Series: Fear Itself

A short-lived Anthology Series from NBC that aired in the summer of 2008, Fear Itself is similar to Masters of Horror, but with less notable directors. (Michael Eisner's son, anyone?) A few of the directors from Masters of Horror made the transition, at least, among them John Landis, Brad Anderson and Stuart Gordon.

The show didn't finish airing its first season, but at least it had a cool theme song: "Lie Lie Lie" by System of a Down's Serj Tankian.

Fear Itself provides examples of:

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Becca in "The Spirit Box" planned everything from the start. For added irony, she's seen dressed as an angel on Halloween. Mr. Drake is also a pedophile working at the school.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • We do genuinely get one in "Skin & Bones". The wendigo is dead and the wife and kids are saved. But half of our named characters are dead too. And of course the wendigo, being a spirit, is certainly not really destroyed, just gone back out into the wilderness somewhere.
    • In "Eater", the last surviving cop, having been disarmed, wounded and cornered in a closet with no escape route, takes the decision to eat and powder herself in rat poison. Thus when the unstopable cannibal serial killer-Voodoo sorcerer kills her shortly after by biting her throat off he is poisoned and dies.
  • Breather Episode: "Something with Bite" is mostly comedic and completely devoid of the mandatory Downer Ending.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: "In Sickness and in Health" is a classic example.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Seemingly played straight in "New Year's Day" and then subverted - The main character was a zombie all along so while she still remembered how to dial her friends phone numbers she couldn't articulate the words well enough to communicate with them.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Roughly two-thirds of their twists. One of them was so horrible, we almost considered renaming the trope "The Family Man Twist"!
  • Honey Trap: Shelby seduces Mr. Drake in order to get close enough to incapacitate him.
  • How We Got Here: "Community", "New Year's Day" (via flashbacks).
  • I Just Want to Be Special: "Something with Bite" - turns out, the gruesome murders were being done by an ordinary man who wished to attract the attention of a real werewolf to bite and turn him. The main character promptly rips him off to shreds.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: "Eater" and "Skin & Bones".
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: Occurs in "Family Man": Amazing Grace/How sweet creepy the sound/that saved fucked a wretch/like meeeeee...
  • Karmic Death: Becca murdered Emily because she was jealous of her relationship with Mr. Drake. She drove out to a lake with her, poisoned her, and dumped the car with Emily still inside into a lake. When Mr. Drake is framed for the murder, Becca flees to Taiwan and brags to her unwitting accomplice, Shelby about what a victorious Karma Houdini she is. However, Emily's ghost traps Becca in a car and poisons her with the smog spreading throughout her garage. Which causes Becca to slowly suffocate to death before Emily's ghost closes in on her to watch.
  • Karmic Twist Ending: "The Spirit Box". Becca brags about what a Karma Houdini she'll become and gloats over her victory. She ends up killed by the ghost of the same girl she killed earlier in the episode.
  • Kick the Dog: In "The Spirit Box", Becca mocks Shelby over Missing Mom and declares herself a Karma Houdini who got away with murder. She gains a Karmic Death right after.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Mr. Drake is a pedophile having an affair with a lot of his students. It's safe to say that he did deserve to die. Becca becomes a victim of this as well when Emily's spirit gets its vengeance.
  • Kid Detective: "The Spirit Box". Shelby tries to solve Emily's death when she is communicated through the spirit box. Or so she thinks.
  • Kill 'em All: "Eater" to the max; absolutely NOBODY survived that one!
  • The Killer In Me: " In Sickness and in Health"
  • Looks Like Orlock: The main vampire in "The Sacrifice". Possibly because he's damn old - the newest ones look like they were just before death but with fangs.
  • Mandatory Twist Ending: Apparently, you can't air an anthology series nowadays without having these.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Becca used Shelby to kill Mr. Drake because she wanted to get even with him for dumping her for Emily. She pretends to be Shelby's best friend, but she just wanted her to kill him so nobody would suspect her. She gets a Karmic Death for her trouble.
  • Missing Mom: "The Spirit Box". She died of cancer.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The zombie roomate in "New Year's Day" is one of the biggest offenders ever seen in TV. True, he's following her, but how did he get past that closed door blocked by a piece of furniture from the inside without touching either? And that's only one of them.
  • Oh, Crap: Always present in the twist ending.
  • Only Sane Man: Bobby in "Community". To bad he becomes absorbed in the community.
  • Ouija Board: "The Spirit Box". Subverted. Becca faked talking to the dead so she could manipulate Shelby in her Evil Plan.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: "The Sacrifice" - They're fairly standard, only capable of being killed by fire, being stabbed in the heart, or being beheaded. Daylight either renders them dormant or actually harms them, as the vampire didn't attack during the day. One bite is also enough to convert a victim, leading to the necessity of killing them when the feeding is done.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: "Something with Bite" - After a while, you can transform only when you want it. And it makes you a total sex god.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: In "New Year's Day", the Zombie Apocalypse is started by an accident in a chemical plant, and all dead raise regardless of how they died. They also keep a lot of their previous memories.
  • Professional Killer: The main character in "Echoes" believes he was a proffessional hitman in a past life.
  • Stock Episode Titles: Roughly half of the episodes have these. The other half just seems like they have them...