''On the Lot'''s tepid-to-terrible horror-movie night signals the show's imminent demise, but it's hard to kill something that was never really alive to begin with

By Gregory Kirschling
July 04, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Brian Bowen Smith
  • TV Show

”On the Lot”: Oh, the horror

A few of you posting on the message board last week had the right idea: I should lighten up. On the Lot is not that awful. You are right! Okay, not totally right, not 100 percent right. In fact, on second thought, you might not be right at all: On the Lot is rather awful. But I figure I’ll take a week off from being as depressingly negative as usual. It’s the Fourth of July, gotta be feel-good. (God bless America!) Also, it will save us all outdoors time today. Win and win.

Last night we got six horror movies. The first three or four or so were even decent! First off, David went home for last week’s ”sex comedy,” which was justice. (Even David didn’t like his movie that much. ”Every director has a bad movie,” he said. ”It’s just unfortunate that mine was in front of millions and millions of people.” Well, not quite ”millions and millions,” David. Just millions. Nobody’s watching.) Then we learned last week’s top vote-getter was Will, whose surgery movie was so-so enough to make you start to wonder if maybe he’s getting the nice-guy sympathy vote now. Goosing his eyebrows has made him irresistible.

Eh, let’s get to the movies. The Fourth’s a-wasting!

The Malibu Myth by ”Wack Alley Cab” crazy guy Kenny, who fought with his DP but still got a cool rearview-mirror shot of a zombie into his zombie movie. Impressive, Kenny, impressive! Wasn’t sure if coherence was your thing, based on your past stuff, but this hung together. Especially enjoyed your amusing last shot. Thank you for giving me something halfway decent to lead off this special-good-vibes-Fourth-of-July TV Watch with. Now who was your dweeby leading man, the guy who got to say to the out-of-his-league leading lady, ”I was thinking we could, uh…get naked out here”? A ghostly sense that I was watching a ballooned-up former child actor haunted me the whole time I was watching him, but I’m unable to place the face.

Ankle Biters, about a puppet that bites ankles, by Sam. Hostel director Eli Roth — the insightful and appropriate guest judge (loved his Thanksgiving trailer in Grindhouse; man, being positive is fun!) — nailed Sam’s obvious influence: the spider monkey from Dead Alive. I laughed heartily when gore poured from the ankles from the kid in this one; Peter Jackson would be proud. (Or feel ripped off, if that’s the kind of guy he is.) However, I agree with Eli about the opening narration (which I zoned out to) and the ”tag” (which I think he means the ending with the detective): Both were weak.

Midnight Snack by good-natured Andrew in the beanie. Another scare comedy, kind of Sixth-Sense-y, mixed with Asian horror; the ending was a mite obvious. But I, full of love, declare this the most technically polished of last night’s shorts.

Eternal Waters by Jason, who I think somebody on the message boards might’ve correctly compared to Turtle from Entourage, because that’s in my head now and I doubt it got there by itself. (Thanks, clever people. I love you all!) Jason’s movie had the night’s scariest image — a bug-eyed kid is underwater inside a coffin — which would’ve been even scarier if the tease before the commercial hadn’t given it away before the movie itself unspooled. (Why must trailers always ruin everything, even in fake movies?) And it was funny how the burglar in the movie carries around a ridiculous butcher knife; everything Jason does is over-the-top, but in a cheesily entertaining and bombastic way.

Open House by Shira, who’d never seen a horror movie before. Since I’m being nice today, the only other thing I’ll mention is Garry’s critique. ”The part that I liked was that you didn’t use a lot of gore,” he said. ”Although I like Al Gore.” Huh? Me too, Garry, me too! Let’s hope the joker announces this Independence Day afternoon that he’s running for President. He’d win, easy!

Profile by Mateen. In Mateen’s horror movie, a black guy gets pummeled Saw-style by three cops. Again, this week’s TV Watch rules have it that I can’t say too much about this one, but I did love the lead-off, where Shalini told the camera that people will think Mateen either did a good job, or else cheated on the assignment, because right after that we cut to Mateen live and his eyes flared and he looked ticked. I also can say that I think Mateen might’ve gotten himself voted off last night after inarticulately and wanly sassing back to the lukewarm judging panel, because past sassers Marty and Jessica got booted. America hates sassers.

That was it. Now cue up the 1812 Overture and let’s have a holiday! What’s everybody up to today? I’m going to a New Pornographers concert in Battery Park! Hopefully you are not reading this at work. See you next week, when the show will be officially allowed to suck again.

  • TV Show
  • 05/22/07
  • In Season
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