Friday, October 16, 2020

Cathode Ray Mission 16 - Ghost Story - House of Evil

"You are now under my control. You are now delicious."

Ghost Story
S01E08 House of Evil

House of Evil is written by masters of horror, Robert Bloch and Richard Matheson, and it delivers the goods. The set-up is bizarre and intriguing. Grandpa (Melvyn Douglas) is coming to visit his granddaughter (Jodie Foster) after a long period of silence. His daughter died during childbirth. Grandad blames the father (Richard Mulligan) who has remarried and adopted a young boy. Did I mention that grandpa is telepathic, can speak with the dead, and seems to have knowledge of sympathetic magic?

Well, he does, and he’s here to kill everyone in the house and take his granddaughter. He’s brought her a dollhouse that is a replica of the family house. He helps her make dolls out of cookies to represent the family and then goes about plotting to do everyone in and all the while the ghost of a daughter is begging him to no go through with this all.

It is a deliriously original plot with a complex set-up and slow-burn horror. We immediately know that grandpa is up to something the moment that he is introduced but the depth of his evil is slowly revealed, and he is a nasty customer. House of Evil is an engaging story with a great build-up. Melvyn Douglas is a great villain and Jodie Foster does an amazing job in her silent role even at such a young age. This is a top-tier episode of Ghost Story and it is a shame that it lives in relative obscurity with the rest of the series. 

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