About Christmas TV History

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Christmas Carol with Vincent Price (1949)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  I've spent the month of October discussing Halloween and Christmas crossover entertainments--from horror movies set at Christmas time to Bewitched Christmas episodes to ghostly Christmas stories on TV.  I've had a fun time recalling all these crossovers, and I hope you have too.

In this version, Taylor Holmes plays Ebeneezer Scrooge.

There's one last TV special I wanted to share:  1949's The Christmas Carol.  What makes this adaptation so unique?  It includes everyone's favorite actor Vincent Price who also appeared in quite a few horror movies in his long career.

Narrator Vincent Price.

This is a very early TV special that runs one half-hour in length, making it one of the shortest adaptations of the book by Charles Dickens.  The short length has an economy of detail that’s interesting to compare to longer, fuller versions. It distinguishes itself further by having its story narrated by actor Vincent Price!  Price has significant screen time, appearing on camera as if reading from the book.  Though he's not particularly spooky here, Price's presence in the production makes this version of the popular Christmas ghost story noteworthy.

I believe the nine year-old Jill Oppenheim is the Cratchit daughter on the left in this photo.

One of Cratchit’s daughters, Missie, is played by child actor, Jill Oppenheim.  However, you may recognize this actress by her professional name she took later in her career: Jill St. John.

Actor Robert Clarke regularly appeared in the late '60s color episodes of Dragnet.

The character of the nephew Fred is played by another recognizable actor, Robert Clarke.  I know him from the late 60s Dragnet episodes but he was also on The King Family variety TV series--and its Christmas specials--in the 1960s (Clarke was King Sister Alyce's husband).

Who better to narrate a Christmas ghost story?

[Editor's Note: Sorry--this giveaway has ended!]  Would you like to add this DVD to your collection?  I have a brand new, factory-sealed DVD of this TV special I'd like to share with a loyal reader of my blog.  To qualify for the prize giveaway:
--leave a comment below with the words "Vincent Price."  You can enter again on Facebook and Twitter by commenting with the words "Vincent Price" at the following locations:

Facebook page: Christmas TV History
Facebook page: Tis the Season TV
Facebook page: Christmas TV Companion

So you could enter up to five times by leaving the correct comment at all five locations.  This giveaway is for North American residents only.  This runs from today, Wed October 31--Saturday, November 3, noon (ET).  On Nov. 3rd at noon, I'll use random.org to generate a number from the total number of qualifying entries to select a winner.  Good luck and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Santa Hustle 5k and Half Marathon

If you know me even a little, you know what a jock I am.  I've been a runner since I was 13 years old.  So you must appreciate how excited I am to be combining my two great loves--Christmas and running--in one activity, by participating in the Santa Hustle.

The Santa Hustle is a holiday-spirited race for 5k runners (that's 3.1 miles) or for half marathoners (13.1 miles).  This December, there are races being held in seven cities: Chicago, Sevierville TN, Indianapolis, Cedar Point (in Sandusky OH), Dayton Beach, Milwaukee, and Galveston.  Please check the website SantaHustle.com for dates and details.

Making this family-friendly event even more fun is that each participant receives a Santa hat, beard, and customized shirt to wear.  That means each event will have thousands of Santas running the course, creating a Christmas spectacle.  It's all about having fun and I can't wait!

I am going to be at the Cedar Point race in Sandusky, Ohio on Sunday, December 16th.  Not only am I running the 5k course but I'm going to be at the Post-Race Party meeting people, and asking everyone about their favorite Christmas TV specials.  Even if you're not a runner, come and cheer on the runners--and bring your camera!  I'd love to hear about your favorite TV special or Christmas movie as well.  I'll also be selling copies of my books and I'll be glad to sign one for you--or as a gift for someone else.

If you're a runner, register for the race today.  I'll see everyone at the Cedar Point race on December 16th.  Check out these other links:

Facebook page: Santa Hustle
twitter: @SantaHustle
website: http://SantaHustle.com

Feel free to comment below and ask me any questions about this you like.

Monday, October 29, 2012

2012 Christmas TV Listings and Schedules

It's that time of year again, when networks begin releasing their upcoming November and December schedules filled with Christmas TV episodes, specials and movies.  I'm excited to say that INSP, the Inspiration Network, emailed me last week with their complete schedule for December.  There are quite a few good things on their schedule and I'm glad to share it with you.  Do you receive INSP on your cable or satellite line-up?

INSP will be airing the Christmas episodes of their regular series which include The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and The Big Valley. The 2012 schedule is as follows:

The Brady Bunch: "The Voice of Christmas"
Thur 12/6, 5pm (ET), Thur 12/13, 5:30pm (ET), Fri 12/21, 5:30pm (ET)

Happy Days: "Guess Who's Coming to Christmas?"
Tues 12/18, 6:30pm (ET)
Happy Days: "Richie Branches Out"
Tues 12/11, 6pm (ET), Wed 12/19, 6:30pm (ET)
Happy Days: "Christmas Time"
Thur 12/20, 6:30pm (ET)
Happy Days: "White Christmas"
Fri 12/21, 6:30pm (ET)

Little House on the Prairie: "Christmas at Plum Creek"
Mon 12/17, 2pm (ET), Fri 12/21, 1pm (ET)
Little House on the Prairie: "Blizzard"
Fri 12/7, 1pm (ET), Thur 12/20, 1pm (ET)
Little House on the Prairie: "A Christmas They Never Forgot"
Wed 12/12, 2pm (ET), Fri 12/21, 2pm (ET)

The Waltons: "The Best Christmas"
Sun 12/9, 8pm (ET), Thur 12/20, 8pm (ET), Fri 12/21, noon (ET), Tues 12/25, noon (ET)
The Waltons: "The Children's Carol" 2hrs (Parts 1 &2)
Sat 12/22, 9pm (ET), Tues 12/25, 1pm (ET)
The Waltons: "The Spirit"
Sun 12/9, 7pm (ET), Mon 12/17, 8pm (ET), Wed 12/19, noon (ET), Sun 12/23, 7pm (ET)

Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: "Mike's Dream-A Christmas Tale"
Thur 12/6, 11pm (ET), Fri 12/14, 1am (ET), Mon 12/17, 7pm (ET)
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: "A First Christmas"
Fri 12/14, 11pm (ET), Tues 12/18, 7pm (ET)
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: "Fifi's First Christmas"
Fri 12/14, midnight (ET), Wed 12/19, 7pm (ET),  Mon 12/24, 1am (ET)
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: "Season of Miracles"
Tues 12/4, 7pm (ET), Mon 12/10, 11pm (ET), Sun 12/16, 1am (ET), Thur 12/20, 7pm (ET), Tues 12/25, 1am (ET)
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: "Homecoming"
Thur 12/13, 11pm (ET), Fri 12/21, 7pm (ET), Sun 12/23, 1am (ET)

The Big Valley: "Judgment in Heaven"
Mon 12/10, midnight (ET), Mon 12/10, 3pm (ET), Fri 12/21, 3pm (ET)

What is equally exciting is the fantastic line-up of Christmas movies INSP has on their December schedule including Ebbie, Blizzard, Christmas With a Capital C, Secret of Giving, The Christmas Secret, The Christmas Tree, The Nativity, The Christmas Box, A Christmas Snow, A Town Without Christmas,  and Thomas Kinkade's The Christmas Cottage

If you aren't certain which movies these are, you can buy my encyclopedia Tis the Season TV, or you can ask me.  Don't forget: I'm also on facebook--that may be the fastest way to get my attention: facebook link for Christmas TV History.  I'm super psyched about three of these movies in particular: 2000's The Christmas Secret with actor Richard Thomas, 1995's Ebbie with Susan Lucci, and the 1996's The Christmas Tree, as this is difficult to find on TV.  The schedule is as follows:

Ebbie (1995)
Tues 12/18, 9pm (ET), Wed 12/19, 11pm (ET), Mon 12/24, 11pm (ET)

Blizzard (2003)
Fri 12/21, 9pm (ET), Mon 12/24, 1pm (ET), Tues 12/25, 7pm (ET), Wed 12/26, noon (ET)

Christmas with a Capital C (2010)
Tues 12/25, 9pm (ET)

Secret of Giving (1999)
Sat 12/15, 9pm (ET), Sun 12/16, 11pm (ET), Sat 12/22, 11pm (ET), Mon 12/24, 5pm (ET)

The Christmas Secret (2000)
Sun 12/16, 9pm (ET), Mon 12/17, 11pm (ET), Mon 12/24, 3pm (ET)

The Christmas Tree (1996)
Mon 12/17, 9pm (ET), Tues 12/18, 11pm (ET), Tues 12/25, 5pm (ET)

The Nativity (1978)
Fri 12/14, 9pm (ET), Sat 12/15, 11pm (ET), Sun 12/23, 11pm (ET), Mon 12/24, 7pm (ET)

The Christmas Box (1995)
Wed 12/19, 9pm (ET), Thur 12/20, 11pm (ET), Sun 12/30, 11pm (ET)

A Christmas Snow (2010)
Mon 12/24, 9pm (ET)

A Town Without Christmas (2001)
Sun 12/23, 9pm (ET), Tues 12/25, 3pm (ET)

Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage (2008)
Thur 12/20, 9pm (ET), Fri 12/21, 11pm (ET), Tues 12/25, 11pm (ET), Fri 12/28, noon (ET)

Other TV listings are coming out with November and December schedules.  Remember you can find daily TV listings from the best of Christmas programming from me on Twitter: @TistheSeasonTV
and on the facebook page: Tis the Season TV.  Check out the following links for more schedules:

Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family Channel
25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family Channel
Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas preview weekend
Hallmark Channel's 12 new original Christmas movies

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Crossovers

The Simpsons couch gag from Treehouse of Horror X

Throughout the month of October, I'm blogging about horror movies and Halloween and Christmas crossover entertainments.  This is all a part of a series entitled Countdown to Halloween which is a group of participating blogs also covering horror and Halloween-appropriate content throughout the month of October.  Please check out the other blogs participating by clicking on this link.

The Simpsons' annual Halloween episode "Treehouse of Horror" is a must-see tradition in my house.  Did you know that there are two Halloween/Christmas and New Year's crossover episodes?

The 1999 Halloween episode entitled "Treehouse of Horror X," includes a segment that takes place on New Year’s Eve.  In the third segment entitled “Life’s A Glitch, Then You Die,” the Simpson family suffers the consequences of the computer age on January 1st, 2000 when Homer’s computer at the nuclear power plant suffers a Y2k dysfunction, shutting down the world’s computers.  All the world’s computers register the date as 1900 and anything with a computer chip goes on a dysfunctional deadly attack! 

The family learns of Operation: Exodus and heads for the rocket to make their escape from the doomed planet Earth.  Anyone else reminded of the Twilight Zone episode "Third From the Sun?"

While the other Springfield residents are busy looting, the Simpsons seek their escape from planet Earth on rocket ships.  Lisa and Marge are able to join the best and brightest on Earth headed for a new civilization on Mars--while Homer and Bart join the D-list of survivors (think Tom Arnold, Pauly Shore, Ross Perot, Tonya Harding, Rev. Al Sharpton and Rosie O'Donnell) on a rocket headed for the sun.

A New Year's institution, Dick Clark appears in this Y2k horror story.
This New Year’s episode includes the voice of Dick Clark as himself hosting his New Year’s TV special, and the voice of Tom Arnold as one of the escapees on Homer and Bart’s rocket.  This episode's story seems quite dated, however it captures the hysteria of the anticipation of the year 2000.  The final joke is that Homer and Bart would prefer to eject from their rocketship and die a gory death in outer space rather than continue their journey surrounded by losers.

Ejected from the rocket, Homer and Bart begin to distort before exploding in outer space. 

The 2008 Halloween episode entitled "Treehouse of Horror XIX," includes a segment that takes place on Christmas.  In the first segment “Untitled Robot Parody,” Bart buys Lisa a Christmas present from a discount store.  The Malibu Stacey toy automobile turns out to be an alien robot involved in an intergalactic battle with other robots (a.k.a. Transformers) and all the electronics in Springfield begin to wage war amongst themselves and destroy the town. 

The Simpsons are caught in an intergalactic robot war!

Marge successfully pleads with the transformed alien robots to end their war, however the robots put their efforts into enslaving the humans of Springfield in a life-size foosball game.  This segment is overshadowed by a far superior segment in the same episode entitled "It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse," a fun parody of the animated TV special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Are you familiar with these segments from past "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween episodes? 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Doctor Who Christmas (2005) The Unquiet Dead

I'm continuing my month-long series of blog posts, Countdown to Halloween, discussing Halloween-appropriate and Christmas crossover entertainments.  Don't zombies, ghosts, and a séance in a funeral parlor sound appropriate for a spooky story?  I thought so too.  Let me remind you of a first season Doctor Who episode, 2005's "The Unquiet Dead" which includes all these elements--as well as a few Christmas ones.  Though this episode originally aired in the spring of 2005, it takes place at Christmas time and includes Charles Dickens are a major character.

This first season episode stars Billie Piper as Rose and Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor.

The Doctor and his companion Rose arrive in Cardiff on Christmas Eve, 1869 and decide to step into a theater where Charles Dickens is performing a reading of his popular book A Christmas Carol.  Suddenly, the audience is caught in a panic as ethereal spirits begin to swirl around Mr. Dickens as he shares his Christmas ghost story, frightening everyone into leaving.

Actor Simon Callow portrays Charles Dickens.  Did you know that in real life, Dickens did indeed perform staged readings of A Christmas Carol?

On stage, Dickens becomes surrounded by ghosts!

The spirits seem to be coming from this member of the audience.  Upon closer inspection, she's a corpse!

The Doctor's travels allow him to recognize the gaseous beings as an alien life form though everyone else just sees ghosts.  As it turns out, the gaseous creatures are currently existing in the natural gas pipes in the walls, reanimating corpses at a nearby undertaker's establishment.  Meeting with the undertaker Mr. Sneed and his assistant Gwyneth, the Doctor learns that several corpses have come back to life, much like zombies, and have taken several more human lives!  Recognizing that Gwyneth has some kind of psychic ability to communicate with these ghosts, they organize a séance to find out what these alien life forms are seeking.

The servant girl Gwyneth and the undertaker Mr. Sneed are at the heart of this ghost story.

At the séance, the Gelth speak through Gwyneth.

During the séance, the Doctor learns the Gelth are a life form that face extinction.  They are weak and gaseous but seek physical bodies to inhabit.  They ask for help bridging the gap in the rift, a weak spot in time and space, located in the morgue, so they can come to Earth and survive.  Also a participant in the séance, Charles Dickens can hardly believe what he is seeing.  The Doctor wants to help the desperate Gelth, and Gwyneth agrees with him.  She offers to be the portal through which the gaseous creatures can transfer to this place.

Gwyneth volunteers to be the portal for the "angels" to enter this world.

The Doctor and Rose barricade themselves behind a gate to keep the zombies away while they consider a solution.

Unfortunately, once the transfer begins, the Gelth begin embodying more corpses than they had promised.  Making matters worse, the corpses begin taking more human life in order to create more corpses for the creatures to embody!  Aagghh--it's a zombie attack!  It is Charles Dickens who comes up with the only solution.  Anyone have a match?

The swirling gas is ignited and...KA-BOOM!

The Doctor reassures Dickens that his books will remain popular beyond his lifetime.

This Doctor Who episode was written by Mark Gatiss.  Some of you may also know Gatiss from The League of Gentlemen or as Mycroft, Holmes' brother on the recent British TV series Sherlock.  Do you recognize the actress who plays Gwyneth?  She's Eve Myles who also plays the main character Gwen on Torchwood--a spin-off from Doctor Who.  Actor Simon Callow who plays Charles Dickens has actually portrayed the Victorian writer several times for the screen--including another Doctor Who episode in 2011.  Merry Halloween!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Casper the Friendly Ghost and Christmas

"Though grown-ups might, look at him with fright, the children all love him so."

I'm continuing my month-long series of blog posts, Countdown to Halloween, discussing Halloween-appropriate and Christmas crossover entertainments.  I can't help but be reminded of everyone's favorite ghost, Casper.  Did you know Casper is featured in three Christmas stories? 

Most people were introduced to the character of Casper the Friendly Ghost from the cartoons.  These were made for theatrical release by Paramount's animation studios starting in the 1940s.  Have you ever seen this 1952 Christmas cartoon True Boo featuring Casper?

In Casper's First Christmas, the friendliest ghost you know makes new friends with a pack of H-B characters that arrive in the condemned house where Casper lives.
Later Hanna-Barbera would make the 1979 animated TV special Casper's First Christmas with Casper's ghost pal Hairy Scary.  It also includes a stable full of H-B characters such as Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Quick Draw McGraw, Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss, Augie Doogie and Doggie Daddy.  In 2012, Warner Brothers finally released this TV special on Hanna-Barbera Christmas Classics Collection.

This children's favorite is also available on DVD.

 In 2000, the CGI-animated feature length movie Casper's Haunted Christmas was released.  This movie can still be found airing on TV each December.  In this story, the ruler of all ghosts, Kibosh, has given Casper the deadline of Christmas day for him to scare just one person or the little ghost will be banished to the Dark.  Of course, Casper doesn't like scaring people and he befriends a little girl named Holly Jollimore whose parents make Christmas tree decorations year round.

Have you seen all three?  We all know Ebenezer Scrooge's Christmas ghost story--do you know of another ghost at Christmas time?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dead End (2003)

Dead End (2003)

Throughout the month of October, I'm blogging about horror movies and Halloween-appropriate Christmas crossover entertainments.  This is all a part of a series entitled Countdown to Halloween which is a group of participating blogs also covering horror and Halloween-appropriate content throughout the month of October.  Please check out the other blogs participating by clicking on this link.

My last several posts discuss horror movies set at Christmas time.  Did you know my book The Christmas TV Companion has an entire chapter devoted to macabre and horror Christmas entertainments?  Click HERE to see more about that book.  One movie I discuss in The Christmas TV Companion is 2003's Dead End, written and directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa.

The Harringtons driving to Grandma's house.  Front seat: actor Ray Wise as Frank, Lin Shaye as the mother Laura.  Back seat: Alexandra Holden as Marion and Mick Cain as Richard.  Not in photo: Billy Asher as Brad.

In this story, the squabbling Harrington family takes a short cut on the road to Grandma’s house on Christmas Eve.  Thus begins a nightmarish journey filled with terror, emotional confessions, mental breakdowns and even death.   Much like 2007's Wind Chill (click HERE to return to that previous post), this film takes place mostly inside the car.  Their odyssey begins when Frank Harrington, the father of the family and driver of the car says he's going to take an alternate route to their destination. Having driven by way of the interstate for twenty years, he would like to try a new route.  But the family quickly grows bored with this isolated road surrounded by nothing but darkness.  Soon everyone falls asleep.

The family keeps seeing signs for the town of Marcott but they never reach it--or any other town.

Frank dozes off too but awakens just in time to avoid a head-on collision with a car coming from the opposite direction.  The family members are disturbed by his careless driving but the journey continues.  Tensions fill the car as teenager Richard continuously heckles Marion's boyfriend Brad.  Parents Laura and Frank have their own reasons for not looking forward to tonight's annual family Christmas celebration.  Soon the family realizes they are not reaching their destination as planned, the darkness makes it difficult to recognize landmarks and there seems to be no other traffic on this road--except for the car Frank nearly collided with earlier.

In the backseat, Brad tries chatting up the mysterious Woman in White.

Frank suddenly spots a Woman in White on the side of the road and stops to pick her up.  This creepy woman doesn't speak much and seems to be carrying a baby.  They invite the hitchhiker into the backseat of the car to transport her to a safe place and to call the police.  But when the family stops to inspect a cabin for a telephone, she disappears--as does Brad! 

Brad is seen in the back of the car as it passes by!

 As the family looks for Brad on the road, a car drives by and they can see him in the back window!  The family engages in a high speed chase following the vehicle, only to come across Brad's burnt and mutilated remains in the middle of the road!  Horrified, the family gets back in the car and continues down the road to look for the police or a town to ask for help.

A flat tire forces the family once again out of the car, only for another family member to go missing!

Unfortunately, they are the only car on the road, they never reach any towns--or even an intersections--and the dashboard clock has stopped.  They don't know how long they've been driving on this road to nowhere!  Lost and confused the Harringtons continue forward, hoping they'll reach a destination soon.  Unfortunately, they find themselves repeating this nightmarish situation: they see the Woman in White, they exit the car to investigate, another member of the family disappears only to be seen in the back of the passing 1940s or '50s style vehicle, and their burnt and mutilated remains are found further up the road!

A gun offers no help to the Harringtons on this road to nowhere.  The gun had been a Christmas present they intended on giving to an uncle waiting for them at Grandma's house on Christmas Eve.

This is a horror movie with a sense of humor.  Actor Ray Wise does a lot to encourage this wicked style and tone.  Do you remember Wise from his role as Leland Palmer, Laura Palmer's father, on the enigmatic TV show Twin Peaks?  Yeah, he's got this smirky, over-the-top quality that really works well here too.

The POV shots from each of the corpses also adds to the sense of humor and unexpected tone of this movie.  Here, brother Richard is re-claiming a cell phone from Brad's body found in the middle of the road.  Unfortunately, Richard won't be able to get a cell phone signal from it.

While the Harringtons continue along their route to nowhere, they experience repeated obstacles and emotional breakdowns followed by life-changing confessions!  You really just don't where this story is going--it's a giggly thrill ride not just for the Harringtons but for viewers as well.

Frank becomes philosophical after his night filled with trauma, death and a lot of driving.

This story has a twist at the end, leaving viewers with the experience of a vintage horror film or perhaps even an episode of The Twilight Zone or Tales from the Crypt despite its more contemporary release date.  I certainly don't want to spoil it.  You'll have to see it for yourself to figure out how the Harringtons reach their destination and to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together.  I really like this movie because it's both creepy and funny--I just can't get enough of Ray Wise.  My advice: next time you decide to take a shortcut and get off the interstate--make sure you have a map or GPS device and a strong cup of coffee.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

The tagline "This time it's personal" accurately describes this unbelievable plot.
I'm continuing my month-long series of blog posts, Countdown to Halloween, discussing Halloween-appropriate and Christmas crossover entertainments.  Another horror film set at Christmas time is 1987's Jaws: The Revenge, the fourth installment in the deadly great white shark film franchise.

1975's film Jaws directed by Steven Spielberg, the first in this horror/thriller series is actually one of my all-time favorite horror films.  I wrote my reaction to that film in a profile I did on the horror website Kindertrauma this past year.  Click HERE to see that profile again.  Though Jaws: The Revenge comes nowhere near the terror-inducing effectiveness of the first film, it may still be interesting to watch for the ridiculous plot, the famous cast--and because its story is set over the Christmas holidays.

Reaching over the water, Sean's arm is taken by the shark.  Then the shark knocks him out of the boat and Sean's cries for help can not heard over the carolers rehearsing "The First Noel."

Jaws: The Revenge begins with Brody's now grown son Sean, who also works for the Amity police department,  attacked and eaten by a shark.  Brody’s widow Ellen, still played by the same actress Lorraine Gary, feels certain the great white shark that killed Sean is purposefully coming after the whole family out of revenge.

When the shark attacks the banana boat carrying Michael's young daughter (in pink), the marine biologist knows the shark has a taste for Brody flesh.  Though here you can see the shark clearly attacks someone else!?

Oldest son Michael is now a PhD student living in the Bahamas studying various sea life on the ocean floor.  At his brother Sean’s funeral, Michael dismisses his mother’s claims that the shark is hunting the family, citing the impossibility that an animal would be motivated by personal revenge.  However when the great white shows up in the warm waters off the coast of the islands where he works, Michael begins to believe that this shark is a threat.

Though it has a stupid plot, this film's underwater scenes are exciting.

I also love the little one-man submarine Michael and his partner Jake use for their underwater research.  Didn't I see something like this in a James Bond film once?

It is never discussed in the movie why THIS particular shark would want revenge on the Brody family--since every deadly shark in the previous three films is killed in the end.  Does this great white want revenge on behalf of his species?  Did this shark personally know the previous great whites killed by the Brodys? Do I need to spell out any further why this plot is ridiculous? 

The shark goes after the airplane that buzzed the boat he was attacking. (sigh)
The end is not very satisfying either.  It's not very clear what happens but it seems like a freak accident allows the shark to be punctured by a broken wooden beam protruding from the front of the boat which causes an electronic device inside the shark to explode.   At least the movie is over.


This horrible film has several notable actors: Michael Caine stars as Hoagie, the roguish airplane pilot with whom Ellen has fallen in love; Mario Van Peebles stars as Jake, Michael’s research partner; Lynn Whitfield plays Louisa, Jake’s wife; and, if you pay close attention you can spot Melvin Van Peebles, the ground-breaking filmmaker and real-life father to Mario as the Mayor of Nassau, Mr. Witherspoon.  The cast also includes Lorraine Gary as Ellen Brody, Lance Guest as Michael, Karen Young as Carla, and Mitchell Anderson as Sean.  I remember actress Karen Young from her role as one of the reoccurring FBI agents on The Sopranos.

Michael Caine plays Ellen's boyfriend, an airplane pilot.  Though the shark comes after him, he survives.  However,  a part of me thinks it may have been cooler for his resumé (and for viewers) if Caine had been eaten by the shark!

I CAN NOT be the only one who wants to see Jake--with the terrible Jamaican accent--eaten by the shark!

This story takes place at Christmas time and continues over the New Year’s holiday.  At the movie’s beginning, Sean is attacked and eaten by the shark in the waters surrounding Amity, while the island’s residents can be heard organizing the Christmas pageant and a choir rehearses at the nearby marina.

Ellen and Hoagie dance along with the music in the parade during the locals' Junkanoo celebration.

Michael is able to persuade his mother to return with him to the Bahamas because it’s Christmas time and the family can be together.  I suppose the shark takes advantage of the holiday gathering to continue his hunt for the Brodys in one convenient location?  In the Bahamas, Hoagie and Ellen attend a Junkanoo Parade which is a local celebration that occurs every year in late December.

When Ellen takes the boat out into the ocean calling forth the shark she believes wants her dead, I kept thinking how different this movie could have been if they had written her character more like one Sigourney Weaver would play.

Have you seen Jaws: The Revenge before--and what did you think of it?  Was it a satisfying horror film for you?