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 Beyond “capitalized 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.
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