Saturday, October 17, 2020

Cathode Ray Mission 17 - Circle of Fear - Dark Vengeance

That 'O' looks kind of familiar...

Circle of Fear (aka Ghost Stores)
S01E15 Dark Vengeance

At this point, Ghost Stories has transformed into Circle of Fear due to low ratings. This attempt to retool the show also jettisoned the Winston Essex intros and outros and frankly, they weren’t really needed. The framing device never really made much sense to begin with. 

Speaking of not making much sense, we now come to Dark Vengeance starring Martin Sheen as a construction worker who unearths a strange box. He brings it home to his wife played by Kim Darby. While his wife has increasingly disturbing nightmares, he becomes obsessed with carefully cleaning and opening the box. Inside is a toy horse and also the subject of the nightmares. The horse looms ever-present and seems to teleport from room to room and causing accidents and damage. 

The whole episode carries a strange air about it and the threat itself is absurd yet still frightening. It is difficult to make a toy horse an object of fright but the story leans into the uncanniness of it and makes it work. Why this horse is doing what it is doing is equally strange and the ultimate revelation doesn’t work quite as well as the set-up but it is still odd enough to remain memorable.

Dark Vengeance is far and away the oddest episode of this short-lived series and for that reason alone it is worth taking a look at. Sadly (or not so sadly), there is no Winston Essex to hold our hand this time out.

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