Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Cathode Ray Mission 28 - Nightmare Cafe - Sanctuary for a Child

"Look kid, if there's a People Under the Stairs sequel put in a good word for me."

Nightmare Café
S01E05 Sanctuary for a Child

Nightmare Café turns into a sort of Quantum Leap with more confusing rules this episode as the café appears in Frank’s home town. A young boy wanders in and leaves soon after. We discover that Frank’s friend and formal romantic rival has a child who lies dying in a coma from an accident. Is it the same child that Frank finds himself visiting via the café? Yes, of course, it is.

Dying children probably isn’t the kind of nightmare most people had in mind when tuning in. If the early episodes were crime dramas with a sprinkle of the supernatural, Sanctuary for a Child is a movie of the week with plenty of melodramatic schmaltz. The story isn’t nostalgic enough to push it into Ray Bradbury territory but it definitely feels like that is the angle being taken. I will give this story kudos for not pulling back with a last-minute reprieve from death; at least it is willing to fully commit to its story and add a touch of darkness to a story that could have been sickly sweet. 

The one thing I find very curious is how each episode of Nightmare Café will focus on a single story. Most television breaks a story into an A and B plot to give our leads both something to do, but Nightmare Café focuses on a single story and generally gives one of our two characters the most to do.

One more to go and we will be coming to the end of our tour of Nightmare Café. Can it deliver one solid scare before its demise? 

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