THE NEW HOUSE (1972)
Pilot episode of “Ghost Story”
Article 3789 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-18-2011
Posting Date: 12-29-2011
Directed by John Llewelyn Moxey
Featuring David Birney, Barbara Perkins, Sam Jaffe
What it is: A ghost story, of course
A man and his pregnant wife move into a new house. The wife hears strange sounds and believes the place to be haunted. She discovers the house was built on the site of a gibbet, and that the last execution there was from a young woman who was also buried on the site. Could this woman be haunting the house?
So why am I covering an episode of a TV show that isn’t even feature length? According to the John Stanley book, there was a TV-Movie called DOUBLE PLAY, which featured pilot episodes for two series – this one, and the one from the show “Movin’ On”. Why these two shows were combined in a single movie is beyond me; the other show was about two truckers and apparently had no fantastic content. Given that IMDB does not have a listing for DOUBLE PLAY, I chose to represent it in my hunt list by the episode from “Ghost Story”. When the pilot episode showed up within easy reach of me (I found it on YouTube), I did a similar search for the “Movin’ On” episode and came up blank. I made an executive decision; instead of holding up my review to find an episode of a TV show that had no fantastic content and that I wasn’t particularly keen on hunting down in the first place, I decided to watch the one with the fantastic content and be done with it. Yes, I suppose I’m cheating a little, but it’s not the first time.
The show itself was produced by William Castle (and I believe I caught him in a cameo early on) and was an anthology series, with a different story each week. If the ratings on IMDB are a gauge, this one was of average quality for the series. I wasn’t particularly impressed with it myself; the setup of the story seemed pretty rote to me, the attempts to add suspense seemed hackneyed (you know, where they try to make the final scenes scarier by having it take place during a thunderstorm) and the final twist was a little more silly to me than scary. Still, it might be interesting to see a few other episodes of the series just to see if they do something more with the framing sequences featuring Sebastian Cabot. As it is, I can’t place this episode on the same level as William Castle’s better movies.