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

Night Gallery – S2 E3 – My Favorite Horror TV Episodes – Halloween Edition

night gallery pics 015Night Gallery 2-3 Aunt Ada pic 4

Night Gallery – S2 E3

Night Gallery is a series produced by Rod Serling and Jack Laird, that ran from 1970- 73. The Twilight Zone styled, one-hour show hadnight gallery pics 017 a wonderful introductory premise. Each week the host, Rod Serling, would swagger through an art gallery of nightmarish creations and pick one to tell us viewers about. The camera would zoom in on the painting, thus leading into the story. Each 1 hr. episode would have three stories; one main story, one minor story and one very brief tale with a comedic twist. The stories were not as timeless as the stories in The Twilight Zone, but some of the tales stood out as exceptionally creepy.

This episode has one of my favorite stories in the series, Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay, along with two shorter pieces.

Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay
Craig Lowell is a college professor whose wife has welcomed her Aunt Ada into their home. Ada is a gray-haired old woman with a cane who seems docile and innocent around her niece Joanna, wanting to share an afternoon ritual of having tea and talking. However, when Joanna is not around, she likes to challenge Craig’s authority in the home and doesn’t seem feeble at all. When the husband becomes suspicious of the woman he contacts a professor at the University that deals in night gallery pics 005the occult, Professor Porteus, played by Jonathan Harris (better known to most of us as Dr. Smith, from the TV show Lost in Space). The professor provides some valuable information about how a witch can jump from an old used up body into the body of a younger woman, and how to stop her. Craig suspects the ritual is taking place and he battles Aunt Ada in his home to defeat her. In the end he has successfully beaten her. Or has he? Stars James Farentino at Craig Lowell and Michele Lee as his wife Joanna.

With Apologies to Mr. Hyde
Adam West stars in this short vignette playing Dr. Jekyll in a moment of transformation.

The Flip Side of Satan
Arty Johnson plays an angry, washed-up, radio disc jockey starting a new job at a derelict station. Unhappy with the music he has to play he decides to quit but discovers he is locked in the studio and can’t leave.

The Aunt Ada story is the reason to view this episode. It’s a creepy witch story and the actress that plays Ada, Jeanette Nolan, is fantastic as the centuries old, body-jumping witch. The effects consist of camera and film tricks only slightly more creative than what you would see on Bewitched, or I Dream of Jeanie at the time. However, I think the acting and directing in this episode achieve a level of eerie foreboding that raises it above its limited budget.

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The stories in the series range from well-written, 70s style, TV horror, to just downright bland. They don’t have the message and introspect that Twilight Zone episodes had. The best Night Gallery to watch is the TV movie/pilot that started it all, but I’ll review that at a later date. If you are inclined to check out the series, this is one of the best of the bunch. A nasty witch tale always makes for good viewing on Halloween nights!

Metal Hurlant Chronicles – series overview


Metal Hurlant Chronicles

I’ve been enjoying Metal Hurlant Chronicles, the recently added Twilight Zone-style series on SyFy Channel.

For those who don’t know, Metal Hurlant is the French magazine that became Heavy Metal Magazine when it crossed the river to the States. Metal Hurlant continued publishing in France along side Heavy Metal in the US, weaving stories of fantasy, science fiction, and weird tales, and capturing the imagination with their vibrant artwork depicting strange lands and people.

In 2012, a French-Belgian joint production team started the English speaking series, Metal Hurlant Chronicles, which would bring some of themetal hurlant chronicles poster magazine’s iconic stories to life. SyFy picked up the series and began airing episodes a month ago.

Metal Hurlant Chronicles is a Twilight Zone-styled anthology show with each episode self-contained, mostly in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. The only link between episodes is an asteroid, known as Metal Hurlant, which sweeps through space past different planets, universes, and eons, to bring the viewer to each current story. It is shown in the opening theme/credits and casually appears at random in the background, during a scene in the episode. I’ve been amused looking for it in each story. (kinda’ like where’s Waldo)

In “The Endomorphe“ a boy is thought to be the savior of a defeated race overrun by a dark warring force. A small group of soldiers must usher him to the center of the invaders world. There he will fulfill his destiny and save his people, but all is not as it seems. In “Whiskey in a Jar” a sheriff in a small western town is visited by a doctor that seems to be able to save the bad guys lives‘ no matter how bad they’ve been shot-up. The most recent episode I watched featured, Rutger Hauer as an entity who sends his warrior to kill a being he calls, the dragon. When the warrior gets there, he finds only a small boy and can’t carry out his mission. There is a nice twist to this story which I won’t spoil for those who may watch it (it’s On Demand for those with cable).

Metal Hurlant Chronicles airs Monday nights on SyFy Channel.
If you’re not convinced, just check out the trailer!

reccomended if you like, The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Amazing Stories,  etc.


Horror Collectables: Things in my workshop

Twilight Zone bobbles

Horror Collectables: Things in my workshop


Twilight Zone – The Mystic Seer bobblehead

Twilight Zone - Mystic Seer bobblehead

This is from the episode with William Shatner. He keeps putting coins into the tabletop machine at a diner because he thinks it’s telling his fortune. Maybe it is?


Twilight Zone – Gremlin
Twilight Zone - gremlin bobblehead 2

This is from ‘Terror at 20,000 Feet’ also with William Shatner, where he sees a gremlin on the airplane wing while in flight. He freaks out!


Twilight Zone – Old style Television

Twilight Zone - Hallmark Television

This is from Hallmark. It’s the old style 1960’s console TV showing the Twilight Zone.

Twilight Zone - Hallmark Television lit

The screen lights up and it plays the Twilight Zone theme!


Bride of Frankenstein poster!

bride poster

OK, not Twilight Zone but just wanted to throw this in there.


On my want list:

The full-sized Talking Tina doll from the Twilight Zone is currently going for about $150 – $175. I’m hoping to be able to get one while they are still available, but I’ll have to catch up from my holiday spending before I can purchase anything. They have a color version or a chromatic black & white version – I prefer the B&W.

talking tina TZ

The doll even talks, saying some of the lines it said in the Twilight Zone Episode – it’s a bit expensive but I have to have it…
(And I swear it’s the first doll I ever wanted for myself.)