May. 31st, 2017

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What have you been working on this week, Eerie fans? Now's the time to spread the word about any fannish treats you've got cooking: a line of dialogue from an upcoming fic, linework for your latest art piece, the yarn colours for a new toy. Let us know in the comments!
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Eerie, Indiana is the story of a boy who moves from New Jersey to the title location, a medium sized suburban town in which all manner of the bizarre, grotesque and supernatural reside. The show aired for one season on NBC during the 1991-92 television season.

Eerie, Indana was intense, but silly, scary but absurd, sort of like X-Files with a couple of preteens and a sense of humor. There was certainly a bit of commentary on what lies beneath the generic conformist suburbs a la Pleasantville or The Ice Storm, albeit clearly less serious. The introduction sequence of the show tells the tale. Marshall Turner, the main character, a thirteen year old boy, narrates, explaining that his dad, a super scientist, sought to move him and his sister away from the grime and crime of New Jersey, and to a more traditionally suburban environment. However, Eerie,Indiana wasn’t what they had bargained for. The rest of his family doesn’t seem to know it, though.

I rewatched the first episode which I hadn’t seen in well over a decade (handily, every episode in on Hulu) and discovered pleasantly that the show holds up fairly well. In the episode, Marshall’s family is visited by a housewife, who looks like she came right out of the early ‘60s. She lives nearby and tries to sell them a food storage product, like Tupperware, called Foreverware, which promises to preserve any food product forever, as long as it’s sealed properly. She comes with her two twins, both seventh graders, also dressed in early ‘60s fashions. One of them slips Marshall a note on the way out with the words, “Yearbook 1964.” Marshall discovers that those kids were the same age then, and through some investigating with his friend Simon, finds out that the housewife is using giant foreverware containers to keep herself and her children the same age as they were when her husband died in 1964. Spurred on by the ‘60s twins and his fear that his mom will soon be purchasing foreverware, Marshall and his sidekick invade the house, open the foreverware beds, thus letting the twins out, who do the same for their mother. The show ends as we see that the twins and mother have aged 30 years in a day.

Other episodes have similarly supernatural premises, often with a twist of the suburban. The show does well to last half an hour, rather than an hour – it moves right along, without any wasted time. Marshall, played by Omri Katz, who has appeared in just about nothing else, is charming and likable, if not the finest acting talent around. The plots are reasonably clever and well written, and while not groundbreaking, it’s nice to watch a supernatural show with a sense of humor. The episodes are played straight – there aren’t a whole lot of laugh out loud moments, but the atmosphere of the absurd is felt throughout. Honestly, after watching the first, and realizing I can finish off the show in about two days, I’m seriously considering taking it on again.

The Fox Kids Network revived the show for a spinoff for a season in 1998 as Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension, with original characters Marshall and Simon showing up in the first episode communication through dimensions to the new characters in parallel world’s Eerie
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"My name is Marshall Teller. Not long ago, I was living in New Jersey, just across the river from New York City. It was crowded, polluted, and full of crime. I loved it. But my parents wanted a better life for my sister and me. So we moved to a place so wholesome, so squeaky clean, you could only find it on TV. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, my new hometown looks normal enough, but look again. What's wrong with this picture? The American Dream come true, right? Wrong. Nobody believes me, but this is the center of weirdness for the entire planet: Eerie, Indiana. My home, sweet home. Still don't believe me? You will."
-Marshall Teller.

Television can be as strange a beast as the big screen, especially when it comes to success. Some shows, such as Andromeda, inexplicably get five seasons, despite being horrible, while others, such as Space: Above and Beyond, last only a season, even though they are quite good.
Another series which lasted only a year was the NBC show Eerie, Indiana, produced by Joe Dante, and which can best be described as The Wonder Years crossed with The Twilight Zone.

Marshall Teller (Omri Katz) moves to the title town with his family and quickly discovers how bizarre it is, with, among other things, an neighbor (Steven Peri) who believes he is Elvis and a Bigfoot-like creature who roams the town. But these unusual goings-on don't seem to raise anyone else's eyebrows, except his neighbor Simon Holmes (Justin Shenkarow), whom Marshall befriends.

The 19 episodes of the series show Marshall and Simon observing and dealing with the bizarre happenings of their town, which they document and plan to, someday, release to the world.

One of the sweetest episodes is the seventh, "Heart on a Chain," which was directed by Dante. In that episode, Marshall falls for a girl (Danielle Harris) whose need for a heart transplant is fulfilled when a rival for her affections dies in a car accident. But she begins to act suspiciously like Marshall's rival afterward.

What makes this series good, though, is that Marshall and Simon are both instantly likeable and their adventures are presented in a way which makes the show nice family entertainment.

I still hope that a movie of this series is made someday. Hey, if Veronica Mars can do it....
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How have I not posted about Eerie, Indiana before?

I am huge fan of this show. I’ve watched the entire series, the sequel series, and am currently reading through the fiction line.

If you’re not familiar, here’s the idea: Eerie, Indiana is the center of weirdness for the entire planet. Nobody in Eerie sees this except for Marshall Teller, recent transplant to Eerie, and Simon Holmes, born and raised, who spend their time exposing bizarre happenings and building a collection of all the weird things going on in Eerie. A group of kids sees a bunch of strange things that everyone else appears oblivious to. Sound familiar?

The fiction line delves deeper into explaining why Eerie is the way it is and spotlights some of the throwaway gags from the television show, turning them into recurring jokes, and all this rounds out the universe to make for a less random, less zany whole but enough ideas can be drawn from the core series that nothing is required beyond that.

The show focuses more on oddity than horror but you can easily adapt Eerie, Indiana‘s premise to your Little Fears game. The characters are kids set to expose Closetland, to build an argument that will convince adults of what’s happening, which leads them to seek out danger, look closer than others when a kid goes missing or even when a bike is stolen under mysterious circumstances. You already have leeway to adjust the tone of the game but hanging all this under an Eerie-style umbrella, a kidnapping mystery one episode and perhaps a mischievous fairy making trouble another, gives illusion to everything fitting into a single, cohesive universe.

The sequel/spin-off/reboot series, Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension, covers a lot of the same ground as the original, taking place in an alternate Eerie featuring similarly-named protagonists who are clued into the place’s weirdness via satellite signal sent by Marshall and Simon from their reality’s version of Eerie. A long way to hand off a premise but it works as much as it needs to.

For those interested, both the original and its reboot/spin-off/sequel over at or watch (only) the original via Netflix mail or streaming.

No matter how you watch it, Eerie, Indiana is solid fun and can easily inspire some lighter-hearted Little Fears fare.
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I have not seen Eerie Indiana since it aired on channel four way back when in around 1991/1992, but yet I still remember the opening credits, the actors and the stories for my favourite episodes. This is quite some achievement considering it is now 2008 as I am writing this.

Growing up, some of my fondest memories are of becoming enthralled in a great TV show or film. I was definitely one of those kids that were raised by their television sets whilst my parents would just slip TV dinners under my nose.

Amongst some of my favourite TV shows of the early 90's was one short but very great series of Eerie Indiana. I would place it along side my favourite TV shows of all time; Gamesmaster, Guyver, Firefly, Lost, Friends, Round The Twist, Fresh Prince, Animals of Farthing Wood, Smallville, South Park, Home Improvement and Reboot.

Before 'Are you afraid of the Dark', before 'Goosebumps' and the aformentioned 'Round the twist' and even before the 'X-Files' there was 'Eerie Indiana'. If you have seen any of the other shows (especially AYAOT Dark and RT Twist) then you have pretty much got 'Eerie's themes and story down.

Staring the now very unemployed Omri Katz as Marshall Teller; a kid that has recently moved into Eerie Indiana from New jersey, he soon begins to realise that his new life in a quiet suburb is not nearly as peaceful as his parents would have foretold.

Eerie Indiana turns out to be a very likely candidate for the Bermuda triangle, ergo his neighbour is Elvis, bigfoot raids his trash in the morning and the neighbourhood dogs plan to one day take over the world some day.

It's pretty ingenious stuff and yet after the first season it was abruptly cancelled in a fairly similar manner to a more recent Firefly's example. And just like Firefly, it left a cult following. Its pretty obvious to see why.

There's the episode where two teenage lovers are separated by a tragic accident to later be reunited by a heart transplant, the one with the bureau of lost; where all lost things go, and the bloody Mary cocktail that cures warewolf-ism. Errie's idea was to turn typical suburbia in to a mythological odyssey, akin to Edward Scissorhands. Unfortunately Errie also suffered the fate of the cancelled TV show rip off. 'Pleasentville' ripped of the episode with the remote control that brought things from the TV alive and 'Groundhog day' ripped off the episode where the same hour keeps repeating. Or at least these ideas came first in Eerie.

I also forgot how good the credits music is.

And just like Firefly, watching it again does not release the pain of its cancellation. Especially when you hear of how there was meant to be an episode called 'jolly rogers' where pirates invade Marshall's house.

With it's 90's corny Micheal Myers inspired Americana suburb, great spooky music and Spielberg type adventure directing, Eerie Indiana is a great series to watch on or off Halloween. TV could easily bring it back each Halloween and get great ratings with today's audience. I would not get my hopes up though. Thank god for the magic of DVD re-releases.
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As the buzz wears off following our Richard Whorf love-fest, let us carry on, from the oddness of the early-60s to the oddness of the early-90s, where the epicenter of weirdness can be found in the name-appropriate...

Eerie, Indiana

So, this is kind of like your proto-Buffy, what with its mystery-solving and its acknowledgement that strange things are going down everywhere in Sunny- uh, Eerie, leading to supernatural stalls that must be mucked. Marshall Teller is an everykid who has been relocated from the Garden State to eerie Eerie (insert obligatory Jersey-bash here), and whose Mom would go on to live by a creek and become the mother of that insufferable bastard, Dawson. Oh, how we wish this series had been picked up instead.

As noted earlier, the 90s saw the media in the hands of those raised on the media of the 60s, so we're going to see a lot of carefully-trivial deep cuts and throwback-nods here; this caliber of adoration would eventually fuel a thousand fan-sites online, where liking things so much that you almost hate them has become the currency of the day.

But not here - not yet. Here is strange little bastion of early nerd-culture, a safe-haven that was needed for those of us who watched Universal monster pictures on AMC and sopped up the Bob Dorian-laced trivia about Jack Pierce's scar-tissue appliques and Lon Chaney Jr.'s sad dog-face before going out to look for Bigfoot in the backyard. Let's go there now, and let's pull the rope-ladder up after us - the other kids will never understand.

Space: Eerie, IN
Time: October 20th, 1991
Episode: "America's Scariest Home Video" Season 1, Episode 5

Now here's a show that gets it. Just look at these guys, suiting up for their Halloween adventure, just as star Omri Katz would do in a few years as Max on Hocus Pocus. They are itemizing like soldiers, synchronizing the watches of of their trick-or-treating supplies like they're fresh out of the castle break-in from Where Eagles Dare. But hey, look at this get-up:

Rubber crone masks, back in vogue! What was old is new again, except they are, by definition, still old (Richard Whorf, these masks are for you!). And as a true sign of the times, we're getting Bush 41 and Gorbachev, who were and remain pretty decent crones.

But then, we do catch further glimpses of Halloween '91 throughout the ep - please note the tasteful use of what we now recognize as Lambert Lanterns (#LambertLanterns), and just look how far mask technology had advanced from the days of Chip and Sudsy!

It's difficult to articulate to the modern audience just how much of a phenomenon America's Funniest Home Videos was at the time. You've got your ambitious stand-up, Bobert Saget, taking invaluable time from the Tanner's hugging schedule to host this weekly tribute to the idiocy of Americans. Hey, we all know that no matter what school of comedy you hail from, be it the Bob Newhart School, or the Richard Pryor School, or the Dane Cook School etc., I think we can all kind of agree... watching dudes get hit in the balls is pretty hilarious, right? I thought as much. So, count on the power of a sit-com star, the power of dudes getting hit in the balls, the realness of the ball-hitting, and the fabulous $10,000 cash prize, synergized with Coulier on America's Funniest People - whoo boy, you have entertainment for an entire nation's worth of families.

Anyway, young Marshall and his buddy, Simon, were of the perfect age to know a good scam when they see it, and so, try to videotape Simon's brother, Harley, doing something crazy so they can win that sweet Saget prize money. One thing leads to another, and the janky A/V set-up that was standard issue in this age before streaming is fried in a way that suggests Mom and Dad are going to be so mad when they get home.

This is because 1.) What did you do to my VCR, do you not know how heavy and expensive these are in 1991!? and 2.) Lil Harley - a king mixer if ever I've seen one - is trapped inside the mummy movie they'd been watching.

Whoops! And of course, due to the transitive property of entering a television world, if you are going to recast the Incredible Hulk with your pet cat, expect a Bill Bixby and/or Lou Ferrigno in your living room. We have this here, in the shape of said-movie mummy.

Surprised to the point of evacuating the house and smacking each other around, the boys anxiously follow some prospective trick-or-treaters back up to the Teller front door to see what the hell happens next. And who could be so wicked as to answer a rung doorbell on Halloween, I ask you?

What!? Why, it's Marshall's sister, Syndi, as played by Julie Condra. Now, J-Con is best known in my mind for portraying "Madeline" in what has to be a top-10 episode for The Wonder Years, "It's A Mad, Mad, Madeline World," in which she comes as close as any woman ever would to besting Winnie Cooper (Kevin, of course, was far too weak to deal with such a self-assured powerhouse, and so went back to wallowing in his broken childhood romance for many more seasons, the dolt).

Anyway, she does her big sister-thing to everyone involved, and because she's not a psycho, does not realize the mummy is an actual mummy. Classic older-sibling move. This eventually leads to the fellas capturing the mummy, only to realize he's not the actual mummy, but rather the famous actor Boris Von Orloff, played by Judge Claude Frollo himself, Messr. Tony Jay. "Hellfire" indeed, my friends!

They look on, stunned, as that little fucker, Harley, trashes the set of his movie and loves every minute of it. As do we, the audience.

Moments later, it's all over and the body-switch/TV-reality pseudo-science circuit is completed right before Mom and Dad get home. Well done, all round - they'll never find out!

In conclusion, check out this series, it was a weird little gem of its time for weird little people, and one that celebrated the weirdness of previous eras as well. I give it 10 out of 13 rubber crone masks
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