The Curator of Schlock #210 by Jeff Shuster

The Disappointments Room

Stick this one back in the oven. It ain’t done yet.

It’s a new year and a new month and I have to give you, my demanding public, more musings on movies you’ve never heard of. So I checked out a DVD from the public library: The Disappointments Room starring Kate Beckinsale and other actors.

Ummmmmm.

This one’s not good.

I tried.

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I mean, it looked like a super scary movie from the cover, but like so many super scary movies Hollywood produces these days, it deflates like a soufflé precisely when it should be getting good.

The movie starts out with a pouty-faced Kate Beckinsale riding along with her husband and son while they sing Gilbert and Sullivan. This does not happen in real life. Fathers and their five year-old sons do not sing Gilbert and Sullivan on road trips.

Kate Beckinsale is playing an architect by the name of Dana Barrow. Her husband’s name is David (Mel Raido) and her son’s name is Lucas (do you really care about who plays the son?). The husband insists that they stop at every fruit and vegetable stand on the road on the way their destination. He wants fresh strawberries and fresh asparagus. Sure.

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Where is this family going? To their new home on the country, obviously. In Hollywood thrillers, upper middle class families buy country houses to escape the troubles of the big city only to experience a different kind of trouble in the country. This is why you move to the suburbs, people!

Anyway, the Barrows move to a property known as The Blacker Estate, a creepy old mansion with a dark secret.

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I bet you’d like to know what that dark secret is. I’ll whisper it to you: The Blacker Manor has a disappointments room.

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A disappointments room is a secret room where rich families hid their deformed children. The town librarian gives Dana the lowdown on the sordid history of disappointments rooms. The townsfolk are weird. The woman who owns the drug store gets up at 6 AM to make fresh strawberry ice cream. This…does…not…happen. She recommends a local handyman to help Dana fix the leaky roof of the Blacker estate. That handyman’s name is Ben Phillips, played by Lucas Till, TV’s MacGyver!

THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM

Time out! I need to implore my readership to watch the new MacGyver reboot on CBS. What else are you doing on a Friday night? You could be embarking global adventures with a hero like no other, a man who can make a ballistic missile out of some aluminum foil, chewing gum, and a Stretch Armstrong action figure. And let’s not forget about MacGyver’s arch-nemesis, the international assassin known as Murdoc (David Dastmalchian). That guy creeps me out. He always whistles before he kills you. And there was this one episode where he told MacGyver about how he almost died from his peanut allergy when he was a little boy, but then at the end of the episode, Murdoc was snacking on some peanuts. You just can’t trust the guy.

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Crap. The Disappointments Room. Right. So the Blacker Estate is haunted by the ghosts of Judge Blacker and his deformed daughter, the one he struck in the head with a hammer…or a judge’s gavel. That would make more sense. MacGyverI mean Ben Phillipsis found hung by the neck for some reason. I guess the ghosts compelled him. They keep tormenting Dana until it’s revealed to the audience that she fell asleep atop her infant daughter and smothered her to death. I think she was taking drugs to forget. Her husband moves her and their son back to the city. It is unknown whether or not Gilbert and Sullivan was sung on the way back.

That’s all. Ghosts are still haunting the place. This movie is purported to be based on real events, so your Curator of Schlock will find that creepy mansion and give the ghost of Judge Blacker a piece of my mind. And then I’ll get a TV set up in that place and we can watch MacGyver together.


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Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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