Friday, October 28, 2011

QuickList: My Six Favorite Episodes of the Ray Bradbury Theater

The complete, 5-disc series of The Ray Bradbury Theater features 65 episodes, but these are the half-dozen that I remember most fondly:

*"The Playground": not even William Shatner's hammy acting could detract from this ultra-creepy episode.  Sometimes kids do the damnedest things.

*"The Town Where No One Got Off": the title suggests an epidemic of sexual frustration, but the episode (starring a well-cast Jeff Goldblum) proves an unnerving tale of rural unfriendliness.

*"Skeleton": Eugene Levy is an excellent choice for the role of a hypochondriac who grows obsessed with his own fossil framework.  Mr. Munigant and his dark office, meanwhile, are enough to chill anyone to the bone.

*"The Black Ferris":  Imagine Something Wicked This Way Comes compressed into an eerily atmospheric short film.  For some reason, the guy operating the titular ride freaks me out even more than Mr. Cooger himself.

*"Mars is Heaven": Shows that the Red Planet can also be the home of American Gothic.  It's a testament to Bradbury's genius that a simple line like "But you're not thirsty" can have such terrifying effect.

*"Usher II":  An episode steeped in medieval Gothicism.  It offers plenty of plot twists as well, and scenes of vengeance that would make Poe proud.

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