Director: Frank De Palma
Writer: Robert Bloch
Cast: Rod McCary, Sirri Murad, Donald MacKechnie, Colm Meaney, Angelo Grisanti, Neil Kinsella, and Paul Sparer
Composer: Ken Lauber
Air Date: 9/27/1987
After acquiring an Egyptian sarcophagus containing valuable artifacts, archaeologist Arthur Hartley (Rod McCary) begins experiencing strange and paranormal phenomena. Failing to heed the warnings of a priest named Hammid Bey (Sirri Murad), Arthur continues on his quest for wealth—with a gruesome result.
Combining creepy atmosphere with a serious tone, “Beetles” will appeal to those who favor straight horror over excessive camp. This episode may, however, elicit criticism for its weak performances, genre clichés, and tedious monologues from the main character.
By relaying tales about ancient curses, Egyptian deities, and female mummies, the character of Hammid Bey strengthens the backstory of an ominous narrative by Robert Bloch—author of Psycho, American Gothic, and numerous offerings within the horror and science fiction genres.
Also effective are the eponymous beetles, who invade the bed, teacup, and shaving cream owned by Arthur following his theft of two cursed jewels—the most skin-crawling aspect of this episode, which relies mainly on exposition in order to terrify the audience.
“Beetles” is marred by the performance of Rod McCary, who, though saddled with cringe-inducing lines and a lack of human conflict, provides a stiff and unconvincing portrayal of a man on the verge of losing his sanity.
“Beetles” may evoke praise for its supernatural horror concept, which pays tribute to Universal Studios’ original version of The Mummy. Nevertheless, this episode suffers from a flawed and predictable execution.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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