Friday, December 16, 2011
Darkroom: The Bogeyman Will Get You (1981)
Original Air Date: December 4th, 1981
Darkroom was a short lived television series which premiered in 1981 and enjoyed a short but sweet six episode run (featuring 16 stories) before sailing off towards obscurity. Aside from rerunning on the USA Network in the early 90s, this clever anthology series seems to have all but disappeared.
Darkroom came out at just the right time for my budding love of being scared silly. I was ten when I first saw The Bogeyman Will Get You and through the many years of sampling other warped products, it stuck with me because it was clever and subtlety creepy. This segment was written by Robert Bloch and starred a then-unknown Helen Hunt as well as the famous child actor Quinn Cummings (who was way too old for dolls when she appeared in The Babysitter the year before). These girls play sisters who tend to let their imagination run away with them. This might come in handy when a darkly handsome man from their past shows up. Not surprisingly, as soon as he appears in town the first body washes up in the local lake. He’s hiding something alright, and Hunt will soon find out that his secret is not quite the one she was expecting.
How I adored stumbling upon this treasure one dark Friday night. At the time, I was not aware that it was an episode of Darkroom, but when I began to dig back into my TV-laden memories, this was one of the first things which appeared before me. It was some years later that I was able to actually re-watch the episode, and it’s only gotten better with age, even if the end reveal is a little ridiculous (in fact, I think I remember chuckling a little back then too). It’s all about the build-up, baby, and there’s lots of sneaking around through dark rooms to make this episode a rather exciting watch.
James Coburn was the host of Darkroom but when the show reran on USA I believe his host segments were removed, probably to make room for more ads. That is truly a shame, since I think we can all agree that Coburn can turn on the sinister factor when needed!