Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man” (dir by Richard L. Bare)


“It’s a cookbook!”

During the month of October, we like to share classic episodes of horror-themed television.  That was easier to do when we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens because every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.  In fact, there is exactly one episode of the original Twilight Zone on YouTube.

Fortunately, that episode is a classic.  In 1962’s To Serve Man, an alien (Richard Kiel) comes to Earth and invites people to return to his home planet with him.  He leaves behind a book.  When everyone learns that the title of the book is To Serve Man, they excitedly decide that the book must be an instruction manual on how to help mankind.  The truth, as we learn in the episode’s classic finale, is something a little bit different.

Here’s the episode!  Watch it before YouTube yanks it down.

(This episode originally aired on October 2nd, 1962.  It was directed by Richard L. Bare from a script by Rod Serling.  It was based on a short story by Damon Knight.)

Enjoy!

Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man” (dir by Richard L. Bare)


“It’s a cookbook!”

During the month of October, we like to share classic episodes of horror-themed television.  That was easier to do when we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens because every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.  In fact, there is exactly one episode of the original Twilight Zone on YouTube.

Fortunately, that episode is a classic.  In 1962’s To Serve Man, an alien (Richard Kiel) comes to Earth and invites people to return to his home planet with him.  He leaves behind a book.  When everyone learns that the title of the book is To Serve Man, they excitedly decide that the book must be an instruction manual on how to help mankind.  The truth, as we learn in the episode’s classic finale, is something a little bit different.

Here’s the episode!  Watch it before YouTube yanks it down.

(This episode originally aired on October 2nd, 1962.  It was directed by Richard L. Bare from a script by Rod Serling.  It was based on a short story by Damon Knight.)

Enjoy!

 

Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man”


On this day, 58 years ago, one of the most influential shows in the history of television, The Twilight Zone, premiered on CBS.  Created by Rod Serling, this anthology show not only featured some of the best actors and writers in the business but it also used tales of the unexpected to address some of the most pressing issues of the day.  (Many, if not all, of those issues remain relevant today.)  The Twilight Zone inspired a countless number of future filmmakers and writers and it remains popular today.  The annual New Year’s Eve and 4th of July marathons on SyFy continue to delight viewers both new and old.

When we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens, every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.  As I sit here writing this, while several episodes from the show’s later (and largely unsuccessful) revivals have been uploaded,  there is exactly one episode of the original Twilight Zone on YouTube.

Fortunately, that episode is a classic.  In 1962’s To Serve Man, an alien (Richard Kiel) comes to Earth and invites people to return to his home planet with him.  He leaves behind a book.  When everyone learns that the title of the book is To Serve Man, they excitedly decide that the book must be an instruction manual on how to help mankind.  The truth, as we learn in the episode’s classic finale, is something a little bit different.

Here’s the episode!  Watch it before YouTube yanks it down.

Enjoy!

Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man”


You know what?

I’ve spent this October irritated by the lack of episodes of the Twilight Zone on YouTube.  I mean, I understand the importance of copyright laws and everything but seriously, how can you take away the Twilight Zone in October!?

However, I finally managed to find one — and exactly one — episode of The Twilight Zone on YouTube.  And it’s a classic!  (And who knows how long it’ll be available so don’t hold off on watching it!)  Here is the classic “To Serve Man” episode of The Twilight Zone!

Enjoy and bon appetit!

 

The Fabulous Forties #40: Smash-Up, The Story of a Woman (dir by Stuart Heisler)


Smash-Up_(1947)

The 39th film in the Fabulous Forties box set was 1947’s Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman.  I have to say it was a little bit strange going from watching the hilarious and life-affirming My Man Godfrey to watching the very serious and rather depressing Smash-Up.

Smash-Up is pure, tear-jerking Hollywood melodrama.  When the film starts, Angie Evans (Susan Hayward) is in a hospital, with her face totally covered in bandages.  Just by looking at her, we already know that her story is not going to be a happy one.

Flash back time!  Angie was a nightclub singer and a pretty good one at that.  The audiences loved her and she loved performing but she loved one thing more.  (See how overwrought my prose was there?  That’s a reflection of Smash-Up’s style.)  She loved Ken Conway (Lee Bowman, who may be related to me but probably isn’t).  Ken was a singer himself, though he was nowhere near as successful as Angie.  However, after Ken and Angie married, Angie put her career on hold while Ken went on to become a huge success.

Angie was already a drinker before she met Ken.  Having a few drinks before going out on stage helped to calm her nerves.  It helped her to relax and become the performer that the audiences loved.  However, once Ken became a star and Angie found herself continually alone in their home, she started to drink because it was the only thing that made her happy.  Whenever she started to regret giving up her career, she drank.  When she was worried that Ken was having an affair with his secretary (Marsha Hunt), Angie drank.  Ken’s best friend and songwriter, Steve (Eddie Albert), could see that Angie was losing control.  However, Ken refused to accept that his wife had a drinking problem.  Accepting that Angie was drinking to be happy would mean accepting that she wasn’t happy in the first place.

Trapped in the middle of all this was their daughter, Angel (Sharyn Payne).  When Ken, finally admitting that his wife could not control her drinking, demanded custody of Angel, Angie was determined to get back her daughter.

But, even though she wanted to, Angie could not stop drinking.  Or smoking.  And the smoking, the drinking, and the kidnapping did not make for a particularly good combination.

According to Wikipedia, Smash-Up was a failure at the box office and I can actually see why.  1940s American cinema can basically be divided between the earnest, patriotic, and optimistic films that were released during World War II and the dark and pessimistic films that came out after the war ended and the world realized just how evil and dangerous human beings could be.  Smash-Up is one of those dark films.  It’s not a happy film, nor is it at all subtle.  In fact, as much as I love a good melodrama, Smash-Up occasionally seems like a bit much.  Absolutely every bad thing that could happen does happen and it’s typical of the approach of Hollywood in the 40s that, for all the trouble Angie suffers as a result of her drinking, the film still has to find an excuse to send her to hospital with her face in bandages.  The film is often very empathetic in its treatment of Angie but, in the 1940s, mistakes still had to be punished.

Fortunately, Susan Hayward gives a great performance in the role of Angie, capturing the aching sadness that leads her to drink in the first place.  She saves the entire film and, quite justifiably, she received a nomination for best actress for her performance here.  She didn’t win but she still made Smash-Up worth seeing.

One Toke Over the Line: REEFER MADNESS (G & H Productions 1936)


cracked rear viewer

reef1

I’m writing this post while battling a nasty case of the flu, so it’s probably going to be a short one. That’s okay though, because really, what can I say about REEFER MADNESS? It’s terrible filmmaking, and dull as dishwater. There are plot holes so wide you could drive a semi through them. This little exploitation number would’ve been long forgotten after making the rounds on the grindhouse and roadshow circuits, until it was rediscovered by the stoner crowd in the 70’s and turned into an ironic midnight cult movie.

reef2

The movie itself finds stodgy Dr. Carroll lecturing the local School-Parent Group to help “stamp out this frightful assassin of youth” marijuana. He recounts what happened when some kids got hooked on the stuff. Seems this gang of drug pushers were out to corrupt American youth by turning them on at an apartment run by no-goods Mae and Jack. Sweet Mary’s brother…

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Horror on TV: Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man”


TheTwilightZoneLogo


I shared this episode of The Twilight Zone two years ago for Halloween but the YouTube video has since been taken down. So, here it is again!


There’s a lot I could say about To Serve Man but really, all that needs to be acknowledged is that it’s a classic and features one of the best endings ever.


To Serve Man was written by Rod Serling and directed by Richard L. Bare. It originally aired on March 2nd, 1962.


Bon appetit!