It’s back into the depths of The Twilight Zone as I continue my exploration of The Complete Series, now on blu-ray from Paramount Pictures.
Up first this week is Night Call. This episode originally aired on 7 February, 1964, and was penned by the legendary Richard Matheson.
Elva Keene (Gladys Cooper) is living a nightmare, as her phone keeps ringing. It rings constantly through the middle of the night, and begins to haunt her. First there is only static on the line, but as things progress there are spookier things afoot.
Soon the phone is ringing at all times of day, with nought but static or silence on the other end. The telephone company is of no help.
Soon, there is a faint voice coming from the phone, saying ‘hello’ over and over again. It’s actually quite unnerving and spooky. Then when the reveal of where the calls are coming from (they are not coming from inside the house) is really good, and well-crafted and then the ending… wow.
This one works really nicely, and may be my favourite of the season so far.
The extras include an interview with Matheson, an isolated score, a commentary by Zone historian and fan Marc Scott Zircee, who is joined by director Michael Nankin. Lastly, there is a radio version starring Mariette Hartley.
From Agnes – With Love.
Long before online dating, and computer matches were a thing, this episode of The Twilight Zone aired. Written by Bernard C. Schoenfeld, and directed by Richard Donner, this episode first came to the screens on 14 February, 1964.
James Elwood (Wally Cox) is in charge of a new computer, Agnes, after he handily repairs it. He and the computer develop a bit of a rapport, and he turns to the machine for advice on matters of the heart. But Agnes has her own agenda.
And I will say, the computer is a little sexist.
This one is a bit of silly story, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Agnes is sabotaging Elwood’s relationship, because she is in love with him.
There isn’t much to save this episode, it’s goofy, and pretty inane. There’s no real surprises, there’s no stunning reveal, it’s just a simple story, that is pretty dull.
The extras this time around include sponsor billboards, and a radio version with Ed Begley, jr.
Spur of the Moment is the final episode this week. This one was also written by Matheson and first aired on 21 February, 1964.
Anne Henderson (Diana Hyland) is a young, attractive heiress, who is engaged and soon to be married,
While out riding, she is terrified by an encounter with a woman all in black, atop a black horse… a visual opposite of her own appearance. Who is it? What could she want?
Her personal life is complicated on the day of her engagement party. She is too marry Robert Blake (Robert Hogan), but her childhood friend, David (Roger Davis) wants her to break off the engagement, and marry him.
The woman in black’s nature is revealed after the first act break, and we learn that Anne is in fact the woman on the horse. Her future self, trying to warn her, about the choices she makes and not to marry the wrong man.
This one was okay, nowhere near as enjoyable as Night Call, and there’s a subtext commentary here that suggests father knows best.
The extras include an interview with Matheson, an isolated score by Rene Garriguenc, and sponsor billboards.
There’s more next week as I continue to enjoy the fifth and final season of The Twilight Zone; The Complete Series on blu-ray, available from Paramount Pictures.