No, no, and no: this isn't because the film boasts any sad preoccupation with the subject. Rather, it's because several actors -- young and a bit older -- were killed as the result of some effects work gone horribly, horribly wrong on a live shoot. Actor Vic Morrow died trying to shield two young children (who also perished) when -- as I understand it -- a helicopter came tumbling down, leaving them tragically caught in the winding blades with no means of escape. I won't go into it in any other detail in this space -- I've often thought about doing a full write-up here on SciFiHistory.Net -- but an accident like that should serve as a constant reminder that the business of making films is not without risk. Sad but true.
But kudos to the creative folk who decided that the Rod Serling creation deserved to have a life all of its own on the silver screen. Presented in anthology style with each of four directors -- John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and George Miller -- constructing their own chapters in that dimension of sight and sound wherein some fateful set of circumstances caused characters (and audiences) to ponder life, the universe, and everything. Without penning a full review at this point, either -- someting I'm likely to do at some point, as well -- I can confirm that each vignette had its own narrative strengths and minuses ... but they all gave affectionate nods back to a franchise that continues to delight audiences to this day.
Like so many of these 80's films that came to my small town in Nowhere, America, I saw this one several times on the big screen. It had all the right elements for a kid my age (in high school), so I was thrilled to take it in across multiple viewings with various friends. Though I don't recall any of my mates being as fond of it as I was (no accounting for their tastes!), I think everyone found it worked wonderfully within that framework of having viewers ultimate just what was real, what was imagined, and what was somehow magically possible if and when we give whatever force lies in wait out there a chance to break through the noise.
So ... Happy Anniversary -- or is that Happy Birthday -- to Twilight Zone: The Movie. Hopefully, somewhere out there in the vast, vast cosmos, its creator is looking down and smiling.