Re-Assessing the Paranoiac Warm Glow of "The Twilight Zone: The Movie"

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Recently the Castle of Horror asked listeners what kinds of films they'd like us to discuss, and the winner far and away was "more anthologies." That's probably because horror anthologies are always fun and rarely wear out their welcome—generally, if you're not crazy about the segment you're watching, if you hang around a few minutes, another will take its place. This rapid shift of tone, location, pace, and style makes these films perennials—you can watch them anytime and their age (if they're aged) becomes just another part of their charm.

This week we kick off a new series of anthology reviews with The Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), which effectively relaunched the Twilight Zone brand in the 80s and dominated the conversation for a short while: Do you want to see something really scary? Was a genuine pre-Internet cultural meme.

But when the film came around, due to the terrible death of three actors including lead Vic Morrow onset, the response to the film was muted. So after nearly forty years, it's time to re-assess this work.

Like the classic series, Twilight Zone: The Movie shifts tonally from segment to segment. We get genuine geek goofiness from director John Landis in the Dan Akyroyd/Albert Brooks opener, sun-dappled, amber suburban glow from Steven Spielberg, the strange Looney Tunes fixation of Joe Dante, and the fish-eye-lens paranoia of George Miller. This was a fun film with which to kick off a new series.




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Hosted by Jason Henderson, editor of the Castle of Horror Anthology and Young Captain Nemo and creator of the HarperTeen novel series Alex Van Helsing; featuring Drew Edwards, creator of Halloween Man;Tony Salvaggio, lead singer of the band Deserts of Mars, lead guitarist of the band Rise from Fire, and co-creator of Clockwerx from Humanoids; attorney Julia Guzman of Guzman Immigration of Denver; and Jamie Bahr, lead singer and upright bassist of the rock and roll band Danger*Cakes.

About Jason Henderson

Jason Henderson, author of the Young Captain Nemo (Macmillan Children's) and Alex Van Helsing (HarperTeen) series, earned his BA from University of Dallas in 1993 and his JD from Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C., in 1996. His popular podcasts “Castle Talk” and “Castle of Horror” feature interviews and discussion panels made up of best-selling writers and artists from all genres. Henderson lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters.

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