Toronto, Ontario, Canada’s world renowned annual horror expo, the Rue Morgue Festival of Fear has landed Bruce “The Chin” Campbell as its 2009 Guest of Honour – and B-movie producer/director/writer Roger Corman as Featured Guest.
Campbell is, of course, known worldwide for playing Ash, the lead [if not necessarily the hero] of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead Trilogy – as well as unorthodox performances in zillions of B-movies ranging from the jealous ex-boyfriend in Living in Oblivion to an elderly Elvis in Bubba Ho-Tep.
Corman is responsible for unleashing the talents of such legends as Jack Nicholson [the original Little Shop of Horror], James Cameron [Piranha] and Francis Ford Coppola [The Terror] upon an unsuspecting world.
Both are regarded as quality guests who can relate anecdotes with the best of them – and having both headline the same event is a definite coup.
The Rue Morgue Festival of Fear guest list also includes: Udo Kier [Suspiria], Barbara Steele [Black Sunday, The Pit and the Pendulum], James Duval [Donny Darko’s Frank the Bunny], Tom Savini [the king of low-budget practical FX], Max Brooks [author of World War Z], Linda Hamilton [The Terminator, T2 & Beauty & the Beast], Lloyd Kaufman [the madman behind TROMA], and Len Wein [creator of Swamp Thing and Wolverine], among others.
The 2009 Rue Morgue Festival of Horror/Canadian National Horror Expo will be held in the Metro Toronto Convention Center from August 28-30.
Flashpoint [CBS, Fridays, 10/9C] looks like a lot like an updating of SWAT – for most of the first two acts. The members of Toronto’s Strategic Response Unit [based on the real Emergency Task Force], Team One, are called in to deal with a hostage situation – which is resolved, uncharacteristically, before the end of the second act.
The teaser introduces SRU Team Leader Ed Lane [Hugh Dillon] and sets up the team’s shift preparation and a hostage situation. When the call comes in, assignments are made and the team rolls. Onsite, Jules [Amy Jo Johnson] and Ed take up sniper positions [Ed winds up being lead when her location isn’t as good as his] and Sergeant Gregory Parker [Enrico Colantoni] tries to talk the gunman into putting down his gun.
To this point, Flashpoint is a smoothly executed cop show as it cuts back and forth between the events leading up to the hostage taking and the team’s shift preparations. The difference comes in the second act, when the situation is resolved and we follow Ed through the regulation follow-up investigation. Now we’re into something different – the way the day’s work affects Ed – leading up to the ep’s compelling final scene.
At first Flashpoint seems like just another cop/SWAT series, but then it takes a turn that changes the game for the characters and the audience. As skilfully as the first two-thirds of the episode are produced, the flashpoint pilot doesn’t quite fully engage us until after the resolution of the hostage situation, when Dillon takes Ed through some strange and affecting moments. When Parker tells him that he’ll one day have to do the math on the “I’m fines,” Flashpoint goes from being about cops to being about people – people working a job that has incredible ramifications. From that point on, it’s appointment TV.
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Final Grade: B