Sunday, October 25, 2015

Quantum Leap: "The Boogieman"

Premiered October 26, 1990

"When I was growing up, Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays. "Trick or treat", we used to say. Of course, back then we always expected a treat, and if we did play a trick, it was always funny and harmless. But tonight there were no treats. There were no tricks. There was only death."
-Dr. Sam Beckett

In this episode from Season 3 of the series,  it is October 31st, 1964 somewhere in New England.

"Unbelievable.  I've leaped into the Addams Family!"
Our time traveling hero, Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) leaps into the body of second rate gothic horror novelist, Joshua Ray.   He is getting his bearings in a creepy old house with all sorts of arcane trappings when he is surprised by some people in masks and falls down the stairs.

It turns out the two masked individuals are Ray's fiancee Mary Greely (Valerie Mahaffey) and a teenaged boy named Stevie (David Kriegel).  They're getting the house ready to be part of the Church Spook House for the local Halloween festivities.

Strange things begin to happen to at Ray's house.

Sinister goat offs handyman!
Tully (Donald Hotton), the local handyman is on a ladder repairing windows when a goat arrives and knocks down the ladder.  Tully is killed instantly.  Ben Mathers (Paul Linke), the local sheriff interviews Sam about the incident.  He tells them about the goat, but Mary points out that he doesn't own a goat and there is no farm for miles.  Masters, who also happens to be Mary's ex-boyfriend doesn't buy the goat story.

Usually, Sam leaps into people's lives to put right something that once went wrong with help from Al (in the form of a hologram) and Ziggy, the supercomputer that runs the Quantum Leap Project, but nobody can seem to figure out what is going on.  Sam presumes he leaped into Ray so he could save Tully.   Or maybe he is there to save Mary from being murdered and found in the Spook House on Halloween night?

Later that day, Dorothy Yeager (Fran Ryan), the town gossip brings over candle sticks for the spook house.  Dorothy is sad to hear about Tully's death, but not exactly surprised.

When Dorothy goes to the kitchen to get cider, she is suddenly killed by a black mamba snake!
Sam chases the snake away with a broom, but it slithers away.  Two people have died and Sam is furious.  He damands that Al get to the bottom of why he leaped into this tragic scenario.

The body count is mounting and strange things including, but not limited to, flying skulls and mysterious typewriter messages relating to recent events keep happening.  

Will Sam be able to save Mary so he can leap?  Or are more sinister forces at play here?   Is some primal evil trying to stop Sam from succeeding?

Note house number.  Oh dear!

RigbyMel says:

Full disclosure, I was/am a HUGE fan of Quantum Leap and remember watching this episode when it first aired and being thoroughly creeped out by it.  (At the time,  I was also rather smugly proud of figuring out a small "Kiss With History" surprise that occurs near the end of the episode before it was revealed.)   There is a great deal of spooky tension that is allowed to build and build and the solution to the mystery of the episode is genuinely unexpected.

Creepiest scarecrow ever?
The episode holds up pretty well generally, even if it comes off as perhaps a little overly dramatic in spots.  There are a lot of fun nods to horror movie/tv/book tropes as well that reward repeated viewing.

Joshua's young friend Stevie
There's also some rather creative staging as regards Al and the troubles with figuring out what exactly Sam's mission on this leap is.  I don't want to spoil too much of this episode for those that might not have seen it before, but watch closely in scenes featuring Al.  Speaking of Al,  Dean Stockwell gets to do some great unsettling work in this episode, hats off to him!

Interestingly, this episode of Quantum Leap has developed a bit of a reputation amongst fans.   Some believe the episode to be "cursed" and will not call the program by name, preferring instead to refer to it as "The Halloween Episode"  or "The Boogiem*n".    The episode is thought to have been responsible for weird mechanical failures of VCRs/cable boxes/TVs etc and apparently even uttering the name of the episode is thought to bring bad luck.   (Reminds me of theater people and superstitions about a certain Scottish Play by Shakespeare!)    

In any case, your intrepid bloggers have not had any episode name related misfortunes (so far -- *touch wood* -- after I typed this, we started having problems loading images to this post.  Spooooooky!).  That being said, this particular installment of Quantum Leap is well worth adding to your Halloween festivities.  

RigbyMel's rating:

4 jack o'lanterns!

J.A. Morris says:

Unlike my co-blogger, I was more of a casual fan of Quantum Leap than a regular viewer.  I hadn't seen this episode until recent years, but it's become part of my yearly Halloween viewing.

It has plenty of seasonal trappings such as black cats, pumpkins, skulls and paranormal activity.

Bakula is good as usual and Stockwell...well let's just say he stretches his acting a little more than usual in "The Boogieman."

Stevie and his dog...Cujo!
It's worth noting that Mary Greely is played by Valerie Mahaffey.  She has appeared in dozens of tv series and movies.  Most notably, Mahaffey made an impression as Eve on Northern Exposure.

Mary hisses at Sam/Josh.
On a personal note, the "Dracula" decoration seen in this episode caught my eye.

My parents bought this Halloween decoration in the early 1980s and it was displayed in our home every October for many years.

Sheriff Masters suspects Sam is responsible for the suspicious deaths; Sam believes Masters is hiding something.
This episode can be found on the season 3 dvd set of Quantum Leap.  It also currently streams on Netflix, iTunes and Amazon.

"The Boogieman" is a fun Halloween episode and is recommended.  I lack the nostalgic attachment to this episode that RigbyMel brings, so I rate it slightly lower than she.

J.A. Morris' rating:

3 and a half pumpkins.

1 comment:

WestVirginiaRebel said...

The real tension in the episode comes towards the end, as Sam realizes who he's been dealing with posing as Al. Dean Stockwell does a great job as "Evil Al."