Twilight Zone - The Movie (1983)

Actors: Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, Vic Morrow, Doug McGrath, Charles Hallahan
Directors: Joe Dante, Steven Spielberg, George Miller
AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Number of discs:
Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date:
October 9, 2007
Run Time: 101 minutes



This loving homage to the legendary 1950s Black & White TV show by Rod Serling features an impressive roster of directorial talent.

The four stories that make up the movie were directed by John Landis (American Werewolf in London), Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante (Gremlins) and George Miller (Mad Max).

As is the case with most such “anthology” movies the different segments of this 1983 feature vary in quality and interest. (Three of the episodes are in fact remakes of episodes from the original show.)

The movie kicks off with a great prologue featuring Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks traveling in a car on a lonely night on the highway listening the signature Creedence Clearwater Revival tune, Midnight Special.

The two full-length segments that follow aren’t as good. John Landis directs a sequence in which a bigot (played by Vic Morrow) is made to suffer the same persecution that the minorities he so berates suffer. The sequence is rather bland and predictable although Morrow gives a good performance. (Sadly Morrow and two Asian child actors died in a helicopter accident whilst filming this sequence.)

Steven Spielberg directs the next story about pensioners at an old age home being magically given the chance to relive their childhood again. It is obvious why Spielberg and his Peter Pan complex would be interested in the material, but it is the worst kind of Spielberg sentimentality with composer Jerry Goldsmith laying on the syrupy strings in his best attempt to copy the sort of “wonderment” music that John Williams always provided for Spielberg productions.

Better is the Dante segment about a boy who can magically make anything he wishes for happen. (Genre fans will recognize Kevin McCarthy, star of the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as “Uncle Walt.”) The effects may be slightly dated, but the exaggerated acting and camera work are used to great effect.

The same goes for the last and best sequence about a terrified passenger who sees a gremlin-like creature trying to destroy the engines of the aircraft he is flying in. Lithgow gives a wonderfully over-the-top performance and it is a thrilling and fun sequence with a great payoff not to be found in the original Twilight Zone episode of which it is a remake. (The episode was titled Nightmare at 20, 000 Feet and starred William Shatner.)

THE DISC: This is the first time that this title is available on DVD. No extras except for a teaser trailer that looks like it was sourced from some poor VHS copy. Image and sound quality on this DVD release is passable but the image is a little soft at times. Still, one should be grateful considering for how long this title has been completely unavailable on DVD.

WORTH IT? Twilight Zone - the Movie is a bit like some of those 1970s so-called “super bands”: the line-up is more impressive than the actual musical output. Still, it is an underappreciated 1980s horror effort worth it for the final two story segments.



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