Cronenberg. Aloof, ajar, forceful. Debra Hill. Kind, sweet, soulful. The Dead Zone (1983) is a Chicago blend of caramel and cheese popcorn. David’s gravity and Debra’s humanity. Together it’s David’s most grounded work and Debra’s most disturbing. Christopher Walken endures impossible misfortune and Martin Sheen is the anti-West Wing as they battle for the future. Everything is up for grabs in this Stephen King gut punch mixing drama with the unknown. Unusually fine movie or another King adaptation?
Michael Kamen score to The Dead Zone (1983).
I LOVED this movie as a kid. I didn’t see it in the theater, instead saw it on cable when it came out there. I can’t count how many times I watched it, but know I haven’t seen it once since then. Since then I did watch the Dead Zone TV series back, what, 10-15 or so years ago with Anthony Michael Hall.
I never know if Cronenberg is gonna wow me or bore me. This was the latter. But if I watched it again…who knows?
Loved it when I first saw it in theaters, but wasn’t sure how you could adapt such a sprawling episodic novel (might have made a better miniseries) but I thought Cronenberg did a fantastic job with it.
It was the first time I heard the (now tired) ‘would you kill Hitler’ thing - though I can’t say King originated it, just that was my first exposure to it, and it added a philosophical layer to the book.
I still like it, though it doesn’t impress as much as it did way back when. Walken’s tragic yet sympathetic character keeps the film centered, but I came to find Sheen’s politician too cartoonish a figure, completely ridiculous to think that the American people would ever, ever elect such a… oh wait… -shhhh- we can’t speak of such things here.
My range? Wow, bore, or repulse me. Perhaps all three. It really is Russian Roulette with Cronenberg. He’s immeasurably skilled and insightful when his clinical and aloof nature isn’t too cut off to enjoy. The Dead Zone (1983) is my favorite Cronenberg in large measure because of Stephen King and Producer Debra Hill who gave John Carpenter humanity in his early work.
I never saw this movie, but I watched the first season or two of the TV series they did with Anthony Michael Hall. I thought it was a really interesting story being told.
How does it compare to the movie…or to the book, for that matter?
I’ve experienced both. The film and the series. They’re completely different animals. They have a fundamental sadness to them. The 1983 movie is the gist of the premise distilled into 2 hours and a full-on Cronenberg picture absent the extremes of his other 80s flicks and bittersweet. The series is lighter, more fun, and extended since it’s spread across multiple seasons. If you began watching Anthony Michael Hall, the flick may take some getting used to. The novel? It is detailed and stuffed with material hard to fit into a film or even television. The three are deserving of checking out.
They were a good team, I think. She had some range, with some hand in The Fisher King and the '90s Attack of the 50 Ft Woman. Taken from us too soon.
She also produced World Trade Center (2006). Oliver Stone’s sweetest film amidst the tragedy. She died ahead of its release. Her touch is felt in the film.
Oh, that’s interesting. I wonder if she played a similar role for Gilliam on “The Fisher King”. All these guys who are technicians–artists, to be sure, but sometimes cold—and she was there.
Videodrome, The Fly and Eastern Promises (from 2007) are my favorites and I do like the Dead Zone (quite a run he had there in the 80s)
But of his later efforts I’m a little off from the norm. I didn’t care for eXistenZ despite reading good things about it, but I dug Cosmopolis and Maps to the Stars, despite many folks not liking them all that much.