The Twilight Zone has always been about something just slightly askew of normal. Certainly there are arguments to be made about the reality of ghosts, aliens, or interdimensional travel, but at the heart of each episode was a human reaction, fear of the unknown, or a lesson in how to be more human and the behaviors that made us less than. In February of this year, Friday, February 13th to put a spooky emphasis on the event, Tower Hotel Gifts unveiled a new merchandise line specifically designed for fans of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This reveal also gave Tower Hotel Gifts an opportunity to upgrade its displays and cases.
While the shop still has its abandoned on Halloween in 1939 feel to it, the artifacts scattered about feel a little more alive. While none are directly references to a specific episode of The Twlight Zone, such as the Mystic Seer machine and cards in the library from “Nick of Time” or the portal drawing near the exit that is a stark reminder of “Little Girl Lost,” each possess that something that practically screams out from The Twilight Zone. They are, like their source material, just a little askew of normal, or rather the traditional nod to the Rod Serling creation.
One could be forgiven for thinking these masks remind them ever so slightly of those worn by the Harper family in “The Masks.” Or that the doll below seems poised to speak to guests in the same terrifying way that Talky Tina does in “Living Doll.”
Here alone I feel as if my attention is being split between a car reminding me of “The Whole Truth,” a mannequin that infers a connection to “The After Hours,” and an airplane figurine that could only be a reminder of the harrowing, never-ending flight depicted in “The Odyssey of Flight 33.” And don’t even get me started on the number of episodes I feel watching me when I see a stack of books or a ventriloquist’s dummy. The question presented to guests making their way through Tower Hotel Gifts isn’t whether or not they’ll feel like they are walking through a collection of memories from The Twilight Zone, but how many memories they feel competing for their attention.
Perhaps that discombobulation is precisely what the Imagineers were looking for, pitting guests against their own internal monologues (most likely narrated in the voice of Rod Serling) of what is and isn’t reality when it comes what lies beyond the fifth dimension. The fact of the matter is, just like everything in The Twilight Zone, you take away from each encounter precisely what you bring with. In the case of Tower Hotel Gifts, however, you may even be able to bring an extra souvenir or two home with you.