Episode #9 is… The Howling Man (Season 2, Episode 41) On YouTube!
This episode is a nice treat for the religious minded. Rod Serling’s stories usually dabble in war, science and the human condition. He never really likes to get into religion, only the unexplained.
Knowing that, it doesn’t shock me that “The Howling Man” is the 1st episode in Season 2 not to be written by Rod Serling. Being episode 41, it goes to show how much Serling liked to write his own content.
“The Howling Man” is a perfect example of good old folklore combined with a creepy atmosphere. Right from the beginning it gets you excited with thunder, lightning, howling and intense, disturbing music. It reminds you of the old Dracula and Werewolf films, getting you into the mood with a dominant narrative voice.
The description- “The Howling Man” opens with an older David Ellington informing you about a story that has to be told, for the sake of mankind. He reminisces about a rainy, thunderous night, just after WWI. David is lost in Europe, drenched in the rain, exhausted and desperately seeking shelter.
He stumbles upon a large castle and knocks on the door. A strange man in an old religious robe answers the door. David pleads with him for a place to stay, but the man refuses. David goes to walk away but collapses.
He wakes up in an old castle room, which resembles a monk’s cell. He hears this disturbing howling from down the hall. He goes to investigate and sees this man locked in a cell, with an old wooden staff used as a lock.
The man in the cell pleads with him to let him out. That the Brother Jerome, who is keeping him there, is crazy and a part of a cult. He claims they have imprisoned him for kissing his girlfriend in public. Believing the man, David goes to lift and remove the staff, but Brother Jerome stops him and takes him to his quarters.
There he explains that he is not imprisoning a man in the castle. David accuses him of lying, referencing what he saw. The Brother insists the being in the room is not a man, but the Devil himself. He explains that the Devil is near impossible to catch and the only reason he accomplished this impossible feat, was by recognizing he was the Devil in the first place. He tells David that man can not recognize the Devil and that is how he alludes us. David wonders how you keep the Devil when you catch him. Jerome explains it is possible if you lock him in with the staff of truth. The Devil can’t get out because the truth keeps him in.
Well, of course the episode comes down to should David believe the man and let him out or believe the Brother and keep him locked up. If he isn’t the Devil, then why doesn’t he let himself out! The twist that follows is clever and the way they reveal it is genius, considering the special effects of that time.
I will say no more. This is a perfect episode for halloween, especially to watch with the whole family. It is classically creepy, has a great folklore theme and the ending doesn’t disappoint. A twist that will take right back to the beginning of the episode with the now wiser narrator.
Hey, did you know I have a television series I wrote? You can catch the first episode of “A Seat on a Train” at http://www.aseatonatrain.com. Watch how I pay homage to the great classic series “The Twilight Zone.”