Twilight Zone – The Movie – a film adaptation based on Rod Serling’s TV series. Spielberg signs an ensemble of “hot” directing talents of the time: John Landis (Blues Brothers), Joe Dante (Piranha) and George Miller (Mad Max). Each one shoots a different segment for the anthology. Steven Spielberg directs the second one.
Richard Matheson (Duel) writes the script for segments 2, 3 and 4.
The film disappoints audiences and critics, especially Spielberg’s segment “Kick the Can” starring Scatman Crothers (The Shining).
One major reason for the disappointing result: The film is not completed as originally conceived. In an interview, Joe Dante explains that the segments were supposed to be “interwoven so people in one story will appear in another story and the stories will overlap. That was the original plan for “The Twilight Zone” but for obvious reasons that couldn’t happen.”
Dante refers to a helicopter crash on the set of John Landis’ episode that killed the main character Vic Morrow and two children. The court’s investigation finds that safety measures have not been fulfilled. The child actors were not allowed to attend the night shoot. John Landis is acquitted of charges of involuntary manslaughter.
It’s the end of Spielberg’s and Landis’ friendship.