If you have not seen this 50 States of Fright from Quibi, be prepared for spoilers below.
Since quarantine, I have been hearing more and more about this new streaming platform called Quibi. It launched April 6 and has been promoted as “movie-quality shows designed for your phone with new episodes every day.” I’ve been seeing different celebrities showcasing a variety of shows. Chrissy Teigen has a court show, Sophie Turner has a drama/thriller, and Liam Hemsworth has an action show. The platform stands on the fact that these episodes are 10 minutes or less. I don’t know about you, but being drawn into a show for 10 minutes or less seems like a great idea when I want to take a break from work or take a walk on the treadmill since I can’t go outside.
Quibi is fun, and lots of great actors are jumping on board. A show that caught my eye is 50 States of Fright. These episodes will easily capture the attention of those that love the urban legend trope and the horror genre. The series will explore stories based on urban legends from Michigan, Kansas, Oregon, Minnesota, and Florida. It will take viewers deeper into the horrors that lurk just beneath the surface of our country. For those ’90s folks, it reminds me of Tales from the Crypt. This new anthology series will feature a number of well-known actors, including Ming-Na Wen (Agents of Shield), Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek), Asa Butterfield (Sex Education), Travis Fimmel (Vikings), Karen Allen (Indiana Jones), James Ransone (It Chapter Two), Alex Fitzalan (The Society), and Danay Garcia (Fear the Walking Dead).
The first three episodes are titled “The Golden Arm — Michigan.” They are written and directed by Sam Raimi who is also an executive producer on the series. Raimi is no stranger to horror having produced such films as, Don’t Breathe (2016), Poltergeist (2015), The Grudge (2004), Boogeyman (2005), and The Evil Dead (1981), which he also directed. The 50 States of Fright episodes, “The Golden Arm,” sticks to the origin story by keeping the main ideas of a false limb, a death, a robber, and a scary and unsettling ending.
The three episodes follow Dave and his wife Heather. Dave is a hard worker who will do anything for his wife. Heather is a young woman obsessed with being remembered as the most beautiful girl in town. One day Dave asks his wife to assist him with his work. Heather has a terrible accident that results in the loss of one of her arms. Dave is very good at making things, so he makes a prosthetic arm for his wife. She demands that it be made of gold. Dave lovingly obliges. Heather gets sick from the gold and dies, making Dave swear to bury her arm with her. Shortly after her death, Dave starts to struggle financially. The only option he sees as a quick way to make money is to steal the gold arm that he buried with his wife. Upon digging up the arm and stealing it away from Heather’s dead body, Dave is haunted by his wife through the night. She cries out, “Where is my golden arm?” Afraid, Dave gives the arm back to her. But, it is too late and Dave dies as a result of stealing what he promised his wife could have.
The episodes are great lengths. The first one is only five minutes and thirty-seven seconds, and it leaves you on a cliff hanger. The second episode is ten minutes and also provides the panic and suspense of a good scary story. The episodes are short, but they leave you wanting more. It’s fun to see a story dissected into the perfect beginning, middle, and end. You know it’s an urban legend. You know someone is going to get hurt or die. You know there is a lesson to be learned. The thrill comes from seeing good acting with decent effects in a show that gets to the point quickly. You don’t have to watch eight hours of TV to learn the fate of the characters. The effects in “The Golden Arm” were cool to watch. Some of it was a little cheesy, but I don’t think viewers will mind. The point of an urban legend is to tell a story and learn a lesson. Those ideals come through stylishly.
Quibi has a lot to offer in these times when people are looking for something new as they sit in their homes. Boredom comes quickly, and if watching an eight-minute episode distracts from the chaos, I’m here for it. 50 States of Fright is a fun, scary show that takes real folktales and presents them in present-day fashion. They take you away from the mundane, if only for a moment.
Episodes of 50 States of Fright are available Monday, April 13th. You can catch these episodes and more only on Quibi.