Thriller: Season 2, Episode 20

The Hollow Watcher (12 Feb. 1962)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Horror
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 52 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 2 critic

An Irish mail-order bride marries into a family in North Carolina, with a scheme to steal their hidden fortune. She murders her autocratic father-in-law and hides his body inside a scarecrow--but the vengeful scarecrow is now stalking her.

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Title: The Hollow Watcher (12 Feb 1962)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Himself
...
Meg O'Danagh Wheeler
Sean McClory ...
Sean O'Danagh
...
Hugo Wheeler
Sandy Kenyon ...
Mason
Walter Burke ...
Croxton
...
Ortho Wheeler
...
Hendricks
Lane Bradford ...
Boles
Eve McVeagh ...
Mrs. Curtis
Mary Grace Canfield ...
Ally Rose
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Storyline

An Irish mail-order bride marries into a family in North Carolina, with a scheme to steal their hidden fortune. She murders her autocratic father-in-law and hides his body inside a scarecrow--but the vengeful scarecrow is now stalking her.

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12 February 1962 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Beware The Hollow Watcher!
6 October 2010 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

As with most of the best entries in the Thriller series, The Hollow Watcher tells a story you see, with its conflicts and power struggles, behind which there's a story you don't see, or get only fleeting glimpses of, lurking in the background, often of supernatural provenance, that begins to creep up slowly but surely, usually after the midpoint of the episode, only to play its hand, show its face, if it has a face, in the final moments.

This one's a tale of deception, set in the backwoods of North Carolina, as an Irish couple, masquerading as brother and sister, hoodwink hapless Hugo Wheeler, a young fellow whom they think has a fortune hidden away somewhere on his property. The woman actually marries the young man, then denies him conjugal rights based on what she says is an old Irish custom. It's all lies, as she and her partner are scheming to make off with Hugo's money. As we see quite early in the show, the young woman is a murderer, having killed Hugo's abusive father after a the old man meted out some nasty corporal punishment to his son. She later tells Hugo that his father had fled afterward when in fact she's stuffed his dead body in a scarecrow.

What follows is a tale that has humorous moments, some local color, and a whole lot of pining for his lovely foreign wife on Hugo's part. One can't help but feel sorry for the young man, excellently played by Warren Oates, in a performance that does not beg for the viewer's sympathies,--he's a weak, clueless fellow--and yet one can't help but feel for him. All his life he's been controlled, manipulated and tormented by others. As the couple that deceives him, Sean McClory and Audrey Dalton are just as good; and there's a strange symmetry between their characters and Hugo and his father. McClory's a rugged type, a two-fisted sort who likes to give people a hard time, not unlike old man Wheeler; while Dalton plays second fiddle, has child-like ways, comes across as underdeveloped, and in this sense resembles Hugo. In an alternate universe these two might have soul mate potential, but not in this one.

The episode doesn't wrap things up in a neat bundle when it concludes, when at last the hollow watcher turns up, doesn't like what he sees; and the final ten minutes contains what may be the most sustained moments of horror of the entire series. In typical Thriller fashion, there's confusion and a degree of ambiguity as to what has just transpired, as the hollow watcher's behavior is somewhat unpredictable. The episode, in part derived from folk tales, itself feels like a folk tale. It's sort of a rustic-Gothic story, and for those who like such things it delivers the goods and then some.


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