Seeking refuge from a storm, a traveler comes upon a bizarre abbey of monks, who have imprisoned a man who begs for his help. When he confronts the head monk, he is told that the man is the Devil, and he must decide whom to believe.
David Ellington recounts a story, one that began just after the end of World War I. He was hiking in Europe when he sought refuge in an abbey during a violent rain storm. The residence is isolated and its head, Brother Jerome, tells him he cannot stay. Ellington is ill however and during his short stay meets someone who is being kept prisoner and howls constantly through the night. Ellington believes the Howling Man is being kept there for no good reason but Brother Jerome tells him of the man's true nature. The decision Ellington makes will haunt him for the rest of his life. Written by
Charles Beaumont had originally envisioned that the monks would keep the Howling Man imprisoned by putting a cross in front of his cell door. Fearful of a backlash in the religious community, the producers substituted the "staff of truth," over Beaumont's objections. See more »
Although Ellington walks into the monastery in the midst of a thunderstorm, he is perfectly dry. See more »
The prostrate form of Mr. David Ellington, scholar, seeker of truth and, regretably, finder of truth. A man who will shortly arise from his exhaustion to confront a problem that has tormented mankind since the beginning of time. A man who knocked on a door seeking sanctuary and found, instead, the outer edges of The Twilight Zone.
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Atmospheric entry, helped along by spooky sets, excellent cast (except for woman in final scene who is much too obvious), and especially by director Heyes' effective use of off-angle camera shots. These convey sense of unnatural happenings in a world temporarily off-balance which heightens the show's theme. Then too, there's the 'coming out' march through the castle's hallway that is very well done by special effects, and unusual for TV fare of that day. I especially like the tall, fearsome-looking Frederic Ledebur, who lends the right physical presence to this unconventional monastery. And, for once, John Carradine's natural propensity to 'ham it up' is also used to good effect. However, the script's theology seems a little shaky. Humans would appear to be responsible for our many wars, not Satan, and therefore wars should not be lumped into the same logical category as natural disasters. But then, this is a mere quibble with an episode that's in many ways, among the series' most memorable.
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