2/6/07

Season Ten: Were-Not-Wolves*, or, Big Trouble in the Deep South**

1001 Soultaker

1002 Girl in Gold Boots

1003 Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders

1004 Future War

1005 Blood Waters of Dr. Z

1006 Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues...

1007 Track of the Moon Beast

1008 Final Justice

1009 Hamlet

1010 It Lives By Night

1011 Horrors of Spider Island

1012 Squirm
with A Case of Spring Fever

1013 Diabolik

The final season brings no changes in cast or locale, but once again the network overlords have demanded continuity and once again it has been delivered, this time in the form of assigned experiments from Pearl’s correspondence course with the Institute of Mad Science. It’s short—launched in Episode 1002 and ended without fanfare in Episode 1005. It’s also unobtrusive—Pearl’s regularly scheduled bizarre antics don’t change very much; now she just has an excuse. Also notable are the host segments in the series finale. The song is embarrassingly bland, but the rest of their escape—and our glimpse of their life afterwards—is perfect.

Season Ten’s film selection includes the first non-scifi/fantasy films to appear on the show since they moved to the SciFi channel. (Girl in Gold Boots, Final Justice, and Hamlet.) My favorite episodes include the inappropriately gruesome Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders, the Southern mad science manifesto Blood Waters of Dr. Z, the swollen-with-melodrama Track of the Moon Beast, and the evil but sexy Diabolik. The ooey, gooey Squirm made me queasy, but I must acknowledge that it features quality mockery. The only episode you truly need to avoid is Boggy Creek II, an empty and maddeningly smarmy film, utterly without redeeming features. I should probably also warn you about Hamlet (sole redeeming feature: Shakespeare) and Horrors of Spider Island (sole redeeming feature: several acres of voluptuous female flesh) as well.

Sadly, a change in network management brought the series to an end at the close of this season. Also sadly, the show’s gradually increased popularity and the resulting rise in the cost of movie rights will probably ensure that there will never, ever be a television show quite like it in the future. Fortunately, former cast members Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett have found ways around this issue with projects like Rifftrax, the Legend Films DVD commentaries, and the forthcoming Film Crew DVDs. For the time being, all you need to laugh at the Hollywood’s most ridiculous products is an internet connection and access to a video rental facility.

*Features a were-catfish, were-lizard, were-bat and were-spider. Sorry, but if it’s werewolves you want, you’ll have to go all the way back to the beginning of Season Nine.

**Features three monster films set south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Four, if you allow that Final Justice’s Sheriff Geronimo is a monster, and that by possessing the sensibilities of a drawling redneck lynch mob, he carries the Deep South with him everywhere he goes.