The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.
After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally murders his wife and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa.
A young woman develops a taste for human blood after undergoing experimental plastic surgery, and her victims turn into rabid, blood-thirsty zombies who proceed to infect others, which turns into a city-wide epidemic.
After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.
Christopher Walken wakes from a coma due to a car accident, only to find he has lost five years of his life, and yet gained psychic powers. Foreseeing the future appears to be a 'gift' at first, but ends up causing problems... Written by
Paul Reynolds <firstname.lastname@example.org>
David Cronenberg wanted to change the name of Christopher Walken's character: "I'd never name someone 'Johnny Smith'", he quipped, but in the end it was left as is. The book does specifically mention how it sounds like a fake name. See more »
The story seems to take place in its production time, the early 1980s. The doctor, played by Herbert Lom, seems much too old to have been a child during WW2. In fact Lom was 22 when the war started. See more »
[Johnny is reading "The Raven" to his class]
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting, on the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door, and his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, and the lamp light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor, and my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor, shall be lifted... nevermore.
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As the opening titles roll, certain parts (or "dead zones") of the screen become blocked out, until the part of the screen you can see spell out the title "The Dead Zone." See more »
At this point in his career, Stephen King had the miraculous, almost Hitchcockian ability to allow a story to proceed from the most believable of circumstances, trickle like water delicately over tiny steps which, taken alone, did not seem too out of the ordinary, and then coalesce magnificently into masterpieces that defy categorization not horror, not science fiction, but truly something magical, if unnameable. Dead Zone is such a masterpiece.
Owing in no small part to the subtle yet compelling performance of Christopher Walken, who in the same year would star in one of my most beloved films of the genre, Brainstorm, Dead Zone may well be one of King's best. Almost certainly based to some extent on real-life psychic Peter Hurkos, Dead Zone shows the master, King, taking an already well known premise to a new and thrilling conclusion.
The theme developed here is a common one for King. An innocent victim, through no fault of his own, is thrown into a paranormal world that will lead to an ultimate test. The idea is classic literary tragedy at its best, and is represented with equal aplomb in King's contemporaneous work such as Firestarter and Christine.
Director David Cronenberg, smoking hot at the time with masterpieces of his own Scanners and Videodrome, delivers a film that resonates perfectly with King's book, with pacing and tone that capture what was best about King in this period. King himself was experiencing his golden age, with Cujo, Firestarter, Carrie and The Shining rounding out his catalog within a few years. In other words, this is the best of the best for some people who gave us some pretty good stuff.
The supporting cast is brilliant. Martin Sheen, Tom Skerritt, Anthony Zerbe, and the lovely Brooke Adams are all exceptional. Screenwriter Jeffrey Boam, who also penned such classics as Lost Boys, Lethal Weapon 2 and 3, and the Witches of Eastwick, crafted a brilliant treatment that works absolutely perfectly from start to finish. Michael Kamen's brilliant score is but one jewel in the crown of his many achievements, and was said to be so disturbing that overhearing him practicing it gave his neighbors nightmares.
I suppose I could try to think of more ways to say it, but there is no need. It can be summed up once and for all in a single sentence. Dead Zone is perfection.
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