Guest Post – The Twilight Zone by Alex Bell
Throughout the month of October myself and the lovely Heather over at heatherreviews.wordpress.com thought we would team up and do a read along with some spooky reads!
We have both been enjoying the Red Eye series published by Stripes Publishing this year so thought these would be ideal for a spooky read along!
Everyone is welcome to join in!
We have a hash tag on twitter where you can keep up to date on our progress and tweet out yours – #RedEyeReadAlong
We also have a Goodreads Group set up for the occasion for even more discussion and to comfort each other when we get scared – you can find the group here
As part of the read along the lovely people at Stripes and the brilliant Red Eye authors have agreed to play along with a weekly spooky guest post throughout the read along!
Today I am honoured to have the lovely Alex Bell, author of Frozen Charlotte, talking to me about The Twilight Zone!
*plays Twilight Zone music*
Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind…Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lillias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died. Alex Bell’s chilling novel is part of the Red Eye series, perfect for fans of James Dawson’s Say Her Name and Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood.
The Twilight Zone
Many of the creepiest scenes I’ve seen on TV haven’t come from horror films but from old black and white episodes of The Twilight Zone. I’ve always loved the understated spookiness of the show, and the focus on chilling ideas rather than gory splatter-fests.
One of the scenes that sticks in my mind the most is from an episode in series 1 called Mirror Image. In this episode a 25-year-old woman named Millicent Barnes is waiting in a New York bus depot on a rainy November night for the bus that will take her to her new job in Cortland. It’s 2-o-clock in the morning and the bus is late so she goes up to the ticket counter to find out when it will arrive. It’s the first time she’s asked so she’s surprised when the man behind the desk is grumpy with her for repeatedly pestering him with the same question. She thinks he must have her confused with someone else but, for the rest of the episode, other people at the depot claim to have just seen her or spoken to her too. Millicent thinks there must be some other young woman around who looks a bit like her and that people are confusing the two of them.
Eventually, she goes into the bathroom and – while looking into the mirror there – the door behind her opens and she sees her exact double sitting on the bench she’s just vacated out in the waiting room. The woman isn’t merely a lookalike, but a perfect mirror image – even down to the same haircut and outfit. By the time Millicent gets out to the waiting room, her double is gone, but she becomes convinced that the woman is an evil version of herself who’s come to take her place in the world.
Finally, the bus arrives. Millicent goes outside to get on board, only to see that her double is already there in her seat, looking out of the window at her. The moment when Millicent sees her, smiling smugly through the glass, is one of the creepiest scenes I’ve come across on television. There’s no blood or gore or outright violence, but the insidious nature of the threat, and the fact that no one believes her about it, is what makes it so terrifying.
You never find out for sure whether Millicent’s theory is right – and the double herself never speaks directly to her or interacts with her in any way, so you can’t know what she wants, or why she’s there, or what the heck is going on. But I love this episode and I think The Twilight Zone in general has definitely influenced how I view the horror genre.
Rod Serling is supposed to have got the idea for this story when he was in an airport one time and noticed a man wearing the same clothes and carrying the same suitcase as himself – and he wondered what would happen if the man turned around and was revealed to be his exact double. You don’t need any blood or guts when you have brilliant atmosphere, a strange experience, the sense that something isn’t quite right, or simply the fear that you’re losing your mind. The Twilight Zone does all of this fantastically well.
About Alex Bell
Alex Bell was born in 1986. She always wanted to be a writer but had several different back-up plans to ensure she didn’t end up in the poor house first. For some years these ranged from dolphin trainer to animal shelter vet but then, at fifteen, she had an epiphany involving John and Robert Kennedy and decided to become a lawyer instead.
To that end she eagerly started a Law degree. Whilst at university, she wrote a grand total of six complete novels (admittedly there was not much of a social life during this time). The second book got her an agent with Carolyn Whitaker of London Independent Books but, unfortunately, not a publisher. The third book, written during her first summer holidays off from university, found a home with Gollancz. The Ninth Circle came out in April 2008 with possibly the most beautiful cover ever created. Since then she has published novels and short stories for both adults and young adults.
After deciding to use her Law degree for good, instead of for evil, she also works as an advisor for the Citizens Advice Bureau. Most of her spare time consists of catering to the whims of her Siamese cat.
Find out more about Alex on her website here
Or why not follow her on twitter using @Alex_Bell86
Check out my review of Frozen Charlotte here
Or a previous creepy Q&A with Alex Bell here
Also a fab guest post about Point Horror and haunted houses here
Check out the RedEyeReadAlong Q&A with Alex here
Do join in using the has tag on twitter #RedEyeReadAlong and why not join the Goodreads Group here