Top 10 Episodes
This iconic series has been the sole inspiration for many storylines in Horror films throughout history. It has inflicted terror throughout the years while playing on everyone's biggest fears; dolls, dummies, aliens and isolation to name a few.
Below, I have included a list of my top 10 favorite episodes. Please enjoy!
(1.) Living Doll -"Talky Tina, a doll that does everything, a lifelike creation of plastic and springs and painted smile. To Erich Streator, she is the most unwelcome addition to his household—but without her, he'd never enter the Twilight Zone." ~ Rod Serling
In this chilling episode, Erich Streator seems to be the villain as he openly shares his resentment for his step-daughters newest toy. As the show goes on, however, it becomes more and more apparent that the doll's feelings are mutual towards Erich. What Erich initially regards as a practical joke with a doll being used as a mere puppet, turns into something far more grim and it isn't long before he starts to fear for his life.
(2.) The Dummy- "You're watching a ventriloquist named Jerry Etherson, a voice-thrower par excellence. His alter ego, sitting atop his lap, is a brash stick of kindling with the sobriquet 'Willy.' In a moment, Mr. Etherson and his knotty-pine partner will be booked in one of the out-of-the-way bistros, that small, dark, intimate place known as the Twilight Zone." ~ Rod Serling
Jerry Etherson and his dummy Willie are a renowned ventriloquist act in New York City. Jerry's publicity agent begins to fear for Jerry's sanity after Jerry confesses to him that his dummy is actually alive and speaks to him. As the show goes on, however, it becomes more and more obvious that there is far more truth to Jerry's words than insanity and we soon join Jerry in a terrifying battle with the living dummy.
(3.) Nightmare at 20,000 Feet - "Portrait of a frightened man: Mr. Robert Wilson, thirty-seven, husband, father, and salesman on sick leave. Mr. Wilson has just been discharged from a sanitarium where he spent the last six months recovering from a nervous breakdown, the onset of which took place on an evening not dissimilar to this one, on an airliner very much like the one in which Mr. Wilson is about to be flown home—the difference being that, on that evening half a year ago, Mr. Wilson's flight was terminated by the onslaught of his mental breakdown. Tonight, he's traveling all the way to his appointed destination, which, contrary to Mr. Wilson's plan, happens to be in the darkest corner of the Twilight Zone." ~ Rod Serling
The other passengers find his claims to be difficult to believe when Robert Wilson, a distraught man recovering from a nervous breakdown, states that he can see a frightening gremlin on the aircraft in which he is traveling. Robert becomes frantic when he realizes that the gremlin is on a quest to destroy the aircraft. Despite his attempts to save the lives of the other passengers, everyone else merely sees his mental state as declining more and more by the minute. But, is it really the delusions of a nervous man, or could there be some substance to his chilling claims?
(4.) The Hitchhiker - "Nan Adams, age twenty-seven. She was driving to California—to Los Angeles. She didn't make it. There was a detour…through The Twilight Zone." ~ Rod Serling
On her way from Manhattan to California, Nan Adams soon finds herself in the midst of a terror-ridden flee from a hitchhiker who begins to appear in odd places at alarmingly fast paces along the road during her drive. It isn't long before Nan begins to fear for her life.
(5.) Twenty Two - "This is Miss Liz Powell. She's a professional dancer and she's in the hospital as a result of overwork and nervous fatigue. And at this moment we have just finished walking with her in a nightmare. In a moment she'll wake up and we'll remain at her side. The problem here is that both Miss Powell and you will reach a point where it might be difficult to decide which is reality and which is nightmare, a problem uncommon perhaps but rather peculiar to the Twilight Zone." ~ Rod Serling
Liz Powell finds herself facing the same repeated "nightmare", night after night during which she stumbles down to the morgue where she is greeted by a grim looking woman who beckons her with "Room for one more, honey". Despite, Liz's pleas for others to believe her, that these episodes are not just dreams, her claims are met with mere shrugs as all presume her statements to be merely related to her nervous fatigue. As the show goes on, however, it is soon realized that there is far more substance to these so-called "nightmares" than meets the eye.
(6.) Perchance to Dream
Edward Hall, a man with a serious heart condition soon finds himself terrified to go to sleep. He enters the room of his psychiatrist stating that he has not slept in ages as he knows that if he does, he will die. Edward claims to be faced with death from the hands of a luring carnival dancer named "Maya", who's sole intent is to kill him. Could these claims of Mr. Hall's be true? Can someone really die at the hands of a villain residing only in a dream?
(7.) The Howling Man - "The prostrate form of Mr. David Ellington, scholar, seeker of truth and, regrettably, finder of truth. A man who will shortly arise from his exhaustion to confront a problem that has tormented mankind since the beginning of time. A man who knocked on a door seeking sanctuary and found, instead, the outer edges of The Twilight Zone." ~ Rod Serling
While spending the evening at a castle referred to as a "Hermitage", David Ellington is alarmed to find a prisoner being kept, a mere staff holding the prisoner in place. Upon confronting Brother Jerome, who is the head resident of the castle, he is informed that the prisoner is none other than "The Devil". David merely dismisses the whole thing as crazy and can far from grasp that the prisoner could possibly be "The Devil". Veiling himself with innocence, the prisoner endeavors to convince David Ellington that he is really innocent and was cast away for having "kissed his sweetheart in public". David struggles to decide whether or not to set this man free as various factors seem to be conflicting one other. Will David make the right decision?
(8.) Eye of the Beholder
Janet Tyler has just undergone her 11th treatment, a treatment rendered in hopes of ridding her of her "ugliness". Janet fears that this treatment will fail as all of the others had and is terrified of being cast away from the "beautiful" society in which she lives, as this will be the final attempt at reconstructing her "horrifying" face.
(9.) The Monsters are Due on Maple Street - "Maple Street, U.S.A. Late summer. A tree-lined little world of front porch gliders, barbecues, the laughter of children and the bell of an ice cream vendor. At the sound of the roar and the flash of light, it will be precisely 6:43 p.m. on Maple Street. This is Maple Street on a late Saturday afternoon. Maple Street – in the last calm and reflective moment – before the monsters came." ~ Rod Serling
Normally a peaceful street filled with children playing and adults conversing while doing chores, the street soon transforms into a chaotic one when the power has been cut and the neighbors begin to fear that this has been caused from something supernatural. Things grow even more chaotic when they start accusing one another of being a "Monster" from Outer space. As everything begins to unfold, it becomes more and more clear as to who the "Monsters" really are.
(10.) It's a Good Life - "Tonight's story on The Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is a map of the United States, and there's a little town there called Peaksville. On a given morning not too long ago, the rest of the world disappeared and Peaksville was left all alone. Its inhabitants were never sure whether the world was destroyed and only Peaksville left untouched or whether the village had somehow been taken away. They were, on the other hand, sure of one thing: the cause. A monster had arrived in the village. Just by using his mind, he took away the automobiles, the electricity, the machines—because they displeased him—and he moved an entire community back into the dark ages—just by using his mind. Now I'd like to introduce you to some of the people in Peaksville, Ohio. This is Mr. Fremont. It's in his farmhouse that the monster resides. This is Mrs. Fremont. And this is Aunt Amy, who probably had more control over the monster in the beginning than almost anyone. But one day she forgot. She began to sing aloud. Now, the monster doesn't like singing, so his mind snapped at her, turned her into the smiling, vacant thing you're looking at now. She sings no more. And you'll note that the people in Peaksville, Ohio, have to smile. They have to think happy thoughts and say happy things because once displeased, the monster can wish them into a cornfield or change them into a grotesque, walking horror. This particular monster can read minds, you see. He knows every thought, he can feel every emotion. Oh yes, I did forget something, didn't I? I forgot to introduce you to the monster. This is the monster. His name is Anthony Fremont. He's six years old, with a cute little-boy face and blue, guileless eyes. But when those eyes look at you, you'd better start thinking happy thoughts, because the mind behind them is absolutely in charge. This is the Twilight Zone." ~ Rod Serling
This episode remains a favorite as it's villain is far from the expected. Although he may look like any normal six-year old boy, Anthony Fremont has powers beyond that of any human being. These powers of his rule an entire town and plague the adults with fear to think, say or do anything that Anthony should deem unacceptable.
I hope you enjoyed this post and have been inspired to hold a "Twilight Zone" marathon with at least a few of these classics!
~ Erin <3