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The Wild Wild West (1969)

Season 2 Episode 12

The Night of the Man-Eating House

Aired Friday 7:30 PM Dec 12, 1966 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
26 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The Night of the Man-Eating House
Jim, Artie, and a sheriff are accompanying a prisoner through the swamps when they take refuge in an abandoned house... haunted by the spirit of a dead woman.

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  • review

    A halloween Epsiode-with a cliffhanger that shows the first part was a dream-until you get to the end and you see the beginning teaser that fallows a little flat
  • "Arte, no more horror novels before bed."

    The Wild, Wild West rarely deals with anything genuinely spooky. The strange goings-on are usually attributed to madmen and various other persons of no background pulling strings behind the scenes in a Scooby-Doo like fashion. This was different. The episode's classic wavy-lined dream beginning (if you had a good enough memory and weren't too focused on the current events) was a bit of a giveaway if you didn't automatically assume (as I did) that the opening credits cut it off. The whole house-being-embodied-by-a-woman's-spirit plot device was interesting, if not slightly unsettling, and Arte playing House Whisperer was worthy of a National Geographic time slot. The shutters opening and closing with the house's mood, however, became tedious over time. Jim magically transforming into Captain Obvious with his constant remarks of, "She wanted us to do this" and "She wanted us to go in here" was no fun, either. The part where Day (or Dias, as he adamantly demanded) staggered as he was walking towards the two agents was what finally prompted me to exclaim, "Oh my heavens, Arte's having a dream!" I basically liked the episode, but the ending killed it for me. I would have accepted it, though, if Arte had either turned tail and ran when the house opened its door, or if Rod Serling had come through in voice-over and proclaimed, "If you ever come across an abandoned house in the deep south, think twice before you decide to stay the night: You might be walking straight through the door.... to the Twilight Zone."moreless
  • Do you believe in ghosts?

    A really off-the-wall episode with a potentially goofy concept, but somehow "Night of the Man-Eating House" works, thanks largely to Conrad, Martin and guest star Hurd Hatfield. It's funny - Hatfield had previously played a mysterious figure whose de-aging was a mystery (Dorian Gray) and here he is again as Liston Day, the fanatic who plots to give Texas back to the Spanish.

    I was expecting the house and its happenings to be man-made, controlled by Day from his lab. I was pleasantly surprised to see the "ghost" element and the ending was downbeat and ominous, almost like the ending to an episode of "The Twilight Zone." Ross Martin is particularly strong - man, does he sell those scenes when he is talking to the "house" to let he and Jim free. Hatfield makes the best kind of TWWW villain - smug, dapper and dangerous (like the best Bond villains too!)moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Day says the infected rats have been behind the walls for 30 years. He was in prison, and his father died shortly after Day went to prison. The rats would have long since died of starvation. Caroline wouldn't have kept them alive, since she turns against her son once she learns what he intends. And if the rats could escape to get food, they wouldn't be trapped behind the walls.

    • Artie deduces, correctly, that when they damage the house, Caroline cries. However, the sheriff fires a number of shots into the walls and doors as he shoots at first the ball of light and then Day when he escapes, and there is no unearthly crying.

    • Jim first notices his belt buckle is rusted before he mentions his weapons. Later Artie says that only the weapons are rusted.

    • After the mini-grenade West throws at the door explodes, we see the door with little damage. But when Jim and Artie run to the door there is more extensive damage than shown before.

    • Gadgets: explosive pellet in belt buckle, derringer sleeve gun, knife in neck sheath

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Jim: Not a sign of the blast.
      : All right, how does that fit into your theory?
      : I'm through apologizing for what it does to logic. It's almost... like this house had the knack, the ability to renew itself.
      : How do you go about handling a house that treats you like an enemy?
      : I don't know. Maybe the answer is to treat it like a friend and not like an enemy.

    • Artie: Caroline. Caroline Day, listen. Your son is insane. Maybe right from the start. You've wasted your love on a madman, Caroline.

  • NOTES (3)