- The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street
"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" The Twilight Zone episode
Scene from "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"
Episode no. Season 1
Directed by Ronald Winston Written by Rod Serling Featured music Original score by Rene Garriguenc, conducted by Lud Gluskin Production code 173-3620 Original air date March 4, 1960 Guest stars Episode chronology ← Previous
"A World of Difference"
List of Twilight Zone episodes
"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. Originally aired when memories of the Second Red Scare were still fresh in the minds of viewers, the episode is often presented commercial-free as part of the Cable in the Classroom series in order to teach children about the dangers of prejudice and hysteria. The question of whether the monsters of the title are the suspected aliens or the prejudiced residents of Maple Street is open to interpretation. It also shows what people will do to save themselves.
The episode begins in late summer; Maple Street is full of playing children and adults talking. A shadow passes overhead and a loud roar is heard, accompanied by a flash of light. Later, after it has gone dark, the residents of Maple Street find that their machines no longer work, and there is no power. They gather together in the street to discuss the matter. One of them, Pete Van Horn, volunteers to walk out of the neighborhood to discover the extent of the problem.
Another resident, Steve Brand, wants to go into town but Tommy, a boy from the neighborhood, tells him not to leave the street. Tommy has read in his comic/action hero books a story of an alien invasion causing similar phenomena, and he predicts Steve will probably not be allowed to leave. Furthermore - as part of this fictional invasion - the aliens insidiously placed within the neighborhood a family that appears human. The power outage is meant to isolate and contain the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, another resident, Les Goodman, tries unsuccessfully to start his car. He gets out and begins to walk back towards the other residents when the car starts all by itself. The bizarre behavior of his car makes Les the object of immediate suspicion. One woman begins to discuss his late nights spent standing in the garden looking up at the sky. Les claims to be only an insomniac. Later that night, Steve tries to defuse the situation and prevent it from becoming a witch-hunt. Charlie, one of the loudest and most aggressive residents, pressures Steve about his hobby building a radio no one has ever seen. Suspicion falls on Steve when he sarcastically remarks he talks to monsters from outer space on his radio. Steve remarks to the neighbors "You're standing out here all set to crucify someone! You're all set to find a scapegoat! You're all desperate to point some kind of a finger at a neighbor! Well, believe me, the only thing that will happen is we're going to eat each other up alive!"
The panic builds when a shadowy figure is seen walking towards them. Charlie, now disturbingly hostile, grabs a shotgun and immediately shoots the shadow, thinking it to be the alleged "monster." When the crowd reaches the fallen figure, they realize it is Pete Van Horn returning from his scouting mission. The shot had hit him in the chest and he is dead.
Suddenly the lights in Charlie's house come on and he panics as the crowd begins accusing him of being both a murderer and the monster responsible for the power being out. He makes a run for his house while the other residents chase after him, throwing stones. Terrified, Charlie attempts to deflect suspicion onto Tommy, the boy who originally brought up the idea of alien infiltration. Lights begin flashing on and off in houses throughout the neighborhood; lawn mowers and cars start up for no apparent reason. The mob becomes hysterical, with terrified residents smashing windows, and taking up weapons, devolving into an all-out riot.
The film cuts to a nearby hilltop, where it is revealed the mysterious "meteor" that had flown overhead is indeed an alien spaceship. Its inhabitants, two alien observers, are watching the riot on Maple Street while using a device to manipulate the neighborhood's power. They comment on how easy it was to create paranoia and panic, and conclude that the easiest way to conquer the Earth is to let the people of the Earth destroy themselves.
- Claude Akins as Steve Brand
- Barry Atwater as Les Goodman
- Jack Weston as Charlie Farnsworth
- Amzie Strickland as Woman
- Burt Metcalfe as Don Martin
- Jason Johnson as Man
- Sheldon Allman as Alien
- Bill Walsh as Alien (as William Walsh)
- Robert McCord as Ice-cream Vendor
- Jan Handzlik as Tommy
A 2003 remake of the episode was created in the latest re-adaptation of The Twilight Zone, but it was renamed "The Monsters Are On Maple Street". The difference between the two is that the remake is more about the fear of terrorism. When the power surge happens in the remake, it is not caused by aliens but by the government, specifically the United States Army, experimenting on how small towns react to the fear of terrorism. In the end, the neighborhood takes out its anger and frustration on a family who never left their house after the power surge occurred, thinking that they caused it since they still have power.
A radio dramatization of this episode was produced in the mid-2000s, featuring Frank John Hughes as Steve Brand. It was included in The Twilight Zone: Radio Dramas - Volume 2 collection.
This episode served to be a major influence on science fiction in the decades that followed. Among the films that drew their inspiration from this episode include The Trigger Effect (directed by Akins' nephew, David Koepp) and The Mist.
Time Magazine named this the best Twilight Zone episode.
In the supernatural TV series Angel episode, "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been," the main protagonist Angel is mobbed in a similar way to the characters in this episode while under the influence of a paranoia demon controlling a hotel. Executive producer David Greenwalt admitted he got the idea and way of being mobbed after watching this episode.
In a Prentice-Hall 7th-grade literature book this story is used as a story and presented as a play/movie script format.
- ^ Maslin, Janet (1996-08-30). "Movie Review - The Trigger Effect (1996) - Urban Jitters Going Critical". New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9B05E3D91F39F933A0575BC0A960958260. Retrieved 209-10-09.
- ^ Edward Douglas (2007-11-16). "An Exclusive Interview with Mr. Frank Darabont!". ShockTillYouDrop.com.
- ^ "Top 10 Twilight Zone episodes". Time. 2009-10-05. http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1927690,00.html. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0
- "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" at the Internet Movie Database
- "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" – script
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