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A highly anticipated release for fantasy fans in the summer of 1983, Twilight Zone: The Movie presents three adaptations of classic episodes (and one original story) from Rod Serling's anthology series by a quartet of the biggest directors in Hollywood. With Stephen Spielberg (also the film's co-producer), John Landis, George Miller (The Road Warrior, Happy Feet), and Joe Dante behind the camera for this portmanteau feature, one might expect Serling's episodes to positively gleam with star power, but the truth is that Twilight Zone: The Movie is a hit-and-miss affair. Landis opens with an amusing nod to the original series' pop-culture appeal with Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks riffing on their favorite episodes before a hair-raising shock finale; unfortunately, his second offering is a bland morality plan about racial tolerance that will forever be overshadowed by the accident that claimed the lives of star Vic Morrow and two child actors during shooting. Spielberg's take on George Clayton Johnson's "Kick the Can" looks lovely and is well performed by its cast (especially Scatman Crothers), but it struggles to bear up under the weight of treacley sentiment so common to the director's films at the time. Dante's version of Jerome Bixby's "It's A Good Life" (about a boy with monstrous powers) is rife with his trademark energy and black humor (and his cast of regular players, including Kevin McCarthy and William Schallert, strike the right balance of terror and comedy). But it's Miller's revamp of Richard Matheson's legendary "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" that delivers the biggest payoff, thanks to John Lithgow's super-charged turn as a nervous airline passenger who's convinced he's seen a monster tampering with the plane's wing. Burgess Meredith (himself a veteran of the original TZ) provides narration; the widescreen DVD features no extras save for the original trailer and a remastered digital transfer.

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WA81669 Twilight Zone The Movie DVD (1983/Vic Morrow/Scatman Crothers) $5.99