DESTINATION NIGHTMARE (1958)
Article #1143 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-1-2004
Posting Date: 9-28-2004
Directed by Paul Landres and others
Featuring Boris Karloff, Denise Alexander, Tod Andrews
Boris Karloff hosts four tales that pierce the veil.
If the above plot description doesn’t clue you off, then I’ll tell you this is another compilation of episodes from the unsold TV series “The Veil” stitched together to make a feature. The series was fairly uninspired and the episodes were indifferently written. Despite the presence of Karloff as both host and various characters, they weren’t really trying for scares; since they were based on purportedly true stories, the emphasis was more on making us wonder about the mysteries of the beyond. Unfortunately, the end result was all too often to have a lot of the running time being spent watching people be puzzled about the events without making any attempt to really understand them; it does make for a rather shallow experience.
This anthology does have a theme binding all four stories together; in this case, the theme is that of the dead influencing the lives of the living. Roughly, this divides into two different types of tales; the second and fourth are both ghost stories, of which the second (involving an apparition seen in the cockpit of an airplane) is the more interesting, as the fourth is predictably hackneyed. The first and the third deal with people who have been taken over by the personalities of dead people, the first via possession (an unsatisfying story that has some potential but really goes nowhere) and third involving reincarnation and the memory of a previous life. Both of these stories suffer quite a bit from the aformentioned “puzzled” sequences, though the third one does manage to have a real story to tell. Still, the main attraction here is the parade of familiar faces. Outside of Karloff, you might recognize Tod Andrews, Whit Bissell, Roy Engel, a young George Hamilton (in one of his earliest roles), and Myron Healy.