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Sunday Viewing:: Ghost Story’s House of Evil and Doorway to Death

November 23rd, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments

Ever since our pal Crabbymoon identified a recent NTT as an episode of GHOST STORY aka CIRCLE OF FEAR, I’ve been on a binge-mission. I had started the series on YouTube years ago but it disappeared as soon as the universe discovered I was enjoying it. Thank Goodness Crabbymoon rekindled my interest because a recent Google dig unearthed the series in its entirety, looking far sharper than it had before. (You can view the entire series HERE and I’d suggest doing it pronto because something tells me this ship is sailing soon.) Not every episode is a goldmine but there are more than a few standouts and even the lesser offerings are laced with super potent LSD (Lurid Seventies Décor). I haven’t watched them all yet but allow me to spotlight two segments, both directed by DARYL DUKE (THE SILENT PARTNER).

HOUSE OF EVIL is a must see. Written by ROBERT BLOCK, it stars a young JODIE FOSTER as Judy, a deaf-mute girl who discovers she can communicate telepathically with her grandfather who happens to be played by MELVYN DOUGLAS. It’s a sweet set up until you learn that grandpa dabbles in black magic and his inheritance is hate. DOUGLAS and FOSTER are not surprisingly both phenomenal. There’s a scene involving grudge-gramp instructing unsuspecting Judy on how to make voodoo dolls out of raisin cookies, tooth-picks and swatches of stolen clothing and there’s something truly mesmerizing about its patience and the weaving of Douglas’ voiceover with dreamily random piano cords. It doesn’t hurt that this supernatural tale takes place in a slightly remodeled version of the BEWITCHED house.

DOORWAY TO DEATH is a later episode written by HAMMER regular JIMMY SANGSTER during the shows retitled CIRCLE OF FEAR second season. This is the first episode I ever saw and it remains hard to beat in my book. SUSAN DEY, LEIF GARRETT and DAWN LYN (Dodie!) are siblings who have just moved into an apartment building in San Francisco. This is a rather unusual ghost story as the younger kids explore the third floor they encounter a room that leads to another dimension where a seemingly nice man spends an inordinate amount of time chopping wood in the snow. It turns out his axe has chopped more than just logs and the silent apparition has his eye on DEY as a replacement for the wife he killed. As with HOUSE OF EVIL, director Duke brings a lyrical dreamy quality to the story while never letting up on the suspense. So far these two kindertraumatic episodes are my favorites but I’m keeping my mind open as other installments include the likes of JANET LEIGH, KIM DARBY and PATTY DUKE. Back to YouTube for me.

Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming




4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Brother BillNo Gravatar // Nov 23, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Don’t miss Dark Vengeance, where Martin Sheen and Kim Darby(!) uncover a haunted rocking horse (a very weird and ambiguously unnerving episode) and Earth, Air, Fire and Water, written by Harlan Ellison (it appears to be somewhat of a loose adaptation of “Shattered Like A Glass Goblin”. ) Both episodes occurred early in the shows 2nd season, after the title was changed to “Circle of Fear”.

  • 2 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // Nov 23, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Ghost Story/Circle of Fear is my most mostest favorite 70’s horror show. ‘Earth, Air, Fire and Water’ is a classic… and ‘The Deadly Door’ always haunted me… as did those raisin cookie voodoo dolls.
    There’s a good DVD set of the entire series now, so I ditched the crummy old VHS copies I had.

  • 3 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Nov 23, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Brother Bill,

    I’m definitely going to check out Darby in “Dark Vengeance” tonight. I’ve been looking forward to that one.

    Knobgobbler.

    That’s two recommendations for “Earth, Air , Fire and Water” so I’ll be watching that one tonight too.

    I probably should have watched them in order but I figured I could jump around. I just had to watch “Doorway to Death again because I’ve kept thinking of it and I was so sad that it got pulled from Toutube. This version looks a lot better so it was worth the wait. It’s such a great episode or maybe I just wish there was a door in my house that led to a cabin in the woods.

    I haven’t been wowed by every episode. I was a little disappointed in “Legion of Demons”. The devil cult thing was awesome and it was cool seeing a young Shirley Knight but I thought the story was sort of sloppy. So far though, even the ones that don’t exactly hit the mark for me are worth the watch. Maybe it’s my age but all of the horror devices used back then from the weird camera angles to the eerie musical cues to the canned lighting and thunder all still work for me and take me instantly back. I can’t wait to watch more and I know I still have some good ones ahead of me.

  • 4 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Nov 24, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    You guys were right! Earth, Air, Fire and Water is pretty freaky and that ending is insane. And Dark Vengeance was pretty perfect for me. I loved the repressed childhood memory angle and it’s a classic killer toy tale. I felt bad for the horse in the end! I’d say that one is a must see for sure….

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