Even if you only watch the episode Battleground starring William Hurt, Nightmares & Dreamscapes from the Stories of Stephen King is well worth the price of this 3 DVD 8 show box set. Originally aired on TNT, Nightmares and Dreamscapes will fill any Twilight Zone and Night Gallery fan with glee. Each episode of this horror and fantasy TV show is, as the title suggests, based on one of Stephen King's short stories and benefits from the presence of great actors and a lot of money for production values though the CGI is sometimes a bit obvious.
This series is everything the movie Creepshow was supposed to be and fans expected. If you like horror and fantasy, you will most certainly love Nightmares & Dreamscapes from the Stories of Stephen King. William Hurt is brilliant in Battleground. He plays a hitman who kills the owner of a toy company and then gets a box of little green army men in the mail. The little green army men come to life and start attacking him. The hitman must really come up with some of his best tricks to fight this miniature but very powerful army. Most stunning, aside from the conclusion, is that Hurt does not say a single word in the entire 53-minute show. This episode is as good if not better than some Twilight Zone classics such as Time Enough At Last or The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street. You can check out a Real Audio clip here © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc
Not that all of Nightmares & Dreamscapes from the stories of Stephen King is brilliant. The second episode, Crouch End, about an American couple who ends up in a weird part of England is pretty much a waste of time. You have all the horror elements including a woman who can see strange things, a cabbie who warns the couple not to go there, weird folks and kids and so on, but there is no real tension, no boo. You can check out a short Real Audio clip here © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Umney's Last Case, with William H. Macy as a thirties private eye is not bad though it takes a while to take off and seems purposefully (though I doubt it) written in a really bad and thick marker imitation of pulp mystery novels of the period. There appears to be a blooper in this one: when Umney wakes up and goes downtown the café is open and looks clean and popular but when he crosses the street it looks as if it has been shut down for many weeks. You later find out it is because Umney's doppelganger and the writer who created him (also played by William H. Macy) wants to switch lives with his creation. Umney's last case is an interesting episode but not a classic.
Pretty good if a bit weird in its structure is The End of the Whole Mess starring on Livingston (Sex and the City, The Practice) and Henry Thomas (of E.T. fame who also starred in the adaptation of Stephen King's Desperation). Livingston and Thomas play two brothers. Livingston finds the solution to peace on earth and with his brother's help and financing implements the solution. Problem is the cure has some unforeseen side-effects. This story will remind many of the idea in the sixties that LSD should be put in the water supply to mellow everybody out. This is a pretty good episode and you can see a short Real Audio clip here © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Stephen King definitely believes in the "write what you know" saw from writing workshops. This is why there are two stories here with a writer as a central character. The first is Umney's Last Case, the second The Road Virus Heads North stars Marsha Mason and a rather plump Tom Berenger as Richard Kinnell who buys a painting at a garage sale. Of course, the painting has its own power of attraction. It features a cool opening scene where Kinnell is confronted by a bunch of weird fans who ask all the questions Stephen King probably hears. The painting is, of course, the heart of the story. This episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes is the scariest one in this box set and not for those who jump off the couch every time something goes thump in the night or TV show. Careful viewers will certainly enjoy the bit where a bunch of Stephen King paperbacks make a quick but important appearance. I still don't get the ending to this one but it is pretty decent. Check out the Real Audio clip © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Other episodes of Nightmares & Dreamscapes include The Fifth Quarter about and ex-con, his wife and a chance to hit the big one, Autopsy Room Four starring Richard Thomas of The Waltons and John Boy fame, and You Know They Got A Hell Of A Band featuring some deadheads.
Nightmares and Dreamscapes from the stories of Stephen King will satisfy and please most horror DVD fans. If you liked Twilight Zone or Night Gallery, you are going to love this 8 episode box set.