The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street
Watched The Twilight Zone last night, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”
Maple Street, USA, late summer. Children play, adults talk. Then a roar, a flash, and the power goes out. Not only that, but nothing works – cars won’t start. A child suggests that this was in a comic he read – that the sound was a landing alien spacecraft of monsters and that several aliens are already living among them, disguised to look exactly like normal people.
While at first they disregard the child, the fear sets in as they continue to be without power and machines. “How long will this last? What will we do?” Suddenly, one man is able to start his car, after others failed to start theirs. The paranoia sets in quickly as people discuss how he and his family was always different, and they never came along to the neighbor’s parties. As night falls, fear and mistrust intensifies and a witch hunt ensues with accusations flying between neighbors.
This panic culminates as a figure emerges from the darkness at the end of the street, walking slowly towards them. They immediately assume its a monster come to attack them and arm themselves.
In fear and panic, a shot is fired and the figure falls. Of course, upon inspection, it was one of them all along. Now the hysteria escalates, with the man who fired the shot now being accused of being the monster. The crowd begins throwing rocks at him and his house as he tries to insist he is one of them. In desperation he accuses the kid who originally told the story from the comic book that prompted them.
The crowd turns on the child and chase him down the street. The camera pulls back as we see the chaos in the streets we see a flying saucer and two space men calmly manipulating the power grids in the city.
The narrator speaks: “The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices – to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill – and suspicion can destroy – and a thoughtless frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own – for the children – and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is – that these things cannot be confined – to the Twilight Zone.”