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Top Ten Scariest Episodes of The Twilight Zone

BrideOfChucky 41 Comments

For the most part, many people are familiar with The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling’s mysterious intros, the dramatic music, and that oh so catchy theme song have been cemented into my brain for as long as I can remember. Even if you haven’t watched the series, you have probably come across it at one point in time. The Twilight Zone is usually associated with being more of a science fiction anthology, but there are some episodes that are downright scary. These are my top ten scariest episodes of The Twilight Zone—not in any particular order because they are all equally scary to me!

1. Mirror Image

This is one of the episodes I remember watching when I was younger that really creeped me out, and it is because of this episode that I am terrified of the idea of doppelgängers. A woman gets increasingly frustrated at a train station when the people around make claims about her actions that she is certain are untrue. She gets more and more flustered and begins to question her sanity when she sees herself—her doppelganger—at the train station. I’m going to spoil this one for you because what really makes this one creepy is the smirk on her doppelgänger’s face as she boards the train, and the woman is taken to the hospital. That smirk still haunts my dreams until this day!

 Top Ten Scariest Episodes of The Twilight Zone

2. The Hitchhiker

A woman driving across the country from New York to California encounters a hitchhiker who appears to be following her along the way. Now, I’ve seen creepier looking hitchhikers, but there is something especially eerie about this specific one. He wears a simple suit and hat, yet he wears a subtle smile on his face that just gives you the chills. The suspense build up is incredible, as we hear Nan’s inner dialogue expressing how she is falling further and further into insanity.

Top Ten Scariest Episodes of The Twilight Zone

3. The After Hours

If you have seen this episode, it is very possible that you have never been able to look at a mannequin the same way again. It follows a young woman named Marsha who encounters some very bizarre experiences as she makes her way through a department store. Looking for a gold thimble, she is taken up to the ninth floor—which is later revealed does not exist! She later passes out from fear when she discovers a mannequin that looks exactly like the saleswoman who sold her the thimble. She ends up waking up after the store has been closed, and finds herself locked in. While in the store, it appears as though the mannequins are talking to her. When she returns to the ninth floor, she comes into contact with the saleswoman and the other mannequins step down from their posts and come to life! I won’t say more because I don’t want to give away the ending, but it is extremely creepy and ultimately one of my favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone!

Top Ten Scariest Episodes of The Twilight Zone

4. Twenty Two

A woman suffers from a recurring dream while being treated in the hospital. She wakes up, reaches for a glass of water that falls to the floor and shatters, hears footsteps outside of her room which lead her to an elevator, she takes the elevator down to the basement to room twenty-two, where a nurse tells her in a rather creepy tone, “Room for one more, honey.” Her doctor assures her that she should not worry, for it is only a dream. However, when speaking to a nurse, he questions how she would know about room twenty-two in the basement—which is actually the morgue—if she had never been there. The story follows the young woman after she leaves the hospital, but I won’t spoil this one. What makes it especially creepy is for me was the lighting, and the way it was shot. It’s very gritty, and grim-looking. The blood-curdling scream that she releases multiple times throughout the episode also contributes to its creepiness!

Top Ten Scariest Episodes of The Twilight Zone

5. Long Distance Call

This episode follows a little boy as he deals with the death of his grandmother, who he was very close to. Before her death, she gifted him a toy telephone on his birthday, and promises him that he will always be able to talk to her through that telephone. Things take a turn for the worse when the little boy claims to actually be talking to his diseased grandmother, and then starts basically attempting suicide so that they can be together. This subject matter in this episode is really dark, even for The Twilight Zone. The grandmother is pretty creepy on her own as well. She speaks slowly in a deep, raspy tone, and seems to hate her daughter-in-law. On her death bed she even goes so far as to claim that her son was taken from her by a woman, and that little Billy has become her new son. I’ll leave it to you to figure out whether Billy was actually talking to his dead grandma, or just finding a way to cope with her death, but overall it was a really creepy episode.

Top Ten Scariest Episodes of The Twilight Zone

6. The Dummy

This episode was particularly creepy to me because ventriloquist dummies alone are kinda freaky. Basically, it follows a ventriloquist, Jerry, who is convinced that his dummy, Willie, is alive. There is a very suspenseful scene in which Willie taunts Jerry with his laughter as he leaves the nightclub where he performs. Willie’s laughter gets louder and more intense as Jerry returns to his dressing room to confront Willie. This laugh has literally scarred me for life, as it transforms from light-hearted chuckling to full on maniacal cackling. Of course, there is a shocking twist at the end, but I won’t spoil it.

There is another episode about a ventriloquist dummy called, “Caesar and Me.” It wasn’t as scary as “The Dummy” but it still packs a punch and is definitely worth watching if you enjoyed the story of Willie and Jerry!

Top Ten Scariest Episodes of The Twilight Zone

7. The New Exhibit

I do not want to give away too much for this episode, because, of course, there is an amazing twist at the end that really makes “The New Exhibit” amazing and terrifying. It follows a man as he looks after the wax figures of infamous murderers in history. When people around him start dying, he begins to suspect that the figures have come to life to murder again! If you’ve ever been to a wax museum, you can probably understand why this concept is so scary. Sure, there are some wax figures that look extremely fake, but then there are the few that really seem to capture the image of their human counterparts. Unfortunately this episode is not on Netflix, but it is definitely worth watching if you get the opportunity to because it’s fairly terrifying!

Top Ten Scariest Episodes of The Twilight Zone

8. Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

We all know that being on an airplane is stressful, especially during a storm, especially after a nervous breakdown, and especially when you see a creature on the wing! We watch Bob helplessly claim that there is a gremlin on the wing, but no one seems to believe him. The part that actually made me jump was when he looked out the window only to see the gremlin up close with its face pressed against the glass. Overall, the gremlin creature isn’t too scary looking, and actually resembles a guy in what looks like a sheep costume with bad hair and a pretty ugly mug, but it definitely shocks you when you first see it. They actually remade this episode for the Twilight Zone movie, and the creature is slightly scarier, but ultimately the original takes the cake.

Top Ten Scariest Episodes of The Twilight Zone

9. Living Doll

This episode was really creepy because it featured a talking doll. Now, don’t confuse Talking Tina with Chucky, she’s more passive aggressive than blunt and violet. Talking Tina taunts her owner’s stepfather by telling him that she hates him and that he’ll be sorry amongst other insults. What makes it really creepy is that she is one of those dolls with the real looking eyes and a permanent smile carved into her face. She also does that eerie little girl laugh, which is cute on a little girl but horrifying coming from a doll. Not to mention the fact that she is indestructible! This guy tries to saw her head off and she walks away without a scratch.

Top Ten Scariest Episodes of The Twilight Zone

10. Night Call

This episode is the reason that I do not answer blocked calls! An older woman receives anonymous calls in the middle of the night that begin as static, but escalates into moaning, then the voice of a man speaking to her. The old woman is terrified and tells the caller to leave her alone. When the phone company traces the call, she learns that the calls are coming from phone line that had fallen into a cemetery. She visits the cemetery and is shocked to see which grave the line has fallen onto! I won’t ruin it too much for you, but there is definitely a twist and the episode ends up going from eerie to just downright sad.

Top Ten Scariest Episodes of The Twilight Zone

Well by now it’s probably safe to say that watching The Twilight Zone produced a lot of my childhood fears; doppelgangers, mannequins, talking dolls and dummies, wax figures, airplanes, talking to people beyond the grave through creepy phone calls, hitchhikers, etc. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little trip down memory lane, as we traveled beyond another dimension, moving into a land of both shadow and substance, for you’ve just crossed over into… the Twilight Zone! (Yes, I’m aware that that was incredibly cheesy, but you knew it was coming.)

Post in the comments below to let me know if there are any particularly horrifying episodes of The Twilight Zone that you feel I might have left out! Most of the episodes are on Netflix as well if you are feeling a little nostalgic!

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41 Comments

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      1. Greg March 30, 2013 at 8:17 pm

        Can’t think of the episode name, but there’s one with a guy that has his face bandaged up and throughout the episode everybody that sees his face is horrified.
        ******SPOILERS******
        Then at the end, his face is shown and he looks normal while everybody else has pig faces.

        • vomitdoll March 30, 2013 at 11:13 pm

          Greg, it’s called “Eye of the Beholder”

        • Armoured Fury October 31, 2013 at 4:40 pm

          It’s a she not a he…

      2. Mitch March 31, 2013 at 12:56 am

        Mine is “Time Enough At Last” … Look it up.. No spoilers here.. But just imagine a free unlimited kindle subscription and you way to charge your kindle…. AHHHHHaaahhh

        • Kirtina November 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm

          This is my favorite episode as well.

        • Marigen Beltran July 1, 2014 at 7:39 pm

          is that about the guy that just wants to read?

      3. Wendy Brydge April 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm

        This is fantastic! All the episodes I would have picked as well!

        Somehow “Nick of Time” always scared me a bit too though. I think it was that darn Mystic Seer devil head that did it…

      4. ellen April 3, 2013 at 8:54 am

        Greg, i remember watching that as a kid and till this day i think about it…it was one of the first mediums that made me think outside of the box…..thank you rod sterling and co….i’m definitely sure sterling wrote that one…but the twilight zone will stand the test of time for all horror, sci-fi, suspense, etc…its a classic that even to this day cannot be rewritten, or redone (it has but….) without wishing you had never seen the original to compare it to…..its a work of genius’ doing what they do best…..great list…now i have to save up and buy the collectable twilight zone box set and have a tz series marathon, youre list inspired me! ) thank you!

      5. Rex Molesberger April 6, 2013 at 5:30 am

        Lateness of the Hour. First episode I saw. Very freaky when i was a kid. The way it’s filmed is very creepy. But I’ve been hooked ever since.

      6. Tina May 1, 2013 at 3:35 am

        I remember first watching Nightmare at 20,000 feet when I was really young and that gremlin face pressed up against the window always freaks me out, even as an adult! That episode, Night Call, and The New Exhibit are my top 3.

      7. Rod Serling June 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm

        It’s not intendant to be a scary episode, but Walking Distance is my personal favorite.

        I never found any to be scary, but The wax museum probably came the closest. One of the few good hour long episodes.

      8. twilightzoneradio.com October 27, 2013 at 6:26 am

        The Silence is by far my favorite episode.

      9. Paul Scott October 28, 2013 at 6:13 pm

        Excellent site, and Bride of Chucky’s entry here for the ‘Best of’ Twilight zone is a good one – thanks, pal!

      10. Hugh Centerville November 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm

        My personal scariest Twilight Zone is “It’s a Good Life” with Billy Mumy. Many of the scary Twilight Zones had us on the edge of our seats, waiting to see what we knew would be an awful denouement. With “It’s a Good Life” the fear was palpable from the beginning and the ending more than lived up to the build-up.

      11. Ryan November 24, 2013 at 10:25 am

        Great list. I would have to agree that talking Tina, the dummy, and night call are the scariest ones I’ve ever seen! I get goosebumps every time I watch them!

      12. Georgina Baker November 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm

        I remember watching this with my dad as a child hahah :)

      13. Todd Stephan Perkins November 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm

        Cool episode w/ Mr. Shatner.

      14. Ben Kirby November 24, 2013 at 2:14 pm

        Hey Jason Newman…….. Theeeeeeeres …….. Something one the wing….. Some …… Thing!!!!

      15. Roland Perales Jr. November 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm

        Yea…hell no

      16. Denise Ray November 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm

        Oh my! I just flew to Florida and back, each time in the window seat and each time remembering this episode!! Love it !!

      17. Punch Killmaster November 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm

        Now that is ONE well dressed gremlin!!!

      18. Michael D. Solomon November 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm

        Pretty sure he just Shatnered himself

      19. Marvin Darnelle Davis November 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm

        I dnt have it,i dnt have it!

      20. Alan Yocham November 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm

        There’s…. Someone on the wing…. Some…. Thing! I never knew what that ace Ventura quote was from til now

      21. DiZams DX November 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm

        I thought, “to serve man” was scary.

      22. Greggory Scott Flora November 24, 2013 at 4:03 pm

        I like the one with John Lithgow the best.

      23. Al Lister Crowley November 24, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        Same look on my mug when I turn on the ignition, and the service engine like comes on.

      24. Melissa Garhart November 24, 2013 at 9:41 pm

        Look sir, can you just give me your order already, you’ve been sitting here for half an hour!

      25. Wolf Zilla November 25, 2013 at 1:20 am

        The day of My first flight I yelled out “GREMLIN!!!” Security was on me till the flight landed

      26. Art Clark November 25, 2013 at 6:23 am

        excuse me sir but have you heard the word of our lord and savior jesus christ?

      27. Bill Ewing November 25, 2013 at 7:56 am

        Channel 4 in Indy showed old Twilight Zone shows when I was a kid!

      28. Blogof LivingDead November 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm

        I saw this episode when it was remade– Twilight Zone– The Movie. One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes of all time. My all time favorite Twilight Zone episode though is “A Matter of minutes” with the blue men that move everything from one second to the next (in between the seconds). It’s why you can’t find your car keys– and them poof– there they are where you’ve looking along along.

      29. Leslie J January 1, 2014 at 4:38 am

        I always thought the Hitchhiker was scary and I loved your list, another great episode is “Its a Good Life”

      30. Nick M January 17, 2014 at 4:33 pm

        The “shocking twist” ending to the Dummy always confused me. I mean come on… what was up with that? But other wise yeah, it was a creepy episode.

      31. Chris Miller February 28, 2014 at 3:54 am

        Talking Tina episode was painfully boring to me . The one with the civil war soldiers walking down the road and the surprise last walker totally chills me . I think its called” the passerby” one of my favorites . I grew up here in long island ny and channel 11wpix would show honeymooners 11pm twilight zone 12. and one step beyond 12:30 am. I will always remember summers no school staying up with my younger brother watching this magical tri fecta every year.

      32. Crane March 10, 2014 at 6:03 pm

        Scared me to death when the bigfoot guy appeared in the plane window in “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet”.

      33. Amia March 12, 2014 at 7:09 pm

        Now when I watch Talking Tina I don’t get scared, but when I was about 6 my dad started showing me The Twlight Zone and that was the first episode I watched. Taking Tina scared the bejezzus out of me.

      34. Ezrie May 16, 2014 at 1:45 am

        I love night call and 22 also I really like the one about the grandma how she dies

      35. Oopsie Worth July 1, 2014 at 1:04 am

        Thumbs up for The Hitchhiker, (“Going my way”) , Night Call. I also thought The Invaders was pretty scary in it’s own way not a word until the end.

      36. James Daniel Massey July 1, 2014 at 3:50 pm

        I remember Night Call being very creepy when I was a kid! :) That low moaning on the phone….

      37. DK August 17, 2014 at 5:22 am

        Yes! Yes! The Invaders! One of the great depictions of primal fear ever to hit the small screen.
        I remember seeing “The After Hours” when I was young. Nice one.