Thriller – Well of Doom (02/28/61)

twellofdoom01A long-nosed chauffeur is driving two men in suits through a thick fog.  As they are discussing the dangers of the Moors, Penrose laments that they are going to be late to his bachelor party.  The driver slams on the brakes as there is a giant standing in the road.

He has his arms raised menacingly and is wearing one of those tinker-bell jerkins with the little tutu-like ruffles around the waist.  Who decided this was the official uniform for giants? Obviously they are custom-made; there are no Giant and Fat man stores selling them.  If they are custom made — bespoke, if you will — why not order a f***ing pair of proper trousers and a snappy blazer?

twellofdoom02And who decided to start stores that catered only to the Tall and Fat like they were freaks to be segregated from decent — though in need of new clothing — people?  C’mon, #talllivesmatter.  OK, I’m not so worried about the fat ones.  I just lost 65 pounds — it ain’t rocket science; well maybe a little physics.

The giant pulls the chauffeur out of the car.  Fearing a bad Uber passenger rating, the two other men — Penrose and his estranged butler Teal —  gamely get out of the car to help the driver.  It’s only a giant, after all; it’s not Ferguson MO.

Before they have a chance to have their heads ripped off, the giant’s equally creepy boss shows up.  He coyly throws out devilish names they might use for him — Beelzebub, Baal, Moloch.  Moloch seems to stick, and his giant is named Styx.  Presumably still carrying a lot of anger from a childhood where the other kids called him The Stygian Fairy, he kills the chauffeur and drives off with the three men.

twellofdoom03Flashback:  Earlier that day, Teal had dropped in to toast Penrose’s upcoming nuptials, despite some sort of falling out.  Although I’m not sure how you have a falling out with a butler — you just buttle his ass right out the door.  They toast the bride Laura and throw their glasses in the fire.  Laura calls and tries to talk Penrose out of attending the stag party, but he refuses.

Back in the car, Penrose believes this is just a stag party prank.  Moloch is in the front seat pointing a gun at him.  One pothole and he could have ended up like Marvin in Pulp Fiction.  As it is, Moloch puts a slug in the seat next to Penrose just to let him know this is not prank.  Penrose offers him his entire net worth — a little prematurely in my opinion — but Moloch says it is not enough.  In an ill-fated escape attempt, Moloch kills Teal.

twellofdoom05Penrose is locked in a cell with the titular Well of Doom.  He claims that Penrose’s father threw the rightful owners of the castle down the well to their doom and usurped their position; although did not usurp their source of fresh water – idiot!

And Moloch should know because it was he who was killed!  Bwah-ha-ha-ha.  Oh, and Styx has kidnapped Laura and she is in the cell across the hall, gagged and naked — er, bound.

Moloch presents Penrose with a contract to sign over all his possessions.  Penrose refuses, suspecting he and Laura will be killed anyway.  Moloch, in true Bondian style leaves him alone to contemplate his doom.  Penrose rigs an escape plan from the Well involving a device a Bondian device worthy of Q — a rope.

twellofdoom08When Moloch returns, he finally relents in order to save Laura’s life. Of course, after signing, Styx tosses him in the well anyway.  After they leave, Penrose is able to climb up the rope which would have been perfectly visible to Moloch and Styx.

Finding Laura’s cell empty, he goes back up into the castle and finds Moloch and Styx stripping off their make-up.  He also sees that his former butler Teal is still alive and is really the ringleader.  With Penrose dead, he will claim Penrose and his wife are on an extended honeymoon and will enjoy the estate as overseer.  Yeah, that honeymoon story should satisfy the neighbors for years.

He says that document Penrose signed is going to “make up for years of humiliation . . . have you ever thought what it is like to be a man’s man and live in a household where they give you orders day after day?”  Maybe he really is a man’s man, he’s sure never lived with a woman.

twellofdoom09In a nice bit of luck, and by “bit”, I mean a Rock of Gibraltar sized bit of luck, Moloch and Teal shoot and kill each other; and Styx falls from a balcony thinking Penrose is a ghost.

Several reviews give high praise to this episode, but it wasn’t really anything special.  The high point was the make-up on Moloch and Styx.  Its effectiveness is especially obvious when we get a scene of them without it late in the episode.

Penrose, Laura, Teal and the story are only adequate.  But the show really belongs to Moloch, Styx, the make-up department, and the cinematographer — all outstanding.

Thus concludes the ten episode run of the Thriller Fan Favorites Collection.  At first, I thought I had found a show that possibly even trumped The Twilight Zone.  But, like any show, the quality was a bell curve — just seems like the curve would have been a little more subtle if you’re cherry-picking 10 episodes.

On the plus side, the screeching score was effective, there were some good scripts, and it rarely dragged or seemed padded out like the hour-long TZ season.  But Boris Karloff brought nothing to the show except his name, and presumably the 57 remaining episodes would all be lesser efforts.  But they are on You-Tube, so who knows.


  • Richard Kiel (Styx) was best known as Jaws in a couple of James Bond joints.
  • Thriller filled the Outer Limits slot after the rest of the episodes went behind the paywall.  The question now is do I want to shell out for Hulu.
  • Hulu sucks.

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