Thursday, October 15, 2020

Cathode Ray Mission 15 - Ghost Story - Alter Ego

I don't like this interior either, but let's not overreact.

Ghost Story (aka Circle of Fear)
S01E06 Alter Ego

Alter Ego is scripted by prolific classic television writer D.C. Fontana so expectations are high. Thankfully, Alter Ego delivers a chilling tale of strangeness. The alter ego is in fact the imaginary doppelganger of a wheelchair-bound boy named Bobby (Michael-James Wixted). He has imagined another version of himself to play chess with but slowly this other Bobby takes over as he torments pets, friends, and in particular a schoolteacher (Helen Hayes). At first, she takes it all in stride until she finally breaks and lays into the kid. 

What is impressive in Alter Ego is how far it is willing to go. There is a certain kind of relaxing spookiness to most of the series which very rarely dips into true nastiness. Alter Ego feels like that at the start but things slowly escalate from harmless pranks to some unfortunate animals until finally, someone ends up dead. Up until the final moments, and due to the usual dour endings for the stories of this series, I was prepared for evil to triumph yet again, but the story takes another twist into something slightly more whimsical yet totally in line with how a child might resolve this whole problem.

Alter Ego is a good example of a style of television storytelling that doesn’t really exist anymore, it is very even-paced, low-key, but still dedicated to delivering some horror more bent towards to chills rather than outright horror. Alter Ego is a good haunted story to watching a cold fall night.

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