Follow TV Tropes


Series / Fear Itself

Go To

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:

  • Big Eater: The main antagonist of the episode "Eater". Throughout the duration of the episode, Duane Mellor eats an entire pizza, 3 human hearts, and by the end of the episode, was fully prepared to dine on the main character as well.
    Mellor: You know us Cajuns...We don't eat to live, we live to EAT!!
  • 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.
    • The three sisters from "The Sacrifice" are a heroic variant of this. They're hospitable towards the heroes, but they're actually planning to feed them to a vampire trapped inside their walls. However, they only do this so it doesn't escape to the outside world.
    • Just about everybody in "Community", with the exception of Phil and his wife, are brainwashed by Candace, and will resort to extreme measures to preserve the shallow beauty of the eponymous community, up to and including murdering the family and friends of anyone who tries to escape.
  • 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 unstoppable cannibal serial killer-Voodoo sorcerer kills her shortly after by biting her throat out 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.
  • The Corruption: The Darkness from "The Circle" is an Eldritch Abomination that takes its victims and transforms them into zombie-like beings known as the "blood-thirsty" before it completely consumes 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"!An explanation containing unmarked spoilers 
  • 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.
    • The serial killer in "something With Bite" committed murders in the hopes of attracting a real werewolf to bite and turn him into one and sure enough, his ploy works. Too bad one of his victims was this particular werewolf's co-worker and close friend.
  • 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.
  • The Killer in Me: " In Sickness and in Health"
  • Looks Like Orlok: 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". Too 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. Oh, and there's vegan werewolves, too.
  • 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. They also don't kill mindlessly, like the zombies in most Zombie Apocalypse stories. Before The Reveal, Helen doesn't kill anyone and even actively tries to rescue a girl who is being chased by zombies.
  • Professional Killer: The main character in "Echoes" believes he was a professional hitman in a past life.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: "Chance". most of the episode could be explained as him talking to himself, but at least one scene shows his doppleganger actually helping him move a body, indicating that either he's completely insane, or something supernatural is going on.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: The ending of "New Year's Day" reveals that Helen has been a zombie all along, and was completely unaware of it.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In “New Year’s Eve”, a group of survivors is trying to escape the city and the zombies and one of them approaches a policeman despite numerous signs the policeman is a zombie. He gets eaten for his troubles.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The "Community" from the episode of the same name. Half the town is Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • The Virus: See The Corruption above. The Darkness can spread the "blood-thirst" disease if someone ingests parts of its fluid form.
  • Wendigo: The antagonist of the final episode to air, "Skin & Bones".
  • 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.
  • Yandere: Becca in "The Spirit Box".
  • You Are Who You Eat: The Hollywood Voodoo cannibal in "Eater" can adopt the image of a person after eating its heart.