Introducing the segment in the gallery, Serling cites “a word we coined just for the occasion — arachnidphobia . . . a special distaste for those crawly little beasties with the multi-legged hairy bodies. In other words, a fear of spiders.” That’s swell Rod, but we already have the suspiciously similar word arachnophobia meaning the same thing.
The ascotted Justus Walters is typing away on the world’s gayest typewriter. He reads back his words:
We like the curtains tossed back with a rose,
The sole bonne femme in the room.
So the rose was the only woman in the room? Maybe I was right about that typewriter.
His neighbor Elizabeth calls and he chews her out for disturbing his work. Not taking a hint, she then knocks on her door and he rudely shouts at her to go away. When she doesn’t, he opens the door and really has a hissy fit.
Hearing his faucet dripping, he goes to the kitchen and sees a small spider in the sink. He practically yells eek and jumps up on the counter. He washes the itsy bitsy spider down the drain. A few minutes later he sees a much larger spider. That also gets a sink flush.
The building super comes in the work on the thermostat and Walters complains about the spiders. The super says, “Any guy who makes a living writing about pishy-poshy food and interior decorating . . . ” Well the rest doesn’t even matter. For some reason, they are really stacking the dick here for no good reason story-wise that I can see.
After the super leaves, Walters hears a squeaking. Peeking in his bedroom, he sees a spider the size of a dog. Now he really needs someone and goes to Elizabeth’s door. After a couple of brandies, he asks for Elizabeth to escort him back to his apartment in case the big bad spider is still there.
He gallantly allows Elizabeth to enter first to see if the coast is clear. He then asks her to check the bedroom. The room seems to be relatively giant spider free, so Walters goes in. Elizabeth then closes the door and locks him in.
She repeats his insults back to him as he begins crying to be let out. We hear the squeaking again and know that the giant spider is is bearing down on him.
There is not a lot of story here, but I enjoyed the dialogue and the way Walters’ insults were played back to him in the end. There is also a good sense of suspense and dread with the giant spider.
It was just a bizarre choice to inject a Nightmare on Elm Street 2 level of gayness into the episode for no reason. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I give it 6 out of 8 legs.
- Twilight Zone Legacy: Patrick O’Neal (A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain).
- Directed by Gomez Addams.
- Originally assigned to Steven Spielberg to direct.
- Elizabeth played Pancho Barnes in The Right Stuff. Read the book, see the movie.
- Skipped Segment #1: Junior — Very short sketch with Wally Cox (TZ’s From Ages with Love).
- Skipped Segment #2: Marmalade Wine — A longer piece with very stark sets which might have been shocking 40 years ago.
- Skipped Segment #3: The Academy — Pat Boone scouts out a military school for his bad seed son.