Written by John Edward Betancourt
After all, this is a potential scenario that covers so many horrible bases. One could be trapped in a coffin, with little air to breathe and zero room to maneuver and of course to make matters worse, you're buried six feet below the ground where no one can hear you scream. With those images in mind, it's no wonder that this is indeed one of mankind's greatest fears, so much in fact that in the 19th Century it wasn't uncommon to see graves with tubes installed so those that were indeed buried alive could call for help. But while this is a fear that has plagued us for decades, the possibility of it has been greatly lessened thanks to our modern burial procedures, but sometimes, mistakes are made...as was the case in the Nightmares & Dreamscapes episode; 'Autopsy Room Four'.
Howard Cottrell is having one hell of a day. Not only has his golf game been off, but his good friend has been giving him hell every step of the way on the golf course, and a rare viper has sunk its fangs into his leg, paralyzing him to no end...and leaving medical personnel to believe that Howard is dead. But the poor man is healthy, at least mentally. He can see and feel everything happening around him and to him...he simply cannot communicate and that's going to be a problem. Because Howard has been moved to the city morgue, and his body is being prepped for an autopsy. Meaning the clock is ticking on Howard's life and it is going to take a miracle, or a sheer force of will to prove to everyone in that office that Howard Cottrell is alive and well...
This is certainly a different kind of episode for this series to bring to the table simply because it is nowhere near as cerebral as the rest of the other stories in this visual anthology. This particular tale is all about raw experience and emotion and at first glance it seems as though moving into that realm storytelling wise is going to break from tradition in this mini series and abandon its roots grounded in character development, but thankfully that is simply not the case. We learn everything we need to know about Howard through a series of flashbacks while he waits to be sliced open on the table, from how exactly he earned the snakebite in question alongside details about his relationship with his fiancé. But while all of that is fascinating and important, those moments pale in comparison to the experience made mention of a few moments ago.
Because this is a story that wants you to do one thing, join Howard along for the ride and share in the raw fear circulating through the man's veins and well...it's damn successful at that. Through inner monologue and point of view devices, we are indeed placed in Howard's shoes as he waits for the doctors to do their thing. There's simply no way to know when the dreaded moment will arrive and the tension that comes from that puts you on the edge of your seat. Either way, this is indeed a fascinating little study on the horror that one might go through if by chance they were to be 'buried alive' and the episode also does a phenomenal job of injecting plenty of humor along the way in this one so it doesn't get too dark, and quite frankly, the show deserves some credit for scaling down the size of the story this go round and focusing in on simpler scares. Until next time.