This weekend Cameron Diaz
and James Marsden
star in the suspense thriller "The Box
," but what not many people know is that the movie is based on an episode of "The Twilight Zone
." It was originally taken from a short story written by Richard Matheson, and the movie might follow the TV episode or the original Matheson script; you'll just have to see the movie to find out. Still, it started us thinking on "The Twilight Zone" and how some of the most memorable episodes could surely be lengthened into full length features. The stories are scary, sad, odd, fantastical, and tragic; just the kind of scripts Hollywood is looking for! Here's a look at episodes from "The Twilight Zone" that should be made into movies.
"Nothing in the Dark" - Season 3 Episode 81
This is not one of the scary episodes of "The Twilight Zone," and not even really a twisted one. It is more a thoughtful and almost gentle piece about the fear of death and how terror can freeze out all the best things about life. There have been all kinds of movies about how people try to experience their life before death, but here's one about how death can shut you inside away from everything. A lonely old woman, Wanda Dunn, refuses to leave her apartment because she saw Death take a man before by a single touch and she does not want to die. She does take in a wounded young policeman when he falls at her doorstep, and in doing so starts a very serious conversation about - and with - Death. This would probably be a good dramatic film, slightly like "Meet Joe Black
" only shorter. And hopefully not as sleepy. Likely in Hollywood they would need to add in more characters and plenty of pretty people, but as long as the core story of the old woman and Death remains, it could be a touching story.
"Walking Distance" - Season 1 Episode 5
Here is another interesting but thoughtful story, but it more about nostalgia and the dreams of youth. There have been movies like this about people who return to their childhood or have their younger personas turn into them, but there is something unique this story can offer. Martin Sloan is going through a bit of a middle age crisis, and he starts walking to his hometown. Everything in the town is exactly the way it was when he was a boy, and he even sees himself and his family. Martin tries to connect to his young self and regain that optimism and youth, but when he returns to his own time he has learned something. Now who cannot connect to the idea of missing your youth or wondering where you went wrong in the past? It could make a really lovely family drama, a thoughtful story about looking backwards and to the future.
"It's a Good Life"-Season 3 Episode 73
Now this episode has horror story written all over it. Creepy, creepy little kids are great monsters or ghosts in horror films, but this story is something like "Carrie
" meets "The Good Son
." The plot is that the entire town has become isolated and is under the control of a sociopath little boy named Anthony. He has godlike powers to force everyone to his will, and if anyone angers him, he simply gets rid of them. The scariest - and saddest - part of this story is that everyone in the town is so scared of him, including his own parents, that they just keep egging him on whenever he does something evil. They're so afraid of him turning on them that they won't lift a hand to defeat him, and it is his own father that smiles and pats the boy on the head as he destroys everything. It's a story to send chills down your back, and probably Hollywood would have the little boy get defeated in the end, but it would be pretty great if they stuck to "The Twilight Zone" ambiguity. Isn't the movie world always looking for a new horror tale?
"A Kind of a Stopwatch" - Season 5 episode 124
This is such a classic of the old saying 'be careful what you wish for.' Despite the fact you kind of feel bad for the main character, he does really make a mess of things. Patrick McNulty is not liked; he's loud mouthed and condescending and no one wants to be near him. He just seems to want friends and success and money, but none of that comes easily to him. He meets an old man who gives him a special stopwatch that can stop time. It does not work out the way he expects, and McNulty will regret trying to find an easy fix to his life. This does seem like a moral tale and might be harder to fit into a movie genre, but a creative screenwriter could widen the story. Maybe there are other abilities in the stopwatch, almost like "Click" with Adam Sandler, like he can go forwards and backwards in time. And other watch users. It's got a strong core story and a careful warning, so the episode could really become something.
"Night Call" - Season 5 episode 139
This adaptation could be part horror and part drama, and it's a very painful and sad story. "The Twilight Zone" was never happy; whimsical and odd, but not happy. In this an older woman in a wheelchair named Elva keeps getting phone calls with no one talking on the other line. Naturally this sounds like the beginning of a horror film when the murderer says 'what's your favorite scary movie?' but that's not where it goes. In time they trace the number to a graveyard; specifically to where her fiance was buried. What follows is a heartbreaking backstory and ending that anyone who lost a loved one would be touched by. They could make this into a tragic romance film, and have two hot actors play Elva and her fiance as youngsters. Naturally they would probably want to make it a happy ending, but even if they did change the last few minutes, it still would be a tragedy since he's in the afterlife. Think about if somehow Rose could communicate with Jack from "Titanic
." At first she would be delighted but it would still be quite sad.
Story by Chelsea Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer
Follow Chelsea on twitter at http://twitter.com/mustbethursday