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Digital Views

October 4, 2012

By MARK TURNER
    It's sad to think that an entire generation has grown up with no clue as to what horror really means. Today's youth thinks of horror as either serial killers with personality or ghostly encounters done with a hand-held camera.
    They know so little of the origins of horror on film. Not only that, what was considered scary and horror filled years ago they see as quaint and funny. I've told people before, place yourself in the time period of the movie/show you're watching. Put yourself in that year. And then watch it with the eyes of someone from that time. If you choose to do so, you'll find yourself enjoying one of the classic horror anthology series from the sixties, THRILLER.
     You'll not only get a great show, you'll be exposed to a host whose name at one time was synonymous with horror, Boris Karloff. Here again, today's youth have no clue who Karloff, Lugosi or Chaney were, which is sad, indeed. Their films have been released on DVD and a new collection of horror classics is on its way to blu-ray from Universal Studios.
    Karloff as the host of this series presents himself well and is a good jumping-on point for true fans of horror.
    THRILLER was one of the first shows of its kind, an anthology show that featured chilling tales each week with a different set of actors and stories. Subjects could range from tried and true mysteries to ghost stories. You never knew what you would find when you tuned in with the exception of Boris Karloff at his best, introducing that nights fright.
    So why talk about this series now? Last year the entire series was released by Image and is on sale now at amazon.com for $88.99. That figure can be pretty steep for someone not sure yet if this is something they'll like. So Image has released a special edition of the show, THRILLER: FAN FAVORITES, which amazon offers for only $13.64. What they've done is taken 10 episodes that the fans have chosen as the best the series has to offer and collected them into an affordable box set. And some of these shows can still give you chills.
    What better way to start off October, the month of Halloween?
    One of the best leads off disc one, a story called "The Grim Reaper." In this tale a young William Shatner plays an accountant who goes to visit his aunt (GILLIGAN'S ISLAND star Natalie Shaeffer). A mystery writer who's just married a much younger man, she lives in a recently purchased house that's decorated to suit the style of her writing.
    To cap it off, she's purchased an infamous painting called The Grim Reaper, a painting whose owners have all died mysterious deaths. Against the warnings of her nephew, she intends to keep the painting. But things will happen before the end of this night.
    Another episode has a most unusual title but still offers a few scares. "Pigeon's From Hell" was based on the short story by Robert Howard, the creator of Conan the barbarian. In this story two brothers find themselves stranded while on a road trip in the south. Staying in an abandoned house, one is murdered and attempts to kill his brother. When the sheriff goes back with him, the true terror of this house is eventually revealed.
    These are just two examples of the sort of stories found in this collection. Topics range from haunted houses to sorcerers to ghosts to a serial killer. Better than that the talent this series offered behind the scenes was high class as well. Even PSYCHO author Robert Bloch has a tale represented here, one that was later used in the anthology film ASYLUM. And with each episode we are introduced by our benevolent host, that master of monsters known as Boris Karloff.
    It's sad to think that there are no shows like this any longer. For many we grew up with these as staples on TV. There was THE TWILIGHT ZONE, NIGHT GALLERY, ONE STEP BEYOND and of course THRILLER. The shows never gave us the same characters from week to week, but it did give us more scares than we bargained for. Who knows, some of these many might find scary still. But none of the scares are so far gone that even the youngest member of your family can't handle it. This show was creepy for sure, but stemming from the sixties chances are you young ones can even handle it.
     So if you're looking for something different this Halloween season why not give this one a try? Sit back, popcorn bowl nearby (not in hand so you won't toss it when you are scared), drink on the coffee table and the light turned out. Pop in the first disc and enjoy the first 5 episodes collected here in THRILLER: FAN FAVORITES.
    Who knows, you might just enjoy it so much you'll save and order that entire series after all .. .if you dare.
 
    Past Digital Views reviews, other current reviews and more can be found online at http://dvddigitalviews.blogspot.com

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