“Space…the Final Frontier.” On September 8th, 1966, the U.S.S. Enterprise and her crew boldly went where no man (no one!) had gone before when the first episode of STAR TREK premiered on NBC.
Now, 50 years later, the Sci-Fi Television series that was cancelled after 3 short seasons due to flagging ratings has become a cultural phenomenon. Gene Roddenberry’s space opera adventure parlayed its newfound success in syndication into a multimedia empire. Since 1966, STAR TREK has spawned 5 Television series (Discovery will make six), 13 feature films, massive worldwide fan conventions, countless licensed products and, most recently, its own line of USPS Postage Stamps!
There’s no doubt that STAR TREK has told some amazing Science Fiction stories over the years, but did you know it spun some great horror yarns as well? Here are 6 STAR TREK Original Series episodes that made viewers’ hair (not a William Shatner toupee joke) stand on end…
#6 –The Devil In The Dark (Season 1, Episode 25): Nothing delivers the scares like things that go bump in the night! The Enterprise is called to investigate a series of murders in the mines beneath Janus IV. Kirk and Spock find themselves hot on the trail of a mysterious creature that has killed more than 50 men! As it turns out, the creature, known as the Horta, is just your classic “misunderstood monster” out to protect itself, its environment and its offspring from foreign invaders. As The Devil In The Dark is not truly evil, this episode lands at #6 on our list.
#5 – Obsession (Season 2, Episode 13): If you’ve ever wondered where the STAR TREK Red Shirt “Walking Dead” stereotypes come from, look no further than Obsession. No less than SIX Red Shirts bite the dust in this one episode that draws upon the terrors of being stalked by an unseen assailant – a mysterious stalker – the Boogeyman. Kirk and Crew (and a whole bunch of Red Shirts) are mercilessly hunted by a cloud like creature whose only warning sign is a strange smell that becomes evident right before attack. Chilling!
#4 – The Man Trap (Season 1, Episode 1): Before the Twilight Vampires got all glittery and sparkly, they craved one thing…salt! Salt??? That’s right! Doctor McCoy’s old flame Nancy Crater is more than she appears. Reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Thing, the Nancy Crater Salt Vampire from The Man Trap disguises its appearance at will by appearing human, blending in and biding its time until the moment is right to strike! The Man Trap, incidentally, was the first episode that aired in the aforementioned series premiere on September 8th, 1966.
#3 – And The Children Shall Lead (Season 3, Episode 4): There’s not much creepier than evil kids, amirite? Children of the Corn, anyone? The Scooby gang goes to check in on a Federation Outpost and finds…a whole lot of dead bodies! Victims of a mass suicide. The children of the colony, however, are unharmed and way too okay with the fact that their parents are all dead. As if the creepy kids aren’t enough, this episode features a malevolent spirit – a ghost who wants the children to kill Captain Kirk and every other adult who gets in the way!
#2 – Wolf in the Fold (Season 2, Episode 14): Shore leave gone bad! Lovely ladies are dropping like flies and Scotty’s holding the knife (along with a case of amnesia)! This slasher story was written by Robert Bloch who, as the author of Psycho, just so happens to know a thing or two about slashers! The episode features a dark atmosphere, haunting music and a creative twist on the Jack The Ripper legend! The screams and noises made by the evil spirit are reminiscent of the Deadite wails from THE EVIL DEAD movies and will haunt your dreams. C-R-E-E-P-Y!
#1 – Catspaw (Season 2, Episode 7): Witches, black cats and skeletons, oh my! This one has it all! The Enterprise crew visits Pyris VII and gets a whole lot more than they bargained for in this quintessential Halloween Episode. Catspaw aired on October 27th, 1967, just in time for All Hallow’s Eve. Haunted castle? Check. Dungeon? Yes! Talking corpse? Check. Evil Wizard? Check. Fog machine? You betcha! This episode’s got everything! What can I say? It’s a whole lot of Halloween fun!
And there you have it! Just in time for STAR TREK‘s 50th Anniversary and in plenty of time for Halloween! “Live long…and prosper!”