Long Distance Phone Call

summer of ghosts

I’m excited. There are already spin off Operation Autumn lists out in the Universe and/or blogland. I love seeing what other people have on their lists. I’m not saying I’m going to steal them, but it’s definitely inspiring.

Continuing on our wander through the Twilight Zone, we’re moving out of order. However the episodes don’t become any less creepy for it.

There is something about the telephone that is just creepy when used in relation to the dead. If this episode is any indication, this is not a new observation-this episode originally aired in 1961 and well predates the modern obsession with EVP and electronic communication with the dead. If anything, part of what makes this episode so creepy is that the telephone is so antiquated now (plus the fact that the telephone that the titular phone call is made on isn’t even real doesn’t help).

I think what makes this episode so terrifying is the implication that sometimes the dead become so anguished that they’re going to take what they want. That a person can be so needy during life that if anything their need gets worse after death. The people who love us are supposed to want the best for us in life; the suggestion that their need to be so close to us that they would willingly drag us into the grave is terrifying and troubling.

There is also a subtle gendered message running through this piece. What is the implication of a woman being so insistent that she is the better parent, the better figure, that she would reject her own son and claim her grandson from the other side? What does it mean that the mother in the episode has to literally beg a dead woman to return her family to order? The whole thing, it’s just very unsettling. It is also an episode that is unsettling after not being seen for awhile; there is something of a creeper element that sort of sneaks up on you.

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