JOHN CARPENTER’S SUBURBAN SCREAMS on Peacock is based on real stories and with dramatization. I’m not always a fan of this hybrid, but it’s okay here. I have more of an issue with the overall production which isn’t impressive. Read our John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams series review here!

JOHN CARPENTER’S SUBURBAN SCREAMS is a new Peacock series with six episodes to the season. Each episode supposedly covers a real story. This story is told via interviews with those who experienced the events and dramatization. Now, dramatization is not something I’m often a fan of, but it’s not too bad with this one.

I have more of an issue with the overall production which isn’t impressive. Interviewing someone and having set up multiple cameras in various increasingly odd angles, does nothing good for me. Also, calling this series “unscripted” is a bit far-fetched when using dramatizations as I expect the actors are working based on a script.

Continue reading our John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams series review below. Find all six episodes on Peacock from October 13, 2023.

Unscripted and real stories?!

You know how sometimes you just get off on the wrong foot with something. Well, I think that was me with John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams. First, I really didn’t enjoy the first episode and the second wasn’t much better. The fourth was more intriguing in some ways, but also faltered in others.

Also, the whole “This is a true story” line really needs to be backed up for me. Otherwise, one should use the “based on” or “inspired by”. I can respect either.

Then there’s the fact that this series is called “a genre-busting unscripted horror anthology series”. And again, you cannot have dramatizations and call something unscripted. Reality shows are rarely 100% unscripted but along with actual documentaries, they are the ones who come the closest.

If you have actors, then you have a script.

I do like that each episode features a new story of terror. And I definitely think it’s good to have it told by the actual people who lived through it. Of course, in some instances, we’re dealing with stories that began so long ago that no living person can tell us about it.

The actual events are shown to us viewers via “premium cinematic scene-work” (or as we all know it; acting!) along with news clips, home photos, and archival footage. To be fair though, it is by far mostly interviews and acting. Or, you know, cinematic scene-work.

John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams – Review

That Don’t Impress Me Much

Look, I admit that the name John Carpenter lures me in as much as the next horror fan. However, I can’t say I found this “true story” series deserving of his name. Also, “Suburban Screams” felt like a good title, but it could just as well have been “Crazy Stories and Urban Legends” or something of that nature.

Oh well, it needs to be called something and I admit I found the title enticing. Living the suburbia life myself probably helped.

The titles of the six episodes in the series are:

  • “Kelly”
  • “A Killer Comes Home”
  • “House Next Door”
  • “Bunny Man”
  • “Cursed Neighborhood”
  • “Phone Stalker”

Some episodes are certainly better than others, but starting with “This is a true story” written on the screen and then preceding to tell a Ouija board story, was not the best start. Not in my book anyway. I guess I was just expecting more of actually proven real stories.

Instead, this feels very much like the Netflix series Haunted. Except that one is better despite not having the name John Carpenter in the title.

Watch John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams on Peacock now!

John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams “stems from the mind of legendary horror director, writer, and producer, John Carpenter” according to the press material. The horror master even directs one episode out of the six in the series. Other directors include showrunner Jordan Roberts, Michelle Latimer, and Jan Pavlacky.

Carpenter also composes the series’ theme music, and we know John Carpenter is a brilliant horror score composer from his iconic Halloween score. I wanted to like this, but I really can’t say I did. Too often, the people describing what they experienced – or in some cases had heard others had experienced – felt like watching a bad CSI episode.

The conclusions were just too far-fetched. I’ve seen documentaries about UFO sightings that felt more credible. Releasing this on Friday the 13th makes sense, but few of the stories do.

John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams is released on Peacock on October 13, 2023.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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