Rod Serling's seminal anthology series focused on ordinary folks who suddenly found themselves in extraordinary, usually supernatural, situations. The stories would typically end with an ironic twist that would see the guilty punished.
Four directors collaborated to remake four episodes of the popular television series 'The Twilight Zone' for this movie. The episodes are updated slightly and in color (the television show was in black-and-white), but very true to the originals, where eerie and disturbing situations gradually spin out of control. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
You're travelling through another dimension. A dimension, not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!
Technically, this is the second collaboration between director Steven Spielberg and composer Jerry Goldsmith. Spielberg "allegedly" had a big hand in Poltergeist (1982) and oversaw the post-production on that film and this film. This film would be the only time that Goldsmith would work with director John Landis, who had worked with the late Elmer Bernstein during that time period and was his composer of choice. He would later work with George Miller on Babe (1995), and his score was ultimately replaced by Australian composer Nigel Westlake when the film's tone changed from its original dark overtones to family fare. Goldsmith and Joe Dante would work together frequently over seven films spanning two decades before Goldsmith's untimely death in 2004. Goldsmith and Spielberg would not work together again except in a producing capacity, as John Williams is his personal composer. See more »
An exterior shot of the airplane in Segment #4 shows the landing gear to be in the down position. The pilot later comments that the plane would be landing in twenty minutes, far too long for gear to be down prior to touchdown. See more »
Remember this one, Mrs. Dempsey? Not last night but the night before, 24 robbers came knocking at my door, as I ran out, they ran in and this is what they said to me.
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An affectionate homage to the old TV series. Three old episodes were updated and a new one was written. It's also narrated by Burgess Meredith who starred in quite a few of the original TV series episodes.
It starts off with a quick little prologue with Albert Brooks and Dan Aykroyd. It's quick, funny and provides a nice little jolt.
The first segment was newly written for the movie. It involves a bitter and racist man (Vic Morrow) getting a taste of his own medicine. This episode is clouded by the three deaths it caused--Morrow was decapitated by a helicopter blade and two Vitenamese children were crushed. John Landis (who directed this) was found not guilty in the deaths. As it stands this isn't very good. It's simplistic and heavy-handed--like a bad Zone episode.
The second one is directed by Steven Spielberg. It involves an old man (Scatman Crothers) gently bringing to life the old people at a retirement home. I'll be the first to admit that this is way too syrupy--but I have a fondness for it. The acting is good, it has a great music score and, I admit, it leaves me a little misty-eyed.
The third is directed by Joe Dante. It's a remake about a little boy who can make all of his wishes come true. It's well-directed with some truly incredible special effects and a good performance by Kathleen Quinlan. But it's seriously damaged by a silly happy ending (the original didn't have that). Billy Mumy (the star of the original) has a bit part and Dante regular Dick Miller shows up as Walter Paisley.
The fourth is the best. It's directed by George Miller and is a remake of the William Shatner episode where he spots a gremlin tearing apart the plane he's flying on. The gremlin in the original looked pretty ridiculous--like a teddy bear. Here John Lithgow plays the passenger and the gremlin is more than a little scary-looking. This segment moves and has a few great jolts. Also Carol Serling (Rod Serling's wife I believe) has a bit part.
All in all an enjoyable film. I liked it when I saw it in a theatre in 1983 and it still holds up today. I give it an 8.
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