Gearing up for the Halloween season, Quibi released the newest season of their Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, The Evil Dead) helmed horror anthology series 50 States of Fright on Monday. A trailer accompanied the release promising “New States. New Stories. Same Terror.” (Quibi)
When Quibi, a short-form mobile narrative platform, arrived as a late contender to the ongoing streaming wars in April, Raimi’s 50 States of Fear was a part of the platform’s original roll-out. Season one dramatized and modernized myths and urban legends from Michigan, Kansas, Oregon, Minnesota and Florida.
“These are not big-budget films,” showrunner Raimi discussed Quibi’s format with Comicbook “with 50 States of Fright, it was like making nine independent films.” For Raimi this storytelling is reminiscent of his ragtag roots as a first-time director on the set of the low-budget horror film The Evil Dead. “So it came down to not relying on visual effects or a big-budget spectacle, but trying to get back to the basics of telling a simple story” Raimi spoke on the specificities of partnering with the upstart streamer Quibi “that was both the challenge given by the format and the limitations of budgets” (Comicbook).
Network limitations, such as the ones discussed by Raimi, have led to mixed successes for Quibi as a freshmen streaming service. Recently, the platform won its first two Emmys for the short-form drama #FreeRayshawn, however the streamer has struggled for steady viewership in the competitive streaming marketplace. In a “stunning admission that the high-profile service hasn’t found enough traction to continue on its own,” Quibi is already seeking its first sale after only 6 months on the market, according to Vox.
The first season of 50 States of Fright was exemplarily of both Quibi’s successes and shortcomings as a network. Despite big-name talent such as Raimi heading up the project, 50 States of Fright “debuted to middling reviews” when it launched in early April, via Screen Rant. The unintentionally comedic tale of a woman’s fixation with a golden appendage in an episode of the series entitled “The Golden Arm” led to particular online ridicule after being scrutinized by Hard Times and Broadway Beat writer Zach Raffio on Twitter, via The A.V. Club. “Every utterance of “golden arm” is funnier than the last” reviewed The A.V. Club, while comparing the episode to Tommy Wiseau’s (The Room, The Neighbors) cult classic The Room.
Losing my fucking MIND at this Quibi show where actual Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan plays a woman obsessed with her golden arm pic.twitter.com/rSfqCv75SG
— Zach Raffio (@zachraffio) April 15, 2020
Despite the mixed success of season one, Screen Rant asserts that 50 States of Fright is “well-suited to quick, punchy frights” and could stand to garner a larger following in its second season with the inclusion of tested horror storytellers such as Scott Beck (A Quiet Place) and Bryan Woods (A Quiet Place), the writing team behind A Quiet Place. Season 2’s on screen talent includes Christina Ricci (The Addams Family, Pan Am), Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story, The Nun), Victoria Justice (Victorious, Zoey101) and Rory Culkin (Signs, Scream 4) bringing legends from Iowa, Washington, Colorado and Missouri to life.
It’s spooky season so you may now call me “Quick Bites of Fright”. Any questions? pic.twitter.com/u4zEptiJwH
— Quick Bites Of Fright (@Quibi) September 28, 2020
The second season of 50 States of Fright is already underway at Quibi, with episodes airing every weekday. The series is joining other short form horror currently streaming on the platform in a lineup known as Quick Bites of Fright including The Strangers, When The Streetlights Go On and Murder House Flip.