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April 24, 2014

All-time scariest TV characters -- #9: The gremlin

by Keith McDuffee, posted Oct 24th 2007 12:00PM
nightmare at 20,000 feet
Character: The gremlin
Show: The Twilight Zone
Episode: "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"

I don't consider myself all that afraid of flying. If a flight goes off nice and smooth, I don't think twice about it. Now, if you add in turbulence, I might get a little anxious. Remove the daylight and throw in some thunder and lightning, now I'm not liking flying very much. Flickering interior lights and strange engine noises -- I'm crapping myself. Having seen this episode of Twlight Zone, I'd probably automatically assume there's a fricken' gremlin on the plane causing us to quickly plummet to the ground.

This is surely one of the most familiar episodes of The Twilight Zone, if not only for the appearance of William Shatner as the freaked out passenger, Robert Wilson. Those of you who're mostly familiar with the Twilight Zone movie have also seen this role played by John Lithgow, who did what I think was an equally good or better job at acting completely freaked out of his mind.

What I found interesting was how similar the gremlin in the television version looked to the "normal" people in the Twilight Zone episode, "The Eye of the Beholder". I wonder if they used the same masks. In any case, the look of the gremlin wasn't the scariest thing about the character. The fact that some sort of being or person was outside in that hell storm was the scariest thing about it.

It could have been Ronald McDonald on the wing of the plane and I'd be equally scared. No, make that crapping-my-drawers scared.

Nightmare At 20000 Feet


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Duncan More

Reminds me of how Endora tormented Darren on one episode of Bewitched

November 03 2007 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Darks84

When i was kid that was the scariest thing in the world to me. I had nightmares for months. Now it's quite comical. Still, that's one of the best episodes of the twilight zone ever.

October 28 2007 at 8:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
4ham

LOL, this always reminds me how Lithgow and Shatner talked about seeing the monster on the wing in 3rd Rock from the Sun.

October 24 2007 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
EWilson

To this day I hate getting stuck sitting over the wing of the plane, thanks to this episode. My father made me watch it when I was 8!

October 24 2007 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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