Brand New - Interview With Twilight Zone Expert Tom Elliot
By James Whittington, Tuesday 19th July 2011

The Twilight ZoneTom Elliot started his horror career as the co-host of The Gentlemen's Grindhouse podcast, as well as being the horror reviewer at He's currently writing for Scream: The Horror Magazine where he's interviewed some of horror's greats, including Doug Bradley, Kane Hodder and Joe Pilato. When he's not up to his neck in blood and guts he hosts the official Twilight Zone forum at Cult-Labs, and writes the official Twilight Zone Blog. If that wasn't enough Twilight Zone for you, Tom is also the host of The Twilight Zone Podcast. Seeing as though the Horror Channel is showing The New Twilight Zone we decided to chat to Tom about his love of the series.

HC: Are you a big science fiction fan?

TE: I would class myself as a science fiction fan, but not necessarily a big one. I'm more of a horror fan than anything, but The Twilight Zone seems to stand alone for me in that particular genre, possibly because it has a foot in quite a few genres; it ticks a lot of boxes.

HC: Can you recall the first episode of The Twilight Zone that you saw?

TE: That’s tricky. I think it’s possibly an episode called Five Characters In Search Of An Exit. It’s about an Army Major who wakes up in a strange room. It’s circular; the walls are completely smooth, and too high to climb. He’s joined by a ballet dancer, a clown, a hobo and a bagpiper. They spend the episode wondering why they’re there and trying to escape. I won’t spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but as a child I certainly didn’t see it coming!

HC: What is it about the series that made you such a fan?

TE: As a child I was attracted by these stories that just blew my mind on a regular basis. It wasn’t just the twist endings, but the interesting characters that I’d never seen anywhere else before. An adult who has never seen the series these days might be able to see some of them coming, but it doesn’t matter, because there’s a level of intelligence and social commentary there that children wouldn’t really pick up on. Plus the themes in The Twilight Zone would often be touching on the struggles we face as adults; wondering what our place is in the world; fear of death such universal human concerns that the older you get, the more they speak to you.

HC: Rod Serling was way ahead of his time with some stunning stories, do you have a favourite?

TE: There’s an episode called A Stop At Willoughby, where a stressed out advertising executive who longs for a simple life falls asleep on the train each night on the way home from work, when he wakes up the train has stopped at this idyllic little town called Willoughby. He never quite gets up to get off the train in time, but he gets obsessed about this lovely little place, because it seems to offer everything he wants in life as opposed to the life he’s living. Again, I won’t spoil it, but it’s a wonderful episode. Rod Serling wrote several pieces that are quite similar in theme, where someone would find themselves wondering what their place in the world was, and they’re some of the strongest, because Serling was someone who longed for a simple life himself.

HC: It obviously led to similar shows, are you a fan of these too?

TE: I do own The Outer Limits; I’ve watched a couple of them and enjoyed them. I like the anthology format, but it seems to be almost a lost art these days. I used to really enjoy Tales From The Crypt too.

HC: The New Twilight Zone series from the mid eighties is airing now on Horror Channel, do you agree that it captures the essence of the original?

TE: From the episodes I’ve seen, while there’s an obvious difference in the look of it, and despite Rod Serling not being a presence, I think it does have a hint of the original about it for sure, but more importantly it’s successful at being its own thing.

HC: There’s some notable names here including Wes Craven, Tommy Lee Wallace and Paul Lynch, what do you think drew them to the series?

TE: I agree, some great names were attached to it. I spoke to Marc Zicree once who was the author of The Twilight Zone Companion, and then went on to be a screen-writer himself. One comment he made always stuck out for me. He was talking about writers of his generation, and directors like Guillermo Del-Toro, who is also a big fan of Serling’s work. The comment Marc made was “We’re all Rod Serling’s children”, and I think if you talk to any writer of a certain age they’ll agree with that. I think they’re drawn to it because it’s such a good example of strong, imaginative consistent writing that it’s something to aspire to. He also said that he knows writers who go back to The Twilight Zone to re-charge their creative batteries.

HC: Do you have a favourite episode from this run?

TE: I can’t really say just yet, in all honestly I haven’t seen enough episodes to make a judgement! In the past I’ve been dubious about going near anything Twilight Zone that Serling wasn’t attached to, but seeing as the Horror Channel was showing them, I thought it would be a good opportunity to check them out. I’m glad I did, because I’m really enjoying it so far, and I’d recommend anyone who thought like me in the past to give it a shot because it’s worth it.

HC: What’s your honest opinion of the movie version from 1983?

TE: Personally I think it strayed too far from the tone of the original series; it was a bit over the top for my tastes, and I didn’t see the point of it being mainly remakes of existing Twilight Zone stories. Although, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, and I do remember enjoying the Nightmare At 50,000 Feet segment starring John Lithgow. I host a Twilight Zone podcast and I do plan on reviewing it on the podcast at some point.

HC: If the show was to return who would like to see writing the stories and which directors would you choose?

TE: I think JJ Abrams would be a good person to oversee a series like this. I think he’s a smart guy and he’s gone on record in the past saying how much he admires the series. It’s not an easy prospect, everyone has their own idea of how the show should be, but he managed to silence a lot of critics with Star Trek, and I think he’d do a great job with The Twilight Zone. So I’d have JJ Abrams running the show and being head writer, and I’d probably throw the doors open for the directors chair to the best we have working today. People like Steven Soderbergh, Darren Aronofsky, Guillermo Del-Toro, directors who have a slightly different view of the world that would be perfect for The Twilight Zone.

Believe it or not though, there is a possibility of a new Twilight Zone like series adapted from stories by Rod Serling. Marc Zicree told me that they have discovered two hundred tapes of Rod Serling dictating stories that were never produced, so not only would it be adapted from his dictation, but they’d use the actual dictation to open and close each episode. The title is Rod Serling’s After Twilight. There’s no guarantee it’ll happen, but it’s an intriguing prospect.

HC: Tom Elliot, thank you very much.

TE: My pleasure, and thank you for running The New Twilight Zone, I look forward to it every day!

You can catch The New Twilight Zone weekdays at 1pm and 6pm.

Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Mickey Fisher 1

Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.

The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer?

MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...

Interview with Gary J. Tunnicliffe, writer and director of Hellraiser: Judgement
Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021
Gary J. Tunnicliffe doing SFX make-up on the set of Hellraiser Judgement

Director and long-time Hellraiser franchise SFX artist Gary John Tunnicliffe has a new entry into the Hellraiser series for us all to enjoy, Hellraiser: Judgement. Here he chats about this gritty horror.

HC: Was there one person or film which inspired you to want to be in the effects industry?

GJT: I can't remember one film that directly inspired me to be in the effects industry, it would definitely have been around 1982 (when I was 14) when The Thing AND American Werewolf in London came out (as well as a mass of FX laden movies) but more than anything it was when s...

Interview with Chee Keong Cheung, director of Redcon-1
Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2021
Director Chee Keong Cheung

Fast-paced British zombie thriller, Redcon-1 will be having its UK TV premiere on Horror on Saturday 20th February so we decided to chat with its writer and director Chee Keong Cheung about this acclaimed movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Redcon-1 come from and are you a fan of zombie movies?

CKC: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre and in particular, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later', Zak Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' and of course George Romero's original works which helped to pave the way for the genre and was a real inspiration for me growing up. I remember watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Black Hawk Down' on TV and had always been drawn to the men on a m...

Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020

On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.

HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?

SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...

Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Concrete Plans poster

Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.

Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!

HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?

SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...

Interview with Shayne Ward, star of The Ascent
Posted on Thursday 22nd October 2020

A special ops team on a mission in a war-torn country find themselves trapped on a never-ending staircase that they must climb - or they die! This is the premise for Tom Paton's superb, action-packed horror The Ascent which is having its UK TV premiere at 9pm on October 23rd. Here its star, Shayne Ward tells all about his career to date and how he became involved in this sci-fi shocker.

HC: How much did the X-Factor change your life?

SW: Oh, like anyone can say who has been on it, who has done well on the show, it does change your life because it catapults you into the limelight, into the public eye. One day you are relatively unknown...

Interview with Ryan Kruger, writer and director of Fried Barry
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Fried Barry

Anyone who as been to Grimmfest will know that the team behind the event try their very best to bring to their audience films that challenge and push as many envelopes as possible. Fried Barry from director Ryan Kruger is such a movie. Packed with mind-bending imagery and and emotional punch, this polarizing movie has to be seen just for its creativity and strong storytelling. Here, Ryan chats about this incredible movie.

HC: Where did Fried Barry come from?

RK: Fried Barry was born out of total frustration where I was in my career. I am known in South Africa as a music video director for doing narrative story telling within music vids and sharp visuals. Although I al...

Interview with Deiondre Teagle, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
thumbnail_Brandon Blood

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with new talent and one actor that stands out is Deiondre Teagle who styars in Charlie Steeds' grindhouse homage, Death Ranch. Here Deiondre explains his role and what it was like being part of such a bold movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actor?

DT: I've definitely known my whole life I've wanted to be an actor. One of my favourite movies of all time is the original Men In Black. When I was little (about 3 or 4 years old), I would re-watch my VHS copy of that movie over and over and over again. I would re-enact every scene. Since then, my love for acting and film has just grown. I have such a love for the...

Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.

HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?

FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.

HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and e...

Interview with Charlie Steeds, writer and director of Death Ranch
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020

Horror movies and controversy always go hand in hand but when they tackle serious issues by using extreme violence to hammer home a point they can be very worthy. Death Ranch from Charlie Steeds is having its world premiere at Grimmfest so we chatted to him about this very strong movie.

HC: What inspired you to write Death Ranch?

CS: I'd always wanted to try making a movie with a 70s Grindhouse/Exploitation style and was watching old Grindhouse trailers for inspiration. I came across the movie Brotherhood of Death, where black characters fight back against the KKK for some of the film (the tagline is 'Watch these brothers stick it to the Klan!') and that conce...

Interview with Nicholas Santos, writer and director of It Cuts Deep
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
It Cuts Deep Image 2

At Grimmfest we're used to comedy horror but none as well written as It Cuts Deep from writer/director Nicholas Santos. Here he chats about this true dissection of a romance going terribly wrong.

HC: Have you always been a big horror fan?

NS: I've been a big horror fan since I was a little kid. Some of my favourite childhood memories are seeing Event Horizon with my dad when I was in second grade, being absolutely terrified by Chucky from Child's Play at every waking moment and watching Psycho for the first time on VHS when I was 7 years old.

HC: Where did the idea for It Cuts Deep come from and did it take long to write?

NS: It Cuts Deep is a hor...

Interview with Robert Woods, director of An Ideal Host
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
Robert Woods

Ever had the dinner party from Hell with people you don't really relate to and seem alien? Well this is the premise of the the hilarious horror comedy An Ideal Host from director Robert Woods. Here he tells Horror about this cracking movie.

HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it and what made you decide that this would be your first project as a director?

RW: Tyler and I had been writing theatre together for a decade, but movies are our first love and we wanted to give it a crack as well. Tyler came up with the initial idea but we worked on the story together and it evolved a great deal from the initial pitch. As it was my first time directing, I think we were j...

Interviews Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
Tales From The Darkside
Sunday 23rd May
8.30 PM
It Follows
Saturday 22nd May
9.00 PM
Friday 28th May
8.00 PM