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April 11, 2024
Music, Culture & Arts

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

The Twilight Zone, which debuted in 1959, enthralled viewers with its exceptional yet straightforward storytelling and enduring plot twists. The brief, unsettling stories about regular people dealing with extraordinary situations were remarkably inventive and raised the bar for science fiction writing.

The narratives that Rod Serling, the show’s creator, came up with were unsettling, haunting, occasionally divisive, but consistently thought-provoking. Sixty years later, the tension generated by this iconic series is still palpable, and the topics covered are just as pertinent. As you enter The Twilight Zone, let’s look at some of the spookiest episodes.

To Serve Man (Season 3, Episode 24)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

You might be dubious if a total stranger from out of town knocks on your door and claims to be able to assist you. The humans welcome aliens with open arms when they land on Earth with the promise of putting an end to war, famine, and suffering because the visitors have already made their home planet a paradise.

However, the enormous aliens omit one very important fact. Even though “To Serve Man” has been repeatedly parodied on series like The Simpsons, the twist ending may still astound viewers.

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (Season 5, Episode 3)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

“Nightmare At 20,000 Feet,” arguably the most well-known episode of the series, touches on our deepest phobias (a passenger terrified of flying) as well as the fear that no one will believe us when we experience emotional difficulties.

It’s unclear to a troubled man who has recently been released from a mental health treatment facility whether the horrifying creature outside the window of his flight is real or a terrifying hallucination. William Shatner made his second appearance in this episode, which was loaded with pop culture allusions.

Eye Of The Beholder (Season 2, Episode 6)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

A woman who has undergone the maximum number of permitted surgeries to correct a deforming condition must now spend the remainder of her life alone with people who are similar to her. An accurate metaphor for beauty standards is provided by the “Eye of the Beholder” story, which is even more relevant today.

You owe it to yourself to see Donna Douglas here if all you’ve ever seen of her is as Ellie May on The Beverly Hillbillies. She is able to express emotions through her voice that other actors haven’t been able to do with facial expressions or body language.

Time Enough At Last (Season 1, Episode 8)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

Henry Bemis has no time to read, so his only refuge from his cruel wife and the drudgery of his bank teller job is inside of his books. But eventually he won’t have any other commitments to keep him from reading.

Burgess Meredith is no longer recognisable as the grizzled trainer Mickey from Rocky or as The Penguin from the first Batman TV series. It’s simple to understand why he was used in multiple episodes because he was a convincing stand-in for Everyman and helped to make this one a truly iconic episode of the show.

The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street (Season 1, Episode 22)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

A suburban neighborhood experiences a complete mechanical breakdown of cars and generators, as well as a loss of phone and electricity service. A kid mentions an earlier that day meteor shower while speculating about an alien invasion.

The neighborhood gradually descends into fear mongering and paranoia as the mysterious outage persists, eventually developing a full-fledged mob mentality and resorting to violence. The chilling and timeless “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” explores human nature and how fear makes people act in the worst possible ways.

The Obsolete Man (Season 2, Episode 29)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

In the Orwellian story “The Obsolete Man,” independent thought and outside knowledge, specifically books, are outlawed. Kafka fans will recognize similarities to his story The Trial in this. As a librarian who is no longer required, Burgess Meredith shines once more. However, a court decides to have him executed rather than helping him find employment.

The former librarian is given the freedom to select his own method of execution by the court. The surprising conclusion demonstrates both the benefits of reading widely and the cost of authoritarianism.

Five Characters In Search Of An Exit (Season 3, Episode 14)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

In a small room without doors or windows, five strangers awaken. Nobody can recall how or why they arrived there. This legendary episode would be dubbed “the original escape-room nightmare” in a film adaptation. They are unable to identify what would unite them all, not just in this location but in any location in existence.

Working in groups to solve the escape puzzle is ineffective as well. The characters were well-acted, and the twist ending is brilliant. There didn’t seem to be much of a middle ground among viewers; they either loved or hated this episode.

Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up? (Season 2, Episode 28)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

The owner of a nearby diner and some bus passengers are approached by police after they hear about a spaceship that crashed nearby and left one crew member missing. The bus driver then observes that he is now traveling with seven passengers rather than the six with whom he had originally planned.

This results in arguments and accusations, especially when combined with the restaurant’s cramped atmosphere. The episode contains humor even though it doesn’t have a comedic tone. This episode is another one that longtime viewers name as a favorite because of the double twist it has at the end.

Living Doll (Season 5, Episode 6)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

The talking doll that stepfather Erich’s wife purchased for her daughter doesn’t sit well with him (Telly Savalas). But it appears that Erich and the toy are both opposed to each other. Erich’s behavior toward it is not happy, but neither his wife nor stepdaughter are aware of a problem.

The episode’s ability to evoke fear in an inanimate object is typical of the series. The straightforward premise of “Living Doll” serves as further evidence that audience fear can be evoked without the use of gore.

The Masks (Season 5, Episode 25)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

Opportunistic family members gather at a wealthy man’s bedside as he ages and wait like jackals to inherit his fortune. Knowing their intentions, he orders them to wear Mardi Gras masks, each of which is intended to represent a negative aspect of their personalities, until he expires.

He doesn’t see the outcome, but his loved ones do. There is no hiding from the world when you are as ugly on the outside as you are on the inside.

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The Hitch-Hiker (Season 1, Episode 16)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

After leaving a service station, a young woman traveling alone from New York to California notices a man hitchhiking. She encounters him once more further down the road. No matter how far or how long she drives, the same man with his thumb out always crosses her path in front of her.

She knows there is a terrible problem, but she is unable to identify it. She stops to call home out of fear and dread only to hear a familiar voice. She instead experiences the biggest shock of her life.

Nick Of Time (Season 2, Episode 7)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

In a diner where their table has a miniature fortune-telling machine with a Satan bobblehead on top, newlyweds wait it out while their car breaks down. After dropping in a penny, pose a yes-or-no query. When the machine appears to predict immediate events, the husband is mesmerized.

As the newlywed groom, William Shatner, begs his wife to dissuade him from it, but he seems prepared to let the machine decide his future. The tale serves as a warning against letting superstition take control of your life.

Night Call (Season 5, Episode 19)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

wheelchair-bound seniors Elva finds it annoying that she keeps receiving calls in the middle of the night from people whose voices she can’t make out over the crackling static. Her housekeeper is of no assistance in solving the mystery.

She starts making demands of the caller because she is unable to end the calls. Any opportunity Elva may have had to reconcile and forgive herself for a youthful error is lost when the phone company determines what’s causing the issue.

Death’s Head Revisited (Season 3, Episode 9)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

A former Nazi returns to a closed concentration camp and recalls his happy memories of being there. But he soon discovers that he is not alone there and has been visited by someone he knows.

This incident would have been pure fiction in an ideal world. Rod Serling’s personal connection to World War II as an army paratrooper is discussed in the satisfying conclusion.

Shadow Play (Season 2, Episode 26)

The Strangest Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time

Dennis Weaver, who starred in Gunsmoke, portrays a death row inmate who experiences recurrent dreams about his trial and execution. A reporter is interested in his most recent outburst in court and attempts to confirm or refute the prisoner’s assertion that his fate is intertwined with everyone else’s.

It still doesn’t work after numerous attempts, so tomorrow it starts over. This episode represents what life might be like if we realized that, because the same day keeps happening, we are actually living in a simulation. It resembles Groundhog Day but lacks the frothy, adorable conclusion.

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