Episodes

Holiday in Handcuffs

This week, Sam rounds out the Winter Bizarre with the 2007 ABC Family movie Holiday in Handcuffs. Melissa Joan Hart (character name unknown) is always trying to please her very demanding parents, but this year she’s excited because she’s bringing her successful boyfriend to the family Christmas trip to a rural log cabin. However, after tanking a job interview, Melissa is dumped by that same boyfriend mere hours before they were supposed to leave. What’s a girl to do? Easy: Kidnap the nearest available man, in this case Mario Lopez (character name also unknown). This sets Melissa on a wild ride where she has to convince her family that the very-much-not-happy-to-be-there Mario is actually her boyfriend, so they can all just get off her back, okay. This is, obviously, a perfect plan, and through a series of truly convoluted events, and aided by some remarkably oblivious family members and a Mario Lopez who could really be doing more to escape, Melissa mostly manages to keep up the ruse. However, things start to get serious when Melissa sees how much her family all love Mario, and Mario develops Stockholm Syndrome. Crazily enough, the movie doesn’t end when Melissa gets busted for kidnapping, but somehow there’s still a lot more to the story. Other highlights include: A strange family tradition involving a “key master”, a surprise interest in art from both characters, some sporadic narration, and a drunken grandmother threatening to shoot police officers with a flintlock pistol. Seriously, this movie is just all the bananas.

Next Stop, Christmas

Danielle kicks off our Winter Bizarre/Switcheroo season with the 2021 Hallmark movie Next Stop, Christmas. Angie is your average New York doctor whose life is terrible because her parents are divorced and, despite having good friends, is single. The horror. Luckily, the universe is here to fix Angie not living the life planned for her. More specifically, Christopher Lloyd gives Angie a magic ticket so that when she gets on the train to Yonkers, she falls asleep and wakes upon a much older train ten years in the past with her then boyfriend, soon to be rejected fiancée Tyler. Angie is, understandably, upset but goes with it and decides to use the opportunity to enjoy her last good Christmas (in her mind). However, things are not as rosy as she remembers as her parents are having marriage issues and she’s oblivious about how distant she is from her sister. It’s around this time that they run into Angie’s childhood friend Ben, and here’s where Sam smells a love triangle, but it’s really more of a Ben pining over Angie for far too long, verging on creepy. Angie quickly deduces that her rejection of Tyler’s proposal is why she’s back in time, and she also decides to parent trap her mom and dad into fixing their marriage. She accomplishes this in the most ludicrously infuriating way, but for some reason still isn’t returned to her own time. This tees the movie up for an ending that is so full of dread and psychological horror that Sam and Danielle can only conclude that the powerful time-imp Christopher Lloyd is exacting revenge for a stiffed tip.

Book Reshorts: The Great Unboxening

Duck Books had us on as guests for his episode on the book Slugs. During that episode he had a quiz for us where the winner would receive a box of various snacks and treats from Japan. Sam won (though Danielle disputes the results), but he said he was going to send each of us a box anyway. Well, he made good on that threat so we decided to podify those boxes of snacks! So join us as we open, taste, and greatly enjoy a wonderful gift of snacks from across the ocean.

Warning: This episode contains some minor sounds of chewing and eating, misophones should probably skip this one.

For context, check out the Mind Duck Books episode where Filip, Danielle, and Sam all discuss the book Slugs on which this movie was based. Find Mind Duck Books on Twitter @mindduckbooks, Instagram @mindduckbooks, and listen wherever you get your podcasts.

Endymion – Part 3

We’re back in record time with part three of the 1996 Dan Simmons novel Hyperion. Danielle makes a much better showing this time, recapping the previous episode with aplomb. After letting Aenea escape after emerging from the Time Tombs, Father Captain de Soya is regrouping in the Parvati system with his Swiss Guard commandos to capture Aenea when she arrives. During the journey, Aenea and Raul spend some quality, and slightly creepy, time together. Skinny dipping is involved. Anyway, Aenea essentially improvises a plan where she threatens to kill everyone on her ship if de Soya doesn’t let her escape. Not willing to risk it, de Soya agrees, but then just tracks them to their next destination in Renaissance Vector, a heavily fortified Pax world, so it doesn’t seem like much was accomplished by this whole gambit. While waiting again for their arrival, de Soya starts having dreams about Aenea as his daughter, and this is where Danielle starts feeling completely over this whole story. Really, it only gets more infuriating from there, as the method in which the ragtag crew lead by a child escape yet again is absolute nonsense. It may be short, but this episode is especially dense with nonsense, raising perhaps the biggest question of the series so far: How the heck is the river Tethys still flowing?

Book Reshorts: The Great Switcheroo – The Second

The Great Switcheroo is back, now with a Winter Bizarre flavor! Danielle and Sam have each selected three holiday media options and their co-host must choose one for their Winter Bizarre episode. Sam has taken pains to find several time travel holiday movies to keep the Hyperion theme running, while Danielle has found, somehow, another holiday moving featuring a pro-wrestler for Sam. But will either of them pick those options? Find out on now, and then tune in during the Winter Bizarre to hear how they enjoyed their choices.

Endymion – Part 2

After a spooky hiatus, Sam is back with more of the 1996 novel Endymion. The biggest fallout for Sam’s diversion into Slugs is that poor Danielle is left completely unable to recall anything that happened in the first part of Endymion. Luckily, not much went down, so it’s on to part two! Father Captain de Soya has returned to Pacem, and after a brief resurrection and Mass, he meets with some of the top brass of the Church. He’s informed that the Pax somehow knows that Brawne’s daughter Aenea is scheduled to emerge from the Time Tombs in the near future. De Soya is tasked to retrieve the child when she appears, or pursue the child wherever she goes until he does capture her, and then return her to Pacem. De Soya is assured that no harm will come to her, only that she will be saved. Despite finding that not so reassuring, de Soya heads out to take command of Pax forces to capture a child. Back in Endymion, Endymion (the person) is back from exploring the city. During dinner, Martin assures Raul that he’s going to be grossly outmatched and outgunned in his attempt to rescue Aenea. However, Martin has a secret weapon, that just happens to be the same secret weapon that always appears: the old Hawking mat! So Raul grabs his apparently essential tricorn hat, hops on the mat, and speeds through the labyrinth to sneak into Time Tomb valley. In the valley itself, de Soya readies his troops as a massive sandstorm rolls in, which can only mean one thing: DJ Shrike is on his way! So the big questions remain: Will Raul rescue Aenea? Can they escape the Pax? Will Danielle remember any of this next time? Hopefully we’ll find out!

The Faculty

Danielle concludes Spook Retorts this week with the cult 1998 movie The Faculty. It seems like a perfectly ordinary day at an average high school in Ohio: The coach (Robert Patrick) is raging at the football team and stomping sprinklers, the teachers are complaining about the lack of funding for everything except the football team, and a new girl (Laura Harris) joins the school which is populated with your typical cliques. While looking for a scoop for the school paper in the teachers’ lounge nerd kid Casey (Elijah Wood) and cheerleader Delilah (Jordana Brewster) seem to witness the murder of the school nurse (Salma Hayek) at the hands of other faculty members. Of course, by the time the police show up everything is back to normal, but the kids are convinced something’s up. One clue is a worm one of them finds outside and which is immediately identified by the science teacher (Jon Stewart) as a strange, aquatic parasite. The students realize the faculty have been drinking tons of water, so clearly something like this parasite is infecting them and trying to take over the world. After jumping to this conclusion, not once do they question the logic of a a creature starting its invasion in Ohio of all places. Anyway, later the students are attacked by the science teacher, but learn that if you stab one of them in the eye with a pen full of drugs made by burnout-genius student Zeke (Josh Hartnett), they die. The students, proving that if jumping to conclusions was an Olympic sport they’d all have gold, surmise that the drugs must be deadly to the parasite, and also there must be, as freaking always, a queen parasite they can kill to immediately save everyone with no repercussions. So our motley crew of unlikely friends immediately put in action a plan to save humanity by…doing some of Zeke’s drugs. Things don’t really go much better for them from there, but what did you expect from Ohio?

Check out Danielle and Sam on Rewatch Recap podcast discussing the Snick show Roundhouse. Find it on Twitter @dustin_holden, Instagram @therewatchrecap, and listen wherever you get your podcasts.

Slugs

Spook Retorts is back, and this week Sam shares the 1988 cult horror movie Slugs! When people start dying in mysterious ways in a small town, it’s up to county health inspector Mike Brady to uncover the mystery. Why is it up to the health inspector to do this? That is among the many, many questions this movie steadfastly refuses to answer or even acknowledge. Anyway, Mike Brady first encounters the slugs’ work when he is called to help evict an old drunk. Why he was called to assist in an eviction is yet another mystery. The man, they find, has been reduced to a bloody skeleton, and it’s not long before more bodies show up. Mike eventually enlists the help of generic movie scientist John in his burgeoning murder slug theory, since John is an expert on slugs, and also everything else. It’s about halfway into the movie when Danielle and special guest Filip start to wonder how a slug invasion could be remotely threatening. Unfortunately, neither Sam nor the movie is able to demonstrate any way in which slugs could be threatening. Nevertheless, the slugs’ body count continues to rise, mostly by catching people who aren’t paying attention during sex, or by causing people to blow up their greenhouses/meth labs. So join us for this Spook Retorts romp into B-move fun as we see if an ordinary town can survive the slugs! Spoiler: the ultimate solution to the slug threat does way more death and destruction than the slugs ever would have.

Keep an ear out for a soon-to-be released Mind Duck Books episode where Filip, Danielle, and Sam all discuss the book Slugs on which this movie was based. Find Mind Duck Books on Twitter @mindduckbooks, Instagram @mindduckbooks, and listen wherever you get your podcasts.

Blood and Chocolate (Movie)

This week Danielle completes a double-feature with the 2007 movie Blood and Chocolate. Hold on to your hats werewolf fans, because we’re back with lycanthropes! If you hoped this movie shares more than a name with the book, prepare to be greatly disappointed. This time, our much more adult werewolf Vivian is in Bucharest, and while breaking into a werewolf church (go with it) she runs into Aiden, a graphic novelist making a new book about werewolves, of course. Aiden is super into Vivian but she doesn’t feel the same at first. That’s the boring stuff, the crazy stuff is that now the city seems to be run by the werewolves now called loups-garoux. They also seem to abduct people, possibly criminals, to hunt for funsies. Vivian is not into the hunts, but her cousin Rafe is, and the pack leader Gabriel really don’t like humans at all. Also, he wants to dump Vivian’s aunt Astrid to hookup with Vivian, but now it’s somehow even creepier than in the book. Anyway, as you might expect, Vivian and Aiden start dating in secret, but that secret doesn’t last long. When Gabriel finds out, he sends Rafe to confront Aiden in the bone cathedral (Sam’s favorite part) and utters possibly the greatest line in cinema history. While the plot seems thin, that’s because the movie is just stuffed full of irrelevant werewolf lore that Danielle loves and Sam is just confused by. So come learn if the movie is as good as the book (spoiler: it’s not). Oh yeah, there’s also a prophecy, but it super doesn’t matter. Enjoy!

Endymion – Part 1

This week Sam takes us back to Hyperion with the1996 Dan Simmons novel Endymion. Hyperion is back and Danielle is thrilled! Picking up around 274 years after the conclusion of the previous book, Endymion opens with some narration by a man named, wait for it, Raul Endymion. We learn that Raul grew up on Hyperion, did a bunch of odd jobs, and eventually ended up leading a duck hunting expedition that went disastrously wrong. Raul is blamed for the temporary deaths (remember those cruciform parasites? They’re back in a big way!) of the people he was leading on the hunt and is sentenced to death. However, just as he is about to be executed by just one of many overly complicated death machines to appear in this book, he is in fact only rendered unconscious. It’s also important to note that in the years since the “Fall” a new theocratic government has taken over lead by the Catholic Church and based around the gift of immortal life via the cruciform parasites which they now control. When Raul wakes up, he’s in the ruined city of Endymion (yup, it’s a city too!) and, notably, not executed. He is soon brought to see the nearly mummified, but still living, poet Martin Silenus who wants to give him a job. Brawne Lamia’s daughter, the One who Teaches, disappeared into the Sphinx Time Tomb when she was 12, over 260 years ago. Somehow, Martin knows she’s scheduled to emerge in just a few days and wants Raul to retrieve her and keep her safe from the Church and its military arm the Pax, who also somehow know this schedule and want to kill or capture her. Speaking of, Father-Captain Federico de Soya is pulled off his task-force hunting Ousters (still considered an enemy) to engage in some secret mission of the utmost importance. If you’re feeling lost in all of this, you should probably go back and listen to all the Hyperion episodes again; it won’t help, but they’re pretty fun!

Check out Sam and Danielle on the Mind Duck Books podcast episode about the Fall of Hyperion. Find Mind Duck Books on Twitter @mindduckbooks, Instagram @mindduckbooks, and listen wherever you get your podcasts.