Dead Run (The Twilight Zone)
|The Twilight Zone episode|
Scene from Dead Run
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Paul Tucker|
|Written by||Greg Bear
|Original air date||February 21, 1986|
Johnny Davis is a truck driver, unemployed due to his many accidents. Johnny asks Pete - a friend of his father - for help finding a job. Pete is reluctant, and warns Johnny that the jobs he takes require unusual resilience and fortitude. Johnny insists he understands, and Pete agrees to take him on his next run. Johnny quickly discovers that "the run" involves delivering souls to Hell via semi-trailer truck. Johnny learns that the souls of the newly-dead have been causing disturbances in Hell, and it is making the truckers nervous.
Dropping off their cargo in Hell, Pete and Johnny witness anarchy. Souls are running around loose. Some of the dead plead with Johnny to rescue them. Other souls attack the drivers. One of the souls comes to Johnny's aid and tells him that people are being sent to Hell who do not deserve it. The soul explains that a new bureaucracy has taken over the job of deciding who goes to Hell or Heaven. Pete and one of the guards in Hell find Johnny, and the guard informs Johnny he must speak with management. Johnny discusses what he heard with a manager, and the manager explains how the process works. Johnny thinks the standards used to determine who is sent to Hell are excessively conservative and biased, and people are being damned for minor offenses. The executive reasons that they're simply using "time-honored Biblical standards".
Johnny decides to interview the dead that ride with him, and then he will decide which of the dead should go to Hell and which he should release (in hopes that they can find a way to Heaven). When one of the souls asks why he is doing this, Johnny replies that he remembered a story from the Bible: between the Crucifixion and Resurrection, Jesus went down to Hell to give the souls there another chance. Johnny reasons that he is just using his own "time-honored Biblical standard".
|“||Centuries ago, Hell was reached by chalk-white horses pulling shuttered coaches; by Spanish galleons borne on black sails through uncharted seas. Legend has it Leonardo da Vinci was once commissioned to build a flying machine to carry souls to Hell, but it never returned from its maiden flight. But along this particular road to Hell lies redemption for the damned as well as for drivers who have found work... in The Twilight Zone.||”|
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)