Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Horror Of...Halloween Night, Star Trek - "Catspaw", In Short

As the last weekend of Halloween comes to an end, we need something comfy. Particularly if where you are is cold right now, we need a mug of something and some good old fun to snuggle up with under a blanket.

So let's set a course, and go to warp. It's time for some Star Trek.

And let's take a look at the Star Trek franchise's only holiday episode. And it's a Halloween one.

Star Trek - "Catspaw"

I only noticed this recently. This episode of second season Trek ended up being moved back so it would abut Halloween in 1967. October 27. Hey, it's closer to being on mark than any of the shows I've covered that end up being shown in November.

The episode opens with the starship Enterprise in orbit of Pyris II. It is an uninhabited world. Scotty, Sulu, and Crewman Jackson have been sent down to survey.

But Kirk grows concerned as the away team misses a call in. They try to contact them, but have no luck.

Finally, Jackson contacts them. Something is off though. He wants to be beamed up, but won't explain why, or where the others are.

They beam him up.

And Jackson immediately collapses on the pad. Doctor McCoy checks him, but finds that he is dead.

Then a booming voice emanates from him. It says the ship is now cursed. And they must all leave now, or die.

Kirk isn't going to take that. So he, Spock, and McCoy beam down to find the missing crew members.

Up on the ship Assistant Chief Engineer DeSalle is in charge. And Chekov is...Chekov? What's the deal with that wig? Now that's this episodes real horror.

"There's no place for comical wigs on the bridge, ensign."

This was the first filmed episode with Chekov. But as it was shown later, his later work was shown earlier.

The world is as desolate and craggy as expected. But they also find that it is foggy. The environment of the planet should not make that possible.

And then they hear a howling and a wailing. Three spectral figures appear. They wail and rhyme, warning Kirk to stay away and flee.

They cackle and disappear when they are done. (They really make you think of the Three Witches.)

And when I was a little kid, watching reruns of Trek, this was the moment I bolted out of the room. The makeup and voice work was all it took me as a kid to jump and run. They portrait that iconic Halloween witchiness.

Spock notes that nothing they are seeing is real.

But a wind rises from nowhere, and pushes them back, and McCoy wonders how things that aren't real can be affecting them so.

As they make there way, they spot a massive castle in the distance. And it looks great. That is a perfect creepy castle, shrouded in darkness.

Inside they find dusty walls, cobwebs, and torch lit hallways.

They are met by a black cat that...acts like a normal cat. Right? We all on board with that analysis?

They try to proceed through the castle, when the floor gives under them. They are left unconscious.

The cat approves.

They all awaken to find themselves chained in a dungeon, with skeletons on the wall to boot.

Soon they find Scotty and Sulu arrive. But they are not themselves, mindless and under the control of another.

They are taken to meet their captors. Korob and Sylvia. They are powerful being that have taken this world as there home. They evade questions about who they are and how their powers work.

Magic? Science? Eh?

But they are powerful. Able to make effigies of the Enterprise, with which they can threaten it's safety. Or lock it away from the universe.

The cat can also get a whole lot more annoying and interesting.

Strange almost all powerful beings on a spooky world? Creepy castle? Black cat? Witches? Ghosts? Seeming magic?

As Kirk says,
"If we weren't missing two officers, and a third man dead, I would say someone was playing an elaborate Trick-or-Treat on us."

The beings are tying in to the things that scare us, as humans. Though as 23rd century people, you might think something more futuristic might be in there. But this is the 60's So it's about 60's creepiness.

This episode gives a nice look at the creepy Halloween imagery of the mid-60's. It might seem somewhat quaint to some these days, but it worked on me as a little kid in the 80's. Perhaps it will get the kid in you to twinge to.

Hopefully, you'll like to watch this Halloween and see just how Kirk and the crew are able to escape the grasp of wizards and witches. The tricks they are trying to evade will prove to be your treat.

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