|Index||7 reviews in total|
After six rather forgettable crime entries, episode 7 marks the debut of new producer William Frye and the result is THRILLER's first all-out horror story, written and directed by Douglas Heyes, who would repeat his double duties for episode 16, "The Hungry Glass." Rip Torn stars as the inheritor of a spooky mansion (the PSYCHO house no less, which would reappear in episodes 32 "Mr. George", 43 "Masquerade", and 52 "An Attractive Family") that he will forfeit to his cousins unless he lives in it for a full year. He decides to spend the night in the "Purple Room," where a murder took place 100 years earlier, and is now reputed to be haunted. Atmospheric and scary, this first classic THRILLER demonstrates why this was one series that was thankfully done in black and white, retaining its eerie effectiveness without becoming dated, since most of the scripts were adaptations based on actual novels and magazine stories, from authors such as Cornell Woolrich, Robert Bloch ("Psycho") and Richard Matheson ("The Shrinking Man" and "I Am Legend"). Frye would remain as producer for the rest of its run except for 8 crime episodes from Maxwell Shane, and 2 each from former producer Fletcher Markle ("Girl with a Secret" and "Man in the Middle") and from Executive Producer Hubbell Robinson ("The Innocent Bystanders" and "The Specialists").
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With the first six shows of the series devoted to crime and mystery
stories, this episode delves into true horror for the first time with
host Boris Karloff's direst assurance that 'THIS... is a THRILLER'.
Underscoring the creepiness of the tale, the picture opens with a view
of an old dark house reminiscent of the Norman Bates home in "Psycho";
another reviewer for this episode states that it's one and the same,
but I haven't been able to verify that myself.
The central plot element here may have been borrowed from a Vincent Price vehicle from the prior year, "House on Haunted Hill". That one gave me the willies for a good long while when I first saw it as a kid, and I dare say this one would have done the same if I saw it back then as well. Duncan Corey (Rip Torn) inherits the family estate, but the will states he must live in the house for a year before he's able to sell it. Otherwise the house and property go to cousin Rachel Judson (Patricia Barry) and her husband Oliver (Richard Anderson). The twist is that he's bound to make up his mind about the deal by spending only a single night there, so with all the braggadocio he can muster, Duncan heads off to the place to begin staking his claim.
What's cool about the story is that once the basic premise is set and the legend of The Purple Room is established, the story unfolds along the same lines as the legend itself. Before letting the viewer in on the Judson's scheme, you're left to wonder about the moving portrait, the opened door that was previously locked shut and the knife thrown at Duncan's feet as he investigates a noise downstairs. I will say though, the ghost disguise worn by Oliver was more corny than frightening, unless of course you're a kid, and then it would have sent me under the covers for a week.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"The Purple Room" has a great premise, if somewhat hackneyed even by
the early 1960s. Duncan Corey (Rip Torn) inherits a house in Louisiana
he wants to sell to developers. The problem is, he has to spend the
night there and decide if he wants to stay. If he stays, he has to live
there a year before he can sell it. The clauses some people stick in
wills, huh? Along the way, Duncan meets a couple of sleazy cousins,
played by Richard Anderson ("Perry Mason") and Patricia Barry, who know
they are next in line if Rip Torn decides to skedaddle. This gives them
every reason to lurk around the house that night, scaring the living
daylights out of him.
Torn plays a cynical city slicker who had no time for spooks. Yet, as the night progresses, he hears so many weird noises and sees so many weird things, he wonders if it's really his cousins after all. So do we.
The small cast is excellent and I loved the way they are introduced during Boris Karloff's inimitable introduction. The problem is, Rip Torn, a good ol' Texas boy, unfortunately has "Actor's Studio" method training. Probably to make his character more realistic, he, uh, begins, uh, to say "Uh" in nearly, uh, every sentence, and it gets, uh, very annoying. He's, uh, one protagonist you'd like to see dragged away by ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night. Perhaps by design, I ended up pulling for the much more normally acting Richard Anderson.
One major plus in this episode: the lawyer executing the will is Alan Napier, aka Alfred from the old "Batman" television show.
Yes, I totally agree to what have said the other users. This is a
terrific episode far away better than the previous ones of this series.
Those other were not so terrible, but certainly not at the scale of
this one. I must admit that, when watching it, I thought a little of
another ghost story, with a man supposed to stay for a while in a
haunted mansion: The film directed by Antonio Margheriti and starring
Tony Franciosa, from 1970, which I don't remind the English title;
check on IMDb. Of course, the story is not exactly the same, but there
are some lines in common between the two of them.
Appreciate this one, folks, highly recommended. The best of the series so far.
The "Thriller" TV show started out primarily as a crime anthology but started to veer over to horror during its first season. This was their first horror show and it's not bad. An obnoxious guy named Duncan Corey (a ridiculously young Rip Torn) is left an old haunted house when his brother dies. He wants to sell it BUT must spend a year in it before he can do it. If he leaves or dies it goes to his cousins--Rachel and Oliver Judson (Patricia Barry and Richard Anderson). He agrees and it goes predictably at first with strange noises and unexplained events. However it changes gears halfway through, throws in a twist and ends on a satisfying note. Not really scary but creepy and well-acted...except for Torn. He is a wonderful actor but not here. He over OVER acts to an embarrassing degree and it gets tiresome. Still it's worth catching.
Rip Torn plays Duncan Corey, a rather smug young heir who has just inherited a Bayou mansion called Black Oak, but is informed that he must spend a year living in it if he is to inherit the estate, which is going to become quite valuable to re-developers. If he leaves before the year is up, the property goes to Oliver & Rachel Judson(played by Richard Anderson & Patricia Barry). They too are determined to inherit it, and try to scare him with the legend of the haunted purple room, where his ancestor shot and killed her husband, then went mad. The three of them will indeed spend an eventful first night in Black Oak, which may also be their last... Quite entertaining episode was the first of the horror ones, and works very well indeed, with a fine cast, story and direction.
A variation on one of the oldest of the ghost story motifs: in order to get an inheritance, one must spend the night in an old house. Of course, the place is haunted and the smug new resident is suspicious of everything and everyone. A man and his wife are at the center of this, capitalizing on a murder that had taken place in the deep dark past. Their goal is originally to frighten their cousin after drugging him, but when he dies from a heart attack, things get much more complicated. As we all know, however, there is a much more gruesome element. That legend didn't get started for no reason. We just know that somehow the tables are going be turned. By the way, that old house really looked like the one in Psycho.
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