Ray Bradbury Theater – Banshee (02/22/86)

Screenwriter Douglas Rogers is taking a cab to meet with renowned Irish director John Hampton.  The cabbie says that Hampton left one wife to take another.  He continues,  “We know all about him, and can tell far more than we know.”  What?  Is this a joke?  A mistake?  An Irish colloquialism?  I am too fatigued with RBT to care at this point.  This is the last episode I need to watch, and son-of-a-bitch if I don’t have to read the short story too.

Hampton greets Rogers at the door.  He immediately begins pulling pages from the file, glancing at them, and dropping them to the floor.  After skimming, skipping, and discarding pages, he pronounces, “Damn you, it’s good!”  Hampton is distracted by a sound outside.  He says it is the titular banshee, “The spirits of women who roam the woods the night someone is to die.”

Hampton challenges Rogers to go outside and have a look.  He humors the old drunk and walks into the woods.  And walks and walks.  He sees nothing for 2 1/2 minutes which, in TV time, is enough to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.  Then he sees the woman in white.  She gazes past Rogers to the house.  “Is he in there now,” she asks.  “The great animal who walks on two legs.  He stays, all others go.  Girls are his napkins, women his midnight feast.”

I started transcribing, thinking it would eventually pay off.  She droned on for 5 minutes which, in TV time, is enough to hike the Pacific Crest Trail twice.  She tells Rogers to go back to the house and send Hampton out.

Blah blah blah.

There is just nothing interesting here to grab onto.  The performances were fine.  If you want to see a foppish Peter O’Toole chewing the scenery in pair of knickers, this is your lucky day.  Me, I just found him annoying.  Charles Martin Smith is solid as always.  He has shown up on Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt, and Outer Limits and always delivered.

I could even imagine the story working on film, but it just was not well-adapted.  The long walk into the woods and the long scene with the banshee were excruciating.    There were some mind games between the two men which could have been a fun duel, but that too is painful to watch.  Finally the last scene is just squandered.  An unknown entity rattling the doorknob, if properly set up, is a classic.  To be fair, that did create a tiny bit of suspense.  However, Rogers fleeing up the stairs for a freeze frame and fade to black was just an utter nothing.  It could have been worse — in the short story, Rogers literally jumps into bed and pills the covers over his head.

Other Stuff:

  • Nothing to see here.
  • Thus endeth RBT.

2 thoughts on “Ray Bradbury Theater – Banshee (02/22/86)

  1. I know younger people who act superior like the Peter O’Toole character, but that’s because they grew up watching The Disney Channel I suspect. I wonder what creature awaits them in the woods, and if it thinks they use girls as EZ wipes.

  2. Charles Martin Smith seems to pop-up in a lot of Sci-Fi and/or offbeat films and TV, to include two other appearances on this show. He also appeared on “The X Files” 1995 episode “F. Emasculata,” which featured those nasty, pulsating boils which would burst and kill you dead. Smith ended up a victim himself. Also, who can forget “Starman?” As mentioned, he is a good, solid actor.

    As for the “Banshee” episode itself? >SNORE<

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