This is one of the worst outings in Anthology horror I have ever seen. The acting was torturous, the effects were amateur and the dialogue curved my spine in agony. Honestly, this episode (only the second so far, and hopefully it is all uphill from here) was excruciating to watch. The only reason I continued was in hopes that SOMETHING might come from all this complete drivel. I was not rewarded for my time spent.
The director need never touch horror again and Claire Forlani should return her check after all these years. This review may sound catty and juvenile, but damn it this piece of garbage was stupefyingly awful and I really felt I should add what little insight I hold on the matter.
My only hope is that someone reads this and steers clear of this garbled piece of refuse. I promise you, this is not fun bad horror. It's just plain old, hackneyed, TNT movie BAD HORROR.
Starts slowly, with dialogue and strange little encounters and clues providing the adeshive to keep one watching to the latter parts of the show. The performances of the two main protaganists aren't brilliant, but they are convincing enough to allow the viewer to remain interested in their plight and the fate. What I found to be the true source of entertainment in this 45mins was the little clues cast about every scene, building up the picture of the mysterious Crouch End. Conversations with supporting characters, warnings, strange looking locals, wierd locations, old rumours all add together to paint a picture of what a strange place Crouch End is (I should know Ive been there is RL :D). The use of the strangers in a unfamiliar place is a well used device, especially American tourists. Yet its used to good effect. The added use of a couple very much in love and about to begin their long journey in life, so happy to be together provides a noticable character arc given the episodes ending. Are they really meant to stay together forever, given their vows? Are the events that take place, uncompleted. Should they still be together even after the strange events of Crouch End?!
Once the couple gets to the place they want, the real nightmare starts for them. Again, I felt there was too many scenes with them two on their own - I guess though they play on their once strong relationship is the needed conflict to take one away from what is actually happening and therefore build up suspense. It is however the manifestations of the children, mutilated animals, the unseen forces of evil at work and other surprises that make the nightmare come to a glorious visual ending and seals the fate of our protagnists. I particularly liked Lonnies transformation into madness. While this episode is light on action, a good dose of drama leads to a very hefty amount of mystery that is synomnous with SK and its the journey of happiness to despair to terror that makes this episode a good example of this show.
The only real downside for me was the irratic behaviour of the two protaganists and their seemingly inability to understand that the area they were heading into wasnt exactly normal. In reality most people would have been able to notice - then again this can be explained away with their status of tourists. Although, Lonnie being a lawyer would have found it strange that they were heading into a seemingly barely middle/working class neighbourhood, which didnt seem a natural area for another lawyer to live in.
However, it is worth watching, if you can stand the slow laboured first act and enjoy mysterious encounters that provide mild horror.
Another successful adaptation of a Stephen King short story to the small screen with more than a few nods to Lovecraft.
The actors did a good job and the London scenery was reasonbly convincing. In this type of story, the logic behind the story is not that important, it is all about the atmosphere and in this respect the story was great. The contrast between the start of the story and the later part, in the bad part of London, was very visible and the cabbie, Archibald, was fabulous. The Lovecraft references, particularly in the street names, were a nice touch.
I supppose to those who are not acquainted with King's Dark Tower chronicle or H.P. Lovecraft's works, this could be construed as a throw away episode. Personally, I found it to be very interesting if only for the DT connection and the tribute to Lovecraft. Inserting a "thinny" (thin spot in the fabric between parrallel worlds) and the apparent Taheen characters was a good move. The Lovercraft references over the doorways in the alley came as a pleasant suprise. The appearance by ( at least a portion of) Cthulhu was great! I can see how some folks probably did not like it, but from my point of view, it was a very good show.
This episode is 60 minutes of cliche and bad English accents. Ironically Clair Forlani (a Brit herself) plays an American in this tribute to tedium. Did the makers of this show really expect people to believe they were in London? It reminded me of the scene from Austin Powers where he remarks something about \\\'London looking nothing like southern California\\\'. The episode was full of the stereotyped \\\'lumme guvnor\\\' characters, stock shots of Big Ben and the houses of parliament and the obligatory British Bobby and red phone box. The fact that the only Brit they could manage to get was Linal Haft (Late of the BT commercials in the 80\\\'s) as the cabbie spoke volumes, even he was sending up the good old cockney cabbie. The acting was poor even from Eion Bailey and the plot seemed to slowly vanish up that tunnel they kept showing. What was the relevance of the oil/ooze? The tentacles? the wolf people? Was this hell or another dimension? What happened to Lonnie? Why were the kids there? So many questions and I supposed you could have a dozen interpretations but seriously, it\\\'s not even worth bothering about.
I really enjoyed this episode, a lot of people probably won't care for it because it's not at all what you would expect to see in this series, but people generally like things that they are comfortable with and feel safe with (hence all the old TV shows making it to the big screen). I was glad that this episode and Battleground were the two so far that had the sort of edge of your seat action without all the blabbing and philosophy of the others. This was a very cool looking episode as they did some weird framing and terrorizing music, not the orchestral stuff that seems to be in every Stephen King movie. The two leads were also really good. So a must watch if you like creepy weird stuff happening that doesn't need an in your face explanation.
Thankfully there was one episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes that included classic Stephen King themes: a lost couple, a strange enviroment, weird characters, unexplainable events, etc. This episode had amazing visual effects, great music, superb acting and really cool cinematography, the two leads played by Eion Bailey and Claire Forlani really conveyed a sense of confusion, fear and terror, and as their relationshop soured, you could really see the madness in Lonnie and the terror in Doris. I wish the other episodes weren't so talky and included more themes like this one, when you rent the DVD be sure to watch this gem, I highly recommend it!
I've often wondered if the original, short story for "Crouch End" was an inspiration to the creators of the "Silent Hill" video games and movie. Seeing the filmed version of "Crouch End" only deepens those thoughts, as I found it difficult to get into this episode very much.
Even with the eminently-watchable Claire Forlani headlining, I just couldn't get into this one too much. Perhaps it's a negative that the filmed version is coming out almost 15 years after the (at the time, somewhat original) short story was published--by now, the storyline almost seems cliched. On top of that, the visual effects in several places (most notably the cat with the horribly maimed eye) seemed quite poorly done. While it's a recognized fact that television effects budgets are not often what they should be (even for well-publicized projects such as this), it was still a bit too much for this reviewer's ability to suspend disbelief.
The Bottom Line: Eh. The short story was much better; the filmed version felt too much like a watered-down, tamer version of "Silent Hill".
The second episode, “Crouch End” starts off in a police station, at a place called ‘Crouch End’, where a distraught woman named Doris is telling an officer that her husband is missing. We are taken to the flashback where we see Doris and her husband Lonnie Freeman, the newlywed couple, arriving in London for their honeymoon. As they site outside a restaurant, Lonnie sees a letter from an old lawyer friend, John Squales, inviting them to meet him. Doris doesn’t want to spend their honeymoon meeting his old friends, but Lonnie feels he should talk to John. Lonnie doesn’t think John would have time to even meet them, but surprisingly, John gives them directions to come meet him at Crouch End. Lonnie takes the directions on a tissue paper, but as they leave the restaurant, he absentmindedly tosses the tissue and leaves. The catch a taxi and tell the driver that they want to go to Crouch End. The driver gets scared upon hearing the name ‘Crouch End, and leaves after warning them not to go there. After a while, they catch another cab. Lonnie realizes that he has lost the directions, but feels that he can call John for help when they reach Crouch End. The cabbie reluctantly drives them to Crouch End. On their way, Doris sees monsters and news articles titles “60 lost in underground horror” and becomes skeptic about their trip. When they enter ‘Crouch End’, Lonnie gets out of the cab to call John for help. Inside the taxi, Archie the cabdriver tells Doris about ‘Slaughter Towen’, another dimension which opens up in Crouch End once in a while, where people go missing and never return. Doris gets scared on hearing the story and gets out of the taxi to be with Lonnie. Lonnie gets John’s address and is ready to leave. However, when the go back, the cab is gone, and they find themselves lost in Crouch End. At first, they feel that they can walk over to John’s place, so they start touring the streets of Crouch End. They find it deserted (except for a strange couple of kids) and come across a fence where they hear a man is moaning on the other side. Lonnie wants to help him, but Doris urges him not to, remembering Archie’s stories. Lonnie goes in anyway, and later Doris hears him scream. Lonnie finally comes out bruised, and Doris wonders if he is okay. Within a few minutes, Lonnie forgets about the experience and is determined to meet John. Doris feels that something is not right, and she is losing Lonnie, and wants to get out of Crouch End. They don’t know that they are trapped in another dimension, and cannot go back to the real World without suffering the consequences.
Even though people argue that this is not as good as ‘Battleground’, I thought ‘Crouch End’ was just as good as the other. The episode is filled with suspense, and you really root for Doris to make it back. The eerie music with the bagpipes, and lighting to create a creepy atmosphere added well. Eion Bailey and Claire Forlani acted very well as the lead, especially when Eion’s character Lonnie starts losing it. Probably the only characters that were horrifying (other than the cat) were the two kids who kept appearing to cause trouble, and they should be credited too.
Overall, I really liked this episode and feel that it is a good addition to the series.
An hour of my life that I'll never get back. 60 truly wasted minutes...no wait...the commercials actually made it bearable.
The first episode was filmed in a viewable manner and flowed well. This was amateur hour at best. The acting by the main characters was horrible and the direction was odious. Another King series bound for the scrap heap?
I'm sure this story must have come from the depths of King's mind at his most drunken and coked out...
I'll keep watching though, but if episodes like this keep getting chucking into the flaming pile of excrement that continuously flows forth from my idiot box, I'll choose to change the channel there forth.
A great storyline and very exciting and anxious events! One of the best stories in the book and the series. As a writer myself (www.josephmcgee.net), I feel that I can give a good review of this show...
Very so often can you find such a compelling story that enters the imagination into such a realm of imagination and fantasy combining something so frightening, yet so interesting that you can\'t pull your eyes away from the TV, that\'s exactly what Crouch End is all about.
Hope this comes on DVD soon - as a writer (www.josephmcgee.net), I\'m a huge fan of the \"King of Horror\" Stephen King. In the literary field, this man is God. I hope the rest of the shows are like this.
I went into this episode (and the one preceding it) expecting bad TV. But I was pleasantly surprised. Both efforts were very good, but Crouch End was the better of the two.
Probably, it was the moody, misty half lit, unworldly lighting that made it so effective. The transition from a bright and cheerful modern day London to a confused and distorted suburban nightmare was just perfect. As was the use of the Lonnie character. Intentional or not, I disliked Lonnie from the beginning and found immense satisfaction in him getting his just deserts in Crouch End. Similarly, I felt relief that Doris escaped her fate. Albeit Doris' fate is what is at issue in the episode and her fate may literally be what she has made of it herself, descending into a landscape of horrors of her own design that she'll never escape.
But the Cthulhu references are the bane of this episode's being.
For one, we all know that Lovecraft (and this is an homage short story to Lovecraft from King) doesn't do well in cinema. Mostly because we've got idiots like Haber attempting to make them.
Reanimator doesn't even bear a close resemblance to the original story (which, I think, is its saving grace--that film was made to be a B-movie, and it's endearingly so).
While Claire is working her ass off trying to make her character work in the realms of this inane adventure, we've got Haber doing the opposite; he's making a good short story into a bad TV episode. The camera tricks and CG tentacles really don't do it for me; the primary element to this story should be insanity, and even that's lost to silliness when actor Eion Bailey tries it on. But I don't think the actors are to blame here--the director and editors should have known better.
The Lovecraft is interesting, even if half-heartedly changed slightly, but it's just not going to fly very well. It could have, but it didn't.