The Many Lives of The Twilight Zone

Essays on the Television and Film Franchise


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About the Book

More than sixty years after the The Twilight Zone debuted on television, the show remains a cultural phenomenon, including a feature film, three television reboots, a comic book series, a magazine and a theatrical production. This collection of new essays offers a roadmap through a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. Scholars, writers, artists and contributors to the 1980s series investigate the many incarnations of Rod Serling’s influential vision through close readings of episodes, explorations of major themes and first-person accounts of working on the show.

About the Author(s)

Writer and actor Ron Riekki has won several screenplay awards including best sci-fi/fantasy from the International Family Film Festival, best comedy from the Los Angeles Film Awards and the Nuclear Pen Award from the GenreBlast Film Festival.

Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr., is a professional actor and director whose previous books have covered topics ranging from Star Wars to Renaissance faires. He is a professor and chair of the theater department at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Ron Riekki and Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 279
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8101-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4449-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Ron Riekki 1
Submitted for Your Approval: A Host and His Series and Their Remarkable Afterlives—An Introduction
Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr. 5

Part I. A Dimension of Mind: Ideas, Philosophy, and the Original Series
Middle Ground: The Twilight Zone as Social Criticism
Valerie L. Guyant 17
Social Liberalism and Orthodox Theology: Ideas of God in The Twilight Zone
Brandon R. Grafius 29
Rod Serling and the Ambiguity of Being
Kevin Bolinger 40
The Twilight of Humanism
Alexander E. Hooke 51
The Strange Zone of Speculative Rhetoric
Jimmy Butts 64
Serling and the Bomb: The Twilight Zone’s Nuclear Landscape
Molly A. Schneider 75
The Twilight Zone Goes to War!
Elsa M. Carruthers and Paul Popiel 89

Part II. “Remember that one episode?”
From Demonic “Opie” to Latchkey Kid: The Narrative/Character Shifts in “It’s a Good Life” from Television to Film
Erin Giannini 103
“Stopover in a Quiet Town,” the Horror Film, and Dread of the Child
Dawn Keetley 113
Grief, Loss, and the Unknown: The Hauntological Phantasm of Richard Matheson’s The Twilight Zone
Melissa A. Kaufler 124
“It’s simply out of my hands”: Human Nature as Illustrated in The Twilight Zone’s “The Shelter”
Michael Meyerhofer 139

Part III. The Twilight Zone in the Eighties
Twilight Zone: The Meta: Interior and Epiphenomenal Elements That Frame Twilight Zone: The Movie
Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr. 149
Twilight of the Vampires: The Twilight Zone, Vampires, America, and War
Simon Bacon 160
If You Dream It, They Will Film It
Paul Chitlik 171
My “If She Dies” Diary: A Writer’s Personal Journey into The Twilight Zone
David Bennett Carren 178

Part IV. Comparative Zones
Strange Realities: Twilight ­Zone–sploitation in Encounter with the Unknown
Nicholas Diak 193
Get Out of The Twilight Zone: The Original TV Series and Newest Reboot Juxtaposed
David Melbye 206

Part V. Staging the Zone
From Curator to ­Co-Author: Examining the Narrative and Political Choices in Anne Washburn’s Stage Adaptation of The Twilight Zone
William C. Boles 225
A Twilight Zone of Our Own: Production Is Storytelling
Steve Krahnke and Michael Aronson 238

About the Contributors 259
Index 263