The Twilight Zone Episode 84: The Hunt

General Information

Director: Harold Schuster

Writer: Earl Hamner

Cast: Arthur Hunnicutt, Jeanette Nolan, Robert Faulk, Dexter Dupont, Orville Sherman, Charles Seel, and Titus Moede

Composer: Robert Drasnin

Air Date: 1/26/1962

Production Code: 4810

 

Overview

The Twilight Zone The HuntWhile hunting raccoons one evening, Hyder Simpson (Arthur Hunnicutt) jumps into a fast-moving stream to rescue his dog Rip. Upon returning home to a grieving wife (Jeanette Nolan), however, Hyder realizes that both he and Rip had drowned the night before. Thereafter, Hyder faces a difficult choice when navigating the afterlife with his best friend.

“The Hunt” is a moving tale of friendship, kindness, and relying on others to help overcome the hardships of life. Animal lovers young and old should therefore enjoy this offering, which benefits from a poignant twist in the final scene.

 

Pros

Though stereotypical in both appearance and manner, Hyder Simpson—an uneducated Southern man with a good heart—will no doubt stir the emotions of sensitiveThe Twilight Zone The Hunt viewers. In one scene, for example, Hyder sacrifices his own life while attempting to save Rip from an aggressive raccoon and, upon nearing the end of his after-death journey, refuses to enter the gates of “heaven” due to a restrictive policy regarding dog ownership—demonstrations of loyalty that establish Hyder as a loving and sympathetic character, thereby compensating for his frustrating ignorance and inability to accept reality.

 

Cons

After drowning in the river, Hyder takes an inordinate amount of time to discover the nature of his predicament—an aspect that slightly hampers the pacing of this episode.

 

Analysis

The Twilight Zone The HuntFor using the everyday circumstances of a simple, down-to-earth mountain man to illustrate the spiritual conflict between good and evil, “The Hunt” should be commended despite its lack of theological soundness.

 

Concluding Comments

A heartwarming episode, “The Hunt” will appeal to those who enjoy The Twilight Zone for its delicate, family-friendly narratives. Sci-fi/horror enthusiasts, on the other hand, may wish to avoid this entry, which forgoes the creepy and bizarre subject matter of a typical series installment.

 

Overall Quality: 7/10

 

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2 thoughts on “The Twilight Zone Episode 84: The Hunt

  1. Good episode. The old man Mr. Simpson was very faithful about his dog Rip and he had a heart of gold. I know that some of the talk may’ve been a bit backward and ignorant such as his saying things like “says you woman!” to his wife. But you see they truly loved each other.

    I do like episodes about the afterlife. Two other examples besides this one are “A stop at Willoughby” (Willoughby was the afterlife for Gart) and “Nothing in the dark” (Robert Redford taking the old frightened woman from her apartment to the hereafter at the end of the episode).

    This episode though spends more time in the afterlife than the other two. Mr. Simpson’s demise happens less than halfway through the episode, and we then see Mr. Simpson first seeing his grieving wife and neighbors, the casket his body is in, then his walking up to a fence. Up until that moment, unlike in “Willoughby” where the afterlife was a whole another realm or demension, Mr. Simpson was simply now a spirit in the same place he’d been, around his home and seeing his still living wife and neighbors. He then seems to enter the new realm when he and Rip come to the fence (as he says “I ain’t never seen this fence before”). Its not before then when Mr. Simpson realized that he and Rip died. A gatesman told him this was heaven, but the sneaky gatesman was lying, and he also refused to let in Rip. Mr. Simpson refused to go in without him, which luckily saved him from being condemned to the wrong place, as he soon finds out from the real heaven gatesman. You could just right away what a more pleasant, decent being the real heaven gatesman was. He then leads Me. Simpson and Rip to heaven’s gate, which really looked like a very pleasant, peaceful, tranquil garden looking place with birds singing, and you could feel the serenity and harmony in the air all around. It was quite similar to Willoughby in that sense. Mr. Simpson also learned then that his wife would be joining them soon. She was also old like Mr. Simpson, and a widow, and often in that case, one goes not too far behind the other.
    This is a good episode. I quite enjoyed it.

    • Another note, an irony sort of, before Mr. Simpson and Rip drown in the river and die, they were racoon hunting and trying to shoot a particular one, and Rod Sterling’s narraration said “normal an evening ends with a tired old man, a battlescared hound, and an extremely dead racoon. In this case, they show that the racoon is the only one of the three that survived when we see it climb out of the water, and Mr. Simpson and Rip are the ones that are extremely dead, a complete reverse from the usual and what Sterling said.