Village of the Damned
Our tribute episode to Kirstie Alley casts the late actress as a no-nonsense government-appointed epidemiologist brought in to investigate the sudden mysterious pregnancies of nearly all the women in an otherwise sleepy town. With their glowing eyes, cloud-white hair and utterly humorless affects, as podcast fave Buck Flowers intones with full gusto: “These kids ain’t right.”
Help us raise a glass to our first tribute episode of 2023!
Village of the Damned (1995)
Episode 329, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw
Todd: Hello and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.
Craig: And I’m Craig.
Todd: Well, here we are right by the beginning of the year and uh, we do have our first of 2023’s tribute episodes. December 5th, 2022. Kirstie Alley died. It’s really hard to believe she was 71, to be honest with you. Yeah, she still looked amazing.
Uhhuh . I remember her growing up from Cheers, which ran for a very long time. She was Rebecca on Cheers, Uhhuh , and also from the Look Who’s Talking movies. . Mm-hmm. , that’s what I remember her the most from. But she had a pretty interesting career, uh, working steadily in film and a little bit of tv. Got a bit of notoriety later on, uh, for her weight.
She gained a lot of weight and she became a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and lost it, and then got it again. And, and I think that just became something that she talked about a lot, uh, during her last, uh, couple decades. And, uh, even had a TV show or TV series or something called Fat Actress and wrote a book about it and everything.
So I think she was one of those people who was trying very hard to create a body positive environment for female actors in film. In her later years as she struggled with this, she was also notoriously Scientologist. Mm-hmm. before she even went to Hollywood. In fact, I think she moved to California specifically.
For the Church of Scientology. Yeah. That
Craig: was one reason she was going to college in, uh, Iowa. She, she’s a small town girl from the Midwest, you know, very nearby where I’m from, and, uh, went to high school, I think in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, I think, and went to college for a couple of years, but dropped out to pursue.
acting. Well, actually, she went, uh, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue interior design. Yeah, that’s what she says. Yeah. And when she, she got there, she started working as an interior designer, but she also was, uh, pursuing Scientology. I don’t know how she got involved in Scientology. I don’t think Scientology is huge in the Midwest, but I do.
You wouldn’t think so. Well, they have a lot of outreach. I know that. But anyway, I, I don’t know if it was a family thing or if it was something she pursued on her own, but yes, she was very much involved, uh, in her church. Uh, she did, she went to Los Angeles. She, uh, was on a couple of game shows. I, I, I imagine she probably didn’t have a whole lot of difficulty making her way into the entertainment field because she stu she was stunningly beautiful.
Yeah. She just has a, a, a gorgeous face, these beautiful sparkling blue eyes. And, uh, I think. Her first big break was Star Trek, is that right? Yes. That was before. Look who’s talking I think.
Todd: I think so. Yeah. She’s in the Wrath of Khan in 1982. Yeah.
Craig: Yeah. And uh, she was a big Star Trek fan and, um, you know, continued to be a Star Trek fan her whole life.
I think she was really excited when she got an action figure, uh, . But you’re right, her, I think her first, you know, uh, what made her a household name was Cheers. When Shelly Long left, they brought her in kind of as the female lead replacement. And she played a, a tough, broad, uh, kind of lady and a again, very beautiful and, and very funny.
She was a very, very funny lady. She did that and then the look who’s talking movies were huge. She did those with John Travolta, who was her dearest friend. She said, you know, Took everything in her not to be able to just snatch him up and run away. She, you know, she called him the love of her life. But of course, um, he was married to Kelly Preston, who we’ve also talked about on this show.
And so their relationship was platonic, but she had very deep, deep love for him, and they remained friends forever. Of course, he too is very much involved in, uh, the Church of Scientology. And you’re right, like I, I think that part of the reason that she embraced her body later in her life was because the earlier in her life, when she was thin, you know, um, and, and really kind of fit the stereotypical look of Hollywood, it wasn’t, she didn’t achieve that in a healthy way.
Uh, she, she was, Huh, well, she was on coke for a lot of that time, did a lot of cocaine. And uh, you know, one of the side effects of that is it, it does tend to make you, um, leaner. And when she got off drugs, then she started to put on weight and, you know, she was a full figured woman. And I think that she just kind of embraced that.
Like you said, she, uh, did Jenny Craig for a while. She lost a bunch of weight and then she gained it back. And, um, she just kind of embraced who she was and, and she didn’t allow her weight to dictate her narrative. Instead, she decided to dictate her narrative and say, you know what? I’m, I’m not chubby or round, I’m fat, and, and that’s just who I am and deal with it.
Um, and she was unapologetic. And I think that a lot of people, both men and women, responded to that in a really positive way because more of us. are fat , then Hollywood skinny. And, uh, we all know , you know, the, the, the struggle. Yeah. And I think that that was very relatable and I think that she was just relatable in a lot of ways.
She seemed very down to earth. She was really funny. She had a great sense of humor. She was fun to watch on screen. My favorite movie of hers, Is drop Dead gorgeous, which is, um, a super dark satirical look at beauty pageants, but it is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen in my entire life. , um, and she’s, she’s great in it.
So I was sad to hear of her passing. Um, I’m only gonna say it briefly. You know, in the latter part of her life, her political views did not align with mine. You know, whatever. Fine. I don’t care. I, I saw her, uh, on screen playing characters. I saw her in life. She was kind, she was charitable. Uh, in the wake of her death, all of her celebrity friends came out of the woodwork to talk about what a wonderful person she was.
What a loyal and generous friend she was. Um, she was a mother, uh, of two adopted children. She had tried to have children of her own and was unable, and so she adopted two children who she adored and who adored her. So I think she seemed like a very cool person. Somebody that I think that I would’ve very much liked to have been friends with, and much like many of her other friends, I think that, or I guess I hope that we would’ve been able to put, uh, our political ideologies aside because she just seemed like, she just seemed like a really nice.
Person. Uh, and it’s, it’s sad that she’s gone, but, um, as always, you know, she is among those few people who are lucky enough to have left behind this legacy. And, and, uh, people will remember her for a long time and, and her work remains. So, um, I’m glad to have the opportunity to pay a little bit of tribute to her, even though she’s not a hor, she’s not known for horror.
No , she did in the latter part of her career. She worked with Ryan Murphy. She worked on screen Queens. Uh, I think she joined the cast in the second season of that show. I didn’t watch the second season. I only watched the first season, so I didn’t actually see her on that show. But, uh, she was great, or at least in my opinion, she was great in everything she was in.
And the movie that we’re talking about today is, uh, John Carpenter’s remake a Village of the Damned from 1995. In which she starred opposite Christopher Reeve, who, uh, is another icon that we lost too soon. Yeah. But this movie is interesting. I had seen it before. I must have seen it around the time that it came out, but I didn’t really remember much about it preparing for this, um, before I watched it again.
Todd: seen it? You know what’s funny is that Village of the Damned, Children of the Damned, they’re pretty iconic, right? And, uh, they’re even parodied in The Simpsons . There was this great mm-hmm Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode where one of the little mini uh, there, those are like anthologies. And one of the little mini shorts in there was, there was a fictional show called the Blooding, and the whole thing was clearly patterned after Children of the Damned.
And you know, it was these kids with these white hair and these glowing eyes that could compel adults to kill themselves. And basically they just took over the town. But I had ne I, as much as it is a part of pop culture awareness, I had never actually seen the movie until now. In fact, I hadn’t even seen the original, which is unusual for me because usually, yeah, I, I’m one of those people to seek out the black and white originals, if not having watched him growing up because my dad was really into this kind of stuff.
Uhhuh , and, and this is really, I mean, in a way it’s more of a sci-fi than a horror. It’s like a horror sci-fi movie. Yeah. Which would totally have been in my dad’s alley, but it just didn’t end up on our VHS shelves when I was a kid, so I hadn’t seen it. This was the first time to see the 1995 movie and I thought, you know what?
I got some time. I’m gonna go ahead and check out the original as well to see how they compare so we can chat about that too. So I ended up watching the 1960 original, just actually finish it about half an hour before we started talking here. So it’s kind of interesting to see this, the differences in the similarities because, uh, this movie apparently was a bit near and dear to John Carpenter’s heart.
He was brought on to direct it. Apparently it was a movie that had been in the works for a while, like people had been trying to remake it for a while, Uhhuh. And, uh, he was at the time a little touchy because it’s based on a novel. And the novel. Obviously when you’re writing you could write whatever you want, but in movies they had strict codes, especially in the sixties.
Right. Uh, the original movie was produced in Britain where they were especially, About what you could and couldn’t talk about and say in the movie and, and this
Craig: you couldn’t even talk about pregnancy. No, I mean, we’re, we’re talking, you know, like ridiculous. I can understand we’re talking about in the sixties, you know, uh, maybe abortion, which is, you know, mentioned in this movie.
I could understand how that might be a little bit taboo, but to not even be able to mention pregnancy. Right. That’s ridiculous.
Todd: It’s kind of crazy. Well, I think they couldn’t mention impregnation, like, as a thing, right? Okay. You could say somebody’s pregnant, but like talking about how they were impregnated starts to us to get on tricky waters, right?
what’s wrong with us? But , I dunno. The, the mo, the novelist is called the Midwitch Cuckoos. And uh, it was published a 1957 by John Wyndham, who wrote a bunch of novels actually, and several of them were made into horror movies. Uh, at the time, the Chrysalids, the Day of the Triffids, were a couple of the more popular ones.
And I think around the time that the, the Body Snatchers was remade was the time it was in, I think I, I think 1976, 1978, that was quite successful. Invasion of the body snatchers were re was remade with, um, yes, Uhhuh , uh, not Donald Pleasance, but it, no, Sutherland Sutherland, sorry. It was remade with him and it was such a success that they started to revisit this movie.
We’re trying to remake it, but again, like they just couldn’t get it off the ground until the early eighties. And even in the early eighties, they were having troubles talking about things like abortion and stuff like that. But eventually John Carpenter was brought on board and, uh, they made it happen in 1995, considerably later.
Mm-hmm. . And it’s funny because John Carpenter at, on the one hand, he talks about this project, if you look at his contemporary reviews, he talks about how, oh yeah. Like I looked at this, I saw. Yeah, this is an easy movie to make. It’s quite straightforward. Should be simple. He himself had a personal connection to the original because he loved it as a kid and he said he even had a crush on one of the girls in the movie.
He said, he said she was like his first love and, and in his fantasies as a child, like she could mind control him and make him do whatever he want. She wanted to . That’s funny. But on the other hand, you know, he’s been a bit disdainful of it since this came out saying, I really just did this under contract.
It’s not the favorite of my films. Right. Although he claims, you know, all of his movies, he’s very proud of this movie and I mean, I think I can agree it’s, it’s not really up there in the John Carpenter uoi of film making. No, uh, it does feel like a paint by number or something and he just kind of did under contracted away.
Craig: I know. Which is really disappointing, right? Like, yeah, this movie should be really good. John Carpenter is a good director and there’s a lot of talented people in this movie. It should be. But like you said, I, I read where he said that he just really wasn’t passionate about it. And it shows Yeah. Like, it just doesn’t, there’s just not a whole lot to it.
There’s, it’s, there’s nothing really dynamic about it. It does feel very paint by numbers. The whole time that I was watching it, it felt very much to me, like a Stephen King television event. Yeah. That’s what it felt like. , it felt like toned down in some ways. Yeah. Toned down the stand, you know, the, the mini-series version of The Shining, or even it, and, and not even as good, but it just felt, I don’t know, it felt kind of cheap.
Todd: In it really did. It really did. In a lot of ways. It felt cheap. It felt, I don’t know, it was very non-committal, you know, uh, there are moments in here that are a bit horrific, but the Gore, you know, and John Carpenter was, was not shy about gore in several of this films, but it, it’s mostly off screen.
Anything particularly gross, although they put in some quite shocking moments. That did definitely like turn my stomach a bit. Yeah, so it does feel a bit like a made for a general audience’s type of movie. And to be fair in reading some of what John Carpenter himself has said about this, I think more contemporaneously with when he was producing it, he said that, you know, this is was a different kind of movie.
It had a bigger budget, it had bigger stars, and it needed to be more mass audience friendly than his typical low-budget, scrappy, independent fair, which could be a little edgier, which could kind of push the envelope. Which I think is kind of honestly really where he excels. Yeah. When he’s kind of allowed to do what he wants to do.
It feels like maybe in this movie it was John Carpenter himself holding John Carpenter back. You know, just saying, look, we’re just making a big Hollywood movie that we hope is gonna play to a million theaters and everyone’s gonna watch it from young to old. So we, we gotta keep it somewhat tame and somewhat straightforward and somewhat simple because it’s basically all of those things, right?
Craig: it’s too simple. It’s too simple. There are, you know, it’s a big cast of characters and you know, some of them big names, people that you’re gonna recognize. I mean, if you were alive in the eighties, uh, you’re gonna recognize a lot of these people and and talented people. But there are so many people that you don’t really get to know anybody.
Yeah. And it just feels like the story is just, okay, here’s the story. And then it, I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just like, it, it’s just told, but there’s no, you’re not invested. It’s, yeah. I don’t know. I,
Todd: you know, I, I was actually thinking about this because I’ve been doing a lot of, um, investigating recently on some of these, um, Kindle authors.
You know, they’re people who are pub, who self-publish on, on Amazon, and they are like, make it bag, you know, they publish like six books a year. They’re cranking stuff out. It’s very genre specific. And, uh, the reason I was, I, I’ve been into this kind of thing is because I do audio books for a lot of these people, and I’ll tell you straight out, a lot of this genre specific stuff that sells really well is quite simple.
I don’t really understand it, to be honest with you. There’s no kind of literary talent there. Sometimes these books feel like just somebody just. Telling you a story, like a guy would relate what happened yesterday in the bar, you know what I mean? Uhhuh , it’s, it’s uhhuh, it’s it’s condensed, it’s, it’s all narration.
Um, it just skips over huge chunks of things and no detail. It’s just the very basics of a story that somehow captures people enough that they’ll pay, continue to, I don’t know, A lot of, it’s kind of unlimited. So like, you know, they get, like, they pay a subscription a month and then people can just read as much as they want.
Right. It, it reminds me a little bit of like, you know, when my mom used to read Danielle Steele and all of these Sure. You know, romance novels, she knew that they were just kind of, uh, uh, you know, I hate to say this, but she knew that they were more or less kind of garbage to her. You know, there weren’t high literate, high high literature.
Right. But she got some enjoyment out of them. There was a story to be told, and it was told to her and in a particular way, which was not in this case, uh, not com particularly compelling, not particularly detailed. And like you said, and I, and I re I’m reminded of something you’ve said earlier with one of the other movies we did, and I can’t remember which one it was, but you pointed out to me, There’s no real central character for us to revolve around here.
Right. There’s no protagonist. It’s an event that happens to a village full of people, and we’re gonna see all these people. And Christopher Reeve’s character is the closest thing to a protagonist that we have. But he’s in and out. Yeah. And he only becomes really crucial towards the end. Uhhuh. . Other than that, it’s like we’re bouncing around between different people and it’s more about what’s happening and it’s about these kids, but then like honestly, we don’t even see the kids all that much till no halfway through.
And even then there’s just a thousand questions I have about how do we get to that point, you know, like Yeah.
Craig: And they’re boring and they don’t really do anything. No. And the town, like, it’s just so weird. It’s a really interesting premise. I, I was gonna say, I do this all the time. I start a thought and then I go somewhere else and maybe sometimes swing around to it.
What I was going to say was, the kids are kind of boring. They don’t really do anything. They all look exactly the same. They wear, which I don’t understand at all. They all wear the exact same clothes, just like these gray, drab, uniform type clothes and they can do whatever they want. Yeah. The parents don’t it.
It is just kinda like, oh, okay. . Like our, our kids are, our kids are weird and evil. Right. Shrug like,
Todd: like I know. That’s the major question, right? Like number one, my question is how did the kid, alright, so just real quick, cuz I’m sure we’ll go into the details of the movie, but just to give everyone a general overview.
An event happens in this town. All the women are pregnant at once. I guess six of them. give birth to children
Craig: more. I think that there are eight altogether cuz they’re in pairs. Yeah.
Todd: Yeah. And one of them is quote unquote stillborn, but the event.
Craig: is one of the coolest things. Like Yeah. In the beginning of the movie, like, I don’t know, I think this was kind of stupid.
You like, you kind of see like this shadowy presence, like scoping the town. Mm-hmm. like, like flying around the town or something. And I say a shadowy presence. It literally is just a shadow. Yeah. That you see like flying over the ground and over houses and stuff. And they, and all the people hear this weird whispering, well they make nothing of that.
And then there’s this, uh, big like, uh, fall fest for the schools. This is a small town. Pretty much everybody in town is at this fall fest when out of nowhere at exactly 10:00 AM everybody passes out. Yeah. People, animals, everybody. And it’s completely unexplained and it’s in a very specific location. Like the authorities eventually arrive and they can dr, they can draw, uh, you know, like a parameter around the area.
Yeah. That’s affected. And, and nobody knows what’s going on. And nobody knows what’s causing this. And, uh, eventually, like eight hours later at like five or six o’clock or whatever, uh, everybody just wakes up. Yeah. And that’s it. And, and they’re like, oh, well that was weird until. Every woman who is capable of being pregnant, including children is pregnant.
Yeah. W well, ch teenage, uh, one of a, a teenage girl. Her name is Melanie, who’s played by Meredith Salinger. I had the biggest crush on Meredith Salinger when I was a teenager. . Really? Oh my God. Did you ever see Dream A Little Dream? It was one of the, the Corey’s movies. No. She was, uh, the romantic, leading that, and she was so pretty and I had the biggest crush on her.
Wow. She had really big boobs, , which was like a kind of a plot point of the movie. So God. But anyway, she’s a teen. Like, not only is she a teenager, but they make very brief mention of the fact that she’s also a virgin. So, and another woman, um, this lady named, uh, Callie, she is an adult woman, but her husband has been away like, yeah.
For like a, a professor and he was, yeah. So he’s been away and has only now just come back to find that she’s pregnant. And, and of course, you know, it’s, we know that she didn’t cheat or anything. She was a faithful. So it’s all unexplained, but they just kind of go with it. That’s the thing like, Everybody just kind of goes with it and it bothers me.
And Kirsti Ali comes in out of nowhere. She plays this character named Dr. Susan Verner
Craig: guys, no, it can’t be. The edges of the affected area are well-defined. Stationary doc, this is Dr. Susan Burner, like Turner with a v. Uhhuh epidemiologist National Science Foundation. A
Todd: Chaffee md. Yeah,
Craig: he’s breathing.
Good pulse. I think he just
Todd: fainted. Is mid much affected by this. My hunch would be yes. My wife’s mid
Craig: witch. We’re trying to get through for the last six hours. Doc. Nobody picks up the phone. Nobody calls out. Now, could somebody please get me some blood and urine samples? What is an epidemiologist? Isn’t that like a skin doctor?
Todd: think they just, I don’t even, or is it epidemics? Do they, do they talk a, do they study epidemics? I assume that’s what it was. Uh, like not epidermis, but epidemics, . It’s,
Craig: it’s, it’s a branch of medicine which deals with the incidence distribution and possible control of diseases. Oh, yeah. And other factors relating to health.
So, okay, so she’s a disease doctor, so she comes in and she’s interested. Um, but like, yeah, I don’t know. I know she, she basically just gathers all the people and it’s like, I wanna start off by saying that we are all very concerned about your wellbeing, but ultimately it will come down to individual decisions.
And I understand that these decisions will be probably the most intimate personal. Difficult decisions that you ever make in your life. However, because your pregnancies have attracted intense scientific interest, including the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, those of you who decide to have your child will have all prenatal expenses paid.
You’ll also receive $3,000 monthly as an allowance.
You allow your child to be examined and tested on some sort of a regular basis, and they’re all just like, okay, well, she also, briefly, she’s like, but if you don’t want to go through it, we’ll also pay for the abortion, but nobody does. Yeah. Uh, have the abortion. They all decide to go through
Todd: it then, which she thinks is weird, you know, which is actually, I guess in a way, a plot point of the movie.
Maybe these women felt mentally compelled to have these children, right. . It’s interesting because having watched the original, the original is a very talky film. The original is is a lot like your typical sci-fi movies of the era where they’re dis Yeah. And, and in the original it’s a male who’s the Dr.
Craig: character. Yes, it is in the book too. Mm-hmm. . Oh, there you go. Have you read the book? No, but I read about it and it’s fascinating. Perfect. Yeah. .
Todd: I didn’t read about the book. I read a little bit about the book, but anyway, the original Yeah. Is a male and, and anyway, like they discuss, like most of the movie actually is this sort of scientific discussion about what’s the, what’s going on here, how are we gonna approach this, you know, what does this mean for humanity?
And they’re even arguments like, well these kids are, especially when things start to turn poorly, you know, when they kind of realize these kids have ma bad intentions and are actually causing destruction. There’s still. Other side of it where they’re having these arguments where, yeah, but, but think about what this does for science.
Like we gotta still study them. Like we have this un unmatchable opportunity here. And the movie, the weird thing about Dr. Vicker’s character is if any of this is happening, if any of this discuss discussion is happening, we don’t see it. She just pops in every now and then to sort of be the representative of science in the government.
Yeah. And she kind of issues these mandates from on high and just kind of disappears. And one of the burning questions I had through this movie was like, wouldn’t this be a much bigger deal? Right. Would there be many more people involved and a lot more discussion happening than just. What this woman ends up
Right. And who is she and who is she reporting to? Like, I think that she says she’s reporting to the government and there’s one scene where she’s like sitting in a dark Yes. Conference room, like talking to all these men around a couch, around a table, which just looks stupid. That’s my biggest, well, I don’t know.
I might have lots of complaints. It’s weird. It’s it’s hokey. It is hokey. And. I really like Kirsti or Kirsti Ali. I, I, I think she’s very funny. I think she’s very capable as an actress. She’s not given anything to do in this movie. No. And her character is so, and I could, I could say that of virtually everybody, nobody’s given anything to do.
Their characters are so flat. Yeah. They’re not dynamic in any way. Kirs, Kirsti Ali just plays like a, a stock. Kind of government figure, kind of cold, right? And straight cold Al always dressed in, in like black or, or really dark colors and always smoking. Yes. So, you know that she’s like, in every scene, literally every scene she’s in, she’s smoking a cigarette.
She’s like, you know, talking to these kids, smoking cigarette, like blowing smoke in these kids’ faces it. I mean, it’s, it’s just dumb. She’s, she’s a dumb stock character. It’s unfortunate that this is really the only horror movie that she did, , because we’re, we’re not gonna be able to, you know, talk about her incredible range as an actress or anything because it’s super flat.
She’s a very, very flat character, as is virtually everybody. Christopher Reeve, I love Christopher Reeve. Christopher Reeve will forever be my Superman. Hey, you know, he’s, he was tall and handsome and you know, in those movies, just genuine
Todd: and. Yeah.
Craig: Yeah. Just, just a, a good guy. You know, when I was growing up, Superman was the dude, like he was the hero.
And I loved those movies and I loved him in it. And he’s flat, like you said, he’s kind of supposed to be the protagonist, but I bet he doesn’t get more than 15 minutes of screen time. Yeah. Like, because we’re spread so thin. Yeah. That’s the problem with all of these different characters. And so all of these women, um, get pregnant.
One of them is, uh, Jill, who I think is also supposed to be a main character. She’s played by, uh, Linda Kozlowski, who is Crocodile Dundee’s wife. . Mm-hmm. in real life and the movies, and I recognized her. She’s beautiful. But again, she’s like the school principal. And she and her husband, her husband is played by, oh, Michael per, I think is his name.
Uh, he’s done a lot. Uh, I remember him, he was the lead in a movie called Eddie and the Cruisers from the eighties that my dad really liked. So I remember him from that. But he gets killed off right away, like right away. Like, and he’s like fourth build. I don’t know if that was because he had a lot of name recognition at the time, but I thought that he was gonna be a main character.
And then in the first 10 minutes he gets killed. Yeah. Because he’s driving home during the pass out event. And as soon as he like crosses the county line or whatever, I don’t know. Um, he passes out and his truck crashes into another truck and blows up and he’s dead. Huh. But she’s pregnant anyway. They all end up going into labor at the same time, and they all give birth in a barn.
Eh, okay, sure. ,
Todd: why not a barn set up as a hospital. They have a lot of doctors there. A lot of proper equipment. Yeah, sure. , it’s a small
Craig: town. Kirsty, Kristy Alley. Yeah. Christie. Alley’s like running around, checking on everybody. Um, the teenage girl loses the baby an in incredibly shady fashion. the Kirsty alley.
She’s like delivering the baby. And she’s like, uh, it’s still born. Sorry. . She like harasses away it up and sticks it in. Her coat runs outside. like, Hmm. Not shady at all. No. And then that’s it. So they all have these babies and then I feel like it, it jumps like six months to show us that all of the babies are now sitting in, you know, eating solid foods, sitting in high chairs and stuff.
Yeah. They all have ridiculous. bleach, blonde hair. Yeah. The, it just looks stupid. .
Todd: And they’re all the same. I What did all these parents go in together and decide, well, we’re gonna cut all our kids’ hair the same and eventually we’re gonna dress them all the same too. Right? , I don’t get it. And, and these kids are, are super smart, right?
Like, uh, it’s established early on, like the, one of the kids who ends up being one of the main, uh, antagonists, I guess you could say David. Well, I shouldn’t say antagonist cuz in Okay. In the original movie, the kid named David is the antagonist, he’s the leader of the group In this movie, the kid named David is given a role that doesn’t exist in the original movie, which is he is the, so he’s sort of the pair, uh, that like each of these kids are kind of male female pairs.
Yes. Except his pair was the stillborn one. So Right. His pair is missing and so he ends up being the one of them that actually ends up getting a little bit of empathy and feeling right. Which, It is a nice idea. It’s a, it’s a departure from the original. I don’t know if it was in the book or not, but I think the only thing that really Christopher Reeve’s character does in this movie is provide that, that, I don’t know what you call it, like that argument or that narrative theme to the audience, which is they don’t have feelings.
These kids grow up and they have no empathy. They have no, they’re basically aliens who are gonna take over the human race and that’s it. Like, they don’t see any reason why they should have any sympathy for the humans, whatever like that. It’s just a doggy dog world out there. Whoever’s the strongest survives.
And he’s like, no, you have to have feelings. You have to care and this is what makes us human and this is what makes us different and superior. And so he provides that. And David, because he’s lost his sister and it, he feels, I guess, uh, probably some kind of emptiness in him. Uhhuh . He, uh, gets. A modicum of sympathy and in the most, I think, kind of unconvincing ways he ends up being a, a force that kind of helps defeat those guys.
Craig: kind of, I actually thought that whole plot twist was stupid too, but Yeah. We’ll, I’ll, we’ll save it for the end because it literally is the very end. Yeah. Then, okay, so the, the babies are, I don’t know, six, nine months old, something like that. I don’t know. And, and the first weird thing that we see is Baby Mara, who is Christopher Reeve and his wife’s daughter, she’s sitting in a highchair, and I guess she doesn’t like the soup that her mom.
Made for her. Yes. So telepathically, and when they do telepathic things, their eye, their eyes glow, like sometimes sparkly green. It, it seems to depend kind of on the intensity. It’s a cool effect. It is a cool effect. It does look cool and, and like the more intense they get, the brighter it gets. And um, but you know, when they’re doing something cuz their eyes, you know, get all sparkly or whatever.
But because she didn’t like her soup, she forces her mom telepathically to submerge her entire forearm into the boiling. Soup and Yeah. You know, Jill comes in and like, tries to pull the mom’s arm out of the soup and the mom like puts her arm back in and Jill’s like, what are you doing? Yeah, . And then the mom like never recovers.
Like, I don’t know if she knows something is wrong or if Yeah. If the kid did something to her head. But when she, she comes back from the hospital and immediately kills herself, throws herself
Todd: off a cliff. Yeah. And, and she’s Christopher Reeves’ wife. Right. Right. And then the kid, David, uh, is the son of Cali.
Cali, and he can spell his name in blocks and he’s just like, you know what?
Craig: No, I lied. David is, um, Jill’s kid. Jill’s
Todd: kid. That’s right.
Craig: Jill. Jill, yeah. Crocodile Dundee’s wife. .
Todd: Yeah. Jill’s the one, . Jill’s the one whose husband Frank, uh, had died. So, I mean, it’s interesting because there’s a lot of human drama here to mine, right?
There’s Jill, whose husband has died, but she’s bearing. What she originally at least thought was her child anyway. And, and she talks about how they wanted, were trying to have kids. Uh, and then there’s the, the one woman, Callie, whose husband Dan, you know, was off to Japan forever, and then comes back and isn’t convinced initially that this is his child.
And he initially leaves her, but then he just kind of comes back like as soon as she has the baby. Like he shows up there a second after the baby’s born, and it’s like, oh, he’s had a change of heart. Right. Christopher Reeve’s character doc, they mostly call him Doc through the movie whose, you know, wife, um, kills herself.
And, and so like there’s all this human drama to mine, but we are never really given a chance to dwell in it. And so, no, it just, uh, kind of goes by like, again, like I’m saying, like, oh, and by the way, so-and-so’s wife died and so-and-so’s husband did this. And so it is just like you’re narrating a story.
Exactly. Then that’s how the movie feels. And so, okay, so you’re kind of whiplash from one thing to the next. and it moves at a steady pace, but it insists on taking you through everything. Right, right. But
Craig: everybody, the the, what’s so frustrating to me is that everybody knows what’s going on. Like the kids don’t even make any kind of attempt No.
To mask what they are or what they’re doing. The parents know that the kids can read their minds. Yes. Because the kids tell them that like Exactly. And, and like warn them, like, don’t try to keep things from us cuz we can read your minds
Todd: like . And we jumped to, you know, them being eight, like seven or eight years old, probably about midway through the movie when it starts to become really sinister and you just, you’re just questioning like, what happened up to here.
I just, I just couldn’t imagine this whole town is just raising these kids and they’re just sort of tolerating this general mischief that they’ve all collectively come to figure out as a problematic, but they’re not gonna do anything about.
Craig: Well, and people are getting hurt and dying all over the place.
Yeah. And nobody cares. Yeah. Like they know it’s the kids doing it. But I, I guess, what are you gonna do? You got, you know, alien kids, .
Todd: I couldn’t help but think of this Twilight Zone episode. It’s one of the classics, you know, so this predates this. It’s in the fifties. And it’s one of my favorites, and I can’t remember the name of it, but it’s about this kid
Craig: who’s psychic.
Yeah. They did it in the movie too. It’s my favorite segment from the movie. You remember
Todd: that? It’s Soma. Mm-hmm. . It’s so scary. It is super scary because this kid has utter control over this family, and they have no choice but to do whatever this kid wants and to fulfill his every whip. They’re just living in utter fear because he can just conjure a dinosaur outside the window and bite his dad’s head off or whatever.
Right. And so, you know, he wants candy. He gets candy, you know, he wa he wants to stay up late. He gets to stay up late. It’s, it’s really a, a very terrifying notion. And for some reason, that 20 minute Twilight Zone episode was way more terrifying and way more convincing than this movie . Yeah. You know, because I just couldn’t understand.
How they all allowed it to get to this point. Why Great move. We are watching the movie and they’re just like, well, okay. Oh, you all wanna go to the barn now? All right, we’ll all drop you off at the barn and that’s where you’re gonna live. Yeah, because you have no choice. Like really the military and the government apparently through Dr.
Vickers still interested in you and still investigating you and whatever, but they all just let this stuff happen. Oh my God.
Craig: As, as it turns out, this has happened in a couple of other communities too. Uh, we find this out from Dr. Verner, both of the other communities, very remote, um, and small, much like this small town.
Um, and we find out from her later that both of those other communities have been destroyed, presumably by the military, and that they’re planning on destroying this town too. And so everybody has to get out or whatever. Meanwhile, David, for whatever reason, and this kid, the kid who plays David, is really super cute and he’s still working.
Of course, he’s an adult now. Thomas Decker, I think you can look at his ID MDB page. He’s still working, uh, a lot. Um, and he’s super, super cute, but like he just kind of strays from the rest of them. And I think that it’s supposed to be explained by the fact that he’s kind of incomplete because he doesn’t have his mate.
I assume that they’re supposed to not siblings, even though they all have like the same genetic makeup. Yeah. I, I assume that they’re paired because eventually they’re meant to procreate. That’s, that’s the assumption that I had. Yeah. Um, but his mate, you know, didn’t make it or whatever. And we eventually see the stillborn baby that Dr.
Verner had taken. They have, they kept like in a. Big jar or something. And it’s a hideous alien. . It, it’s enormous. It doesn’t even, the prop doesn’t even make any sense. No. It’s like three times the size of an infant and it looks like an alien cabbage patch doll.
Todd: Yeah. And, and how I, I just don’t understand , like, like, okay, so there was an abnormality.
So this was born completely not human. I don’t know how that thing passed through this woman’s vagina, .
Craig: No. Well, and especially the thing, the thing that Kirsti wrapped up looked like it was about the size of a potato. Yeah. And this thing is enormous. But anyway, so he is kind of off on his own and like he goes to try to find the grave of his mate or whatever, and then he runs into, uh, Dr.
Allen, Chris leave there, who’s there, right? Who’s there visiting his wife’s grave. And they have a whole talk about feelings. Do you have a memory of the baby?
Todd: But it
Craig: bothers you.
Todd: It hurts, it hurts to lose a loved one.
Craig: She was to be with me. We were
Todd: to be together. How do you know that
Craig: you’ve lost someone too?
The scene ends with them holding hands. Like that’s supposed to be some indication that maybe David is more human than the rest of them, or some, I don’t know. Yeah. Um, but somebody has a conversation with Mara who’s the leader. Mm. The, the girl. And she says stuff like, why should I be experiencing emotion in this moment?
What is empathy? Maybe David says that. What is empathy? And um, Christopher Reeve tries to explain it and he explains it here. And he also has a big monologue at the end, like a huge dramatic monologue where he’s screaming like you need to feel. And it was the most melodramatic. Yeah. I was embarrassed for Christopher Reeve.
Yeah. I’m like, I can tell that you had to have been directed to do this, but it just looks so melodramatic and stupid and you’re better than this . And they just kinda of felt that way for the whole movie. You know, eventually the kids, they kill other people. I don’t know. Um, they kill Buck
Todd: Flowers. Yeah.
Buck Flowers. Oh God. It’s just perfect that he’s in this movie cuz we all love Buck Flowers. But yeah, , he’s like this random dude drinking in the, I guess a kindergarten classroom or something. When the event goes down, then we don’t see him again at all until closer to the end when the kids are all in a classroom and, and he, again, he’s drinking, he’s just a OneNote drunk guy.
Right. Which to be fair, that’s kind of Buck Flowers is kind of his thing. Yeah. Uhhuh kind of his thing. We need a, we need a drunk, kind of like older kind of hobo type dude. Oh, bring him Buck Flowers. Uhhuh . He’ll, he comes in and he’s poking at them with the mop and he waxed David accidentally, I think on the side of the head.
And uh, they go crazy on him and they all kind of compel him. Up onto the roof where he leaps off the roof while holding his mop. He’s a janitor of the school, I guess, holding the mop to his chest and he falls into a car and also imp pails himself and, and Buck. He’s got an equally, you know, it’s the same thing.
Y’all ain’t right.
Craig: I don’t like the way you’re looking at me. Boy,
I got a gun too, and I’m the only one. One day somebody’s gonna get up on a rooftop and they’re gonna start picking you little bastards off one by one by one.
Todd: And I’m thinking, yeah, I know. Of course, but they don’t what? Like we don’t need a drunk guy to tell us this .
Craig: Instead, Mara just says to her, dad, Christopher, things are gonna change, or there are gonna be some changes.
And like they all their parents help them pack up and move them. Yeah. To this barn or whatever where they all just gonna, okay. Where they all just sit and write at desks. What are they writing? Like what are, I don’t,
Todd: they’re writing, they’re reading from an encyclopedia. I don’t know what the heck they’re doing.
I don’t, honestly, I don’t. I’m not even quite sure what their end game is. I guess they’re supposed to take over the world, but why don’t they just do it already? They got all the powers to do it. Well,
Craig: I mean, she lays it all out later in the end, she tells them, like, she basically says to Christopher Reeve, you know who we are or what we are.
She says, because you know about the other colonies, uh, had told Christopher Reeve about these other colonies. Yeah. And they had been destroyed by the military, and the military was going to be destroying this one. But they have to keep it super quiet because if anybody knows, the kids can read their minds and will avoid it or something.
I, I didn’t read the book. I would actually like to now because, uh, reading about it, it sounds really interesting. Yeah. Even though it does sound, it sounds like the movie follows the, the. Pretty closely, but it just seems like there is a lot more to flesh out. It’s called the Mid Witch Cuckoos, which I thought was just kind of a clever name.
You know, kind of like, uh, Romero’s the crazies or whatever. Like we, we think of a cuckoo as kind of a lunatic or, or something like that. So I just assumed that was a reference to the kids cuz they’re weird, you know, they’re cuckoos, but actually it’s not. Uh, it refers to these birds, cuckoo birds. And there’s, God, I wish I had written it down.
I’m sure I did somewhere, but I’ll never be able to, to find it. Um, but there are certain species of cuckoo birds and other birds who trick. Other species of birds inter rearing their offspring. Yep. And so that’s basically what’s going on here. Like these birds will secretly put their own eggs in with the eggs of other, you know, nesting birds.
And then the cuckoo birds will mature faster and be larger. And usually they’ll hatch first and then they’ll push the other eggs. Or if the other young hatch, they’ll push the other eggs or the other young, um, out of the nest. And I thought that was really clever. It was a phenomenon that I wasn’t familiar with.
And it, it makes sense, you know, that’s what’s happened to them. Whatever this species is, they have just used these women to host their offspring. Um, and now the offspring are, are planning to take over martel’s. She has this whole big monologue about how they are a superior life force. And, um, you know, they don’t, they don’t need emotion.
And that’s, that’s when he gives her this big monologue about how you should feel. You know, without feelings, you’re just a second rate mimic of a higher organism. That’s right. We’re better than you because we are the capacity love, like it’s so dumb. . Thank you. It’s so dumb. Please. And, and it’s not even just that it’s dumb.
First of all, what he’s saying is, is pretty stupid. And I can’t imagine would actually be something that you would take the time to try to explain in a moment like this. Right. Secondly, He’s, he’s saying it to a child. Thirdly, he gets so worked up like Yeah, he, he was ju it was just the performance of a lifetime.
like, you have to play, like he’s shouting and he gets all red in the face and tears are streaming down. And I mean, he was going for it, but it just comes off as schlocky and stupid. Well, uh,
Todd: also, it’s not co I mean, it’s not a very convincing argument. Like he’s just like saying this matter of factly, give me a good reason.
You know why that’s better. Why is it better to have emotions? I mean, it’s a, it’s a very interesting argument. Yeah. But this movie doesn’t really mind that for the, it’s not really interested in making us go through mental, I, I, I think the, it’s just like, it was just another box to be checked here.
Another box to be checked. I agree. I just think that, which is why I’m interested in reading the book. I think that you could get far more into the intricacies of the situation because I, I can imagine. , you know, you have a kid, even if the kid is weird, you’re gonna feel a bond and a connection and you’re gonna have a pat, a paternal or maternal instinct to protect that kid regardless.
Yeah, I get that. I just feel like that’s not particularly well explored here. No. Something else that I thought was, uh, fascinating about the book. In the movie Kirsi Alley tells them that the government or the military has taken out these other two colonies. That’s not what happens in the book. In, in the book.
One of the places where this happened was like an Inuit, uh, tribe, and they killed it as soon as the babies were born, they killed them all themselves. Mm. Because they knew there was something wrong with them. And then the other group was another, I think, kind of native tribe somewhere. And they, on their own, without government or military intervention, killed all the kids and the mothers.
because they thought that there was something, uh, wrong. Wow. So this community that we are focused on are the only ones that even allowed the kids to live,
Todd: which could be interesting material because, uh, you know, at one point I think she says to him, and, and maybe in this moment you were a prisoner of your values, Uhhuh , and you won’t be able to receive us.
And, uh, that struck a chord with me, you know, having lived in the Midwest where there are these sort of strong, very religious values about children and about, you know, childhood, about abortion, all that kind of stuff. Right, right. I, I thought, oh yeah, that is interesting territory to mine, but I just don’t think you can just as easily explain that away because they’re gonna be other outside forces that are conflicting with that.
Like, for example, Dr. Verner and her thing and all that. And it just should have been more complicated than it was. But like we said, they just do everything these kids want ’em to do. They’re not happy about it either. They raise their heads up and, and they just kind of like, they’re already under a spell.
and it’s clearly not the case. They take him to this barn, uh, where they’re supposed to do their preparation and they ask a doc, you know, make preparations for us. And this is where he discovers that he can block their, their mental fingers into his brain. Yeah. By ama he’s imagining an ocean. And even his daughter there, what was her name again?
Uh, Mara. Mara comments. This is a particularly strong image. We’re not able to get past it, which is stupid. But anyway, , right? Yeah. Then she would say that, and I mean, it’s like, don’t tell us this.
Craig: Just show us this. Well, I know, I know. And just the whole thing. And eventually, like at first they want the doctor to try to like work with the kids and see if he can help them.
And he’s reluctant, but he decides that he will, cuz he feels like he sees a little bit of humanity in David. And, and I guess in the book, this character, I don’t know if it’s got the same, if he’s got the same name or whatever, the kids. Kind of grow to trust him, um, and will allow him more access to them than anybody else.
And just like in the movie, uh, he kind of exploits that trust and he’s the one that eventually takes them all out, which he does here too. But it’s just dumb because we know that the government is coming to take them all out. In the meantime, the kids kill the minister. Who’s Mark Hamel? Yes. Which I can’t believe we haven’t mentioned yet.
But again, given nothing to do, I love Mark Hamel, and he just plays a creepy
Todd: weirdo. He’s like weird and creepy in this movie. It, it’s so sad. He’s the
Craig: creepy and there’s no reason for him to be Yeah, he’s just a creepy, that’s weird.
Todd: Yeah. I don’t understand that. Was it a performance thing? Was it his lines?
I don’t know. Was he saying, please be creepy? Because he’s a creepy priest who comes in and, and almost says menacing things sometimes. And then at one point he’s trying to take the girl out with a. With a, with like, he’s trying
Craig: to a rifle, like a sniper’s rifle and
Todd: the kids are behind him. Oh no. And you know, they force him to shoot himself.
You know, honestly, there are some horrific things that happen here. Once again, the idea of it is quite horrific. The theme is quite horrific. And them making somebody shoot themselves, even though it happens off screen, it’s a bit stomach turning. Then when Kirsty Ali’s character gets it, the kids, you know, break into her place and she’s, you know, she’s in like the clinic.
I don’t even know what she’s doing, honestly. This doesn’t even make
Craig: any sense. It’s like holding up, what were they
Todd: doing to her Anyway, they go in there and even though these kids are supposed to be able to read mines and know whatever’s going on, they seem to be shocked to discover that she has been holding, you know, their missing brethren there in that tank the whole time.
And so again, this is something they psychically compel her to do. She lays down on a table, like an examining table and picks up a scalpel and eviscerates herself and. That is on its own is a very disturbing stomach churning scene. It’s even more disturbing cuz they don’t really show you, they just show you, you don’t see anything.
The pained look on her face and the sounds of the scalpel cutting through and then she just dies. And then she dies. And, and honestly like, that was the only scene in the whole movie that gave me any form of emotion, whatsoever. I don’t know if my imagination was just running wild or I was maybe a little drunk at the time, but you know, I’m watching this scene and I was like, oh God, that is, that is horrifying.
Craig: I guess they were, it didn’t even make any sense to me. I guess they were just mad at her. I, I don’t even know why. Oh yeah, they were mad at her. She’s still in the way because of her involvement. Government representative because it’s, I mean, she didn’t kill that baby. No, but
Todd: presumably, but she represents the forces against them.
Right. So of course they had to take
Craig: care of it, I guess. Right, but then like to, but then to force her to lay down on a, a table and, and just slice herself up the abdomen with the what? They don’t care. Why? Because they have no empathy. They don’t care. Well, they just stand there and watch. I suppose it just, I don’t blow her head up or something.
I don’t know, ,
Todd: whatever. But the most unrealistic thing is when they start sending the military in, the kids are held up in the barn waiting for the arrangements of doc. He’s got his own plan cuz he’s been to the clinic and he’s seen the Kirsty Allie’s character is now dead. And he knows it’s just, we just gotta destroy them.
Finally, , he loads up a suitcase full of, uh, a briefcase, full of explosives, and he goes out to their place. In the meantime, the military and the cops, like, there’s just a whole line of cars coming down the street and the kids, you know, are quizzing him, like, what are you doing? They go outside and they start compelling them to shoot each other.
Craig: Yeah, so the cops all shoot each other. That’s kind of a big action sequence.
Todd: Why don’t you guys just nuke the place, like shoot a missile at it from afar. Like, you gotta be nearby these kids for them to do anything to you. You’re the military and
Craig: I really don’t know what their end game is. Mar’s like, you have to get us out of here.
Okay, well, where are you gonna go? Yeah. You know, like, that’s a mystery. Well, where are you going? How are you gonna hide from the military? Like, I, I don’t have any idea, you know, an angry mob led by the minister’s wife, like tries to come after them and they force her to like emulate herself and she’s all burned up.
Meanwhile, Jill still wants to save her son David. So while Christopher Reeve is standing there in front of all these kids, and this time he’s put up a literal brick wall in his mind that they can’t. I like it, babe. Get behind. Which again
Todd: is dumb. No, I don’t know. I kind of like, I mean, it is, it’s so on the nose, right?
It, it’s definitely,
Craig: yeah. But it’s just one of those things, it’s a, it’s a contrivance in these types of movies that I just don’t buy. You can’t do that. The, the very, yeah. The first thing that you’re gonna do when you have something that you can’t think about is think about all the time. It’s all you’re gonna think about.
Yeah. . Yeah. Like,
Craig: think of a White House. It’s impossible. Uhhuh. . Right. Um, so. But whatever, I mean, you, you get this imagery of this brick wall that he’s got and, and the daughter Mara is just getting really pissed off and like her, her eyes glow like they usually have, but then she’s getting so intense that her whole face glows and you can kind of see the alien.
That was cool. Face behind her face. Yeah. That was kind of
Todd: cool. As much as the movie decided to do this and had to do this for whatever reason, and that was dumb. I liked how he played out this scene. I liked the image of the brick wall. It was kind of pulsing towards you. You could see it start to crack and everything.
Like in a book you can do this quite easily, but in a movie you have to visually communicate everything. And I thought that with the editing and the special effects and which are quite impressive. Well I guess it’s 1995. I don’t know why I’m placing this in the eighties, but in 1995, still decent. Yeah.
You know, and it was cool to see a little bit of the alien skull, I guess behind their. Actual skulls, like all those bits were, were nice and I thought this was a well-done sequence. As ridiculous as it was, it was fine,
Craig: I guess. Um, while she’s distracted, while she and the other kids are distracted, Jill comes in and, and whisks David away,
Todd: which should never, how does this happen?
No. How does this happen? I
Craig: know, and it’s just such a stupid ending of the movie. So, Christopher Reeves manages to hold them off until like, you know, he’s counting, he’s got a bomb on a timer in this briefcase, and he keeps looking at the clock and the kids are like, , why do you keep looking at the clock?
And eventually Mara is able to break through his mental wall and she sees, but there’s only like five seconds left and the five seconds runs down and the whole barn blows up, presumably killing all of them. But then the end of the movie is Jill driving away with David in the passenger seat and she says, don’t worry David, we’ll go someplace where nobody knows who we are.
This is a terrible idea. Like , this kid, you know, this kid maybe showed some scintilla of empathy or humanity somewhere along the line, but he’s not, he’s an alien. And the aliens want to take over the world. And to be
Todd: fair, it’s terrible. I feel like it ends on that note, like she says this to him. But then the, the closing shot is a lingering shot on his face where he’s staring almost emotion.
Emotionless forward. And I felt like that was the impression we’re supposed to be left with is like, ha ha ha, you’re underestimating this guy.
Craig: I know. See, and I think when I was a kid and I saw, I say kid, I was in high school, but when I was a kid and I saw it, I was glad that he got away. Like, oh, that, you know, she rescued one, he’s good, he’s gonna be okay.
Now was a jaded adult. I’m like, you’re so stupid. Like that kid is gonna kill you. and his brethren are gonna arrive and take over the world and you’re an idiot. Um, I mean, I get it. Like I get the maternal instinct. Um, and, and she plays it well. I like her. She’s, I like this actress. I liked her in the Crocodile Dundee movies.
I like her here. She’s beautiful. She’s a good actress. It was just such a stupid choice in my opinion, that it was hard to feel, it was hard to empathize. I guess I’m becoming one of these little white-headed kids and don’t have any emotion or feeling. Cause that’s almost dumb .
Todd: No, man. It’s because you have emotion and feeling that you cannot understand this movie.
Where most everybody here is just wooden. And which a again, it’s too
Craig: bad. Like I, it shame wanted to like it. I still wanna like it. I, and I don’t know exactly where it went wrong, but the whole time, honestly, like, it, it felt so much, I, I’m thinking specifically of, uh, the, the, the film version of like needful things, Uhhuh , um, or something like that where, you know, it, Stephen King books are much like this in that they’re very broad in scope and there are tons of characters and that’s really difficult to encapsulate in an hour and a half.
It really is Uhhuh . Yeah. Unless, unless you really narrow the focus, which has been done and I think could have been done here, focus on a couple of characters, get us invested in those characters, but instead we’re spread out all over the town Yeah. With all of these characters. Yeah. Who you ultimately just don’t care about.
Like, I, I wanted to care about the teenage girl, you know, I, I thought that that was such an interesting, such an interesting element of the movie that, you know, she’s. A virgin, it’s, it’s impossible that she could be, and, and the emotional stuff that she would’ve had to go through. And eventually in the movie you do, do see that.
Like she turns to booze and she kills herself. But it’s just an afterthought. Yeah. Um, and, and everything, everything feels like an afterthought. Uh, and so I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. I just didn’t feel like God, especially poor Kirsti Alley is so one note and not her fault. And Christopher Reeve very one note and really not his fault.
Like I, I feel like these people were, you know, they showed up, they did the job. It’s just. For whatever reason. And John Carpenter’s a great, I have so much respect for him. Yeah. He’s a great filmmaker. He is a brilliant guy. Just something didn’t go right. ,
Todd: I agree with you a hundred percent. And John Carpenter, I love him to death.
He’s an awesome filmmaker,
Craig: composer. He’s, yeah, he’s fantastic. He
Todd: insists on shooting in a classic style. He doesn’t go for shaky cam or like craziness. And I, I think somehow that helps his movies to stand the test of time. They never feel dated in their style. They never, I guess they’re not stylish enough.
I, I would say he, he, he gets high concept stuff, really good actors and has interesting stories to tell, tells them in a very straightforward but compelling way usually. And this movie, you know, it’s still very John Carpenter. It’s very traditional in its filmmaking. It’s very, uh, straightforward, but it’s too much.
It’s too much material there that. We can all see the deficiencies. Yeah. We all want more out of this. Like this movie could have been four hours long, could have been a mini-series actually. Isn’t there a mini-series
Craig: now? Right now there is, but it’s in Europe. It’s uh, I think in Britain. I don’t think it’s available, uh, in the States yet.
I checked it’s, uh, a of the book and shares the title of the book, the Mid Witch Cuckoos.
Todd: Gotcha. That’s interesting. Uh, I also found it interesting that is it Margaret Atwood that wrote The Step, the Stepford Wives. She was directly inspired by, uh, this novel to write the Stepford wives. And she, she was very open about that.
And a couple of Wi White Whi Widoms, John John Weems books, uh, inspired her for that. And that, you know, went on to be a mini-series. It, it plumbs similar emotional material. It’s kind of similar really in. The mad at content, right. It’s just a little different in the way it’s presented, but it’s much more effective.
I think the, the movie adaptations anyway have been a little more effective. And I’ll tell you, having watched the original, um, don’t bother. Okay. Good to know. It’s smarter than this movie, but it’s more boring. , you know, it’s very talky. It gets very scientific and whatnot, and it does simplify things so that you don’t see the deficiencies.
You know, this movie tries to go a little too broad. I think that movie keeps things quite narrow, and that is to its credit. So I would say it’s almost, in a way, it’s a better movie, but, By modern day standards, it’s not gonna hold your attention. Yeah, yeah. It’s really disappointing from John Carpenter, but John, I don’t think John Carpenter has ever been above taking a paycheck.
He’s been very no open about, you know, how he’s primarily in this business to make money. Oh, yeah. And so as good as he is, and as good as a lot of the movies he’s done, this is certainly not his only Turkey. And I think even John Carpenter himself will say like, I didn’t really have my heart in that. And to be fair, at least in the wake decades later, he said he never really had his heart in this film either.
So that, that’s a shame. It really is. It is a shame because it had
Craig: potential. I, I think it really did. And I I imagine it will probably be remade again in our lifetime, would be my guess. Yeah. Um, and, and, and hopefully better. Um, not that it matters, but Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale.
Todd: Handmaid’s Tale, what did I say?
Stepford wives. Stepford wives. Yeah. Easy, easy mistake. That’s what I meant. I honestly though Kirsty Ali, she’s fine. She’s fine with what she has to, she’s fine to do. She’s. But, but she’s, you’re right. She’s given
Craig: nothing. I find myself sometimes, uh, wishing and, and really not. But, but there, there are movies that I would love to talk about in this format that aren’t horror.
Uh, you and I could talk about and, and laugh our butts off about, uh, drop Dead gorgeous. If you’ve never seen that. You need to see it. It’s hilarious. It’s a documentary about pageants and she plays like the ultimate pageant mom. Um, and she’s great. And they’re, you know, even the look who’s talking movies are stupid, but they’re funny.
Uh, and they’re, they’re fun. Um, I really like her. Um, I was sad to hear that we lost her. I thought that she was younger than she was, so she did have a full life, but she’ll, she’ll be missed. I, I want to go ahead and say the same thing about Christopher Reeve. Yeah. Great. American actor,
Todd: tragedy. This was his last film.
Roll it before his accident. Mm-hmm. .
Craig: Um, he was in a, a horseback riding accident and he was paralyzed from the neck down for the remainder of his life. And he, he did do a couple more movies from his, his chair, but, uh, again, a, a tragedy that. In that he had to go through the last part of his life that way.
But you know, he, he carried on nonetheless. Valiantly. Yeah. And that’s, that’s commendable. So anyway, two actors who I have a lot of fondness for, um, a lot of nostalgia for it. It is just not a great movie. But that happens. And, you know, even, you know, we talk about John Carpenter never turning down a check.
I, I don’t have any problem with that. We’ve talked about this before. Oh yeah, for sure. This is their, this
Todd: is their job. This is business .
Craig: You know, I think it’s, it’s, it’s so easy for us. To, uh, you know, sit back in our armchairs and criticize people for taking a movie for the check or taking a role for the check or whatever.
It’s their work. It’s their job. They’re in it to make money. Yeah. And I, I’m sure they’re in it for the artistry too, but at the end of the day, this is how they support their livelihoods. Yeah. So a check is a check. So whatever, you know, carpenter has made a ton of good movies. He’s proved himself
Todd: this isn’t one of his best.
Craig: He’s proved himself. He’s, you know, laughing his way all the way to the bank and, and good for him. You know, this isn’t his best work. So what , he got it done. He cares. , he got it done. It’s not, and, and as, as hard on it as we’ve been, it’s not terrible. You know, it’s not no incompetently made. It’s, it’s perfectly competent.
It’s just nothing special. If you were
Todd: younger, if you were a kid, this movie would probably freak the freak you the hell out. You know, if I saw when I was a kid, if you hadn’t seen anything more sophisticated than this, you know, in a while, uh, this movie would. No, we’ll push some buttons for you. I think so.
Craig: not as bad as we’re making it out to be. No, it’s just disappointing cuz it could have been better and based on the people who were involved, you would expect it to be better. Yeah. But it is what it is. Not a waste of time. I had a good time talking about it and I’m glad that we got to say some nice things about uh, Kirsti Ali cuz she was a cool lady.
Todd: Me too. Uh, cheers to Kirsty. Well, thank you again for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please share with a friend. Here we are in 2023. We got a lot of, uh, episodes to come. So submit your request to us. Just Google, two guys in a chainsaw podcast. Find us on Facebook, find our website, and, uh, find our Patreon account.
Think about, uh, sub supporting us, throwing a few bucks our way. And, uh, you will get access to some special features. We put out a couple mini SOS every month. We have an exclusive interview on there. We allow our patrons to help us choose the next movies that we’re doing based on the requests. Please, uh, consider that.
And, uh, thank you so much for your support. No matter which way it comes, just listening to us is support enough. Yep. Until next time, I’m Todd. And I’m Craig with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.
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