Legendary director John Carpenter, known for classics like Halloween and The Thing, has ventured into television with his anthology series, John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams. Unlike his cinematic works, this series takes on real-life evil, focusing on diabolical individuals and eerie urban legends. While Carpenter’s name adds anticipation, the series, available on Peacock, doesn’t live up to the sinister narratives fans expect.
The show opens with Carpenter’s ominous narration, promising terrifying true stories lurking in suburbia. Each of the six episodes explores incidents or myths that have shaken individuals or communities to their core.
The premiere episode, Kelly, follows a man haunted by visions of a deceased girl after using an Ouija board, while Episode 4, Bunny Man, dives into the legend of a menacing rabbit-costumed figure in Fairfax, Virginia.
Using a documentary-style format, each episode combines interviews with real people affected by these stories, reenactments, archival footage, and photographs. The series concludes by revealing the outcomes of these tales.
The central issue with Suburban Screams is its lack of cohesion. While episodes like Bunny Man fit the horror genre well, others, like A Killer Comes Home and Phone Stalker, veer into disturbing territory, focusing on violent crimes against women, aligning more with true crime shows.
Despite relatively short episode runtimes, lengthy reenactments make the show feel tedious. A tighter edit could have improved the pacing and tension the series aims for.
Unfortunately, Suburban Screams doesn’t match Carpenter’s past contributions to the horror genre. Instead, it feels like a mishmash of crime shows, lacking the scares and shocks that make horror compelling.
In summary, John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams may disappoint those seeking his classic brand of horror. It’s an exploration of real-life evil with a mixed bag of stories that doesn’t consistently deliver the chills. It’s a departure from Carpenter’s signature style and may not be what fans anticipated.
John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams premiered on Peacock on October 13.