Fear Itself – Skin and Bones (07/31/08)

On a nice little farm located somewhere in the fabulous matte paintings of the American west, Derek Edlund is saddling his horse to search for his missing father.  His uncle Rowdy tells him it is too dangerous what with the coming storm.  Before his uncle can take his place, Grady Edlund comes stag-gering onto the farm.

Rowdy calls an Indian they keep stored in an Airstream trailer for such occasions — the unfortunately-named Eddie Bear.[1]  The two men are able to get the skeletal Grady up to bed.  After ten days in the mountains, Grady is extremely emaciated, with not an ounce of fat or moisture in his body.  He has basically turned into Iggy Pop.

There are a lot a weird dynamics going on here.  Derek says his father bought the farm to give Rowdy a place to live.  The farm is operating at a loss every year.  And apparently Rowdy is having a life-long fling with his sister-in-law Elena.

As a Native American presented by Hollywood, Eddie Bear is of course the first to leap to a mystical explanation for Grady’s condition. He believes that Grady was possessed by a windigo.[2]

Grady tells Elena that his group got lost on the mountain.  They holed up in a cave.  Chuck And Billy went for help.  Grady and Jasper were so weak they stayed behind.  Yada yada, cannibalism.  Jasper wasn’t the only thing to enter Grady’s body, though — the windigo also occupied his cadaverous carcass.  As he seems about ready to chow down on Elena, Rowdy points a rifle at him. Grady begins howling and zipping about.  I must say it is pretty unnerving.

Eddie Bear approaches him with . . . what do you think?  A gun?  A knife?  A baseball bat?  No, he’s an Indian, so Hollywood has to put a tomahawk in his hands.  Oh, maybe the script calls it a hatchet, but we know what they were going for.  I’m surprised his mobile home is not a teepee in the back of a pick-up.  Anyhoo, Grady swats him down like a fly.

Rowdy gets Elena and the kids out to Eddie Bear’s trailer and leaves a gun with Derek to protect them.  As Rowdy leaves to confront Grady, he tells Elena, “If I don’t make it back, tell the kids the truth.”  Because after their father kills their uncle, finding out their uncle actually just killed their father will pep them right up as they cower in fear with their tramp mother, distraught in the fugue of their new-found bastardhood.

There’s not much plot here to get traction on, but it is an enjoyable ride.  The final act plays out about as grizzly and suspenseful as you can expect from network TV. Sadly, if this series did not survive, that just tells me there is no place for horror on broadcast television.

Another good outing.  But let’s raise a glass for poor Grady Edlund:  “well-appointed city-dweller”, his brother’s keeper, 15-year cuckold, possessed by a windigo 1,000 miles out of its jurisdiction, killed by his wife.


  • [1] Mockable in two ways: the corporate Eddie Bauer, and the emasculating (T)eddie Bear.
  • [2] Of course, a Hollywood Indian is not expected to actually know any facts.  Like, say, that the windigo legend is local to the Great Lakes Region.
  • [3] Eddie Bear is always referred to as Eddie Bear which strikes me as a little racist.  It’s not like his name is Running Bear where the words go together.  Why not just call him Eddie, or Mr. Bear or Chief?  Well, I guess that last one isn’t better.
  • Larry Fessenden also wrote & directed Windigo in 2001.  This not where Eddie Bear got his information, as it takes place in upstate New York.
  • IMDb and YouTube.


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