CATEGORIES Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Thrillers, Mystery & Suspense, Warner Brothers, Steven Spielberg, Columns, Columns, CinematicalI'd seen enough episodes of "The Twilight Zone" as a kid to get the gist of it - bite-sized morality tales that always came with a twist and often gave me the willies. However, I hadn't caught up with 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie until just last night.
Now, I was looking for pictures to go along with my reaction when it became apparent that our own Eric D. Snider had already written about the movie at length two years back. Never content with just keeping my thoughts to myself, I've decided to instead streamline them into a nice, no-nonsense list of bullet points past the jump...
- Having Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks reminisce about their favorite "TZ" episodes is clever and all, but doesn't it remind fans just what they liked about the show and ensure that the bar for what the movie has to offer is set ye high?
- Eh, whatever. It makes for a decent bookend later.
- John Landis' segment stars the late Vic Morrow as a flagrant bigot who finds himself mysteriously transported from a present-day bar with his friends to the middle of Nazi Germany to a KKK rally, then to Vietnam. It's inevitably anti-climactic, but it's also not very scary and tips off its "how ironic!" hand from the get-go. A twenty-minute sermon is bad enough; not having his character reach his intended redemption is that much more unfortunate from a purely dramatic standpoint.
- And yes, twenty-six years later, it's still too soon for any helicopter jokes.
- Steven Spielberg's contribution features Scatman Crothers as a magic man who goes from old folks' home to old folks' home, helping residents regain their youth if they so choose. Even taken out of the "TZ" framework, it's a staggeringly sentimental offering from Spielberg, almost shrill in its performances and central lesson. Crothers is so kindly, in fact, that he's arguably the creepiest thing in it - and I say that as a fan of the man's work.
- I also got hints of Hook to come out of this one.
- Oh, man. The Joe Dante one. The design and tone of this tale about a little boy with lots of imagination and the telepathy with which to implement it is just spot-on creative and creepy.
- I mean, the girl missing the mouth is pretty damn freaky...
- ...but that f***in' bunny? So much freakier.
- AND it has a happy ending! See, Spielberg? You can't end sunshine and rainbows with dessert. You gotta earn it.
- Oh, dude. The George Miller one. Having not seen the original episode with William Shatner, I knew it well enough thanks to cultural osmosis (a phrase I used last time and will continue to employ). This time around, John Lithgow's the frightened flyer who's convinced a gremlin is on the wing of the plane, destroying the engine and endangering everyone aboard.
- This puppy starts off tense and disorienting, only to escalate from there, and Lithgow is a perfectly sweaty mess throughout. Is he right? Of course he is, and the gremlin in question is just about the third-freakiest thing in the entire film.
- (I wonder how many hits we'll get just because this article has the word "Twilight" in it...)