"The Twilight Zone" The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (TV Episode 1960) Poster

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My Neighbor is a Monster
dougdoepke23 July 2006
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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Prejudice and Panic
yosemitesam-12 January 2008
There is an old adage which says, "throw ten people in a room together and they may not pick a leader but they'll darn sure pick someone to hate." Serling plays out this adage on the screen wonderfully. A normal street in a normal town in Anywhere U.S.A. is the setting. As strange occurrences begin to happen in the neighborhood, a child's explanation of the events sparks a wave of fear and prejudice in a group of neighbors. The ensuing panic causes otherwise friendly people to turn on one another. This is a short episode (30 min), but it is flawless in portraying the truth about how people can tear themselves apart when fear and panic set in. Pay close attention to the ending - it is a statement of the human condition that still rings true today. This is perhaps my favorite episode of the entire series.
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What a GREAT episode
MartinHafer9 September 2007
This is among the very best episodes of THE TWILIGHT ZONE because it is such a great look at human nature. The show is set in a typical American city circa 1960 and has a very large and capable ensemble cast.

The show begins with strange things happening. Cars inexplicably stop, as do the televisions, radios and telephones. In fact, life pretty much comes to a grinding halt and everyone is naturally left confused and worried. Initially, the community in which this is set comes together with neighbors going out in the streets to ask what is happening. However, in a sinister twist, over time, instead of banding together, they begin sniping at each other--and people start blaming each other for the weird happenings. This is a great look at human nature and the very end of the show is a terrific twist.

This is a great episode for psychology and sociology lovers, though anyone can enjoy this subtle episode.
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Cold War plot may be dated, but fear, paranoia and hatred are timeless
mlraymond3 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
There's not much to say about this classic episode that hasn't been said, but I would like to make one observation.

The character Les Goodman ( Barry Atwater)comes under suspicion for his supposedly unusual behavior. The person who seems most eager to denounce Les and egg on the neighbors is Charlie,( Jack Weston) the loudmouth bully. Near the end, there's a total reversal, when the panicky Charlie grabs a shotgun and shoots an approaching figure in the dark, hollering about how he's going to defend himself against the monster. When the shocked neighbors gather around the body to realize it's one of their friends, the crowd slowly begins to turn against Charlie, who had been essentially the ringleader, opposing Claude Akins as Steve, the voice of reason.Les Goodman is absolutely gleeful at how the tables are now turned, as he snarls at the sweating, whining Charlie, " Why did you shoot him, Charlie? You were so quick to kill.Well, maybe you had to kill. Maybe it was because Pete there found out something you didn't want him to tell the rest of us!" Suddenly, the terrified Charlie is running from the stone throwing mob, screaming that it's not him.

Just one small detail of why this episode is one of the all time greatest of any Twilight Zone stories.
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"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" is classic Zone entry
chuck-reilly10 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
1960's "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" was written by Rod Serling and covered one of his favorite themes: mob psychology. A peaceful summer day on Maple Street in a quiet suburban town is shattered when the residents believe they're under some type of bizarre alien invasion. Nearly all of their technology (i.e. lights, autos, appliances etc.) begins to malfunction and panic sets into the neighborhood. Instead of trying to find the true cause of this disaster, however, the residents take the path to least resistance and start to accuse each other of being the "monster." Soon they're turning on their own neighbors and a vicious riot ensues. There truly are some aliens in the mix, but they're basically unobtrusive observers to the chaos. Their strategy is simply one of "divide and conquer" and the distrustful people of Maple Street are the perfect guinea pigs for their first experiment.

"The Monsters..." shows Serling's most biting and cynical side. There were many Twilight Zone episodes that dealt with mob rule as their subject matter, but this one is the best of all and a true classic in the series. Even the aliens quite smugly agree with Serling's view of human nature. "They've found the enemy, and it is themselves." The excellent cast is headed by Claude Akins. Initially he's the "voice of reason" of Maple Street but winds up in a dither like everyone else. Jack Weston is also around, pointing his finger from one suspect to the next, until it's his turn to be chased around the block. The story was remade for the new "Twilight Zone" series hosted by Forrest Whitaker and starred Andrew McCarthy.
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Twilight Zone-The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street
Scarecrow-8819 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Disturbing tale of a Mayberry type neighborhood in the 60s coming apart at the seams when the power goes out and a young boy's warning of "Monsters from Outer Space", read from sci-fi stories, instills fear in the minds of those who live on Maple Street. When one neighbor's car starts and stops (he also accused of being up late at night "looking up at the sky as if he were waiting on something"), fingers point at him as a potential alien monster, even Steve, the voice of reason having a hard time convincing the others that what has happened in the neighborhood can be explained in a more logical sense than aliens out to get them, whose wife spoke of him "working on a radio in the basement" becomes a target of accusation.

Charlie becomes the vocal accuser who gets the others, almost completely irrational and delusional by this point, utterly convinced that there are monsters among them, allowing their imaginations to run away from them, all riled up. When the murder of a neighbor, who had went to check to see if another street had the same power outages as Maple Street (the visual of a hammer the man was carrying on his person established earlier subtly is significant), thanks to Charlie's ignorance and fear that he was a monster only encourages further mob mentality before long everyone is accusing the other, inciting a riot of violence and horror as the street is scattered with frightened people packing guns and stones, any weapon they can find to "defend themselves".

Why I think this episode is so lasting is that it really doesn't take much for a group of people, who seem civilized and rational, to unravel if placed within a pressure-cooker situation, where innocent people are considered suspect. I imagine this is perhaps a veiled indictment of the McCarthy era where Americans were blacklisted as having Communist ideals, called to defend themselves "in a kangaroo court" (as described by Claude Akins who attempts, like Hollywood screenwriters among others whose careers were ruined by scandalous rhetoric by McCarthy and his Salem witch-hunting, to stave off the mob, trying to blow out the fuse that was to detonate an uncontrollable situation about to explode) or just to warn us against accusation and innuendo, not to lose ourselves when small problems, which seem to have no explanation (or could if the problems are approached by conventional means) arise.

Maybe this episode will be considered dated, but I think the message remains a strong one, that if we encounter a crisis, not to allow ourselves to get caught up in a furor or be so quick to question those around us all because we are scared or confused. All it took was power to go on and off and for a children's scary story to plant the seed in the minds of common everyday folk who normally wouldn't behave as a terrified mob willing to shout and hurl rocks at each other, not to mention, shoot a shotgun into the darkness at someone they believe is "a monster". Appropriately intense, with a cast right out of the Andy Griffith Show, who look like any neighborhood you might stop by to visit, the kind who usually shoot the breeze, mow their yards, cook barbecue ribs on the grill in the back yard, and that is why "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" is so effective. Superb cast including Claude Akins and Jack Weston as neighbors on opposite ends of the argument that there are monsters on Maple Street, one trying to keep an escalation of violence from happening, while the other only adds fuel to the fire.
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Great episode but could have used a better ending
dave-17656 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is an extremely well-written and well-produced episode with a great story. However, I think the message would have been even stronger had it had a different ending.

If instead of cutting away to the aliens at the end, there was a cutaway to a control room at some government agency where engineers were talking about how a new satellite just went awry and was disrupting communications and power in a small town somewhere. Then it would have turned out that the source of the chaos on Maple St. was simply ignorance, and not extraterrestrial in origin. This would have been much closer to reality since ignorance has always been the main source of hatred and conflict since time immemorial.
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'Let's pick out every idiosyncrasy of every man, woman, and child'.
darrenpearce1114 December 2013
The electric is off all over the street and cars with a full tank wont start. The residents of Maple Street live in 1960 so surely such rational people could not revert to the paranoia of an ancient witch hunting mentality? The supernatural may be replaced with a fear of alien invasion, but sadly people haven't changed. Steve Brand (Claude Akins) is the lone voice of sanity as Rod Serling eloquently shows us the thinness of the veil of civilization that covers madness in human societies. The 1960 trappings of the story only serve to make this a timeless piece of television allegorical for any society in any age. A crowning achievement from Serling. An unforgettable episode.
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Great premise, great idea, insufficient stimulus
claudg195018 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Everybody seems so enthusiastic about this episode. So am I, to the extent of the message it transmits, the cautionary tale, the moral it proposes. But going down to the script details, I find the neighbors' behavior insufficiently supported. After all, they start attacking each other on the flimsy basis of a power shortage, a few electrical disturbances and, above all, the sci-fi opera plot described by a teenager in the vaguest of terms. The boy is not even quoting any scientist on that; he just describes the argument for an alien-invasion movie. And the neighbors go on believing this fantasy with no question. In spite of the Norman-Rockwellian appearance of Maple Street, I wouldn't wish to live in such a non-thinking neighborhood.
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That's when good neighbors become … worst enemies!
Coventry25 September 2016
Perhaps not for the most recent films or for temporarily popular cinema hypes, but definitely for classic movies and vintage TV-shows the ratings here on IMDb are very reliable and just. Take for instance the fantastic and legendary series "The Twilight Zone"… As good as ALL episodes are terrific and they averagely rate around 7 – 8 out of 10. So, when you encounter an outlier with a rating of 9 out of 10, you can be more than confident that the episode in question is extraordinary good. "The Monsters are due on Maple Street" has a very high rating and deservedly so because, apart from having a kickass title, it's also one of the best tales thus far, with a more than intelligent screenplay and a handful of deeply disturbing but truthful observations about the human nature. The story stars one of my personal favorite – and sadly underrated – actors, Claude Akins, as a very ordinary inhabitant of the very ordinary Maple Street. During a typically sunny Saturday afternoon, whilst all the neighbors in Maple Street are doing their own thing and minding their own business, they hear a strange and unidentifiable noise above their heads. Few moments later, all electrical equipment, telephone lines, tools and car engines inexplicably stop functioning. Quite rapidly, all these normally warm and friendly people lose their rationalism and start accusing the introvert neighbors of knowing more about these mysterious circumstances. Especially when a young child hints that this could be the start of an alien invasion, they all fanatically defend their own behavior whilst randomly attacking the others. It doesn't take too long before verbal threats turn into physical aggression. "The Monters etc…" is an exemplary episode, with non-stop and gradually mounting suspense and an atmosphere that goes from calm and peaceful to grim and unsettling in less than twenty minutes. Of course the subject matter is slightly exaggerated and dramatized, but the reactions and behaviors of the protagonists are nevertheless realistic; which automatically forces you to contemplate about how cowardly our species in fact is. Are there monsters prowling around Maple Street? Yes, there definitely are… The more experienced viewer quickly sees where the whole thing is going and the actual denouement is fairly easy to guess, but that certainly isn't a blocker since the entire episode is so compelling, intense and professionally crafted.
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