Thriller: Season 1, Episode 36

Pigeons from Hell (6 Jun. 1961)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Horror
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 122 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

Two stranded motorists and a local sheriff battle evil forces that inhabit a run-down, abandoned mansion in the middle of a swamp in the middle of nowhere.



(teleplay), (short story)
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Episode cast overview:
Timothy Branner
Crahan Denton ...
Sheriff Buckner
Ken Renard ...
Jacob Blount
David Whorf ...
Johnny Branner
Guy Wilkerson ...
Ottola Nesmith ...
The Zuvembie, Eula Lee Blassenville


Two stranded motorists and a local sheriff battle evil forces that inhabit a run-down, abandoned mansion in the middle of a swamp in the middle of nowhere.

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robert e. howard




Release Date:

6 June 1961 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Night Of the Zuvembie
5 October 2010 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

Fans of the Thriller TV series generally rate Pigeons From Hell as one of the show's best episodes, and I agree. Adapted from a Robert E. Howard story, taking place entirely at night, it starts out with two brothers from up north whose car is trapped in the mud somewhere in the Deep South who take refuge in a deserted plantation house devoid of furniture surrounded by noisy pigeons who give off otherworldly vibes.

As they settle down for a night's sleep, one brother ventures upstairs, only to return a few moments later with a split forehead, blood streaming downing his face, hatchet in hand, looking ready to kill. The other brother flees the big house, runs into the woods, falls down, is found by the local sheriff, to whom he relates his harrowing experience. The sheriff is at first skeptical, yet when he realizes it's the old Blassenville place he becomes more receptive.

When they return to the house, the sheriff, suspicious that the young man killed his brother, investigates upstairs, and when he enters one of the rooms, the lamp goes out, then comes back on when he leaves. There's a back-story to the house and the family that once resided there, and there's one person who can help explain the mystery: an elderly, frightened black man who once worked for the Blassenvilles, who is sought out in his shack, and no sooner has he expressed his fear that a female zombie,--a zuvembie--will send a snake's "little brother" to kill him if he reveals any more, he is bitten by a small snake that has been hiding in the woodpile, and he promptly dies.

Frightened, yet determined, the sheriff returns to the Blassenville house with the young man to solve the mystery of who or what killed his brother. There's no point in spoiling the ending here. The mystery is solved, after a fashion, yet even afterward a feeling of dread hangs in the air, as there are larger issues, matters only implied in what the viewer has seen thus far, which suggest mysteries far beyond the scope of the story itself. Brilliantly directed by John Newland, Pigeons From Hell is full of dread, from its opening scene to the very end; and its unsettling qualities are not easily forgotten. It's a superior piece of work, featuring fine performances. There's an elliptical aspect to it,--lots of story, little in the way of explanation, and scarcely any logic at all--that in the end leaves the viewer literally and figuratively in the dark.

For those who are fans of Gothic horror, this is a must see. It's gloomy, stylish, compact; not a moment is wasted.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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