The Twilight Zone (1963) – In His Image, and The Thirty-Fathom Grave

It’s time for Season 4 to get underway as I continue digging into The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series on blu-ray from Paramount Pictures.

Beginning with Season 4, the series episodes became 50 minute affairs instead of 25, and things got underway with In His Image on 3 January, 1963 with this story by Charles Beaumont.

Alan (George Grizzard) and Jessica (Gail Kobe) are heading back to Alan’s small hometown. But something is wrong. Talbot is being driven to kill, something the opening sequence shows with a chilling, and scary scene.

Alan is troubled by dreams of someone named Walter, and upon arriving in his hometown (he’s only been gone for a week) there are differences in people and places that don’t jibe with his memory.

The thing I like about this this episode is that with the new longer episodes, they can really invest in character development and storytelling, and this one does that nicely, Not only are we worried about Alan and the things he’s experiencing, but also a little afraid of him, because he’s already killed once.

The mystery deepens over the episode’s runtime, until we are given the big reveal as Alan confronts who he really is. Once that reveal comes along, the story stumbles a little, as the mystery is now gone, but it still entertains.

The extras include a commentary by Zone historian Marc Scott Zircee, a 1978 interview with producer Herbert Hirschman, an isolated score, and sponsor billboards.

talbot

The Thirty-Fathom Grave was penned by series creator, Rod Serling, and first aired on 10 January, 1963.

While on patrol a U.S. ship picks up something strange on sonar, banging… knocking. Captain Beecham (Simon Oakland) orders a closer investigation, and they discover a submarine on the ocean floor, the hammering coming from within.

The submarine has been there since the beginning of World War II, lost, but there was one survivor, Chief Bell (Mile Kellin) who is under Beecham’s command.

As the sounds of the submarine’s knocking echo through the ship, Bell is haunted and terrified by it, slowly going insane, while the rest of the crew are simply intrigued by it.

He sees images of his former crew in the hallway outside of sickbay, beckoning him, urging him to join them.

There’s a fantastic scene when Beecham confronts Bell about his guilt over the event that sunk the sub, and how it couldn’t possibly be at fault the way he feels he is. But survivor’s guilt can be powerful…

And what the rescue team finds on the sub…

This ends up being a fairly entertaining ghost story, some of which works brilliantly. It also serves as a strong discussion on war and its effects on those who fight it.

The extras include a commentary by Zircee and fellow Zone historian Gary Gerani, a radio version starring Blair Underwood, an isolated score and sponsor billboards.

More spookiness and mystery next week, when we move deeper into the depths of Paramount Pictures’ The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series, now on blu-ray.

thirtyfathom

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