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Destination Nightmare
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by Scott Weinberg

"A Twilight Zone knockoff best left as obscure and forgotten"
2 stars

Everybody remembers "The Twilight Zone" because Rod Serling and his writers were geniuses. "The Outer Limits" still enjoys a loyal following to this day thanks to its clever concepts and creepy creatures. "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" is, for the most part, absolutely brilliant simply because... heck, its Hitchcock! These classic TV anthologies were adored back when they first debuted, and that enthusiasm seemingly continues unabated. But when any one concept hits it big there are bound to be the inevitable also-rans, and "The Veil" was one such hopeful. Based on what Ive seen in the pilot episode (retitled at some point to the illogical "Destination Nightmare"), "The Veil" seems better left unremembered.

Legendary horror icon Boris Karloff acts as host to this quartet of supernatural snoozers, and he snags himself a few plum roles in the ghost stories as well. If irony was the trademark of The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits is best remembered for its far-out sci-fi tales, The Veil would most likely be labeled as "that dull one".

Sheer tedium and yawn-inducing performances are all that I could focus on throughout each of the uninspired tales. The most fun youll have with this movie is if you make a drinking game out of it. When each new story begins, people must verbally predict the next plot point, line of dialogue or "twist" ending. Trust me when I say that everyone will be raving drunkards before the DVD counter hits 15:00.

The initial story centers on a young teenager who mysteriously adopts the memories of a girl long dead; the second bit offers some haunted airspace that consistently mocks a neophyte pilot; third up is a bizarre tale of reincarnation set in India; the final tale presents one were all familiar with. You know - the one that always ends in "You met Sally last night? B... b... but shes been dead for 12 years!" Come on! I bet that even in the mid-50s (when this series was originally produced), that tired old ghost story was about 85 years old!

Ive no aversion to stagy old TV shows, or the potentially dreary dramatics inherent to black-and-white melodrama. Destination Nightmare / The Veil is just plain old boring. Were the stories a bit edgier or the performances a bit less ponderous, Id probably have something nicer to say.

As a hardcore fan of all things horror-related, trust me when I say that this one offers next to nothing for newcomers. If, on the other hand, this TV series falls under your own personal "nostalgia list", you may want to snag a copy.

To be fair, I must mention that the picture quality of Rhino's DVD is stunningly bad. Im not sure if its just the source material, but what I sat through was a grainy, choppy, and basically atrocious transfer.

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originally posted: 04/30/04 09:50:35
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