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ONE STEP BEYOND and the Shadow of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, 30 Years Later Exhibit, Custom Sneakers, and More!
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The Bite #144
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ONE STEP BEYOND and the Shadow of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, 30 Years Later Exhibit, Custom Sneakers, and More!

January 19, 2021

In this Issue:


HORROR HISTORY

One Step Beyond and the Shadow of The Twilight Zone

By Nicholas Yanes

“What you are about to see is a matter of human record. Explain it: we cannot. Disprove it: we cannot. We simply invite you to explore with us the amazing world of the Unknown… to take that One Step… Beyond” – John Newland, One Step Beyond

It’s an understatement to say that The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits are iconic shows, and while they only ran for five and two years respectively, they have influenced storytellers for over half a century. While their legacies are unquestionable, there’s another show that is too often overlooked in their shadow: One Step Beyond.

Debuting nearly ten months before The Twilight ZoneOne Step Beyond’s popularity shaped what it’s more well-known competition would become. According to Martin Grams Jr.’s book The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic, it was the success of John Newland’s recurring role as host that inspired the producers of The Twilight Zone to give Rod Serling the same position.

While this tactic was nothing new, Newland’s presence carried an air of authority. One Step Beyond billed itself as a show in which each episode was be inspired by real-life reported events. As Grams Jr. wrote, “One Step Beyond was real, inasmuch as each presentation involved a documented, although almost […] unbelievable incident, or series of incidents.”

The authenticity of One Step Beyond is not something Grams Jr. projected onto the show; it was there from the beginning. As Newland said in a 1959 article ‘New Program Deals With Supernatural’ by Charles Witbeck, “we’re going to play the stories straight. We’re not going to scare with the mood, trick lighting, or spider webs. We’re endeavoring to show reality. We will never use Boris Karloff.”

Though One Step Beyond only ran for three seasons, it wasn’t low ratings that lead to the show’s cancellation. John Muir quoted Newland in his book, Analytical Guide to Television’s One Step Beyond, 1951 – 1961, as stating, “[…] we had done 96 episodes, and there was the inescapable feeling that we were no longer the new kid on the block. The show was still drawing high ratings, but the decision was made to make room for a newer production.”

Despite the show’s cancellation, it found success a second time through reruns that went over so well, they led to a revival in 1978. Renamed The Next Step Beyond, the show would again be hosted by John Newland. Sadly, it would only last one season of 25 episodes. Muir wrote of the revival that it was “a victim, perhaps, of its own low production values and the misguided stories that failed to break new ground.”

The last episode of The Next Step Beyond aired April 1, 1979, but the franchise’s 62-year legacy would still echo for years to come, laying the groundwork for future generations of paranormal investigation film and television.


Nicholas Yanes, Ph.D, is a freelance writer who has produced content for CNBCPrime, MGM’s Stargate Command, ScifiPulse, Sequart, Casual Games Association, and other publications. He has co-edited two books, The Iconic Obama and Hannibal for Dinner, and he can always be bothered on Twitter.


IMAGE OF THE WEEK

In Every Neighborhood…

Gallery1988’s celebrating their favorite films released in 1991 with their current exhibition, 30 Years LaterThis stunning The People Under the Stairs poster by Chris Koehler is one of many up for grabs.


TINY BITES

LETTERBOXD, WIKIPEDIA, AND MORE

Letterboxd put together the ultimate year in review ranking for 2020, including the highest-rated horror.

If you’ve ever wondered what Seinfeld would look like as a horror movie, this fan-made trailer should answer your questions.

Forbes looked at how zombie movies braced us for the pandemic.

Meanwhile, this essay takes recent research into horror and the pandemic a step further, suggesting enjoyment of the genre serves an evolutionary function.

The Ringer decided to rank 2020’s horror movies based solely on their Wikipedia pages due to the squeamishness of their writer.

What to Watch discussed Promising Young Woman’s shocking ending and why it’s so important.

Psycho Goreman director Steve Kostanski spoke to Rue Morgue about kindertrauma and his latest feature.

John Carpenter and Sandy King Carpenter are teaming up with Serial Boxto create a series of audio horror stories.

Loudwire ranked 13 killer horror punk songs with nary a Misfits track to be found.

Town and Country wrote about the trend for major design houses to turn to horror for their runway inspiration.

Stephen King’s given permission to a small publishing house in Italy to publish his 25-page essay, Guns, which he wrote the day after the Sandy Hook shootings.


THINGS WE LOVE

Sick Kicks

Artist and sneaker connoisseur Andrew “Laptop” LaSane makes incredible, one-of-a-kind shoes for horror fans. Just check out these Midsommar Vans for inspiration if you’re thinking of commissioning a pair.


HEY, THAT’S US! – SHUDDER IN THE NEWS

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What Is This New “Opium-Fueled Fever Dream” Horror Movie About Mary Shelley Writing Frankenstein?

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How Guatemalan Horror Film ‘La Llorona’ Used Genre to Examine Genocide


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