Saturday, January 4, 2014

the alfred hitchcock hour: an unlocked window

an unlocked window
the alfred hitchcock hour

i'm a sucker for anything in the haunted house and old dark house realm so i was intrigued by the blurb for this episode of the alfred hitchcock hour, which is currently airing on the encore suspense channel. an unlocked window is adapted from a story by ethel lina white. her 1936 novel, the wheel spins, was made into the 1938 hitchcock film, the lady vanishes.

an unlocked window is pretty much dripping with old dark houseness and the house itself, or at least the exteriors, should look very familiar to anyone who's ever seen hitchcock's original version of psycho. the action is, for the most part, confined to said house, in which a pair of nurses are tending to a bedridden patient. also on hand, the man and wife in charge of keeping the household running.

the key issue here, from the viewpoint of the nurses, is that there's been a rash of killings lately and the victims have all been, well...nurses. while a storm rages outside the inhabitants of the house batten down the hatches and lock the place up tight (with one obvious exception) in hopes of keeping themselves safe.

given the way things are structured this is really more of a suspense tale than a whodunit but the former quality is in no short supply. there's also plenty of rain and bushes lashing the windows, thunder and lightning and a strategically timed power outage to enhance the general creepiness and tension.

this episode was redone twenty years later during a short-lived revamp of the hitchcock series. i have yet to see it but i can't imagine how it could possibly improve on the original.