Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pigeons From Hell

I've had many work days where I don't teach. This is because the students are often testing and my school understands that, other than teaching my English class, I am worthless to them. So I have many days like today where I sit on my computer for eight hours or so. I have heard many people complain that they hate their jobs because it is "so boring" and all they do is "sit in front of a computer all day". Fine by me. I easily find ways to pass the time. Today, I watched live stats of football and basketball games in the US (lame, I know), Skyped with my mom for an hour, chatted with a friend for another hour, and read articles of interest on the internet.

One thing I researched during my internet surfing today was something I remembered from when I was young. I was about 9 years old and I was listening to my family talk about the book "IT" which led to discussion of the scariest books we had read and the most frightening movies we had seen. My dad talked about the scariest movie he had ever seen and it was called "Pigeons From Hell". I could tell from the way he talked that this movie had made an impact on him. He claimed he had attempted to find the movie but couldn't find a copy. He theorized that perhaps the film had been accidentally destroyed or misplaced and that no copies were in existence. I even recall him thinking that he should contact Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders because the lyrics "got in the house, like a pigeon from hell" (Back on the Chain Gang), must have something to do with the movie.

Well, thanks to the internet, people no longer need to communicate with British punk bands to solve life's mysteries. It did not take long to figure out that "Pigeons From Hell" was not a movie, but in fact an episode of the TV series, "Thriller". The episode originally aired on June 6, 1961, which would put my dad at 7 years old. The perfect age to be scarred for life by a well made horror flick! Thriller was hosted by Boris Karloff and ran for two seasons (1960-1962), airing a total of 67 episodes. "Pigeons From Hell" was episode #36 from Season 1. From what I could find, the original Thriller episodes have never been released on DVD, but I did find this link that gives some hope to those of us that would like to see that happen.


"Pigeons From Hell" was based on a short story written in 1938 by Robert E. Howard, the same author who wrote "Conan the Barbarian". Stephen King called it, "one of the greatest horror stories of our century" (apparently referring to last century). I've included a link to the short story if anybody is interested.



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