I’ve been watching Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes, series that originally aired on TNT last summer featuring one-hour adaptations of King’s short stories. Like many of the movies based on King’s writing, the series seems to lack the extra edge needed to be truly frightening and impactful.
So far, “The End of the Whole Mess,” a vignette about a man whose genius brother devises a scientific plan to cure the world of war and watches it backfire – ironically catalyzing the apocalypse, was one of the better episodes.
“Autopsy Room Four,” which is similar to an “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” episode I saw in the 1980s, was also worth watching, particularly if you’re interested in seeing Richard Thomas, a.k.a. John Boy of “The “Waltons,” in a completely different light.
I’m not really frightened by horror movies that revolve around the concept of animism, so I didn’t really think “The Road Virus Heads North” was very interesting. It’s about a writer named Richard Kinnell (Tom Berenger), who purchases a painting that once belonged to a young man who committed suicide. The painting, possessed with the spirit of the boy, attaches itself to Kinnell, and his attempts to destroy and rid himself of it fail.
I still intend to watch the remaining episodes, but it doesn’t live up to Showtime’s Masters of Horror series. Some of these edgy vignettes make King’s “Nightmares and Dreamscapes” look like “Full House” eposides.
I’ve seen “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road,” in which a serial killer picks the wrong victim; “Dance of the Dead,” featuring Robert Englund (of Freddy Kruger fame), who is the ringmaster in a post-apocalyptic world still seeking entertainment; and “Jennifer,” the story of a monstrous woman who attaches herself to men who cannot get away from her. But the best one was “Cigarette Burns,” an episode about a film that makes anyone who watches it insane.
The Masters of Horror series is unique because it takes notable horror film directors, like Tobe Hooper, of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Poltergeist”; John Carpenter, of “Halloween”; and John Landis, who directed Michael Jackson’s classic “Thriller” video. It’s worth renting if you’re a horror film fan.