On this episode of The Nightly Chill, we’re looking back to the pilot episode of the campy TV horror anthology, Monsters!
Originally airing on October 1, 1988, The Feverman was the first of 72 episodes which played out across three seasons. The series’ distinct trademark was its focus on stories that presented a new monster each week. But despite the pilot’s title, the titular Feverman is not the monster but rather a local healer (played here by prolific TV actor, David McCallum). Tasked with saving a young girl who seems beyond the help of modern medicine, the Feverman proceeds with a ritual he promises will save the girl or kill them both. But as he tends to the girl in private, the local doctor grows increasingly suspicious and angry that the girl’s father would place his faith in superstition when his daughter’s life is on the line.
Short and to the point, The Feverman doesn’t disappoint once the monster of the week does appear. Despite the
show’s low budget, the creativity put into the practical effects is surprisingly high. And the story, while admittedly shallow, does its job by delivering a still somewhat engaging story that doubles as an opportunity to properly showcase Monsters premise.
That all said, The Feverman–and Monsters as a show– suffers from the same problems as a lot of similar shows
from its era. The low budget results in minimized screen time for the show’s monsters. The acting is often subpar at best. The dialog is hackneyed and incredibly dated. And had the show not embraced a campy tone, these flaws would possibly render Monsters unwatchable.
But while it had the unfortunate fate to follow up the far better produced Tales from the Darkside–and debuting only a year before HBO’s even better Tales from the Crypt—Monsters, and more specifically The Feverman, is a still enjoyable if fairly forgettable bit of TV horror.