A short-lived Anthology Series
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:
- All Hallows' Eve: The setting of both "The Spirit Box" and "The Circle".
- All Love Is Unrequited: The geeky roomate is in love with the main character in "New Year's Day" while she is in love herself with another guy who is not interested in her. They eventually get Together in Death.
- The Bad Guy Wins: "Community".
- Batman Gambit / Thanatos Gambit: "Eater".
- 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.
- Black Magic: "The Circle"
- Bloody Handprint: Many in "New Year's Day"
- 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.
- Crime After Crime: "Chance".
- 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"!
- Cursed with Awesome: "Something with Bite".
- Dark Is Evil: "The Circle". And an Eldritch Abomination to boot.
- Does Not Like Guns: The Private Detective from "Spooked".
- Downer Ending: Standard.
- Driven to Suicide: "New Year's Day"
- Fawlty Towers Plot: "Chance".
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: "Family Man".
- Friendly Neighbourhood Werewolves: "Something with Bite".
- Genre Savvy: Bannerman in "Eater"- literally, given her love of serial killer films. It's not enough to save her, but it allows her to take the killer down with her.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: The ending of "The Circle".
- Haunted House: "Spooked".
- Hollywood Voodoo: "Eater".
- 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...
- Jacob Marley Apparel: "Spooked", "The Spirit Box".
- Just Between You and Me: "The Circle".
- Karmic Twist Ending: "The Spirit Box".
- Kid Detective: "The Spirit Box".
- 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.
- 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.
- Only Sane Man: Bobby in "Community".
- Ouija Board: "The Spirit Box"
- 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.
- Past Life Memories: "Echoes".
- Professional Killer: The main character in "Echoes" believes he was a proffessional hitman in a past life.
- Quip to Black
- Rabid Cop: The main character of "Spooked".
- Reincarnation Romance: "Echoes".
- Rewriting Reality: Attempted in "The Circle". It results in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, forcing the characters to live that horrible night again and again.
- The Roaring Twenties: "Echoes".
- Serial Killer: "Family Man", "In Sickness and In Health" and "Eater"
- Shout-Out: One of the characters in "The Circle" is a successful horror writer that sets his works in Maine.
- Stepford Suburbia: "Community".
- Spiritual Successor: Part Masters Of Horror, part The Twilight Zone
- Split Personality Takeover: "Chance".
- Stock Episode Titles: Roughly half of the episodes have these. The other half just seems like they have them...
- Tomato in the Mirror: "New Year's Day"
- Tomes of Prophecy and Fate: The titular "The Circle".
- Town with a Dark Secret: The "Community" from the episode of the same name.
- Wendigo: The antagonist of the final episode to air, "Skin & Bones".
- What an Idiot: The writer in "The Circle" tells the girls to make light by setting the furniture on fire.
- What Could Have Been: This was originally intended to be Season 3 of Masters Of Horror but Showtime chose not to renew the show. Starz (who acquired the show as a result of buying the show's distributor) ended up selling the rights to Lionsgate and this was the result.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: As it's primarily set in a church, "In Sickness And In Health" naturally has a lot of this.
- Writer's Block: The writer in "The Circle" is apparently going through a bad case of this. In reality, he always sucked as a writer and his only successful work was actually written by a witch in exchange of him leaving his wife for her. After he refuses, the witch writes a Reality Warper book to unleash her revenge on him.
- You Are Who You Eat: The Hollywood Voodoo cannibal in "Eater" can adopt the image of a person after eating its heart.
- Zombie Apocalypse: "New Year's Day"
- Zombie Infectee: Anita in "The Circle".