21 July 2009

Re-Zoning: Another Twilight Zone film?

I had a suspicious feeling—not one of sight or sound but of mind—that something like this would happen. This year is the big Five-O anniversary for The Twilight Zone, which means that somebody, somewhere in the Hollywood machinery would get the idea that the time had come to do another film version of the famous show.

And Variety is reporting just that. Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company has hired writer Rand Ravich to script a new Twilight Zone film. Which tells me pretty much nothing, since a Twilight Zone-inspired anything could be . . . well, anything. A single story movie? An anthology movie? Adaptation of old episodes? Something new? Going to break some more prescription glasses, or does Talking Tina want to kill you?

The Variety article of course makes mention of the 1983 Twilight Zone: The Movie, although it doesn’t mention that one of its lead actors died on-set during a filming accident. The announcement from DiCaprio’s company makes it sound as if they aren’t aware there was a movie . . . or maybe DiCaprio doesn’t want to invoke the ghost of actor Vic Morrow and end up killed in a mishap during the filming himself.

I have an affection for Twilight Zone: The Movie—or at least half of it plus all the music—but it still ought to be a lesson that this idea didn’t exactly fly high at 20,000 feet when it was done before, even with the best directors possible on it. I don’t see much point in a new movie, or even another revival of the television show, aside from simple money-making (admittedly, the only reason Hollywood really requires to snap it into action) and because all other TV shows are getting turned into movies, so why not this one? (Again.) The Twilight Zone inspired countless shows, movies, and authors, and we have plenty of its legacy to entertain us—as well as great DVD sets of the show itself—without having to drag it out into daylight and force its ghost to perform for us in a pale shadow of itself. Serling gave us the dreams and nightmares, let’s try to keep them fresh for his sake.

(I would also like to point out that I do like the 1985 revival of the show, but the 2000 revival was poor and shows that we no longer live in an age that needs re-hashed Zone.)