Amazing Stories (1985–1987)
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Mirror, Mirror 

An egotistical horror novelist dismisses the supernatural in real life, but he is forced to reconsider his disbelief when he finds himself pursued by a bizarre figure with a misshapen face.... See full summary »

Director:

Martin Scorsese

Writers:

Steven Spielberg (developer), Joshua Brand (developer) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Sam Waterston ... Jordan Manmouth
Helen Shaver ... Karen
Dick Cavett ... Dick Cavett
Tim Robbins ... Jordan's Phantom
Dana Gladstone ... Producer
Valerie Grear Valerie Grear ... Host (as Valorie Grear)
Michael C. Gwynne ... Jail Attendant
Peter Iacangelo ... Limo Driver
Jonathan Luria Jonathan Luria ... Cameraman
Harry Northup ... Security Guard (as Harry E. Northup)
Glenn Scarpelli ... Jeffrey Gelb
Jack Thibeau Jack Thibeau ... Tough Guy
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Storyline

An egotistical horror novelist dismisses the supernatural in real life, but he is forced to reconsider his disbelief when he finds himself pursued by a bizarre figure with a misshapen face. The strange thing? He can only see the man when he looks in the mirror. Each time he looks into a reflective surface, he finds the weird figure gaining on him with malicious intent, which has him terrified of what will happen if the ghastly figure should ever reach him. Written by acidxian

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Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 March 1986 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Martin Scorsese's television directorial debut. See more »

Connections

Features The Plague of the Zombies (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
one of Scorsese's most Hitchcockian entries in film-making- a quick feat of cinematic bravado
29 November 2006 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

I imagine Martin Scorsese had a lot of fun, in a very brief way, directing this short film in the guise of a little short for the TV series Amazing Stories in the 80s. Probably due mostly to his friendship with Steven Spielberg, Scorsese took up this job while in the midst of directing The Color of Money. Knowing that while watching Mirror, Mirror, I had to think that Scorsese's essential goal was to make an assignment, as sort of director-for-hire, to just make it as stylistically interesting and eye-grabbing as possible. While he doesn't completely reach the homage-like depths that his other film-making friend DePalma reaches, it's a really nifty exercise in twisted paranoia and all as a big goof on horror movies. As Sam Waterston's filmmaker/author character in the episode says, "the dead don't scare me, it's the ones that are alive", to which Scorsese decides to prove wrong every step of the way. Because, really, what ends up scaring Waterston's character the most isn't what's dead or alive, but what's in himself, or what he'd never expect to see within his own reflection.

It actually fits, in its own way, into the psychology of the protagonists in Taxi Driver (that one for the obvious reasons- 'you talking to me') and even the Aviator, by how relentless a certain form of madness can take hold on a person. No matter what Waterston and his love interest try to do, he can't escape seeing things reflected, and then the weird caped creature in the background trying to choke him to death (or something worse, as ends up). What's most striking about Mirror, Mirror- which was originally scripted by Spielberg himself- is how the Hitchcockian impulses work so well. Some bits are obvious, like when Waterston wakes up on the stairs and we see the extreme (tilted) close-up on the eyeball pull back, if not as slow as the more infamous shot. Or just simple pans and sweeps and distorted angles immediately call into mind the master of suspense, and even to a lesser extent the horror pictures of Val Lewton. It's definitely not difficult to see where Scorsese's style is also very apparent too, like in a quick montage of Waterston locking all the doors, or the one shot where he's in prison, the red tints on some shots, and how distorted some angles get like when the woman looks into the many faces of herself in a shattered mirror.

And what's also a lot of fun is seeing an actor like Waterston take on such a crazed role. For an actor mostly known for theater, the occasional dramatic Woody Allen role, and of course Law & Order, I got a big kick out of seeing him flip out and curl up into a little ball of nerves over what may or may not be there behind him, as he very quickly loses his mind. Maybe not one of his best, but I'd it's a lot more exciting than I expected. Although the episode isn't very easy to find on video- maybe it's available now on DVD or pops up on TV from time to time- it shouldn't disappoint Scorsese fans/completists who seek it out, and though I'm not too familiar with the actual Amazing Stories series, it hopefully won't let down the fans either.


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