Friday, September 11, 2009

Monsters – the Waiting Game – review (TV episode)

title screenDirector: Bruno Spandello

First aired: 1991

Contains spoilers

Monsters was an anthology horror series that ran for three seasons from 1988 to 1990. One of the key elements came out of budgets so small that locations were kept to a bare minimum. The Waiting Game was a season 3 episode.

looking at devastationIt starts with two air force officers – Tyler and Levitt – entering Barn 39, a nuclear silo and command post, to take over the watch. Tyler is very much seen as a joker who has 35 hours to go until his surfing holiday. Levitt has a crossword, he’s stuck on an eleven letter word for tenacity. They get the order to fire their missiles as incoming nukes head their way. The disbelief and horror of their actions are really well done. They end up stuck in the bunker, the world destroyed.

there are survivors out hereThey hear a radio broadcast from Barn 36, Lt Maureen Knox (Carrington Garland) and her commanding officer Andrew Garza are alive. He isn’t coping too well and becomes convinced that survivors are outside. He leaves the bunker and Maureen has to shut it remotely – he screams. She talks to Tyler and then hears Garza. She goes outside… Suddenly she is at the door of Barn 36 telling them that there are survivors out there.

Tyler caught by MaureenTyler wants to go out to her but Levitt aims a gun at him. Its suicide due to the radiation, but eventually he lets the younger man go. Closing the door behind him. Tyler approaches Maureen and asks how she survived. She didn’t, she says, and sports fangs. Now it has to be said that the look of the vampires was very Buffy the vampire Slayer.

vampire messiahShe was saved, she says, by him and points at a vampire in almost messianic robes. I couldn’t tell for sure but, as he is listed as in episode, I assume he was played by John Saxon. Saxon has appeared a few times on the blog, having been in Starsky and Hutch, Trapped Ashes and Queen of Blood.Was this a vampire who survived the war and now feasts on survivors, creating his own vampire race? The episode doesn’t say but it seems likely. Under the black clouds of nuclear winter they fear no sun and, being dead, the radiation is an irrelevance.

Tyler returns to the bunker as a vampire but can’t get in without Levitt's code, but the eleven letter word for tenacity is persistence and he starts going through the codes in number order – he’ll get in eventually and as despair settles on Levitt, he looks at his gun... This was marvellous. Now we don’t know where the vampires come from, we know very little lore and we don’t know what they intend to feed on for eternity but the tensions and fears that this manages to summon is great for a short TV episode.

All kudos has to go to the small cast. This deserves 7 out of 10. The episode's imdb page is here.

4 comments:

Zahir Blue said...

I agree. This was a marvelously creepy episode.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

absolutely - thanks for stopping by, as always, Zahir

Freebird Nipsey Russell said...

I wanted to know the name of this episode for years, thanks so much!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

No prob Freebird