On a pleasant day, the residents of Maple Street feel something akin to a tremor and hear a loud noise. Steve Brand thinks it's a meteorite though they didn't hear a create. When young Tommy tells them the science fiction story he read about an alien invasion where they were first sent among humans to live with them in disguise, paranoia sets in. They first suspect Les Goodman and loudmouth Charlie Farnsworth then points the finger at Steve and then Tommy. Events turn on Charlie as everyone runs amok. Written by
A graphic novel version was published by the Savannah College of Art and Design along with with Walker & Co. See more »
After all the power goes off, Steve tries to start his car. The starter can be heard turning the engine over. But, with all electricity neutralized, the engine wouldn't even turn over, much less start. See more »
[Trying to be the voice of reason as his neighbors get excited]
Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Now let's not be a mob !
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Strange happenings drive ordinary neighbors into a frenzy of suspicion.
Serling takes on mob psychology in this cautionary tale about an ordinary American neighborhood with average looking people (a well-chosen cast for that effect), going about normal activities. An unusual noise followed by mysterious electrical stoppage soon has these same normal families in the street looking for those among them who may be disguised space monsters. Premise plays pretty well, considering production crew only has twenty-plus minutes to unravel a whole community, which they do, especially with a series of montage close-ups to convey the mounting hysteria. First one neighbor falls under suspicion, then another, as the most innocent daily activities suddenly become suspicious in the climate of fear, which is probably the most unnerving part of the story. The script does a good job of showing how the most ordinary pursuits can be reinterpreted as sinister undertakings once mob psychology takes over. No doubt, those familiar with the 50's will see a subtext paraphrasing the anti-communist hysteria of the time. However you take it, the theme remains an important and timely one.
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