Made-For-TV: Monsters (TV series, 1988-1991)

MONSTERS
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The complete re-mastered horror anthology series from
“Tales From The Darkside” Executive Producer Richard P. Rubinstein
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From modern-fables of fear, to stories that uncover
the trembling terrors of times past, each episode of this
acclaimed series harbors a terrible secret—it’s very own
gruesome monster to haunt your dreams in tales of
mystery, suspense and imagination.
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—Monsters: The Complete Series (back cover)

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Pretty much every movie I saw during my formative years (this also includes my 20s) I consider “memory movies,” which means they come with a memory, or memories, of when I saw them and how they affected me. I have two video towers, a smaller cabinet and a desk drawer chock full of memory movies. I can also apply this term to certain series I’ve seen like, Space: 1999, Star Trek (Original Series/Next Generatio/Enterprise), The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, etc. The review you are about to read is the tale of one such series that is full of nostalgic moments.

I’m writing this portion of the review on Black Friday 2013 and as of right now there’s no word yet on what extra features, if any, will be included. I’m hoping the commercial I saw in summer ’88 will be added.

I was 19 that summer. It was a year after my high school graduation and I felt in between life. I had no plans whatsoever to go to college and had yet to build any kind of ambition to find a job. It was also the summer my best friend from high school, Gerry Lee, went into the army. He and I were under the impression he wouldn’t have to go until fall, but they wanted him in boot camp right after graduation. He left in May. And that was the first time I felt alone. I had met another kid during my final year in high school and when Gerry left he became my new best friend.

At some point this commercial comes on of three monsters in a convertible driving down a highway. The Monsters title pops up and, I think, but I’m not sure, it said from the makers of Tales From The Darkside, and Coming This Fall. I remember being instantly enthused and thinking, finally, a series that’s just about monsters. I mean every episode has to feature some kind of monster, since the name of the series is Monsters, I also thought. This is fantastic!

My next memory of the show is when it finally aired. IMDB says it started on October 22nd. By then I had finally gotten my driver’s license and was a month away from being gainfully employed by K-Mart in the stockroom pricing their ad merchandise, a job I stayed at until October of 1990. During that time I acquired a girlfriend and that final season always reminds me of her. The show came to an end on April 26, 1991 with the Stephen King adapted/Tom Noonan starring episode, “The Moving Finger.”

It wasn’t until August ’91 when I finally got it into my head to start recording them; my favorite episodes at least. I wish I had thought of that years earlier, I only managed to get a few Season 3 episodes onto a VHS tape before September rolled around and they took the repeats off the air permanently. Johanna wasn’t familiar with the show and I showed her each episode as I recorded them; “The Hole,” “The Space Eaters,” “The Maker” and “Hostile Takeover,” never fail to bring back memories of Johanna every time I see them.

My next memory is probably the most precise one I have of the show.

Let’s just say if I was being asked under oath where I was on the night of October 15, 1989 I can pretty much tell you where and whom I was with. You see this is the airdate of the “A Bond Of Silk” episode. That’s my all time favorite episode from the series simply because I adore “Big Bug “ movies and the monster in the episode was a giant (stop motion) spider.

During it’s run the show was syndicated and it came on twice on Saturday, once early and once really late. I had an idea this particular episode was about a giant spider because a recent issue of Fangoria talked about the new season and they showed a photo “A Bond Of Silk” where two people appeared to be trapped in a spider web. I tuned in and sure enough my hunch paid off.

That night me and my current best friend, Chris, were scheduled to make one of our late night appearances down at Village Pizza, one of the local pizza places we routinely hung out at back then. The moment we got down there I began telling him of this episode and that it was coming on again later. We cut out of there early so he could get back home and watch it.

Monsters doesn’t enter my life again until January 1997. That was when now defunct Adelphia Cable gave us the Sci-Fi channel (now branded the SyFy channel due to “channel rot”), This was four months after a near fatal car accident where this old woman ran a stop sign and collided head on into me. I was still on crutches then, I think. And as I was flipping through the stations early one morning, I saw the show. I think it was the “Match Game” episode. I didn’t end up watching it though because it was on too early and for some reason didn’t pay that much attention to how important it was to me. That could be explained away by the car accident. Among the injuries I suffered was the top of my head smashing into the windshield. For a while, memory and concentration were problematic and to this day my short-term memory still suffers.

The show again returns to dormancy and doesn’t enter my life yet again until late April/early May of 2007 or 2008 when while on the computer one day at the local library I stumble upon someone selling bootlegs of the series.

I naturally freaked out.

Finally a chance to own the entire show.

I ordered a copy and was mildly disappointed, as one tends to naturally be from time to time when dealing with bootlegs. The picture quality varied wildly from episode to episode. A scant few were crystal clear, VHS crystal clear I should stress, and the others were just plain badly copied. They were, however, all watchable, basically, and I was just glad to have the entire series in my possession.

This was right around the time the late Jeff Conaway was starring on that first season of Celebrity Rehab. As I scanned the back of the DVD case where all the episodes were listed names of each ep brought back a “memory” but for some reason I couldn’t really remember a damn thing about the stories of some and was suddenly under the impression I may not have seen every episode when they first aired.

Once night fell, I spent the next two weeks watching the series until I went to bed at 11:30. When I got to Jeff Conaway’s starring “Fools’ Gold,” an episode I thought I didn’t see, I realized I had indeed seen it but had simply forgotten I had, and so on it went with all those other episodes I had falsely assumed I had missed. That 2007 revisit was the best two weeks I had that year and the first time I had really sat down and watched every one since they originally aired. Each night brought back a wistful sense of nostalgia from that ’88-‘91 time frame the show ran in.

Dormancy sets in once more and I don’t encounter the show until its unexpected airing on the Chiller channel in the spring of 2011. This time I planned to record it replacing the overall crappy looking bootleg with the better-looking airings from that channel. They were run in marathons, which was great. A whole day of Monsters. And in transmission order to boot. Where one marathon left off, the next one picked right up again the next week. This time, however, I could pick and choose which episodes I wanted. I love the series but there are a handful I don’t care for. Most are the comic ones. Incidentally it took me 2-3 months to get them all recorded.

Which brings me up to November 2013. The day before Christmas my wish was actually granted. Checking the Fangoria website I came across an article that said the show was finally hitting legit DVD in March. Up to now I had assumed Paramount owned the series and I was basing that on the fact that they had released Tales From The Darkside. Apparently not, for a company called, Entertainment One (eOne), is distributing it and not in season sets, which I also assumed would happen. No, they are releasing all three seasons, all 72 episodes, in one collection!

I reached out to FX Artists, John Dods (The Deadly Spawn, Nightbeast) and Todd Masters (The Resurrected, Blue Monkey, Necronomicon)both of whom worked on a number of episodes—through Facebook informing them of its release and asking them if they could contribute something, anything even, to this review.

They were gracious enough to do so.

Many thanks, John! Todd!

JOHN DODS: “Monster’s may have been the most cheaply produced anthology series of all time.  The Executives compensation ate most of the budget leaving little for actual production. It was only through the heroic efforts of producers, directors and crew that anything any good ever reached the screen. The budget was so low that when props were needed, series producer Jan Saunders would sometimes bring in furnishings in from her house to dress the set with.

Each episode was shot in 4 or 5 days on 16mm film and was edited digitally (no film was cut) – which was rather new at that time. Half of the episodes were shot in California and half in Queens, New York City.

Each episode featured a new original monster. The monsters were created by a “Who’s Who” of special effects makeup and included Greg Cannom, Vincent Guastini, Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Steve Johnson, Kevin Haney, Michael Burnett, and Richard Alonzo – to name a few. Dick Smith was the series “Special Consultant” on makeup effects. Dick actually designed the characters for two of the episodes – “Holly’s House” and “The Gift” (written by his son David) however Dick’s involvement of many other episodes was minimal.

I was 40 years old and had just finished taking Dick Smith’s “Professional Makeup Course” when Monsters went into production.

Dick Smith recommended me for the “Holly’s House” episode which featured a killer doll.

I was reliable and cheap so they kept hiring me. Over 3 years, I supervised the effects for 18 episodes.

Monsters was my first professional experience creating prosthetic makeup. I was used to low budgets having grown up in the “Do it yourself” world of Don Dohler type ultra low budget filmmaking. 

Back then, Monsters was the best job I’d ever had. After 3 years on the show, I felt like I’d done everything I could do in the low budget universe.  When Disney asked me to work on the most expensive Broadway show ever produced – “Beauty and the Beast” – I moved from film to theatre and seldom went back. B&B had buckets of money, but Monsters was more fun. A world of endless monsters felt like home to me.”

TODD MASTERS: “I remember first noticing how low-budget this Monsters show was, when first going into their offices for a meeting. It was in a crappy part of Hollywood (back when there was good parts of Hollywood) and they were all packed into this little space with offices and stages. I noticed that they were making fake-rocks out of used cardboard boxes, and weird stuff like this… it just screamed CHEEP!

The Production, for some reason, had made a mandate that each episode’s make-up FX was to be done by a different company. So EVERYONE came through these offices… this was a time of the big-hair monster-makers of the Valley – at the end of the crazy-80’s – and many of us looked scarier than anything we could conjure up for screen. Make-up FX was in it’s hey-day, and we were rockstars. And here was a show that seemed to know it, and wanted all of us to guest star. (In actuality they knew that they’d keep it cheap by having us all under-bid each other.)”

It wasn’t until that 2007/2008 revisit that I realized the series had a handful of episodes that either showcased an actor(s) that was famous or ones that were about to be. There were 24 episodes in each of the 3 seasons. Incidentally, vampires and werewolves are the two monsters that show up the most. There are 4 episodes about vampires and 2 about werewolves. My goal now for this next part is to briefly talk about my favorite ones:

Season One:

Episode #3, “New York Honey”—This episode features a before-they-were famous Andrea Thompson (Babylon 5 series) as a human skin wearing Queen Bee looking to mate. It also bears a resemblance to the season one episode of The Outer Limits (1964) titled, ZZZZZ, with a plot that is exactly the same. We don’t see Thompson transform until the very end. Effects were quite good, too. Loved her mutant bee form.

Episode #4, “The Vampire Hunter”—This is the first of the four vampire episodes and it featured an already established actor Robert Lansing (‘Assignment Earth’ episode of the original Star Trek series, Island Claws, Empire Of The Ants, The Nest) playing a vampire hunter who is about to retire but is pulled back into the game when his assistant his kidnapped by a vengeful vampire. The episode feels very Hammer-esque, even being shot as a period piece.

Episode #7, “The Legacy”—This one is based on a short story by Robert Bloch and is about this writer who’s obsessed with this Lon Chaney type actor who was able to fully immerse himself into his roles, more so than any other actor before and since. Dale wants to learn his secret and eventually does. Unclear whether it was the actor’s make-up kit that was somehow “magical” or that the dead actor haunting it was possessing him. Nice make-up FX that homage’s Chaney’s The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1923) and London After Midnight (1927).

Episode #8, “Sleeping Dragon,”—This is the quintessential Monsters episode. Two well known actors headline it: Russell Johnson (the Professor from Gilligan’s Island) and Kin Shriner (Scotty Baldwin from General Hospital, and the voice of Green Arrow in the Justice League Unlimited ‘toon from 2003). There’s also an actress in it by the name of Beth Toussaint who’s done a lot of TV, which is why she also looks familiar to me. Basic plot is about these two archeologists (never sure what Toussaint’s role is) who are trapped in what appears to be an Artic ice station with a humanoid dinosaur. Excellent man-in-a-suit FX by the Chiodo brothers.

Episode #9, “Pool Sharks,”—Never cared much for this episode when I first saw it, but it has grown on me and is now one of my favorites. This is vampire episode #2 and filmed in a very nourish fashion. Takes place in a bar where this pool shark shows up and butts in on this hot chick seemingly pulling her own con-game on this undertaker who just passed by. Can’t talk too much more about it since it has a couple of nice twists. Episode ends at as the sun comes up.

Episode #10, “Pillow Talk,”—Another exceptional episode like Sleeping Dragon where the monster is just that—a monster!. Here we get two well known actors, Mary Woronov (Terrorvision, Night Of The Comet) and John Diehl (Miami Vice, and that crazy haired punk from Escape From New York that delivers the President’s finger to Lee Van Cleef). Here Diehl plays a famous Stephen King type horror writer who gets his ideas from the monster that’s disguised as his bed and that he needs to feed women to on a regular basis. This “bed monster” is an impressive creation being all mouth and tentacles and even comes with a nice Lovecraftian mythology that states it’s the last of its kind. Woronov plays a potential victim, the one that gets away, and has a secret.

Episode #11, “Rouse Him Not,”—Two already famous faces, Alex Cord (Airwolf TV series) and Laraine Newman (Saturday Night Live) headline this episode that’s about a warlock who used to live in this house and his demonic familiar. This demon still exists down in the cellar. All this comes as news the new occupant, Newman. Thank God Cord is on hand to give her the lowdown on its history and come equipped with a magical sword to kill it. FX Artist, Mark Shostrom directed.

Episode #13, “Glim-Glim,”—This is not a typical Monsters episode. It is in that there is a monster the humans have to contend with but it’s only a monster on the outside. Novelist, F. Paul Wilson wrote this episode and it’s about a town being decimated by an alien. Said alien holes up in library and there are only 3 survivors trying to figure out how to get out of the town. The before-they-were-famous face in this one is little girl, Jenna Von Oy, who a year later becomes well known for the character of Six on the Blossom TV series. This episode has got a nice twist to it, so I can’t go into it like I have with the others I’ve posted.

Episode #15, “The Mother Instinct,”—Before-they-were-famous Finn Carter (Tremors) plays an abused wife whose paraplegic mother has an interesting secret. The melons she’s growing in the back room have restored feeling to her legs and made her strong. The abusive husband of the daughter wants to exploit this side effect for profit, but soon realizes “blood worms” guard the melons with a mother worm big enough to be a man-eater. The worm FX is top notch and provided by FX artist, John Dods.

Episode #17, “Taps,”—This is one of those comedic episodes that actually creeped me out when I first saw it. It’s about this homicidal actress who kills her dance partner and then cuts his body up. The monster here is also unconventional. The homicidal actress could be construed as the “monster” and so can the dance partners disembodied leg that comes back to life to get revenge. It was that lopped off limb hopping around that gave me the willies. Still does, too.

Episode #18, “The Match Game,”—The plot to this one is a true classic and another episode that actually gave me the willies when I saw it. It’s got one major before-they-were-famous actor, Tori Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210), an already popular one in the form of Ashley Lawrence (Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II) and two that are moderately well known. Their faces may be familiar even if their names aren’t: Bryan Thames (a lot of TV work) and Sasha Jenson who’s done a lot of B-movies: Dazed and Confused, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Ghoulies II, Halloween 4. The story here is about 4 teens that break into this notorious and abandoned house to play The Match Game. A match is lit and the person holding it has until it burns down to the finger to tell part of a made-up ghost story, and then hand it off to someone else who does the same, advancing the story. The thing is this made up ghost story comes to life. It’s a very creepy episode with the monster being the dead owner of the house coming out of the swamp to wreak vengeance. Has a nice Tales From The Crypt vibe about it.

Episode #20, “The Cocoon,”—This is another weird episode where the monster is not of the obvious variety. It comes in the form of this woman who’s immortal and who when she gets old—and to get her youth back—finds a man, binds them both in a cocoon she weaves out of her mouth and drains the poor man of his life. It has a vague “spider-woman” vibe about it even though she doesn’t exhibit anything more spidery than silk weaving. Fairly famous Kim Johnston Ulrich (As The World Turns, various other TV work) plays the cocoon weaving woman and already well known Billy Drago plays the detective trying to make sense of this strange woman in the hospital who can’t recall her past. A rare hero role for an actor who’s best known at playing odd characters and villains.

Episode #21, “All In A Days Work,”—Another weird, semi-comic episode with iconic Adrienne Barbeau (Maude TV series, The Fog, Escape From New York, Swamp Thing) playing a good witch who helps this guy who shows up at her apartment wanting to get rid of a Doppelganger he unwittingly summoned. It gets somewhat comic when she summons another demon to get rid of the doppelganger. An actor is used in human form to represent the demon she summons. Other than that it has a few creepy moments and a strange little creature when the doppelganger reverts to its natural form. Feels inspired by a scene from Hammer Films’ movie, The Devil Rides Out.

Episode #23, “Mannikins Of Horror,”—Another episode adapted from a Robert Bloch story. This one concerns a man in an asylum who works tirelessly at molding small human figures out of clay. He’s part of them, and he intends to escape through them, but the local doctor who heads up the asylum stymies him at every turn. Good stop motion FX used for the “manikins,” and an act of violence I was surprised to see on a TV series at the time. One of the manikins stabs a doctor in the eye with a letter opener. It was very effectively filmed and not something I was used to seeing on regular TV back then. 

Season Two:

Episode #25, “The Face,”—The focus here are two redneck brothers who kill already famous actress, Imogene Coca (National Lampoon’s Vacation), during a botched nighttime robbery. Coca bits one of the brothers, which prompts the unintended murder. Later on the old woman’s face manifests on his hand where he was bitten. It’s a grungy looking episode with a very despicable characters. A fun watch and good FX.

Episode #27, “A Bond Of Silk,”—Now we come to my all time favorite episode of the entire series. It’s a giant spider episode about two newlyweds duped, more like lured, into this supposed honeymoon suit with a majority of the room taken up by a giant spider web. The husband (Marc McClure famous for being Jimmy Olsen in all the early Superman movies including the one they made about Supergirl) thinking it’s some kind of hammock leaps in and is instantly stuck. The wife played by Lydia Cornell (Too Close For Comfort series) is smarter. She stays away from it knowing what it is, and most of the episode is her trying to find some way to get her husband out. This is actually another creepy episode with a nice stop motion giant spider that shows up at the end. The demise of the spider via elevator crushing was ripped off in the 2000 movie, Spiders.

Episode #30, “The Farmer’s Daughter,”—Iconic funnyman/actor, Soupy Sales, plays Howard Filby, a traveling salesman, who has the bad luck to visit the wrong home; two parents and a hot daughter. The “hot daughter” has a secret. She’s dead. Like rotting corpse dead, and she wants someone to marry her. Creepy story with erotic overtones and an excellent rotting corpse.

Episode #33, “Reaper,”—Third adaptation of a Robert Bloch tale. This time Barbara Billingsly (Leave It To Beaver TV series) plays a nurse in an old age home with a patient who makes a pact with the Grim Reaper to stay alive. I remember being impressed by the Reaper FX because his hands are actually skeletal and not some actor with skeletal appliances. For a low-budget series, I expected less and got more.

Episode #34, “The Mandrake Root,”—Erotic horror tale of a wife who finds a strange plant in her basement. It’s actually a mandrake root that needs blood. Once it gets blood it blossoms into a humanoid the wife has sex with. Again more excellent FX coupled with a weird sexual vibe.

Episode #38, “Bed And Boar,”—Hard to tell which he did first that Tales From The Darkside movie or this episode here, but soon-to-be famous Steve Buscemi plays a traveling salesman stuck at a motel one night when he saves this woman from her abusive husband. The monster here is two fold—it’s the woman, who’s a witch, and what she did to her husband she then does to Buscemi, turning him into man-pig.

Episode #40, “Perchance To Dream,”—I love this episode but it’s the only one in the entire series that has no monster and one that feels more like it was made for Tales From The Darkside. It’s a strange tale about a college kid who gets hit on the head during a mugging and then can’t fall asleep. Odd things begin to happen. His dream world starts leaking into reality.

Episode #42, “The Offering,”—Now this episode is another exceptional favorite of mine. Written by famed horror/fantasy novelist, Dan Simmons, it’s about a cancer-inducing monster. A Lovecraftian mythos that proposes perhaps this is where cancer comes from—interdimensional creatures that shove these slugs into us. Great monster FX by Michael Burnett.

Episode #43, “Far Below,”—A great episode directed by the late Debra Hill (John Carpenter’s “partner in crime” on a lot of his movies) and stars already famous actor, Barry Nelson, as a scientist who’s sole job is to rid the subways of these underground man beasts. The design of the man beasts is memorable and so is Nelson’s ultimate understanding of his relationship to them.

Episode #44, “Micro Minds,”—An alien species invades Earth, but the catch is they don’t come from outer space. In this clever episode, which feels exactly like a classic Outer Limits one the aliens are intelligent microbes able to grow big enough to menace a human through a device already-famous-actor, Troy Donahue (50-60s actor), builds.

Episode #45, “Refugee,”—This episode almost feels like a pilot to a Kolchak-style series. An ex-spy is sent in to rescue Anna (Judy Geeson of Inseminoid fame), a woman who has sold her soul to the Devil. Minions show up to retrieve it.

Episode #48, “The Family Man,”—Another favorite of mine. This kid has a special pair of glasses; it allows him to see his mother’s boyfriend for what he really is, a weird reptilian creature that feeds on human emotions. Creepy plot and good monster FX by John Dods. 

Season Three:

Episode #49, “Stressed Environment”—Nicely done episode about rats that were forced to evolve under a “stressed environment,” becoming small humanoid rat-primates. A team of scientists led by Carol Lynley (The Night Stalker, Beware! The Blob, The Shuttered Room) try to prevent their Frankenstein creations from getting out into the world. The rats are nicely stop motion rendered. This episode made me do a double take when it first came out. There’s a side boob shot of the female lab worker, which the channel blurred. Back in ’88-’91 TV still had a no-go policy on any kind of nudity, which is what made me do a double take on the blurring.

Episode #51, “Bug House”—A very creepy “insect episode” based on an equally creepy short story by Lisa Tuttle, which I first read in the first volume of an erotic horror anthology called, ‘Hot Blood: Tales Of Provocative Horror.’ An insect in human skin knocks up this woman’s sister and then her at the end. You get a giant maggot birth sequence and a ripped off face that reveals insectile features on the guy. Vincent Guastini did the excellent looking FX here.

Episode #54, “The Hole”—The second of two zombie episodes, the first one being My Zombie Lover from Season One. This one is more effective as 3 American soldiers venture into an underground bunker to ferret out the Viet Cong but come face to face with their walking dead. Effectively self-contained setting and good zombie make-up.

Episode #55, “Small Blessings”—A very obvious homage to Larry Cohen’s It’s Alive movies, played somewhat for laughs but with a dark edge, a combination that works here as Saturday Night Live’s Kevin Nealon and actress, Julie Brown, struggle with their mutant baby as the neighborhood is besieged by a serial killer played by another SNL alumni, David Spade. Killer Baby FX (by Michael Burnett) is very good!

Episode #56, “Shave And A Haircut, Two Bites”—Dan Simmons contributes another excellent script (first one was for The Offering) about soon-to-be famous Matt LeBlanc (Friends TV series) and already popular Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series, Stand By Me), playing two kids who think their local barbershop is run by vampires. They’re right, it is!

Episode #59, “Sin-Sop”—Another just plainly weird episode set in the Bible belt where, for a fee, this faith healer will cleanse your soul of all sin. It’s how he does it that’s the real kicker, and it works too, as long as you aren’t so full of sin that you’ll break his “machine.”

Episode #62, “Household Gods”—Little person, Michael J Anderson, who played killer doll, Holly, from “Holly’s House” in the first season plays a Household God; a gnome-ish type being that’s meant to keep women in their place at home taking care of their children. Deborah Van Valkenburgh (Too Close For Comfort series) plays the wife.

Episode #63, “The Space Eaters”—Never read the story this is based on from Frank Belknap Long, but it’s thoroughly Lovecraftian with giant, tentacled eyeballs from space coming to earth to feast on human brains. A period piece, too.

Episode #65, “Leavings”—Based on a tale by Gahan Wilson that can be found in the anthology, ‘The Cleft And Other Odd Tales,’ it’s another classically weird episode about New York City cops being replaced by these Frankenstein patchworks. Very freaky. Tony Shalhoub plays a cop who begins to notice. This is right before he got well known playing Antonio, the cab driver, on that comedy show, Wings.

Episode #67, “A Face For Radio”—Morton Downey, jr (deceased) plays a shock jock that entertains 80s singer Laura Branigan (also deceased) who has something freaky she wants to show him. It’s in a cage. And it talks. And it warns Downey the same thing is going to happen to him.

Episode #68, “Werewolf Of Hollywood”—Another fun and slightly comedic episode where comedian, Richard Belzer plays a smarmy screenwriter who has to contend with dissension in his ranks by someone who is a werewolf. Excellent lycanthrope FX, too by Vincent Guastini.

Episode #70, “Hostile Takeover”—Already famous, Dennis Christopher (Breaking Away, Necronomicon) and near iconic actress, Pam Grier, butt heads as oily executive Christopher refuses to pay the Voodoo priestess (Grier) the price for his success. The Devil pays him a visit at the end.

Episode #71, “The Maker”—A very nice twist at the end of this one. This guy runs into this other guy in this abandoned building. This other guy has the power to create anything, but his alcoholism keeps fucking it up. By the way this other guy is Eddie Bracken who starred in a Tales From The Darkside episode, a memorable one called, “A Case Of The Stubborns,” where he died but refuses to believe he’s dead until he sneezes and blows his entire nose right off his face.

Episode #72, “The Moving Finger”—Actor, Tom Noonan’s third episode, but the only one he starred in. He wrote and directed, “The Bargain” and “Malcolm.” Here he stars in a tale adapted from a Stephen King short story about a long finger that comes up out of the toilet and refuses to leave him alone.

eOne’s remaster of this series is really quite good! Colors are very true and so is clarity. I can make out skin texture nicely. Definitely much better than the Chiller airings, and these have that momentary Monsters break restored. Just before they used to go to commercial, or come back from one, the Monsters logo would appear and you’d get that one beat from the opening theme. The Chiller channel omitted those when it aired.

General specs run like this: 1.33:1 (full frame); English 2.0 Dolby Digital; no subtitles and there are no extra features at all.

To counter the absence of extras I have created a Facebook page dedicated to the show. I have three FX artists from it helping me moderate—John Dods, Vincent Guastini and Michael Burnett, plus ex-Horror Year Book website owner, Wil Keiper, who’s just as much a fan as I am. Not only can you interact with them and see a ton of behind-the-scenes photos of the monsters they created, but every so often someone who worked on the series shows up and graces us all with inside information about what they did. (https://www.facebook.com/monsterstvseries).

The Chiller Channel airings of Season 1’s, “Pillow Talk,” had a problem with the episode that carried over to every repeat airing—all the Foley (sound effects) and the music was absent. And the side-boob shot from Season 3’s, “Stressed Environment,” was blurred on Chiller’s airings and may have been blurred way back when I first saw it. I can safely say now both issues have been resolved in this official release.

For Monsters fans this is a momentous event in celluloid history, so make sure you pick up the series on March 18th and visit my Monsters Facebook page.

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