A Brief History
On October 26, 2020, we take a quick look at a Quibi horror series of which we recently watched a pair of episodes, namely 50 States of Fright, an anthology series with the excellent premise of giving us a terrifying tale from each of our (at least currently) 50 states. The episodes we watched were put together well and were entertaining, with quality acting and directing from notable film types. (Note: Quibi recently announced an end to operations. We do not yet know where its content will end up.)
The first episode, titled The Golden Arm, is set in Michigan, land of wolverines and football players, not to mention a fading automobile industry. This tale, however, is set in a more rural environment. Starring Travis Fimmel as the male lead (the man we like to think of as Ragnar Lothbrok from the History Channel series Vikings), the story is a familiar campfire tale of a person, in this case the lovely young wife of David (Frimmel), who loses an arm in an unfortunate and entirely implausible accident. The wife character, Heather, is played by Rachel Brosnahan, an Emmy and Golden Globe winning actress. David spends every last dime the couple has, putting their farm in deep debt, in order to buy the requisite amount of Gold to manufacture a highly useful prosthetic arm made of the precious metal. (Why it has to be Gold is probably because that is the title of the story!) Heather dies and her wish is to be buried with that extremely expensive medical device. David soon goes broke, and you can imagine the rest, especially if you are already familiar with the tale. The acting, directing and cinematography are all quite good, but the story is an old and predictable one, leaving the viewer to easily predict each next scene. Still, the show was entertaining and we give it a moderately enthusiastic endorsement.
The second half of the mini-movie installment of 2 back to back stories we watched was called Almost There, set in rural Iowa and featuring Ron Livingston (Office Space) as a veteran electrical engineer that services verrrry tall wind turbines and the young (still only 26 years old) Taissa Farmiga (of American Horror Story television and Justice League movies) as Hannah, a rookie maintenance engineer awakened in the middle of the night to respond with Livingston to make an emergency repair of a wind turbine to prevent the entire structure from falling down. Unfortunately, Hannah has some bizarre history in her past life as an Amish girl growing up with a suicidal/homicidal mother and is living the psychological fallout of a traumatic incident. During her harrowing climb to the top of the turbine in order to make the repair, Hannah suffers flashbacks to her childhood terror, complicating the difficult task at hand. Of course, the film melds reality and memories with the question, “Is what we are seeing really real?” Especially the dramatic ending. Of the 2 halves of the presentation, we think Almost There is the better story, although the paranormal aspect can leave the viewer guessing as to what really happened.
Between the 2 episodes the running time was only about an hour, making the viewing easy on the audience. As an introduction to a series that we previously have not seen, we definitely have a desire to continue watching the other episodes as they become available to us. Horror fans will almost assuredly also get a favorable charge out of this anthology series, a worthwhile contribution to the cinematic sci-fi/horror genre. Quality actors and the supervision of Sam Raimi make the show a staple for horror fans.
Question for students (and subscribers): Have you watched any episodes of this series? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Chisolm, Jeff. Horror Fuel Vol. 2: Twelve Chilling Stories to Read at Night. JHC Publishing, 2020.
Faircloth, Brandon. One Bite at a Time: Short Stories of Horror. Amazon, 2018.
The featured image in this article, a map by User:SiBr4 of the United States showing the flags of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the 5 inhabited U.S. territories (Total number of flags: 56), is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.