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Nightmares & Dreamscapes (2006)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Nightmares & Dreamscapes (2006) NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES: FROM THE STORIES OF STEPHEN KING (2006): This new horror series, which will air in mid-July (12th) through the beginning of August (2nd), is a great idea-it adapts short stories from one author, namely Stephen King. I don't think a tv series has done this since Ray Bradbury theater.

Of the eight stories adapted, the majority are horror, with the exceptions being UMNEY'S LAST CASE and THE FIFTH QUARTER. In UMNEY, William H. Macy portrays Clyde Umney, a stereotypical private eye living sometime in the 1930's. When his world begins to mysteriously change things definitely start NOT going his way-until he's faced with the fact that he's a character imagined by a best-selling detective novel author who wants to take his place in the fictional setting and keep Umney in reality. Things don't quite work out how either of them expect. Macy is great in this role, particularly when the two characters are on-screen at the same time-you really believe it's two different people. In THE FIFTH QUARTER Jeremy Sisto is Willie Evans, who returns home after a stint in prison to reunite with his wife (Samantha Mathis) and son. When a former cellmate appears in their trailer, shot and bleeding, he explains that he was cheated out of some money. Evans goes to retrieve it-not just so he and his family can live better, but to avenge the death of his friend.

The three most effective horror stories are BATTLEGROUND, CROUCH END and THE END OF THE WHOLE MESS. In BATTLEGROUND (adapted from a story from NIGHTSHIFT), William Hurt is a hit man who has just killed the ceo of a toy company. When he arrives home there's a package waiting for him-a package of green plastic toy soldiers and their weapons. Before he fully understands what's going on, the toy soldiers start attacking him-and from that point on it's an all-out war in his isolated penthouse apartment. The special effects are great. Other than a scene in which we see people talking on a television there's no dialogue in the whole episode, which is amazing for television.

In CROUCH END, King goes to H.P. Lovecraft territory. A young couple, visiting England, take a wrong turn and end up "slipping" between dimensions, to find themselves in a sinister and dangerous place inhabited by clawed children, werewolf-like denizens and, of course, your typical "Cthulhu-like" monster.

The best story of the series, though, is THE END OF THE WHOLE MESS, in which a documentary filmmaker videotapes himself in order to explain how-and why-the world is now ending. It involves his genius brother (Henry Thomas) and how he attempts to solve mankind's violent tendencies. The story goes back and forth to the guy telling the story, to flashbacks, all leading up to the unexpected ending. The episode is interesting, gripping-and depressing as hell. It's something that will definitely stick in your mind long after you watch it.

NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES: FROM THE STORIES OF STEPHEN KING is one of the best anthology series I've seen in a long, long while.

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