Ed and His Dead Mother (1993):

#5 on the (temporary) list of the Funniest Zombie Movies:

1. Shaun of the Dead

2. Cemetery Man (Dellamorte, Dellamore)

3. The Return of the Living Dead

4. Dead Alive

5. Ed and His Dead Mother

Although this film is a pure comedy and makes no attempt at any serious point, it is arguably the most realistic zombie movie ever made, because it provides a realistic answer to the question of what it would really be like in our world if someone learned how to re-animate the dead. If this ever happens, the people who perfect the process will not be some cackling scientific renegades in a dusky, secluded laboratory. They will not even use the word "laboratory," let alone pronounce it "la-BORE-a-tree." If such a process is ever revealed, it will be under the aegis of some corporate "lab," and will probably be discovered by accident in the course of some unrelated research. Once a corporation gets hold of it, they will have to make as much profit as possible in the brief window of opportunity before other corporations drive the price down with competitive parity. Their marketing geniuses will develop a plan to milk the proprietary secret, and their sales force will hold strategy meetings, set lofty goals, and pursue a high-pressure campaign.

The primary question the marketers will discuss is, "How can we maximize our profits from this secret?", especially given that people will soon discover that bringing a loved one back from the dead is not really a smart thing to do, especially when the dearly departed get into the whole zombie thing of killing the living and eating their brains. Sure, maybe a company could sell a few high-priced re-animations to the very rich, but that well would soon run dry, especially since the failures will occur in the glare of media exposure. Surely there must be a better marketing strategy! Of course there is, and the scriptwriter got it exactly right. First of all, the company will not disseminate the program through advertising, but will identify specific prospective clients and market only to them. Then the salesmen will lowball the price of bringing back a loved one. They will do it at cost, and will not even demand money upfront, since they expect prospective clients to be skeptical. It's only a thousand bucks to bring back someone you really miss - and you don't pay a dime until they deliver the departed in satisfactory condition. Wouldn't you think that is an "easy sell" to grieving loved ones? Sure enough. But the company makes no profit doing that. They sell the re-animation at a loss for the same reason that video game companies sell you a game system at a loss - to make the big bucks on the aftermarket sales. They will make their profit by selling the secret of how to return the loved one to the grave once the client realizes (1) he's made a mistake (2) he has no idea how to kill someone who is already dead. How much will that final secret cost? It depends. The Happy People company researches a client, finds out how much insurance money he got from the death of the beloved, and charges that much to return said beloved to the grave. In essence, they have a plan for every pocketbook, and it involves the complete contents of that pocketbook!

You have to think that the entire process would really work something like that!

Ed (Steve Buscemi) is a weak-willed momma's boy who just can't get used to the fact that momma is dead, and he received $50,000 from momma's insurance when she died, so he's a perfect target for Happy People. He gladly ponies up the modest fee to bring momma back, and that works out great for one night. When he awakens the next morning he finds that momma is in the refrigerator, and she treats it as a perfectly normal thing. Ed ignores that because she still seems like his sweet momma in all other respects, and she was dead after all. He soon finds the situation deteriorating further because zombies are not very good houseguests, particularly when they start to hunger for living flesh. Momma starts out eating roaches, but zombies become addicted to life as if it were a drug, and they have to gradually increase the dosage. Momma's next step is to hang around the dump looking for raccoons, rats, and stray dogs, but Ed still views all of that as a minor problem because she absolutely still seems like the same old momma.

When she starts to kill drifters, however, Ed knows he's made a mistake.

Is it a wildly funny movie? No. The very good premise is exploited better elsewhere, by Peter Jackson's Dead Alive, a film made one year earlier with almost exactly the same central premise, but with a much gorier interpretation, and a far blacker heart. Ed and His Dead Mother has some funny moments, and even some edgy ones, but a lot of it is just as safe and predictable as a sitcom. If it is a dark comedy, it's one of the sweetest ones ever made! The marketing side of the zombie secret is, however, a very interesting idea explored in some depth, and Buscemi's "regular guy" presence gives the film beings a lot of credibility relative to its modest budget ($1.8 million). Other veteran actors help out as well. Ned Beatty brings a hilariously matter-of-fact attitude to the role of Buscemi's uncle (brother of the zombie momma), and John Glover is perfect as the salesman. There really are plenty of moments when this film seems ready to take off and fly, but it stays too tame and never really delivers any howls of either laughter or fright. As a result, it ends up being a pleasant enough watch in the "weird movie" category, but it's not really a comedy or a horror movie. It's more like a character study about everyday people in a small town - except that it begins with a crazy premise. Think of Burt Lancaster in The Rainmaker, except imagine Burt selling the secret of re-animation.

It does have some pretty impressive nudity for a PG-13 flick.

  • Sam Jenkins is Mrs Kevin Sorbo. She kind of dropped out of the movie biz around 1994 to do some heavy-duty parenting, although she did TV work in the late 90s. She had a recurring role in Chicago Hope and another in Hercules with her hubby.
  • I have no idea who Nancy Reed is, but she showed some flesh in her one and only scene.


Sam Jenkins

Nancy Reed



Fantastic Four (2005):

This is normally the portion of the commentary when I describe the plot, but that won't be easy, because there isn't one. You see, Fantastic Four is not a movie at all. It is just a very long self-contained flashback scene from a future movie. At least it feels that way. That is an inherent problem, of course, in any film with five major super-powered characters. Compare it, for example, to Spiderman 2, in which our intrepid hero is already established, so there's only Doc Ock's origin to develop. One guy. On the other hand, the FF movie has five characters of equal stature, and is therefore saddled with five times as much back-story as Spiderman 2. That does not consist merely of explicatory narrative. It's showing in some clever way how each of the five discovered his powers. It's some lighthearted demonstrations of unusual applications of their capabilities. It's some character development history for all five of them.

And then the film ran out of time.

Other films, like X-Men, have managed more characters successfully, but the entire FF movie is an "origin issue" for all of the characters. X-Men knew better than to attempt that folly.

If it had been my decision, I would have wanted the film series to start running, by using Marvel's very best Fantastic Four story, perhaps the battle against Galactus and Silver Surfer. To hell with the damned origins. I don't even care how they got their powers. If the research shows that most people do have to have that included in the movie, bring in Michael York to play Basil Exposition, and he can explain it to a newspaper reporter in a couple of witty paragraphs. Yes, I know that would be boring and hackneyed, but it would be short, and the editor can make it more exciting by showing some visuals while he speaks.

The only thing I really liked about this movie was Julian McMahon as the villain, and I was enthusiastic only about what he did in the first half, when he was Victor Von Doom, and was really attempting to make the character real and multi-dimensional rather than a cartoon bad guy. In the second half, when he became Doctor Doom, he was just the usual megalomaniacal costumed freak who always appears in comics as nothing more than prop for the heroes. McMahon could have been great if they had let him be the Doctor Doom of the early comics: brilliant, aesthetic, wounded, capable of great sensitivity to match his great rage, and honor to match his scheming. Unfortunately, most of his movie schtick consisted of the "buahahahaha" portion of the entertainment. In the very brief time when he used subtle conniving to turn Ben against Reed, he demonstrated what a great villain he might have been, but that phase was quickly over, replaced by the mad scientist stuff and lots of explosions.

In comparison to the the best recent super-hero films, FF is not in the same league. It can't really be compared to X-2 or Batman Begins, because it doesn't exist in their noir world. Although the Fantastic Four were Marvel heroes, this movie reminds me more of the juvenile DC comics of the 50s than the daring Marvel comics of the late 60s and 70s which took on cosmic ideas as well as social and political issues. Like the Superman comics of the fifties, and like their realization on Saturday morning TV, it's filled with jokey, cartoony sorts of characters spouting grade-B expository dialogue in a pastel-colored fantasy world, and has nothing more profound on its mind than sexual and career jealousy. It should have ended with the characters winking at the camera! (And it almost did!)

On the other hand, it's a passable popcorn film. I sat back, let it wash over me, and enjoyed some moments. If you are older than 12, you will probably consider it no more than a childish bit of shallow fun, but what's wrong with that? That's basically what the Spidey movies are as well. To tell you the truth, there is nothing really wrong with Fantastic Four except that it is merely a prequel for Fantastic Four Two.

There is good news. Unexpectedly, there is one frame of Jessica Alba nudity. It's slightly out of focus, but there is her right breast for everyone to see.


Jessica Alba


Other Crap:

The World "Chess Beauty" Contest.

  • Winner gets to be a pawn star

Colbert Report: This Week in History: December 4th-10th

To Divorce: Christina Applegate and Jonathan Schaech. They were married four years. It's a bad day for the marriages of sitcom daughters. See the next link below.

To Divorce: Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen. They have been married for 24 years.

Revisiting the gallery Seven Floor - pictures 66-70 are beautiful pictures of Alba.

"Seniors calling a phone number for answers about the new Medicare prescription drug program reached a phone sex line by mistake"

Oops! Customer pays pizza delivery guy with a credit card which had been stolen ... from the pizza guy!!!!

Dane Cook doing a 9 minute stand-up comedy opening monologue on SNL, like Steve Martin in the SNL glory days.

The Weekend Warrior makes his predictions for the upcoming weekend.

  • He predicts that Narnia will break big with $55 million, and Syriana will battle Potter for the #2 spot
  • He's estimating a 60% drop for Aeon Flux.
  • Everything else - business as usual.


  • "Speaking in Berlin today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reassured the European community that the United States has no plans to produce a sequel to last summer’s Jessica Simpson vehicle, “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

GALLUP: How bad are things for DeLay? He's 13 points behind you in the polls of voters in his district.

  • He is literally running behind "unnamed opponent." And this is in Texas, where we consider corruption a positive attribute! If it gets any worse, he'll have to run for his next term in New Jersey.

The Daily Show: "A former Pentagon spokesperson explains to a reporter why propaganda might not be good."

The Daily Show's Rob Corddry analyzes the havoc that will be wreaked if Bush's immigration law goes through.

Jon Stewart interviews "Jimma" Carter

MovieJuice looks at Aeon Flux

  • "Normally, a film of this caliber features a badly animated saber-tooth tiger and David Keith in safari gear. Unfortunately for Charlize Theron, David must be busy signing Officer and a Gentleman lobby cards or installing replacement windows."

Whatever happened to ... Leapin' Lanny Poffo? (He's Randy "Macho Man" Savage's brother, by the way.)

The dumbest warning labels. (Would be a more interesting list if reliably true. Unfortunately, it is from Weekly World News.)

This week's movies (expanding to 1750 theaters): Syriana - 81% positive reviews.

This week's movies (3000 screens): The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe - 80% positive reviews

The Charlie Brown Christmas classic is now 40 years old!

  • Like many people, I didn't much like it when it debuted, but it has grown on me.

Santa Claus Under Attack from Privacy Advocates

Conan's quotables for the week of November 29th

  • "Earlier today President Bush sent out 1.4 million Christmas cards to his friends. In a related story, Dick Cheney sent out three."

A new clip from Brokeback Mountain

"Britney allegedly kicked Kevin out of their Malibu home last week. She then ordered a garage to tow away his Ferrari."

A great song video: "The Internet is for Porn"

Celebrity Caricatures ... Type in the name of a celeb, and the site searches for caricatures. Try "Sean Connery," for example, to see some good results.

Movie Reviews:

Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format. Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.


"Spanking the Monkey" (1994):

Spanking the Monkey is an early film from David O. Russell (I Heart Huckabees, Three Kings, Flirting With Disaster). It was made for a mere 80K using film stock ends his wife somehow appropriated, the drew was unpaid, agreeing to a percentage of any profits, and the cast and crew lodging for the 25 days of shooting was also free. The convention center hotel agreed to house cast and crew in exchange for a documentary about their facility. It cost another 100K to finish it after it was in the can. They managed to sell it at Sundance, and it did $1.6M in distribution.

The studio chose to market it as a dark comedy, and they are still claiming that on the DVD packaging. IMDb also lists it that way. It is not, nor was it ever intended to be, a comedy. It is an incest drama. Raymond Aibelli (Jeremy Davies) has finished his first year of college, and appears to be heading to medical school. On his way to a prestigious summer internship with the Surgeon General's Office, he stops to visit his family. Dad is a traveling salesman who is never home, but constantly browbeats him, either in person, or on the phone. He drops the bombshell that mom has broken her leg and is clinically depressed, and that he will have to blow off his summer internship and take care of his mother, because dad is off on a marathon sales trip and a different woman in his motel room every night.

The home atmosphere is unbearable, as mom (Alberta Watson) is a smothering, castrating mother. Davies can't even "spank the monkey" in the privacy of the bathroom, as the family dog badgers him. The only half-way bright spot in Davies' life is meeting a High School junior, played by Carlo Gallo, who has a crush on him. That developing relationship doesn't go well either. All of this leads to the mother/son incest scene. The act was horrific enough, but it was really the oppression Davies' was forced to live under that made the film so dark.

Alberta Watson showed her breasts when her son would have to put her in the shower, and then supply a shoulder for her to hold herself upright. Liberty Jean, as one of dad's bedmates, does full frontal and rear nudity. Carla Gallo is seen in a training bra. Gallo was 18 at the time of shooting, but was cast out of a High School drama department, and looked the part.

IMDb readers have this at 6.5. It won the Sundance audience award, and two Independent Spirit awards. Russell justifiably feels like he created a very good film given budget and time constraints, but admits that he no longer wants to make dark films, and, in fact, doesn't enjoy watching this one. A talented cast and crew under good direction made a rather polished and very effective film here. The question is, who would want to see it? Berardinelli liked it at three stars. I would say I admired it more than liked it. This is a C+. If the subject matter and mood interest you, by all means see it.


Alberta Watson
Liberty Jean
Carla Gallo



Today from the Ghost ... the women of Bikini Roundup

Nicole Sheridan

Beverly Lynne

Lynne, Sheridan, and Belinda Gavin

Brooke Taylor, and Jassie

We return to "Alley Cat" for a "Babe in Bondage", well sort of, as a topless Britt Helfer is handcuffed to the bed.


Dann reports on The Prophecy: Forsaken

I've been pretty impressed with Kari Wuhrer's more recent movies, and this 2005 horror/thriller was another enjoyable effort. She may have lost her big boobs, but her acting skills have definitely gotten better.

One of a series of Prophecy movies, this one tells of a young woman who is entrusted with protecting an ancient book from renegade angels. The book contains the name of the baby who will trigger Armageddon, and a person possessing the book would be in a position to kill the baby and stop it. The movie presents an interesting theory of the politics of heaven, and why an angel would want to do this.

There's lots of excitement and action, the story is interesting, the acting is good, and I enjoyed this one a lot.

Kari Wuhrer

Georgia Nica



Great frontal and rear nudity in Broken Flowers from Alexis Dziena

Here's the zipped .avi from the Alexis Dziena scene above.
A very tiny bit of accidental nudity from Angelina Jolie in Mr and Mrs Smith