I’ve wanted to watch this film for a long time, but only saw it for the first time recently on cable TV. I knew about it, mostly due to the parodies (from two classic Simpsons Halloween specials) and the fact that this film was responsible for the helicopter accident that killed actor Vic Morrow. Me and me housemates were engrossed. It’s a good film, and I’m a sucker for anthologies in any medium. Released in 1983 and based on the classic 50s and 60s TV show, the film remakes three separate stories from the show, and creates an original one.
The first film features Morrow who leaves after a bar after his racist ranting and then discovers himself as a Jew in Germany occupied France. Each “death” after that has the man reliving a different minority at different periods of social unrest, such as a black man being hunted by the KKK and as a VietCong soldier. This is the only original story and is directed by John Landis (Coming To America). It moves briskly and has a great message behind it – “Bigots must die – repeatedly.” Actually, it’s more subtle than that, but certainly engrossing.
The second feature has the voice of the Autobot Jazz, Scatman Crothers, but that’s the highlight of this one I’m afraid. Crothers plays a man who visits different nursing homes and allows the residents to literally feel young again, and then it’s up to them to decide if they want to stay that way and live their lives all over again. Basically, a lot of of old people talking, then their younger selves playing. Directed by Steven Spielberg it has his magical touch to it and light humour.
The third (directed by Joe Dante-Gremlin 2) and last (George Miller-Mad Max) features are the ones known by Simpsons fans. Kathleen Quinlan plays a teacher who visits a home in a small town, and eventually learns that a young boy has more or less re-made his house as he sees fit. All his “family” members, ie, captives including Bart Simpson herself Nancy Cartwright, live in his fantasy land, ruled by his magical powers. He’s the king, but his subjects aren’t happy. Finally, John Lithgow (Third Rock From The Sun) stars as a passenger on a plane who appears to be the only one who can see a creature on the wing, terrorising him.
This is a classic film, with some tightly written stories. One of them at least will surely grab you.