Portrait of a man, a 25 year old with a penchant for horror stories. A common point of interest, of course, seeing as horror is very popular. He has taken in many pieces of horror culture, including books, movies, and TV shows. How, then, has this man never seen many of the horror classics of yesteryear? Many a piece of media has crossed this man’s path that he has taken no part in. Well, this man has decided to change that, at least in part. This man is Richard, your humble writer, and these are his thoughts on the hour and a half long pilot episode of a certain anthology show. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Night Gallery.
The pilot of this show comes in three segments. The first, The Cemetery, follows the greedy nephew of a sickly old man who gets his hands on his inheritance earlier than he should have. Eyes, the second segment, follows a blind, rich woman who would give anything to be able to see again. Escape Route, the last segment, follows an ex-Nazi shoulder and his obsession with a painting of a fisherman. Will all these terrible people find their comeuppance? Take a closer look at each painting and see for yourself.
I love the atmosphere of this show. Even in the “normal” moments, you can cut the sheer amount of tension and emotion with a knife. Part of that was the great music (which did get a bit intrusive at times), but most of it was the cinematography. Each shot was a painting, even with each segment having a different director (including the debut of some guy called Steven Spielberg, maybe you’ve heard of him). The acting in this is pretty spot on, too, with every single actor portraying their character beautifully. Special shout out to Tom Bosley, playing a down-on-his-luck Sidney who is donating his eyes to a special surgery.
All three segments have their good parts. The Cemetery has a great, eerie, and even supernatural atmosphere to it that I just drink in. Eyes has a brilliantly emotional story to it. Escape Route has you at the edge of your seat at times as you try to figure out if this ex-Nazi will get what he deserves. I have to say that my favorite segment was The Cemetery, if only because it was dripping with the perfect horror tone. My least favorite was Escape Route, if only ’cause the ending was a little too predictable for me.
If I had one complaint with this movie (for it IS an hour and a half long), I would say that absolutely every character is a damn poet. Like, everyone has something “big” or “profound” to say at some point in their stories. It just seems too contrived. Not EVERYONE can be Shakespeare. Even if they always say something interesting, it just became too much for me. I kept saying “Normal people don’t wax quite THIS poetically about their situations.”
Still, this is a great first outing for this show. I even love how they incorporated the portraits in each segment. And I don’t think I even have to talk about how perfect Rod Sterling fit into his roll as Horror Host. If you’re in the mood for a few good, creepy stories, I would give this a shot. Fair warning, though: This thing is bound to get you in a very melancholy mood. Then again, horror CAN do that to you. Just remember: Beauty can be found everywhere, even in the most horrifying of pictures in the Night Gallery.