Twilight Zone: Season 5, Episode 25

The Masks (20 Mar. 1964)
"The Twilight Zone" The Masks (original title)

TV Episode  -   -  Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 685 users  
Reviews: 19 user

Wealthy Jason Foster is dying and he invites his greedy heirs to a Mardi Gras party where they must wear the masks he specially had made for them or else be cut off from their inheritance.



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Title: The Masks (20 Mar 1964)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Robert Keith ...
Jason Foster
Milton Selzer ...
Wilfred Harper
Emily Harper
Paula Harper
Dr. Sam Thorne
Wilfred Harper, Jr.


When his doctor tells him that he could die at any moment, the wealthy Jason Foster gathers his heirs including his daughter Emily Harper, her husband Wilfred and their children Paula and Wilfrid Jr. Jason doesn't think much of any of them and it's clear they can't wait to get their hands on his fortune. It's Mardi Gras time in New Orleans and he has one last request - for each of them to wear a carnival mask. Each of the masks is meant to reflect some aspect of their personality - and leave a lasting impression on them. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

20 March 1964 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The only episode of Twilight Zone (1959) directed by a woman (Ida Lupino, who also starred in Twilight Zone: The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine (1959)). See more »


Emily Harper: I don't like being ill, Father, if that's what you mean.
Jason Foster: I find that hard to believe, Emily considering that you've been at death's door so many times in the past twenty-five years it's a wonder you haven't worn a hole in the mat!
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User Reviews

Even Ida and Rod can drop the ball
23 January 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is unfortunately the worst and sickest episode of TWILIGHT ZONE, which is surprising, considering it was directed by Ida Lupino, and very hands on work done by Rod Serling as writer.

These two are usually very forward thinking, and look down on the very self righteousness they display in this episode. It is the opposite of what we usually get from Ida, which makes me feel she deliberately wanted to show the piece for what it was, an ironic piece to appease and make fun of the very people who would enjoy it.

A man is dying. His last wish is an evil obsession to play God with the lives of four people in a horribly meaningless way. Maybe they are as bad as he says, but all we get is his self righteous and prejudiced judgment. In the end, he makes their lives a Hell after he dies. He could just leave them out of his will, but "No", he intends to play God.

Ida Lupino usually chose scripts in which people were taught better than to judge others. So, I'm sure she wasn't thrilled with this venomous piece.

Perhaps I don't know the upper class well enough. It isn't that I would like the four people who are sentenced to a man made Hell, it's just that it's the exact opposite of a Christian script. It's a story for control freaks, about the ultimate control freak, and those he judges are supposed to be "evil", but all we really see is this old man deciding in advance they would be evil. It wouldn't matter what they would do, he was going to decide they be unworthy.

It doesn't matter how callous the four are, the script makes no sense. In the end, the only people who would enjoy this or praise, are the very personalities of the four people they would sentence to a Hell. That's the ironic part. To like it, you would be judging yourself. It is a total hate piece, and has no value. No one should have the right to control others to that extent. It's a story of a man playing God, and actually cheered on by what are supposed to be objective observers, but that again is what makes this piece so sick. Maybe Rod knew four people he wanted to judge this way, but this is the sort of judgment that is called a "self fulfilling prophecy". If you push people into a corner, they will ultimately behave as defensively as these four did. In the end, no matter how bad they were, a sane person can't pull for the sick monster who plays God with their lives.

This one is as bad as it gets. Almost all the episodes of the Zone are great, and none are less than 6/10, and most of the films Ida directed are potential classics, and again none less than 6/10, but this one stands alone. It looks like a personal vendetta against some people, and it isn't well executed at all.

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