The Veil – Destination Nightmare (1958)

vdestination02“Our story begins in Europe where Peter Wade has established a thriving air service.” It would have been nice for Karloff to tell us whether he meant Peter Jr or Sr. And just why would you write a screenplay and give two of the characters exactly the same name? “Hi, I’m Henry Jones, Sr. — they call me Indiana too!”

One of the flying Petes is co-pilot on a cargo run when he sees a ghostly disembodied head outside his cockpit window.  Until we see the other Pete, there is no way to know if he is Jr or Sr.  The head tells him, “Look at me.  Follow me.  1-3-5, 1-3-5, 1-3-5.”  When he makes a sudden course correction, the pilot comes back into the cockpit and wrestles the controls from him.

Back on the ground, Pete Sr. (played by Boris Karloff, so I think it is safe to say that just-plain-Pete is dead) asks Pete Jr why he deliberately headed for a crash.  Jr. says he is a wash-out as a flyer and probably can’t run the company either.  What he really wants to do is dance design planes.  Sr immediately strokes him a check to complete the last 2 years of graduate school to become an engineer.  But he puts it under a paperweight [1] until such time that “you feel you really earned the right to go to graduate school.”  Jr takes the check and heads to New York.

vdestination06That night, Sr is having nightmares about the war and a B-17 crash that killed his friend Wally Huffner.  Jr comes in to wake him up.  Sr says they were in a plane that was hit by the Jerrys in WWII.  Sr gave Wally his parachute and was able to pilot the damaged plane to the ground.  Sadly, Wally croaked, or more accurately splatted as the chute didn’t open; or maybe it had been replaced by a share of M&M Enterprises.[2]

Looking around the office, Jr finds a picture on the wall of Sr and the man whose head was hovering outside his cockpit window.  Jr takes a plane up on the same route they flew earlier.  He sees nothing until the pilot goes into the back to get a cup of coffee.  Jr locks the pilot out and tells him to bail out if anything goes wrong — because that worked so well for Wally.  Jr once again sees the giant floating head, and it repeats the same message, “Look at me.  Follow me.  1-3-5, 1-3-5, 1-3-5.”  Jr follows that heading and the plane soars around more erratically than Tyler Fitzgerald’s.  After nearly plowing into a mountain ridge, the head then tells him, “Bail out, bail out, bail out.”  Jr lets the pilot back into the cockpit, then grabs a parachute and jumps out of the plane.

Jr finds debris from a B-17 crash in the same area his father’s plane went down in WWII.  When he brushes the branches away from the fuselage, he sees a drawing of the same gremlin that is weighting down paper on his father’s desk.  Jr brings some of the pieces back.

Jr tells Sr that he saw Wally’s ghostly face and his voice.  He shows Sr a parachute with the serial number 0-1636184.  Jr uses this evidence to tell his father that another man died in that crashed plane — Wally Huffner.  Sr took Wally’s parachute back in the war and Wally died in the crash.  Well, at least, not long before the crash — Wally could not be captured by the Germans so he insisted Sr give him his cyanide tablet.

Jr explains to his father that Wally was wounded and could not have pulled the rip cord on the parachute anyway.  So it is not his fault that Wally had to stay on the plane and die in the crash.

These are some pretty thin stories.  It is no shock that they were shelved.  They look great and the performances are fine.  However, the scripts and the concept are just too simple.  The bombastic title Destination Nightmare was just setting the audience up for a disappointment.

I rate it a 1 . . . 3 . . . no, a 5.


  • [1] The paperweight is a gremlin with 0-1636184 on the base.  It is explained later in the episode.
  • [2] For the love of God, why are you still here?  Go read something that’s actually funny.
  • The most impressive thing about this series so far is the picture on Amazon.  How the hell do they get that thing to look so 3D?

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