I can’t lie to you kids. The first two stories in this DAN CURTIS-directed, RICHARD MATHESON-scripted horror anthology/potential series pilot are in my opinion, not so hot. They are well cast and serviceable enough, but your usually game Unkle found himself looking down at his non-existent watch on more occasions than he would prefer. The first tale involves a young ED BEGLEY, JR. traveling through time in an antique car (’nuff said) and the second involves PATRICK MACNEE (yikes! Count Iblis from the original BATTLESTAR GALACTIA!) and ANJANETTE COMER (from Kinder-fave THE BABY) in a rather routine vampire tale. Third times a charm though, because the last story entitled “Bobby” delivers more creeps than an OSMOND family obstetrician.
In “Bobby,” JOAN HACKET (HOW AWFUL ABOUT ALLAN) is a grieving mother who is having trouble dealing with the recent drowning death of her young son (BURNT OFFERINGS’ chimney pancake LEE MONTGOMERY). Rather than going the Mrs. Voorhees route and hacking up individuals who are not even remotely responsible for the tragedy, JOAN decides to attack the problem at its source and reanimate her drowned kid via black magic. Take it from me, black magic can and will fix all of your problems BUT there is always some kind of tricky catch! Dealing with Satan is a lot like dealing with Colombia House.
You don’t have to be familiar with THE MONKEY’S PAW or even PET SEMATARY to know that Mom is in for a rude awakening when a soaked Bobby does indeed show up on her doorstep. Her gradual realization that Bobby is not quite as she remembers is akin to getting excited to watch LAVERNE
& SHIRLEY and then realizing it is a “California” episode. CURTIS, who staged a parallel two character showdown in TRILOGY OF TERROR, knows which screws to tighten and when and the final moments in “Bobby” brand a similar lasting mental scar. My favorite bit involves a mocking, paranoia inspiring phone call from the never seen Dad. It’s a classic moment of all-consuming dread that really gets under your skin. As mediocre as DEAD OF NIGHT begins, this last tale more than makes up for it. “Bobby” is not only classic DAN CURTIS, it’s some serious classic Kindertrauma as well.