By: Kayla Caldwell
Do you remember being a kid, sitting in a circle with your friends, and telling scary stories - particularly urban legends? Well, get ready to feel nostalgic af with 50 STATES OF FRIGHT. Quibi and Gunpowder & Sky are bringing us this entire series about urban legends in the United States.
The first tale hails from Michigan, and stars Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Travis Fimmel (Vikings), and John Marshall Jones (Smart Guy, Paradise Lost). It also happens to be co-written by Sam freaking Raimi (with Ivan Raimi), and helmed by the Evil Dead and Spider-Man director as well.
The first urban legend - “The Golden Arm” - follows Heather (Brosnahan), the “prettiest girl in Alpena County.” And she knew it. Heather has really expensive tastes, despite being married to a humble, hardworking man of the land. However, Dave (Fimmel), is so in love, that he buys her whatever she wants, even if it means landing himself in debt.
So it feels only fair that when Dave’s partner can't make it over to fell a tree that needs cutting, he asks his wife to step in. He could never have known how tragic a decision that would end up being.
This is where things get really gory, really fast. It’s certainly a different side of Brosnahan, who is most known for a comedy, not a gruesome horror. As the episode continues, it feels more and more like a story from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. It specifically reminds me of the big toe story, and that's a good thing.
Poor, vain Heather does not seem like she has any idea what she's doing in that forest, and the results are devastating. Though she survives the unimaginable, when a tree literally crushes her arm, the woman so obsessed with her own beauty cannot handle life with such a flaw. And Dave will do anything to make his bride happy.
Perhaps you already know this urban legend, but either way, I’m going to save the spoilers so you can find out the ending for yourself. What I will say is, “The Golden Arm” is beautifully shot and produced, for a short you watch on your iPhone. I was immediately hooked by the narrative, and, if I’m being completely honest, enamored with all of Brosnahan’s costuming.
50 STATES OF FRIGHT is a great idea, made even better by a stacked cast of talented performers, and some really impressive writers and directors. Raimi is also executive producing, though other directors take the helm for upcoming tales from other states.
Future episodes will feature urban legends from Kansas, Oregon, Minnesota, and Florida, with stars such as Ming-Na Wen, James Ransone, Emily Hampshire, Asa Butterfield, Karen Allen, Alex Fitzalan, Danay Garcia, and Greyston Holt.
“The Golden Arm” feels like an episode of the Lore podcast-turned-Amazon Prime series. So if you were at all a fan of that, I can guarantee you, you will like 50 STATES OF FRIGHT. The TV binger in me is devastated I can’t just watch the whole series right now! Of course, it’s great to have something to look forward to in quarantine.
So treat yourself to the first episode of 50 STATES OF FRIGHT on Quibi, streaming now! Then, check back as new episodes get added daily.