Tonight’s televised horror story is Twenty-Two, the fifty-fourth episode of The Twilight Zone.
First broadcast on February 10th, 1961 and written by Rod Serling, Twenty-Two tells the story of a dancer (Barbara Nichols) who is in the hospital, suffering from fatigue. As she tries to recover and get out of the hospital in time to catch a flight to Miami, Nichols finds herself having a reoccurring nightmare. In her dreams, Nichols goes down to the morgue and is told, by a smiling nurse, “Room for one more, honey.”
This episode seriously freaks me out! Perhaps it’s because I’m a dancer who, in the past, has suffered from fatigue or maybe it’s because I’m scared of flying but this episode scares me to death. Though the episode’s final twist may have been spoiled by far too many inferior imitations, Twenty-Two, as directed by Jack Smight, manages to perfectly capture the feel of a nightmare.
For those who have played the Xbox 360 exclusive game Alan Wake should remember this scene I have chosen. It comes right at the end of the game where the title character has finally figured out the secret of what happened to his missing wife and how to save her from the game’s main antagonist.
This antagonist is not some psycho killer or monomaniacal villain. It’s a villain that’s more akin to an evil entity. In fact, we learn throughout the game that the villain, known as the Dark Presence, is like something out of a Lovecraft story. It’s an evil intelligence that has spanned eons and yearns to free itself from it’s watery prison.
Alan Wake realizes that the only way to save his wife was to take her place and fight the Dark Presence from within and this is where the brief scene begins. It’s a scene that starts creepy enough until the very end when the real payoff arrives.
Today’s horror movie is from Hammer films and, needless to say, it’s lot of fun. In The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, an ennui-stricken Count Dracula (James Forbes-Robertson) leaves his castle and travels all the way to China. Once in China, he resurrects the legendary 7 golden vampires and uses them to raid a nearby village. One villager (played by David Chiang) goes to the legendary Prof. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing, of course) for help. Van Helsing, along with his son (Robin Stewart) and a wealthy widow (Julie Ege, who decorated several Hammer films), goes to the village to battle the vampires. Providing protecting for Van Helsing’s group is Chiang’s sister (Szu Shih) and six other brothers.
First released in 1974, The Legend of the 7 Vampires was Hammer’s attempt to revive the failing fortunes of their most iconic monster by collaborating with Hong Kong film producer Sir Run Run Shaw. The result is an entertaining hybrid of a traditional Hammer vampire film and a Hong Kong kung fu movie. While James Forbes-Robertson makes for a poor replacement for Christopher Lee, Cushing is perfect as always.