You could be forgiven if you only have a passing knowledge of The Twilight Zone – perhaps only knowing its iconic opening scene – and think that it is a show with a focus on horror. While the show had a dark, eerie atmosphere, with plenty of suspense and creepiness and dread it was more in the realm of science fiction than horror. The show was more about incisive insight into the dynamics of individual minds and group collectives than it was about outright terror. The show’s monsters lived inside people’s minds; the chills it brought were existential.
There are still some episodes in The Twilight Zone which fall on the side of traditional horror. The Twilight Zone has some episodes that are more frightening than modern horror films, but not on the same level as the rest of its series. Here are the five most frightening episodes:
What’s so creepy about dolls, exactly? Not just those with a clearly evil appearance, like Chucky. American Girl dolls are terrifying to our children. The doll was passed down by an aunt who believed it to be cursed.
In this episode of The Twilight Zone, Kirsten is no match for Talky Tina. Christie is given Talky Tina by her mother. Christie’s stepfather Erich who already dislikes Christie because he cannot have children, immediately takes a dislike to the doll. Why wouldn’t Erich? The doll’s voice will haunt you forever as she declares, “My Name is Talky Tina and I am going to kill You.”
Liz Powell, a high-strung dancer who is prone to nervous exhaustion, has been admitted to the hospital. A recurring nightmare is preventing her from recovering. In her dreams, Liz is led by a nurse to the morgue in the hospital, room 22, where the nurse says “Room for another, honey.” She is convinced that the dream is true, but no-one believes her. In one of the best twists in the show, the true meaning of her dream is revealed towards the end.
This episode features the King of Creepiness, a ventriloquist doll. Jerry Etherson, a ventriloquist, uses Willy the doll in his show and swears Willy is alive. He also claims that Willy has a bad attitude. Is the dummy alive or is Jerry’s belief just a delusion caused by his drinking or schizophrenia? It’s hard to watch the dummy laugh maniacally, but the twist at the end is a real shocker.
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