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‘Lizzie Crippin’ Brings on the Chills

Generations of moviemakers have created all manner of monsters for the screen, some elaborate and others simple. But unique among them is disfigured college student Tracey (Alice Gandee), the chief protagonist in January’s episode of the cult hit TV series, “Lee Martin’s The Midnight Hour.”

Debuting January 5, “Curse of Lizzie Crippin” is a sequel to the show’s season two episode, “Queen Bee.” In it, Tracey sports a massive, Cyclops-like eye on one side, the result of a backfired curse she laid on her enemies during the climax of “Queen Bee.” Unwilling to spend a life hiding behind her knitted shawl, she visits a crackpot Voodoo Bokor to enlist his aid in reversing the curse, in hopes of restoring her face. But the price is steep and sets into motion a night of horror which culminates at “The Midnight Hour.”

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Lead player Gandee rises to the challenge as Tracey, a difficult role whose range spans pathos, rage and homicidal vengeance. Supporting players Lauren Ufkes and David Lew Cooper also turn in standout performances as rotten rich-kid bullies who make Tracey’s life miserable. Sharp newcomers Brian Boynton and Jessica Macomber round out the cast as students whose entertainment is derived from heckling Tracey over her monstrous eye.

But perhaps the real star of the show are the special photographic effects of film editor Brian Schoof, whose CGI work on Tracey’s face is simple but startling. Joining him in the artistry is cinematographer Peter Fox, whose frame creates many stylish and memorable images, especially during the ominous night scenes.

Despite its sardonic tone, the episode features some of the most sexually suggestive dialogue heard yet on the popular cult series. The show is rated TV-14 and opens with a viewer discretion advisory.

“Curse of Lizzie Crippin” airs every Thursday and Saturday throughout January, 2012. Visit www.leemartinsthemidnighthour.com for a live streaming video simulcast link.

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