Twilight Zone: The Movie
Rod Serling, George Clayton Johnson, Richard Matheson, Josh Rogan and Jerome Bixby
John Landis, Joe Dante, George Miller and Stephen Spielberg
Dan Aykroyd as Passenger/Ambulance Driver
Albert Brooks as Car Driver
Vic Morrow as Bill Connor
Scatman Crothers as Mr. Bloom
Kathleen Quinlan as Helen
John Lithgow as John Valentine
By Ronnie Angel
Vampires and Gremlins, Geriatrics and Nazis and Aykroyds, Oh my! All of this and more can be found in one of the most famous and beloved horror movies of all time, the movie version of the popular old TV show The Twilight Zone! I haven’t met many people who don’t like this movie and for most it is essentially a guilty pleasure in the horror movie world. Hell, even the The Simpsons did not one, but two spoofs on it!
Twilight Zone The Movie is a series of short stories with an Opening Segment which is a tie-in to what comes later on – and also one of my favorite parts in the movie. It features Albert Brooks and Dan Aykroyd as two buddies driving down a lonely road in the middle of the night and the now-famous “you wanna see something really scary?” part. Great stuff not to be missed by itself and it pops up again in the last segment.
The first proper story of Twilight Zone The Movie is also its most infamous one. I say this because it is the segment in which Vic Morrow and two children were unfortunately killed in a freak accident with a helicopter on set. It is really hard to watch the story without thinking of that. The story itself is quite good though. Morrow plays a very racist man launched into his own personal hell of racism as he learns to feel the pain of those persecuted before him. Good segment.
Kick The Can:
This is the slow one out of the bunch and not my favorite. One good thing about it is that Scatman Crothers stars. I always liked his work, especially in The Shining. The story is about the residents of a retirement home magically getting back to their youth, kind of a fountain of youth if you will, with the help of Crothers and his magic can. Not a bad story, just doesn’t really fit with the rest. Maybe that was the point. Who knows?
It’s a Good Life:
Here is where the horror takes center stage once again. This one is about a boy with special powers. He uses his mind to “make bad things happen”. When a woman gives the boy a ride home, she soon realizes something is not right as the boy has the whole “family” living in fear of what terrible things he could do to them if he is not happy about something. This segment of Twilight Zone The Movie has some interesting effects in it such as the demon and the sister with no mouth. I like this segment and it has a really creepy vibe to it with some comedy thrown in as well. I do have to admit though, I liked The Simpsons version better.
Now this is the big one, the segment we all remember to this day and probably will for years to come, the one that made the movie famous… Terror at 20,000 Feet! John Lithgow is great as a freaked out passenger on an airplane who swears he sees a gremlin on the plane’s wing tearing at the engine. Mass hysteria, chaos and insanity ensue aboard the plane as Lithgow tries his best to stop the terrorizing gremlin which only he can see. This segment has great gremlin effects and an awesome vibe of terror and insanity in a claustrophobic setting (like The Shining). This was beautifully spoofed on The Simpsons (Now that is a must see!).