Series of fears is a recurring column that focuses primarily on horror on television. Specifically, it takes a closer look at five episodes or stories – each adhering to a general theme – various anthology series or the occasional film made for television. With anthologies becoming popular again, especially on television, now is a great time to see what this timeless storytelling has to offer.
At the heart of the horror is the family. Demons, ghosts, and monsters don’t instill fear anywhere as much as a terrible family can. The horror genre regularly demolishes the walls of what’s considered normal, and nothing screams “normal” like a nuclear house. Of course, no one has the perfect parent or sibling relationship, but some horrifying circumstances make them more strained than usual.
So while family can be a blessing, it can often feel like a curse. The characters in this collection of televised anthology tales can testify to this opinion.
The twilight zone (1959-1964)
Greed almost always leads to horror, and families are not spared from this moral lesson. Serling rod exposed a clan to a cruel fate in the iconic fuzzy area episode “Masks“. The story, directed by Ida Lupine, remains a classic for very good reasons.
Set on Mardi Gras night, âThe Masksâ centers on a dying old man, Jason Foster (Robert keith), who âwelcomesâ his family to his home for a final reunion. His relatives are as selfish and greedy for money as they come, and soon their behavior will be judged. Before the elder Foster dies, he asks his family members to each wear a grotesque mask until midnight. They live to regret his unusual request.
By now, everyone is probably familiar with the “The Masks” twist. The result of this harsh parable has been engraved in the minds of old and young because they understand its meaning. Of course, the risk of a mask making someone’s face look monstrous is impossible. It is the idea that people’s crudest flaws can permanently manifest themselves that deeply shakes viewers.
Serling works so hard to emphasize the cautionary aspects of the episode that he overlooks the characters. They feel like caricatures that some may not deserve their punishment. Either way, Serling and Lupino set a high standard for fuzzy area at its most morbid and wicked.
Night gallery (1969)
Before Rod Serling Night gallery has become a series in its own right, it began as an anthology TV movie. The 1969 TV movie was essentially a pilot with an unmistakable format; several stand-alone stories linked by Serling’s insightful and chilling storytelling. The eponymous location was also more minimal in appearance and space than that seen in the eventual series.
Start things is Boris Sagal‘s “CemeteryOne of Serling’s scariest creations. Roddy McDowall plays an incorrigible crook named Jeremy Evans, and he seeks wealth from his ailing uncle. He does what is expected and kills the sick old man, but his crime does not go unpunished. Because Jeremy thinks the macabre subject of his uncle’s painting is alive and moving throughout the canvas until it finally breaks through into reality.
Of all segments of the Night gallery film, “The Graveyard” is by far the most gruesome. Neighboring stories have their own merits, but the former is overtly frightening with a patented terror method suggested that still shivers down your spine today.
How The Antagonist Undo stands out in the wide world of comeuppance tales. Also noteworthy is McDowall’s dramatic performance as the contemptible Jeremy. Night gallery really outdid himself with such a macabre opener.
Death of the night (1977)
One of the most esteemed genre writers of yesteryear is Richard Matheson. The general public knows him best from his contributions to the original. fuzzy area as well as the film adaptations of his novels like I’m a legend and A Stirring of echoes. One of his lesser-known creations – or really something they didn’t realize he was the mastermind behind – is the unforgettable story “Police officer“of Death of the night.
While much of Matheson’s work began as a novel or short story, “Bobby” is purely original and unique to this 1977 TV movie. Dark shadows and Terror Trilogy Creator Dan Curtis directed the anthology made for television for NBC while Matheson co-wrote two of the entries. “Bobby” is without a doubt the most memorable of the group.
In “Bobby”, a grieving mother (Joan hackett) uses black magic to end his pain; she brings her son, the segment’s namesake, back from the dead. The spell does indeed revive her child, but Hackett’s character quickly learns that something went wrong in the process. Bobby isn’t himselfâ¦ or is he?
While other writers ignore the wise “less is more” rule, Matheson stuck to it. He points out Bobby’s abuse from his mother without necessarily saying it. Matheson trusts the audience to figure it out, and once they do, it stays under their skin. The conclusion to “Bobby” is as perfect as it is horrible. And Curtis apparently liked this story so much that he remade it in his 1996 TV movie, Terror Trilogy II.
Tales of the Unexpected (1979-1988)
Dead in the morning
Getting married into a family is never easy. Especially when the bride is notably younger than her husband, a wealthy man (Moray Watson). In this episode of season five of Tales of the Unexpected, Karen (Cherie Lunghi) finds herself uncomfortable after moving into her new husband’s country mansion. At first, Karen thinks that she is just having trouble adjusting to her new surroundings, but soon suspects that someone wants to hurt her.
Tales of the Unexpected hardly approached the supernatural like his contemporaries. He was more keen on psychological horror and artificial suspense. With “Dead in the morningâAiring on Halloween, it just seems appropriate to go the extra mile. John gorrieadaptation of Zia Krugerthe story of is subtle even by Unexpected standards. Further re-observations will reveal how well done it is.
What makes “Death in the Morning” so laudable is its touch of vagueness. Is Karen imagines her problems or is there really wrong in the work? Unexpected the episodes in general were straightforward, but here the dilemma is shrouded in a fine mystique. Karen tries to fit in as best she can in her husband’s life; she is kind to her son, staff and friends. However, they are quite determined in their opinions on the new bride. Still, are they resentful enough to kill Karen?
âDeath in the Morningâ negotiates reality and the supernatural by introducing the element of historical witchcraft with only the assumption that it is actively practiced by someone in the cast. He is treated with grace like almost everything else here. Other episodes of the show’s later seasons were on the verge of sordid, but this one comes across as much more polished despite its devilish finish.
Land of monsters (2020)
Caregivers tend to be more depressed and alienated than the average person, and “Eugene, Oregon“of Land of monsters grappling with this sad fact in a singular way. The episode is based on “SS” from Nathan Ballingrud’s short story anthology, North American lake monsters.
In “Eugene, Oregon”, a teenager named Nick (Charlie tahan) is forced to drop out of school after his mother has had a stroke and can no longer work. Nick’s struggle to pay his bills and afford drugs leads him to an online forum after spotting “weird shadow” people hiding in his house. His new support group, however, has ulterior motives to help him.
The episode may seem to sympathize with the far-right extremists who proliferate society today, but it actually tries to explain in understandable terms how these people got to such a point in their lives. The metaphorical use of shadows is skillful; they’re harmless until someone like Nick’s online friends says they’re not. From there, someone like Nick is then brainwashed into a radicalized group.
âEugene, Oregonâ is a heart-wrenching and relevant story about a youngster stranded by multiple systems. His parents are sick or absent, his school no longer wants to have anything to do with him after his abandonment and his job fires him. The sad part is that Nick will never realize who the real monsters are in his life. Those who claim him as a family now are the ones who are willing to sacrifice him for their heinous cause.