For years, sci-fi fans hoped for a movie based on The Twilight Zone. When The Twilight Zone: The Movie was finally released in 1983, it was met with a somber reception. It didn’t have anything to do with the acting or special effects. The movie was also plagued with one of the most horrific incidents in film.
A Tragic Accident
On July 23, 1982, Emmy nominated actor, Vic Morrow, and child actors, Shin-Yi Chen and Myca Dinh Le, were killed when a helicopter crashed on set. War veteran Dorcey Wingo, who was the helicopter’s pilot, accidentally triggered a motor effect by turning the aircraft 180 degrees to left.
A Correct Premonition
Actor Vic Morrow had a gut feeling that something was about to go down during this shot. “I must be out of my mind to be doing this. I should’ve asked for a stunt double. What can they do but kill me, right?!” he told a production assistant. Years before the incident, he admitted to knowing how he would die. “I have always had a premonition I was going to die in a helicopter crash,” he stated.
Court Is In Session
Film director, John Landis, was charged with involuntary manslaughter along with the film’s other producers and Wingo. When it came to facing the judge, crew members painted Landis like a monster. Cameraman, Randall Robinson, stated that Landis wanted Wingo to go lower into the explosion. Camera operator, Stephen Lydecker, said Landis purposely ignored all warnings of danger.
A Shocking Discovery
During the trial, it was discovered that Landis illegally hired those two child actors without the proper paperwork. The children were also hidden from a fire safety officer, who was looking over the blast scene. After the trial, California implemented stricter child labor laws. The families of the two children that died were given $2 million each in a civil settlement.
A Lifechanging Decision
Everyone was found not guilty during the case, but the effects of the situation still last today. Steven Spielberg, who co-produced the film, terminated all contact with Landis as a result. Landis, who still works in the film industry, knows this incident permanently scarred his life. “The tragedy, which I think about every day, had an enormous impact on my career, from which it may possibly never recover,” he told The Financial Times.
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