Night Gallery – The House (S1E3)

Another non-original from shirkoholic Rod Serling.  Purposely ambiguous, but maybe a little too squishy for its own good.

Elaine Latimer is describing a recurring dream where she is driving, and with a sense of calm, arrives at the titular house.  She gets out of her car in slo-mo, clothes billowing dreamily behind her and knocks on the door.  She has no idea what she would say if anyone answers.  No one comes to the door, so she returns to her car and drives away.  Only then does the doorknob turn and the door open.  Which is a little strange because this is her dream, but she is not in it at this point.

It is revealed that she is telling this to a psychiatrist.  She will be leaving the sanitarium tomorrow, having been cured, or her insurance having run out.

As she is driving away from the sanitarium, apparently aimlessly, she finds herself recognizing sights from her dream — the road, a pond, and finally the house.  The house is for sale and the realtor happens to be standing in the yard.  They go inside and shockingly do not have sex (note to self, ease up on the porn).  She does not require  a tour; she knows the layout and the contents of the house from her dream.

Turns out the house is a steal because it is haunted.  Maybe it is haunted by the ghosts of Roddy McDowell and Ozzie Davis as this is the house where they died in The Cemetery:

This is where it gets weird.  She has moved into the house, and is taking a nap during the day.  We cut to her recurring dream as she pulls up to the house in her billowy orange outfit.  In the dream, she again knocks on the door.  But the knock wakes her up and she goes downstairs only in time to hear a car pulling away.  OK, like it, very TZ.

She calls her psychiatrist.  While on the phone, she again hears a knock.  Apparently the phone is tethered to the wall with some sort of cord.  What is this the 70’s?  Oh yeah.  She tells the doc to hang on and runs downstairs.  She opens the door and gasps, but we don’t see at what.

She goes back to the doc on the phone and says she just saw the ghost.  “I am the ghost, doctor,” she says as the camera cuts to her in orange in the driveway again.  We hear the car pulling away as she says goodby to him.

nghouse06She naps again — maybe she was in the sanitarium for narcolepsy — and we see the woman in orange approach then house again.  She gets out of the car, and gives the standard single knock on the door.  Elaine awakens at the knock, laments not having a bedroom on the first floor, and runs downstairs again. She is just in time to see the car pulling away and runs after it in full billow.

This would be fine, but she was face-to-face with her doppelganger earlier during the interrupted phone call, so there is no mystery who/what is doing the knocking.  That would have been the time for confrontation.  So, are we to believe this cycle will go on forever?  There is really no torment now that she knows the identity — other than lost sleep, and this only seems to happen during daytime naps to correspond to the sunny day in the dream.  Will the ghost never allow a face-to-face meeting again?  Then why that one time?  Even ambiguity needs to be bottled to make sense.  It just felt like a piece was missing.

Or maybe there was an extra piece, as it would have made more sense if she had never seen the “ghost” (or maybe just from a window, seeing the car pull away).

There are a few other actors, but the episode is really carried by Joanna Pettet. Strangely, I didn’t find her all that attractive even though I see a lot of praise for her online.  But I will say this: she wears the hell out of those 70’s billowy clothes.  Just the scenes of her walking and running in slow-mo in those outfits are worth the price of admission.

Good stuff.

Post-Post:

  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  None.
  • Directed by Gomez Addams.
  • The episode was devoid of humor, and didn’t need it.  But I wonder if this was an intentional joke they slipped in or a faux pas:

nghouse04

 

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