Fritz Weaver, a famous skeptic, agreed to such a challenge and is relating the story to his pals at the club. He came out a believer and has the white hair — gained overnight — to prove it.
Now it is an eye-patched Leslie Neilsen who is skeptical. As he clears the pool table, he says he does not believe in ghosts and thinks that Weaver is just a coward. Naturally, Weaver bets him $10,000 that he can’t spend “one whole night in that house without being frightened to death.”
Weaver drives Nielsen to the house and drops him off at sunset. Inside, he finds it run-down and covered in spider-webs, and spiders. He hears voices and sees apparitions. Displaying the same sophisticated strategic acumen as Lt. Worf, he pulls a gun on the apparition.
He continues through the house followed by apparitions, hearing ghostly laughing, finding drops of blood, slimy trails, bricks where windows should be. He breaks from his exploration of the house to get some coffee from his thermos and have a smoke. He is interrupted by someone banging on the piano.
He finds a man in uniform slamming his hands on the keys. The man’s hands burst into flames, but Nielsen notices a cable running to the man’s boot — a robot. Convinced that this whole night is a sham, he goes upstairs to the bedroom. He finds it clean of cob-webs and even has a nice fire going. He checks under the bed and finds another cable which he cuts.
The alarm clock goes off and he happily goes downstairs. He goes into the kitchen and Weaver appears on a TV screen — with his hair its original color. He tells Nielsen to go ahead and eat while they talk.
Weaver tells him of his father, a soldier in Mussolini’s army. He protested that all he wanted to do was get back to his civilian job as a concert pianist. Insisting he had valuable info, Nielsen set his hands on fire.
Weaver drugged the coffee in the thermos and injected Nielsen with a serum while he was asleep. Weaver offers a proof he is not bluffing, his colleague who is in the basement, and received the same injection. He is now a slug-like wad of skin and no bones like Eugene Levy in Skeleton.
Nielsen does actually panic as he understands now the significance of the slimy trails he has seen in the house.
The ending could have gone two ways, and I think I would have rather seen it take the other slimy path. However, the performances are strong, there is some cheesy creepiness in the house, and it is a fun ride.
- Twilight Zone Legacy: Fritz Weaver was in 2 good episodes.
- This was the same house used in Psycho.
- Skipped Segment: The Devil is Not Mocked. Another well-worn tale — Nazis take over a castle that turns out to be occupied by vampires. Told many times in the 60s-70s and with far more cleavage.
- Also, don’t make the head vamp literally be the Dracula — that’s just hokey.