4 Movies That Ripped Off Twilight Zone Episodes Comments - Mania.com


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twinbing 11/6/2009 4:16:48 AM

Only 4? They sure missed a few. The late-70's movie "Magic" about a ventriloquist (Anthony Hopkins) who's dummy tells him to kill was ripped off from an early episode of TZ.  The current movie "The Box" was an episode of the 80's version of TZ.  If it wasn't so early in the morning, I could think of more examples.  

monkeyfoot 11/6/2009 7:46:39 AM

If anything this article firmly establishes the great influence of writer Richard Matheson. Besides his huge amount of work for Twilight Zone, there are his other books and movies such as I am Legend, Incredible Shrinking Man, Somewhere In Time and many others.

The questions of "inspiration" and "influence" or "ripoff" is something that was gotten into in anotrher list article awhile back. What makes something into one of the other? Do you always have to acknowledge where you got the initial idea. Writer Dan O'Bannon got alot of inspiration from some SF short stories and movies when he created Alien. Was he ripping off or did he use their ideas as springboards for his own original take?

And most famously was James Cameron blatanlty ripping off Harlan Ellison's Outer Limits episodes Soldier and Demon With A Glass Hand or was he inspired by them for the original Terminator. The fact that he admitted the influence in an interview and Ellison's litigious nature seems to have answered that question at least from a legal standpoint.

I'd go more for the "inspiration" side than "ripoff". I don't think most creators deliberately scheme to steal somebody's work. I think sometimes you just love a particular piece so much it rolls around in your head and you think, "That's so cool! But I wonder if they went this way with it? That could be a great story, too." And then they are off. Most of the time it comes down to how it's executed.

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 11/6/2009 10:09:25 AM

You say rip-off, I say inspire.  What short stories written long ago did any of these get their ideas from?  Or as you say "rip off".  What do you want them to do; take away from their own stories and go "By the way, I 'just' might have been inspired by this story - though there is no way in hell I could have came up with an idea of a living doll coming alive all by myself without ever seeing that Twilight Zone episode and etc, etc for all the other movies."

Hold on, hold on.  First you say they don't own up to these being ispirations but in the first one you say 'Bloody Buddy' screenwriter did acknowledge it.  So, which one is it?

Also, I think by the names of the characters alone in Final Destination 1 that they gave up a lot of their inspirations and saying that this particuliar episode of TZ was ripped off by FD is kind of a stretch.  Again, is it something that somebody couldn't think of on their own?

All of these premises could have been came up with without watching a single episode of TZ.

I know as an aspiring writer that sometimes I'll be writing or I have outlined something and then out comes a new movie or book that has similar themes as me.  Did they rip me off?  Yeah, right.  Somethings, sure, are rip-offs of other things but these things are mostly things that go Direct to VIdeo or Television type deals. 

And if anything you can chalk it up to the theory of a collective unconciousness.

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 11/6/2009 10:12:56 AM

Shoot - I didn't even read Monkeyfoot's post - I was so fired up from the article I didn't want to forget anything, though I did.  So, my article is neither an inspiration or rip-off of Monkeyfoot's post.  It probably wasn't even collective unconciousness either.

Cabal 11/6/2009 11:14:13 AM

Twinbing mentioned, "The late-70's movie "Magic" about a ventriloquist (Anthony Hopkins) who's dummy tells him to kill was ripped off from an early episode of TZ."

Which in turn was directly based on the John Staines story in "Dead of Night" (1945), which features Michael Redgrave as the tormented ventriloquist. There is a 1928 film with Erich von Stroheim in which he's a ventriliquist who believes his dummy is giving him advice, but it's not a thriller -- more a tragedy about a man slipping into madness.

Anyway, film buffery aside, I think some of these examples are reaching a bit. "Ripped off" implies plagiarism, and the parallels in these examples are either rather vague or have been openly admitted.

monkeyfoot 11/6/2009 11:38:43 AM

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium! You ripped me off!! I'm suing! I want all the profits you make from the commentary you just wrote! What? There aren't any!?! Don't pull that creative bookeeping line on me!

Kidding aside, you do make a good point. Lots of people simply come up with a similar idea around the same time without ever coming in contact.  I remember I had an idea of an evil genie movie which no one had done. He would grant your wishes but always in cruel and malicous ways. Within months of thinking it all out I saw the first Wishmaster trailer. Damn! How'd they come up with the same thing?

The midicholorians start whispering ideas from the Force to alot of people and the first to get off their ass to do it wins.

noahbody 11/6/2009 1:07:05 PM

I have had a story idea in my head for twenty-plus years  that has a plot thread very simular to the ending of BSG. If I put out the story , do I get accused of ripping them off, when I thought of it so long ago?

Rip off is a strong term and iplies theft.

WarCry 11/7/2009 6:09:24 PM

You say The Box is ripped off from the Zone episode, but I think that's giving Twilight Zone too much credit. The original short was Button, Button and was published in Playboy in 1970. Matheson didn't like the way Zone changed the ending of his story a decade-and-a-half later and had them change his name in the episode credits.

So, you can say stuff was "ripping off" Twilight Zone, but you may want to consider how much original material Zone even had....

Hobbs 11/8/2009 8:39:40 AM

Kudos Monkeyfoot, if anything I was to add my appreciation for Richard Matheson.  He was a huge inspiration for so many writers and film makers today.  I still say nis novel, I Am Legend, is still one of the best Vampire books I've read.  Some people reading this who don't know that...yeah, the hack Wil Smith movie butchered Mathesons novel.  I highly recommend that...along with most of his other works.



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