They Remade A Classic Twilight Zone Episode Twice – But The Original Tops Them All – SlashFilm


Director George Miller is best known for his wild and energetic directing style, and his films tend to be fast-paced and wildly stylistic. Miller is the man behind the “Mad Max” movies, “The Witches of Eastwick,” and “Babe: Pig in the City.” He won an Academy Award for his animated film “Happy Feet.” Needless to say, when Miller adapted “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” to the big screen, it was wildly stressful, quickly cut, and far more panicked than the version starring William Shatner. John Lithgow stepped into the lead role and he began the segment already panicking, pouring sweat, and worrying those around him.

Matheson, at the same Q&A mentioned above, noted that Lithgow played the part entirely wrong. Shatner, he felt, was a nervous man who slowly built himself into a panicked frenzy. It was the kind of performance the story required. Lithgow, in contrast, started in a panicked frenzy. There was no build-up of tension in Miller’s version. There was just sweat and terror. One might argue that there is a horror movie-like integrity to that approach, but it didn’t necessarily improve upon the trim efficiency of the original “Nightmare.”

Indeed, one might say that “Twilight Zone: The Movie” didn’t add much of anything to the “Twilight Zone” canon. It merely reworked some of the show’s classic episodes filtered through the modern blockbuster sensibility of Miller, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and John Landis. Dante’s wild, cartoonish segment added a lot of surreal, visual flare to the original, but the story remained fundamentally unaltered. And, of course, Landis’ notorious mishandling of his segment led to multiple deaths. There aren’t too many reasons to watch “Twilight Zone: The Movie.”

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