging and bizarre, Ernest Borgnine gave a better performance than thing deserved. The host segments are fun, and I love Pearl’s big lipstick pout at the end while her minions are inexplicably reenacting the vacuum scene.

    I’m almost certain the plot was stolen from King’s story by the way. And someone really ought to make a movie about a Rock and Roll Martian.

       2 likes

  3. Alex says:

    Speaking of Barb Wire. I always found it strange Dark Horse comics (which is a smaller company than DC or Marvel) had about seven movies out in the 90s (The Mask, Timecop, Barb Wire, Virus, etc) based on their books and Marvel comics only had Blade. Weird. I guess it was because Dark Horse had a close relationship to the movie people because of all the adaptions they did.

    Dr. Giggles was an adaption, too. I remember it being mentioned on the Manos episode at the end of the ‘Hired!’ part.

    I love the part where they have the kid arguing about how the guy obviously died getting rid of the doll and Ernest Borgnine had to explain why he wasn’t dead.

       1 likes

  4. Sitting Duck says:

    @ #146 and #147: For that matter, Demonbane once had the anime version of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth told as a Beach Episode. Let that sink in.

       1 likes

  5. JC says:

    Dum dee dum dee dum, just taking my monkeyless garbage out to the curb… dum dee dum, I can’t wait to get back inside to my monkey…

       7 likes

  6. Jimmy Doorlocks says:

    Merlin’s “you’re welcome” has seen a lot of use between me and my girlfriend. It still cracks her up every time.

       6 likes

  7. Humberto says:

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       0 likes

  8. Cornjob says:

    Weekend topic: World leaders, current or past, that could use Fire Ants in their underwear. I nominate we start with Pinochet. Nobody wants to sit next to him anyway.

       2 likes

  9. seventies run on car says:

    “excuse my juicy belches” and “Is there any vodka cheaper than Popov’s” make for good interjections at family gatherings or job interviews.

       1 likes

  10. Pointrel says:

    I love this episode, and it’s a shame that the Rhino DVD was so badly botched. The dark transfer is clearly a massive technical mistake. I transferred my original S-VHS recording to DVD-R and am much happier watching that. It would be great if Shout revisited this episode in a future set.

       0 likes

  11. Not only did Rhino botch the transfer of Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders for their DVD release (part of Vol. 5), but they also messed up the info for the movie on the back cover. Instead of info for Merlin, there is instead a re-print of the info (episode number, cast list, B/W) for Hamlet (from the previous set, Vol. 4). :roll:

    Rhino seemed to have a lot of production problems with the MST dvds. Doesn’t keep me from wanting the ones I don’t have, though. :-))

       2 likes

  12. Savvy says:

    I’ve seen this movie twice now, and it’s a real creep-fest! It’s hard to see what they were going for, but it looks like a creepy, disturbing version of “Hocus Pocus”.

    – The goldfish Mike eats looks like a Swedish Fish candy to me. The whole “college prank” segment was an interestingly strange idea, but it’s funny how Crow takes forever to fall. It was probably extremely effective when it was shown on the SciFi Channel with half a dozen commercials in-between.
    – Besides this movie and “The Poseidon Adventure”, what else was Ernest Borgnine in?
    – Crow: “Um, I just came in to buy some shampoo.”
    – Tom: “You’re welcome!”
    – Typically in Latin.”
    Crow: “Dumb-a$$ language!”
    – Mike: “I utterly loathe you. Do you want to have a baby?”
    – Mike: “You know, I don’t like the way they’re portraying the devil. It’s so biased.”
    – “Now Chicken in a Biskit would be perfect with this!” Boy, what I wouldn’t do for a box of Chicken in a Biskit right now!
    – Mike and Tom trying to levitate an egg reminds me of the “Crow is Jack Elam” segment from “The Girl in Lovers’ Lane” where Joel and Tom try to create a vacuum with a bottle and an egg.
    – According to my dad, the mom’s hairstyle was popular in 1977. Unfortunately, this movie is NOT from the ’70’s.
    – I hope these parents rot in Hell. The dog died, dang it! The mother doesn’t smell the smoke and is out of it, and the dad is an idiot.
    – Crow: “I really should get my own pictures for these frames.”
    – Mike: “I think they’d better mow their gravel.”
    – Mike is right. This movie has the devil written all over it.
    – You know, you’d think Merlin would just be able to summon the monkey back.
    – So, what happened to the mom?
    – Brain Guy tries to knock Bobo off the table into a bag with a vacuum cleaner. “I love bags!”

       1 likes

  13. bartcow says:

    Apparently the “Old Lady Getting Killed” portion and the Evil Monkey portion are from the same original movie (The Devil’s Gift). But the Old Lady part looks firmy mid- to late-80s, while the Monkey part (except for the E.T. poster that gives it away) looks firmly late-70s. Weird.

    And it’s apparently not a MSTie cut that results in the mom disappearing for the last part of the movie; she was originally possessed by the monkey and tried to kill the kid. That was cut by the filmmakers to make Merlin’s Shop more “kid-friendly” or whatever the hell they were going for.

    Why do I feel the need to find The Devil’s Gift now? Why? Why do I do these things to myself?

       1 likes

  14. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Depressing Aunt:
    And someone really ought to make a movie about a Rock and Roll Martian.

    Either or both of these might qualify (I’ve seen neither):
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058440/plotsummary?ref_=kw_pl
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100116/plotsummary?ref_=kw_pl

       1 likes

  15. docskippy says:

    Sampo, has anyone in this thread given you crap about including “Intellivision” (late 70s-early 80s) in your list of “then-current references” alongside Kenneth Starr (mid-90s)? The former is a joke reference highlighting how clearly old the “Devil’s Gift” portion of “Merlin’s Chop” is; the Kenneth Starr reference is a genuine “then-current” reference.

       0 likes

  16. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    ADDENDUM:

    Oh, and here’s one whose title alone indicates that it qualifies:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1344607/plotsummary?ref_=kw_pl

       1 likes

  17. jay says:

    Evil Monkey –

    Right after I first watched MERLIN I came across the same little cymbal playing monkey in a thrift store. He came home with me and got a fresh set of batteries and a new home on top of the upstairs book shelves. Funny thing, though. Every time I went upstairs the little guy was turned around backwards. Apparently his demoniacal wide eyed stare was just too much for somebody. Bwa-ha-ha!

       3 likes

  18. Sampo says:

    docskippy:
    Sampo, has anyone in this thread given you crap about including “Intellivision” (late 70s-early 80s) in your list of “then-current references” alongside Kenneth Starr (mid-90s)? The former is a joke reference highlighting how clearly old the “Devil’s Gift” portion of “Merlin’s Chop” is; the Kenneth Starr reference is a genuine “then-current” reference.

    Fair enough. I thought Intellivsion was a 90s thing. It’s been removed.

       0 likes

  19. thequietman says:

    Electric skillets must go!

    After a terrific season opener and a very good follow-up with ‘Girl in Gold Boots’ this one falls into my ‘good, not great’ category. The aesthetic shift from early 90’s cable TV pilot to 80s short horror film is just too headscratching and the riffs, though definitely good in spots, seems to drag in the second half. The host segments are pretty ‘meh’ as well, with the exception of the Intro and segment 2. Servo’s panic is what makes the latter work.

    At least it’s safe to say Borgnine’s career was strong enough to survive this ill-considered piece. He arguably put more effort into being the whimsical grandpa than the role deserved.

    Fave riffs
    My tongue is a curly fry, honey. Can we talk later?

    This is the anime version of ‘Peter Rabbit’.

       0 likes

  20. bartcow:
    Apparently the “Old Lady Getting Killed” portion and the Evil Monkey portion are from the same original movie (The Devil’s Gift). But the Old Lady part looks firmy mid- to late-80s, while the Monkey part (except for the E.T. poster that gives it away) looks firmly late-70s. Weird.

    And it’s apparently not a MSTie cut that results in the mom disappearing for the last part of the movie; she was originally possessed by the monkey and tried to kill the kid. That was cut by the filmmakers to make Merlin’s Shop more “kid-friendly” or whatever the hell they were going for.
    Why do I feel the need to find The Devil’s Gift now? Why? Why do I do these things to myself?

    Pretty sure you CAN’T find the movie by now (remember seeing it on dusty VHS Blockbuster shelves, and then not seeing it) as it may have lost its plagiarism cease-and-desists from the obvious parties in Bangor, ME.
    Hence the reason Kenneth Berton not only made his chop-up salvage, but conjured up Borgnine as a lovable old grandpa screenwriter showing his kid all the movies he didn’t get to make…Nope, no one’s bitter.

    Not saying it’s impossible, though, if you’re aware it never got to get past VHS: https://www.amazon.com/Devils-Gift-VHS-Bob-Mendelsohn/dp/6300261042/

    thequietman:
    This is the anime version of ‘Peter Rabbit’.

    Ah, now that, OTOH, would be a dated 90’s reference, from the days when “Violent anime porn” was good for an uninformed troll-laff or two, ’cause, like, nerds were watching it and would get angry if you picked on it for…no real distinct reason.

       0 likes

  21. Sitting Duck says:

    Opening: M&tB are into 1920s-era college pranks

    Kids with their loud music and their hula hoops and their Tide pod challenges.

    This Guy:
    Mike’s riff about “Japanimation” reminds me of the time some members of my former college anime club were in Tennessee and were told by some people there that the whole medium consisted of “Japanese devil porn.”

    Yeah, that Go Nagai.

    JCC:
    Dan In WI – If that freaked you out about Borgnine (Star Trek character?), don’t search for “Ernest Borgnine Secret to old age”…

    You’re a bad person. :P

    Savvy:
    – According to my dad, the mom’s hairstyle was popular in 1977. Unfortunately, this movie is NOT from the ’70’s.

    Some people like to stick with a look long after it’s fallen out of favor.

       1 likes

  22. Johnny Drama says:

    Sitting Duck: hula hoops

    You know, for kids!

    Oh, and the reissue of Vol. 5 corrects the problems of darkness in Merlin. However, Time Chasers looks overly saturated.

       0 likes

  23. bartcow says:

    Not saying it’s impossible, though, if you’re aware it never got to get past VHS:https://www.amazon.com/Devils-Gift-VHS-Bob-Mendelsohn/dp/6300261042/

    Eh, it’s on YouTube. Good enough for me.

       0 likes

  24. littleaimishboy says:

    Johnny Drama: the reissue of Vol. 5 corrects the problems of darkness in Merlin.

    What, by doing a total rewrite?

       9 likes

  25. Lisa H. says:

    *rimshot*

       4 likes

  26. GareChicago says:

    … was good for an uninformed troll-laff or two…

    Ok:

    1) *You’re* referring to anyone else as a troll???

    2) Delete your account.

       10 likes

  27. antiseptic manor says:

    I love the irritable medium who wants to help David, but can’t stand the sight of him. Their riffing during that scene cracks me up every time!

       5 likes

  28. Joe Boltonn says:

    I remember seeing “The Devil’s Gift” on “Commander USA” in the Eighties. If you think it was awful as a 20 minute segment in “Merlin”, imagine it in it’s uncut TWO HOUR (112 min. + commercials) version. ; Favorite Riff; Man: “God help me!”, God: “Sorry, Unitarian, but you believe I only exist in sunshine and butterflies!”

       2 likes

  29. Obscure reference: “Mona!” It’s a reference to this commercial.

    Heaven help me, I actually remember that one. Think a few mirror riffs of “Hi, guy…” also surfaced in the CC Joel era.

    Sitting Duck:
    Opening: M&tB are into 1920s-era college pranks
    Kids with their loud music and their hula hoops and their Tide pod challenges.

    Eh, those kids with their Tide Pod challenges oughta just go drink bleach…

       0 likes

  30. docskippy says:

    Joe Boltonn:
    I remember seeing “The Devil’s Gift” on “Commander USA” in the Eighties. If you think it was awful as a 20 minute segment in “Merlin”, imagine it in it’s uncut TWO HOUR (112 min. + commercials) version. ; Favorite Riff; Man: “God help me!”, God: “Sorry, Unitarian, but you believe I only exist in sunshine and butterflies!”

    I don’t know – I LIKE bad movies that are painfully earnest in their execution, as is the case with the segments from Devil’s Gift shown in Merlin’s Chop (by contrast, the frame story in Merlin’s Chop is NOT painfully earnest). You’re telling me there are 112 minutes of painful earnestness in late 70s house? Sign me up, sailor!

       2 likes

  31. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    crowJschmo:
    Um…Crow has a nephew?

    While that was of course just kind of a dumb pointless remark, remember, Crow spent eleven years in Wisconsin within a second via time travel in Terror from the Year 5000. He could, at the least, have been “like a member of the family” to (for instance) Smitty and/or Merv (whoever they are/were) to the extent the son of one or of the other (or for all we know of both*) might have called him “Uncle Crow.”

    The more extreeeeeme presumption would be that Crow actually got married (to Mike’s ex-girlfriend Ginger SNAP, perhaps?) while in Wisconsin and his wife’s sibling had a son who would thus be her and Crow’s nephew.

    Thus, Crow hasn’t “just” existed in 500 extra years of material form, he’s existed in 511 extra years of material form. We know that he fondly remembers “a fellow named Helmut” who once visited (as mentioned in Revenge of the Creature), and that’s just for starters…

    Comes to that, we know only mostly nothing about Crow’s 500 years on the Satellite of Love

    ===

    *There’s no real basis for presuming that Smitty and/or Merv are male; nicknames can make a lot of things confusing. For all we know, Smitty and Merv were a male/female couple, a male/male couple, or a female/female couple.

       1 likes

  32. docskippy says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: While that was of course just kind of a dumb pointless remark, remember, Crow spent eleven years in Wisconsin within a second via time travel in Terror from the Year 5000. He could, at the least, have been “like a member of the family” to (for instance) Smitty and/or Merv (whoever they are/were) to the extent the son of one or of the other (or for all we know of both*) might have called him “Uncle Crow.”

    The more extreeeeeme presumption would be that Crow actually got married (to Mike’s ex-girlfriend Ginger SNAP, perhaps?) while in Wisconsin and his wife’s sibling had a son who would thus be her and Crow’s nephew.

    Thus, Crow hasn’t “just” existed in 500 extra years of material form, he’s existed in 511 extra years of material form. We know that he fondly remembers “a fellow named Helmut” who once visited (as mentioned in Revenge of the Creature), and that’s just for starters…

    Comes to that, we know only mostly nothing about Crow’s 500 years on the Satellite of Love

    ===

    *There’s no real basis for presuming that Smitty and/or Merv are male; nicknames can make a lot of things confusing. For all we know, Smitty and Merv were a male/female couple, a male/male couple, or a female/female couple.

    Or, it could just be that the writers stopped caring about the bots being robots around the third or fourth season.

       1 likes

  33. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    It’s not that Crow’s a robot, it’s that Crow demonstrably has no brothers or sisters (unless one counts the other three bots and in this context they don’t qualify) or brothers-in-law or sisters-in-law (since he further has no spouse) and thus by definition cannot be anyone’s uncle, at least not in the literal sense.

    The point was raised and I offered a highly theoretical in-universe explanation, that’s all. :-)

       1 likes

  34. Mr. Krasker says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: While that was of course just kind of a dumb pointless remark, remember, Crow spent eleven years in Wisconsin within a second via time travel in Terror from the Year 5000. He could, at the least, have been “like a member of the family” to (for instance) Smitty and/or Merv (whoever they are/were) to the extent the son of one or of the other (or for all we know of both*) might have called him “Uncle Crow.”

    The more extreeeeeme presumption would be that Crow actually got married (to Mike’s ex-girlfriend Ginger SNAP, perhaps?) while in Wisconsin and his wife’s sibling had a son who would thus be her and Crow’s nephew.

    Thus, Crow hasn’t “just” existed in 500 extra years of material form, he’s existed in 511 extra years of material form. We know that he fondly remembers “a fellow named Helmut” who once visited (as mentioned in Revenge of the Creature), and that’s just for starters…

    Comes to that, we know only mostly nothing about Crow’s 500 years on the Satellite of Love

    ===

    *There’s no real basis for presuming that Smitty and/or Merv are male; nicknames can make a lot of things confusing. For all we know, Smitty and Merv were a male/female couple, a male/male couple, or a female/female couple.

    I’m pretty sure it’s “Murph,” as in “Murphy” rather than “Merv” as in Griffin. Other than that, I can’t begin to be concerned with this line of reasoning.

       1 likes

  35. Cornjob says:

    “His reviews have destroyed entire cities!”

    I like to paraphrase this when I hear someone bragging in a commercial about something meaningless so it becomes something like, “His mayonnaise has destroyed entire cities!”

       1 likes

  36. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Mr. Krasker: I’m pretty sure it’s “Murph,” as in “Murphy” rather than “Merv” as in Griffin.Other than that, I can’t begin to be concerned with this line of reasoning.

    Well, it was nice of you to expend time and effort to register your complete lack of interest. Not everyone would go to that much trouble over nothing.

    The Original EricJ: Heaven help me, I actually remember that one.Think a few mirror riffs of “Hi, guy…” also surfaced in the CC Joel era.

    There was at least one other one in the SF era, in Incredibly Strange Creatures Yadda Yadda Yoda.

    Hey, the spellcheck recognizes “Yoda.” How whimsical. ;-)

       1 likes

  37. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    In yet another futile attempt to, uh, accomplish something or another, the discussion of anime reminded me of this, which some may find of interest. Enjoy. Or don’t. Cue maniacal laughter. :-)

    https://teleport-city.com/tag/joseph-lai-crap-anime/

       1 likes

  38. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Colossus Prime:
    As I rewatch all of these episodes along with the weekly reviews I’m realizing more and more

    “…that the wisest and the best is to fix our attention on the good and the beautiful, if you just take the time to look at it.” You’re some guy, Colossus. ;-)

    Unless you’re a woman, although the basic premise would still hold.

    Colossus Prime:
    Why in the world would Merlin leave such a powerful thing in the main room of his shop instead of locked in a vault with other dangerous/evil items?Plus they show that Merlin is clearly aware that someone broke in, but he just slinks away and lets the thief wander around.

    Well, gee, I guess Merlin knows a little more about how things work in his mystical world of wonders than we do. You think? ;-)

    Colossus Prime:
    And what would happen if someone came in, picked it up and asked to buy it?Are they just going to say, “Oh sorry, that’s not for sale.I just have it sitting out for no good reason”?

    “It’s for display purposes only. We could special-order one for you.” OSLT.

    Colossus Prime:
    Plus I love the whole thing on how she can’t do anything because if she got close to the monkey, “all hell would break loose,” but didn’t she go over and observe it already and nothing happened?

    Well, clearly, that didn’t involve getting too close to it. ;-)

    Colossus Prime:
    Tom:Meow, meow safe.Meow, meow very safe! (I have no idea how many times I saw this before I caught this as a Marathon Man reference)

    Hm. I only recognized it as a possible reference to Henrietta Pussycat from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Shrug.

       1 likes

  39. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Smoothie of Great Power:
    * Merlin’s magic shop is just a little side job when he’s not busy up in the clouds with Santa.

    Or vice versa.

    ck:
    Oh well, just picture David and (Susan?)engaging in muskrat lovin’.

    Were there furries back then?

    Johnny Ryde:
    I find this one good-but-not-great(tm).I almost never put this one into my viewing rotation, but not because of a dislike of the riffing.I’m terribly squeamish about that bit where the monkey is trying to kill the kid by having him run over by the distracted idiot driver

    Oh, sure, people wish death and destruction on annoying kids in films but let it just once appear to be on the verge of actually HAPPENING…

    Johnny Ryde:
    Also, the extreme episodic nature of the movie is a turn-off for me.I know we’ve had that before (and RIDING WITH DEATH is one of my all-time favorites), but here, not even the main characters cross over from one film to the other. Merlin is basically in a filmed cameo in the second film.The first segment doesn’t even have a monkey!

    It has Jonathan. Close enough.

    Johnny Ryde:
    “I’m Bob Jackass.” — This guy has to be one of the best blatantly evil, over the top characters we’ve seen in a MST3k film.

    Oh, now, it’s not like he tried to KILL someone as any number of other characters have. One can be a jerk without being evil about it and vice versa.

    GonzoRedux:
    If I’m not mistaken, the monkey story originally ended with the entire family dying. Not to get too macabre, but I’d kind of wish that could have been the ending of the episode. The whole movie would begin looking as demoralizing as Manos and put it in an elite class of wretched movies…

    It would BEGIN to look demoralizing if it ENDED with the family’s deaths?
    ;-)

    Bat Masterson:
    I love this episode so much. My favorite joke:
    “Magic makes me hungry for grilled brats!”

    Well, if they wouldn’t let him get hit by a car, I’m sure letting him get grilled never even made it past the first draft stages.

       1 likes

  40. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    CG:
    -Did anyone else think that Mr. Cooper bears a strong resemblance to Senator John Kerry? (Before Cooper’s Satanic transformation, of course.)

    What an odd caveat. ;-)

    BTW were there any “Hanging with Mr. Cooper” riffs? Should there have been?

    CG:
    And doesn’t the monkey on the cover of King’s book look a little familiar?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeleton_Crew

    Eh, you seen one monkey…

    CG:
    Someone uploaded the entire “Devil’s Gift” movie to youtube

    I suppose they do those things…

    CG:
    -I met Ernest Borgnine once. He’s really cool.

    Did you mention this movie to him? Did he lose any of that cool? ;-)

    CG:
    -The ending to the first movie is very similar to the ending of a famous Twilight Zone episode. Just like here, an older man is drinks a youth potion and accidentally turns into a baby for his wife to raise.

    Well, there are only so many “logical” results to taking a restored-youth plot to its ultimate conclusion, and Jonathan simply vanishing into The Great Un-Ness wouldn’t have provided Madeline with QUITE as happy an ending.

    Perhaps the filmmakers/distributors thought that two rip-offs would make for one original idea. Same basic thinking as two wrongs making a right…

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  41. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Well, I’m batting zero so far when it comes to people taking any interest in my posts this time around but that won’t stop me. :-)

    Smoothie of Great Power:
    * Question of the day: Does Johnathan retain his memories of adulthood after he’s turned into a baby?

    To the best of my knowledge, baby memories themselves only sporadically survive even into late childhood, sometimes being entirely lost (I seem to have exactly one baby memory myself, although I haven’t really made any effort in the field), so I doubt a baby could comprehend anything as complex as adult memories, chockful of concepts for which there would be virtually no frame of reference, stretching over what would to be a baby be an inconceivable (no pun intended) length of time.

    Roman Martel:
    What I love about the movie is all the layers to it. The piecemeal aspects, the fact that grandpa Borgnine is telling these horrible stories to his grandson

    Well, compared to some of Grimm’s Fairy Tales…

    Roman Martel:
    The extremely dark nature of the two main stories really makes me wonder what they were thinking about using Merlin as a framing device. Especially since Merlin was described as all magical and mystical and a generally nice guy (if a bit of a moron). I get the feeling that the director really wanted to make horror films and ended up trying to package this as a family film – for some unknown reason.

    They thought it would make more money that way. I suspect that almost every “incomprehensible” decision in film — and in nearly any other venue — was made because of money. Makes the world go round, y’know.

    Of course, the framing device of this being something Grandpa wrote means that, even within the context of the movie universe, neither story ever “really happened.” This debatably removes what little sense of immediacy either story had, contributing to general consensus of it being un-scary.

    Brandon:
    I’m a LT fan, so “Bugs Bunny must have taken that wrong turn at Albuquerque” gets me.

    Is there a business in Albuquerque called “That Left Turn” (or alternately “That Left Toin”)? If not, well, I think there should be. Really, compared to “Breaking Bad” filming location tours, that should be a gimme. IMHO.

    Yes, scenic Albuquerque, since at least 1945, the one place on the planet that is evidently somehow roughly equidistant to virtually everywhere else on the planet. Unless you do, in fact, take that left toin.

    As a point of really debatable interest, both “The Abominable Snow Rabbit” (1961; a trip to Tibet) and “Transylvania 6-5000” (1963; a trip to central Romania) mention Perth Amboy, New Jersey as bearing some connection to Bugs’s travels. In “Abominable”, Perth Amboy is Daffy’s destination as a starting point for a second endeavor to reach Palm Springs (“Queen of the Desert Spa! Land of beautiful girls!”), while in “6-5000,” it’s the location of Bugs’s travel agency (Acme, of course).

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  42. Jason says:

    “Clearly, Merlin has brought good into the world!”

    Fantastic episode. You can tell that the unaccountably belligerent psychic was one of those moments that particularly amused the Brains, but the movie throws plenty of gems right over the plate for them. And yeah, the host segment where the bots review each other is an all-timer.

    My biggest laugh is probably when they cut back to the motorist who is trying to flirt with the female cyclist. “No, really – WHAT’S HAPPENING? I really want to know!”

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  43. yelling_into_the_void says:

    For the longest time I thought the movie was two episodes of an aborted series spliced together. Like they had shot the first two episodes and then the guy playing Merlin died.

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