The Twilight Zone

Volume 8

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

Category Sci-Fi / Television Biography - Rod Serling
Production Notes - Season By Season
Production Notes - History of The Twilight Zone
Year Released 1960 - 1962
Running Time 100:19 minutes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Directors Richard L. Bare
Lamont Johnson

Warner Vision
Starring J. Pat O'Malley 
Susan Gordon 
Nancy Kulp 
Lloyd Bochner 
Richard Keil
Susan Cummings
Fritz Weaver
Joe Maross
Larry Gates

Jack Albertson

Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $34.95 Music Various
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono, 96 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono, 96 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles Dutch 
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, minor in credits

Plot Synopsis

   Going by the subtitle of Surprises From The Sky In The Twilight Zone, we progress to Volume 8 of the continuing series of DVDs from The Twilight Zone. I'll give you a tip - after twelve episodes in the space of one day, you definitely will find yourself in The Twilight Zone! Now ordinarily if one was to watch twelve consecutive episodes of just about any television series, no matter how much of a fan you may be of that series, I would venture that you would be getting just a little jaded of the whole experience. So why is it that that is not the case with these past twelve episodes of The Twilight Zone? Simply because the show was and is so different from just about anything that has been made since. It is no idle boast that if it were not for the like of The Twilight Zone, many later shows would not have had such an easy time of getting made.

    The episodes on offer on Volume 8, in the running order on the DVD, are:

    The Fugitive (Episode 90, Mar 9 1962, 25:09 minutes) - Old Ben is a fugitive from outer space with a heart of gold. He risks it all to help a crippled little girl - without fear that alien pursuers from his home planet will find him! Admittedly this is one of the weaker episodes, at least in my mind, as this really does not push the feeling of The Twilight Zone much at all. Still, anytime you get to see J. Pat O'Malley is worthwhile - for many this will be a rare opportunity to put a face to a name that is well-known in connection with Disney animated classics. It is also a great chance to see Nancy Kulp in a decidedly different role before she became really famous in another television show. Directed by Richard L. Bare.

   To Serve Man (Episode 89, Mar 2 1962, 25:01 minutes) - The Kanamits, 9 foot tall aliens, arrive on earth with one lofty goal: To Serve Man. They end war. They end famine. They make the military wonder: what's the catch? To Serve Man - never judge a book by its cover. I have always found this to be a deliciously different episode of the series, as it highlights the fact in no uncertain terms that you should never judge a book by its cover - and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! The big bloke went onto fame (and immortality almost) in a James Bond film many years later, as one of the greatest Bond villains. His name? Richard Keil. And he does not talk here, either! The spaceship effects are deliciously appalling, too. This too is directed by Richard L. Bare.

    Third From The Sun (Episode 14, Jan 8 1960, 25:10 minutes) - With all-out nuclear war about to ignite, William Sturka and a friend steal an experimental spaceship, load their families, and set out for an unknown planet. This is another of those early episodes that had a really nice little twist that set up the entire ethos of The Twilight Zone. Also with some quite hokey spaceship effects, it does get perhaps a little too preachy about space, the universe and everything being the same no matter where you wander. And it is directed by? You guessed it, Richard L. Bare.

    The Shelter (Episode 68, Sep 29 1961, 24:59 minutes) - When a UFO invasion appears imminent, several suburban friends and neighbours are reduced to selfish, conniving animals in a fight over one family's bomb shelter. Very much a product of the Cold War and American anti-communist sentiment, this is perhaps the least Twilight Zonish episode of all. This is really just a plain old direct assault of the values of Cold War America, where the fear of nuclear assault by the Communists could gain a real hold on the population through the mere suggestion of something unusual. Just for a bit of a change this episode is directed by Lamont Johnson.

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented in the native aspect ratio of television shows of the era, namely 1.33:1.

    The transfer quality on offer is once again very good when consideration is given both to the age of the series and to the medium for which it was produced. All episodes have generally the same video characteristics. The definition in all episodes is generally quite decent, and is actually a lot better than I was expecting for television episodes bordering on forty years old. It is extremely similar in quality to that of Volume 7. Detail is quite good too, but is not quite as good as the earlier Volume 6. Clarity is reasonably good throughout, although grain is a little bit more noticeable here. There is no low-level noise in the image, and the shadow detail is quite acceptable.

    These episodes are all in black and white, but are again not quite as good-looking as the earlier Volume 6. Still, the overall quality of the depth of tone to the black and white is quite reasonable, although not especially vibrant.

    There generally were not any significant MPEG artefacts in these transfers. There is again a rather consistent problem with film-to-video artefacts, most noticeably aliasing. Indeed, Episode 14 is plagued with some rather atrocious moiré artefacting between 12:30 and 16:30 that is simply too bad to ignore. Naturally there are plenty of film artefacts, but in general they are no worse than we would expect in source material of this vintage. Episode 90 does have some rather noticeable damage and is arguably the worst of the twelve episodes I have seen thus far in this respect.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The usual standard of two soundtracks are on offer on this DVD, being Dolby Digital 1.0 mono efforts in English and French. Again I stuck to the English soundtrack.

    The dialogue for all episodes was clear and easy to understand, and audio sync did not appear to be any sort of problem here at all.

    The music for the episodes is not credited, reflecting the stock nature of a lot of the music used.

    There really is not an awful lot to say about the soundtrack, as it is obviously a reflection of the limitations of the period in which it was recorded and the medium for which it was recorded. You certainly would not be digging this sort of effort out to demonstrate how great DVD can sound. Still, the soundtracks are generally free from any distortion or congestion and this is actually very decent sounding mono soundtrack. Naturally, you can forget about every speaker apart from the centre speaker here!

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The usual effort common to the releases in the series, noteworthy for the nifty selection animation in the Episodes menu.

Biography - Rod Serling

    The usual effort common to the releases in this series.

Production Notes - History Of The Twilight Zone

    The usual effort common to the releases in this series.

Production Notes - Season By Season

    The usual effort common to the releases in this series.

R4 vs R1

    The same as the Region 1 version in broad terms, the Region 4 version would be the version of choice owing to PAL formatting.


    Very much on a par with the quality of Volume 7, fans of the series can well rejoice in another DVD to add to the collection. Non-fans might find these to be a little on the atypical side of the scale as far as The Twilight Zone goes, and therefore the DVD is not a bad one to sink your teeth into.

    A decent transfer for material of this age and source.

    An acceptable audio transfer.

    A good extras package all things considered.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
23rd September 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL