03 December 2016

We got TV sign! (Review: 'Star Trek' 2.7, "Catspaw")

She's just watched "The Alternative Factor"
 A long while back, I was thinking about an imaginary horror movie in which the heroine is menaced by a giant spider that's realised on screen by use of a real spider blown up in size...

As I have come to realise, however, this is a bad idea, because using green (or blue) screen technology to realise a giant spider tends to look more than a bit awful.

So much so, that it's the sort of thing that gets mocked by the characters of Mystery Science Theater 3000...

I'd imagine that Jonah, Servo and Crow would have a lot of fun with this episode...


Scotty and Sulu go missing while on a survey mission, with the other member of their landing party dropping dead on his return to the ship.

Then Kirk hears a mysterious voice telling him to leave as there is a curse on his ship. Of course, Kirk doesn't listen to strange voices in his head.

This episode marks Star Trek's only 'holiday special'; it aired during the week of Halloween 1967 and naturally has a bit of spooky film. However, it was actually filmed first in Season 2's production, with the result that Walter Koenig, who had yet to grow out his hair, is wearing a wig worse than the one worn by Megan Boone in the first season of The Blacklist.

And there's no foetid swamp to consign it to... although there are three witches that reminded me of something out of The Muppets (they were intended to be severed heads, but the black turtleneck jumpers show up on screen, something surprisingly not fixed for the remastered version), the use of a considerable amount of dry ice, a big gloomy castle and an scary wizard type with a black cat that seems remarkably well trained. Oh and the black cat can turn into a woman with a big hair do.

The owners of this castle are called Korob and Sylvia. Firstly, who on Earth names an alien 'Sylvia'? Secondly, that is very much a name of its time; you don't exactly get many kids of that name today. Thirdly, you get a couple of scenes where these two basically have a rather overacted argument like they're a married couple. Maybe they are.

Our leads get chained up in a dungeon with a skeleton, resulting in a reasonably good 'Bones' joke. Unfortunately, this dungeon is far too well lit, far too clean and to this Westerner, put him rather in mind of the modern use of a dungeon, if you know what I mean...

Speaking of nudge, nudge, wink, wink... Kirk decides to seduce Sylvia to get more information about their situation and to find a way out. I found myself wondering how people would react if a female character did this to a male one... It is also at this point that things start getting hilarious in the wrong way.

The climax involves the cat getting super-sized; something not too bad when it is done in shadows, but when projected growling through a door, it gets very silly indeed. Just as a fight scene involving a considerable amount of  'Kirk Fu'.

The reveal at the end is good idea, but hilariously bad in concept. As a bonus, however, we are spared the 'comedy scene'. For one thing, there were enough actual laughs in the episode itself.



Enjoyable, but not exactly for the right reasons...


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