Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Personal Top 20 Favorite Twilight Zone Episodes of ALL TIMES! Part I: 20-11

Well, I'm back!! SO, SO, SO, sorry for the long wait for the reviews. I'm trying my best to get back on track. Anyway...

                                                          It's HALLOWEEN!!!!

Okay, today isn't Halloween, but it's coming around the corner. Halloween is the time of year were little girls and boys rush to the tree, unwrap their toys and...

Hey! That's Christmas you're talking about, not Halloween!
Hey, Jack!. It is? Oh yeaaaah, Halloween is when boys and girls get dressed up as ghouls and goblins, and go trick or treating, right?

Yep. It's okay. I get them mixed up too.
Yeah, I could kinda tell from your costume, there.

Well anyway, Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. And no, it's not because of the dressing up and getting candy thing (though I still enjoy that). Nope, my favorite think about this season is the all things creepy! I have been a lover of the mysterious and supernatural for quite some time; and it all started with R.L.Stine's book series: Goosebumps.

Fun Fact: This is my favorite Goosebump Book!

Throughout the years, my interest of the weird has grown, and a large part of this interest came from the famous, classic anthology TV show, The Twilight Zone.

Go check out the guy that made this awesome art work:
So, I have chosen to do a "my favorites" blog for my favorite Twilight Zone episodes of ALL TIMES! And let me tell you, this was not an easy one to put together. Out of I've done, this is definitely the hardest. It was originally going to be a top 13 (you know cause 13, Halloween. Get it? It was either that or 666 but, I don't have that kinda free time) But, I had to add the extra seven. I have written three different list, in many different orders. This list may change over time, but for right now, this is it. So, without further ado, please follow the sign post ahead. It reads: My personal top 20 favorite Twilight Zone episodes of ALL TIMES!

NOTE: These are my personal favorites. Not the ones I consider the best made or best quality, just my favorites. If I didn't include one of your favorites, or put one of your favorites further down the list, please don't be angry with me. Also, I would love to heard which are your favorites. Please, tell me in the comments. And lastly, this blog will be spoiler free, so go check out these episodes yourselves (Netflix) and enjoy the glorious endings. END OF NOTE.

#20-Kick the Can 
Season 3 Episode 21

After Charles is disappointed when his son tells him he can't take him away from "The Home of the Aged," he watches some kids play kick the can. After some contemplating, he decides that perhaps games like kick the can, and hide and seek is what keeps children young, and as soon as they stop, they begin growing old. One night he and the other elders of the home, go out to play kick the can while Charlie's best friend Ben is content on being old forever. Will it work? Or is Ben right?

Unlike some of the other episodes on this list, this is a very warmhearted one. It's not spooky or creepy or even the least bit eery. It's just plain sweet. The story is very unique and fun. The character Charles played by Ernest Truex is just so infectious with glee. It really makes you smile when you see him happy, and frown when he is sad. That's a tough thing for an actor to do, and he wins a golden star sticker. And, of course, the ending is great. The story isn't complex or deep, but what it is, is very enjoyably heartfelt. If you haven't seen it, give it a shot. I don't think it will disappoint.

#19-After Hours
Season 1 Episode 34

Marsha White goes to a department store to get her mother a golden thimble. While looking, she is taken to the 9th floor by the elevator man to buy her thimble. Though the 9th floor seems to be deserted, a woman clerk is there and sells her the only thing on this floor: A golden thimble. She leaves after the woman calls her by name. She discovers that the thimble has a scratch and dent in it, and goes to the complaint department. She explains that she was on the 9th floor, but the manager tells her that there is no 9th floor. To prove it. she sees the woman that waited on her from behind, but someone turns her around. She's shocked to see that the woman is a  mannequin. Did she dream it up? Or was the saleswoman really a mannequin?

I've read many top favorite list of The Twilight Zone episodes, and nearly everyone I've read has this episode on it. I had seen this one, but barely remembered it, and forgot the ending. I went back to it, and instantly needed to put it on this list. I love those episodes were you have no idea what's going on until the very ending, and this is definitely one of them. I of course won't spoil it for you, but I'll just say that it is pretty good, and you would never guess it until the end. Marsh White played by Anne Francis is a very likable character. I especially love the "Saleswoman" (as they call her on IMDd). She is a very enjoyable character, that really confuses (in a good way) the storyline even more.  And, of course, the ending is great. If you like surprise endings you never saw coming, and a fun premise, this is definitely the episode for you. If you haven't seen it, give it a shot. I don't think it will disappoint.    

#18-Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
Season 5 Episode 3

 Bob is a recent psychopath afraid of airplanes. In six months, he has apparently gotten over his fear, and takes a flight home with his wife Julia. While on the plane, he begins seeing a mysterious monster/man on the wing of the plane. When Bob tries to tell his wife or the flight attendant, the thing disappears. Is he making it up? Or is he actually trying to save everybody from the monster who begins to tear apart the plane!?

This is one of, if not the episode people think about when someone says The Twilight Zone. Personally, I didn't feel that way the first time I saw it. I felt it kinda left the audience not really knowing what at all to think. Was the monster real? Was it a dream? Did he make it up? Was he just going crazy again? And then I began thinking. Did we really need to know? No, not really. Whether he was crazy, or telling the truth, it was a good story anyway. So now, I feel this deserve to be remembered. It has a great relatable story, some wonderful acting from the king of dramatic acting William Shatner (a.k.a. James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise), and such a great monster. I mean, what was that thing? It kinda acted like a gorilla, but was (I guess) green and puffy. I don't know, but whatever it is, it feels very threatening. And, of course, the ending is great. All in all it is a magnificent classic that deserves such recognition. If you haven't seen it, give it a shot. I don't think it will disappoint.

#17-The Invaders 
Season 2 Episode 15

A tiny farm house in the middle of nowhere homes a woman who is one night visited by "the invaders."

This is on many peoples favorite list, and there's a good reason why. This is just an amazing episode. The way it plays out is magnificent. Agnes Moorehead (Bewitched) is just a fantastic actress! She is able to convey fear, tiredness, pain, and many other emotions without uttering a single word. It just goes to show that even though something doesn't have dialogue, doesn't mean it can't work. And this works amazingly! The pace is slow and eery, which in some cases might not work, but here it makes it even better, allowing us to be drawn into the story and whether or not this poor woman will get out alive.  And, of course, the ending is great. This is a truly classic episode that will last for generations, entrancing people with it's simplicity and wonderful acting on Moorehead's part. If you haven't seen it, give it a shot. I don't think it will disappoint.

16#-Nick of Time 
Season 2 Episode 7

Superstitious Don and his new wife Pat are on their way to New York. Their car breaks down and is towed to a nearby town.  They are told they'll have to wait four hours before it is fixed. They walk over to the Busy Bee Diner. They get seated and see a napkin holder that can "tell you your fortune." Don tries it, and finds that by some strange coincidence it actually gets it right. He continues to ask it questions, and every answer seems to be correct. Is it really predicting the future? Or is it all just coincidence?

And here we have another Shatner one. Why does he always play the overreacting psychopaths? Anyway, he plays a tremendous part in this one. I especially love this episode because of the story. Usually these things start weird, but this one started very happy. But, things get weird very fast. One of my favorite things about this episode is "the villain" or the mystic fortune teller napkin holder. I've seen these like this, whether it be at a restaurant or not. The fact that these people are just normal people who come across this thing in basically the middle of nowhere's town is quite frightening. The setting is so interesting. Many episodes take place in small towns and diners like this, and I really enjoy this setting. And, of course, the ending is great. Another face of The Twilight Zone, this one is sure not to go unnoticed. If you haven't seen it, give it a shot. I don't think it will disappoint. 

#15-The Howling Man
Season 2 Episode 5

David Ellington tells his story about one dark and stormy night, entering a giant castle that houses some grumpy old men who look like Abraham (from the Bible of course) to get out of the rain. Once inside, he begins to notice they're hiding something. He meets a man who is trapped inside of a room, who claims that the old men dragged him in there against his will. The main old man later tells him that the man inside of the SATAN! Is he telling the truth? Or is he a nutcase? 

This episode  has a very creepy atmosphere, and actually scares me a lot. One of my favorite things about this episode would have to be the beginning. The show begins with the absolute terror of a face of older Mr. Ellington, who is telling us a very shuddering tale. The narrative is so unique, and you really don't know who he is talking to till the end. I also enjoy the story in general; about someone who may or may not have found and talked to the devil himself. As always, the acting is stupendous, with John Carradine playing the main grumpy old man (Brother Jerome) and  H.M. Wynant as David Ellington. As I mentioned before, the atmosphere of this one is truly creepy, almost like you don't know exactly what's going on; and I like that a lot, because it adds to the show. And, of course, the ending is great. This episode is under appreciated and deserves more attention for being wonderful in the realm of suspense. If you haven't seen it, give it a shot. I don't think it will disappoint.

#14-Time Enough at Last
Season 1 Episode 8

 Henry Bemis the bookworm is bombarded with criticism from his boss and wife over his obsessive reading. But when the world is destroyed, and he is the only one left, he finds a library full of the things he needs; books. Will there be enough time?

I truthfully, I hate this episode. I do. And I hate that I can't tell you why; that would, in fact, be a spoiler. The people that have seen this episode know what I'm talking about. I hate this episode so much, I love it. This is simply an ingenious episode. One of the best things about this episode is the character Henry Bemis played by Burgess Meredith (Who you may remember for another role playing The Penguin on the original Batman TV show). He is just such a likable and empathetic character. I say empathetic because I've never been persecuted for reading a book before. I'm actually more praised than anything. I suppose it would be like in today's world when people have the nose in their cellphone or something. The setting, especially after the explosion, truly conveys pure sadness. And, of course, the ending is great. Okay, not so great as sad and depressing, but still great. If you haven't seen it, give it a shot. I don't think it will disappoint.


 #13-The Man in the Bottle
Season 2 Episode 2

 Arthur and Edna Castle own a antique shop, but have been struggling for years, and are unable to pay their bills. After Mr. Castle buys a dollar wine jug from a poor old lady and drops it on the ground, a genie appears and tells them that he can grant them four wishes. Will they make the right wishes? Or will they end up on the shorter end of the deal?

I'm not exactly sure why, but I've always enjoyed the stories about genies. I don't know, maybe because I am able to fantasize about myself one day finding such a trinket and discovering a genie. Maybe because I like to think about what I would wish for. In any case, I do love this episode. It has many of the traits I look for in a Twilight Zone episode, like good acting, likable characters, atmospheric sets, and a great thrilling story. But what makes this different from many of the episodes is the ending. Which I can't talk about here, so that's too bad. But what I can tell you is that is very different. I love the characters in this one; so lovable. It's rare to see couples like this on television today. They get upset at points, but still love each other enough to stay together all this time, even when times were tough; and I like that. And Joseph Ruskin as the genie. Boy, is this guy a great actor! He plays on many episodes of The Twilight Zone, but I think this is one of my favorite performances of his. He is just such a good villain; so maniacal and mischievous. As mentioned before, I enjoy a good setting, because the really good ones really draw you into the story and add a lot to it as well. This has, for the most part, just one room; the front room of their antique shop. I rather like that. It kinda makes you feel a sorta homey feeling. And, of course, the ending is great. This is an underrated, sweet/sour episode that will allow you to breath after watch "Time Enough at Last." If you haven't seen it, give it a shot. I don't think it will disappoint.  

 #12-Five Characters in Search of an Exit
Season 3 Episode 14

 We begin as the Major begins. He finds himself inside a circular metal holding, along with a Ballet Dance, a Clown, a Hobo, and a Bagpipe Player. None of them know who they are and how they got there. The other four have been there for, well, as long as they can remember. The Major starts hatching a plan to get everyone out. But, will they make it? And, what will they find if they do get out?

This is a supremely unique story. I can simply say, I've never seen anything quite like it. Questions start churning inside our heads of where exactly are these people? I love how they have many conversations about where they are. They mention many possibilities, such as they are on another planet, they're in limbo, they're all dead, they're where the unloved go, and lastly (the one they most likely believe) that they are in Hell. It's almost like the writers are teasing us with the many places this box could be, and I don't think anyone of us could have possibly guessed the ending. Not in a bad way of course; the ending makes a lot of logical sense and is pinpointed a few times during the show. But, naturally, I won't spoil it for you. The acting is very wonderful coming from all of the actors, but the one that is my favorite would have to be the Clown played by Murray Matheson. This guy is so fun and sarcastic, and very well acted. And, of course, the ending is great. Many recognize this is being one of the best, and it should be; with a great premise, and interesting characters, this is a true classic that needs to be shared. If you haven't seen it, give it a shot. I don't think it will disappoint.

 #11-Shadow Play 
Season 2 Episode 26

Shadow Play

 Adam Grant is found guilty of murder and is sentenced to death via electric chair. He exclaims that this is all a dream and that he is dreaming it over and over again. This gets people thinking. Isn't everything too picture perfect? His he lying to get out of being dead? Or is he actually dreaming all of it up?

This is an absolute masterpiece! I've see this episode only a few times, but every time I've seen it, I have felt an overwhelming sadness and fear. This is literally one of the most frightening episodes of The Twilight Zone ever. I'm serious. The thought of this happening to someone is just terrifying. And most of this is due to the brilliant acting from Dennis Weaver. This guy is just plain worthy of awe (awesome). The terror in his eyes, body language, and tone of voice is enough to send chills down your spine and more. Another reason for this being a horrific episode is the setting. The title of this episode is "Shadow Play" and boy do they mean literally. There is shadows everywhere. It really conveys a sense of mystery and fear. Or, at least, it does to me. And, of course, the ending is great. It's an underrated masterpiece that is perfect if you want something truly psychologically chilling this Halloween season. If you haven't seen it, give it a shot. I don't think it will disappoint.


There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone

And with that, I leave you with the first 10 of my 20. Until next time, be careful you don't step foot into the twilight zone; in fear, that you may never return.

See you all in a few days for PART II

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