Twilight Zone The Movie (1983) – movie review

Twilight Zone movie pic 6

Twilight Zone The Movie (1983)

Produced by Steven Spielberg and John Landismy top 10 1980s horror
segments directed by:
Steven Spielberg
John Landis
Joe Dante
George Miller

Twilight Zone The Movie took some fan favorite episodes and remade them with modern effects and in modern times (1980s). The film was quite successful in that aspect providing high budget filming in a movie anthology format. The wrap around story stars Dan Akroyd and provides a nostalgic introduction and comical ending to the film.

“Kick the Can” will sure to put a smile on your face as Scatman Crothers visits an old age home and gives the old folk one night to be young again. This is exemplary Steven Spielberg feel-good story-telling with a wonderful cast of young and old Twilight Zone movie posteractors that really sell the tale.

In “It’s a Good Life,” a young boy with special powers brings a beautiful stranger, Helen Foley, into the fold of his family. However, she is less than amused with the family’s pandering to the child. When she gets angry, Anthony tries his best to entertain her but his childhood idea of fun only frightens her beyond belief. Dante did an amazing job at creating a world where anything is possible from the imagination of a child’s mind. Cartoon monsters explode onto the screen in a frenzy of fantastic effects and vivid color. The original stars Billy Mummy and is still a treat to watch but this one takes the story one step further giving it more closure and resolve. Directed by Joe Dante.

John Lithgow is fantastic as the paranoid nervous flyer, John Valentine, in “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” This has to be some of the best acting of his career. You really feel the anxiety and pain in his character as he tries to convince the flight crew that there’s a gremlin on the wing of the plane. The music helps to ramp up the tension in this segment. The creature is a beautiful creation itself, a Twilight Zone movie - pic 11masterpiece in animatronics special effects. That was always the one thing lacking in the original TZ episode. William Shatner played the part convincingly but the creature was less than appealing to future generations. The original is a pleasure to watch but the movie version is scarier because of the realistic effects. directed by George Miller.

The first segment in the film, “Time Out,” is about a bigot who is forced to live the lives of the people he detracts. Because of the tragedy associated with this segment, the filmmakers were lucky to even get a story that feels like it has an ending. While filming the Vietnam jungle scene, an explosive caused a helicopter to crash, killing Vic Morrow and two child actors. Needless to say, this put a damper upon celebrating the release. This segment was directed by John Landis.

If there could be one thing good to come out of the tragic deaths it’s that ultimately films became safer through laws and safety regulations and the actors themselves gained theTwilight Zone series - gremlin courage to say “cut” if they saw something dangerous going down. Ironically, the last thing Morrow said before shooting the scene was, “I got to be crazy for doing this, I should have asked for a stunt double.” Director, John Landis, and some of his crew spent the next 10 years in court and though they were acquitted for manslaughter, they paid out millions in Civil suits.

The movie has the tone and feel of the Twilight Zone series and is a commendable effort to bring these great stories by Rod Serling, Richard Matheson, and George Clayton Johnson, into more modern times. If you like the series you will definitely like this film. It doesn’t feel like it’s trying to replace the old stories but are more like enhanced versions respecting what has come before.


Twilight Zone movie pic 1b
Fun Facts:

Burgess Meredith took the role of Rod Serling’s narrator (voice only). He starred in several episodes of the original series. He is tied with Jack Klugman for the most appearances in the TZ series (4).

Billy Mumy plays a small part in the segment, “It’s a Good Life,” as one of the guys who gets angry at Anthony for banging on the video game in the bar. As I had mentioned, Mumy played Anthony in the original TV series. The segment also featured parts by Kevin McCarthy and William Schallert who had likewise starred in Twilight Zone episodes.

From the 1970’s punk band, The Runaways, lead singer Cherrie Currie played Anthony’s sister in the “Good Life” segment. Ironically she had been afflicted by Anthony and no longer had a mouth.

Several Televisions in the house always had cartoons airing somewhat matching what was taking place in the story. Toons included parts of Bugs Bunny, Heckle and Jeckle, Daffy Duck, Betty Boop, Claude Cat and Hubie and Bertie/Mouse Wreckers. This is one of my favorite aspects about the “Good Life” segment.

In the wrap around, Dan Akroyd delivers an oft used quote…You want to see something really scary?

Gallery I

I just wanted to mention that somewhere on the web someone had stated these FX were CGI. I can assure you there were no CGI effects in 1983. Some films did use computers for framing and camera movements but not for visual subjects, that usage was still 8-10 years in the future. What we did have in 1983 was…Stan Winston!

Gallery II

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) – movie review

Killer Klowns from Outer Space pic 9

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

Directed by Stephen Chiodo
Written by The Chiodo Brothers

Grant Cramermy top 10 1980s horror
Suzanne Snyder
John Allen Nelson
John Vernon
Charles Chiodo

Are you scared of clowns?

This film doesn’t have great acting, it doesn’t have a great story, no great character development, and no deep plot. What it does have is goofy but decidedly creepy clowns – make up effects that seem all the more scary because they don’t look natural or real. It’s a clown super fantasy land, with colors, shapes and tones, all supporting a clown nightmare. Their guns shoot popcorn and they hang their victims in cotton candy cocoons. They are evil seven foot monsters that look like giant color-burst Killer Klowns movieposternightmares.

Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) and her boyfriend, Mike see a shooting star crash land in the woods. They go to investigate and discover the comet was actually a space craft that looks like a circus tent. They find the dead bodies of an old farmer and others and make a hasty retreat. Then they spend a lot of time trying to convince the bumbling police that something strange is going on. Meanwhile, the clowns are spreading out through town collecting more human nourishment. We have a half dozen campy killer antics as the clowns dispense a biker gang, a group of elderly folks at a bus stop and the police chief.

Debbie is kidnapped by the clowns and trapped in a giant balloon. Now Mike and Dave have to break into the saucer in order to free her. And that’s when things get really weird! At the climax of the movie we have a giant clown appear in the spaceship ready to tear the boys limb from limb.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space pic 18


A fun and funny horror fantasy flick that plays it straight but provides dark humor in vivid color!

I give it 4.0 sparkly blue stars on the big clown feet scale of campy comical nastiness.


Fun facts:

Written by the Chiodo brothers, directed by the Chiodo brothers, and special effects by Fantasy Film II effects (Gene Warren Jr.). Later the Chiodo brothers would be known for their own special effects work.

How you know it’s an 80’s film: Love the 80s style hair, poofed, feathered, and highlighted tips…and that’s just the guys…

Suzanne Snyder also starred in Weird Science, Return of the Living Dead II and Night of the Creeps.

The fear of clowns medical term in psychiatric studies is Coulrophobia.

Pogo the Clown once told two cops, “Clowns can get away with murder.” Pogo was of course John Wayne Gacy the deranged serial killer.

Who wants some Killer Klowns toys?

Killer Klowns from Outer Space pic 19

Fall – a new season at Parlor of Horror

Mount Creepmore

Fall – a new season at Parlor of Horror

Fall is a time of Monsters and things that go bump in the night. It’s a good time to read a creepy story huddled under a blanket on the couch. It’s a time to enjoy the coming holiday of Halloween and to prepare for winter. And to watch the trees bursmy top 10 1980s horrort into vivid color, then shed their leaves.

I’m feeling so much better than I had been earlier this year. Thank God for modern medicine. I feel like my old self again.

I’ll be bringing back my Top 10 Horror films of the 1980s. They will be individual film reviews with the Top 80s Horror logo displayed on the post. I’ll do another Halloween version of Now Streaming on Netflix, short reviews of the good, bad and ugly horror films on Netflix. I’m also netflix tv picgoing to try and do more horror book reviews for the year’s end, which have been lacking during the earlier part of the year. I’ll post a spectacular Creature Features post reviewing ghostly horror films of yesteryear, a perfect fit for the season.

I hope you’ll all come by and check out my suggestions for Halloween entertainment. In the pasCreature Features logot I’ve recommended movies, music, Halloween spooky games and I’ve reviewed local haunts to visit. Even if you don’t live in the area, I’m sure there are equivalent attractions in your neighborhood to visit.

And before year’s end I’ll have a special announcement about a special horror fiction project I’ve been working on.

So stop by, click the ‘like’ button to let me know you’ve been here, and share your posts and thoughts.


And now a few thoughts on life…

If your fiancé answers his/her cell phone during your wedding ceremony, do not get married. You’ll save the energy of getting a divorce in the near future.

The Apple I-pencil? Come on, are you kidding me. An Apple I-Watch? Hasn’t anyone told Apple that watches are obsolete? And with print that small you’ll need your I-glasses to read what is on the screen or you’ll be making lots of visits to your I-doctor. So you can listen to Siri through the watch, its bad enough that devices have ruined our eyes, now they are going to ruin our hearing too. I can see that an old-style, finely crafted watch can be a beautiful thing, like a piece of jewelry, but plastic and transistors? Doesn’t feel classy to me.

I went out to dinner with my wife the other night for the first time in quite a long time. On the way back to my table from a bathroom break, I noticed my fellow customers were taking pictures of their meals. Snap, click, flick, I-phones ablaze. I don’t get it! Do you need to prove to the world that your food was good? Or that you were out for the night? Just because you photo’d it, doesn’t mean you ate it. Maybe you should take a pic of your open mouth with chewed food in it. Or the aftermath the next morning. Hey, a Big Mac is going to look the same no matter who takes the pic. (you thought I was going to say a Big Mac looks the same before and after, didn’t you 😀 ) The same with Chili’s loaded fries or Applebees chicken fajita. What makes your IHOP pancakes so much more special than mine? Or from the ones I’ve been eating since 1970? It’s different if you actually cooked the meal yourself, it’s your creation, but the meals in these assembly line restaurants are going to look the same every time. They follow a company diagram, where to put the steak, where to put the shrimp, the rice, the veggie, etc. There’s nothing special about your meal people!
Don’t Tweet it; EAT IT!


From Beyond (1986) – Movie review

from beyond 1986 pic 21

From Beyond (1986)

Directed by Stuart Gordon
Produced by Brian Yuznamy top 10 1980s horror

Jeffrey Combs
Barbara Crampton
Ted Sorel
Ken Foree
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon

(***warning, explicit and graphic images and descriptions below)

Ever since Freddy Kruger uttered his first snarky line at his wincing victim, horror in the 1980’s was headed down a path to morbid humor. Few would take it as far as the Stuart Gordon directed, Brian Yuzna produced, re-imagining of the HP Lovecraft tale, From Beyond. This film is morbid black humor taken to the extremes of sadistic gore and horrific irony. While a majority of fans will pick Reanimator as their favorite Gordon/Yuzna collaboration, I like this one a little better, mostly because of the strange abstract creature that Dr. Pretorius becomes.from beyond 1986 poster

A machine invented by Dr. Pretorius and Dr. Crawford Tillinghast called The (Tillinghast) Resonator is believed to stimulate an unused gland within the human brain. The gland enables a person to see into a parallel dimension. The life forms in this parallel dimension have a penchant for human flesh and anyone who moves within the energy field of the machine is attacked.

Dr Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton), is the psychiatrist assigned to Crawford’s case. He has been in the mental institution since the death of Pretorius. When she brings Crawford to the lab to reconstruct the scene of the crime, they both discover that Pretorius is not dead, just transcended into the beyond. As Crawford and McMichaels become mesmerized under the machine’s influence, Pretorius returns to devour them both. A detective sent to guard them, played by Ken Foree, is eaten alive by the strange creatures. McMichaels acts out some repressed sexual desires, made evident by how her eyes linger on a video of Pretorius performing sadistic sex acts. Crawford’s pineal gland bursts out of the front of his forehead like an eel and demands for Crawford to find new sustenance. He attacks the head psychiatrist, sucks out her eyeball then devours her brain by sucking it out through her eye socket. Yeah, gross! But I can’t look away. I haven’t been this mesmerized by gore since a possessed woman stabbed a number two pencil into a woman’s Achilles tendon in Evil Dead! Crawford goes on to suck out more eyeballs and brains, I giant worm grows in the basement and McMichaels is turned-on by the vibrations of the resonator and goes full tilt S&M.

This gory grind-fest is not for the feint at heart, but if you like Evil Dead 2 and Dead Alive, I think you will like this film. It’s absurd violence, a bizarre journey into gory blood-lust entertainment.

from beyond 1986 pic 22

Fun Facts:

The Lovecraft story that this film is adapted from is only 7 pages long.

The house where the lab is located and the experiments take place has an odd address, 666 Benevolent St.

At the mental hospital, automatic doors use the door opening sound from the original Star Trek series.

Here’s some alternate posters and dvd/blu-ray art:

from beyond 1986 alternate artwork