“Someone’s at the door!”
The phrase "Someone's at the door!" was a mantra in the ads for the show and the series itself. It is a simple line repeated to hypnotic effect by the disturbed young woman traumatized by what happened to her mother. And a foreboding line when that evil returns.
Cross The Andy Griffith Show with The Devil and Daniel Webster and throw in a heaping helping of The Omen and you have American Gothic. Shaun Cassidy and Sam Raimi’s mid-90’s story of terror ruling a tiny town.
Lasting only a single season, it is the story of Trinity, South Carolina and young Caleb Temple (played smartly by Lucas Black), a supernaturally gifted boy whose young life is full of tragedy. The antagonist in this tale is the sheriff, Lucas Buck (portrayed brilliantly by Gary Cole) who has either made a very favorable deal with the devil or may even be the devil himself.
Sheriff Buck runs his little town with an iron fist and having raped Caleb’s mother, may be the boy’s father. He is also responsible for the murder of the boy’s sister, Merlyn (played by Sarah Paulson) and the suicide of his parents. Buck plays, pulls and manipulates the people in his town like puppets with blackmail, manipulation and just sheer threats.
The show becomes more and more about Caleb’s potential for both good and evil and, generally, a battle for the boy’s soul as Buck tries to corrupt him and those good people in his life try to turn him from the darkness.
All 22 episodes are available on Amazon and Vudu and there is a box set of the first season—and the DVD side of Netflix still offers it for rental. If one doesn’t mind the lower quality play, it can be found on Yahoo! View for free—a service I was, until recently, unaware of...
The series was meddled with by the network once ratings slipped and so it probably didn’t go quite where it wanted to originally go, nevertheless it was a big ol’ slice of apple pie that was surprisingly dark for primetime on CBS in those days.
The top episodes of the show were probably the “Pilot”, “Damned if You Don’t” and “To Hell and Back”… well worth looking into if you’re up for a deep dive into good, greasy, cheesy American darkness.
Here's the original episode:
This is the 4th episode:
And finally, here is the 14th episode:
Here are a few articles on the show that are of note: