The date, January 13th, 2013. The place…somewhere nestled in a small beachside cottage along the mid-eastern seaboard of Florida. Now usually, going as far back as Christ’s disciples, including Judas, which was the thirteenth, to the more recent popular slasher horror film franchise, the number thirteen is primarily viewed as an unlucky number, often associated with negativity, wickedness and evil. But this number isn’t unlucky for one Thomas Scopel, a chronically compelled horror writer who, over the course of time, will gladly embark on a fresh Horror News Net column that will have him stepping deep into a world of the unknown and having him exploring the intricacies of a widely popular television show that thrust wonder, horror, magic and sometimes even the macabre, onto an unsuspecting audience, beginning on October 2, 1959. Stay tuned, for the signpost is right up ahead.
Unlocking a door using that key of imagination, the Twilight Zone was fresh, bold and provocative, only taking thirty minutes to fully yank on our natural sense of mystery, usually, but not always, utilizing ordinary, everyday scenarios and locales, before bending our perception and twisting the tale into a thought provoking unexpected ending, some of which, to remain rooted for a lifetime.
Along with a soundtrack now recognizable from simply its first four notes, nothing less than brilliant and stellar writing, many of which tales having been generated by it’s equally recognizable host, a Mr. Rod Serling, would be acceptable, adamantly requiring each tale to be imaginative, enticing, vivid, and more often than not, shocking.
Filmed in black and white, the standard medium of the time, this, in this writer’s humble opinion, only proved to contribute to the show’s success by adding an unintended dark and shadowy overcast and increasing the overall impact.
Beginning with a well-written, undeniable, and sometimes creepy introduction of the proceeding tale by Mr. Serling himself, audiences were left with little doubt as to the invitation, luring or attraction that had just been subconsciously a party to. And, it was a force to be reckoned with, having thousands, and more recently probably millions, of viewers gladly accepting and sticking glued to the very end, when Mr. Serling appeared once again to give the closing, which always ended with the words, “twilight zone.”
This said…it is this writer’s intentions to delve into each episode, beginning with the first, and discuss in detail each, exploring introduction, synopsis, cast members, and closing. And, I will call this all-time favorite that I now view as a personal shrine; The Land of Both Shadow and Substance with Thomas Scopel. For since the Twilight Zone had such a great impact on me, I now feel oddly indebted, obliged and happily compelled to pursue a venture that I had always considered. Expect new installments bi-weekly and for fans and non-fans alike, this should make for interesting reads.
Therefore, with widely stretched arms and equipped with a laptop capable of unlimited word file capacity, writer Thomas Scopel is about to knowingly walk into a room where things are never as they initially appear. For he knows, that in those shadows lies everything from dolls that talk to space aliens intent on destroying mankind to mystical and magical worlds, each having an improbable ending. For Thomas Scopel, it is a journey and personal quest that will take him far into—“The Twilight Zone.”
Next time: The premiere episode, “Where Is Everybody?”
Thomas Scopel has explored the dark, demented, and gruesome his whole life, beginning at a young age with Pittsburgh’s Chiller Theater. He has penned and published many reviews, articles and short stories, as well as two novellas. At press time, he is currently in the midst of editing his first full length novel for Suspense Publishing, submitting a few tales elsewhere, and chopping through other various blood infused projects that most would probably prefer to read with the lights on. Also known as Wee Willie Wicked, a sinful, malicious clown who takes pleasure in fear and also writes, usually finding solace in covering frightening film reviews for Horror News Net, one thing’s for certain, this horror writer has no shortage of drive.
Visit his blog stayingscared.blogspot.com or website www.thomasscopel.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Land of Shadow and Substance: Inaugural Article