TERROR TV – ONE STEP BEYOND – The Bride Possessed

OSB themeWhen you hear terms like “the Golden Age of Television” or “horror anthology series”, what is the first thought that comes to mind? The Twilight Zone? The Outer Limits? Alfred Hitchcock Presents?

Although we here at Hidden Horrors You Must See love to share some of our favorite anthology television, we also like to dig deep and find the more obscure horror gems.

Produced around the same time as Rod Serling’s magnum opus, The Twilight Zone, is a series long living in the Zone’s shadow: One Step Beyond.

According to Mill Creek Entertainment’s release of the series, One Step Beyondcapitalized on the country’s burgeoning interest in paranormal mysteries in a unique fashion. Instead of developing fictional stories with supernatural plots, this series presented ‘real-life’ incidents from a dimension beyond our understanding, including spirits, disappearances, fantastic creatures, etc., and re-creating them for each episode.” This explanation alone makes the series stand apart.

But does the show itself have its merits?

For the Hidden Horrors’ inaugural One Step Beyond review, what better way than to take a look at the series’ premiere, The Bride Possessed.

The episode begins – like every other – with host John Newland (who would later direct the 1973 classic Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark), introducing us to the characters, plot and setting.OSB the bride possessed

We are then introduced to newlyweds Sally (Virginia Leith, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die) and Matt Conroy (prolific television actor Skip Homeier), who are en route to their honeymoon destination via automobile.

When the new Mrs. Conroy begins to give her husband directions to an alternate destination, Matt finds it strange that his southern belle wife, new to the northern states, knows the route like the back of her hand.

When they arrive to a cliff, Sally suddenly loses her Louisiana accent and strangely doesn’t recognize her husband.

She begins to claim that she is not Sally Conroy, but Karen Wharton, a woman who, according to the police and doctors, had previously committed suicide. “Karen” then begins to claim that she did not commit suicide, but was, in fact, a victim of murder.

The strange plot takes a turn for the paranormal, as the reason behind the wife swap is explained in a what-the-fuck-just-happened dénouement.

The episode is well-paced, favorably-written, and admirably-acted, but it’s not hard to see why the series was overshadowed by the more popular Twilight Zone; as brilliant irony, social commentary and tales of morality clearly surpass tales of terror supposedly based on “true events”. Yet the great thing about One Step Beyond is that it didn’t try to be the latter.

It is an original concept, and a well conceived one at best, and we hope you stay tuned for future reviews from this buzz-worthy show.

– Matthew McPhee

 

Advertisements

HIDDEN HORROR- Half Human (Plus a Bonus)

Jujin_Yuki_Otoko_posterWhen people think of Toho films or Japanese monster films Godzilla instantly comes to mind. However, people seem to forget that Toho has made more then just Godzilla films. Toho’s produced several other monster films, including the 1955 film Half Human. You could say that this is a cousin film to the Godzilla franchise since it is from Toho, was directed by Ishiro Honda, and featured special effects by Eiji tsubraya. These two were responsible for many of classic kaiju films of the ‘50s and ‘60s, however out of all of Toho’s other monster films, this one is the most overlooked. In 1958 it was released in America in a dubbed and Americanized version, featuring added scenes starring John Carradine. The Japanese version of the film has not been released in America so I will obviously be taking a look at the American version.

The film tells the story of an anthropologist (John Carradine) and is presented in a series of flashbacks as he tells a couple of his colleagues about three skiers in the Alps that have an encounter with the Abominable Snowman. The Abominable Snowman has an offspring as well, but one man tries to capture it, accidentally shooting and killing it. The father becomes enraged at the death of his offspring and goes on a rampage, destroying everything in its path.

Half Human has some elements that make it similar to King Kong and even Cannibal Holocaust. This film is the epitome of hidden horror. Finding a copy of it on VHS or DVD is extremely difficult. I actually own a copy of it and I can tell you that if you do manage get your hands on it you will not be disappointed. It’s a great movie. The American version of the film is probably all you will be able to find, and unfortunately the American version cuts a lot of the Japanese footage out. The Japanese version can’t be found, but some say that the original unadulterated film exists somewhere out there. This is a hard to find horror and thus a totally underrated film that will probably never have its place in horror cinema history but if you can find it you will not be disappointed.

BONUS MUSIC REVIEW- “Slayer: Undisputed Attitude”

72_logoWhen it comes to legendary heavy metal band Slayer classic albums like “Reign in Blood,” “Hell Awaits,” or “Seasons in the Abyss” come to mind. However people forget that Slayer actually did a cover album, one that is extremely underrated to say the least. In 1996 Slayer recorded “Undisputed Attitude,” a follow up to their 1994 album “Divine Intervention,” deciding to do a cover album. At first they were going to cover Judas Priest and other classic bands, but instead decided to cover punk songs instead. Slayer’s a band that was born of heavy metal and punk and they were one of the first bands to combine the speed of punk music with heavy metal.

“Undisputed Attitude” features Slayer covering bands like Minor Threat, D.R.I. and more. They also take the Stooges song “I Want to be Your Dog,” make it heavy, add vulgarity to the lyrics and change the title to “I Want to be Your God” The highlight of the album, however, is the only original Slayer song on the album known as “Gemini.” It is a powerful song that features incredible drum work and musicianship, as well as mood and lyrics that will appeal to any horror movie fan. While not every Slayer album can be a “Reign in Blood” or “Hell Awaits” you can still bet that you are going to get real heavy metal and great musicianship with each of their releases. As long as Slayer is around, you can also bet that heavy metal will be alive. So give “Undisputed Attitude” a shot, it’s a fun listen and entertaining to say the least.

-Dakota Bailey

HIDDEN HORROR- I Bury the Living

d9e80047ac485766dc9cb2f7ad1ef2fb“I Bury the Living” is a 1958 American film directed by Albert Band, father of Charles Band from Full Moon Features. Horror fans seem to overlook this great film and that is a shame. It may seem like a typical ‘50s B-Movie but it comes highly recommended as it has an interesting plot that makes the viewer think.

The film tells the story of a man named Robert Kraft, who becomes the chairman of a very large cemetery. In the office there is a map of the cemetery grounds, which is dotted with black and white pushpins to mark the different plots. Ones with black pins contain a body while those marked with a white pin do not. Robert fucks around and puts a black pin in one of the white pin spots. He thinks nothing of it until he learns the person who owns the plot he struck with the black pin has died. Out of curiosity he tries it again and another person dies. Robert begins to breakdown and wonder if he really has the supernatural power to bury the living.

If you enjoy black and white, old school horror films you will love this one. The black and white photography combined with the large cemetery makes for a perfect atmosphere. This film relies completely on atmosphere, suspense and character development. Sorry but there is no gore to be found here.

Another aspect of this film that makes it unique is that it’s a psychological horror film, quite uncommon during the b-movie era. The movie makes you question if Robert really has these supernatural abilities or if it’s all coincidence. There is a great quote at the end of the movie that really sums up what the film is about. I don’t remember it exactly but it goes something like this: “If a man thinks about something hard enough, it might become real.”

“I Bury the Living” is definitely a Hidden Horror and a very unique film. If you want an intelligent, well-acted, atmospheric and creepy horror film that will leave you thinking about it after it’s over, then for sure check out this one. I am still thinking about the movie and it has been a while since I watched it.

-Dakota Bailey

HIDDEN HORROR-Curse of the Demon

curse-of-the-demon-movie-poster-1957-1020174214“Curse of the Demon,” aka “Night of the Demon,” is a 1957 British horror film directed by Jacques Tourneur. It’s an intelligent horror film that deals with the subject of black magic. Don’t let its age and the somewhat cheesy special effects scare you off; this film is still very much ahead of its time and is worth a watch.

The film opens with a professor begging a cult leader to call off a curse he put on him. However it is too late and shortly afterwards a demon appears and kills the professor. Dr. John Holden, a friend of the professor, is a skeptic and does not believe in the paranormal. He is asked to attend a convention and prove that supernatural forces do not exist. However the same cult leader that cursed his friend places the same curse on him and he must find a way to rid himself of it before it’s too late.

“Curse of the Demon” is a must see because it is atmospheric, intelligent, well acted with a great cast and has a feeling of dread and tension all throughout. This film was also one of the first movies to deal with black magic and Satanism, before films such as “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Exorcist.”

-Dakota Bailey