28 user 13 critic

Encounter with the Unknown (1972)

Three eerie tales based on actual events are enacted in this film. First, three college students play a prank on a geeky classmate, who is accidentally shot and killed. His vengeful mother ... See full summary »


Harry Thomason




Cast overview, first billed only:
Rod Serling ... Narrator (voice)
Robert Ginnaven ... Father Duane (as Bob Ginnaven)
Gary Brockette ... Frank Cameron
John Leslie ... Randy Powell
Tom Haywood Tom Haywood ... Dave Terrell
Fran Franklin ... Mrs. Davis
James N. Harrell James N. Harrell ... Brother Taylor (as Jim Harrell)
John Cissne ... Johnny Davis
Mary Jane Wilson ... Mrs. Wilson
Lyle Armstrong Lyle Armstrong ... Second Priest
Charles Rumph Charles Rumph ... Student
Kevin Bieberly ... Jess
Annabelle Weenick ... Mother
Robert Holton Robert Holton ... Joe
Frank Schaefer Frank Schaefer ... Barber


Three eerie tales based on actual events are enacted in this film. First, three college students play a prank on a geeky classmate, who is accidentally shot and killed. His vengeful mother forecasts the deaths of the three young men she holds responsible, on 7, 14, and 21 days hence. And, one by one, her grim predictions come true. Next, a ghoulish sound emanates from a mist-shrouded hole in the Earth near where a Missouri boy has lost his dog. The boy's father is lowered into the hole and lets out an agonizing scream! Finally, a senator returning home from a party finds a lost girl on a bridge and learns from her father that she died years earlier! Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An incredible journey into the supernatural.


Horror | Mystery



Did You Know?


The film has two narrators. Rod Serling does voice over introductions to the three stories, but the opening and closing narration is by someone else. See more »


The opening of the film has a roll up of text on screen, like Star Wars and many films do. A narrator, not Rod Serling, is reading the words you see on screen, but about halfway through the roll what the narrator is reading and what is on screen are totally different. One or the other must be from a wrong draft of the script. See more »


Mrs. Davis: Listen you well to my word. One by land, two by sky. Look to the heptagon for it is there. Seven times around go the three of you and may your reward be just and true.
See more »


Referenced in Horror Hotel: Encounter with the Unknown (2019) See more »


Sleepy Shores
Composed and Performed by Johnny Pearson
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User Reviews

Works as a curio, especially for Rod Serling fans.
16 January 2013 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

Despite clearly having been filmed on a low budget (on location in Arkansas), the fairly creepy anthology film "Encounter with the Unknown" does establish a respectable atmosphere. It's co-scripted by director Harry Thomason, taking its inspiration from three urban legends. Given that legendary 'Twilight Zone' creator Rod Serling is involved, it's nothing if not interesting. It examines ideas such as the dividing line between illusion and reality, the power of the human mind - or, to be more specific, the power of belief - and the concept of witchcraft.

Serling is one of two narrators - the other gentleman is used for the opening two minutes and during the final ten minutes - and does his usual commendable job at drawing us into these stories and giving us the alleged facts of each case. Each of these tales has some potent and chilling moments, and the cast is generally good.

The first tale revolves around college student Frank (Gary Brockette) confessing some strange occurrences to helpful priest Father Duane (Robert Ginnaven): weeks earlier he and his buddies had played what they thought was a harmless prank on a simple minded acquaintance, only for things to go horribly wrong. The young mans' mother (Fran Franklin) then turns to them at the funeral and utters a cryptic warning, which seems to be coming true.

Next, we're told of characters who lived at the turn of the century who discovered a mysterious, misty hole in the earth. The father (Robert Holton) of a boy whose dog disappeared ventures inside the hole; we never find out just what he might have seen, but he comes out a very traumatized individual. Could the hole have been a passageway to Hell itself? Maybe.

Finally, a travelling senator (Michael Harvey) and his wife encounter a strange girl (Rosie Holotik) who asks to be driven home. In flashback we learn that she'd wanted nothing more than to marry the man she loved, but her father (Gene Ross) believed him to be good for nothing and forbade her from marrying him. The senator meets the now aged father who has a revelation in store for him.

The hardcore exploitation / horror buff will be pleased to note the presence of S.F. Brownrigg regulars like Ross and Annabelle Weenick, as well as other familiar faces like the lovely Holotik ("Horror High"), Bill Thurman ("The Last Picture Show"), James N. Harrell ("Race with the Devil"), and comedian Charlie Dell while watching. They help to make this an entertaining view, although the movie falters a little during its final tale as it starts to drag too much. Still, as mentioned in the summary, this does have some genuine curiosity value going for it. Serling as always does an extremely engaging job of posing provocative questions that may not have easy answers. Overall genre fans may find it to their liking.

Seven out of 10.

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Release Date:

1 November 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Encontros com o Desconhecido See more »

Filming Locations:

Little Rock, Arkansas, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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