Friday, January 21, 2011

CULT TV FLASHBACK # 128: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: "Eleven Days to Zero" (1964)

Just released on DVD is Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964 - 1968), Season Four, Volume Two. This handful of episodes first aired in 1968 during the final season of the classic underwater series.

Also included on the third disc of this new set are the original broadcast pilot, "Eleven Days to Zero"  and the unaired pilot too.  For this review, I decided -- in hopes of re-capturing the 1964 vibe -- to watch the broadcast version of that pilot, written and directed by famed "Master of Disaster," Irwin Allen.

As you may recall, at first Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was a successful 1961 motion picture starring Walter Pidgeon as Admiral Nelson.  The film's detailed miniature for the submarine Seaview and the amazing, high-tech, live-action sets were put into storage afterwards, and by 1964, Allen took them out of mothballs for a new TV series starring Richard Basehart as Nelson, and David Hedison as Captain Lee Crane.  Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea then ran on ABC for four successful seasons and 110 hour-long episodes (most transmitted in color; but with the first season only in black-and-white). 

What remains so compelling about Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea after all these years is that it began as high intrigue on the high sea, with an action quotient that is mostly unmatched even today.  But, around the time of the second season -- when the series went to color -- the accent moved  away from action towards science fiction and fantasy, and the series began featuring aliens, leprechauns, mummies, "Frost Men" and sea monsters of all shapes and sizes.  Season Two also introduced another amazing vehicle to the program, the fantastic "Flying Sub."

But for "Eleven Days to Zero," Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea remains a high-tech action and intrigue series, more along the lines of an early James Bond film than a Star Trek or Lost in Space episode.  Irwin Allen's pilot is not a direct remake of the 1961 movie, though it does re-use some miniature footage from the film, and the plot is also pretty similar. 

In this case, instead of dispersing dangerous radiation from the Earth's atmosphere, the Seaview -- "the most extraordinary submarine in all the seven seas" -- is required to avert another planetary emergency.

The Earth has only has eleven days remaining before a huge tsunami  strikes Hawaii, California, the British Isles and even America's East Coast.  Millions of people will be killed in the flooding. 

But brilliant Admiral Nelson (Basehart) quickly develops a plan called "Operation Counter Force" with the help of nuclear engineer Fred Wilson (guest star Eddie Albert). 

Specifically, the Seaview will detonate a nuclear device at the North Pole, thereby setting up "opposing lines of force" and "breaking the back" of the enormous tidal wave. 

"We can't debate," Nelson urges U.S. government officials.  "We have to act."

And act he does. 

Before long, the Seaview has set sail with its new captain, Lee Crane, at the helm.  Unfortunately, agents of a "hostile" foreign force would prefer to see America and Great Britain decimated, and they make every attempt to prevent the Seaview from accomplishing her critical mission. 

On the way to the North Pole, the Seaview is dogged by an enemy submarine, rattled by depth charges, and ambushed by drone plane attack.  Meanwhile, the hard-nosed Crane must prove his worth to the suspicious crew of Seaview, "highly skilled experts" each and every one.

"Eleven Days to Zero" is an exciting and surprisingly violent hour.  The episode opens with the brutal assassination of Seaview's first Captain, John Phillips.  In a stunning, non-stop action scene, Phillips' car is run off the road.  It tumbles down a hill, and we see the good captain take a bullet wound to the head.  The enemy agent -- dangling from an attacking helicopter -- is shot down by Nelson, and the villain plunges into the roiling sea below with a scream.

Again, all this occurs in the first five minutes of the show...

I must admit, I was struck by the high quality of the stunts, action, and pacing on display in "Eleven Days to Zero."  Television today is certainly much  more expensive, but it rarely gets down to such Bond-like action set-pieces, even within the genre. 

And the action scenes aren't the only  impressive ingredient of this nearly 50-year old broadcast pilot. 

Because Irwin Allen was able to re-use sets, miniatures and underwater footage from the 1961 feature film, he could apparently afford quite a bit in terms of acting extras and new locations/sets.  Due to this fact, Seaview actually seems like a real submarine, populated by a real crew.  

In particular, the Seaview bridge (with visible ceiling, no less) is an impressive-looking set even by today's standards, and it appears to be manned by more than the typical TV skeleton crew, as you can see from the accompanying photo. 

It's funny, but in a lot of outer space dramas, the main spaceship always boasts roomy corridors, and relatively few extras on screen at any given point...a visual misstep which seems to go against reality.  In the final frontier -- as under the sea -- space would surely be at a premium, and a fully manned vessel would seem like...well, a fully manned vessel, not a sparsely-attended hotel.

In terms of sets, "Eleven Days to Zero" depicts a Bond-ian enemy headquarters replete with walls of blinking, 1960s-era computers and strange pulsating light columns.  In addition, the pilot's climax -- set at the North Pole -- involves plenty of ice, Seaview's conning tower, and a blinding snow storm.  Not to mention aerial bombardment from the aforementioned drone plane.  It's all pretty impressive.

In terms of tone, there is also something refreshing today about "Eleven Days to Zero" and the episode's total, utter lack of irony or self-reflexive humor.  Every moment of high adventure -- even a tangle with a not-entirely-convincing giant squid mid-episode-- is played  absolutely straight, with the finest production values of the day.   There is no winking or nudging at the audience, only an attempt to portray the action vividly and memorably.

The result of this approach is that "Eleven Days to Zero" moves fast and is actually even sort of gritty in presentation, with the clock ticking down to doomsday, and the threat of death ever-present on all legs of the doomsday mission.

If this pilot had been produced today, no doubt the temptation would have been to provide either Nelson and Crane some canned  "emotional angst," like a bad marriage or a history of alcoholism, or some father-son issues, but Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was born in a different age and so it avoids the modern (and by-now tiring...) fascination with soap opera plotting.  The characters are simply heroic; and the narrative -- the plot -- takes precedence over facile personal psychology.

Which isn't to say that Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was always great....or even particularly good.  There are limits to its old-fashioned approach to storytelling too.

To wit, "Eleven Days to Zero" is a cinematic, action-packed pilot, yet it is decidedly humorless, and the characters - though undeniably heroic -- also lack much in terms of individuality and color.  In that regards, series such as Star Trek are plainly superior. 

In the Gene Roddenberry series, for instance, the dynamic characters added so much to the sense of action and drama, that the crisis scenarios of the week became all the more interesting...and immediate.  Though the performances here are solid, neither Nelson or Crane ever comes off as multi-dimensionally as a Kirk or Spock.    In fact, the only character arc of sorts in "Eleven Days to Zero" involves Crane proving himself to the crew, and establishing that he doesn't "lack imagination" to Admiral Nelson. 

Another way to put this: there's about as much character-building here as there was in the average Bond picture of the early 1960s.  That  paucity of character development remains easy to overlook in a single film, or even a series of films.  But on TV, you ultimately come away looking to forge a deeper connection with characters you see every week; with either Crane or Nelson.  The show doesn't have to be a soap opera; it just has to be written with an eye towards the individual characteristics of the protagonists; and their way of relating to their world.

Every film or TV series ever made is a reflection of its time, and so Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is very clearly a production inspired by the Cold War.  Here, a bald, Blofeld/Dr. No/Far Eastern-type villain plots the end of the West (and our freedom...) and is soon taught a destructive lesson in underestimating America and the Free World.   

And Admiral Nelson -- stolidly -- declares at the end of Operation Counter Force that "Seaview's job is never finished.  Not as long as there are destructive forces in the world."

This is not a particularly nuanced approach, but it sure as heck is fun, in a kind of blockbuster movie one-off type-way. 

And that's where Irwin Allen productions, especially in the early days, really excelled.  Both the first season of Lost in Space (1965) and the inaugural year of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964) are absolutely superb in terms of production values and visual presentation.  Both series are eminently worthy as escapist fare, even if they resolutely lack some of the social commentary and artistry of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Star Trek and the other, more appreciated genre efforts of the epoch.

On the same DVD set as "Eleven Days to Zero,"  the last thirteen episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea are also included.  These episodes see the Seaview tangle with a pirate ("The Return of Blackbeard,")  a sea monster/humanoid ("The Lobster Man), mythical monsters ("The Abominable Snowman" and "Terrible Leprechaun") plus aliens from an "ice planet" ("Flaming Ice.")

Out of curiosity, I watched "Flaming Ice" (by Arthur W. Browne) to see how much the series had changed in the 105 or so episodes since "Eleven Days to Zero." 

Succinctly stated, the changes were pretty darn enormous. 

Though the color photography was lush, the performances strong (especially Michael Pate as the leader of the "Frost Men," named "Gelid") and the sets still impressive, there was not even a casual sense of reality  -- scientific, political, moral or otherwise -- about the claustrophobic installment. 

And yet, I still found myself drawn to the colorful, vivid action and stunts of the piece. 

In general terms, there's a high nostalgia factor here for me, I suppose.  I watched this show in reruns as a kid in the 1970s and, honestly, enjoyed it as much as if not more than Lost in Space.  What appealed to me as a child is what appeals to me about the show now: the amazing, retro-high tech futurism of the 1960s vehicle designs (particularly in the case of the Flying Sub and the Seaview) and the steadfast focus on action, action, action.  I've always been a sucker for stories about submarines and their crews (hence my fascination with Captain Nemo and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea...), and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea still sparks the active imagination with abundance.

In the 1990s, Steven Spielberg embarked on a variation of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea called SeaQuest DSV (1992-1995).  It also began with a focus on hard-tech, adventure and "marine research" and then, in its second season, began featuring underwater Greek Gods, giant sea monsters, aliens and the like.  Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea set that identical course first, nearly thirty years earlier, so it is odd -- to say the least -- that SeaQuest didn't learn from its predecessor's missteps.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Season Two is available on DVD now, and I wholeheartedly recommend it, especially for the special features.  It is on that last disc of the bunch you'll find both aired and unaired verisons of "Eleven Days to Zero."   The original broadcast version is fascinating in terms of the program's content, but also because the set producers have included the original broadcast commericals (for Pepto Bismol, Allerest, Frest Stick, Breck Shampoo, DuPont "Teflon" pans and "Lucite" paint.)

In short, this presentation is as close as you can get to traveling back in time to September 14, 1964, the night that  Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea first set sail of adventure.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

CULT MOVIE REVIEW: The Last Exorcism (2010)

The first-person camera horror film or "found footage" movie has become all the rage with genre filmmakers over the last few years, and I enjoy the form very much. 

When handled well (Cloverfield [2008]) or exquisitely-well ([REC] [2007]) the first-person subjective horror movie boasts an incredible amount of immediacy and urgency. 

Contrarily, when this type of film is not done so well (Diary of the Dead [2007]), examples of the genre can come across as artless and even amateurish; like a bad reality show on basic cable.

While not nearly as strong or as powerful as [REC], The Last Exorcism nonetheless utilizes the form of the "found footage" mock-documentary horror film to good effect. 

Specifically, director Daniel Stamm's effort focuses a great deal on character, much more so than most films of this type, which often tend to focus on one location, or on one emergency situation.

In this instance, the character at the heart of the drama is the colorful Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  He's a glib but good-hearted "performer" who chooses the Christian Church as his stage.  Cotton followed his proud father into the Church and now sees to it that the Sunday morning sermons are never boring.  He does card tricks for his flock; he uses props and special effects whenever he can to spice things up.  He doesn't think he's playing with people's lives; he just thinks he is putting on an entertaining show.

Marcus may (or may not...) be a genuine man of faith, but he is abundantly cynical about the nature of man.  In particular, he is troubled that some men can so easily manipulate the gullible or the ignorant, especially in terms of faith and religious belief.

To wit, Cotton has for years conducted exorcisms (with taped demon noises and other special effects as background noise...) that are shams; but which nonetheless give the suffering souls some belief and sense of comfort that they have been healed.  At first, Cotton believed that his involvement was a public service of sorts, and participated happily.

On news, however, that a girl has died during an especially violent exorcism (as was also the case in The Exorcism of Emily Rose [2005]), Rev. Marcus experiences a change of heart.  In a moment of self reflection, he decides that "doing God's work" in this instance means going against the Church and exposing exorcisms (and demon possession...) as frauds.

To that end, Cotton invites a documentary crew to follow him on his "last exorcism" in Ivanwood, Louisiana.  There, an innocent teenage girl named Nell (Ashley Bell) is allegedly possessed by a demon and murdering her father's livestock on a nightly basis.  The camera crew will observe as Cotton  guides Nell and her family through the possession, revealing for the documentarians all the tricks of his trade.

And then, of course, Cotton will collect his cash and leave for home.

...But of course, that's not at all how things end up.  Not at all.

The early portions of The Last Exorcism do a stellar job of introducing Reverend Marcus, inter cutting ably between talking-head interviews with Marcus and his wife and B-roll footage of his father's "demon book," which contains all the names of the demons that might possess the living. 

These early passages are highly engaging, and more importantly than that, are just about the best "faked" moments you've probably seen in a found footage horror film lately.  The chronicle of Cotton's life in the Church -- and his reasons for turning his back on the barbaric practice of exorcism -- seem very, very authentic.  There's no hint of fakery or of "acting" in these moments.  You accept the character and his choices as real.

These moments also lay out the beginning of Cotton's intriguing character arc.  I won't reveal the parameters or trajectory of that arc, but suffice it to say that the glib-but-good-hearted showman is landed into a harrowing situation wherein his beliefs and faith are called into question.  His very words are held to account.

He must finally decide: Man of God or Show Business Charlatan?

As The Last Exorcism settles down into the heart of Nell's case, in an isolated, rural farmhouse, the movie grows increasingly creepy and disturbing. 

There's a constant tension present in the screenplay and its presentation between opposing philosophies.  Is Nell mentally disturbed?  Extremely susceptible to fundamentalist indoctrination and the suggestion that she's possessed by a devil?  Or is she actually harboring a demon?

In my review of Vanishing on 7th Street yesterday, I discussed ambiguity a great deal, and how horror movies can use ambiguity to make audiences uneasy.  When certainties are removed from narratives, and subtleties and questions creep in, we grow more and more susceptible to the movie's twists and turns.  The Last Exorcism succeeds largely by fostering this brand of uncertainty, and by presenting us a very dramatic, very colorful lead character to navigate that uncertainty.  So not long after we have met Nell and her family, we start to wonder the movie's all-important question:

Who, precisely, is conning whom?

Is Cotton playing the family?  Or is the family playing Cotton?  And if the latter is true, what is the reason behind that act?  Is Cotton actually up against a diabolical showman with many more "special effects"  in his quiver?

Commendably, The Last Exorcism also innovates some with its by-now-familiar first-person subjective P.O.V. form.  In one unexpected moment, Nell -- apparently possessed by the demon -- picks up the video camera and goes on a murderous bender (with the family cat as victim...).   That's something these first-person movies don't show often: the killer literally "possessing" our eye on the narrative events.

I also enjoyed the film's setting, in rural Louisiana.  The region has existed under "six different flags" over its long history, and the place is what Cotton calls a melting pots of different beliefs "rubbing up against each other."   In other words, the perfect setting for a supernatural horror film.

I'm not entirely thrilled, let alone satisfied with The Last Exorcism's denouement.   The film's last shot is an unnecessary swipe from The Blair Witch Project (1999), and the resolution of the ambiguity -- of the film's central mystery -- is confusing.  Cotton's actions during the last act are wholly understandable: he must select a side and fight for it.  But I do have questions about the motives of some of the other supporting characters involved in the climax, especially as it pertains to earlier behavior in the film.

Despite this, I still recommend The Last Exorcism for fans of the found footage horror sub-type, and also for horror movie enthusisasts in general.  Patrick Fabian has created a  memorable character in Reverend Cotton Marcus, and I enjoy how the movie frequently weighs the moral pitfalls of his character.  Cotton is responsible for his words...even if he doesn't mean them or even entirely believe in them, and The Last Exorcism hammers that point home effectively. 

If Cotton -- in his capacity as an expert -- tells Nell's father that "death is the only salvation" for a person possessed by a demon, then he's at least partially responsible when the farmer picks up a shotgun and aims it at his daughter, point-blank range, in an effort to save her soul. 

Cotton slowly becomes aware of his responsibility, and that's what keeps him from extricating himself from the growing horror..and stuck in that farmhouse.  He realizes that his words and his choices have played a critical part in what is happening.  And in a weird, unsettling way, this aspect of The Last Exorcism is actually a reflection of our current national discussion.   When do words go too far?  When should "showmanship" for entertainment's sake cease?  When do entertaining words become a call to unfortunate action?

I don't want to belabor that point, because we all see this matter differently, but The Last Exorcism is an interesting meditation on personal responsibility, and an excellent character study of a "showman" who makes questionable choices.

And as opposed to Nell, the devil didn't even make Cotton do it...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CULT MOVIE REVIEW: Vanishing on 7th Street (2011)

Awash in end-of-the-world, apocalyptic imagery, the creepy Vanishing on 7th Street (2011) may just make you afraid of your own shadow. 

Especially if you suspend disbelief and don't dwell too deeply or too thoroughly about the exact nature of the film's menace.

Now available "on demand," this latest genre effort from director Brad Anderson (Session 9 [2001] and The Machinist [2004]) commences with Paul (John Leguizamo), a film projectionist on the job, as he reads a book about inexplicable mysteries. 

In short order, we get insert shots of the book's interior, and our eyes register pages devoted to such topics as "the Roanoke Colony" and "dark matter."   

Then, in an instant, the world itself changes. 

There's a power outage and everyone sitting inside Paul's theater vanishes, leaving their clothes and popcorn behind.  Paul survives, but he seems to be the last man standing. 

Elsewhere, another lone survivor named Luke (Hayden Christensen) soon discovers that the disappearances are apparently global and -- worse than that -- that something new and insidious seems to be dwelling inside the night: a kind of creeping blackness, a shadow life form. 

At the news station where he worked, Luke sees his girlfriend Paige vanish on recorded videotape, in the middle of her weather report.  In mid-sentence, she is just gone, and her clothes drop to the floor.

Soon, Paul, Luke, a little boy named James (Jacob Latimore) and a desperate woman named Rosemary (Thandie Newton) meet up at the only urban establishment that still has electricity and light: Sonny's Happy Hour Bar.   There, they feed a gas generator constantly, and discuss ways to escape the city.  They also have plenty of time to ponder what might have happened to the world.

Most disturbingly, as Luke reports, the sun has been coming up later and going down earlier each day, meaning that the spell of darkness is expanding.  And, creepily the shadow figures dwelling in the dark seem to know everything about you, and can trick you by imitating the voice of your dead brother or the cries of your missing baby.  They want to lure you into the darkness...

Paul believes that something similar happened to the Roanoke Colony circa 1590, and that these survivors are now experiencing "the last spin on the reel," (like a film projector powering down...); that God has "closed-up shop."

Utilizing a surfeit of gloomy night exteriors and foreboding, doom-laden high-angles, Anderson throws the viewer right into the middle of this strange and unsettling mystery.  Many of Anderson's shots in Vanishing on 7th Street also boast some remarkable depth too; featuring the looming "Darkness" spilling over surfaces like a flood, and holding up for us shadows that appear oddly familiar; distinct

It's as though the vanished people have been taken, yet their mobile, malevolent shadows remain here on Earth as sentinels.  Many shots also feature creeping darkness spilling over walls and bridges like an unending supply of black paint, descending irrevocably upon terrorized, doomed characters.

The idea of creeping blackness devouring matter and light is not new.  It was vetted brilliantly (and with hair-raising horror...) some thirty years ago in Sapphire and Steel's second serial, set at an abandoned train station.  And, *ahem*, I myself used dark matter and the Roanoke disappearance as narrative connections in the second season of my web series, The House Between (2007 - 2009), particularly in the episodes "Distressed" and "Ruined." 

Yet,  as I always like to point out, it's not necessarily the originality of a story that's important; it's the way the story is depicted that counts.  Vanishing on 7th Street successfully evokes such end of the world films as The Omega Man (1971) and Night of the Comet (1984) and goes about its business with a grim, almost choking atmosphere.  Like The Birds, for instance there are no easy answers offered here, and in the dark half-light of the movie we are left to interpret what occurs for ourselves.

I appreciate that ambiguous aspect of the film very much.  Rosemary raises the issue "is this Hell?" and certainly there's the "left behind" allusion here. By contrast, Luke suggests "there's no reason" for the vanishing, and that it is simply "random."  From this sense of ambiguity comes audience uncertainty and involvement, and Anderson makes the most of those feelings.

For me, I came away with the distinct sense that this is literally a disaster of Biblical proportions; a religious apocalypse in the most fundamentalist sense.  Those who survive the initial vanishing are "fallen" or "sinners," at least under a certain microscope.  Luke left his wife to pursue his career (and Paige).  Rosemary was a drug addict who ultimately turned her life around, etc. 
And those who make it to the last act in the film (set in a church, to put a fine point on it...) are the ones who boast innocence, purity, and love.  

Finally, the character names Luke, Paul and James specifically recall Scripture, so I felt these monikers were also a sub-textual hint about the nature of the "event" as well.   

None of this information qualifies as a spoiler, however, because it would be just as easy to read the mystery another way; with another point of view.  Someone could have an entirely different theory from mine, and still make it work.

The creeping darkness makes for a splendid visual menace in Vanishing on 7th Street, and Anderson handles it ably.  The problem, however, is that -- as one character states -- "the math doesn't add up."  If the survivors go into the darkness without a light, they vanish.   Fine.  Well, how much light are we talking about here, and what kind of light? 

How pitch black must it be for the shadow creatures to take you away?  For instance, the film features a gorgeous shot of the moon over the eerie, empty city.  But moonlight is light, right?    And, isn't it dark inside your pocket?  Or under your hat?  Or in the shadow of the bathroom door?   When people stand next to each other, they sometimes eclipse light as well...

On close scrutiny, the concept of using light as a protection from creatures that ARE the dark isn't fully fleshed out or believable.  This is an occasion where ambiguity is a bad thing.  The characters state things like "There are no known laws of Physics operating here" for cover.  You may or may not be willing to buy that, especially when a character's survival depends on knowing the light/dark ratio necessary to continue living.

Also, I have a big problem that the characters -- generally well-portrayed as intelligent, resourceful survivors -- never think to set the city on fire, even when they create makeshift torches.  You want light?  You want to escape?  Take the city down!  There aren't any other survivors there, so it wouldn't be murder. 

Instead, setting a fire would be a guaranteed way to keep the darkness at bay for a good long time, I would think.

I remember when people complained about Mark Wahlberg being chased by the wind in The Happening (2008), and in some way, this is a similarly nebulous -- if more overtly visual -- threat.  As neat as it looks, and as creepy as it is, it's hard to parse in a way that makes sense.

And yet -- and this is a big "and yet" -- the movie is really about spiritual uncertainty; about the need to cry out "I exist" before your flame is finally snuffed out. 

In fostering a feeling of spiritual catastrophe, of existential angst, of faith or lack thereof, it is not necessary for the threat to make conventional, scientific sense, one might argue.  God Moves in Mysterious Ways and We Do Not Understand Them.  That's sort of the point, I submit, and though I generally hate that idea because I think it's a dramatic cheat (see: Battlestar Galactica's finale...), in short form like a 90 minute movie I find it far less objectionable than as the solution to a multi-season mystery (also see: The Lost finale).

If it sounds like I'm on the fence about Vanishing on 7th Street, you've got the picture.  For me, this could be the ultimate two-and-a-half star movie.  Almost -- but not quite -- good.   I could watch it again  in a year from now, and it could drop down to a two star rating or move up to a three, if that makes sense. 

What I enjoy most about Vanishing on 7th Street is that Anderson doesn't spoon feed the audience answers.  And he doesn't slather on unnecessary action sequences or special effects just to make the movie punchy or pacey. 

For the most part, this is a mood movie about four people who end up in a bar together after the rest of the world has disappeared, and wonder what the hell happened.  It's a perfect Twilight Zone premise, and the execution is good even if I don't quite buy all those moments in which the shadows creep up and almost get a protagonist, then a character crosses into the light and it retracts.  Somehow it feels too easy; to simple.

But aside from the specifics, I enjoyed the dark, heavy, unsettling tone of Vanishing on 7th Street.  Over the end credits, you even hear the lyrics to "Your Good Thing," which ominously suggest  "Your real good thing is about to come to an end.

That's a perfect, chill-inducing note to go out on; and to unquiet your slumber for a night.