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TV Tonight: Fear Itself

Making a horror series to the standards of network television can't be an easy task — but NBC has put some of the genre's best on the case. Fear Itself, the network's horror anthology series, premieres tonight, with the directors of films such as American Psycho and Bride of Chucky taking turns creating spooky one-hour episodes for the next 13 Thursdays.

There's nothing overly gory about these episodes — in part because that kind of thing would never make it past broadcast censors but also because the producers (who also did Showtime's Masters of Horror) thought that those R-rated elements had been pushed as far as they could go in films and on cable. The result is a series that's reaching for a more psychological sort of horror — spooky, not gross.

Tonight's first episode, "The Sacrifice," is a pretty straightforward take on the genre. Four fugitives — including one played by Jesse Plemons, Landry of Friday Night Lights — turn up at a cabin in the middle of nowhere. At first it seems like a safe, comfortable place (stocked with beautiful women, no less), but of course it's anything but. The story isn't terribly complex (it could be a slightly more adult take on something from Are You Afraid of the Dark?), but it's well-directed by Breck Eisner, who's currently remaking The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the acting is sufficiently creepy. For more on the series and to see a preview, just


Later episodes go heavier on the psychological elements; while I still haven't seen either of the two I'm most highly anticipating, the second episode — in which a bad cop stages a stakeout at what turns out to be a haunted house — has a very different feel from "The Sacrifice." I'm curious to see where the series goes; its format seems perfect for Summer, since viewers can pop in and out without missing plot.

Will you be checking in to see if Fear Itself spooks you? Here's a look:

Photo courtesy of NBC

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