Classic Scene #8: “Do You Want to See Something Really Scary?”

“Do you want to see something really scary?”

from ‘The Twilight Zone Movie’ segment directed by John Landis

The Scene

Late at night two travelers (Albert Broooks and Dan Aykroyd) are cruising down the highway singing Creedance Clearwater Revival. When the cassette player chews up the tape they’re left to amuse themselves. Talk turns to television show themes and eventually the ‘Twilight Zone’ and their favourite episodes. Agreeing that it was quite a scary show, the driver (Brooks) decides to frighten his passenger by driving with the lights off, leaving the passenger shaken. The passenger then convinces the driver to pull the car over so he can show him “something really scary”.

The Deconstruction

Over several generations ‘The Twilight Zone’ had gained a well-justified reputation for defying expectations and with multiple seasons across the decades there was high expectations for what the big screen version could offer. Landis defies expectations with this clever prologue by introducing audiences to the movie by having two seemingly normal people chatting about the show itself.

The scene sets itself up for multiple opportunities to introduce the ‘twist’ that the viewers are expecting, especially with Brooks seemingly the more aggressive character who seems to delight in making his passenger uneasy. It’s not towards the end of the scene that something begins to seem unusual with the passenger, but up until the final shot he’s still laughing and smiling (and he’s still Dan Aykroyd, he exudes good-naturedness). The reveal at the end is unlikely to give anyone a genuine fright, but it’s a clever enough sequence to get the movie of to a strong start – something that the rest of the film couldn’t live up to until the final segment.

Best Moment: Fading to black and starting the opening monologue: “You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension. A dimension of sound. A dimension of sight. A dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into… The Twilight Zone.”