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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

1.39 --- The Elevator

Directed by : R.L. Thomas
Written by : Ray Bradbury
Starring : Stephen Geoffreys, Robert Prescott
First aired : 31st of January, 1986.

Will (Stephen Geoffreys, Fright Night) and Roger (Robert Prescott, Bachelor Party) break into their dad's research facility one night, determined to find out more about his "secret" project which is supposed to solve the worldly hunger problems. Once inside, they see trails in the dust, but they're only going one way.

Following the trail, the brothers run into a bunch of overgrown dead animals - rats, cats, dogs, each one larger than the other. After turning on the light, they also discover the "food" matter which presumably made those animals huge. Will, who is now seriously frightened, deducts that the rats probably got in first, with cats and dogs following, but Roger remarks that something even bigger must've in turn killed them.

As their father is nowhere to be seen, Will and Roger decide to try looking for him on the upper floors. They approach the elevator which soon comes, but when the doors for it open, the brothers realize what happened to the other animals - they were eaten by the giant spider, which will now have them for dinner.


Hats off to Ray Bradbury, who for the second time in this first season succesfully creeped me out. While his previous adaptation, The Burning Man, worked more on psychological levels, The Elevator is purely visceral, with fright being induced by the scary environment and the inevitable big monster. I will note that this episode probably lost a lot of its punch outside the original airing slot - if you watched this when it aired, you probably expected the brothers to climb to the second floor first and got pleasantly shocked. This way, watching on DVD, the timer feature tells you clearly something is gonna happen as they call the elevator mere seconds before the episode ends.

Due props go to director R. L. Thomas, who directed this piece with the flair and technique of a veteran horror director...which he wasn't.

Brokeback Trivia : the Twilight Zone has a long-standing reputation of serving as a springboard for young acting, writing or directing talent. Stephen Geoffreys is no exception - it's just that he made his name in gay porn industry instead, participating in 20-ish such movies in the late 90s. Yee-haw.

Comments on "1.39 --- The Elevator"


Anonymous John said ... (9:34 PM) : 

I always wondered what happened to Stephen Geoffreys after Fright Night and 976-EVIL. Gay porn... wow! Not that there's anything wrong with that, just, wow! Never would have guessed.

Oh yeah, the episode... Not too bad!


Anonymous chogokinman said ... (9:55 AM) : 

Episode génial de tension. On sait qu'il va se passer quelque chose et ce qui arrive à la fin fait froid dans le dos.
Cet épisode fait partie de ceux qui sont restés dans ma mémoire, même 20 ans après.
Ma note : 4.5/5


Anonymous Kelly said ... (2:03 PM) : 

It is widely reported that for a period of about 10 years ( from the early 90's thru until the early 2000's ) Stephen Geoffreys appeared in gay porn films, where he was supposedly credited as Sam Ritter or Stephan Bordeaux.

The "actor" in question is not Stephen Geoffreys, but Michael Miller - Stephen Geoffreys' brother. When Michael started doing porn, people understandably saw his resemblance to Mr Geoffreys. This is where the rumor started that they were one in the same. Because of the tremendous amount of publicity this generated, Michael Miller has done nothing to correct the error.

Unfortunately, the rumor was enough to destroy Stephen Geoffreys' career. The one and only "questionable" film Geoffreys did was Campfire's Hunk Hotel, a gay-themed film. He mentioned it in an interview for Scarlet Street magazine - stating that it was a "gay adult movie".

Unfortunately, many people on the internet latched on to this statement ( ignoring much else of what the interview contained ) and use it as "proof" that he is indeed Sam Ritter/Stephan Bordeaux, fuelling the proverbial fire.


Blogger Mairosu said ... (11:59 AM) : 

This was posted on IMDB and refuted by some people there. Not that I care what is he doing right now, as long as he's happy with it. :p


Anonymous Thurisaz said ... (5:52 AM) : 

I very much remember this episode, but for some reason, until stumbling upon this review, I long associated it with another late 80s anthology shows, Monsters.


Anonymous Sharon Miller said ... (4:25 PM) : 

Actually there WAS a similar episode about a Black Widow Spider hiding in an elevator shaft on the Monsters tv series... I can't recall the title of the episode--but it starred actress Lydia Cornell (TOO Close for comfort with Ted Knight--was also spotted guest starring on the family show, Full House as oldest daughter, D.J. Tanner's Spanish teacher) and actor Marc McLure. In the episode they were newlyweds sent by the husband's boss on a "discount priced Honeymoon trip" to a swanky (abandoned?) building in New York City. The Husband got "tagged" and killed in the "Honeymoon bed" ( the widow's Web-hammock- like bed)
and it's up to the NEW human "widow" to either do away with the Black Widow--or attempt to escape with her own life--well, Cornell ends up doing both...Once again begging the ages old question.... Do "Blondes" really have the most Fun?? --- as for This particular episode of Bradbury's Elevator on Twilight zone.... I never watched it on TZ, But I do remember watching it in the very late 80's early 90s on the cable series-- The Ray Bradbury Theater. RB definitely KNOWS how to PACK a Punch!


Anonymous Adrock said ... (9:11 PM) : 

I'm not a huge Bradbury fan (I realize that this statement disqualifies me from being taken seriously on this board), and "The Burning Man" is one of my least favorite episodes of this first TZ revival season.

And the first 10 minutes of this segment are deep hurting. Bad acting and atrocious dialogue.

The kicker is great (let down by the awful delivery of the line "Oh no! A giant spider!"). And, I agree -- watching this cold, knowing that most first-segments this season were 20 minutes (2 act breaks), to have this one end as a short one-act must have been a big surprise!


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