Night Visions (2001– )
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I happily started checking the schedule each week to see if it was an episode I needed and finally the one I missed was going to be on. It wasn't, they played repeats of The Dead Zone instead. I figured that they'd play them eventually, even if it was in a lousy timeslot. Now they've done something so low, I have trouble expressing how angry I am.
Tonight SFC aired a supposedly original 'movie' called Shadow Realm. I then discovered that this was nothing more than 2 episodes of Night Visions with the original titles and intros removed and SFC's name plastered on it.
This is a bald-faced *LIE*. SFC had absolutely nothing to do with this 'movie' other than hacking up the episodes and slapping their name on it! I consider this outright theft. They'd probably argue that since they bought the rights to it, they can claim it to be an original, but how many people would accept it if I were to buy the Mona Lisa and proclaim it to be my original work? No, I'm not comparing Night Visions to a priceless work of art, but the principle is the same and it deserves to be seen the way the creators intended.
Because of this, you can be sure that you will never see those two episodes (Patterns/Maze, Harmony/Voices) in their unedited form, because that would show the SFC to be the liars they are. That's not just an opinion, it's a fact. They lied about creating this 'movie'.
I hope that the IMDB approves this comment because I think it's important for fans of this show to be aware of just how low the SFC really is.
Most episodes were decent: I'd give an average rating of 6.5 out of 10. There were a couple of clunkers but also some little gems. My three favorite episodes are:
- A View Through the Window, with Bill Pullman. The Army finds in the desert a portal to another dimension; it seems like a fantasy romance, but there is a creepy twist.
- Patterns, featuring Malcolm McDowell as a patient with obsessive-compulsive disoder.
- Bitter Harvest, perhaps the darkest entry, with the late Jack Palance as a grim farmer.
The biggest problem is how, once you realize nearly every episode has a twist ending, you start to anticipate it - and often guess it halfway through.
But alas, this is probably about the 5000th TV show to hit the air since television was invented and just about everything about this show seems either unoriginal or enters the 'been there, done that' territory because so many shows before it has dabbled in the same subject matter.
Unlike "Tales From The Crypt" where the host was the fun and always hilarious Crypt Keeper, here we have a sombre and straight-to-the-point Henry Rollins (of the Rollins Band) presenting each story with a quick foreword. Each story blends mystery, suspense and most of the time, death, together to make for a half hour episode of fun. Unfortunately, most of the stories are extremely predictable and the endings don't always come as a surprise. But still, it makes for good Summer filler, and seeing guest actors meeting a sorry demise at the end of each episode is always fun.
FOX - Keep this one on the air!
Whoever cast Rollins as the Serling-like MC should get his knuckles rapped. Being from a later generation I didn't know who Rollins was and thought the guy had to be a relative of the producer - wooden as a post.
I ended up overlooking his part and concentrated on the shows, which by and large, seemed geared towards the younger (college) set.
The one episode I thought unsettling was "Bitter Harvest", but then Jack Palance could read the telephone book and scare the bejabbers out of you. Evil oozes out of his pores in this one. Check out his first performance as Walter Jack Palance in the 1950 "Panic in the Streets" and you can spot his brilliance in making villainy come so naturally.
I particularly like "The Maze", not only for the weird story, but for the wild looking buildings that I guess are on the Eugene, OR campus. The architecture is striking, and the way they were filmed, almost alien. Then, it also had my favorite whacko, Amanda Plummer.
That being said, my all time favorite is "Patterns" with Malcolm McDowell giving a bravura performance as the patient with a problem and Miguel Ferrer giving a solid believable job as the psychiatrist. I have since driven my family equally nuts by saying, in Malcolm's tone, the innocuous "Five is nice." at the darndest times.
SciFi channel, as of late 2005 runs a marathon of these every so often so I am able to gradually build up the collection, even of the so-so episodes. I suggest you do the same as these types of shows are not getting any better.
All in all, not a bad attempt at a genre that has been milked dry. It is particularly enjoyable in that to my mind, the acting by unfamiliar faces has all been credible, and as above, sometimes outstanding. I'll take it over Outer Limits or the later Twilight Zone any day.
There were so many big name celebrity guests like Lou Diamond Phillips, Carey Elwes, Marla Sokoloff, and others. I loved every episode but my favorite would have be an episode where these three kids get into an accident but somehow get a second chance.
I also like the episode where Marla Sokoloff thinks that she sees ghost who really isn't a ghost at all. I wish they hadn't killed it.
The Bokor 4/10- The dead body is legitimately worth watching for how ridiculously funny it looks. Bad acting and mediocre script.
2. Dead Air 7/10- Lou Philip Diomand really holds this episode together. Some creepy scenes and good acting make this one stand out.
Renovation 5/10- Very predictable from the beginning, which makes the rest of the episode a bit of a chore to sit through and not very scary.
3. A View through the window 6/10- Really cool sci-fi concept and a good story. I feel it could have been elaborated on a bit though. Great Ending.
Quiet Please 7/10- Cary Elwes was pretty good in this episode. Kind of a comedy up until the end.
4. Now He's Coming Up the Stairs- 5/10- Okay episode, nothing really scary or good about it though.
Used Car 8/10 - Great acting. A few mediocre jump scares and a decent story.
5. Rest Stop 2/10- Nothing but a load of dud false jump scares, where people sneak up on their friends or a friend is standing right behind them when they turn around. No tension and no scares.
After Life 6/10- First half was a little slow, but the second half makes up for it. Good ending too.
6. If a Tree Falls... 6/10- Gets some credit for being interesting and being an original take on a generic subject.
The Occupant 5/10- Okay episode. The main character was stupid and annoying throughout, but had some good tension towards the end and a nice climax.
7. Reunion 4/10- Had some good acting but everything was so predictable.
Neighborhood Watch- 6/10- I liked this one a bit. It had some good acting and I liked the scenario.
8 Bitter Harvest 6/10- Pretty decent episode. Good ending.
My So Called Life and Death- 7/10 - While predictable, I still really enjoyed this episode.
9 The Doghouse 7/10- Had some really good scenes in it.
Still Life 6/10- The beginning was slow, but the resolution made the entire segment worth it.
10 Hate Puppet 8/10- I really liked the concept and execution. The acting was pretty decent as well. My main problem was I felt the ending was a bit anti climatic.
Darkness 4/10- This one had such promise with the premise. Shadow people are one of my favorite (and most underused) horror elements. This one was a letdown from its premise. I feel a full length movie and a bigger budget would have been more suited.
11. The Maze 8/10- Thora Birch is always fun to watch. This episode had a great premise and an excellent execution. One of the best of the series.
Harmony 5/10- Some interesting questions were brought up as to what was going on, but the ultimate answers provided were not well implemented. The finale was really bad as well.
12. Cargo 3/10- This episode was kind of stupid. Jaime Kennedy was not the problem, and was pretty decent in this. It was just the fact that nothing happened until the end and the twist was stupid.
Switch 9/10- This is the best episode of the series. It was trippy and surreal, with some music video editing. I liked the story and the acting, while a little meh, was good enough.
13. Patterns 7/10- Really great acting from both the leads. I liked the
ideas behind the story. Towards the end, it gets a bit comical, but it was still really good.
Voices 5/10- Started out with some potential, but kind of turned for the worse towards the end.
Only 26 Episodes were finished (including 6 Never Originally Aired Episodes with Host Henry Rollins.)
Night Visions Episode List: 1. The Passenger List 2. The Boker 3. Dead Air 4. Renovation 5. A View Through A Window 6. Quiet, Please 7. Now He's Coming Up The Stairs 8. Used Car 9. Rest Stop 10. After Life 11. If A Tree Falls... 12. The Occupant 13. Reunion 14. Neighborhood Watch 15. Bitter Harvest 16. My So Called Life & Death 17. The Doghouse 18. Still Life 19. Hate Puppet 20. Darkness 21. The Maze 22. Harmony 23. Cargo 24. Switch 25. Patterns 26. Voices
I would really love to peer one more time with this movie when it comes back to Studio 23. TO other horror fans out there, this one isn't a waste of trying.
I found the stories to be trite and predictable. There was little originality - mostly old stories as the basis. It's like 'The Outer Limits', but in the 'Young Adults' section. Henry Rollins, while I dig him well enough, does a rather unconvincing job with the 'punchlines' at the end.
If you want a cute 30 minute piece with an actor or two you'll easily identify, go ahead. Otherwise, I say stick to 'The Outer Limits'.