Horror On TV: One Step Beyond 3.36 “Eyewitness” (dir by John Newland)


For this year’s horrorthon’s final episode of One Step Beyond, we have the …. final episode of One Step Beyond!

In this, the series’s very last episode, a Boston newspaper reporter in 1883 somehow manages to write a firsthand account of one of the greatest natural disasters in human history, the volcanic eruption of Krakatoa.  Making his accomplishment all the more amazing is that he not only filed the story the day before it happened but he also says that he has no memory of writing it!  What’s going on?  Take one step beyond and find out!

This episode originally aired on July 4th, 1961.

Enjoy and tomorrow, we start a new series here on the Shattered Lens!

Great Moments In Television History: Planet of the Apes The TV Series


On September 13th, 1974, audiences that tuned into CBS saw the premiere of a new TV show with a familiar premise.

The episode opened with a spaceship crashing on an Earth-like planet.  One of the astronauts was killed.  Two of the astronauts — Alan Virdon (Ron Harper) and Peter Burke (James Naughton) — survived.  Virdon and Burke discovered that the planet was inhabited by humans who, despite it being the year 3085, were living in medieval villages.  The humans were kept in a state of serfdom by the Apes who ruled the planet.  The Apes spoke English and had formed their own society of militaristic gorillas and scientific-minded chimpanzees.  Looking through an old book, Virdon and Burke discovered that they had crash landed on Earth, far in the future!

You know the drill.  Planet of the Apes was based on the famous series of films, with the first pilot episode featuring Virdon and Burke discovering in less than an hour what took Charlton Heston a journey into the forbidden zone to figure out.  Because the humans had “blown it up,” the Earth was now ruled by Apes!

As fugitives from ape justice, Virdon and Burke spent the next fourteen episodes being pursued by the fanatical General Urko (Mark Lenard), who was determined to capture the two astronauts before they revealed that Apes had not always been the planet’s masters.  Traveling with Virdon and Burke was a sympathetic chimpanzee named Galen (Roddy McDowall).  Usually just one step ahead of Urko, Virdon, Burke, and Galen traveled from village to village, seeking a way to fix their spaceship so that they could escape the Planet of the Apes.

Planet of the Apes got off to a strong start with an exciting and concise first episode but the series quickly ran out of gas.  Because Virdon, Burke, and Galen had to flee to a new village at the end of every episode, the show was never able to devote much time to exploring the most intriguing thing about the original Planet of the Apes films, the culture of a world where humans were subservient to apes.  Because Virdon and Burke were largely interchangeable with little in the way of backstory or personality, the show very quickly ran out of a stories to tell.  It didn’t take long for Planet of the Apes to start repeating itself with multiple episodes in which Virdon or Burke got involved in local village drama before Urko showed up and forced them to flee again.

There were some good moments, though.  Probably the highlight of the series was the third episode of the series, The Trap.  In this episode, Virdon, Burke, Galen, and Urko all reach the ruins of San Francisco at the same time.  After an earthquake buries Burke and Urko in a subway tunnel, the two of them are forced to work together to survive.  Burke and Urko make an unexpectedly good team and Urko seems like he’s on the verge of a change of heart when he spots an old poster for the San Francisco zoo, one that features a caged gorilla being gawked at by humans.  Urko’s angry reaction to seeing the poster is well-acted by Mark Lenard and, for a few minutes, his obsession with capturing Virdon and Burke can be understood.  It wouldn’t last but, in that moment, Urko went from being just another villain to being a complex character with his own clearly defined motivations.

The show also benefited from Roddy McDowall, who, by this point, was an expert at acting while wearing chimpanzee makeup.  McDowall brought heart and humor to the role of Galen, even if he was too often treated like a servant by Burke and Virdon.  Whenever the two humans were scared to go out in public, they sent Galen off to gather information.  Galen did a good job but he still deserved better.

Finally, Planet of the Apes had one of the coolest opening title sequences of all time!  Take a look:

Though cancelled after only 14 episodes, Planet of the Apes The Television Series lives on.  Episodes can currently be seen on MeTV.

Horror on TV: One Step Beyond 3.6 “Moment of Hate” (dir by John Newland)


On tonight’s episode of One Step Beyond, fashion designer Karen Wadsworth (Joanne Linville) believes that she has the power to cause people to die just by wishing death upon them.  Her psychiatrist tells her that this simply isn’t possible and then dares her to try one little test of her supposed powers.

This episode features a good performance by Joanne Linville and, if nothing else, it perhaps makes the case that we should be a little bit less quick to wish the worst upon other people.  Just imagine all of the damage that Karen could have caused if she had ever set up a twitter account.

This episode originally aired on October 25th, 1960.

Horror On TV: One Step Beyond 3.5 “If You See Sally” (dir by John Newland)


On tonight’s epiosde of One Step Beyond, we visit the legend of the ghostly hitchhiker.

Will Sally ever make it home?

This episode originally aired on October 18th, 1960!

Horror on TV: One Step Beyond 2.7 “The Open Window” (dir by John Newland)


If tonight’s episode of One Step Beyond seems familiar, that’s because it’s a remake of a story that was originally filmed as an episode of The Veil. 

This time, instead of witnessing a murder occurring in another apartment, it’s a suicide that is witnessed by artist Anthony March (Michael Higgins).  Of course, when he investigates, he discovers that the apartment in empty.  Is Anthony hallucinating or has he gone one step beyond and is he seeing the future?  Watch to find out!

By the way, that’s future Oscar winner Louise Fletcher playing Anthony’s model.

This originally aired on November 3rd, 1959.

Enjoy!

Horror on TV: One Step Beyond 2.5 “Night of the Kill” (dir by John Newland)


When young Davey Morris tells his parents that he’s been hanging out with a friendly Bigfoot-type creature, all of the adults in town react in the worst way possible.

This episode, from the second season of One Step Beyond, was one of the first to deal with the legend of Bigfoot.  Needless to say, it’s the adults who turn out to be the true monsters in this scenario.

This episode originally aired on October 20th, 1959.

 

Masters of Horror, “Deer Woman”, Dir. John Landis


dw.jpg

Happy Horrorthon! There’s a Half-Deer woman (DeerTaur?) on the loose and only Martin Tupper…I mean Detective Dwight Faraday can stop her…maybe. Many of you don’t remember Dream On from the late 80s-early 90s on HBO, but it was awesome.  Benben played this kinda cranky book editor Martin Tupper who always thought in movie clips and seeing him act again was like being a wee kid again who quietly watched Dream On after his parents fell asleep.  Dream On BTW was hilarious and created by John Landis- Check it Out!  Yes, The American Werewolf in London director and he did Thriller.

Well, in the early 2000s Mick Garris got a lot of the greats from the 80s and 90s to do short horror films and Deer Woman was one of them.  In Deer Woman, Drunk dudes are getting trampled to death and Detective Faraday is assigned to the case.

Faraday is a down and out detective who no one respects.  Martin Tupper was a down and editor who no one respected.  Faraday is actually not a terrible detective.  He follows up leads and sees where they go.  He checks with the coroner and sees that the bodies are riddled with hoof prints.  You know what makes hoof prints? Deer-Taurs!!!!

Also, men are really portrayed as dumb and horny.  The Deer-Taur picks her next victim up at a hotel bar without speaking a word, but the dudes don’t seem to mind.  Once the seduction is on, she tramples him with her hooves! Yes, hooves.  I love this show!

What’s not to like?! Deer-Taurs, Detectives, and hooves!  There’s also a great dream sequence when Faraday imagines how the kill went down where a Deer in flannel carries off a victim Creature from Black Lagoon style.  It’s hilarious.  This is what’s great about Landis; his horror is always interspersed with great comic relief.

Anywho, bodies keep dropping and they’re so beat up that their arms are found on rooftops! AWESOME!!! Does Detective Faraday stop the Deer-Taur? Who Cares?! It’s got Deer-Taurs and Brian Benben! I would definitely recommend finding this show however you can.  Pretty much all of the Masters of Horror episodes are great. Cheers!

yuou