Episode #5: “The Summer House” (October 13, 1972)
Plot: “A woman is trapped in a strange world between reality and a nightmare while her vacation home seems possessed of its own malevolent personality.”
Work is keeping me really busy this month so I’ve fallen behind on my Ghost Story write-ups but I wanted to quickly tackle this episode before it fades from memory.
“The Summer House” stars the lovely Carolyn Jones (best remembered today as Morticia Addams in the popular Addams Family TV series) as the wife of a verbally & psychologically abusive husband (Steve Forrest) who returns to a summer vacation home they share together and begins to have visions while waiting for her husband to join her there. These strange visions involve killing her husband by drowning him in a well in the spooky basement of their summer house. Are her visions premonitions? Nightmares? Or horrible memories of a crime she’d rather forget?
Jones is very good here as the troubled wife and Forest almost makes it too easy for us to hate him. I ended up rooting for his demise and wishing Jones would hook up with her friendly neighbor (played by actor William Windom who appeared in The Mephisto Waltz with Barbara Parkins a year earlier).
Seeleg Lester, who wrote and co-wrote numerous episodes of Outer Limits, wrote the script and it shares some resemblance to an episode of Outer Limits titled “Vanishing Point.” Direction was done by actor and director Leo Penn (father of Sean Penn) who did a lot of work for TV. “The Summer House” has some eerie moments thanks to way he skillfully shot the shadowy basement giving the episode a heightened sense of dread.
Coincidentally, I was reminded of a scene from the commercial for Crimson Peak (2015) while watching this. I haven’t seen Guillermo del Toro’s new film yet (plan to tonight!) so I have no idea if there’s any connection between this episode and the film but thought I’d mention it anyway. After I see Crimson Peak I’ll report back with my findings.
Overall, not one my favorite episodes of Ghost Story but still an enjoyable watch with another interesting female lead performance. I’ve enjoyed every episode so far even if I do have my favorites.