Family (2006, John Landis)

Okay, any show that opens with George Wendt dissolving his father in a bath of acid is gonna be good. Never quite lives up to its promise (or its predecessor, “Deer Woman”), but it gets 80-90% there, and that ain’t bad at all.

His coolest horror role since House:

Young couple moves in next door to utter lunatic Wendt. Besides being a bit socially awkward, he’s also creating himself a lovely family of well-dressed skeletons in an upstairs room and imagining whole conversations (even fights) with them. Young couple is an investigative reporter and an ER doctor whose daughter is part of Wendt’s family. Turns out they have tracked him down in order to torture him to death, a perfectly horrible ending (and I mean that as a compliment). Some of the couple’s own fights, which we assume are about deciding to have a new baby, are actually about deciding to go through with the murder plot, a detail which makes the somewhat-slack middle of the episode come to life upon reflection. And the more lighthearted & comedic moments come from Wendt’s delusions and the care with which he assembles and dresses his skeleton family, so it’s probably a darker piece than “Deer Woman”.


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