The Alternateville Horror

This episode first aired in the UK on 8th June 1998 on Sky 1, and in the US on 13th (?) July 1998 on the Sci-Fi Channel.

Writer:Chris Black
Director:David Grossman
Guests: Elyse Mirto (Kelly), Lance Wilson-White (John Smith), Colton James (Matthew), Louisa Abernathy (guest), Mike Muzzy (screaming man).
*The Sliders have been using the Chandler Hotel a a place to stay on many worlds since the beginning of the season.
The Sliders start off in a seemingly normal world where cross-dressers (I think one asked Quinn to dance or something!). Suddenly everyone around them starts going crazy and start rushing off the street because it is going to rain. The Sliders don't realise what the fuss is about until it starts to rain strongacid rain. Luckily, they were near enough the Chandler Hotel to run inside before they were eaten away. The Chandler Hotel owner (Kelly) greets them and takes away their burnt coats using a pole. They've only been inside a couple of minutes when a group of people in protective suits run screaming out of the hotel into the rain storm. Kelly decides to give the Sliders the presedential suite. She claims that the people run out because the service contaned too much pampering for them. There is 12 hours until the slide. Quinn, Maggie and Rembrandt decide to go down to the bar to relax, but Colin decides to stay in the suite and watch TV.

At the bar, Quinn contemplates whether he did the right thing bringing Colin with them. They order drafts at the bar and when they get them they are blue.

Colin is watching Frankenstein of the telly when he sees a ghostly boy in the room. They boy is inaudible, but he picks up the remote and walks through the door with it. Colin follows him into the corridor. The boy disappears through a locked door, leaving the remote behind. Colin runs down to tell the others, but they don't believe him; They think he fell asleep and had a dream.

A man in dark clothing and a face mask enters the Hotel with a lot of luggage and asks for a room. He says nothing to the Sliders at the bar.

Later, Rembrandt is shaving and Maggie is getting some ice from the box in the corridor. Maggie notices the man taking readings with a strange instrument outside the door. At the same time, Rembrandt sees the words "Help us" apparently write themselves on the mirror. Maggie sees her own, disembodied head in the ice box and she drops the ice. Both Rembrandt and Maggie run to Quinn and Colin claiming the Hotel is haunted. They all go to check out the ice box, and as they leave we see (they don't) an tankard float across the room.

From a "ghost's" point of view, we see the Sliders at the ice box and then we go through their door to the timer on the table.

As the Sliders move away from the ice box, the man comes and picks up an ice cube, putting it in a tin. Quinn still doesn't believe the place is haunted, even though the other three do. He thinks that every one is tired. When they get back into the room, they realise the timer has disappeared. Quinn goes downstairs to talk to their host amd Maggie, Colin and Rembrandt go to talk to the dark-clothed man.

Quinn talks to Kelly, but she says no-one has been in the room, so Quinn uses his smile and a tip to get her assistance in looking for the timer.

The others meanwhile confront the man. They burst into his room and find loads of equipment. It turns out his name is John Smith (apparently an unusual name on this Earth). Colin picks up a device which makes a funny noise when near Colin. They leave.

Maggie goes downstairs to look for a flashlight/torch. She sees something moving and follows it into the cellar. The door shuts and locks behind her and she is trapped in there with rats, which she doesn't like.

Rembrandt and Colin go to room 315 which was where the boy disappeared into. It is still locked, so Rembrandt goes downstair to look for the key. He leaves Colin at the door. Colin sees the boy again. John Smith can also see Colin, but he cannot see the boy. The ghostly boy points to the door and Colin sees that the key has appeared in the lock. He calls to Remmy that the key is in the lock, but Rembrandt doesn't hear. Colin opens the door anyway and goes inside. He sees something which he describes as, "paranormal," then he disappears. John Smith follows him in with the device and when he sees what Colin saw, he drops the device and runs out. Colin goes back outside the door. When Rembrandt returns, he can't see, hear or touch Colin, but Colin can now hear the boy who says that he has brought Colin to "his side".

The door of the cellar begins to open, so Maggie picks up a weapon, but it turns out to be Rembrandt. They meet up with Quinn and Kelly, who have had no luck, and Kelly tells them the truth; That the place is haunted (accompanied by a thunder clap). Quinn still doesn't believe, until a chair flys across the room and hits him. Kelly says she would leave, but her son Matthew disappeared here. She takes them to room 315 and opens it. Inside is an orangey-red vortex, which is definately not theirs. Maggie finds John Smith's device, so they all go to find out what he knows. They get him to admit he is a ghost-hunter with the theory that ghosts are travellers from a parallel dimension. Quinn says he will help him prove that, as long as they get to borrow his equipment to get Colin back.

Downstairs, Quinn makes the "ghosts" visible. They see Colin, Matthew, and alternate Quinn, Maggie and Rembrandt. They still can't touch them, only see and hear (Like when Quinn was trapped on the astral plane and he stood in front of the vortex in Gillian of the Spirits). The ghostly Rembrandt is a scientist who was trying to invent an an anti-grav device which went wrong 3 years ago and brought them here. Ghostly Quinn "Howling Man" Mallory is a singer who got dragged in and is nothing at all like our Quinn and who has stolen the timer so that Quinn will get them out of there. Qhostly Maggie is a stripper or "exotic dancer" as she prefers to put it who was also dragged in. Maggie is VERY shocked when she finds out her double is a stripper, Quinn is fairly shocked about his double and Rembrandt just seems surprised. Colin and Matthew have nearly the same quantum signature which was why Colin could see the boy and no-one else could. Colin's mass destabilised the vortex and it has increased significantly in size.They don't have enough power to send their doubles home and get Colin out, so Rembrandt sets up a lightning conducter outside. However, John Smith wants to study the vortex, not save the people, so he pulls the cable out of the equipment at the same time as lightning strikes and he gets a shock. The cable goes into the vortex, but the settings on the device don't budge. Quinn goes into the vortex to use the cable to get the power. Quinn opens the porthole on the astral plane for their doubles. He gets the timer back and gets the rest of them out of the vortex. The vortex disappears and Rembrandt, Maggie and Kelly think that they have as well, but they appear from behind the sofa. The man wakes up and thinks has lost all research, but Quinn shows him all the data stored in the device. I stops raining outside and through a window, we see the sun rise.

Did you notice?
* This episode marks the second time Quinn has been on the astral plane.
* The ghostly Maggie was coming on to Colin and he seemed to enjoy it. Maybe the ghostly Maggie got bored of her Quinn and Colin secretly fancies Maggie(!).
* What ghostly Quinn sings (if you can call it that)is, "Get us outta here!" and he uses the timer as a microphone.
* Colin's a telly addiict already! When reaching for the remote, he doesn't look at it, he just moves his arm to get it.
Cool Quotes:

"Looks like we're in for a little sprinkle." - Quinn (fairly brightly)
"Yeah, sure! Sulphuric thunderstorms tapering off to a light hydrochloric sprinkle in the afternoon(!)" - Quinn, in reference to the weather
"Maybe this is killer lightning world(!)" - Maggie
"All those people ran out into an acid rain storm because the room service was just too good?"
- Quinn
"That woman should really consider de-caff." - Rembrandt about hotel owner
"This is the second wierdest hotel I've stayed in!" - Rembrandt
"Check out the Spice Channel." - Rembrandt
"A channel on spices? Interesting." - Colin
"I'm sorry, did you guys want oysters in those?" - Hotel lady after handing them blue beer
"I know a disembodied head when I see one." - Maggie
"I am not having a good day!" - Maggie
"Have you guys ever lost the timer before?" - Colin
"What is this? A bad horror movie?" - Maggie
"How about a condensed version for the scientifically impaired?" - Rembrandt
"You built a nuclear reactor in your garage?" - Maggie
"Only a little one." - John Smith

"Sorry, who knew he was paying attention?" - Ghostly Rembrandt about ghostly Quinn
"I thought you said the vortex was collapsing?" - Maggie
"I said it was unstable. He(indicating John Smith)said it was collapsing." - Quinn
"I'll be right back!" - Quinn
"You'd better watch where you step next time." - Quinn to Colin
* If the people trapped on the Astral Plane could pick up objects not on the Astral Plane like the TV remote and the Timer, why could they not touch the people? I think that is scientifically impossible.
* Why couldnít they have pulled the wire out of the vortex? There had to be something still on their side because where else would the lightning electricity come from if not the conductor that Rembrandt set up on outside the hotel?
* Colinís, "Frankenstein," wasnít particularly thought-provoking. I missed it completely the first time. I canít understand how Quinn could hear it. Okay, this doesnít really belong in this section, but it doesnít belong anywhere else either.
* How did the timer get through the door when the boy was carrying it? The timer is solid and solid objects can't go through other solid objects and the door was definately shut.
My Opinion:
Not a bad idea, really. It was a fairly predictable way of introducing a ghost story without involving the supernatural. However it did work pretty well. I particualy liked the way Quinn the scientist wouldn't believe any of them until a chair flew across the room at him. I also liked another scientist being involved in the story, one who also believed in parrallel worlds. This "John Smith" actually reminded me of Trevor Blue in "Genesis" , but as far as I know there's no deliberate connection. The room that no one was allowed into reminded me of the ghost-inhabited room in Stephen King's, "The Shining." I also liked the way Maggie commented on how their situation was like a bad horror movie.
I read somewhere that Marc Scott Zicree (I think) had commented that this episode was a comedic episode with some fun visual effects (or words to that effect) and I happen to agree with him, even though there were a couple of major mistakes (see mistakes for more details)
I thought the fact that the ghosts were actually Remmy, Quinn and Maggie was a little suspicious. I will just about buy the fact that Colin and the boy Matthew had almost the same quantum signature which enabled Colin to see Matthew, but this I find a more than a little dodgy. What made it worse was the way Remmy and Quinn had just swapped roles. Well, I could have coped with it if it hadn't been for the name Quinn "Howling man" Mallory. This I found way to ridiculous. However, what I really want to know is why it's always the doubles of whoever are the main cast at that time whose doubles they meet sliding. WHY CAN'T THEY HAVE COMPLETELY UNRELATED PEOPLE THAT HAVE DISCOVERED SLIDING? Well, they did have Maggie's husband (I haven't actually seen that episode so I don't know any details of this), but in my opinion they need more. At least the didn't have a double of Colin in there, which is something. I did think the acting in different characters was good and it did give them a chance to play an almost entirely different character within the same show and they came across as VERY different. The best bit in that part of the episode was Maggie's reaction when she finds out her double is a stripper or "exotic dancer" as her double prefers to put it. I was surprised that Quinn wasn't more shocked, although he did have a lot on his mind at the time.
I laughed out loud when Quinn said, "I'll be right back!" because it reminded me of the movie "Scream" in which Jerry O'Connell had just starred in the sequel to, although I haven't seen that yet. I wonder if that was done on purpose for this reason, or just coincidence?

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