Monsters is one of those late ’80s/early ’90s horror anthology shows that just didn’t make the cut when it came to memorable episodes. Unlike Tales from the Crypt and Tales from the Darkside, the show didn’t have a huge fanbase and besides a recent DVD release and re-runs on Chiller, it has languished in relative obscurity. However, there are a couple of good Monsters episodes sprinkled in with lots of mediocre ones, making the series worth a look despite its low budgets, hokey plots, and generally poor acting. Unfortunately, the Christmas episode “Glim-Glim” isn’t one of those superb episodes, and worse is that it doesn’t feature the Christmas season prominently throughout most of the episode.
“Glim-Glim” is the thirteenth episode in the series’ first season, and it involves three individuals trapped in an alien’s forcefield during the Christmas season, the only survivors in a plague that has wiped out humanity. Glim-Glim is the alien that lives above them in the town’s library, maintaining the forcefield and continually searching for the last remnants of humanity. Amy (Jenna von Oy) is a little girl who’s more trusting of Glim-Glim than the two men she’s living with, but they’re all scared because of the seasonal cold setting in.
“Glim-Glim” is a relatively simple episode, and the setting doesn’t vary throughout the entire half hour. The three people remain holed up in their warm hideaway while Glim-Glim the alien beeps and boops in his alien language above them; at times, Monsters gives its audience heavy exposition from Glim-Glim’s ship logs as he explains his predicament. The episode mimics the format of most horror anthologies; namely, that there’s a misunderstanding between characters that leads to a dark ending that could have been prevented easily.
In this case, “Glim-Glim” doesn’t even try to hide its twist. In a series of ship logs, Glim-Glim describes the plague affecting humans, announces his feelings of guilt, and divulges that he’s searching for the last remaining humans so that he can create an antidote from their blood. The episode would work better if writer F. Paul Wilson kept this secret from the audience, only revealing Glim-Glim’s true intentions at the end of the episode. Instead, the finale feels especially lacking, an irony that the audience has been privy to the entire episode.
But at least the conclusion brings Christmas into the episode. While “Glim-Glim” doesn’t have much in the way of festive lights or ornamentation, the theme song is a darkly jaunty version of “Silent Night,” and the last scene takes place on Christmas Eve; as the two men encounter Glim-Glim one final time thinking that he’s kidnapped or possibly eaten Amy, they shoot him to death – only to reveal that he was simply carrying a piece of paper wishing them a merry Christmas. While the whole idea is rather foolish – Glim-Glim honoring human traditions being the most obvious – the sentiment of the season is there.
But it’s not really a strong enough episode of Monsters to warrant encouraging people to try to find it. There are better horror anthology Christmas episodes out there including the excellent “Seasons of Belief” from Tales from the Darkside; this one pales in comparison.