"Nothing in the Dark" is the 81st episode of the The Twilight Zone.
From the CBS Video Library cover:
"Wanda Dunn is an old woman all alone in the world. She has fought many battles with death and has always emerged the victor.
But one day there is a commotion outside her door. Someone has been shot. Wanda agonizes: Should she open the door? Should she get involved? After much hesitation, she overcomes her intense fear and manages to drag the body of a wounded policeman, Harold Beldon, into her home.
But then someone else pounds on her door. A brutal, iron-fisted man breaks the door down. Thinking this is Mr. Death in all his violent magnificence, she passes out. Is this finally the angel of darkness who will lead her through The Twilight Zone?"
An old woman living in a nightmare, an old woman who has fought a thousand battles with death and always won. Now she's faced with a grim decision—whether or not to open a door. And in some strange and frightening way, she knows that this seemingly ordinary door leads to the Twilight Zone.
A lonely old woman, Wanda Dunn, will not leave her seemingly abandoned, dark basement apartment because she's afraid "Mr. Death" is waiting for her outside. There is an altercation outside; Wanda peeks out fearfully. A young man at the door is lying on the ground, police officer Harold Beldon, and he has been shot. After much convincing, Wanda finally opens the door and brings him in. He talks to her about her fear, and she tells him she has seen Death before in the form of a man, and witnessed him taking away the life of a woman on a bus just by touching her. Wanda has been afraid of death ever since.
When there is a knock at the door, a man breaks into her apartment, and Wanda is knocked out. When she comes to consciousness, the man apologizes and explains he is a building contractor but that he is to demolish the building within one hour; he indicates that she has been given due notice and ample time to move, and if she will not leave he will call the police to escort her forcibly from the premises. She protests and asks Harold for help, but the contractor can't see Harold. Wanda looks in the mirror and sees only the bed where Harold is lying, but not Harold himself. She realizes that he is in fact Death, come to claim her.
After the contractor leaves, Death explains that he set up the elaborate ruse to get her to trust him, so she could understand that Death itself is nothing to be scared of. At first she is very angry, and claims it is not fair, as he had tricked her. But rather than being a monster, she eventually sees him as a gentle deliverer. He says, "Mother, give me your hand." She is finally convinced to touch him. "You see. No shock. No engulfment. No tearing asunder. What you feared would come like an explosion is like a whisper. What you thought was the end is the beginning."
Before she even realizes anything has changed, she finds herself standing beside her own dead body. Wanda and Death walk together hand in hand through the doorway, up the stairs, outside into the sunlight
There was an old woman who lived in a room and, like all of us, was frightened of the dark, but who discovered in the minute last fragment of her life that there was nothing in the dark that wasn't there when the lights were on. Object lesson for the more frightened amongst us, in or out of the Twilight Zone.
"Preview for Next Week's Story"
Next week, on The Twilight Zone, we let you in on a... an extravagant practical joke. A man who wants to convey an illusion that the world is coming to an end. Now there are jokes, and there are jokes, but this one stands all by itself as an exercise in the very different and the very bizarre. Our play is called "One More Pallbearer" and we commend it to you as something quite special.
- Rod Serling (Narrator)
- Gladys Cooper (Wanda Dunn)
- Robert Redford (Harold Beldon)
- R.G. Armstrong (Contractor)
- Cayuga Productions
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (in association with)
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)
- Main article: List of memorable quotes from the first series
Notes and References
- CBS Video Library: Twilight Zone #0315 "The Dummy/Nothing in the Dark/Shadow Play/The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine" ; UPC: 000315060003, EAN: 0000315060003, ASIN: B0007LHRYY; Format: NTSC, VHS, Collector's Edition (1987)