Tattooed rocker-cum-poet Henry Rollins is flattered that his gig hosting Fox's anthology thriller Night Visions has led some to compare him to Twilight Zone's Rod Serling — who from 1954-1962 introduced creeped-out viewers to the "fifth dimension." But the Rollins Band frontman points out that there are some glaring differences between him and the late, great TV maverick.
"I'm a thicker-necked, not-as-charismatic version of Rod Serling," the 40-year-old muscle man winks to TV Guide Online. "A more contemporary version."
Ironically, although Rollins admits he was a fan of The Twilight Zone — "It was this strange black and white show with this intense man at the beginning" — it was one of Serling's later works that really made his spine tingle: The short-lived '70s supernatural frightfest Night Gallery. "That show scared the hell out of me," he recalls. "That was an edgier, more cerebral, color version of Twilight Zone, and that one really did a number on me.
"I'm still looking for someone with videos of those," he adds. "I'd love to see them again."
In the meantime, he'll have to settle for the spooks generated by Night Visions — which airs its second-to-last episode tonight at 9 pm/ET. In the installment, Chad Lowe stars as a man horrified to discover that his life is mimicking the plot of a popular horror novel. "I think what makes the show win is the fact that they're using really cool, A-list actors, not just familiar TV faces," Rollins says, referring to such previous Night guests as Bridget Fonda, Aidan Quinn and Bill Pullman. "You're seeing a familiar face in a different terrain and I think that makes it interesting."Well, apparently not interesting enough: The show's last outing on Aug. 24 averaged a frightening 4.5 million viewers — bad enough for fifth place in its timeslot. While that doesn't bode well for Night's future, Rollins certainly won't be hard up for work. For the next year, he'll be busy touring in support of the Rollins Band's new album, Nice. "It's very hard-rocking," he says of the CD, now in stores. "It's about as nice as a car wreck, so the name is very appropriate."