Amazing Stories: The Movie (1987)


For many years, I was unaware that “Amazing Stories” was actually a Television series, albeit one that came and went like a lightning bolt. I didn’t discover “Amazing Stories” was first a TV show until the early nineties, and just wanted more fantastic tales of wonder from Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis. Before then “Amazing Stories” was just a really entertaining and incredible anthology film that mixed horror, fantasy, and comedy together in one great package. “Amazing Stories: The Movie” is two segments from the TV show paired together as a movie. There are apparently various versions of “The Movie,” one of which had three segments and was only released internationally. I was lucky that “the movie” I saw played on local TV stations in New York when I was a child, and featured two great segments from the series. So my introduction to Robert Zemeckis began with “Amazing Stories: The Movie.”

It’s almost impossible to find the actual “movie” anywhere these days, but the TV show is still widely available with said segments in tact. Among the pair of segments that amount to a movie, there’s “The Mission.” Set during World War II, the segment focuses on a platoon flying an B-17 aircraft. The Gunner at the belly of the craft is in grave danger when an enemy confrontation renders the landing gear faulty, assuring a horrible death when the plane lands. By some miraculous circumstance, his imagination as a cartoonist and desperation provide an awe inspiring rescue. As a child I was an eager aspiring artist who’d spend every waking hour with a pad and a pencil at hand, so to say “The Mission” is one of the most incredible fantasy shorts I’ve ever seen is an understatement. This is pure Spielberg from the magical depiction of the power of imagination, to the World War II scenario.

“Go To The Head of the Class” is much more horror based, and is still a sick revenge tale. Christopher Lloyd is fantastic as the evil Professor B.O. Beanes, who delights in torturing, tormenting, and failing his students. So much so that he becomes the target of black magic by a pair of his students Peter and Cynthia. Peter is a hardcore horror buff, while Cynthia something of a manipulative practitioner of the dark arts who inflicts a curse on Beanes. When they succeed in frightening him to death, they hastily attempt a spell to revive him, and the “graven image” used to bring him back is torn in half. The spell revives Beanes with the literal graven image and the horror ensues. Stan Winston’s brilliant special effects matched with Lloyd’s menacing performance provide a fun and demented tale of comeuppance and the dangers of black magic. It’s probably much too horrific for younger audiences, but back then at six years old I loved every minute of the second segment. I watched “Amazing Stories: The Movie” dozens of time whenever it aired on television, and it’s a fun anthology and still a fine nostalgia footnote for yours truly.