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Feb 072014

Ghosts have come in many forms on movies and TV shows, but none have been more varied than on Ghost Fever. Police officers Buford (Sherman Hemsley) and Benny (Luis Avalos, who I remember best as a cast member from The Electric Company) are sent to a mansion called Magnolia House to evict the residents so the house can be torn down to make a freeway. The only problem is that the place is haunted.

Buford and Benny arrive at the house, but it appears to be deserted as they investigate the different rooms. The ghosts who try to spook them are Andrew Lee (Myron Healey) and Buford’s great grandfather Jethro (Sherman Hemsley) who is the district supervisor of all the ghosts. Occasionally, Jethro gets called away to take care of problems other ghosts are causing elsewhere. It’s strange that Andrew has been a ghost for 125 years and still hasn’t figured out his powers yet.

What’s neat about these two ghosts is that no one else can see or hear them, leaving Andrew and Jethro to provide their own commentary while observing.

Among the rooms Buford and Benny explore is the basement, which is also a torture chamber. One device that really sticks out is the one used to improve a victim’s rhythm with two sledgehammers and a spike in the rear. I don’t think you’ll find anything like that in any ordinary castle dungeon.

Now the real threat Buford and Benny face is the ghost of Andrew’s father Beauregard Lee (Pepper Martin). He can’t be seen because he’s under a voodoo curse. Serves him right since he used to be a slave master and used his torture devices on them. However, Beauregard can still cause harm to anyone he pleases. Even after all of that exciting proof, Benny still doesn’t believe in ghosts nearly as much as Buford does.

The only way Beauregard’s spirit can materialize is with a medium. At the stroke of midnight, Madame St. Esprit (Jennifer Rhodes, who played Grams on Charmed) will have the power. In the meantime, Buford and Benny cannot leave, so they’ll have to make the most of their situation.

Helping them do so are Andrew’s lovely granddaughters Linda (Deborah Benson) and Lisa (Diana Brookes), who eventually become their love interests. The evening really becomes interesting when the four of them are all dressed up in the ballroom and dance away to the music. Even Beauregard joins in as a mummy man. He certainly has some moves.

Once the séance finally takes place, Beauregard materializes as a vampire intent on creating zombies to haunt graveyards. Now that’s quite a plot twist.

Beauregard now has the weakness of any other vampire. He soon gets defeated, but it’s not over yet. There’s still the issue of the eviction notice. Linda and Lisa are “attached” to Magnolia House, so Buford and Benny try to help them by raising the money they owe.

Benny has a solution. If he can take on boxing champion Terrible Tucker (Joe Frazier) in a boxing match and last three rounds, he’ll win the prize money provided. Benny sure has an unusual fighting style using dance steps and is very clumsy starting with the struggle of taking the robe off while wearing the gloves.

I liked this movie for its humor and excitement. I must admit that the special effects were nostalgic. Some of it looked so animated. You can tell that’s old school compared with today’s standards.

Nov 092009

Charmed: The Complete Series (1998-2006) was definitely a favorite. Three sisters, Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs), and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) are a team of witches who fight evil beings like warlocks, demons, and other evil spirits to protect the innocents of San Francisco. They’re known as the Charmed Ones.

This show is along the lines of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When the Charmed Ones vanquish an enemy, they burst into flames with neat effects and echoed screams. Most of the witches, warlocks, and demons don’t really have a particular look. In fact, they look no different than ordinary citizens, which makes it easier to blend in as long as nobody uses their powers in public.

One of the toughest issues was that the Charmed Ones always have to keep their identities a secret. Since the crimes the demons commit involve police business, it’s only fair that a police officer knew about them also. It starts with Prue’s boyfriend Andy (T.W. King), but he gets killed off too soon. So the secret was passed on to his partner Darryl Morris (Dorian Gregory).

Later on, a white lighter named Leo (Brian Krause) joins the team. Not only is he good to have around the house as a handyman and as Piper’s love interest, but his healing powers and teleportation are very helpful in battle.

Charmed also has its share of humor, especially from Piper. She’s so funny when she’s irritated, and a lot of strange things keep happening to Phoebe. One of my favorites was when her grandmother’s wedding ring turns her into a happy housewife from a 50s sitcom, who only cares about cooking and cleaning. Some of my favorite episodes are the ones based on old myths and legends. It has a creative take on fairytales and creatures of folklore.

I met several Charmed stars at several different conventions. The first was Jennifer Rhodes, who played Grams, at MegaCon 2008. She was nice and asked me how long I’ve been a fan of Charmed. I told her that I have been for a long time and that I have the whole series on DVD. She also told me that this was one of her favorite photos.

Jennifer Rhodes

Then I met Dorian Gregory at Mini MegaCon 2009 and Brian Krause at Spooky Empire 2009. Both were really nice guys and were thrilled that I was a big Charmed fan. And I told them that these autographed photos were going on my wall, which is filled with Charmed pictures.

Brian Krause and me


Charmed is still a cult classic and will be for years to come, just like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Keep in touch and check my blog for Charmed part 2, when I’ll be talking about meeting the lovely Charmed star Shannen Doherty.