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Title

The Church of Hell

Plot

A nasty surprise awaits a couple as they return from their blissful holiday to find their tenant and caretaker killed by supernatural forces. They must fight the forces of Satan to save their home and hearth.

Episode

0784

Air Dates

  • First Run - February 17, 1978
  • Repeat - July 16, 1978

Actors

Writer

Listen

Rating

84
60     24


13 Responses to Episode 0784

I remember going to sleep on this when I was a kid. I really wanted to hear it. I had forgotten all about it. Thanks. I will listen to this tonight.

James

David and Jane Francis, returning from a long vacation, discover that the old woman who had been renting their home has died mysteriously and it soon becomes clear that black magic and satanism is involved. The couple call in an expert in the occult and he determines that evil forces are still at work in their house. Genre:Occult

Manuel Guillermo Christian B.

A woman has died in a rental house owned by a New York couple who are quite curious not only how she died but of what was going on inside. The couple had been wanting to spend time in the house as it's in the country away from the city. They find several mysterious things within the house, which was turned topsy turvy from the inside...books and everything scattered about. The detective thinks the lady may have been frightened to death. They come up to visit with police there about the tragedy, and end up spending the night upstairs there, but are awakened frightfully by what appears to be a terrific storm. However, the night outside is clear...no rain, wind or lightning outside. It appears the storm is coming from within the house...gale force winds, thunder, and screeching cats. (To those of you who are Rush Limbaugh listeners, this particular sequence almost sounded, amusingly, like one of his old "Animal rights updates" minus Andy Williams singing.) After that episode (where their den is pretty much torn apart) the police detective who has become their friend through this investigation thinks someone else needs to be brought in...a college professor who also happens to be a parapsychologist. He finds evidence that black magic was practiced in that house. (The tenant, he says, wasn't a witch, or if she was was quite an amateur.) Looking at a discovery on the floor he says...well, here's part of his description of what he sees: "In the middle ages that material all around the inside of large circle would have been the skin of the victim who fastened to the ground by four nails from the coffin of an executed criminal. Don't be too alarmed, I think you'll find that this is only a simulation, as with the crude representations of the skull of what ought to be the skull of a "patricide"...someone who killed his father. The other three (symbols) are the horns of a goat, a male bat drowned in blood and a black cat who has been fed human flesh." Yeesh...wonder if Harry Potter ever learned that stuff? Fortunately, the prof is on their side, because he believes something evil has been set loose in the house...

Samantha Woods

A solid, supernatural mystery "procedural" as it were. The plot is unique, the characters well drawn (and not stereotypes). A good combination of mystery in figuring out exactly what is going on and "Exorcist" style action in the resolution.

James

as the old adage goes: truth can be stranger than fiction, & that's the truth.....not fiction(LOL). This story is most certainly worth a listen. It certainly kept me on the edge of my chair.

Tweety

I rate this episode ★★★★★ for EXCELLENT. An astounding mystery story that CBSRMT fans should never miss! Ian Martin’s captivating story involved of a dead Witch, an exorcism, and parapsychology. A great setup at the beginning, mysterious clues found in the middle, and a spine-tingling climax at the end. No character was dull and no plot point was perplexing. Another way to title this, would be “What Happened To Joanna Adams?” or even better: “The Unwanted Tenant.” Sound effects of the doors, dialing of the rotary phone, car engine, footsteps, the cat, tableware clinking, spice jars, stormy winds, tools, book pages, paper sheets, chimes, and the ghastly explosions were perfectly beneficial to this tale. The music tracks they used were wickedly splendid! Best music tracks were in the final Act during the Ceremony scene. It really puts you to the edge of your seat. In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall brings up the topic of the experience of subletting homes where they ended up “unspeakable.” In ACT-1, introduce our 2 main characters who received an unpleasant homecoming. In ACT-2, they survived the dramatic night and feel the joy of the morning, but later discover what’s hiding under the rug. In ACT-3, the Host’s detailed description of what’s under the rug involving shapes, sketches of animals, and symbols painted in black & blood red. In the end, he notions on what was involved in this story: Incantations, Exorcisms, the Grimoire, and Black Magic. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall references Necromancy along with the Bible verse of 1 Samuel 28:7. The narrations our Host gave us were informative and mesmerizing. And what's also mesmerizing, was our cast: Roberta Maxwell (as Jane Francis), Paul Hecht (as David Francis and Theodore Saxman), Lloyd Battista (as Lieutenant Harris Price), and Roger DeKoven (as Dr. Henry Wharton). It’s a shame that this was Roger DeKoven’s last episode because his performance was memorable as his roles in #0129- THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY and #0001-THE OLD ONES ARE HARD TO KILL. Lloyd Battista reminds me of his performance in #1245-THE JUDGE’S HOUSE where he acts observant, yet frightened. Kudos to Paul Hecht on his 2 roles. And Roberta Maxwell’s performance was wonderful, especially at the 26:08 mark when she said, “Black Magic?!?” Another remarkable episode that CBSRMT fans will adore, including its commercials of the Buick LeSabre and the Buick Regal. Until next time…pleasant dreams. =^D

Russell

My all time favorite spooky episode!

Cathy

I just finished listening to this one. I was pretty good. It seems as though I missed a lot of the really classic episodes when they first aired.

Shawn

Just back in their city apartment after two weeks in Europe, David and Jane Francis get a telephone call from the police in the town where they have a country home. They’re told the lease has been broken by the untimely and unexplainable death of their tenant, an elderly widow. When they reach their home, they find an unwanted tenant has taken possession, a tenant who may be difficult, if not impossible, to evict.

Adam

I loved watching Care 54 Where Are You! On Nick @ Nite in the 80s. He was quoted as saying: "Voice work is the kindest thing that can happen to an old actor." (Though wasn't he a judge in "My cousin Vinny", long after the last RMT episode - think it was Mr. Gwynne's final role before he passed.)

Chris

I rate this episode ★★★☆☆ for AVERAGE. I’ll review what I enjoyed the most first and then finish off what I disliked. First, I enjoyed the cast: Kevin McCarthy (as William Gillette/Sherlock Holmes), Jada Rowland (as Pamela Watson), Russell Horton (as Jim Watson), and Carol Teitel (as the Tour Guide and Mrs. Hudson). Carol Teitel was terrific in her 2 roles. Jada Rowland is my favorite actress in the CBSRMT series and having her partner up with Russell Horton again, like many episodes before, was delightful. And Kevin McCarthy was entertaining, just like his performance as Sherlock Holmes in previous episodes before this one. Next up, music and sound effects. Dozens of dramatic tunes were used, but no suspenseful or chilling tracks were used to match the feel of being trapped in a castle. Sound effects of car engine running, tires screech, footsteps, tourists murmuring, sliding doors, cat meowing, howling wind, gong, lamp breaking, doors, cane hitting clothing, gun shot, tapping of the phone, drawing the curtains, carriage rolling up, pouring of drinking glasses, and doorbell were very supportive in this tale. Next is our Host and his narrations. E.G. Marshall’s Prologue focused on castles and our story takes place at a castle in New England. In ACT-1, meet Jim & Pamela Watson where one of them is a Sherlock Holmes buff. In ACT-2, knowing so little about William Gillette’s career and we get a sense that some actors like him can go too far to create an illusion of reality. In ACT-3, after the strange turn of events, our Host’s only explanation to the Climax is to mention a quote from a playwright about the 6th sense of the Imagination. In his Epilogue, he recommends CBSRMT listeners to take a tour of the Gillette Castle itself in Connecticut. Good recommendation, but no Resolution explained on what happened to our characters afterwards. And so, it comes down to the final segment: the Script. Elizabeth Pennell has written decent drama mysteries and even did the adaptations of #0605-JANE EYRE and #0643-WUTHERING HEIGHTS. But this story was Fair. So-so, I should say. I was expecting it to be a haunting mystery about a haunted castle with the Sherlock Holmes references. But instead, this story’s turn of events created massive questions to think about. Like, how did the Jim & Pamela Watson hear about this castle? Was Mrs. Hudson going through nightmare problems? Was William Gillette really dead? Was he putting on a show for his guest just so he can play Sherlock Holmes for fun? Did these 2 tourists actually travel back in time? Was the castle actually haunted? Was it really a nightmare? Was anything resolved after Jim & Pamela Watson escaped from the castle? There are so many fill-in-the-blanks in this, the episode’s title should be changed and call it “A Bad Case Of The Jitters” or “Elementary, My Dear Guests.” Tune in to this, if you like. There are better castle stories in the CBSRMT vault. SPECIAL BONUS: This episode has commercials of AMEX travelers checks, Bob Armstrong’s Diamond Center, “The Ritual” novel, CBS-News, First Federal of Gary, Radio Advertising Bureau, Jewel’s Discount Grocery Store, CBS-Sports News in Chicago, CBS-News on Election 1980, Susan Anton for Serta Sleeper Mattresses, and Smokey Bear Program. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russ

I rate this episode ★★★★★ for EXCELLENT. I'd think that Robert Barr would have been pleased of the adaptation of this by James Agate, Jr. It has intricate clues, it has peculiar motives, and it has a surprising twist in the end. And above all, it has a great detective in this: Eugène Valmont. Robert Barr’s character ranks up with Jacques Futrelle’s Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Another way to title this story would be “A Case Of Interest” or even “The Parisian Detective.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall starts it off by comparing one of the characters as a “Scrooge.” In ACT-1, the bloodline of the James Dudley Hills on their fortunes. As the plot thickens, we realize that not all clues were divulged in the first Act alone. In ACT-2, questions pop up. More importantly, they see the evidence clearly, but not recognize it. In ACT-3, quoting Sir Francis Bacon about suspicions and our main detective plays a waiting game. In the end, after discovering where the loot was hiding all along and discovering who else was related to the family, we learned a private post-mortem joke that money would bring out the worst in those with the least character. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall finishes it off with the comparison of the Midas myth - great wealth does not equal great happiness. Outstanding narrations. Sound effects of bells, footsteps, background noise at the police station, phone receiving line, seals, patrons murmuring, paper note, newspapers, doors, dog wincing, phone ringing, paper bills, intercom buzzer, emergency sirens, pulling off wallpaper were terrific. As for the music, great selection of dramatic tunes that moved the story forward. And let us not forget our amazing cast: Norman Rose (as Eugène Valmont), Russell Horton (as James Dudley Hill III and Inspector Graves), and Robert Dryden (as James Dudley Hill, Jr. and Elijah Browning). These 3 worked well together. Norman Rose, performing with a French accent, was very entertaining. This is one mystery story that CBSRMT fans should not pass up on. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russ

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. I admire Murray Burnett’s work, particularly his adaptions of the Sherlock Holmes stories. But the story originally from Edith Wharton was better. The novelist’s ghost story had a Narrator without a name. In Murray Burnett’s version, we got a fashion designer that’s interested in the castle while the other male characters act persuasive and vulnerable. I was more interested in the mystery of the dogs and hope that they would play a bigger part to this tale. Other ways to title this would be “Dogs Of Kerfol” or “Strange Vendetta.” In our Host’s Prologue, that I had to find on other OTR websites, E.G. Marshall’s topic is about castles with ghosts. In ACT-1, meet our main character who’s interested in buying a castle. After digging into the story within the story, our Host points out the lifestyle differences of adultery from 2 different time periods. Our main character must’ve seen dogs or ghost dogs. After too many conflicts about pets getting killed in this story, E.G. Marshall mentions ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Was E.G. Marshall trying to advertise this non-profit organization into the episode? In ACT-3, he understands the reaction that our main character felt when reading the history book. When the story was over, E.G. Marshall stated that when he talked about this story to a psychiatrist and what was his take on this? Was E.G. Marshall talking about his personal life on this? Or was this something that Murray Burnett wrote for him? What’s even weirder, is the Epilogue. E.G. Marshall tells the world’s shortest horror story ever. It’s a classic, but it’s irrelevant to this particular story. E.G. Marshall wasn’t off topic with his narrations, but he could’ve saved the ASPCA mentioning, the psychiatrist moment, and the shortest horror story for other episodes. The music was OK, but the tunes for the chilling moments kept on repeating in every Act. Sound effects of birds chirping, bell ring, iron gate squeaking, footsteps, car tires screech, jewelry case, door knocking, howling wind, violin music, and unbolting the door were good. And of course, the sounds of dogs barking were helpful. And finally, our cast: Mercedes McCambridge (as Paula Randall and Anne de Cornault), William Redfield (as Herve de Lanrivain and Andre de Lanrivain), Ian Martin (as Baron Yves de Cornault), and Guy Sorel (as the Judge and the Gypsy). I like this choice of cast members. In fact, this was my favorite part of the episode. All of the actors were great. But it was Mercedes McCambridge, our leading lady, who was superb. Her performance in this reminds me of her performance in Ep. #0318-CARMILLA where she played 2 roles: The Narrator and the Woman who dealt with death. Fans of her would enjoy this episode. Check this one out, but also check out Edith Wharton’s original ghost story. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russ


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