Horror On TV: One Step Beyond Ep. 16 “The Burning Girl”

When I first started searching YouTube for episodes to use in this feature, I came across quite a few episodes of an old black-and-white TV show called One Step Beyond.  Running for three seasons (from 1959 to 1961), One Step Beyond was hosted by John Newland.  Every week, Newland would tell the audience about some sort of possible paranormal phenomena.  Then, a dramatization of a “real” event would be shown and occasionally, the show would end with Newland interviewing the real people whose story we had just watched.

To me, that all sounds like a lot of fun.

The 16th episode of One Step Beyond was called The Burning Girl and it dealt with a teenage girl who, whenever she got upset, could apparently cause fires to spontaneously erupt.  It was written by Catherine Turney and directed by John Newland himself.

It was originally broadcast on May 5th, 1959 — presumably long before Stephen King even had the idea to write about a girl named Carrie.

Ten Years #20: Equilibrium

Decade of last.fm scrobbling countdown:
20. Equilibrium (1,323 plays)
Top track (104 plays): Prolog Auf Erden, from Sagas (2008)

At the end of 2008, I made the peculiar decision to rank Sagas only 6th on my albums of the year list. I knew at the time that it would long outlive the albums that trumped it–The Tallest Man on Earth’s Shallow Grave, Boris’s Smile, Waylander’s Honour Amongst Chaos to name a few–but I suppose I was prioritizing some sort of artsy aesthetic over direct appeal. That was silly. Sagas is the most badass, epic 80 minutes of sound you will ever hear, and it deserves all the glory. Since I don’t know German, I can’t really judge how the lyrics hold up against comparable masterpieces like Blind Guardian’s Nightfall in Middle-Earth and Turisas’s The Varangian Way, but musically it pretty much perfects every epic/symphonic trend in the world of folk metal. What you hear on the opening track, “Prolog Auf Erden”, is a pretty accurate summary of the full album; it’s an explosive, relentless drive through one of the most imaginative worlds metal has ever conjured.

I can’t say I am terribly experienced in Equilibrium’s broader discography. Turis Fratyr (2005) did not grab me quite so immediately, and at the time I was too caught up in enjoying Sagas to really engage it. Rekreatur (2010) had its merits, but I could never fully get over the change in vocalists from Helge Stang to Robert Dahn. Never a band to rush out the new releases, their fourth studio album is not expected until some time in 2014.

Horror On The Lens: Night Tide (dir by Curtis Harrington)

Night Tide

First released in 1961 and directed by Curtis Harrington, Night Tide stars a young Dennis Hopper as Johnny, an awkward sailor.  Johnny meets Mora (Linda Lawson), who works as a “mermaid” on the pier.  For Johnny, it’s love at first sight.  However, the more that Johnny pursues her, the more he learns about both her mysterious past and the dark fate of her previous boyfriends.

Night Tide is low-key and atmospheric gem of a movie, one that serve as an inspiration for low-budget filmmakers every where.  Lawson is perfectly cast as the enigmatic Mora but the film really belongs to Dennis Hopper.  Hopper’s naturally off-key presence made him perfect for the role of Johnny.

Night Tide is one of those low-budget movies that, because it’s in the public domain,  has been released on DVD (often in inferior form) by dozens of different companies.  Often times, films like this turn out to be fairly forgettable.  Night Tide, however, is an exception.