Zombos and Glenor Glenda, the maid, stared at me as I sat on my desk. Not at my desk, to be clear, but on top of it.
I croaked again. Glenor fainted.
Zombos reached long for the brandy. He gulped down two fingers worth and continued to stare down at me. I tried to explain it wasn't my fault, but I could only keep croaking. In desperation I stuck out my long tongue, a weird feeling because it was rooted to the front of my mouth instead of the usual way, and snagged the paper under my right webbed foot. It stuck to the tip of my tongue as I held it up for him to read. He pulled it off, wiped the mucus off with his handkerchief, and read it out loud. What can I say, he was odd like that.
'Dear Zoc, it's been a dreadfully long time since we last sent you the DVDs for Season 8 of Shilling Shockers. Penny Dreadful is quite miffed and Garou is howling with annoyance. I'm sorry but we simply can't wait any longer for your review. And I don't know what Penny will do. Once she gets so worked up like this she zaps spells all over the place. We lose more dreary ones and reviewers that way, which is so annoying, really. Yours Unruly, the Shilling Shockers Gang.'
Zombos finished reading and tucked the damp paper back under my foot. "So...you are telling me she turned you into a toad? Because you are tardy in reviewing Season 8 of Shilling Shockers?"
I croaked a yes, or something like that.
"I see." He paced back and forth. I continued croaking. Once you get the hang of it, it's kind of fun, actually. Zombos stopped pacing back and forth and devoted his energies to coaxing Glenor off the floor with a little brandy.
"Well, for one thing, we cannot let Chef Machiavelli see you like this, he will go for your legs," said Zombos.
A fly landed on my desk. Before I realized what I was doing my tongue was out and back in, in a flash. Chewy buggers, but the wings melt in your mouth. Zombos steadied Glenor as she swooned again.
"I know! We will call your sister, Trixie," said Zombos. "She is a witch. She should know the counter spell to this. As witches go she is not all that competent. But, any port in the storm, so they say. Now, is there a review, or any part thereof, that we can post to appease Penny Dreadful's ire in the meanwhile?
I lifted my left webbed foot and was about to tongue the paper under it, but Zombos moved faster and grabbed it. "A less damp copy this time would be preferable. Thank you. I will post it now for you."
------Zoc's review of Shilling Shockers, Season 8------
I wish Garou would eat the muffin already. He keeps pawing it, sitting in a local coffee shop as Penny tells us what's what. Time itself is the featured what's what of Season 8's Shilling Shockers, with silent movies and Luna's time travels stitching the episodes together. Her TARDUS-like outhouse (called the RETARDIS) is pretty good at time-hopping, which creates a pickle for everyone else as they chase after her. Funny, but I always figured Garou as a croissant-kind of lupine.
How better to while away the moments when watching classics like Metropolis, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Phantom of the Opera, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, andThe Inspector General--wait a minute, The Inspector General? What's Danny Kaye and the flagon with the dragon doing here?--with Penny Dreadful and her motley crew of monster hunter Von Bulow, scooby garoo werewolf Garou, and straitjacket-needed Luna moving the shenanigans along. Shilling Shockers is surprising clever in its mixing up of budget cinematic fakery, slapstick, and alluring belly dancing from Tempest. Don't even ask me what a belly dancer is doing in all this, but the music (Kozai Resonance) and her hips will distract you long enough to wonder at how it works so entertainingly well. The extreme closeups of Dr. Von Bulow popping his monocle and Garou twitching those hairy brows at those hip gyrations is hilarious.
Oh, right, about those silent movies. Yes, they are in the public domain, but that's precisely why you need to spice them up with retro-manic horror hosting and humorous segues. It's a truly American art form that Penny, Garou, Dr. Manfred Von Bulow, and Luna maintain and easily execute in a classically wild style: Penny flying to Cabinet of Dr. Caligari's sleepy little town of Holstenwall to find a cure for her sleep deprivation; Penny fretting over the possibility that they've jumped the shark after Luna mixes up the movies and they wind up with the musical comedy, The Inspector General, instead of The Witchfinder General; Penny going for the easy-audience-grab by introducing Garou's younger werewolf cousin to attract the Nicklelodeon set; Penny flippantly drinking strange drinks, left unattended, for no reason other than she's thirsty and it's there.
It is all giddy fun and makes viewing each silent movie special, especially by incorporating their themes into the mayhem. Well, okay, maybe having Tempest dance isn't quite Metropolis, but it did the trick. For Nosferatu, Penny and cohorts visit Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery, where we find out how special Dr. Manfred Von Bulow, monster hunter, really is while getting a tour of the monstrous displays. And if you've ever wondered how they survived high school, a glitch in time sends them back to horror high and all that high school angst.
Will they finally find Luna with the help of the Chronus Talisman? Will Shilling Shockers jump the shark or be eaten by it? Will Garou ever eat that damn muffin? Will we see more young cousins as the show goes after the family and kiddie horror audiences? Will Danny Kaye ever figure out if the poison's in the vessel with the pestle or the flagon with the dragon? You will have to pick up the DVDs to find out. Enjoy those classic silents, too. It's good to know they are in great--albeit loony--company.
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