Review: Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

Directed by: John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, George Miller | 101 minutes | horror, thriller, comedy, fantasy | Actors: Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, Vic Morrow, Doug McGrath, Charles Hallahan, Rainer Peets, Kai Wulff, Sue Dugan, Debby Porter, Steven Williams, Annette Claudier, Joseph Hieu, Al Leong, Stephen Bishop, Thomas Byrd, Scatman Crothers, Bill Quinn, Martin Garner, Selma Diamond, Helen Shaw, Murray Matheson, Peter Brocco, Priscilla Pointer, Scott Nemes, Tanya Fenmore, Evan Richards, Laura Mooney, Christopher Eisenmann, Richard Swingler, Alan Haufrect, Cheryl Sochler, Elsa Raven, Kathleen Quinlan , Jeremy Licht, Kevin McCarthy, Patricia Barry, William Schallert, Nancy Cartwright, Dick Miller, Cherie Currie, Bill Mumy, Jeffrey Bannister, John Lithgow, Abbe Lane, Donna Dixon, John Dennis Johnston, Larry Cedar, Charles Knapp,

‘Twilight Zone: The Movie’ is based on the television series ‘The Twilight Zone’ and contains, in addition to a prologue, four separate stories by four different directors. Two men drive a car and reminisce about old television series. The series ‘Twilight Zone’ is also discussed. Then it turns out that strange things do not only happen in the ‘Twilight Zone’ series itself. Directed by John Landis. A prologue that seems to have as its main function to revive memories of the Twilight zone series and to put the viewer in the right mood for what is to come. Nevertheless, with a slightly humorous undertone, it is nicely designed.

Bill Connor has missed a promotion and in the pub he injects his bile in front of his friends about various ethnic minorities. His words fall wrong with several attendees and when Bill leaves the pub, he himself becomes a victim of racism in a brutal way. Directed by John Landis and based somewhat on the episode ‘A Quality of Mercy’. A dark story that was successful in terms of atmosphere. Gloomy, intense and with few promising developments. The disadvantage is that you no longer deviate from the path you have taken until the end. Neat work continues by protagonist Vic Morrow who tragically died in a helicopter accident with two children during filming. This is also why this story does not turn out as originally planned and it does not turn out as intended.

A new resident named Mr. Bloom arrives at the Sunnyvale Rest Home. Bloom makes friends among the various elderly residents and manages to convince them that you are as old as you feel. Directed by Steven Spielberg and a remake of the episode ‘Kick the Can’. A nice idea with a few initially nice moments, but Spielberg sometimes wants to become sentimental in his films and this is also the case here when his story disappointingly goes down due to an excessive and overly gooey event. Not one of Spielberg’s best works and also a story that doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the story in this film.

The teacher Helen Foley runs over the boy Anthony. She takes him home and meets his relatives there. Anthony’s family members, like Anthony himself, behave rather curiously to say the least, and Helen finds out that they do so out of fear of Anthony’s special gifts. She also finds that she has reasons to be concerned for her own well-being. Directed by Joe Dante and a remake of the episode ‘It’s a Good Life’. Mainly humorous in nature with some slight horror undertones, mainly because of the looming certainty that almost nothing in Anthony’s house is what it seems. Also the necessary successful sets in which cartoon influences are clearly present. Also funny here and there because of the overacting of the various actors. The downside here is the fairly meaningless and again sugary ending of the story.

John Valentine has a predominant fear of flying. When he does go by plane, he has to do everything he can to keep his nerves under control. But when during a thunderstorm he discovers a strange and devilish creature on one of the wings that is destroying the engines of the plane, the fuses blow completely on him. Directed by George Miller and a remake of the episode ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’. Predominantly humorous, but also a successful story in terms of horror. The claustrophobic camera work, the glimpses of the demonic creature on the wing of the plane, and the knowledge that Miller is right in his futile attempts to convince the other passengers and the flight crew that a disaster is about to happen. Nice special effects too. Starring John Lithgow as the hysterical John Valentine and a fun supporting role from Christina Nigra as the smart-ass photographing little girl. The best story in this production and also of a quality that makes it regrettable that the other stories are no longer of this level.

A joint production of four directors who have earned their spurs, but that due to the varying quality of the individual stories did not produce a film as might be expected from a qualitative point of view. The film was met with mixed reactions upon release, also because it was overshadowed by the helicopter crash that had occurred. Nevertheless, it has its successful moments and can be called worthwhile for the fans of the various directors, but too high expectations should not be set.

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