10 iconic Twilight Zone episodes that inspired feature films

The Twilight Zone is one of the most influential television shows of all time. Created by Rod Serling In 1959, the anthology series used science fiction to present stories about morality and human nature, as well as social commentary on racism, war, and gender roles. It has spawned three revival series, a movie and a theme park attraction, not to mention inspired series like twin peaks, X-FilesAnd black mirror.

The show has inspired filmmakers for decades and movies like The Truman Show And ultimate goal have adopted concepts that appeared in The Twilight Zone and developed into something new. Several episodes of the acclaimed series have directly inspired films across all genres Us To toy story 4 Not only lends his trademark supernatural plot devices, but also his dark take on human nature.


1 “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”: “The Mist” (2007)

Season 1, Episode 22 (1960)

Neighbors gossiping and staring at the viewer in The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street in The Twilight Zone
Image via CBS

“The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” is often considered one of the best episodes of the series. The episode follows a neighborhood that descends into a chaotic mob when news of an imminent alien invasion hits their street. While the episode paints a picture of Cold War paranoia, the mob mentality portrayed has been cited as the inspiration for 2007 Frank Darabont Horror movie, The fog.

RELATED: Essential ‘Twilight Zone’ episodes to keep you up at night

The fog follows a group of shoppers trapped in a supermarket surrounded by a dense fog containing carnivorous monsters. Darabont recently told Slash Film, “There’s such a thin barrier between cooperation and ferocity, and I just thought it would be great for such a brilliant throwback to things like Rod Serlings Twilight Zone Episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” The tension in the film is reminiscent of the early episode, the film’s violent ending was also inspired by the episode “Time Enough At Last”, which was different from this one StephenKing‘s original novella ending, but retained the author’s seal of approval.

2 “Reflection”: “We” (2019)

Season 1, Episode 21 (1960)

Vera Miles grins out of a bus window in Mirror Image on The Twilight Zone
Image via CBS

In “Mirror Image”, Millicent Barnes finds a duplicate of herself waiting in the same bus depot. After getting on the bus in her place, the doppelganger believes she is an evil copy who wants to replace her. Jordan Peele based on his 2019 horror masterpiece Us on the episode.

Us follows a family being hunted by doppelgangers who want to replace them in the real world. Speaking of the memorable scene as the doppelganger boards the bus, Peele told the New York Times, “That little knowing grin is so scary. It is one thing to see another me in existence – it is another thing to see another me that is already aware of it You exist.” In an interview for Rolling Stone, Peele cited the episode as his main inspiration for the film.

3 “Mr. Denton at the End of the World”: “Blazing Saddles” (1974)

Season 1, Episode 3 (1959)

Martin Landau and Cowboys laugh outside the saloon in Mr. Denton on Doomsday The Twilight Zone
Image via CBS

“Mr. Denton on Doomsday centers on a drunk and famous ex-town gunslinger whose victims weigh heavily on him and whose alcoholism causes a shaky hand, ending his career as a quick magnet in the West. Denton’s monologue recounting his past was copied almost verbatim by Gene WilderWaco Kid is there Flaming Saddles.

The aloof monologue parodies the episode, but also serves as a tribute. Mel Brooksa lifelong fan, wrote an entry for the book Everything I need to know I learned from the Twilight Zone. In it, he said: “Every time I’ve watched The Twilight ZoneI was perfectly willing to surrender to him.”

4 Little Girl Lost: Poltergeist (1982)

Season 3, Episode 26 (1962)

A man paints with chalk on a wall in Little Girl Lost Twlight Zone
Image via CBS

In Little Girl Lost, two parents and their friend try to bring back a young girl who accidentally went to another dimension. The episode was written by a science fiction writer Richard Mathesonwho claimed the film poltergeist was inspired by it.

RELATED: The best ‘Twilight Zone’ episodes across all 4 versions

The production of poltergeist is notoriously messy with both Tobe Hopper And Steven Spielberg joint authorship and plagued by rumors of power struggles. Matheson told AICN, “Well, poltergeist was inspired by one of mine, and I never got any credit for it… They kind of took that idea and made their own concept out of it.

5 “Steel”: “Real Steel” (2011)

Season 5, Episode 2 (1963)

Three men in a boxing ring with a robot in Steel The Twilight Zone
Image via CBS

“Steel” attempts to predict the dystopian sci-fi “future” of 1974, depicting a world where human boxing has been banned and the sport has been taken over by humanoid robots. A former heavyweight boxer manages an older model robot, but decides to dress up and get back in the ring. The episode “Steel” was written by Richard Matheson and is based on his short story of the same name, she is also the inspiration for the Hugh Jackman Movie real steel.

After poltergeist, Spielberg took no more risks. “He called me and sent me a copy of the script for real steel, although as far as I remember it wasn’t the same as in the movie,” Matheson recalled to AICN, “he asked me, ‘Is it similar to your script for ‘Steel’? It did and I told him. Then they paid me money, which they probably wouldn’t have done otherwise.”

6 “Living Doll”: ‘Child’s Play’ (1988)

Season 5, Episode 6 (1963)

living doll

The episode follows a family being tormented by a sentient Talky Tina doll who is cherished by her daughter. Talky Tina was the inspiration for Gabby Gabby in toy story 4and the episode was the inspiration for the horror film child’s play. From toy story 4director Josh Cooley told Entertainment Weekly: “I’ve always loved it The Twilight Zone and that kind of talking tina. We’ve never seen such creepy old dolls toy storyand this was an opportunity.”

child’s play writer Don Mancini Mental Floss said, “I had seen the Talky Tina episode of The Twilight Zone, and I knew the killer doll trope. But what I realized was that in the age of animatronics, it had never been made into a feature film.” His first draft was called “Blood Buddy” and was tonally more like the episode before being rewritten to include more comedic elements and the recording from Charles LeeRay.

7 “An Event at the Owl Creek Bridge”: “Jacob’s Ladder” (1990)

Season 5, Episode 22 (1964)

Soldiers on a bridge in An Occurence At Owl Creek Bridge The Twilight Zone

Based on the short story by Ambrose Biercethe episode “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” is an Academy Award-winning French short film that aired as an episode of The Twilight Zone three years after publication. The film’s twisted ending was known to be the inspiration for M. Night Shyamalan‘S The sixth Sensebut it is most directly the basis of the 1990 film Jacob’s ladder.

RELATED: The History of Horror Anthology Shows

In a Tricycle article, author Bruce Joel Rubin said: “Somewhere in the middle of writing Jacob’s ladderI had a revelation that my film was indeed a feature-length version An incident at the Owl Creek Bridge. My duty was to turn this twenty-minute film exploring the mind of a dying man into a two-hour film.”

8th “Five Characters Looking for an Exit”: “Cube” (1997)

Season 3, Episode 14 (1961)

A ballerina, a clown, a bagpiper and a scamp in Five Character In Search of an Exit in The Twilight Zone-1
Image to CBS

In Five Characters Finding an Exit, five costumed characters awaken in a cylindrical room with no windows or doors, and no memory of how they got there. Finding a way out, one discovers that they are all toys in a drop box just before being taken back to his prison.

The film Dice follows five strangers trapped in a cube that must escape through deadly traps. Although the director has not confirmed the audience’s suspicions regarding the film’s similar plot, it is often associated with the episode.

9 “Button, Button”: “The Box” (2009)

Season 1, Episode 20 (1986)

A couple debates the use of the box in Button Button The Twilight Zone
Image via CBS

The 1986 episode of the revival series revolves around a couple who receive a box with a button that, when pressed, earns them $200,000, but at the cost of a stranger’s life. “Button, Button” is based on a short story by Richard Matheson, which is also the basis for the 2009 film The box.

Donnie Darko‘S Richard Kelly told Rotten Tomatoes he chose Matheson’s short story and took six years to write it. “I wanted to fuse my parents and my family and the elements of their lives with Richard Matheson’s short story to flesh out Arthur and Norma in a very personal way and make a vintage suspense film.”

10 “Gramma”: ‘Mercy’ (2014)

Season 1, Episode 18 (1986)

Boy with bright red eyes in Gramma The Twilight Zone
Image via CBS

The revival series aired “Gramma,” which is based on a short story by Stephen King about a boy caring for his ailing grandmother but discovers there’s something unsettling about her. The short story was also the basis for the 2014 film grace.

grace follows a single mother and her two sons as they travel to care for their elderly mother, whom they name Mercy. The boys find out that their grandmother has supernatural powers that make them dangerous. The film received mixed reviews, although its source material was popular at the time of its release.

NEXT: Movies with cursed productions

https://collider.com/best-twilight-zone-episodes-influenced-movies/ 10 iconic Twilight Zone episodes that inspired feature films

Dustin Huang

Dustin Huang is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Dustin Huang joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: dustinhuang@24ssports.com.

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