Saturday, May 21, 2016

THRILLER: The Prediction

Hosted by and Starring Boris Karloff
Guest Stars:  Audrey Dalton, Alex Davion, Abraham Sofaer, Alan Caillou, Murvyn Vye
Directed by John Brahm
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A mentalist who's entertained audiences for years with his concocted act is shaken when he begins to experience actual visions of death and murder during his performances.

The first episode of the series to feature host Karloff in an acting role as well, it's well tailored to his talents and the distinguished veteran gives a top-drawer performance as the mentalist who after fooling his audience for so long finally has true predictions to make, which are at first dismissed as the ravings of an elderly and ill man.  The plotline is somewhat similar to the 1935 Claude Rains film, The Clairvoyant, but with a more sinister undercurrent, and it's an extremely well-polished episode which also includes fine supporting work by Dalton and Sofaer, a taut script by Donald Sanford, and excellent photography.

Monday, May 16, 2016

THRILLER: Girl With A Secret

Hosted by Boris Karloff
Guest Stars:  Fay Bainter, Paul Hartman, Anne Seymour, Myrna Fahey, Rhodes Reason
Directed by Mitchell Leisen
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

After learning her husband is a secret agent, a young wife tries to hide his new assignment from his family, but finds it creates only scorn and suspicion towards her.

Although the teleplay depends too much on a number of coincidences to trap the heroine of the story, this isn't a bad hour, with a very distinguished cast that perform their parts well, including an effective  turn by Victor Buono as the episode's principal villain.  Rex Holman's assassin seems patterned a bit too closely after Richard Widmark in the classic noir Kiss Of Death, but it's not a bad spy story and Fahey and Reason make a cute couple.  Co-stars Fahey and Harry Ellerbe would also act together in Roger Corman's House Of Usher, released the same year as this episode.

Friday, May 6, 2016

THRILLER: The Watcher

Hosted by Boris Karloff
Guest Stars:  Martin Gabel, Stu Erwin, Olive Sturgess, Richard Chamberlain, James Westerfield
Directed by John Brahm
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A schoolteacher with a psychotic urge to kill the impure stalks a teenager and his girlfriend as they engage in a love affair.

Well-acted but not one of the series' better hours, in my opinion, this episode features Gabel as the titular "Watcher," and he gives a good performance, but we never learn much about him, as the episode seems structured around the scorn afforded to Chamberlain and Sturgess' romance by the community, with Gabel's killer acting on their distaste to an extreme level.  There are some genuinely frightening scenes, but the story's not a particularly strong one, and includes a hard-to-believe sequence where Alan Baxter's sheriff presses a grieving mother far too hard for information about her daughter's death.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

THRILLER: The Purple Room

Hosted by Boris Karloff
Guest Stars:  Rip Torn, Patricia Barry, Richard Anderson, Alan Napier, Ray Teal
Directed by Douglas Heyes
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

After inheriting an old mansion, a young man is eager to sell it for a profit, but must first spend the night in a room said to be haunted by ghosts.

The first installment into horror territory for the series, but far from the last, this is a well-designed episode by Heyes who wrote and directed, and even casts his wife in a small role.  With the production setting up all the exposition about the ghosts in early dialogue scenes, this allows for a lengthy sequence with Torn alone in the spooky mansion where the silence on the soundtrack builds suspense and chills.  When Torn finally encounters the ghost, it's a pretty expert makeup which provides a strong payoff, before the story goes in an entirely different direction.