I seem to remember a sci-fi/horror anthology that was part of the Saturday morning lineup sometime around 1979, '80, or '81. It seemed a little out of place since everything else was mostly cartoons. I don't think it lasted very long (maybe not even a complete season). I can only remember two episodes from the series:

  1. A young artist happens upon a beautiful old house and is invited to stay. I thought it might have been David Soul, but now not sure after checking IMDB. Anyway, I remember him sitting around working on a sketch of the house and possibly finding a love interest there. In the end, some folks from town tell him there hasn't been a house there in many years. He takes the sheriff(?) back with him only to find an empty lot.

  2. Several young people (teens/20s) offend a fortune teller or palm reader and she speaks a curse over them; something about one dying by air, another dying by land, another dying by water, etc. Sure enough, one by one they all die. The only death that I can remember was one guy on an airplane that crashed. As each death occurred, the viewer could hear the woman's voice speaking the curse.

Does anybody remember the name of this series?

  • Where was this shown (which country)? – Wikis Dec 8 '13 at 6:47
  • It was shown in the USA. – jescotucker Dec 8 '13 at 7:02
  • Does this look familiar? It was an anthology horror series that aired 1989 - 1996, and that zombie was the host that appeared in every episode to tell you the story. I was 8 years old in 1996 and managed to watch it on occasion, so it wasn't too scary for me at the time, either. However, I didn't see matches for "empty", "love", "airplane", or other keywords in the list of episodes. – Izkata Dec 12 '13 at 4:09
  • Although it aired on HBO, it must have been censored and re-aired on a non-cable channel, as we didn't have cable until sometime in the mid-2000s. So that would explain why I could watch it so young... – Izkata Dec 12 '13 at 4:14
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    I don't think that's the show I'm looking for. This one didn't have a host. Also, I remember it had a low-budget, dated look about it. Thanks anyway. – jescotucker Dec 14 '13 at 4:36

I'm fairly certain those are episodes from "The Next Step Beyond", the (obscure) sequel series to "One Step Beyond". It lasted for 25 episodes and wasn't renewed for a second season. Which fits with your theory that the show you watched was a short-lived one. I've done some digging around, but sadly no clips are available for the episodes in question. There are some detailed plot summaries, at least for the first story you described.

"The Haunted Inn"

This was the 19th episode and, save for a few facts, it goes very well with your story about the artist.

Having missed his exit by some 60 miles, painter Chris Stabler arrives at an out-of-the-way inn after being directed to it by a girl in a white dress. Once at the mysterious inn, Chris encounters the beautiful girl, Lucianne, again, and starts to romance her even as the other guest, Miss Argus, warns him that the inn is filled with ghosts.

And here's where things get really spooky...

By night, sounds of a boisterous party ring out, but there are no other guests at the inn and the nearest house is half-a-mile away. Soon Chris is confronted with the horryfying truth that his new lover is a ghost and that the inn actually burned to cinders some years earlier!

James Keach - Pic 01 James Keach - Pic 02

The character of Chris Stabler was played by James Keach. Do those photographs look familiar? More pics of him, during his younger days, in this gallery (images 25, 26 & 35). Over to the next one...

"The Pact"

Your story about the doomed youngsters seems to match this 20th episode of the series.

Three children are tormented by a fortune teller who says they will have a tragic future. One of the children is haunted by this revelation and is driven to obsessive behavior by it. Twenty years later the children reunite as adults, and the prophecy of tragedy comes true.

~ Edited from An Analytical Guide to Television's One Step Beyond, 1959-1961

The book I've quoted from was written by John Kenneth Muir. The above link should take you to the page on "The Haunted Inn"; scroll down for an analysis on "The Pact". More details (and books) on the author's website and blog.

Note: When I first read your post I was reminded of this opening segment of the wonderful (in my opinion) Encounter with the Unknown (1973).

  • Yes, I'm sure that's it. And I can see why I would think it was David Soul; he and James Keach looked very similar. Thanks for the answer. I was beginning to think I had dreamed it up. – jescotucker Feb 23 '14 at 23:19
  • "The Haunted Inn" and other episodes of Next Step Beyond can be viewed online here: The Next Step Beyond episodes – user72284 Oct 1 '16 at 19:26

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