Wes Craven Presents: They
Remember the old Rod Serling terror anthology series ”Night Gallery”? Often, it seemed as if the more portentous and metaphysical the Serling fanfare, the more the episode was guaranteed to be some piece of schlock about a plastic monster living inside the basement wall. I thought back to those bottom-drawer episodes when I saw Wes Craven Presents: They. (The hilarious diminuendo of that title is such that the movie might as well have been called ”Wes Craven Presents: Not a Hell of a Lot.”)
We’re told about demons that bring on ”night terrors,” and the movie, in a lame attempt to conjure the power of suggestion, keeps the malevolent batlike thingies off camera except for a few what-was-that? flashes, accompanied by an icky jellied smacking on the soundtrack that signifies the anticipated masticating of bodily organs. In this case, however, the attempt to build up a pressure cooker of horrified awe emerges from the simple fact that the movie has virtually nothing to show. Serling, his bushy eyebrows knitting until they just about touched his chin, might have described the monsters in ”They” as ”an emanation from a cold dark place — that city of the mind known as Nightmare Town.” To anyone else, they will look like an underlit emanation of chintzy F/X in search of a real movie.