The lights had to be out—complete darkness, ear pressed against the set. Raymond, with his insane laughter, would introduce the story, first bantering with the tea lady selling Lipton’s.
I backed away from the commercials, not wanting to break the spell that was already settling over me, of anticipation. Then back to mad Raymond. What was the story tonight—“The Horla”? Where a concert pianist hears and sees a grotesque monster in his own penthouse home? Or “Alive in the Grave”, a horror tale of a man possibly buried alive. Maybe “Death of a Doll” about a possessed child’s toy, perhaps possessing whoever touched it. Or, one of my favorites, “The Undead”, a man who wants to be a vampire!
Then, my own story—which would have been perfect for “Inner Sanctum” (I modestly believe)—“Mentalo”, about a magician who does…real magic.
This was the time of “Cat People”, the movie that relied on the power of suggestion, rather than in your face graphic monsters. Those lucky enough to have seen this little masterpiece will remember that the monster—in this case a woman who turns into a panther—is never actually seen doing so. But the chills are there—in your mind—as you fill in the deliberate spaces the director (Jacques Tourneur) has structured for your head.
Inner Sanctum filled my head with those suggestions and spaces. Comics, not often enough, accomplish the same suggestive stories and scenes—in spite of being a graphic medium—but I elected to draw the graphic images. We live in the most visually oriented society the world has ever known. From TV, to movies, to magazines, newspapers in full color, to mobile devices, no corner of the world or of human experience is excepted.
We watch—in real time—Quadaffi’s brutal death, surveillance cameras show a kidnapper in the act and horror series where nothing is left to the imagination.
I hope I’ll be forgiven for filling in the spaces so skillfully left to us by programs like “Inner Sanctum”, “Suspense”, and…”Lights Out”.