I covered a single segment of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction a few months back, I’d like to think a good time was had by all. I’m revisiting it today, because I found a segment with a story set on Halloween. This time the episode is hosted by Jonathan Frakes and not James Brolin, which I believe to be an improvement. Frakes just did a better job with the whole mysterious, vaguely creepy vibe.
Here’s your link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tgZKZ61Mys
Tonight we have the story of Harold Ratcher, a crotchety fellow who hates Halloween. But Frakes informs us that Harold, on top of being obviously misguided, is also a trouble maker and likes to screw with anyone who rings his doorbell on Halloween night. Halloween happens to be the only night Harold gets any visitors, as he lives on a different side of a creek than the rest of the town. Harold’s wife is much more excited about the holiday and wants to put candy out, but Harold will have no part of it. Apparently one year kids came by and covered his trees in toilet paper and threw eggs at his mailbox. Damn hooligans, ruining it for everyone. The kids may not have to fear much longer, given the way Harold prepares food. Did you see him hacking up raw meat, and then use the same cleaver to cut vegetables without even cleaning it? The only treat he’s getting this year is salmonella.
Of course, kids come to visit the house. One is dressed as a clown, so I’ve already decided not to feel bad if anything happens to him. As his wife hands out candy, Harold leaps outside, brandishing his meat cleaver. I think his face is supposed to be covered in blood, but really it just looks like he came from a pie eating contest.
Later that night, there’s yet another knock at the door and Harold gleefully snatches up his cleaver. Standing at the doorway is someone dressed as the grim reaper, and he’s not even remotely phased by Harold jumping out like an idiot. Or by Harold continuing to wave the cleaver around and grunt. Harold’s wife hands out candy, and the reaper is on his way.
Later still, there’s another knock at the door, and Harold is quite surprised, given that a storm has recently blown in. Nonetheless, Harold grabs his cleaver and bursts through the front door. This time however, there’s no one there. Looking out on the lawn, Harold sees that the grim reaper has returned, and this time he’s brought a dummy dressed to look like Harold. The reaper then shakes the dummy and growls, while Harold tells his wife that there are kids outside who are up to no good!
When Harold’s wife looks outside however, she doesn’t see anyone and thinks Harold is just making things up. His wife decides to go to bed, and as soon as she leaves, Harold again sees the reaper. This is followed by the power going out and Harold exclaiming “Oh for the love of Pete” Harold begins looking around the house for the reaper, and predictable, he’s right behind him.
The reaper proceeds to cut the Harold dummy’s head off with the cleaver, while the real Harold has a very real heart attack. We cut to a little while later, and Harold’s wife is calling for an ambulance. Unfortunately, the bridge over the creek washed away hours ago in the storm, so it could take awhile. This leads Harold to wonder how a kid in a monster costume could have possibly gotten to their house. Yes because it would have been impossible for the kid to cross the bridge when it wasn’t out and just wait. Kid’s these days don’t have the attention span for such things, what with their video games and their rap music and baggy pants! As Harold’s wife hangs up the phone, she lets out a startled gasp and the segment ends on a shot of her jack o’lantern, with Harold’s cleaver embedded in it.
So, if you remember the gimmick of Beyond Belief was that they would show five stories and then you had to determine if they were based on true events or just fiction. This one…happens to be fiction. It’s a story that was actually done again, in a far more terrifying manner as the final segment of 2009’s Trick ‘r Treat, which is a film I cannot recommend enough. Whether or not the film’s writer/director Mike Dougherty was inspired by this segment, I’m not sure. For all I know, he could have written it. I’ll have to take to twitter to find out!
If you haven’t seen Trick ‘R Treat, and you’ve got Fearnet in your cable package, then you’re in luck because they’ll be showing all day long on Halloween. It’ll be just like A Christmas Story, with less bunny costumes and more gore. Here’s a promo spot Mike Dougherty directed for it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWWATh905tk&feature=youtu.be
Oh, and Jonathan Frakes made a Jack O’Lantern with his face on it, enjoy.