Dead Run (The Twilight Zone)

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"Dead Run"
The Twilight Zone episode
Dead Run.jpg
Scene from Dead Run
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 19b
Directed by Paul Tucker
Written by Greg Bear
Alan Brennert
Original air date February 21, 1986
Guest appearance(s)

Steve Railsback: Johnny Davis
Barry Corbin: Pete
John de Lancie: The Dispatcher
Brent Spiner: Draft Dodger
John D. LeMay: Gay Man
Paul Jenkins: Trucker

Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Leprechaun-Artist"
Next →
"Profile in Silver"
List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes

"Dead Run" is the second segment of the nineteenth episode from the first season (1985–86) of the television series The Twilight Zone.


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".

Closing narration[edit]


This episode is based on the short story "Dead Run" by Greg Bear, first published in Omni (April, 1985).


  • Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)

External links[edit]