Pete Vankman

Army of Darkness: Evil Dead 1&2

Child’s Play

The X-Files

Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose


It: Pennywise the Clown

The Town of Derry

and Doctor Sleep

The True Knot

Pete Vankman

Vankman is a parapsychologist who was initially a skeptic on the paranormal despite being a scientist on the subject. Vankman is full of conundrums and anomolies. He has a dry delivery, or a manic mood swing delivery, but always a sarcastic tone. Sometimes satiric.

Bill Murray’s performance is the secret behind the breakout character of Dr. Peter Vankman amongst The Ghostbusters, regarded as one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

Described as “the ultimate New York hero: cynical, sarcastic, secretly sweet-natured”, “a man possessed by manic spontaneity, with a wont to twirl in circles around a public concourse or declare undying love for a woman he’s just met”, and the “most popular” character played by Murray.

He holds Ph.D.s in both parapsychology and psychology, though he rarely uses his scientific prowess (despite that he had learned in fields like metallurgy, engineering, and physics) leading people to doubt of whether he is a legitimate scientist.

Originally his professional interests were focused on paranormal phenomena like ESP he appeared not to believe in ghosts until he actually saw one. In the movies, he is characterized by his flippant persona, his approach to his profession as a scientific charlatan, and his womanizing demeanor. A “postmodern hero,” hero, whose level of “crass self-interest” safeguards him from being ensnared by a stereotypical role.

Despite Peter’s lackadaisical attitude, from time to time he has developed plans that help the Ghostbusters save the day, and he is shrewd and more street-smart than either Ray Stantz or Egon Spengler. Peter serves as the front man for the group and possesses more social ability than the more academically inclined Ray and Egon. For instance, he is the one who is able to persuade the city mayor to release them after being arrested, return their equipment and otherwise support their attempt to stop Gozer.

Army of Darkness

Sam Raimi’s 1992 film, co-produced and starring Bruce Campbell, is the third installment of the ‘Evil Dead’ franchise.

The series revolves around the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, an ancient Sumerian text that wreaks havoc upon a group of cabin inhabitants in a wooded area in Tennessee. The original work by Sam Raimi, ‘Within the Woods’, was made in 1978. Evil Dead 2 is a kind of remake of ‘Evil Dead’, the original. But not exactly.

The protagonist “Ash”, played by Bruce Campbell in the film from 1981, ‘The Evil Dead,’ finds an audio tape with a group of fellow college age students, that, when played, releases a legion of demons and spirits, four members of the group suffer from demonic possession, forcing the fifth member, Ash Williams (Campbell), to survive an onslaught of increasingly gory mayhem.

Raimi, Tapert, Campbell, and their friends produced the short film ‘Within the Woods’ as a proof of concept to build the interest of potential investors, which secured US$90,000 to begin work on The Evil Dead. Principal photography took place on location in a remote cabin located in Morristown, Tennessee, in a difficult filming process that proved extremely uncomfortable for the cast and crew; the film’s extensive prosthetic makeup effects and stop-motion animation give the film its unique charm within the supernatural horror genre. The film screened at the 1982 Cannes film festival, and Stephen King is said to have given it a rave review.

The Evil Dead grossed $2.4 million in the US and between $2.7 and $29.4 million worldwide. Both early and later critical reception were universally positive; in the years since its release, the film has developed a reputation as one of the most significant cult films.

Approaching the cabin, the group notices the porch swing move on its own but suddenly stop as Scott grabs the doorknob. While Cheryl draws a picture of a clock, the clock stops, and she hears a faint, demonic voice tell her to “join us”. Her hand becomes possessed, turns pale and draws a picture of a book with a demonic face on its cover. Although shaken, she does not mention the incident.

When the cellar trapdoor flies open during dinner, Shelly, Linda, and Cheryl remain upstairs as Ash and Scott investigate the cellar. They find the ‘Naturom Demonto’, a Sumerian version of the ‘Egyptian Book of the Dead,’ along with archaeologist Raymond Knowby’s tape recorder, and they take the items upstairs. Scott plays a tape of incantations that resurrect a demonic entity.

Everyone fights about what to do. Having become paranoid upon seeing Cheryl’s demonic transformation (Scott had knocked Cheryl into the cellar and locked her inside), Shelly lies down in her room but is drawn to look out of her window, where a demon crashes through and attacks her, turning her into a Deadite. She attacks Scott before he throws her into the fireplace and then stabs her in the back with a Sumerian dagger, apparently killing her. When she reanimates, Scott dismembers her with an axe and buries the remains. Shaken by the experience, he leaves to find a way back to town.

He shortly returns mortally wounded from the possessed trees, and dies while warning Ash that the trees will not let them escape alive. When Ash checks on Linda, he is horrified to find that she has become possessed. She attacks him, but he stabs her with the Sumerian dagger. Unwilling to dismember her, he buries her instead. She revives and attacks him, forcing him to decapitate her with a shovel. Her headless body bleeds on his face as it tries to kill him, he escapes and retreats to the cabin.

Back inside, Ash discovers that Cheryl has escaped the cellar. Cheryl eludes Ash, and attempts to choke him. Ash escapes her grasp, then shoots Cheryl in the jaw. As Ash is barricading the door, Scott reanimates into a Deadite. Scott attacks Ash, and inadvertently knocks the Naturom Demonto close to the fireplace. Ash gouges Scott’s eyes out and pulls a tree branch from Scott’s stomach, causing him to bleed out and fall to the ground. Cheryl breaks through the barricade and knocks Ash to the floor. As Scott and Cheryl continue to attack Ash on the ground, Ash grabs the Naturom Demonto and throws it into the fireplace. While the book burns, the Deadites freeze in place, then begin to rapidly decompose. Large appendages burst from both corpses, covering Ash in blood. Dawn breaks, and Ash stumbles outside.

As Ash walks away from the cabin, an unseen demon moves rapidly through the forest, rushes through the cabin, and attacks him from behind.

Child’s Play

“Chucky” was a little plastic doll that scared the crap out of people in the 90’s. It’s a slasher film that came out in 1988, and also lead to a popular series. Its plot follows a widowed mother who gives a doll to her son, unaware that the doll is possessed by the soul of a serial killer. The budget of the film was about 13 million, and it pulled in $44.2 million at the Box Office.

Serial killer Charles Lee Ray is a fugitive, running from police through the streets of Chicago and into a toy store. After being shot, a dying Ray performs a voodoo chant to transfer his soul to one of the Good Guy-brand talking dolls on display. The store is struck by lightning and explodes, and Norris finds Ray’s lifeless body in the rubble next to the doll.

The X-Files

‘Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose.’ The X-files premiered in 1993 and had nine seasons, with 202 episodes. The series revolves around Federal Bureau of Investigations Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who investigate marginalized unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena.

Scully, a medical doctor and a skeptic, is assigned to scientifically analyze Mulder’s discoveries, offer alternate rational theories to his work, and thus return him to mainstream cases. Early in the series, both agents become pawns in a larger conflict and come to trust only each other and a few select people. The agents also discover an agenda of the government to keep secrets.

Fox Mulder

This set of beliefs earns him the nickname “Spooky Mulder” and an assignment to a little-known department that deals with unsolved cases, the X files.

His belief in the paranormal springs from the claimed abduction of his sister Samantha Mulder by extraterrestrials when Mulder was 12. Her abduction drives Mulder throughout most of the series. Because of this, as well as more nebulous desires for vindication and the revelation of truths kept hidden by human authorities, Mulder struggles to maintain objectivity in his investigations.

Agent Scully is a foil for Mulder in this regard. As a medical doctor and natural skeptic, Scully approaches cases with complete detachment, even when Mulder, despite his considerable training, loses his objectivity. She is partnered with Mulder initially so that she can debunk Mulder’s nonconforming theories, often supplying logical, scientific explanations for the cases’ apparently unexplainable phenomena. Although she is frequently able to offer scientific alternatives to Mulder’s deductions, she is rarely able to refute them completely. Over the course of the series, she becomes increasingly dissatisfied with her own ability to approach the cases scientifically.

‘Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose’ is the third episode of the fourth season. It’s a standalone expisode, unconnected to the overarching mythology of the X-Files, but the episode was watched by 15.38 million viewers and received critical acclaim, and several writers have named it among the best in the series. The episode won both an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series as well as an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. The same actor who had played the monster in ‘Young Frankenstein’ and sang ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ with Gene Wylder.

In the episode, Clyde Bruckman has the ability to see how people are going to die. He became an insurance salesman. Life insurance.

FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are on the scene, investigating a series of murders of psychics and fortune tellers.

The two are assisted by Clyde Bruckman (Peter Boyle), an enigmatic and reluctant individual who possesses the ability to foresee how people are going to die. Several of the characters’ names are references to silent film-era actors and screenwriters. Notably, the episode features a prediction by Bruckman—that Agent Scully will not die.

In a liquor store in St. Paul, Minnesota, Clyde Bruckman purchases a bottle of scotch, a tabloid newspaper, and a lottery ticket and leaves. In the street, he almost bumps into an inconspicuous man, who heads to a palm reader named Madame Zelma.

After seeking his fortune, the inconspicuous man attacks and kills her.

The X-Files team arrive at the scene of that murder to help the local cops, who have recruited the help of a psychic, the eccentric Stupendous Yappi. Although the psychic delivers extremely vague clues, the cops are thoroughly impressed; both Scully and Mulder, however, are not.

Meanwhile, after Bruckman takes the trash out for his neighbor, he discovers the body of Madame Zelma outside in his dumpster. When interviewed by Mulder and Scully, he reveals details about the crime that he could not have known from the media accounts, which causes Mulder to believe that Bruckman has psychic ability. Mulder insists that Bruckman join them in a visit to the crime scene at the doll collector’s apartment. Thanks to seemingly psychically gained information from Bruckman, her body is soon found in a nearby lake.

At the police station, Mulder tests Bruckman’s ability by having him handle various objects to see what they “tell” him. It becomes apparent that Bruckman’s only real psychic talent is an ability to see details of people’s deaths. Scully arrives with a key chain bearing the insignia of an investment company that uses astrology to make financial predictions, taken from the doll collector’s body—the same key chain was found on two of the other dead fortunetellers. Bruckman knows that the firm is owned by one Claude Dukenfield, not through a psychic revelation but because he coincidentally sold the man an insurance policy recently. He says that Mulder and Scully will not be able to talk to Dukenfield though, because he has been murdered.

Bruckman cannot pinpoint the exact spot where the body is, however, so they return to the parked car, where they see a lifeless hand sticking out of the wet mud underneath. Traces of silk fibers are subsequently found on Dukenfield similar to fibers found on previous victims—they are later analyzed and found to be from lace.

At his home Bruckman has gotten a note from the killer saying he is going to die when they first meet, and telling him to say “hi” to the FBI agents. The killer apparently also has some psychic ability—the postmark is dated before Bruckman joined the murder investigation. Bruckman describes Mulder’s death as the killer sees it: getting his throat slit by the killer after stepping in a pie in a kitchen. However Bruckman tells Mulder he’s not able to see what happens afterwards. Meanwhile, the inconspicuous man consults a tarot card reader who says that the killer seeks answers from “a man with special wisdom” and that his confusion will soon abruptly end “with the arrival of a woman—a blonde or a brunette, possibly a redhead.” When there is just one card left unturned, the killer says that it is not meant for him but for the reader, and turns it over to reveal the “death” card.

Since the killer knows Bruckman’s home address, the agents bring him to a hotel where they take turns guarding him. While Scully does not believe in Bruckman’s power, the two develop a fast friendship. Scully asks Bruckman if he can see his own end. He replies that he can see their end—that they will end up in bed together, in a very special moment neither of them will ever forget. This reinforces her skepticism. Bruckman asks Scully why she is not interested in knowing how she will die. Scully finally asks him to tell her, to which Bruckman replies, “You don’t.”

A detective named Havez (Dwight McFee) takes over as Bruckman’s guard when Mulder and Scully are called to investigate yet another new murder victim: the tarot card reader. As they leave they bump into a bellhop who is delivering food to Bruckman’s room. The bellhop is actually the killer, and when he enters the room (while Havez is in the washroom), he is delighted to discover that Bruckman has been brought right to where he works. As he is about to kill Bruckman, Havez re-enters and the killer attacks and kills him instead. Meanwhile, Scully finds the same silk fiber at the new crime scene, and realizing that the bellhop had it on his tray, deduces that he is the murderer. They rush back to the hotel. Mulder chases the killer to the basement kitchen and the scene plays out as described in Bruckman’s earlier premonition, but when the killer attacks Mulder, Scully arrives in the nick of time and shoots him.

Unable to find Bruckman in the hotel, Mulder and Scully return to Bruckman’s apartment to find that Bruckman has committed suicide; Scully sees a plastic bag has been tied around his head, and that he is clutching a bottle of pills in his hand. Scully sits on Bruckman’s bed holding his hand, deeply moved, just as he had predicted. That night Scully sees a commercial for the Stupendous Yappi on TV, causing her to throw her phone at it.

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