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Trivia / Twilight Zone: The Movie

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  • Creator Killer: Prior to this film, John Landis was an up and coming director who was usually put on the same league as Spielberg, George Lucas, or even Francis Ford Coppola, with some of the most beloved comedies of The '80s under his belt. However, while he was acquitted of manslaughter over the deaths of Vic Morrow and the two child actors in his segment, the incident lingered over him for the rest of his career: Steven Spielberg has refused to speak to him since, and Landis' success and recognition quickly dwindled into nothingness by the end of The '90s.
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  • Dawson Casting: Nancy Cartwright was 27 when she played a young girl. Her short stature and high-pitched voice help.
  • Executive Meddling: With unintentionally tragic consequences. John Landis's original script for "Time Out" simply ended with the Villain Protagonist being punished for his bigotry. Warner Bros. executives suggested that the protagonist should have a Heel–Face Turn, so Landis wrote a new ending where the character helps two Vietnamese children escape from a bombed village while being pursued by a helicopter. This ending, for obvious reasons, was not used in the finished film, which used a similar ending to the one Landis originally wrote.
  • Fatal Method Acting: One of the most infamous cases in film history. The death of Vic Morrow in a helicopter accident during filming resulted in his segment being changed to have a Downer Ending.
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  • Genre-Killer: For anthology films.
  • Old Shame: Nearly everyone involved in the production was haunted in some manner by the tragedy to take place during filming. Steven Spielberg in particular was so distressed by the incident that he has never spoken to John Landis since.
  • Production Posse: For Joe Dante's segment, Dick Miller and Kevin McCarthy both appear. This would also be the director's first collaboration with Jerry Goldsmith; the film composer would continue scoring every single one of Dante's films for the rest of his life.
  • Troubled Production: With the fatal accident while shooting in which Vic Morrow and two child actors named My-Ca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (both working illegally, without proper work permits and at 2AM, far later than the times allowed for child actors), were gruesomely killed when a stunt helicopter crashed on top of them during the filming. This led to nearly a decade's worth of lawsuits, changes in the law about child actors doing stunts, and fewer helicopter scenes in movies thereafter until CGI made it possible to put them in digitally. John Landis was acquitted of manslaughter charges but his career suffered a slow, painful decline after his trial.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The original idea for the movie was to adapt a singular story (that concept became the 1988 sci-fi film Miracle Mile) before the show's success in syndication led to the decision to make it an anthology.
    • The scene with Vic Morrow's tragic accident was supposed to end up with his character pulling a Heel–Face Turn when he rescues two Vietnamese children.
    • Also, Steven Spielberg was to have adapted "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" before Morrow's death led him to change his mind and adapt "Kick the Can" instead (the former was to have required many effects shots and night shooting with children, similar to the segment with Morrow).
    • It was originally intended to have Spielberg's "Kick The Can" be the final segment, but following audience previews the order was changed. (Interestingly, Jerry Goldsmith's end credit music [which represents all but the John Landis episode] unintentionally reflected the change, as he composed the music before that decision had been made.)
    • Found among his papers was a script outline for a Twilight Zone movie written by Rod Serling, using two original stories. One story was adapted for the syndicated version of the first revival series, and both were used for a CBS TV movie a few years later.


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