Why "Its a Good Life" is so....good

The Twilight Zone episode

The cast plays it so straight. Not a bit of ham. Just sheer internalized terror and despair.

I only got yesterday that Anthony made it snow in response to his Aunts complaining about the heat. And noticed all the missing pictures around the house. (as evidenced by the outlines on the walls.)

“The next day it snowed and killed off half the crops…but it was a good day.”

I hate that episode. Hate it.

That’s good that you hate it. That’s real good, Anthony.

I think it’s a good episode because it shows a horrible situation that is completely impossible to escape. Everyone is dependent on Anthony’s whims for everything. There’s no reasoning with him, no disciplining him. He has absolute control over their fate, and is untouchable. Even if they could kill him, somehow, then what? They don’t know where they are, or if they are even anywhere. There might be absolutley nothing outside of their small existance. And if you’re one to eschew suicide, then you’re well and truly fucked. Forever.

In that respect, it’s probably the scariest of all the TZ episodes. It’s in the “I have no mouth, and I must scream” level of horror.

Great episode, there is nothing so pure and cruel as a child.

An interesting dynamic too when the woman visitor comes into the works.

What’s really amazing is that Rod Serling gives away the entire premise in his introduction. No surprises. No twists. Just 20+ minutes of pure terror.

FWIW, in the original story, the town got isolated (?) when the doctor who delivered Anthony tried to kill him, so I think he was supposed to be monstrous in appearance, not like cute little Bill Mumi.

Yes. In the story, the doctor recognized something wrong with Anthony immediately - possibly related to the fact that he was described as having crawled out of his mother.

He has “soft purple eyes” (?) and “casts a weird shadow”

He’s also three and not six. Supposedly in the story (and the episode) he’s not really evil… and sometimes wants to help, but they fear his help more than anything.

Is that episode (or the book on which it’s based) the orign of the SDMB term cornfielded?

That reminds me of one part of Methusalah’s Children by Heinein. The Families had landed on a seemingly paradisiacal world and the native inhabitants felt the need to “improve” the next human child to be born. Scared the daylights out of the Families.

I believe so.