Home Uncategorized A Forgotten Twilight Zone Episode Explores The Horror Of Repressed Memories

A Forgotten Twilight Zone Episode Explores The Horror Of Repressed Memories


Helen isn’t a shell of her former self or a “broken” woman, as is the case with plenty of protagonists in film and TV facing similar circumstances. Instead, she’s a competent, independent single woman who was brave enough to return to the city of her nightmares nearly two decades after she survived her mother’s attack. She sees Selden on the street and doesn’t recognize him, so her unconscious mind calls Markie to the forefront to help bring down the walls in her memory that once kept her safe.┬áNow, to stay safe, she has to look at her worst memories straight-on. The fact that Helen, a brave survivor who thought her worst days were behind her, came face to face with the man responsible for her lifelong trauma and didn’t even realize it was him makes “Nightmare as a Child” a truly unique horror story.

The episode’s best quality is undoubtedly its optimism. Serling isn’t satisfied to end with a bleak “gotcha” moment the way so many horror stories about forgotten trauma do, revealing the circumstances that led to the present day before piling on even more pointless suffering. At the episode’s end, Helen hears a girl singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” the way Markie had, but when she steps outside her apartment, it’s a completely different child. She doesn’t need Markie to guide her through the haunted corridors of her memories anymore, and she’s worked through her trauma enough to see a happy girl without feeling dread, panic, or pain. This is a scary story, but it’s also about the human capacity for healing. “You’ve got a lovely smile,” Helen tells the girl on the stairs, and it’s clear she means it. “Don’t ever lose it.”

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

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