Sunday, November 20, 2005

TV: Masters of Horror/‘Jenifer’

The latest installment of Showtime’s anthology series opened with every network advisory symbol, plus a few that were new to me. Taboos were gleefully smashed. ‘Jenifer’ is easily the most twisted hour of television I’ve ever seen.

Director Dario Argento puts his stamp on a tale of sexual obsession with a plot that’s weirdly similar to that of a certain classic cartoon. Former WINGS star Steven Weber not only delivers a strong lead performance but also wrote the adaptation of the comic book by Bruce Jones.

Meanwhile, New York Times critic Dave Kehr raves about an upcoming episode from Joe Dante that may push a few political buttons.

TV: Something Weird

Having On Demand is like spending Christmas with a dotty aunt. You get presents galore. You’re just not sure if you want them. Sometimes, she simply wraps up the cat.

There are worthwhile features. A few days ago I discovered karaoke. Last night I unearthed Something Weird, a collection of old instructional films and movie trailers.

And, Lord help me, “retro erotica.”

Most of what’s currently available – a “stylized dance” from Bettie Page, a few minutes with “sexy contortionist” Twinnie Wallen – seems to be excerpted from the 1955 movie Teaserama. I’ve deduced this because the color shorts end with ancient burlesque gags delivered by comics Joe E. Ross and Dave Starr. Complete with punch lines that include the word ‘Chinaman.’

There’s also a ‘how-to’ feature on bathing produced by GLEN OR GLENDA? moneyman George Weiss. It focuses on poor Daisy June, a befuddled but buxom county girl in ragged cutoffs who cleans up in a washtub. Honestly.

I tried to figure out why such chestnuts would be made available on demand. Who’s the target audience for this kind of vintage cheese? Then I realized who. Me. And a substantial number of this blog’s regular readers. Enjoy!