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Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) Poster

Trivia

Vic Morrow's last completed film was 1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982). In an eerily prescient scene that seemed to foreshadow his tragic death in this film, Morrow's superior says to him, "If you don't get the girl by 11 o'clock tomorrow, I'll have your head!" Morrow's character replied, "We'll fly her in, in a helicopter."
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Jump to: Cameo (2)  | Director Trademark (2)  | Smithee (1)  | Spoilers (5)
As Vic Morrow was waiting to film what would turn out to be the scene that killed him, he said to a production assistant, "I must be out of my mind to be doing this. I should've asked for a stunt double. What can they do but kill me, right?!" While he was filming Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974), he insisted on having a $1 million life insurance policy before he would shoot any scenes involving the helicopter in which he was due to ride. He was very insistent, and when asked why, Morrow replied "I have always had a premonition I was going to die in a helicopter crash!"
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Steven Spielberg ended his friendship with John Landis as a result of an on-set helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Vic Morrow and child actors Renee Chen and My-ca Dinh Le. He said that the fatal accident had "made me grow up a little more," and had left everyone who worked on the movie "sick to the center of our souls." With regard to how the crash influenced people's attitudes towards safety, he said: "No movie is worth dying for. I think people are standing up much more now, than ever before, to producers and directors who ask too much. If something isn't safe, it's the right and responsibility of every actor or crew member to yell, 'Cut!'"
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William Shatner, at one point, was in consideration to reprise his lead role in the Nightmare at 20,000 Feet segment. He had to turn it down, due to prior commitments. Ultimately, John Lithgow was cast in the role. Years later, Lithgow would star in the TV series "3rd Rock From The Sun" as the alien Dick Solomon, sent to Earth to observe human behavior with three others. Their boss, The Big Giant Head, was never seen until William Shatner guest starred in the role. When he first appears, Solomon asks him how his trip was. Shatner answers, "It was a horrible flight! There was a man on the wing of the plane!" Solomon replies, "The same thing happened to me!"
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Vic Morrow's friend and former Combat! (1962) co-star Dick Peabody wrote that Morrow's last words before the shot took place were "I've got to be crazy to do this shot. I should've asked for a double."
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The scene being shot at the time of Vic Morrow's fatal accident was added to the script in an attempt to "soften" his bigoted character Bill Connor, and give him some redemption: while fleeing from American attacks on a Vietnamese village, he sees two orphaned children. Bill decides to save them no matter what the cost, so he carries them under his arms and wades through the river to safety. He then finds himself back in Nazi-occupied France again, the two children having time-jumped with him. The Nazis take the children away for execution, and take Bill to a train. Due to the helicopter accident that claimed the life of Morrow and child actors Renee Chen and My-ca Dinh Le, all scenes featuring the children were completely cut, and they do not appear in the film. Bill's originally scripted ending was kept in, leaving Bill's character change largely unaddressed.
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According to John Larroquette, he requested to watch the filming of what would become the tragic helicopter scene, but his car was stolen the night before, and he was unable to get to the set.
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On July 23, 1982, Vic Morrow, Renee Chen and My-ca Dinh Le were killed on-set when a helicopter crashed on them during the filming of a Vietnam battle sequence. Attorney James Neal defended John Landis, who, along with George Folsey, Jr., Dan Allingham, Paul Stewart and Dorcey Wingo, was charged with involuntary manslaughter. All were found not guilty.
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Known for his meticulous preparation, John Lithgow had worked out certain scenes in his airplane seat in conjunction with the manufactured lightning outside the window. However, during filming, the crew member in charge of the lightning flashes would activate it too soon or too late, throwing off Lithgow's timing. Although initially annoyed, he later came to value the experience after viewing the film, seeing that it added to his anxious, fearful character as he looked genuinely startled by the lightning.
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Segment two, "Kick the Can", featured Steven Spielberg's future mother-in-law, Priscilla Pointer, as Miss Cox. Spielberg was married to Pointer's daughter Amy Irving from 1984 to 1989.
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Following the film's incident, accidents during filming between 1982 and 1986 fell by 69.6 percent, although there were still six deaths on sets.
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Renee Chen and My-ca Dinh Le were being paid under the table, to circumvent California's child labor laws which did not permit children to work at night. John Landis admitted to this, opting not to seek a special waiver because he did not think he would get permission for such a late hour (he denied it was because he thought that he would never get approval to have young children as part of a scene with a low-hovering helicopter and a large number of explosives). The scene went horribly wrong, with the helicopter crashing on actor Vic Morrow and the two children, killing them instantly. In the investigation that followed, the assistant directors claimed that they had felt uncomfortable with the situation, but Landis saw no harm, so there would have been no point in trying to convince him to film the scene without the children (e.g. using dummies or little persons, which would look fake). The casting agents had been unaware that the children would be involved in such a dangerous scene. Associate producer George Folsey Jr. had told the children's parents not to tell any firefighters on-set that the children were part of the scene, and hid them from a fire safety officer who also worked as a welfare worker. A fire safety officer was concerned the blasts would cause a crash, and shared his concerns with a superior, who told him to "take it to the filmmakers." The safety officer did not tell Landis of his concerns, claiming that "that's not the way the chain of command works in the fire department."
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Segment one, "Time Out", is the only original segment in the film. The rest of the segments are remakes of episodes from The Twilight Zone (1959). "Time Out" is, however, loosely based on one of the classic episodes, 1961's "A Quality of Mercy", about a racist WWII army man switching sides (and races) during the war.
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John Landis survived the controversy and the legal troubles brought on by the Twilight Zone tragedy. He continued to lead a very successful career in Hollywood, directing box office hits "Trading Places", "Three Amigos" and "Coming to America." But he admits in interviews he is still haunted by the accident, and says a day has not gone by when he does not think about it.
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In the opening sequence, Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks are discussing The Twilight Zone (1959). Aykroyd mentions an episode of the series about a man who acquires a stopwatch that has the power to stop time. Brooks says that the episode he is talking about is actually from another series titled The Outer Limits (1963). Aykroyd reaffirms that it is an episode of The Twilight Zone (1959). Aykroyd is correct. The episode to which he is referring is The Twilight Zone: A Kind of a Stopwatch (1963) from The Twilight Zone (1959).
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At the trial over the fatal helicopter incident that occurred on set, the defense claimed that the explosions that were set off during filming were detonated at the wrong time. Randall Robinson, an assistant cameraman on board the helicopter, testified that production manager Dan Allingham told pilot Dorcey Wingo, "That's too much. Let's get out of here," when the explosions were detonated, but John Landis shouted over the radio: "Get lower, lower! Get over!" Robinson said that Wingo tried to leave the area, but that "we lost our control and regained it, and then I could feel something let go, and we began spinning around in circles." Steve Lydecker, also a camera operator on board, testified that Landis had earlier "shrugged off" warnings about the stunt with the comment "We may lose the helicopter." While Lydecker acknowledged that Landis may have been joking when he made the remark, he said: "I learned not to take anything the man said as a joke. It was his attitude. He didn't have time for suggestions from anybody."
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In the opening title sequence, Rod Serling can be seen reflected in the eye.
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During the prologue, the duo begin to mark their favorite The Twilight Zone (1959) episodes, soon they reach "Time Enough at Last" starring Burgess Meredith, who also supplied the voice of the narrator in this film.
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The fatal helicopter accident that killed Vic Morrow and child actors Renee Chen and My-ca Dinh Le led to civil and criminal action against the filmmakers, which lasted nearly a decade. Le's father, psychologist Dr. Daniel Le, testified that he heard director John Landis instructing the helicopter to fly lower. All four parents testified that they were never told that there would be helicopters or explosives on-set, and were reassured that there would be no danger, only noise. Dr. Le, who survived the Vietnam War and immigrated with his wife to the United States, was horrified when the explosions began on the Vietnamese village set, bringing back memories of the war.
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In the diner, when Kathleen Quinlan is asked where she is from, and where she is going, she answers with two town names that were used in old The Twilight Zone (1959) episodes: "Homewood", from The Twilight Zone: Walking Distance (1959), and "Willoughby", from The Twilight Zone: A Stop at Willoughby (1960). The cook refers to "Cliffordville", from The Twilight Zone: Of Late I Think of Cliffordville (1963).
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As a result of the fatal accident that claimed the life of three actors on set, second assistant director Andy House had his name removed from the credits and replaced with the pseudonym Alan Smithee.
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John Landis violated California's child labor laws by hiring seven-year-old Myca Dinh Le and six-year-old Renee Shin-Yi Chen without the required permits. Landis and several other staff members were also responsible for several labor violations, connected with other people involved in the accident, all of which came to light after the incident had occurred.
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Steven Spielberg briefly considered Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone: The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (1960), about neighborhood paranoia that's set off by a force of invading aliens from The Twilight Zone (1959), as a potential segment, which he cancelled, because it involved nighttime filming with children and special effects. This was mainly due to the tragedy that occurred on the "Time Out" segment. He finally chose "Kick the Can" from the original series.
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Although not referred to in the movie, the five segments are called 'Something Scary' (the prologue featuring two men in a car), 'Time Out' (a bigoted man being transported through time), 'Kick the Can' (elderly people becoming young again), 'It's A Good Life' (a teacher visits a village that is under a strange spell) and 'Nightmare at 20,000 Feet' (a man in a plane thinks he sees a creature on the plane's wing). John Landis' segments 'Something Scary' and 'Time Out' were the first to be filmed, leading to a deadly helicopter crash in the latter that killed Vic Morrow and child actors Renee Chen and My-ca Dinh Le. Producer Steven Spielberg considered canceling the entire project afterwards, but ultimately, the remaining segments were completed in this order: It's a Good Life (directed by Joe Dante), Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (directed by George Miller), and Kick the Can (directed by Spielberg himself). Strangely enough, no tribute or dedication appears to any of the deceased actors during the end credits.
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According to John Larroquette, who played one of the lead KKK members, he refused to wear a KKK hood because he wanted his face to be visible.
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Another story considered by Steven Spielberg for the film was one concerning a bully, who has the tables turned on him during Halloween night, but problems with the story ensued, and it was eventually scrapped.
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Steven Spielberg had made his directorial debut on the pilot of Rod Serling's post-Twilight Zone work, Night Gallery (1969).
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There had been plans for sequels with different filmmakers doing stories in an anthology format, but those plans were abandoned after the on-set helicopter accident and lackluster box office performance of the film.
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The name of Kathleen Quinlan's character is Helen Foley. This was not the name of a character in the original "It's a Good Life" episode, but the name of a character from The Twilight Zone: Nightmare as a Child (1960). Helen Foley was the name of one of Rod Serling's favorite teachers as a child.
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John Landis directed Eddie Murphy in Trading Places (1983), as well as Coming to America (1988) and Beverly Hills Cop III (1994). The two were close friends as a result, but Landis resented that Murphy did not support him while he was still embroiled in the Twilight Zone movie manslaughter case against him. Landis wanted Murphy to testify as a character witness on his behalf; or at least show up in trial as a show of support, but he refused. Murphy said the following about the conflict with Landis in a recent Playboy interview: "As it turned out, John always resented that I hadn't gone to his Twilight Zone trial. I never knew that; I though we were cool. But he'd been harboring it for a year. Every now and then, he would make little remarks, like, 'You didn't help me out; you don't realize how close I was to going to jail.' I never paid any mind." Murphy goes on to subtly indict Landis in the accident; or at least assign him some of the blame, in the interview: "I don't want to say who was guilty or who was innocent. But if you're directing a movie and two kids get their heads chopped off at twelve o'clock at night when there ain't supposed to be kids working, and you said, 'Action!' then you have some sort of responsibility. So my principles wouldn't let me go down there and sit in court. That's just the way I am."
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Director John Landis has never publicly accepted responsibility for the Twilight Zone helicopter accident which killed Vic Morrow and two child actors. He stated that "this is a terrible, terrible accident and it will cause pain and anguish to all of us for the rest of our lives. I can think of nothing worse than losing a child. The idea that this could be anything other than an unforeseeable accident is not only wrong, it's bewildering." At his trial for manslaughter (for which he was later acquitted), he blamed special effects coordinator Paul Stewart and stunt pilot Dorcey Wingo for not coordinating the scene properly. He denied responsibility for that, claiming that "I assume [that] if these men are experts, licensed by the government to do their jobs, they've done their jobs. [..] When you get into a taxi, you assume the driver is not going to drive you off a bridge. It's just assumptions. The guy is a licensed taxi driver." During an interview with Giulia D'Agnolo Vallan, Landis said: "When you read about the accident, they say we were blowing up huts - which we weren't - and that debris hit the tail rotor of the helicopter - which it didn't. The FBI Crime Lab, who was working for the prosecution, finally figured out that tail rotor delaminated, which is why the pilot lost control. The Special FX man who made the mistake, by setting off a fireball at the wrong time, was never charged." The special effects man in question was James Camomile; he, as well as second assistant director Andy House and several special effects crew members, were indeed never charged because the prosecution had offered them immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony. In the end, it has never become unequivocally clear what caused the malfunction, as some expert witnesses counter-argued that the explosion fires would not have been hot enough to instantly delaminate the tail rotor.
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Frank Marshall, producer of the "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" segment, plays one of the ground crew members checking the plane's wing for damage.
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According to the book, "Outrageous Conduct: Art, Ego and The Twilight Zone Case" by Stephen Farber and Marc Green, Steven Spielberg filmed his "Kick the Can" segment in just six days. He was so deeply affected by the tragic deaths of Vic Morrow, My-ca Dinh Le, and Renee Chen on John Landis' "Time Out" segment, he wanted to complete his contractual segment as quickly as possible.
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The giant, glaring eye that Helen (Kathleen Quinlan) sees when she opens a door was used as part of the opening sequence for the series The Outer Limits (1995).
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The music for segment two, "Kick the Can", was originally written as the theme for Norman Bates in Psycho II (1983).
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According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, members of the film crew that worked on the 'Twilight Zone' movie, marred by a helicopter crash that killed three and resulted in the indictment of director John Landis and others, complained that they were blacklisted afterwards. The article describes how various crew members could not find work after the Twilight Zone accident.
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Boris Sagal was a prolific television director, and helmed The Twilight Zone (1959) season three, episode two, "The Arrival." In it, an F.A.A. man comes to believe that a mysterious passenger plane that has landed unmanned at an airport is actually imaginary. To prove this, the man walks into the running propeller of the plane, which promptly disappears. In 1981, Sagal was directing the television movie World War III (1982), and after filming some aerial shots, the helicopter in which he was riding landed in the parking lot of the Timberline Hotel in Oregon. Upon exiting, Sagal turned the wrong way and walked into the tail rotor of the chopper; he died after surgery in Portland. Sagal had also previously directed the pilot episode of Combat! (1962) starring Vic Morrow, who died during this film after a helicopter crashed and decapitated him.
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In the segment "It's a Good Life", Helen Foley (Kathleen Quinlan) states that she's from Homewood, on her way to Willoughby. A town by the name of Cliffordville is also mentioned. All three towns were the subject of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone episodes. In "Walking Distance", actor Gig Young portrays a man who travels back in time to his home town of Homewood. Willoughby is the idyllic town at the center of the story, "A Stop at Willoughby", and Cliffordville is the town that actor Albert Salmi returns to in "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville". All three stories were about characters returning to their past which seemed more ideal than their present.
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Before this movie became an anthology of four stories, Warner Brothers initially explored a single story film idea, with the cooperation of Rod Serling's wife Carol Serling. One of these ideas was Miracle Mile (1988), written by Steve De Jarnatt, who went on to make that film in 1988.
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John Landis' segment "Time Out" was originally entitled "The Bigot", a story he claimed would retain political and social commentary of the best The Twilight Zone (1959) episodes.
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The segments "It's a Good Life" and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" were parodied in two Treehouse of Horror specials of The Simpsons (1989), and in both of them, Bart is the main character. Nancy Cartwright is the voice of Bart, and she had a small role in this movie.
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Spielberg originally planned to direct an update of The Twilight Zone: The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (1960). However, after the fatalities that occurred during the Time Out segment, it was decided to switch to something lighter, and with fewer special effects so as to not incur any more trouble. The result is "Kick the Can."
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Joseph Williams, who contributed the song "Anesthesia" for the film, is the son of legendary composer John Williams, who is Steven Spielberg's personal friend and collaborator for the last four decades. Also Jerry Williams, who is John's brother, was the percussionist on the score.
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In the story "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", the doll owned by the little girl passenger is a W.C Fields ventriloquist doll.
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Burgess Meredith, William Schallert, Kevin McCarthy, Bill Mumy, Murray Matheson, Peter Brocco and Patricia Barry all made guest appearances on The Twilight Zone (1959). Furthermore, Schallert would later appear on the first revival series, The Twilight Zone (1985), while Mumy later appeared on the second, The Twilight Zone (2002).
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The film originally started with Rod Serling's classic voiceover, but it was replaced with one by Burgess Meredith, who starred in four episodes of The Twilight Zone (1959): The Twilight Zone: Time Enough at Last (1959), The Twilight Zone: Mr. Dingle, the Strong (1961), The Twilight Zone: The Obsolete Man (1961) and The Twilight Zone: Printer's Devil (1963).
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After the infamous Twilight Zone Accident which killed Vic Morrow and two child actors, director John Landis and producer Steven Spielberg were arrested along with the helicopter's pilot and the pyrotechnics technician. They were all charged with manslaughter. Later they were all acquitted of these charges, although authorities did find plenty of controversial decisions, as well as a handful of laws broken: the two young children were working at 2:30 am, and safety people were purposely not informed of their presence, which was a clear breach child labor law. Their parents had been instructed to keep quiet about the late night working hours. Ironically, the prosecution had purposely not charged the defendants with illegally hiring child actors, fearing that this would give the jury an easy way of convicting them for a minor infraction rather than a much more serious cause. The families of Morrow (including daughter Jennifer Jason Leigh) and the two children both sued, but eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed fee.
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The film cast includes six Oscar nominees: Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, John Lithgow, Burgess Meredith, Kathleen Quinlan, and Kevin McCarthy.
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As of 2019, the Steven Spielberg segment "Kick the Can" is the first of four Spielberg-directed theatrical films not scored by John Williams. The other three are The Color Purple (1985), Bridge of Spies (2015) and Ready Player One (2018).
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Vincent Canby of the New York Times wrote this scathing op-ed about the Twilight Zone Movie: "The film, which opens today at the Sutton and other theaters, is composed of a prologue, written for the movie, plus four separate stories, each of them either based directly on a script from the television series or suggested by one. A lot of money and several lives might have been saved if the producers had just rereleased the original programs. "
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This is the first collaboration between composer Jerry Goldsmith and director Joe Dante, which would last for another seven films, one of the longest director and composer relationships on record. These collaborations would also include several productions by Steven Spielberg's companies Amblin Entertainment and DreamWorks Pictures.
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Exterior footage of the airplane, on which John Valentine (John Lithgow) believes that he sees someone trying to sabotage the wing, is of the Global Airways Boeing 707, from Skyjacked (1972), with added storm effects.
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Jerry Goldsmith's recording sessions for the score took place from February 28 to March 3, 1983, with each recording day devoted to each segment of the film. Steven Spielberg attended most of these sessions. However, it was Joe Dante who mainly supervised the entire session, filling in for George Miller and John Landis, who were not involved in the post-production of the film, which included the music. Dante and Goldsmith would become good friends, and begin a fruitful collaboration that would last over the next two decades (1983-2003).
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In a mid 1980s NY Times article the reporter asked Eddie Murphy what the likelihood was that Murphy would work with onetime collaborator John Landis again: "Without hesitation, he said: 'Vic Morrow has a better chance of working with Landis than I do.'"
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In the Twilight Zone Movie there is a remake of the "Its a Good Life" episode. One of the characters is named Helen Foley; a name from one of the original episodes. She says she is going to "Willoughby". This is a reference from the episode "A Stop at Willoughby"; where one of the characters dreams of an idyllic town called Willoughby; and the audience realizes by the end that the town is actually Heaven. When Hellen says she is going to Willoughby that is a hint of the supernatural things to come in the episode.
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Mention is made of Lieutenant Neidermeyer getting murdered, or "fragged", by his own troops. This was the fate given to Neidermeyer in the ending of National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), also directed by John Landis.
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This was the final feature for Eduard Franz, ending a thirty-five year film career. He passed away that same year.
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For each of the four segments, each director (Steven Spielberg, John Landis, George Miller, and Joe Dante), would use their regular production teams, with Spielberg and Landis acting as producers of the film, as an independent production financed by Warner Brothers. Richard Matheson was hired to adapt and expand the three stories from the original series.
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In the story "It's a Good Life" the old black and white cartoon being played on both upstairs TV's, especially the one being watched by Anthony's sister, Sara, is called Bimbo's Initiation from 1931 and is part of the Betty Boop cartoon series. The cartoon being played on the living room t.v. watched by Anthony and Helen is a Heckle and Jeckle cartoon called The Power of Thought from 1948. The next cartoon being played while they're all eating is a Loony Tunes cartoon called "It's Hummer Time" from 1950. The cartoon that ate Ethel is an original work done specifically for the film and was designed by Sally Cruikshank.
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Of the principal cast and crew, eight were also involved in the production of episodes of the original television series: writers Richard Matheson and George Clayton Johnson, composer Jerry Goldsmith, and cast members Murray Matheson, Kevin McCarthy, Patricia Barry, William Schallert, and Bill Mumy. In addition, Buck Houghton, who was producer of the original series for its first three seasons, has a cameo sitting in the diner in segment three, "It's a Good Life".
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The vehicles depicted in the Ku Klux Klan scene provide the dating. With the exception of a Chevrolet, most of them are part of the first generation of the Ford F-Series. This "generation" was in production from 1948 to 1952.
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In the segment "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", a pilot announcement is heard saying that the plane is traveling at 35,000 feet.
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When the time-travelling character Bill Connor (Vic Morrow) finds himself targeted by the Ku Klux Klan, his first question is "Where am I?" Nobody replies to him. A short while later, the license plate of a car provides an answer: Alabama.
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John Landis was embroiled in legal conflict for years after the accident. He withdrew from the 1990 feature film 'Dick Tracy' to help prepare his defense.
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Helen Shaw (Mrs. Dempsey) and Burgess Meredith (the Narrator) died only one day apart: Shaw on September 8, 1997 and Meredith on September 9, 1997.
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Academy Award-nominated composer James Newton Howard co-produced the songs "Anesthesia" and "Nights Are Forever" and was also the synthesizer programmer on this film.
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This was Murray Matheson's final film before his death on April 25, 1985 at the age of 72.
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Dan Aykroyd (The Passenger / Ambulance Driver) previously played Rod Serling in a sketch parodying The Twilight Zone (1959) in Saturday Night Live: Ricky Nelson/Judy Collins (1979).
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The last film produced by Steven Spielberg for Amblin Productions/Amblin Entertainment until 1997 not to carry both the name and logo.
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The spotting sessions for Jerry Goldsmith's landmark score, began on December 22, 1982, and did not finish until January of 1983, as each segment was completed. Usually, each music track has a slate number listed, but in this case, it was the initials of each director (Landis, Spielberg, Dante, and Miller) for the music in his segment.
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John Landis' segment is the only segment that is written and directed by the same person. Steven Spielberg, George Miller, and Joe Dante's segments were written by other writers.
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The Boston Globe said: "The original TV series was sometimes frightening, sometimes enlightening, and sometimes a bit too allegorical, but it was almost always entertaining. Serling gave us more in 25 minutes than Spielberg & Co. give us in nearly two hours".
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Steven Spielberg's segment featured Scatman Crothers, who appeared in The Shining (1980). Spielberg visited the set of that film, where he first met and befriended director Stanley Kubrick. He cast another cast member, Philip Stone, in his next film, Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom (1984).
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John Larroquette and Selma Diamond starred in Night Court (1984).
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At one point, the following television shows are referenced: Sea Hunt (1958), Perry Mason (1957), Bonanza (1959), The Real McCoys - The Lost Episode (1957), The Beverly Hillbillies (1962), Car 54, Where Are You? (1961), National Geographic Specials (1965), Gilligan's Island (1964), and Hawaii Five-O (1968).
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In the third segment, Helen Foley says she is headed to Willoughby. This is a reference to The Twilight Zone: A Stop at Willoughby (1960).
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William Connor served in the Korean War.
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Technically, this is the second collaboration between Steven Spielberg and Jerry Goldsmith. Spielberg had a big hand in Poltergeist (1982) as executive producer, and oversaw the post-production on that film and this film. This film would be the only time that Goldsmith would work with 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 death in 2004. Goldsmith and Spielberg would not work together again, except in a producing capacity, as John Williams is his personal composer.
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In the original theatrical trailer, John Landis's segments ("Prologue" and "Time Out") are not shown, obviously due to the on-set accident that claimed the lives of actor Vic Morrow and two child extras.
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The Vietnam sequence in John Landis' segment, was filmed at Indian Dunes National Park in California. This was the same location, in which the opening scene (also set in Vietnam) for The Exterminator (1980) was filmed.
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In the Twilight Zone Movie there is a remake of the "Its a Good Life" episode. One of the characters is named Helen Foley; a name from one of the original episodes. In the "Night mare as a Child" episode from the original series there is a character named Helen Foley who is a schoolteacher who is confronted by a supernatural girl named Markie. The girl with supernatural powers turns out to be a child version of Helen herself. Likewise, in the Twilight Zone movie there is a Helen Foley character who is a school teacher who is confronted by a boy with supernatural powers, Anthony Freemont. By naming the character "Helen Foley" in the movie they are implying that Helen might be confronting (another version of) herself again; when she confronts Anthony. Also in The Twilight Zone movie Helen says she is going to "Willoughby". This is a reference from the episode from the original series "A Stop at Willoughby"; where one of the characters dreams of an idyllic town called Willoughby; and the audience realizes by the end that the town is actually Heaven. When Helen says she is going to Willoughby that is a hint of the supernatural things to come in the episode from the movie remake. One of the characters in the segment is named "Uncle Walt"; played by Twilight Zone veteran Kevin Mccarthy. Since they are all forever referencing a "Cartoonland" in this episode; Uncle Walt can be assumed to be a reference to Walt Disney.
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The prologue had been an idea for a short film John Landis wanted to make called "Really Scary."
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In the second segment "Kick The Can" the husband/wife characters Mr. & Mrs. Weinstein are played by Martin Garner and Selma Diamond. On the show "Night Court" (1984) their characters (Bernie & Selma) were casually dating during the second season.
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Richard Corliss from Time said: '"Wanna see something really scary?" asks Guest Star Dan Aykroyd at film's end. The Miller and Dante episodes are. So is the epic waste that informs much of this movie.'
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In the TV show William Shatner's passenger in the Nightmare at 20,000 Feet episode is named Robert Wilson. In the movie John Lithgow's passenger in the same episode is named John Valentine. This is a reference to Ray Valentine of the Nice Place to Visit episode; a character who only at the end of the episode realizes he is in Hell. This is a reference to the fact that John Valentine might also be in Hell.
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In the second segment, "Kick the Can", when Mr. Bloom (Scatman Crothers) approaches Driftwood rest home, a church can be seen behind him. This is the same church used for the exterior shot in Big Momma's House (2000).
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Ironically this is the movie where Bart Simpson (AKA Nancy Cartwright) gets eaten up and destroyed by a cartoon!
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The rest home was filmed only 300 feet (475 meters) from a scene in Monk: Mr. Monk Bumps His Head (2006).
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Cameo 

Carol Serling: As the woman who asks "Is there something wrong?" when the flight attendants knock on the airplane restroom door, holding a copy of Twilight Zone Magazine in her arms. She was the wife of The Twilight Zone (1959) creator Rod Serling.
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Bill Mumy: the child in the famous episode The Twilight Zone: It's a Good Life (1961) of the original The Twilight Zone (1959) plays the adult at the bar who gets angry at Anthony.
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Director Trademark 

John Landis: [See You Next Wednesday] Spoken in German when Bill (Vic Morrow) is being shot at on the building.
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Joe Dante: [Classic Warner Brothers cartoon sound effects.]
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Smithee 

Andy House: The second assistant director. Second assistant directors work primarily on action scenes, or getting exterior filler shots, and the tragedy on segment one, "Time Out", had everything to do with this "Smithee" credit.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The original conception of the film's ending was that, after the segments had been completed, each character would intersect with one another. This idea was mainly scrapped, but it briefly appears as an epilogue, as Dan Aykroyd's character, from the prologue, appears at the end of the "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" segment, and comforts John Lithgow's character from the segment by playing "The Midnight Special" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, which was also used in the prologue of the film.
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Just prior to filming, Dan Aykroyd, who plays The Passenger in the film's prologue, married Donna Dixon, who is featured in the fourth segment "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", which ends with Aykroyd's appearance as an ambulance driver, who comforts John Lithgow's character.
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The prologue features Dan Ayckroyd and Albert Brooks as a hitchhiker and driver discussing The Twilight Zone at night. Directed by John Landis, it is a two hander used to introduce the audience to The Twilight Zone, followed by a shock scare at the end. Originally, characters from multiple segments were supposed to come crashing together on the highway (or some other event which brings them all together). But they scrapped this idea in favor of Ayckroyd simply turning out to be Lithgow's ambulance driver.
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At a promotional event for his autobiography, John Lithgow was asked by a fan about the fate of his character in the last segment. He replied that, in response to the driver's question of "You want to see something really scary?", he would simply have said "No" and Akroyd's ambulance driver would have just shrugged and driven him to the hospital.
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In segment three, "It's a Good Life", Anthony's powers have the sound effects of the Tempest (1983) arcade game.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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