5 of the scariest TV sitcom episodes

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There are plenty of Halloween episodes. In the early days of television, sitcoms – those sitcoms that purported to refract the real minutiae of family or professional life through the lens of some of Old Hollywood’s most famous stars – were still subject to some sort of order. seasonal. That is, they had to cover what audiences were desperately looking for to make sure they were picked up for another season. Episodes about Christmas, summer vacation, and even Halloween were written in the hopes that the series would be popular enough to impose an extended runtime.

Many contemporary sitcoms, of course, take advantage of the races all season long. Modern family, Bob’s burgers, and even Office, beyond being full-fledged classic shows, are famous for their Halloween episodes. The classic of the 90s Roseanne, too, was almost mythical in its annual approach to the haunting season each year. There was, however, a curious case among older sitcoms, those naturally conservative (and often problematic) vignettes of healthy nuclear families living in the suburbs.

Back in the days of the early Hammer and William Castle, these shows often exploited horror well, releasing episodes that contrast sharply with the tone of the rest of the series. They were, in other words, episodes of horror. Here, we’ll go over some of the spookiest entries on a list of classic sitcoms, the genre that airs late at night on TV Land or WeTv. Be forewarned: some of these are likely to keep you awake at night. Let’s get started.

Father knows best: “The Premonition of Marguerite”

Father knows best, adapted from the long-running radio series of the same name, was one of the television sitcom’s earliest hits. He has followed the Anderson family and their daily lives with work, school, dating and parenthood. But the show had never done anything like “Margaret’s Premonition”.

The matriarch of the Margaret family (Jane Wyatt) begins the episode with an inexplicable luck streak. Several scenes later, she thinks she has the temporary ability to sense things that are not yet happening. There are a few intermittent laughs, but the episode changes its tone halfway through when Margaret sees a vision of her husband dying on an unknown bridge. Margaret is literally foolish to believe that she made it all up; she must be overwhelmed with household chores, that’s all. It’s really scary to see Margaret go through all of this, still begging her husband, Jim (Robert Young) not to go on a business trip on the weekends.

However, while on his way to his meeting, Jim learns that it has been postponed. He returns home, eager to make it clear that he is not home because of her, but because of pure chance. Later that night, their son returns home after a canceled baseball game. A mile of Hillsborough Road was swept away by the storm, the same road Jim would have taken. If he was gone, he would certainly have died.

The Donna Reed Show: “The house on the hill”

Donna Reed herself once thought that she could predict the future in the season four episode of the sitcom “The Fortune Teller” as well. The real terror arrived, however, in “The House on the Hill”. Donna and her women’s club are desperate for donations for the local children’s clinic, and Donna suggests visiting widow Ms. Allison, the richest woman in town. The other women, however, warn Donna: Mrs. Allison is an evil woman, who lives in a haunted house on top of a hill. It’s just standard suburban gothic gossip until Donna arrives.

Although Mrs. Allison is happy to donate, she asks Donna to come back the next day. Only, Donna’s car doesn’t start. Donna wanders the labyrinthine mansion, seeking help with her car. Slowly, she begins to suspect that she is being kept there on purpose. Alex, her husband arrives, but Donna is too late to catch him, and Mrs. Allison is cheating on her – he wasn’t (even though he was) your husband. It culminates when Donna desperately tries to escape. But rather than end with a big twist, the episode ends with Donna’s vindication. Mrs. Allison, desperate to find a friend, kept Donna locked up there. It is very dark.

The Hogan family (also known as Valerie): “Nightmare on Oak Street”

The Hogan family, originally known as Valerie, is a pretty dark sitcom without its really scary episodes. After titular star Valerie Harper demanded a higher salary, the show’s creators punished her in the worst possible way. They kill her in a horrific car crash between seasons and leave her fractured family to cope with the fallout. Already scarred, it’s no wonder kids, including a young Jason Bateman, are so sensitive to horror movies.

Harper’s replacement was Sandy Duncan’s aunt, also named Sandy, and one stormy night she nods and lets the kids watch a bloody zombie movie. The episode could have played out in a number of ways, but episode director Richard Correll wisely lets the genre rule. All three boys are plagued by nightmares that night, and the episode features several noticeable jerks as the lines between reality and dream are blurred. Of course, everything is fine in the morning. But it’s still an unforgettable night.

The facts of life: “Seven little Indians”

The facts of life went all out in his penultimate season, playing more than ever with form and format. The sitcom had already undergone considerable upheaval, including the arrival of star George Clooney in one of his first roles, with the recognition that his central vanity of five girls in a boarding school alone could not keep a show going. afloat, let alone for nine seasons. . The girls have graduated, live together and work together at a novelty store, Over Our Heads. A riff on both The twilight zone and Agatha Christie’s Ten little Indians, “Seven Little Indians” is just the second Halloween episode the series has ever done in its entire run.

Cloris Leachman’s Beverly Ann wakes up to a fire on a dark, stormy night. Fearing that the girls are not at home, she phones George Clooney to see them at the theater. As she retreats into the kitchen, a mysterious riffling stranger Rod Serling introduces us to the vanity of the episode, recounting and making remarks about the bizarre happenings around the house.

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The girls are coming home soon with Clooney, and most of them are still shaken by the movie, aptly titled “The Halloween Hacker 3: Part 6: Dave Returns… Again”, a movie I would really like to see. Soon they find themselves trapped in the house, and one by one, someone kills them. Audiences, of course, are easily aware that this is all some sort of a dream or nightmare, but it’s still a devilishly good time to see those beloved sitcom stars bite it in imaginatively gruesome (or , well, as horrible as the system note would allow). The conventional horror characteristics are there, including effective shakes and lightning bolts. The episode ends quietly with a sensational joke. Not just a dream, it was more like a dream within a dream, in a dream, in a dream… in perpetuity.

delighted: “A safe and sane Halloween”

delighted, the seminal supernatural sitcom starring the inimitable effervescent Elizabeth Montgomery, has had a number of notable Halloween episodes. Season 1’s “The Witches Are Out” is a surprisingly poignant and incisive allegory of civil rights. With the current of supernaturalism running through each episode, delighted had the unenviable task of making each seasonal outing a little more special than the average sitcom. “A Safe and Healthy Halloween,” however, has gone so far there, it’s a real wonder why it isn’t discussed more frequently.

The episode is often truly nightmarish. Samantha and Darren’s (Dick York) daughter Tabitha (Erin Murphy) accidentally summons a menagerie of old Halloween costumes, all physically rendered, from her old storybook. A goblin, a pumpkin-lantern and a gremlin, they waste no time breaking free from the Stephens’ house. Once free, they cause mischief throughout the city. They really terrify the residents until Samantha manages to capture them and sort things out. It’s a lastingly scary episode with a Hitchcockian side that lasts decades later.


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