Monstervision Host Segments for

Raising Cain (1992)

"Raising Cain" Intro

movie poster "I'm Joe Bob Briggs, and I've already forgotten what toys I got yesterday, haven't you, but that doesn't matter, because tonight we have back-to-back Brian DePalma and Wes Craven. Nothing like John Lithgow with multiple personalities to give you the willies in "Raising Cain," followed by the socially-redeeming child-abuse classic "People Under the Stairs."

Course, if any psychics are watching, they already know that. What is it about the holidays that gets those psychic hot lines humming? Everywhere I go I meet these psychic people. Psychics to the left of me, psychics to the right of me. And the ones who AREN'T psychic PAY psychics to tell em psychic stuff.
I'm not psychic.
I know this. I'm wrong about the weather. I'm wrong about my career. I'm ALWAYS wrong about "relationships." All the stuff that psychics talk about, I'm wrong about. If a message suddenly came into my brain, saying, "You will meet a mysterious woman named Rhonda two weeks from Thursday, and she will give you a hundred dollars," I would know that I ate too much chili at lunch. I don't even know when the car payment will be due, and it's due on the same day every month.

But a friend of mine refuses to go to California this month because her psychic told her "a major disaster" is about to happen there. Another friend goes to a psychic so that the psychic will say, "You are seeing two men, and you can't decide which one is right for you." And she tells me this, and I say, "So? What good is that information?" And she says, "It's TRUE. What the psychic said is TRUE. I AM seeing two men, and I CAN'T decide. And I say, "So what are you gonna do?" And she says, "I can't decide." "So you went to get information from a psychic that you already knew BEFORE you went in." And she says, "No, you don't understand. It was independent spiritual verification of what I was thinking, but I wasn't sure about." And I say, "You're STILL not sure about it." "I know, but now I feel it's OKAY not to be sure about it." Maybe I should go see a psychic and say "Hey, how many arms and legs do you think I have? DON'T PEEK!" And then, if the psychic gets the right answer, I'll FEEL BETTER.

I was sitting next to a famous psychic at a dinner party recently, and I asked her, "What if you have a client come in, and you get these psychic brainwaves that say, 'This person is about to DIE A HORRIBLE GRISLY DEATH?' And the person is sitting there, and he grins and says, 'So, Miss Famous Psychic, what's in my future?'" And she said, "Well, there's always SOMETHING positive to say." And I said, "Okay, what if the person is ALREADY dying of some rare disease, and they come to you to see how long they have to live? What do you say? 'Avoid long term investments'?" "Well, we would talk about the best times to do certain things. For example, there are better days than others to have chemotherapy. I would have to look at the person's astrological chart." But I wouldn't give up. I said, "What if all the charts and all the psychic brainwaves and EVERYTHING said 'Disaster! This person is gonna suffer and be miserable and then die!' I mean, it must have happened ONCE in the history of psychic phenomena." And she said, "Well, I would never tell someone they were going to die." And I said, "Even if it was likely?" "No. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that." You know what? If I'm paying a psychic a hundred bucks a pop to tell me my future, and I'm gonna get flattened by a Mack truck when I walk out the door, she better TELL me, goshdarn it.

And speaking of people who are hiding things, it's time for the great and underappreciated "Raising Cain," in which John Lithgow goes multiple-personality on us as he kidnaps his friends' kids so his even more psycho daddy can put em in a cage and study em. Also featuring the lovely Lolita Davidovich from Adventures In Babysitting as the cheating wife who walks around smiling a lot. Here's the drive-in totals:

movie poster Four dead bodies.
No breasts.
One motor-vehicle collision.
Wrist slashing.
Gratuitous musical clocks.
Fright wigs.
Kung Fu.
Chloroform Fu.
Three stars. Check it out, and we'll be here with you, keeping all the John Lithgows straight.

[fading] By the way, why do psychics give out their 900 numbers on TV? If they're so dang psychic, THEY can call ME when I need em. It makes we wanna call em up and say, "Okay, who am I?"

"Raising Cain" Commercial Break #1

"So we got John Lithgow in three roles so far: Carter, who has some REALLY bad allergies, Cain, the evil twin brother who thinks he's Fonzie, and Dr. Nix, the father who kept at least one of em in a "specially-designed infant environment." Brian DePalma obviously did some research on B.F. Skinner for this flick, who we will now cover in a quick 60-second-or-less Psych 101 lesson. Real name Burrhus Frederic Skinner, big Harvard shrink who developed what came to be known as the "Skinner box," which was a rat in a box doing a simple task, like pressing a lever to get a piece of rat food. You know how Pavlov rang a bell while he fed his dogs, so they'd associate the bell with the food, and start drooling whenever he rang it? That's called "reflective behavior conditioning" cause it involved natural reflexes.

Skinner called HIS conditioning "operant conditioning," cause it involved opera. He'd play Pavarotti whenever he fed his rats, and the rats would drool. No, that's not right. It's something about positive and negative reinforcement. Anyhow, in the 1940s, he built a crib-sized, air-conditioned, sound-proof box for his nekkid baby daughter to hang out in, with a sliding window made of safety glass, and mobiles and stuff hanging down. Some companies tried to produce and market it, but even though it was really just a fancy crib, people kept getting it confused with the Skinner box, which, as we've learned, was the little box with the rat and the lever in it. They had a LITTLE bit of marketing resistance. For some reason, people didn't like the idea of sticking their babies in a rat-box with a food-lever on it. If they'd gone with the program, we MIGHT have a better class of baby today. Okay, back to the movie. B.F. Skinner was brilliant. Roll it.

[fading] It's sort of like I.Q. Zoo, that place in Hot Springs that has the basketball-playing rabbit and the dancing chicken. The basketball-playing rabbit knows that, if it plays basketball, food will drop out of the little silver tray. Same exact principle with babies. You could train your baby as an actual tourist attraction."

"Raising Cain" Commercial Break #2

"Lolita Davidovich playing the Angie Dickenson role from "Dressed to Kill"--the adulterous wife. She IS cute, isn't she? She was supposed to become a big star after she did "Blaze" with Paul Newman three years before this, and she's worked quite a bit, but I can't really say she's a STAR. Not yet, anyway. Even though Richard Gere cheated on SHARON STONE for her in that movie "Intersection." But I don't think anybody saw that. Anyway, when Universal opened this movie, they had a screening for the critics, and during the screening the critics started laughing, they were hooting at the screen, and some of em walked out. So Universal RE-WROTE the press kit to say that it was SUPPOSED to be funny. They said they FORGOT to mention that in the first press kit, because they were so rushed to get it out. So in the first press kit, they called the film a "romantic, suspense thriller," but in the second press kit they called it "a departure from the traditional suspense thriller, a devilishly fun film which combines wry humor with shocks and thrills." I have the second press kit here, and they use the phrase "wry humor" about twenty times. Okay, we got the funniest scene in the movie coming up right here, so let's roll the film.

[fading] After that screening, all the journalists asked Brian DePalma, and the producer, Gale Ann Hurd, and John Lithgow if the movie was supposed to be funny. DePalma said yes, Gale Ann Hurd said yes, but John Lithgow said no. He'd been in Italy, and didn't know about the big hoo-ha. Can you imagine being Universal Studios that day? "Who forgot to tell Lithgow?!" Actually, I did NOT think it was funny when I saw it. You know why? John Lithgow spraying snot all over that woman. Did I really see that on TNT? Snot-spraying is not funny.
Maybe in second grade.

"Raising Cain" Commercial Break #3

"We didn't have any SNOT in that segment, did we? As long as there's no snot, I'm happy. A booger-free segment. Thank you, Brian DePalma. Okaaay. Gabrielle Carteris. Gabrielle Carteris, as the slutty babysitter, better known as somebody on "Beverly Hills 90210." Also, Gabrielle tried to do a talk show a couple seasons ago. She was the 67th actor-turned-talk-show-host of that year; it seems to be a trend. You know why? They all read that magazine article that comes out every year saying that "Oprah" is the richest woman in the world or something like that. And they say, "What? For doing THAT?" And they call up their agents and start whining, "I want a taaaaalk show. I wanta taaaaaalk show." Guess what, though? Talk-show producers KNOW how much Oprah gets for that show, and they don't make deals like that anymore. Even if you DO end up being really really popular. Anyhoo, I also wanna mention the guy playing Jack--the always interesting Steven Bauer, of "Scarface" fame, among many other roles. Real name Rocky Echaveria. The only guy in history to change his name from "Rocky" to "Steven." Used to be married to Melanie Griffith. Okay, back to the flick.

[fading] Do we have nose mucus in this next segment? No? Okaaaay, two consecutive mucus-free segments. Not to offend the eight-year-olds in our audience. Eight-year-olds love mucus. Watch this. "Booger." Thousands of eight-year-olds are laughing now. "Booger. Booger booger booger." They're dying. They're rolling on the floor. You can't go wrong with eight-year-olds when you say "booger."

"Raising Cain" Commercial Break #4

"That was my impression of Lolita Davidovich, as Jenny, face frozen in horror. That's JUST MIGHT BE the place where the laugh riot began, don't you think? Especially after Frances Sternhagen, as the chemotherapy-wigged Dr. Waldheim, explains about the father who STOLE FIVE BABIES a few years back. They have the old guy come on--"Oh yes, only I would remember this, we had a guy STEAL FIVE BABIES a few years ago. Old case, no one would remember now." Excuse me? I think if some guy stole five babies it would be pretty much an INSTANT MINI-SERIES, don't you? I don't think anybody would be saying, "What? What did he do? Who did that?" That's like having a character come into the movie and say, "You're investigating O.J. Simpson. You know, I SORT OF remember something back in '95. Let's look at the file. Oh yes, HERE it is. He had some kind of domestic trouble." Anyway, "Raising Cain" was the movie Brian DePalma did after his big fiasco, "Bonfire of the Vanities." Remember what a huge flop THAT was? DePalma got raked through the coals on that one, and there was a book written about it--"The Devil's Candy," that made everyone involved look REALLY bad. Ten years ago, a 50 million dollar flop was a big deal. Today, 50 million -- well, 50 million just doesn't buy what it used to, does it? We know that at "MonsterVision." We watch every nickel here. If I go over budget on THIS show, I get a spankee. Yes, we still have corporal punishment at TNT. It's barbaric, isn't it? Roll the film.

[fading] Frances Sternhagen. What a babe! Cliff Clavin's mom from "Cheers," the great stage actress Frances Sternhagen. Wonder if she has any nude photos on the Internet. Like Dr. Laura. Dr. Laura, nekkid on the Internet. Under the category of "People you didn't think you ever wanted to see nekkid until somebody said, 'Hey, she's nekkid.'" Okay, I'm done."

"Raising Cain" Commercial Break #5

"Ooookaaay, while John Lithgow calls 10-10-221 to try to get a "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- actually, he'd probably better use 1-800-COLLECT from THAT jail--I think it's time for a little escape of our own, as I consult with the high priestess of "MonsterVision," [enters] the famous TNT Mail Girl, in the feature we call "Joe Bob's Advice to the Hopeless." Hi, Rusty. Mm, you smell good.

Yeah. Are wearing a new perfume or something?
MAIL GIRL: No, I don't have any perfume on.
Did you just take a shower?
MAIL GIRL: This morning.
You went to the beauty parlor and had your hair done.
MAIL GIRL: No, I didn't go to the beauty parlor, and by the way, it's called a hair salon nowadays.
[sniffing] What is it? It's making me giddy.
MAIL GIRL: Why don't you read a letter?
No, I gotta figure out what that is. What'd you have for dinner?
MAIL GIRL: You think I smell like food? That's flattering.
Come on, what'd you have?
MAIL GIRL: I went out for barbecue with some friends--
You went to Shorty's!
MAIL GIRL: How'd you know that?

And you had the ... San Antonio-style pork ribs. Mm! Girl, you shouldn't be walkin around like that! You may as well be wearing Victoria's Secret. Which isn't a bad idea, now that I think about it.
MAIL GIRL: How bout a letter now? It's from Susan O. of Atlanta, Georgia.
Home of our beloved network.

"Dear Joe Bob,
"I have only one complaint."

That's how it always starts, isn't it?

"The other night you made a comment about Steven Spielberg that disturbed me a bit. You said Poltergeist had the 'Spielberg Glow' and that it made you want to puke.

"As a Spielberg fan, I must protest. Sure he made 'E.T.,' But he's done some dark stuff as well. Did Jaws have a glow? That was one of the greatest violent films of the 70's. I also loved his TV movie, Duel. I assume you would like it, too. It was horrific and very well done. Jurassic Park alone should be enough to make him a hero of MonsterVision viewers.
"Your friend (though we have never met)
"Susan O., Atlanta, Georgia."

Well, Susan, with the exception of "Jurassic Park," we've shown all those movies here. We love Steven Spielberg here at "MonsterVision." At least our crack programming department does. And I think "Jaws" did have a little twinkle to it. It was probly the brightest horror flick ever made. I'm not saying I don't like Spielberg. I just occasionally get sick of the suburban-glow thing. He's not as bad as those Merchant-Ivory guys. Do you know those films, Rusty?

MAIL GIRL: I don't think so.
"Room with a View." "Passage to India."
MAIL GIRL: I love "Room with a View."

Talk about glowing movies. Those things will blind you. They actually put a light in every actor's MOUTH, that's how much those movies glow. Merchant-Ivory. Produced by Merchant, directed by Ivory. Or is it the opposite? Produced by Ivory, directed by Merchant. Actually, the real star of those movies is the writer. They're all written by the same woman, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. So why aren't they called Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala movies?

MAIL GIRL: What are you talking about?
I love those pork ribs. Can I nuzzle your neck?
MAIL GIRL: I gotta go. [mail bag gets stuck in booth] Oh, shoot, Ernie, can you give me a hand with this?
[Ernie comes to help her unhook the mail bag]
[to Ernie] Mm, you smell good. [beat] What'd you have for dinner?"

"Raising Cain" Commercial Break #7

"Is it my imagination, or does John Lithgow end up in drag at least once in every movie he makes? Is there some virus going around Hollywood that only affects directors and makes em say, "You know who would look REALLY GOOD as a woman?" You know what this movie is? All Brian DePalma's movies are HOMAGES. This one is a HOMAGE to HIMSELF. First example--"Dressed To Kill." Michael Cain played a transvestite shrink. And that movie is ALREADY an homage to Psycho. In "Psycho" there was also a body in a car that won't sink. Like I said earlier, Angie Dickenson was the unfaithful wife in "Dressed to Kill," like Lolita Davidovich is here. And this movie gets even MORE like that flick in a minute. There was an aardvarking scene a little while ago that looked like "Body Double." The whole movie SOUNDS just like Carrie--that's because it has the same composer, Pino Donaggio. You'll get a little reminder of "The Untouchables" here in a minute. And here's another homage: the producer Gale Ann Hurd, who by the way was married to James Cameron and produced the Terminator movies and Alien two through something, was married to Brian DePalma when this movie was made. They have a daughter named ... Lolita. But you know what, I'm not even gonna go there, cause it's time for the surreal conclusion of "Raising Cain." Go.

[fading] You know, even EYE would look better in drag than John Lithgow. Gimme a dress and a little rouge, I could beat that guy in any beauty contest. Course, if he can tap dance, I'm in trouble. I never did learn to tap dance."

"Raising Cain" availability on DVD from

Tonight's MonsterVision Host Segments continue with Wes Craven's
The People Under The Stairs

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Host segment transcript of broadcast
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If you are looking for Wes Craven, check the last house on the left
John Lithgow's most recent movie is Shrek, with Michael Myers. Joan Rivers will play herself in the sequel. You think I'm kidding, don't you? With John Cleese and Julie Andrews as Shrek's new inlaws, the King & Queen. Not that there's anything wrong with that.