I remember back when I was about 10-11 years old I became obsessed with The Twilight Zone TV series from the late 50’s early 60’s. Rod Serling was one of the biggest influences of my childhood. I loved the creepy episodes and reading the quirky tales of irony written by Serling himself as well as Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson.
I’m not sure why but something about those shows drew me in with their creepy opening theme to Serling’s classic narration, to the ironic twists at the end of each episode. It was as if each episode was a puzzle I tried to figure out before the very end.
I also fell in love with Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, the 70’s answer to The Twilight Zone and in color! I especially adored how each episode was first introduced as a painting by Serling himself. As an artist, I felt this was incredibly clever and influenced my art heavily in High school. I eventually collected the whole series on VHS and still have the 13 or so VHS cassette tapes at home. It really left a lasting impression on me and made me think twice when looking at any work of art, “What is the story behind this piece?”
I also recently watched The Box, which came out late 2009 and based off of a short story by Richard Matheson. I also never realized that Matheson was the writer behind the films Stir of Echos and What Dreams May Come.
The Box, starring Cameron Diaz, is about an odd box with a button on top. When the button is pressed two things will happen: 1. Someone, somewhere will die, and 2. The person who pressed the button gets one million dollars! It is a creepy movie which reminisced the good ole Twilight Zone/Night Gallery episodes and kept me on edge through the whole movie. Its not a movie for everyone, if you don’t like psychological tales, plus this movie experimented heavily with morale decisions and consequences of one’s actions. I thought it was fantastic but I have a eccentric taste in movies…
After some more reading on Matheson, I found out Richard wrote one of my Favorite segments on Night Gallery ever! Its a little story called “Big Surprise”! You can watch the episode in 2 parts on youtube. Here are the videos: