Every state has its folklore, tall tales, and legends… but sometimes there is a darker story- a tale not so much told, as whispered.
Welcome back to another recap of the Quibi exclusive series, 50 States of Fright, where creators Yoko Okumura and Sam Raimi take you on a trip to every state in the United States and share a terrifying tale from each state. In episode three Scared Stiff, we meet taxidermy legend Sebastian Klempner (James Ransone) who accepts a job to repair a strange animal. This project quickly becomes his greatest masterpiece. It may also be his greatest mistake.
Scared Stiff kicks off with our narrator, another young taxidermist (Emily Hampshire), recalling how great Sebastian Klempner was at his job. “He was a local legend and my personal hero.” Then we jump right into how Mr. Klempner got his hands on that strange creature. It’s late on a dark and stormy night, snowflakes appear to be the size of quarters, but Sebastian Klempner is hard at work inside his cabin. As piano music plays in the background he puts the finishing touches on his latest order. Then suddenly there is a knock at the door.
Begrudgingly, Sebastian answers the door and comes face to face with a man seeking Sebastian’s services. Sebastian tries to explain that his shop is closed. But the man won’t be swayed. He even manages to convince Sebastian to let him in with the omnibus phrase, “You’re really gonna wanna see this.” It’s clear Sebastian is irritated yet painfully curious. Outside, the man explains he hit something with his truck. When he went to inspect the animal he hit he was left stunned, “In all my years living in these parts, I have never seen anything like this.” The remains of the creature that viewers get a glimpse of thanks to a flashlight are a mess. The best way to sum it up would be ground beef with teeth and claws. Really long claws.
The men bring the corpse inside so Sebastian can examine it. It is quickly dubbed a lost cause by the taxidermy king, “I can’t help you with this. This is beyond repair.” It looks like that will be the end of Sebastian’s involvement. That is until the stranger decides out loud that he’ll take this bag of remains to another taxidermist by the name of Megan Bloom.
Now, we never find out what Sebastian’s beef is with this Megan Bloom before the beginning of Scared Stiff, either way it is obvious he does not like her. At all. “What Megan Bloom does isn’t taxidermy. It is a sacrilege…To be stuffed by Megan Bloom would be a fate worse than death!” Suddenly deciding this creature is too good for Megan Bloom, Sebastian decides to try and repair the creature’s body. Happy with this development, the stranger leaves and drives off in his blood-covered truck. Gnarly stuff.
Back in the cabin, Sebastian multitasks between repairing the body and going through his anatomy books to try and figure out what it is. After a montage of books, guts, and piano music, we finally see what the stranger hit with his truck. It’s a creature from the Homo Sapien Cognatus family. A Sasquatch! A really small Sasquatch but a Sasquatch nonetheless. Just as he’s finishing up the tiny Sasquatch’s body, there is a loud pounding at the door. Behind the door is the stranger. And this time he is not alone. As soon as he opens the door he regrets it as he sees the man’s head is easily crushed by a giant Sasquatch.
Sebastian slams the door shut though it proves useless as the Mommy Sasquatch kicks the door off its hinges. We see it creeping through the house until it stumbles across a bag of her baby’s guts, which gives off the baby’s smell that she recognizes. Heartbroken by what has happened, Mommy Sasquatch lets out a cry of agony before turning to leave. Suddenly, Sebastian comes out of his hiding spot to give the Sasquatch her taxidermied baby’s body.
At first, she seems pleased, this happiness quickly turns to rage as she squeezes the baby’s body too tight and its glass eyes pop out, smacking her in the face. Now shocked she sets her anger onto poor Sebastian. She attacks and the camera pans away from his cabin as we hear his cries of pain until we see our narrator again. “The whole community was shocked by Sebastian’s untimely end. He wasn’t a popular man, but nobody wished him ill.” Then we learn our narrator was actually the one who discovered his body. So she did what any reasonable taxidermist would do- she stuffed him. “It was horrible…No man deserves to be remembered like that, especially not someone as remarkable as Sebastian Klempner.”
Scared Stiff ends with the camera landing on the taxidermist’s work, an impressive repair job of the late, great Sebastian Klempner.
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