|Index||7 reviews in total|
One of the best episodes of the series finds Morton Downey Jr. as a
sleazy, manipulative talk show host who attempts to earn big ratings by
leading a tour into a haunted house. But the spirits are very much
alive as Horton Rivers (Downey) comes face to face with a horror he had
come to mock.
Suspenseful and humorous, this episode is better than much of the horror cinema to come out at the time. The supporting cast is terrific as well including Peter Van Norden as a techie with a distaste for Horton and his narcissism.
If you can only pick a handful of Crypt episodes, make sure this is one of them.
This is what happens when you want killer ratings. You get killed. The
episode is about television host who dares to go in one of the most
dangerous haunted houses along with his camera man. The episode starts
off a little slow and the characters are all extremely unlikeable.
But once it gets going, it becomes the spookiest episode to date. Especially once the camera man is hanged and he runs into the room where the murderess is waiting with a chainsaw. The episode is very atmospheric and the final shot of the episode was very effective. He got what he wanted, very high ratings.
This episode is a little special to me because it was my first, and made me addicted to the show in the first place.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tales from the Crypt: Television Terror starts as TV show host Horton
Rivers (Morton Downey Jr.) is about to broadcast live from a supposedly
haunted house, a house where a woman named Asla Hiller (Jeannie Epper)
brutally killed & dismembered at last 12 elderly people so she could
steal their money. Stories of strange noises & happenings at the house
have been rife ever since & Rivers is going inside to investigate along
with his cameraman Trip (Michael Harris) against the advice of local
psychic Rudy Deulca (Victor Paul), as they explore the house it becomes
apparent that great evil & great danger resides there but with ratings
this good the means justify the ends...
This Tales from the Crypt story was episode 16 from season 2, directed by Charlie Picerni I thought Television Terror was another top tale from the crypt. The script by Randall Johnson & G.J. Pruss was based on a story from 'The Haunt of Fear' comic book & goes for all out horror, creepiness & suspense. Thre's no morality tale here & there's not much black humour either but it's still an effective story, the character's are good, it has a well considered build up, it moves along like a rocket, there's some good set pieces including a climax involving Rivers being attacked by a chainsaw wielding ghost & it has one of those very satisfying endings even if it doesn't come as a big surprise. The whole reality TV set up & the relentless pursuit of ratings at any cost seem very appropriate these days & overall it's an entertaining episode.
This one goes for out-and-out horror, there's plenty of atmospheric & quite creepy shots of the house as Rivers walks round it with only the spotlight of the camera for illumination. There's some good gore as well with various dead bodies, a slit throat, there are a couple of hangings & someone is sliced with a chainsaw. For some reason this story is very short at only just over 20 minutes compared to the usual 30. The acting is very good especially Downey who plays the seedy reporter down to perfection.
Television Terror is a great tale from the crypt, it's certainly up there with the best of them. I liked it.
This was a really good episode. It was only 23 minutes, but it was so
atmospheric and really scary. Morton Downey Jr. was great as the sleazy
TV host and all the casting was excellent. This is an example of an
okay script made into an excellently directed episode. Another plus is
the music. This is my favorite Tales from the Crypt score. It's a scary
tune played on an out of tune piano. The episodes plot is about a TV
host going in a haunted house, once owned by a woman who killed her
borders and collected their insurance money. It has a predictable
ending, or at least one that's not extremely original, but it still
doesn't ruin this classic epsisode.
My rating: ****/**** stars. 23 mins. Not Rated contains Violence and Language.
"Television Terror" was one of the better episodes from the "Tales from
the Crypt" television series. Although its source is supposedly
"Television Terror!" from the SEP/OCT 1950 issue of the "Haunt of
Fear", its roots appear to go back about 9 years previous to that.
Although not credited as such, it appears to be loosely based on the
short story, "The Believers", by Robert Arthur, Jr. from the JUL 1941
issue of "Weird Tales". It can be found more readily in the anthology,
"Ghosts and More Ghosts", listed as "Do You Believe in Ghosts?",
published in 1963 with reprints through 1972.
The storyline is essentially the same, following a blow-hard radio show ghost hunter (Nick Deene of "So-Pure Soaps present Dare Danger with Deene!") in pursuit of his fictitious, ratings-induced "Carriday Curse", a "Thing" with a "face like an oyster", supposedly lurking the grounds of the 18th century Carriday mansion. The broadcast takes place on Friday the 13th, with Deene being handcuffed to the four-poster bed (sans the key) where 3 generations of Carridays allegedly died under mysterious circumstances. With 10 million listeners all believing the faked live broadcast in unison, it doesn't quite end the way Deene had intended.
The "Tales from the Crypt" version follows a television ghost hunter, Horton Rivers (Morton Downey, Jr.) of "Horton Rivers Live!", in pursuit of the ghosts in a house that is supposedly haunted in the aftermath of the mass slaying of a dozen elderly people who used to live there.
Both stories end on a very similar note.
"Television Terror" is a nice adaptation of the original short story by Robert Arthur, Jr. It is unfortunate that he is not given the credit he rightfully deserves regarding the original storyline itself. Movie plots, more loosely adapted than this, have credited the original source material for their screenplays.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Cryptkeeper almost says "Terrorvision", which is the title of one of my favourite ever crazy '80's horror flicks! So, it's very cool how the tale begins as if it's a classic ghost story with the impressively Gothic old house and excellent eerie music score, just one of those perfect setups that surely promises awesome macabre magic, but then in typical Crypt fashion they completely turn the situation on its head, as you realise you're looking at the opening presentation of some kind of tacky reality TV show, and we meet the delightfully detestable and obnoxious, suave quintessential toothsome host guy Horton Rivers! A.K.A. the late Morton Downey Jr, who plays practically the exact character he does in Predator 2! The way this episode starts just immediately pulls you into the world of the tale and does not let go till the host man swings! I think the extra short running time helps this episode a lot, the plot proceeds like lightning and doesn't drag or grow boring for a second. And something that's so weird and interesting about this one is how it's both a precursor to the 'found footage' movie, as well as all those horrible fake-ass reality TV programs like "Ghost Hunter" that are around today! Anyway, nobody likes Horton, who is a nasty arrogant s**t to everyone around him including the makeup lady, and they all not-so discreetly despise him behind his back, especially the Dorothy Parke character, and in the big crux moment of the story it's up to her on whether or not they should pull the plug on the deadly broadcast or leave Horton there to die for the sake of the precious ratings! It's an awesome little moment as she joyously opts for the latter and gets even after earlier being treated like dirt by the creep and told that she'd never be a great reporter without that all-important "killer instinct." And you're totally supposed to be on her side and share in her dark glee in that moment - that's kind of a big part of the fun and spirit of what this series was all about! Die jerk!!! ::: The story of the murderess of the haunted house that Horton relates to the viewing public as he leads the way through the bloody history of the locale sounds very similar to the real life case of Dorothea Puente. I like the way the scenes crank up the tension as whenever Horton moves on to investigate a new location in the house, it shows a quick flashback of the murder that occurred there. It gives things a strong foreboding sense of danger and dread. It's the visual images of the bloodthirsty elderly ghosts that really bring on the hectic frights. And the mayhem starts small with a few apparitions, and soon violently escalates till there's an honest-to-god chainsaw-wielding ghost chasing Horton around the horror house! My favourite part is when Horton discovers that the person who's been filming him for the last several minutes was not the cameraman - now that's like going from zero to holy crap in two seconds! The ending is surprisingly visceral and brutal with Horton getting his insides carved out, crashing through the second storey window, and just to make the finale that much more disturbing, snags his neck on a wire and ends up just swinging there with his guts hanging out. Party's over. The final scene is so chilling that it's almost at odds with the rest of the episode, which, while definitely being dark and grim, is overall a fun deadly thrill ride. And the irony of the final words: ".,.Live!" Not no more, he ain't! They outdid themselves once again in yet another mini-classic from season 2. See ya!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
No-count sleazeball shock jock TV show host Horton Rivers (astutely played by amazing conviction by real-life loudmouth tabloid TV show host Morton Downey, Jr.) gives an on-air tour of a haunted house that turns out to be the real dangerous deal. Director Charles Picerni, working from a tight and wickedly witty script by J. Randal Johnson and C.J. Pruss, relates the fun story at a nonstop brisk pace, ably creates and sustains a nicely eerie mood, and stages the lively, gripping, and gory climax with tremendous skill and brio. Moreover, it's a total treat to see the always obnoxious Morty get put through the ringer and meet a marvelously gruesome demise at the end. This show further benefits from bang-up acting from a fine cast, with especially stand-out work by Dorothy Parke as Horton's eager assistant Sam, Peter Van Norden as fed-up producer Booth, Warren Burton as pompous psychic Roland, and Michael Harris as intrepid cameraman Trip. But what really gives this particular episode an extra fiercely amusing and enjoyable kick in the pants is the deliciously vicious way it mocks the shameless nature of trashy television programs that will stoop to any low for the sake of getting big ratings. Depicting Horton's staff as a bunch of long-suffering folks who vehemently hate their boss' guts is a truly great touch. Robert Draper's shadowy cinematography offers a few genuinely spooky visuals. J. Peter Robinson's shivery and spirited score hits the shuddery spot. An absolute delight.
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