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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

1.19 --- The Burning Man

Directed by : J.D. Feigelson
Written by : J.D. Feigelson (story by Ray Bradbury)
Starring : Piper Laurie, André Gower, Roberts Blossom
First aired : 15th of November, 1985.

During a tremendous heatwave, little Doug (André Gower, The Monster Squad) and his aunt Neva (Piper Laurie, The Hustler, Carrie) are traveling by car to a nearby lake in search of refreshment. On the road, they encounter a strange looking fellow (Roberts Blossom, Christine, Home Alone), who hitches a ride and immediately starts rambling about many things.

In particular, the man can't seem to stop talking about his belief in a genetically-bred pure evil, which is destined to awake on a hot summer day like this. According to him, the evil incarnate will arise from dried mud and then feast on everything in sight, humans included. Doug is almost buying into his stories, but Neva soon decides enough is enough, and boots him out of the car in the middle of the road.

Once at the lake, Doug and Neva forget all their worries, but before hitting the road back home, Doug is slightly worried for no particular reason. During the ride back, they encounter a little boy, suspiciously wearing the same suit as the deranged man they picked up hours back. The boy says he was abandoned, and Neva picks him up, but minutes after he whispers something in her ear which visibly upsets her. As the car sputters to a halt, the boy leans forward to Neva and Doug...and with a fiendish grin, asks them if they believe in genetically-bred pure evil.

***

Based on a short story by the great Ray Bradbury, The Burning Man is an odd little episode which leaves a lot of open space to imagination. Was the rambling man right ? Is the little boy the Lucifer incarnate ? What does he do to Doug and Neva ? We never find out, but the grin that the little boy at the end sports does not particularily radiate goodness. What's even creepier is that the boy, played by Danny Cookson who, aside for his role in Terminator 2, is usually credited as an voice actor in anime dubs, looks like a prepubescent Roman Polanski. Egads.

I should also single Roberts Blossom out for his wonderful performance - he really looks stark raving mad. The ever-reliable Piper Laurie gives additional star power to this episode, and her performance is expectably good.

Comments on "1.19 --- The Burning Man"

 

Blogger Tim said ... (6:33 PM) : 

I really liked this episode. Most of us probably remember Bradbury for his folksy, aw-sucks Americana stories, but he also produced a lot of creepy horror stories like this one. The old man's creepy monologues do a great job of gradually sliding from sort of goofy but affable into sinister weirdness, and this has strong acting all around.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:33 PM) : 

why do the newer TZs suck so much?

 

Anonymous RJ49 said ... (9:33 AM) : 

They suck because they lack originality and the haunting affects worthy of the Twilight Zone

But this episode is worthy of it

 

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