From the Archives: Let’s Bring Back The Twilight Zone

From the Archives: Let’s Bring Back The Twilight Zone

In the interest of getting “hard” copies of my work under one roof, I plan to spend the next few weeks posting the entire archive of my film journalism here on ScullyVision. With due respect to the many publications I’ve written for, the internet remains quite temporary, and I’d hate to see any of my work disappear for digital reasons. As such, this gargantuan project must begin! I don’t want to do it. I hate doing it. But it needs to be done. Please note that my opinions, like everyone’s, have changed a LOT since I started, so many of these reviews will only represent a snapshot in time. Objectivity has absolutely no place in film criticism, at least not how I do it. 

Without further ado, I present to you: FROM THE ARCHIVES.
Originally posted on Cinema76.

I want another The Twilight Zone movie. We’ve tried rebooting the series multiple times to marginal success, but I think the appropriate way to keep the brand alive would be another movie. Anthology horror/sci-fi is one of my favorite things in the world, and with the dawn of digital cinema, we’ve gotten some great entries from some excellent up and coming filmmakers. The V/H/S trilogy remains a high water mark for this sort of thing, and the success of Black Mirror shows that the anthology format can be elevated from the niche to the mainstream, and furthermore, that it can be done with class.

So why use the The Twilight Zone brand? Prestige. Rod Serling’s classic series has endured for so long because, despite its inherent novelty, it always regarded itself as something more than twisty-turny chills without dipping into self-importance. In its early days, the cast consisted of future stars, and later in its run established actors made appearances as a sort of pre-SNL cameo/profile boost. Behind the scenes you had directors building their portfolios, and thus always bringing strong work. It’s the same formula that made Tales From the Crypt such a success in my youth. One wonders if The Cryptkeeper had been Rod Serling in his life. Cigarettes will do that to you.

Anywho, it’s the prestige that the series obtained over time that all owed Twilight Zone: The Movie to corral the directorial talents of John Landis, George Miller, Joe Dante, and Steven effing Spielberg. By putting a budget and high-quality talent behind some of the classic television show’s most iconic sequences, as well as developing a stylistically fitting original tale, Twilight Zone: The Movie was able to provide the update that later iterations of the show never seemed to capture, while keeping in tune with the source material. I think it can be done again.

For another The Twilight Zone flick to work, I think we should shake up the formula. Two segments ripped straight from episodes: one that is iconic (The Invaders or Time Enough at Last) and one that isn’t so notorious (Nick of Time or Miniature). Of course we’d need one original segment, and maybe we dig into Serling’s Night Gallery archives for the final entry (my money is on The Caterpillar).

Because it is The Twilight Zone, we could hopefully attach established filmmakers and stars. Personally, I’d like to see Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, Quentin Tarantino, and Kathryn Bigelow. Each could take a stab at writing their own script, but since the original film had Richard Matheson on board, maybe we should dig into the world of sci-fi novels to help out. George RR Martin wrote for both The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, so he’d be a good choice. Let’s toss Jeff Nichols and Alex Garland into the mix as well.

Damn. I’m starting to really crave this.

Sure, we could attempt to reboot the series yet again, but why bother? As an anthology it doesn’t fit the current television landscape. Serialized storytelling is what we go for now. Even a thing like Black Mirror has to come forth in short bursts. I say let the Black Mirror team continue their excellent work, and push The Twilight Zone back to the big screen. With the right marketing, it could be a throwback to the event exhibition that Tarantino tried to milk with Grindhouse (which was awesome, but didn’t quite catch as intended).

Pipe dreams, I know, but in a time of reboots, the brand of The Twilight Zone could be used to showcase some originality AND tap into that sweet, sweet nostalgia we all love so much.

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