13 Demon Street (1959 series)

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Lon Chaney jr. as the disheveled host of 13 Demon Street (1959 series)...

Summary

"Number 13 Demon Street: I am condemned to live here to suffer on this earth eternally as punishment for my sins. It is said that no greater outrage was committed by any mortal, but, should I find a crime more heinous, my terrible punishment will end!" A horror anthology series, set at decaying 13 Demon Street where the disheveled host, an unnerving (and perhaps diabolical) Lon Chaney jr. horror host character condemned to live at the title's address for an unspecified terrible sin, opened and closed each episode by trying (and evidently always failing) to present a case that the crimes committed in the night's episode were worse than his own.

A couple stories from the series were repackaged in The Devil's Messenger (1961 film), with a new wrap-around added with Lon Chaney jr. as a more explicit Satan, who sends his wife "Satanya" to recruit three souls to condemn to Hell, while plotting to expand his territory through nuclear war.

Details

  • Release Date: 1959
  • Country/Language: US/Sweden, English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Anthology, black-and-white
  • Runtime: (generally formatted for a 30-minute commercial television slot)
  • Starring: (various), Lon Chaney jr.
  • Director: Curt Siodmak, et.al.
  • Writer: Curt Siodmak, et.al.
  • Producer/Production Co:
  • View The Devil's Messenger (public domain): (link)

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: MPAARATING (notes)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • S____ (One Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian; has almost no direct connection to Lovecraft's work)

There was very little in this series that was explicitly "Lovecraftian", though the synopses of some of the episodes suggest more promise than the actual series was able to carry out within the limits of its format. See the suggested episodes below for synopses of episodes that at least suggest some vaguely "Lovecraftian" ideas.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

  • (review needed)


Synopses and Suggested Episodes

  • The Devil's Messenger - The film follows four stories: "The Devil's Messenger" (wrap-around) - Satan, while planning to expand his territory by creating Hello on Earth with atomic weapons, sends the spirit of a young suicide victim, "Satanya", back to Earth on a series of three recruiting missions, one of which reveals the cause of her death. "The Girl in the Glacier" - about a scientist who discovers and becomes obsessed with a woman frozen in an 50,000-year-old block of ice. "The Photograph" - about a photographer obsessed with the ghostly image of a woman in a photograph who seems to slowly come closer. "Condemned in Crystal" - about a skeptic who has driven his girlfriend, Satanya, to suicide, only to find his karmic death as a result foretold by a sideshow fortune-teller.
  • Suggested episodes from the television series 13 Demon Street:
    • "The Book of Ghouls" - An ancient book of incantations holds the key to untold wealth.
    • "The Girl in the Glacier" - An archaeologist, convinced that he knew her other in an earlier life, becomes obsessed with the body of beautiful woman found frozen in time inside a 50,000-year-old glacier.
    • "The Vine of Death" - An archaeologist plants calcified bulbs dating back nearly 4000 years, with deadly consequences.


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

Associated Mythos Elements

  • TO DO
  • Book of Ghouls, by Andreae Rhyzelii; "Shell Plaques of a King of Ur. Statue of an Akkadian. Asmodeus. Beelzabub. Moloch." A lot of nonsense about tombs and the living dead. "Let though be now of stout heart, with courage beyond that of mortal beings, if thou desire for riches and long life, for this writing contains the Law of the Ghouls, the Living Dead. Whosoever fulfills the rituals of this volume will live long after those in his lifetime have gone; he will have untold wealth if he obeys. On the oldest tomb of the cemetary, present and comply with the following demands: The Beak of the Raven; The Omen of Death; The Skin of a reptile; and last, seek out a man who does evil, and kill him. All of these demands must be carried out according to the orders herein; one the ritual begins, it must be completed, or the initiator of the ritual will perish. Take heed, for these are the orders of the Book of Ghouls...." (from "Book of Ghouls")
  • demons: Asmodeus, Beelzebub, Moloch (name-dropped in "Book of Ghouls"),
  • location: Mesopotamia, in references to "Shell Plaques of a King of Ur" and "Statue of an Akkadian" (name-dropped in "Book of Ghouls")
  • Mirada, the "death vine" (from "Vine of Death")


Keeper Notes

  • "The Girl in the Glacier" - After the outside loses contact with a polar archaeological expedition, the investigators get involved; the trail of clues reveal that the archaeologists had discovered the body of a beautiful woman frozen in an ancient glacier, and an obsessed member of their team, convinced he knew the girl in the glacier in a past life, thaws the ice, releasing a prehistoric evil into the world (a Thing would be an obvious choice, though an Atlantean sorcerer in the form of a Ghoul, Lich, Deep One, Wendigo, Gnophkeh, Gnoph-Keh, Voormi, Faerie, or any other such horror could provide a unique variation on this theme.)
  • "The Vine of Death" - Hilarity ensues after a murderer scientist revives the seemingly petrified seeds of a mysterious Death Vine by planting the seeds over the corpses of his victims....
  • "Green Are the Leaves" - The investigators are part of a film crew doing a live broadcast from the haunted Stafsholm Castle, once owned by sinister cultist Erik Kirsten (or perhaps Walter Corbitt?), and which has gained infamy following his death for a long series of mysterious deaths caused by something hidden within its walls.
  • "The Book of Ghouls" - The investigators are called in after someone notices a connection between a series of crimes committed by an evil cult, and a ritual described in the mysterious Book of Ghouls; a plot twist occurs in the form of the cult being secretly manipulated by Ghouls, who actually plan to complete the ritual before the cult does....
  • "The Devil's Messenger" - In Cthulhu End Times, when the Stars are Right, the Great Old Ones attempt to expand their territory on Earth by encouraging humans to start a nuclear war...