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A Man Locked in an ATM Room Used 'Help Me' Notes to Escape:

It was a standard job: A contractor in Corpus Christi, Texas, got called in Wednesday to fix a faulty lock in a room connected to a drive-through ATM. He hopped out of his car, walked into the little vault, and set to work. Then—as local NBC affiliate KRISTV reports—the man realized he was stuck.

Somehow, the unidentified contractor got locked inside his strange domain. He'd left his phone in his car, and found himself in the belly of the beast that is a Bank of America ATM room without any way to call for help. Meanwhile, customers were pulling up every once in a while to withdraw cash. The contractor figured they were his only hope, and started slipping notes through the receipt slot begging someone—anyone—to send help.

Corpus Christi Police Department officer Richard Olden told KRISTV most folks who saw the notes figured they were some kind of prank. But one particularly concerned customer decided he should probably call the cops.

"We come out here, and sure enough we can hear a little voice coming from the machine," Olden told KRISTV. "So we are thinking, This is a joke. It's got to be a joke."

The contractor's supervisor eventually showed up, and—unable to get into the room any other way—police had to kick down the door and rescue the man. According to KTRK, he told them he'd been trapped inside for about two hours after something went wrong with the room's electronic lock—the very thing he'd come to fix in the first place.

According to Olden, the whole thing was "a once in a lifetime situation that you will probably never see or hear again."

"Everyone is okay," he said. "That somebody was stuck in the ATM, it was just crazy."
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I didn't know what to expect going into this one, and with its lighthearted title, I was not looking forward to it in the least. I mean, I gathered that an ATM was going to be generous with its money—that much is obvious from its name—but how could that be made eerie, funny, or even remotely interesting? And after the debacle that was “The Retainer”, I was preparing for what could have been an early downhill slide for the entire series. Instead, it was the biggest surprise of its only season thus far, and while that might not sound like a huge accomplishment given that we are only three episodes in, I honestly mean that in the sincerest way possible.

Once again this story centers around the Teller family: The father, Edgar, has created an automated ATM that aims to be the friendliest such machine ever invented. To hammer this home, he gives it a computer-generated face, and some AI, allowing the smiling machine to offer up conversations and friendly banter with its users. The town doesn't really seem to care, though, as only a handful of people show up to its unveiling in a scene that would be sad if it weren't so funny.

Marshall has been spending a lot of time with kids his own age, which has left Simon all alone with no friends. Naturally, he turns to the talking ATM for companionship. The friendly machine, named Mr. Wilson, strikes up a friendship with Simon, and frequently hands him loads of bills, even though he does not have a bank account. This proves bad for the residents of Eerie, whose town goes bankrupt thanks to Mr. Wilson. But Simon doesn't care, because he's the one benefiting from the disaster. And why should he? He has everything he could ever want, the attention of older girls, and kids that were making fun of him now all want to be his friend. Can Marshall convince him to return his money and save the town? Or will Simon's obsession with the money be his downfall?

This episode plays its ridiculous premise for laughs, and that is why it manages to succeed. The (intentionally) cheesy scenes of Simon moving up the popularity ladder, simply because he has a virtually limitless supply of cash, function as spoofs of high school dramas and are well-executed. Mr. Wilson, on the other hand, is perfectly creepy, his nerdish computer-generated face and soothing, yet somehow haunting, voice suiting him very well. The way he “skips” is also a nice touch, and a rather realistic testament to early '90s technology. In other words, the effects are excellent in this one, and a large reason why it works at all.

I think the biggest drawback for me—and it's a big one--is that this episode breaks character for Marshall, by having him pick a group of popular jocks over his own friend. I understand that it's required for the rest of this episode to work, but considering how inseparable he and Simon are for the rest of the series, it just feels tacky, and not at all true to the series. Even after Marshall admits that the excitement of hanging out with them has worn off, he continues to hang out with them, despite getting nothing out of doing so...which paints him three episodes in as rather selfish and one-sided, something that couldn't be farther from the truth as the series wears on.

Overall, this one is still way better than I was anticipating, but is a far cry from the best this series has to offer.

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Hearing someone in the office ask “Does anyone know what’s happening about this Mister Wilson fella?” and immediately wanting to share your opinions about artificial intelligence and the role of human contact in the development of something that’s not technically human.
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[personal profile] froodle
Use the code FR35-FEB to get 35% off everything, including their awesome Eerie, Indiana shirts and pins!

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If you've been holding off on treating yourself to some of the awesome Eerie, Indiana merch offered by Fright-Rags, now is the perfect time. Get 20% off everything when you use the code FR20-JAN. Valid til Sunday 29th January.
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Buy the Hocus Pocus one here

Buy the Monster Squad one here

And buy the 'Burbs one here

And don't forget their Krampus collection:

And, of course, their Eerie Indiana shirts and pins!


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