Showtime, already airing its half-hour weekly programs under the umbrella title “Fallen Angels,” again tackles the short-story concept with three brief dramas a la HBO’s “Tales From the Crypt,” aimed at chilling viewers. Scary moments are scattered throughout the teleplays by Billy Brown and Dan Angel, but the writing is pedestrian.
John Carpenter, appearing as a blatantly coarse coroner in the wraparounds, summons up plenty of grisly spirit in directing “The Gas Station,” filmed on a lonely stretch in Pear Blossom, Calif. Alex Datcher’s on duty by herself at an all-night station while an unidentified killer is ranging about.
The story’s holes are big enough to accommodate a truck, but Datcher gives the story an edge and old-hand Carpenter keeps the jump factor high.
Shifting to another style, Carpenter’s second outing, “Hair,” in which Stacy Keach gives a first-rate performance (at one juncture he offers a masterfully spontaneous guffaw), is about a man obsessed about going bald.
Instead of an out-for-a-shock one-act, the drama goes in for cumulative horror. After Keach visits hair whiz David Warner, Keach’s hair grows, all right , but the cool Warner is not at all what he’s supposed to be.
More complex than the first two segs, “Eye,” directed tightly by Tobe Hooper, sets up Mark Hamill as a half-blind ballplayer who receives a new right eye. The transplanted eye is from a dead man whose personality begins to take over Hamill , hardly a new idea. Twiggy plays Hamill’s upset wife, while Roger Corman turns up as a doctor.
None of the three playlets break new barriers, but the productions are good, the casting interesting. Gary Kibbe’s camera work is superior, and Daniel A. Lomino’s production designs are starkly appropriate. Ed Warschilka’s editing is terrif.