17 thoughts on “Oh the Bad Movies & TV You’ll Watch 14!

  1. I loved House of Eliot back in the day,,,but I don’t think it stood the test of time. The costumes were fun at the time,,and LOUISE LOMBARD NOM NOM NOM

  2. I loved House of Elliott. I haven’t rewatched it, however I thought the costuming was spectacular.

  3. “When, oh when, will a good version of Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla be made?”

    Probably about a year after they finally do DRACULA the way Bram Stoker actually wrote it— but only if the book-accurate DRACULA makes a shitton of money.

    This question has nagged me for decades as well, and I’ve seen a lot of misfire shots at the material– VAMPYR (1932), BLOOD AND ROSES (1960), TERROR IN THE CRYPT (1964), THE BLOOD-SPATTERED BRIDE (1972), the Showtime NIGHTMARE CLASSICS adaptation CARMILLA (1989, set in the antebellum South).

    It’s sad that probably the most faithful adaptation of CARMILLA is the 1969 Hammer Films/American-International Pictures co-production THE VAMPIRE LOVERS– which is still way too boob-oriented and exploitative (but look at who made it) and suffers from the lead role being insanely miscast (though I do love Ingrid Pitt).

    I haven’t bothered with the newer ones, because the descriptions always indicate that liberties have been taken, and they don’t look like they’d be worth watching as a “re-imagining of the classic story”– which is pretty much all we ever get.

    There was a 1966 ITV adaptation on the series MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION that’s now lost, though some other episodes survive. Given the state of British television at the time, it probably wasn’t any better than the others, but I guess we’ll never know. It’s pretty much impossible to find even a good description of the episode– though I have seen a couple of nondescript photos that don’t look promising.


    1. Let me add that the “misfire shots” I listed still have some value as films in their own right– VAMPYR in particular– but they’re just not good adaptations of the source material, with only the Showtime version even getting anywhere close to the basic plot.

  4. I second (third?) on The House of Elliot; I haven’t gone back and watched them, but the 1990s were a grim and bitter period in costume frocking on television (the third film in “North and South” for starters).

  5. The book “War of the Worlds” is one of my favorites. But it has no women in it (the narrator’s wife at the beginning and end) and takes place “behind enemy lines” thru 95% of it so I wouldn’t expect too much costuming. It is in 1895 or thereabouts… which should’ve been a great place for some Martian steampunk in the fighting machines. The whole book takes place in like 48 hours or so and moves fast! Stretching it out to multiple episodes is a dreadful idea.
    But I may have to check it out anyway.

  6. House of Elliot was one of a bunch of shows that came out around the same time, Jeeves and Wooster being another, and I think it started quite well. Sadly it devolved into a sort of Georgian soap opera, lots of crying and wringing of hands. Some things as you say, don’t age well. Unlike the series of Mapp and Lucia that came out 10 years earlier and to my eye is still as fresh as a daisy!

    1. The one with Prunella Scales, Geraldine McEwan and Nigel Hawthorne? Unbeatable in my memory, to the point I don’t dare rewatch it!

  7. Pity about “Life in Squares”; the cast looks fabulous. (But I think it’s true that the Bloomsberries didn’t go in much for great frocks, especially during WWII.)

  8. I watched Respect last weekend. I really wanted to enjoy it, but ‘meh’. The story wasn’t fleshed out enough to really make it clear what the hell was happening, or why it was happening. It was all ‘here’s a random famous person or some shit and oh, she had a kid at 12!’ It was pretty, but mostly a jumbled mess of storylines. I’ll stick with Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman for their excellence.

  9. My movie watch group watched Respect a week or so ago. Content warning for domestic violence and strongly suggested sexual abuse of a minor. We all agreed that Jennifer Hudson’s performance was amazing but also that the movie overall was sort of flat. It also stopped too soon — it should have ended with Aretha seeking at Obama’s inauguration. Instead it stopped in the mid 1970s.

  10. Laura’s costumes look super boring and vaguely Regency era TM, while Carmilla’s coustumes look marginally more interesting and 1780s/1790s, to my semi- untrained eyes at least!

    1. THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970) is also supposedly set in 1790, but the main women’s costumes aren’t that great– just vague Empire-waisted designs probably more concerned with cleavage display than establishing a period. (And at one point, a front-laced “Frederick’s of Hollywood”-style corset is seen.) The men’s and servants’ costumes are a bit better, but obviously stock rental pieces. And everyone’s hair is ridiculously 1970.

      However, while Le Fanu’s 1872 source novella never gives an exact year the events are taking place, a portrait of the still-living Mircalla, Countess Karnstein/Carmilla dated “A.D. 1698” (chapter 5) and the narrator Laura’s description of Mircalla having been buried for “a hundred and fifty years” at the time of her final destruction (chapter 15) would place the story no earlier than 1848–possibly even several years later.

      Other than the episode of the Showtime NIGHTMARE CLASSICS series that set the story in the antebellum South (to no real effect), I don’t think there’s been a “Carmilla” adaptation set in the mid-19th century– most are too early or are set present-day.

      Le Fanu’s source material would seem easy to adapt faithfully, but for some reason, it’s always approached as something that “needs changes for a modern audience”– so that most adaptations just trade on the name recognition and the girl/girl attraction elements.

  11. Someday I’d love you to do a thing about flashback episodes in TV drama – Buffy, Star Trek, whatever takes your fancy. Low-hanging fruit, I know, but…

    1. Gill, I second this idea! I also love the idea of them critiquing dream and/or fantasy sequences that take place in a FrockFlick-desginated time period! I think if they did this though, they’d really have to relax their standards because generally those sequences that I’ve seen are meant to be fun, campy, or creepy and no accuracy is aimed at re the costuming. They’re often “we have to rent costumes for the high school play” quality. But, still, I think it would be a fun post!

  12. LOVED House of Elliott. Couldn’t get through all of Life in Squares. I think House of Elliott should be reviewed here because the sisters work in fashion, and think that there was at least one fashion show per season. But also, to echo what someone said earlier, it could also have been good compared to other “crap” of the era. I do recommend the 90’s era TV show “The Untouchables.” I LOVED that show when I was younger, but honestly I can’t remember how many women’s costumes were a part of it. And I don’t know if you can find it anywhere these days.

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