In a month-long celebration of Halloween, it’s hard to pick just one episode of The Twilight Zone to watch. While Futurama famously parodied with their own show within a show called The Scary Door, the truth is that a lot of Twilight Zone episodes aren’t really scary as much as they are just plain odd. So, when picking an episode, I poked around for one many fans listed as one of the scariest, but I think “Twenty-Two” is interesting for more than just the horror element.
Barbara Nichols stars as Liz Powell, a dancer who has been checked into the hospital due to exhaustion, but one there has the same dream night after night. She awakes, breaks a glass next to her bed, and then takes the elevator to the basement and the morgue. There, she is confronted by an abrasive nurse. Except, Liz is convinced this isn’t a dream but reality—even if the doctor with the maniacal laugh tells her she’s wrong. So, what’s really going on? That would be telling, but suffice it to say it would be the opening basis to a later horror franchise. It is chilling here, but maybe in an unintended manner.
“Twenty-Two” is one of six episodes in the second season of The Twilight Zone to be filmed on video instead of traditional film, and it’s instantly notable even to an untrained eye. You might note it has a “soap opera” effect to it, looking more like a home movie than the rest of the series. That look creates an odd sensation here. The sets look more noticeably like they’re on a stage which adds to the general dream-like state where you’re not quite sure what is happening in reality and what isn’t. That’s not to say it looks good, the filmed episodes obviously come off better, but there is something to the look of this episode, especially considering the harsh lighting that casts most of the episode in dark shadows (likely the director compensating for the video presentation). Production geeks will eat up that aspect, but like almost all of The Twilight Zone this is worth your time regardless your interests.