Love can make people do the craziest things. This is especially true when that love is unhealthy, ensuring the relationship was doomed from the start. Of course, nothing can stop someone who is so determined to possess the object of their affection; they cross moral lines and break more than hearts.
As evidenced by this set of TV horror stories, romance is nowhere to be found as the characters seek love in all the wrong places, or they find themselves at the mercy of someone else’s sick infatuation. Cruelty, deceit, and jealousy border these five distinct stories of deadly attractions from horror anthology TV shows.
night gallery (1969-1973)
Getting Things Started is a notable episode about unrequited love. The second season of Rod Serlingit is blurred area followed, night gallery, ended with one of the series’ most twisted stories. Even acclaimed genre filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has nothing but kind words to say on the episode’s commentary track.
Jeannot Szwarcadaptation of Oscar Cook“Boomerang” is set in Borneo during the rainy season. Laurence Harvey plays Steven Macy, a British expat staying in John Warwick’s remote home (Tom Helmore) and his much younger wife, Rhona (Joanna Petet). Steven, who doesn’t understand why a beautiful twenties like Rhona is married to a man in his sixties, quickly falls lovesick. He then enlists the help of a local named Tom Robinson (don knight); the handyman can have someone implant a deadly earwig in John’s ear canal. Unfortunately for Steven, a serious mistake is made.
Earwigs have a false reputation for consuming brains if they somehow reach inside someone’s ear. Since they supposedly cannot reverse, the earwigs would have no choice but to move forward through the canal until they reach the brain. Back when this episode first aired, audiences were more likely to believe such a fearsome creature existed. The earwig is real, but it certainly doesn’t feed on brains. Does any of this matter? Unless someone is picky about the details, this revelation has little bearing on the story. It shows how “the caterpillar” it is true.
Steven is made on his own, and the consequences of his rude behavior are catching up with him in the most gruesome way. Much like the earwig, this episode’s twist stays on the brain.
dark room (1981-1982)
Who is here?
The short-lived horror anthology series dark room was hosted by James Coburn. It came and went with little attention, but there are some memorable stories to be found among the seven episodes aired. A segment of the finale matches the theme of sour romance.
“Who is here?is a short story wedged between two others; these being “Exit Line” and “The Rarest of Wines”. Here, a worried neighbor named Steve (Grant Goodeve) has the misfortune to hear his neighbors, a married couple, arguing every day in the apartment above his. Their feud is put on the back burner once husband and wife (Michael Lembeck, Diane Kay) leave the city ; Barry has an interview in Chicago and Claire visits her mother. What should have been a break from the domestic din turns out to be a night Steve will never forget after hearing a strange noise in the couple’s apartment.
The middle part of dark roomThe latest episode of stands out for the mark it leaves behind. It turns out that the noise heard upstairs is Barry returning early from his trip. Now he’s sitting in his kitchen, waiting for Claire to come home as well. He confesses to his neighbor what hurts his heart and his marriage, and Steve does his best to make things right. The story then takes a turn that viewers might have suspected from the start. Even so, “Who’s there?” packs a big punch despite its small runtime.
This masterful episode is the combined work of the director Paul Lynch and screenwriter Brian Clemens. Slasher fans recognize Lynch as the director of prom nightwhile ardent fans of British television have known Clemens for Polar and The Avengers.
Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics (1987-1989)
Fairy tales in their purest form aren’t known to have the healthiest relationships when viewed through a modern lens. Knowing that, their themes and morals still hold up after all these years. Reaching these lessons, however, often involves a journey fraught with macabre imagery and bizarre turns.
The Brothers Grimm provided most of the source material for a late 1980s anime called Theater of Grimm’s Masterpieces. When the series was dubbed into English, it was renamed Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics. The English dub was considered almost lost until recently when Discotek Media restored and released the entire series. Now fans can relive this unique adaptation of their favorite fairy tales.
Although Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics isn’t primarily horror, anyone familiar with old fairy tales, fables and myths knows these stories have their scary moments. One such example is “Blue Beard(“Ao hi ge” in Japanese), the story of a famous French folk tale. This animated rendition sees a young woman named Josephine accept the hand of a prince she hasn’t even met. His three brothers are suspicious and bring their carpentry business closer to the princely castle to keep an eye on their sister. The prince, identified by his “blue” beard, tests his new bride’s obedience by forbidding her to open a locked room while he is away. When Josephine defies his order, she makes a horrifying discovery.
This early example of domestic horror warns against greed while telling women not to respect patriarchal rules. Disobeying her husband at first welcomes danger and fear, but later Josephine is free from Bluebeard’s control.
Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996)
loved to death
The third season of HBO’s horror anthology classic Tales from the Crypt opened by “loved to death“, a popular episode about one-sided love. The basis can be found in issue 25 of the Tales from the Cryptand it is based on John Henry Collier‘s “The Hunter”. A vintage adaptation of Collier’s short can be found in the classic blurred area Pin up.
“Loved to Death” follows an aspiring screenwriter named Edward (Andrew McCarthy), who has developed an unshakeable crush on her neighbor, Miranda (Mariel Hemingway). When Edward can’t win her heart the old-fashioned way, he accepts a love potion from the reclusive owner (David Hemmings). What first seems like a dream quickly turns into a nightmare after Miranda becomes Edward’s insatiable lover.
The episode is considered for its shocking ending, where Hemingway’s Miranda chases Edward into the afterlife. Her gruesome face, the result of jumping out of a window when Edward died, is unique to Tom Mankiewicz and Joe Minionthe version. This new aspect of the story highlights the fact that Edward never liked Miranda; he only liked his appearance.
Stories like “Loved to Death” leave a bad taste in your mouth, but Tales from the Crypt never had much interest in playing nice.
The twilight zone (2002-2003)
The 2002 The twilight zone has been ignored by audiences and critics since it first aired, but in hindsight the revival had value even if it never reached the great heights of the original series. What it lacked in revolutionary insight it made up for in pure entertainment.
Tina, Taryn Manningthe character in “Fair warningfinds herself threatened by a stranger (Devon Gummersall) a night. The mugger, George, comes to Tina’s flower shop and says he’s going to kill her unless she stops him. When the cops check on the suspect, alibis and a lack of physical evidence suggest the accuser is wrong. Just when Tina begins to believe she’s imagining everything, it becomes clear what’s really going on here.
Although there is a shortage of doozies in this blurred areaand many other stories could be considered duds,”fair warning” floats closer to the middle than the bottom. The episode is engaging if not ridiculous.
What makes this one more enjoyable than the others is its reveal at the end. Is it absurd? Yes. Is it original? May be. Stalker laws are frustrating enough without the offender having a supernatural advantage.
series of scares is a recurring column that primarily focuses on horror on television. Specifically, it takes a closer look at five episodes or stories — each adhering to a general theme — from various anthology series or the occasional made-for-TV movie. As anthologies become popular again, especially on TV, it’s a great time to see what this timeless mode of storytelling has to offer.