Planet of the Apes in…The Twilight Zone

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For those who don’t know (are there any?) Planet of the Apes (1968) directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and based off the novel  “La plane gravete des singes” by Pierre Boulle, is one of the lynch-pins of popular culture and a masterpiece of science fiction. The film centers around an astronaut crew that is unfortunate enough to have crash landed on what they assume to be a desolate planet, but is actually a planet ruled by simians. In this ape society, humans are treated as lower life forms and captured or murdered on sight. Captain Taylor (Charlton Heston) finds himself captive and held for study by two sympathetic scientists, Zira and her fiancé Cornelius. Taylor is soon discovered to be…not like the others. What follows is fantastic films that feature not only capitalizes on the sensational nature of its premise, but examines the natures of humanity, society, politics and religion.

Our protagonist, Col. Taylor begins the film with a misanthropic view of humanity. After dealing with the harsh injustices wrought upon him by this ape society, Taylor seems to find a measure of peace with the dual nature of his own humanity as it relates to that of his captors. He learns that the species may change, but societies remain the same. Planet of the Apes is an allegory for the hubris of society itself. As long as there is civilization, there will be politics, greed, murder and war. The final scene in this film has become the stuff of cinema legend. I often wonder what it would have been like to be in attendance for this film in 1968. Just to feel the realization ripple through the audience as the last scene unfolded would have been priceless.

This film was followed by four sequels, two failed television series, a terrible remake and a series reboot. The series has its ups and downs, but when viewed as a whole, it presents some very exciting ideas about the culture, celebrity and the nature of time.

Some people don’t know this, but Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone was originally approached to write the adaptation of Boulle’s novel. (If you’re unfamiliar with The Twilight Zone and Serling’s work, you can see the series on Netflix and HULU as well as on my TZ article HERE). Serling turned in his draft and several non-Serling re-writes took place, making it the classic we love today. Upon reflection, one could view this film as a feature length Twilight Zone episode. All of the hallmarks are there: sci-fi setting, imprisoned hero, allegories for modern society and of course, the twist ending. Well apparently someone else felt the same way, because the people at theforbidden-zone.com have put together a Planet of the Apes Twilight Zone episode. Complete with bookends, credits and a black and white treatment. Its a fun experiment that works (for the most part). As a huge fan of both the Twilight Zone and Planet of the Apes, this re-imagined episode scratches my classic sci-fi itch like nothing I’ve seen before. I absolutely adore the original, but this little oddity is a gem.

You can watch the video HERE.

TZPotA

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Robert Walker
Robert Walker 152 posts

Rob Walker is a writer and filmmaker in Colorado, and is creator of the comedy web series Victorian Cut-out Theatre. He loves horror films and comic books (American Vampire, Jonah Hex, The Flash, Planetary). Rob has been a Sherlockian since the age of ten, is a Dark Tower junky and believes that Indiana Jones is the greatest cinematic hero ever created. You can follow him on twitter at: @timidwerewolf and see his other writings and videos at robwalkerfilms.com