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Earl has a nightmare: a plane has crashed near his home (which is near
an airport). He sees the dead passengers' ghosts. The pilot's ghost
says that there was something on the runway, so he had to take off (too
early). Earl drives to the airport to try to prevent the lift-off. When
nobody believes him, he becomes more and more desperate in his efforts
to convince the crew and the passengers of the danger, so he's arrested
eventually. What will happen to the plane?
I liked this episode very much. I think Charles Durning is really good as Earl. The story has a slow pacing. I think the pacing is right because it helps to create an eerie atmosphere. The setting also helps to create this atmosphere; the story is set at night, and there are only a few people at the airport. The basic idea - premonition of a plane crash - might have been the inspiration for the beginning of 'Final Destination' (part 1) (which I think I can recommend (if you haven't seen it yet), especially if you like this episode and the horror genre in general). The best part - in my opinion - is the ending, because it was a surprise for me; I had expected something different.
I usually follow IMDb's advice not to refer to other comments (because they are subject to change or even deletion by the author). But there's another comment (currently) up here that is very interesting in my opinion, under the heading 'An opportunity missed'. I suggest you read that comment, too, but only if you have already seen this episode (it gives away most of the ending). Its author suggests the ending should have been different, and I think the change he (or she) suggests is really interesting. But, as I've said before, I think the ending is very good as it is. (In fact, I had expected the ending to be similar to what the other reviewer suggests. The surprise (or twist) for me was that it was different from that.)
All in all, one of my favourite episodes in this series. If the above sounds interesting to you, see for yourself if you like it, too.
I respectfully disagree with the idea that Durning's character should
have caused the accident, and for a good reason. "No Time Like the
Past," an hour-long episode of "The Twilight Zone" from the 1960s,
covered that territory first.
In that classic 1963 episode, written by the great Rod Serling, Dana Andrews played a scientist who goes back in time to try and prevent some of history's great tragedies. He fails to persuade Japanese officials to evacuate Hiroshima just before the first atomic bomb is dropped. He also strikes out in attempts to assassinate Hitler and foil the sinking of the Lusitania.
Weary of the state of the world in the Cold War era, the scientist decides to travel back in time once more so that he can quietly live the rest of his life in a small Indiana town in 1881. He remembers that the town was the site of a tragic school fire in which many children were killed and injured. But in his noble attempt to prevent the tragedy, he actually winds up causing it!
As a result, I find the "Amazing Stories" episode to be quite satisfying, though chilling!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I usually remember this episode as one of the best of Amazing Stories.
The atmosphere in it was really eerie, the setup got you hooked and
glued to the screen, and Charles Durning was great.
THE BIG SPOILER STARTS HERE
But this story was gagging for a final twist and it's just a pity it didn't get one. And it was obvious what the twist had to be. Earl Sweet himself, driving the van in the middle of the runway, and not the small plane, should have been the cause of the accident, which would have happened anyway. It would would have been a sort of vicious circle of a story: Did he dream it because he caused it, or did he cause it because he dreamed it? Anyway, it would have been much more interesting then. Pity!
Charles Durning is awakened by a terrible plane crash. When he investigates, he sees the ghosts of the crash victims, including the pilot. The house is on fire and there is devastation everywhere. The pilot keeps saying, "I had to take off. It was in the way." Shortly thereafter, he awakens in his bed. He investigates and there is no sign that anything ever took place. But he is convinced that he has been given a sign and it is his job to stop the flight. Of course, all the predictable stuff happens. He terrifies the departing flyers and ultimately gets himself arrested. It has a satisfying conclusion although I'm sure it's been used numerous times before. Nevertheless, Durning is a believable character. One has to look at this from a 1986 perspective because things have changed so dramatically.
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