1 9 8 6 (Canada)
3 x 30 minute episodes
There are some stories so weird, we can only ask ourselves “Where do they come from?”
This brief satirical anthology series from HBO – which spoofed The Twilight Zone and Amazing Stories – was hosted by Joe Flaherty (of SCTV fame), who also conceived the show and co-produced and co-wrote the episodes. The cast included a number of other SCTV alumni.
Martin Short starred in “All’s Well That Ends Strange”, playing third-rate lounge singer Shucky Forme, who gets a gig at a Playboy-type mansion.
There, he fell in love with Tippy, one of the buxom “Kittens” (Olivia d’Abo) – and then discovered the really weird secret behind that house of pleasure.
Donald Harron did a pretty good Hugh Hefner portrayal as Wade Jeffries, but Short overacted badly, grimacing horridly all over the place.
In “Cursed with Charisma”, John Candy (in a bouffant wig) appeared as Howard Jensen, a mysterious and evangelistic flim-flam man who descended on the small failing town of Fitchville (home of the inventor of the flyswatter) and stirred up a frenzy with “no money down” real estate.
Soon, everyone in town was buying and selling houses at an alarming rate – but there were a few hitches in this get-rich-quick scheme (and not as many laughs).
In “I’ll Die Loving”, Catherine O’Hara played Theresa Sharpe, a woman who had been raised by nuns (led by a wacky Jayne Eastwood) who were mean and abusive to her – for their own good.
Theresa possessed a supernatural power – her love was lethal, and anyone she felt affection for, exploded.
She now worked in the complaints department of a discount store called Kimmelman’s so that she would never have to meet anyone pleasant.
The curse could only be lifted if she could manage to fall in love with someone repulsive – just for a moment at least.
That person could be a vile red-headed co-worker (played hilariously by John Hemphill).
The story had an ingenious (albeit groan-inducing) surprise ending.
The scripts laid out painfully predictable scenarios, then leavened them with unexpected and delightful jokes and dialogue. The directing was a perfect replica of the real anthology dramas, down to the oblique camera angles and showy special effects.
The three episodes of Really Weird Tales were subsequently joined together and released as a 90-minute made-for-TV movie.
Todd Jeffrey Lamonte
All’s Well That Ends Strange | Cursed with Charisma | I’ll Die Loving