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Twilight Zone Collector's Edition (I Sing the Body Electric, The New Exhibit, and The Chaser)

1 rating: 3.0
A Twilight Zone Collector's Edition tape

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Genre: Horror
1 review about Twilight Zone Collector's Edition (I Sing...

"The New Exhibit" gives new meaning to taking your work home with you. The other two episodes are ordinary

  • Jul 25, 2010
Rating:
+3
"I Sing the Body Electric" is the only Twilight Zone episode based on a story by Ray Bradbury. This is unfortunate, for Bradbury is one of the ideal authors for Twilight Zone stories. David White plays a widower with three children, the oldest of which (Anne) is having severe adjustment problems. When their nanny/housekeeper announces that she is quitting, the widower decides to purchase a robot to take care of the children. The four of them go to the robot shop and they get to select the features that the robot will have. They choose the set of ears, hair and other characteristics from racks and throw them into a chute for processing.
Quite appropriately, the robot turns out to be a very kindly, patient and understanding "person", yet Anne refuses to warm to her. Circumstances come to a point of great tension, with Anne emotionally rejecting the robot. However, that tension is resolved in a dramatic way and Anne and the robot are now bonded.
I am a big fan of Ray Bradbury, he is able to inject great tension into his stories. However, in this case that tension is not translated to the television screen, the conclusion of the climactic scene was predictable, when it started I stated precisely what was going to happen.
"The New Exhibit" is one that spooked me out. Martin Balsam plays Martin Senescu, a man that has served as the curator of a special murderer's row section of a wax museum for decades. He delights in taking tour groups through that section and describing the gory nature of their murders. He is deeply saddened when the owner of the museum informs him that financial reasons are forcing him to close the museum. Terrified of the fate of his "friends" Martin agrees to accept them into his home. They are installed in his basement and he is forced to purchase an air conditioner so that they do not melt.
Martin is clearly obsessively in love with his waxed figures, so much so that he can forgive them of any transgression. Sinking deeper and deeper into a disturbing co-dependency relationship with the figures, Martin loses all rational perspective; he even begins sleeping in his basement so that he can be closer to them. At the end, Martin finds that he has far more in common with his wax figure friends than he does with humans.
Balsam does a job worthy of an Emmy in playing the obsessive Martin Senescu, his descent into madness is a slow one, with each step being a little more disturbing than the last. It is a delightful twist on the old adage of taking your work home with you.
"The Chaser" is an adaptation of the old story of a love potion. Going all the way back to the ancient Greeks with their mythological Cupid and his arrows, it can be considered a staple of the storytelling genre. In this case, Roger Shackleforth is smitten with love, but the object of his affection Leila is not. At best she simply tolerates his obnoxiously persistent advances, so Roger seeks advice from Professor A. Daemon. The professor sells him a guaranteed love potion for $1.00 a bottle and Roger pours it into Leila's champagne. It takes a few minutes but from that point Leila is a totally devoted woman, wanting his attention every second and willing to do every task for him.
After six months of this, Roger is back consulting with the professor in an attempt to reverse the affects of the powerful liquid. This time the antidote is $1000/bottle but Roger is so desperate that he purchases it. He is told that once he tries to use it he must do so for if he does not he will have lost his only chance to reverse the love potion. When he returns home that night, he schemes to have Leila drink it but his plans are thwarted.
Fairly predictable in the sequence of events, this is a story of overwhelming love that is largely under whelming. It is buoyed up and made entertaining by the demeanor and atmosphere of the professor he consults. The entrance to his library and the tall and narrow stacks make for a context that keeps your interest.

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