MOVIESPOP CULTURETVCursed Films Episode Five: Man, Fuck John Landis

This is it, the final episode of Cursed Films. It’s been a journey. Especially interesting now because I believe the order that they have the episodes for the Shudder extension on Amazon in the wrong order. When I cross-referenced the episodes on Amazon with the actual Shudder website and IMDB I saw that episodes two and three had been flipped on Amazon and I actually reviewed the episodes out of order. Luckily this isn’t McMillions...
Aaron Vaughn1 month ago3910 min
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This is it, the final episode of Cursed Films. It’s been a journey. Especially interesting now because I believe the order that they have the episodes for the Shudder extension on Amazon in the wrong order. When I cross-referenced the episodes on Amazon with the actual Shudder website and IMDB I saw that episodes two and three had been flipped on Amazon and I actually reviewed the episodes out of order. Luckily this isn’t McMillions where the episode order actually matters. Still, sorry to anyone that cared.

Anyway, we are at the last episode of this series and this time the show’s focus is on Twilight Zone: The Movie. A movie that just makes me want to watch the TV show. I actually am a big fan of The Twilight Zone TV shows and this movie does not do more than merely exist. I actually held off watching the movie till now because I just didn’t want to watch it due to some gross negligence that occurred on the set of the film. As for this episode itself, it’s great. While I feel like the last episode had more of an impact on me, this one has superior structure.

To recap on a previous issue that I have had with the series: The show consistently falls victim to it’s format. Oftentimes it felt like there was so much information to tackle in each episode that a lot of things went unexplored due to the show needing to stay under thirty minutes. Luckily this isn’t true with this episode. The content within this episode feels perfectly fitted to the show’s format. Maybe this is because past episodes have always had broader scopes while this episode is focused on just one event that had occurred on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie. This then leads into what the episode was actually about.

The main focus of this episode is about a stunt accident that occurred on the segment titled Time Out. What had happened was a helicopter was supposed to be flying over actor Vic Morrow and two child actors. Due to the heavy pyrotechnics involved in the scene the helicopter crashed into all three of these performers.

I was actually concerned about how this series would approach this based on earlier features. The first installments of the series focuses on more cursed aspects and some mysticism and I was worried that the show might apply some of that here to defend some of the incompetence that went into filming this segment. Thank god it didn’t. This show takes a very level headed and realistic approach to this material. It acknowledges that John Landis was made aware of some of the dangers that could occur, that the child actors were hired illegally, and that this was a moment that could have easily been avoided if any of the proper precautions were taken. For the most part the episode doesn’t pull any punches. Though the they couldn’t actually get John Landis it did get other people, like the set designer, who worked on the movie to talk. Also while I put a lot of the blame on John Landis (not all of it) I do appreciate the show creators trying to explain how it still wasn’t all on one man. There were a lot of people that would have spoken up to somebody and didn’t, so the blame doesn’t fall on one man. This doesn’t change that John Landis was made aware of the extreme danger in the scene.

As for problems I only have one when it comes to this one’s content. One of the interview subjects is a stuntman whose overall point is stuff just happens and it’s no one’s fault when it comes to the world of stunts. While I understand the need for a stuntman’s perspective it was weird to hear say this without referencing what actually happened on the film’s set. He doesn’t address the illegally hired children working past legal hours or the stunt that was hard to pull off in rehearsal when they weren’t using all the planned pyrotechnics. It’s not like I don’t think this individual person doesn’t have anything to say, but his comments feel misguided to do the broader scope of what happened in this movie.

My next issue is more about the emotions of the episode. This episode just didn’t hit me as hard as the last episode did. I just feel like the last episode had much more charged emotion to it while this one was more about the facts. This might just be more subjective and it might also be that the last episode was focusing on a much better movie (The Crow). I feel like this won’t matter in the long run for most people, but it’s just how I felt.

I do recommend this episode. It does a good job breaking down what happened and thankfully I think you can watch it without having to watch Twilight Zone: The Movie. Do watch the show though.

As for the series as a whole, I recommend most of it. Luckily the episodes are disconnected so you can watch the good ones on Poltergeist, The Crow, and Twilight Zone (this one). If you don’t have an account with Shudder I wouldn’t start one for this, but their shows do eventually do up on iTunes and other services. When they do I recommend checking out those episodes then. If anything they will give you interesting information for trivia night.

And finally, fuck John Landis!

Aaron Vaughn

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