The Twilight Zone 3.12 – The Jungle

Tonight’s episode of The Twilight Zone gave us the opportunity to talk with our son about superstitions. That’s after we got him calmed down from this remarkably effective half-hour of horror. He was so frightened that he was shivering!

So this time, Charles Beaumont has written the script from one of his short stories. The great John Dehner – he played the villain in my all-time favorite episode of Maverick – plays an oil company executive who has paid careful attention to the superstitions and magic rites of a tribe in Africa who will be displaced by his company’s hydroelectric dam project. He’s a marked man and his fate is inevitable, but getting there is thirty minutes of quiet, growing terror as something in the silent, three-in-the-morning streets of New York follows him.

There’s a really terrific scene where Dehner’s colleagues scoff at his explanation of the curse that has been threatened, but he points out the hypocrisy in their use of rabbit’s feet and horoscopes and buildings that don’t have a thirteenth floor. “Why doesn’t it have a thirteenth floor,” asked our son. We mumbled we’d tell him later. When the episode was finished, he was too scared to really care.

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