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Monday, January 23, 2006

1.45 --- Personal Demons

Directed by : Peter Medak
Written by : Rockne S. O'Bannon
Starring : Martin Balsam, Joshua Shelley
First aired : 14th of February, 1986.

Famous screenwriter Rockne S. O'Bannon (Martin Balsam, Psycho, Cape Fear and about five dozens of Italian mob movies) is currently suffering from writer's block. He complains about this to his neighbour, saying how the last original idea he had was 20 years ago. His neighbour (Joshua Shelley) recommends retirement, but Rockne says not before he finds that one last original story.

A bit later, he's walking around his neighbourhood, and is amazed to see a strange-looking dwarf on the street running towards him. He escapes it, only to find more of them thrashing his car the same night. He realizes soon that only he can see those peculiar little creatures, and in order to avoid them, he barricades himself inside his apartment.

The little buggers are persistant however, so after a lengthy siege they finally break into Rockne's apartment and corner him near his typewriter. He asks them what do they want from him, and one of them simply retorts that all they desire is to be written about ! Rockne obliges, realizing this is his last original idea, and the dwarfs start disappearing, one by one.


A neat little in-joke of an episode, this one probably served as an exorcism of sorts for mr. O'Bannon, Zone's regular contributor, who fittingly enough wrote it himself. If this is an exactly original story though, I don't know - the little imps who torment Rockne look strangely similar to killer midgets from David Cronenberg's Brood, which predates this episode by a few years.

All things included, a neat little episode, and Martin Balsam is, as always, fun to watch.

TZ Trivia : Martin Balsam is a returning TZoner, appearing previously in two classic TZ eps - The 16mm Shrine (23rd of October, 1959.) and The New Exhibit (4th of April, 1963.).

Comments on "1.45 --- Personal Demons"


Blogger Matthew Maloney said ... (5:37 PM) : 

The bit where he first notices the demon on the street, and then it starts running towards him scared the bejaysus out of me!


Anonymous DrJones said ... (6:52 AM) : 

The point of this episode is not that it's his last original idea; it's that writing about what hurts you - your personal demons - will make them go away!


Anonymous Adrock said ... (9:59 PM) : 

The first minute of this episode may be my favorite first minute of any New TZ episode. You've got Original TZ stalwart Martin Balsam in the credits, you've got the main character named for the episode's writer (only about 30 years older), AND the character's TV credits clearly make him a version of Rod Serling who survived into the '80s -- note that the first framed TV script shown is for "Desilu Playhouse", one of Rod's early TV credits.

Also note that Balsam's character's agent is played by Clive Revill, who voiced The Emperor in "The Empire Strikes Back" (before the role was recast with Ian McDiarmid for the next 4 movies), and that the little imps look like The Emperor did in "Empire" -- black robes and monkey faces.

The ending is a wee bit silly, but this is a very special episode and something for New TZ to be proud of.


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