The lesson here is that when an episode of Night Gallery is praised as one of the best of the series, it is going to be torturous to watch. Examples: They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar, Silent Snow Secret Snow, and both segments in this episode.
We start out with a handheld POV shot in a cemetery, accompanied appropriately by deadly dull narration. This leads to a flashwayback of Agatha Howard visiting the home of Professor Munos.
The landlady leads her up to Munos’ suite which he keeps refrigerated to a nippy 55 degrees. Agatha was settling her dead father’s affairs when she came across letters from Munos. Both refused to accept the finality of death.
Agatha finds herself moved by his loneliness and isolation. They decide to meet again for dinner in Munos’ meat locker of an apartment. Presumably, vichyssoise followed by steak tartare and unbaked Alaska.
A week later, in the midst of a heatwave, Agatha goes to visit Munos. He refuses to let her in. That night, she gets a call of the non-booty variety from Munos asking for her help. He has called Agatha to enlist her help in repairing his refrigeration machine. He does not allow her in, but does open the door to reveal that he is shrouded in a towel with only one eye showing.
She finds an all-night mechanic, but he is unable to repair the machine. So he sends Agatha out for ice . . . 300 pounds worth. But it is to no avail.
Munos drops dead, Agatha sees him for the corpse that he really is. The end.
The Spanish guitar and dull narration doom this episode from the first scene. I’m not sure what could have saved it. The one positive point in the segment is Barbara Rush, who I feel like I should know, but can’t place.
Despite the presence of the lovely Ms. Rush, the segment is a huge bore.
Like Lovecraft’s previous segment, Pickman’s Model, a new female character and romance was added to the adaptation; in both cases, for the better.
Most everyone in the short story seems to be Spanish — Muñoz (an even more Spanisher spelling than in the episode), the other tenants, and the landlady whom Lovecraft describes as “a slatternly, Spanish, almost bearded woman named Herrero”.
Both versions have the same final twist that Munos died twice — in the story 18 years earlier, and in the episode 10 years earlier.
- Twilight Zone Legacy: Larry Blake was in The Trouble with Templeton.
- Lovecraft’s story was first published in Tales of Magic and Mystery, March 1928.