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Sunday, 6 January 2013

boris karloff's thriller - "in God's name, just speak!"

Like Rod Serling's Twilight Zone, Boris Karloff's Thriller was an anthology of fictional delights on America's NBC channel in the early 60s, by turns chilling and moral, albeit frightful (and sometimes crime) rather than sci-fi, and hosted by Mr Frankenstein's monster, whose gravelly-toned opening of each episode introduced the players and warned the faint of heart of what was to come, 'as sure as his name was Boris Karloff'. A classic conveyor belt of goose-bumping goodies - gothic mansions, foggy moors and graveyards, grisly monsters, ghouls and bogey-men, murderers, swindlers and would-be Devil tricksters about to get their comeuppance - populated tales with pulp comic titles like Parasite Mansion, Dialogues With Death, Well Of Doom and Pigeons From Hell. The stories were high-class though, written by names including Hitchock's Psycho script inspiration, Robert Bloch, and Twilight Zone writers Robert Matheson and Charles Beaumont, or adapted from tales by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and Robert E Howard. A cast of stellar and later-to-be-stellar actors including William Shatner, Mary Tyler Moore, Leslie Nielsen, Elizabeth Montgomery, Robert Vaughn, John Carradine and Boris Karloff himself added the stardust, and though the show only lasted two seasons before being shunted by the success of the macabre anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents, there is of course YouTube and a mammoth 14-disc DVD box set of all 67 episodes so that you can scare yourself silly through many dark nights before your own reckoning.

(thanks to Duglas T Stewart for the reminder of this series on Twitter!)

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