Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twilight Zone The Movie: Yes I'm Aware That I May Have a Slight John Landis Obsession.

I can honestly say that I had no idea John Landis wrote and directed the prologue and first segment of this movie. I swear! Only after watching the prologue and laughing my ass off then jumping out my seat did I start to wonder who was responsible. And as it just so happens....it was good old John and he stole my heart again.

The prologue was as usual- fantastically written. The conversation between Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks was so natural and just naturally funny. I hadn't cracked up that much since... well since posting the naked man stole my balloons picture on the sidebar.

The movie is broken down into 4 segments directed by 4 different directors. Now not to be unfair to my new obsession but the 1st segment wasn't that great. I attribute this to the fact that there wasn't as much talking and even less actual fearsome moments. It featured a man who used racial slurs and was just an overall asshole after losing out on a promotion. After leaving a bar he finds he has been transported to various times of political uprising and is always the person you would least want to be i.e. a Jew in Nazi Germany, a black man in Ku Klux Klan country etc. Hmmm I guess looking back I did enjoy how the segment addressed the dangers of wearing a flammable white sheet while standing next to a burning cross...

The first segment was unnerving I suppose but I just found it lacking in overall creepiness.

Now the 2nd segment was where the real snoozing began. I appreciate the attempt Spielberg but I don't want to feel all warm and happy while I'm in the Twilight Zone! I don't care if you try to win my vote by using Mr. Hollorann from The Shining...The Story centered around a rest home where Mr. Hollorann allows for the old folks to rediscover their youth through a pleasant game of kick the can. I couldn't help but be put off due to it's annoying resemblance to Hook and Big Top Pee Wee (yes the movie where the cranky old folks eat cocktail wieners grown off a tree and revert back to their youth) Touching, heart warming and zzzzzzzzz.

Now onto the good stuff. The 3rd segment was I think the best part of the entire movie. It made me genuinely creeped out without allowing me to feel utterly hopeless by the end. The story follows Anthony, a boy who has the power to make whatever he wants to happen- happen. Pretty remarkable and standard right? Wrong. Because Anthony here wants his entire house to be a creepy cartoon-like world and has the power to remove people's mouths and turn his "Uncle" into a magician that pulls huge and scary rabbits out of hats!
From the moment Helen walks through the door and the scary family huddles around her- and Anthony takes her on a tour of the house....it just brings this horribly creepy feeling. The story and setting just felt more genuine than the rest and I kind of wish the entire movie concentrated on Anthony and his cartoon world.

Which brings me to segment 4... a panicky tale starring John Lithgow- a nervous flyer who believes he sees an alien destroying the plane's engines in a storm. The segment does a great job of making you feel like you too are trapped in a flying metal coffin- and the ending provides just the right amount of satisfaction.

Overall the Twilight Zone movie is a very entertaining bit of film. I guess I could have done without the first 2 segments- but oh well! I still adore John Landis so never you mind. The Twilight Zone has always reminded me of a more sophisticated version of Are You Afraid of the Dark? and this movie definitely holds true for that assessment. If you can't spare the time at least do yourself the favor of just watching the prologue....

Buy Twilight Zone the Movie at Horror Movie Empire!


Gory said...

I like Twilight Zone The Movie too. Landis' segment is for me the weakest (although his opening is fantastic!) although to be fair his segment was never fully completed. The lead actor Vic Morrow was killed along with two children during a sequence when his character goes to Vietnam and is carrying two children. This was shot on a large sound stage with a helicopter overhead which malfunctioned and came crashing down. The blade decapitated all three of them. This was in a lawsuit for years which I think is why you won't see Landis commenting on this film.

I like the Spielberg one but I tend to be a sentimental person so there was something about it that I relate to.

I do love the last two segments. Too bad the rest of the film isn't as strong but I still enjoy it as a whole.

Andre Dumas said...

Wow! I just read the Trivia on this- I don't know why I didn't.. I usually read it on EVERYTHING. That is so nuts! Must be the curse of the Twilight Zone....!

Gory said...

There was an HBO thing years ago which was about court cases and whatnot and one of them was about this. They showed the outtake from the film. It was a really wide shot but you see the prop helicopter flying around and the three of them down below running across a fake swamp and then the helicopter just twirls and falls right on them. Luckily you didn't see anything. The last thing I need to see are three people decapitated. Still disturbing and sad.

Gory said...

Don't mean to bring down your post though. lol

I'm happy you watched the movie and at least liked parts of it. :-)

Andre Dumas said...

Haha no don't worry about it! I find it fascinating, although awful. I can't believe they kept that segment in at all then!

Chris H said...

I LOVED the Joe Dante segment. So eerie and full of great creatures. George Miller's segment was great, too. John Lithgow did a superb job and the gremlin was pretty damn scary. The Richard Matheson story is cool, too.

Thomas Duke said...

The Joe Dante segment is fantastic, and I do love the opening as well, but the rest of it for me is a big disappointment, taking into account that the George Miller segment is almost identical to the original, which I had already seen first.

Since somebody already mentioned it, I actually have a copy of a mondo tape that has every angle of the Vic Morrow accident, and every shot is replayed in slo-mo, zoomed in, etc. Talk about "exploitation". It is truly one of the most insane things I've ever seen, but I'll spare you the details. You don't really see much, I believe, in the documentary clip that someone mentioned above. So, I would warn you against hunting down the raw footage (I'm sure SOMEBODY has put it on the internet somewhere). After all, curiosity killed the little kitty kat :)