Twilight Zone Countdown

The Twilight Zone

There are tons of great Twilight Zone Episodes to see during SyFy’s New Year’s marathon but here is our list of the Top 9 best ones! Each one has some terrific acting, as well as a gripping story and a poignant moral.

9. Stopover in a Quiet Town

The message of this episode is clear, don’t drink and drive. If you do…you might just end up a child’s plaything. This episode is also famous for being part of the Rush song about the series, the Twilight Zone. “You wake up lost in an empty town / wondering why no one else is around”.

8. The Monsters are Due on Maple Street

This one feels like a reflection of the McCarthy Era as Alien puppet masters create spooky circumstances that cause people to go on witch hunts against each other.

7. Mr. Bevis

The Twilight Zone didn’t just show the negative aspects of humanity. In this happy episode, Mr. Bevis decides to stay his own wonderful, oddball, self rather then change to fit society. It’s a lesson any teenager can learn from, if they don’t have a guardian angel like the aforementioned Mr. Bevis.

Mr. Bevis

6. The Shelter

In what feels like a subtle reflection on the failings of socialism a group of community members try to break into their neighbor’s bomb shelter when it looks like WW3 is on the horizon. They attempt to destroy and co-opt a structure they need but didn’t build or plan for.

5. Nothing in the Dark

A very young Robert Redford plays death himself in this beautiful episode about a woman coming to terms with her own demise. I can only hope my own departure from this plane of existence is as peaceful.

4. A Game of Pool

Imagine if the movie Whiplash was a Twilight Zone episode and you have a good idea of what you are in for in this episode. Lessons about sportsmanship, competition and obsession abound in this episode. Two men play a game of pool to the death and the winner might just get more then they bargained for. The outstanding acting in this episode elevates what could have been a slow episode.

A Game of Pool

3. The Howling Man

This episode could almost be referred to as a kind of epic. It spans many decades and concerns a larger then life being. In it a man is told by local monks that they have caught the devil himself. The man must wrestle with whether he believes their accusations and if the man should be freed. The constant spooky howling of the man, as well as the creepy monastery are evocative of classic horror films. The tourist wandering into the whole situation is even reminiscent An American Werewolf in London which was decades away from being made.

2. Death’s Head Revisited

An unrepentant Nazi is faced with the ghosts of those he murdered in a concentration camp years before. They judge him for his crimes and he faces justice. This one will stir your soul and bring you face to face with the depths of mankind’s capacity for evil. Rod Sterling lays this episode’s meaning out in it’s ending narration when he says that concentration camps should remain standing because, “they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the Earth into a graveyard. Into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance, then we become the gravediggers. Something to dwell on and to remember, not only in the Twilight Zone but wherever men walk God’s Earth”.

1. The Masks

No episode blended the macabre and morality in quite the same way as this wonderful episode. A wealthy man lies on his death bed and his miserable relatives care only for his money. He asks that they wear grotesque masks until he dies at midnight in order to receive their share of his money. While they await his demise with glee he removes their metaphorical masks by exposing the people they really are. Greedy, vain and truly ugly human beings.

The Masks

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