Monday, December 24, 2012

From the Late Night Cable Movie Files: The Dead Zone

Seeing the future is fun!
 The Stephen King novel this film was based on was also turned into a TV show that starred grown-up Anthony Michael Hall. The movie came out the same year I did (from my mom's uterus): 1983. It was either this or this trashy movie, but I actually kind of wanted to watch this, so here goes my live-blog:

Christopher Walken is a creepy* English teacher who has "The Raven" memorized. His class is next assigned "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," I like the creepy schedule he's got going on. He takes his teacher girlfriend on a roller coaster. Nice. He gets some sort of headache while they're on the ride. He does have a nice coat with toggles.

This roller coaster ride is not going as expected.
He's very gentlemanly with his ladyfriend, and he refuses to come in at the end of the night. Probably because he's got a bit of a stroke or something happening. "Better not," he says. "Some things are worth waiting for." FALSE. Now they're making out in the rain like a couple of idiots. A trucker driving some kind of tanker falls asleep at the wheel and it's raining a lot and anyway, Walken crashes his Slug Bug into the trailer. The girlfriend finds him in a coma at the hospital.

Some super-creepy doctor is there when Walken AKA Johnny wakes up. His parents are there to see him and his mom is wearing a sweet coat. Apparently he's been in a coma for five years. The mom is creepily religious as says that his girlfriend "cleaves now unto another man" because she married some other dude. I mean, five years, I'd find somebody else too. Johnny creeps out some nurse by grabbing her hand while he's having some sort of vision about a little girl in a fire. The fish tank boils. The vision is apparently about her daughter Amy. The nurse rushes home to get her as a firefighter carries her out of the house.

Psychic visions: too hot to handle? (GET IT?)
As Johnny touches the doctor's hand, he has, like war visions and tells him, "The wolf is loose." His vision involves both horses and tanks, so WWII, I'm guessing. A refugee lady puts her son on a cart while the town burns. Johnny tells the doctor that his mother is alive somewhere. The doctor calls his mom, but won't talk to her. BULLSHIT. Sarah, the girlfriend from before, has come to see him. She's all married and has a baby now. He checks her out while she takes her coat off. Apparently the newspapers are all talking about his psychic visions, and he's all, "Everybody leave me alone to sit here with my awesome neck brace and learning to walk again."

But he agrees to a press conference and some douche tries to make him "demonstrate" his powers and Johnny touches his hand and is all, "You want to know why your sister killed herself" and it does not go well! Johnny's mom has a heart attack while watching the newscast. The sheriff, played by the Perennial Cop, comes to see if Johnny can use his psychic powers to help him solve a serial murder case. Johnny hates the attention and all this talk about his powers, so he's like, "I can't help you, Mustache." The sheriff is like, "God gave you a gift" and Johnny is like, "God can go fuck himself." Also, the Christmas tree he and his dad has is really unbalanced with the decorations.  Now the dad is like, "I am bad at decorating the tree." FACT.

Apparently the "spells" make Johnny feel like he's dying inside. NOT PLEASANT. Sarah's come to see him. She brought her little one, who's in an adorable red snowsuit and was riding in the front seat because the '80s. Her kid's name is Denny, which is too bad. He could have a good restaurant chain, though. I bet she's secretly unhappy in her marriage! Johnny is so lanky. I'm kind of into that. OMG, Sarah's totally come over to fuck him. Luckily, she put her kid down for a nap first. I hope Johnny's dad doesn't come home. Okay, but it seems they're done fucking now, but Sarah's apparently made them dinner because that's what ladies do, even at somebody else's house. Johnny thinks little Denny is adorable. He is. Johnny is like, "Am I going to see you again?" And Sarah's like, "No more fucking." And Johnny is sad because he still loves her because he did not experience those five years and also she just showed up and fucked him out of the blue. Walken is wearing so many amazing cardigans. Sheriff McMustache is on the news talking about the nine rapes and murders in Castle Rock. Oh, we've got a stabber. The news anchor is wearing the BEST plaid sports coat! Johnny decides to help the sheriff.

The popped collar actually helps him pick up more psychic vibrations from the atmosphere.
The sheriff takes him to one of the crime scenes and lets Johny touch a pack of cigarettes they think the killer left behind. None of them is wearing gloves. POOR FORM. Johnny gets nothing from it, but suddenly they hear there's another body. Johnny is going to touch the fuck out of that corpse's hand! There's a lot of press there. The body was found in a gazebo and apparently she works at a nearby coffee shop. Johnny takes off her mitten and grabs her hand, which is totally not going to fuck up any evidence. Fucking '80s forensic standards. He sees Elma meeting a dude at the gazebo, she clearly knows him. He shows her some scissors in his coat and then attacks her. Johnny's all traumatized because he sees the murder and knows the killer is Dodd, the deputy. Johnny just comes along for the ride to go get him.

Dodd's mom won't let him in, but I think he's about to maybe kill himself upstairs. Johnny realizes the mom knew he was killing all those girls (because he touches her hand). She calls Johnny the devil. Dodd's locked himself in the bathroom, wearing some kind of heavy-duty slicker. I believe he's going to kill himself with those scissors here in the tub. He's going to shove his own face down on the scissors. EW! They bust in the bathroom and find him, but he's not quite dead. The mom goes and shoots Johnny in the arm and the Sheriff shoots her in the gut. Bitch. INTERMISSION! (I'm watching this on the Sundance Channel.) Drink refill!

You'd think a serial killer would come up with a more efficient method of suicide.
 The creepy doctor from before now comes to see Johnny. He's moved to another town now and is living on his own. He's still getting lots of headaches, and he thinks he's getting worse. The doctor expects him to waste away and wants him to come back to the hospital. Johnny's closet is full of letters from people who want his powers. Johnny won't open them, and as long as he's alone, he's "safe." Although apparently he's tutoring some kid in reading. Some guy named Roger shows up at his place, asking for help for his son who's shy and struggling in school. Johnny reluctantly agrees to go to his house to meet the kid. Is this a scam? Roger's car is super fancy.

MARTIN SHEEN is running for office and is fake Southern-sounding. Sheen is at Roger's house to get money, meets Johnny, and gives him a campaign button. Johnny goes to meet the kid, Chris. Chris' room is gigantic, but I suppose he does live in a mansion. He is also wearing a little suit. OMG ADORBS/RIDIC. Chris' voice is shockingly low. The two outcasts seem to hit it off. Roger and Johnny are watching fucking Sheen do push-ups at some sort of rally on TV. Johnny thought Roger and Sheen were friends, but Roger actually hates him, but might need his help. Greg Stillson to the United States Senate and "mediocrity to hell"! WTF. That's no Bartlet-quality rhetoric. Stillson and his henchman show up in a newspaper office and are threatening the editor because Sheen is going to be president, and local newspapermen shouldn't write unfavorable editorials. They're blackmailing him with photos with some chick NOT HIS WIFE. Shady business Johnny will clearly have to intervene in.

1980s President Bartlet was SUPER SHADY.
A Stillson campaigner comes to his door, and his wife is Sarah. AWKWARD. Chris is like, "Why are you crying, Johnny?" Because my ex has terrible political taste, Chris. He hugs Chris and has a vision of a hockey team falling through the ice. He tells Roger not to hold hockey practice and Roger's like, "You're crazy, shut up. Also, you're fired" Chris doesn't go, but two kids do end up dying. Nice job, Roger. Stilson is having a rally across the street from Johnny's apartment and Johnny decides to go over because he sees Sarah. Johnny shakes Stillson's hand and has a vision of him threatening some dude to set off some sort of mass murder weapon while Stillson is president. I love the future technology in this vision! Apparently he's bombing Russia or something. Somebody should probably assassinate that guy.

Johnny says there was a "blank spot" or a "dead zone" in his last vision. The creepy doctor says this dead zone is the possibility of changing the future. The doctor says he would go back in time and kill Hitler if he had the chance. Johnny has a goal now. He goes back to his dad's house and gets a gun and some ammo. Johnny breaks into the venue where Stillson will be appearing tomorrow to get ready for the assassination party. I hope Johnny is a good shot. He's having trouble loading the gun. Uh-oh, Stillson is getting Sarah and her husband to bring their kid up on stage with him. NOT GOOD. Maybe he should shoot him later? He shoots at him, but is deistracted when Sarah recognizes him and yells his name. Then Stillson uses the baby as a human shield and Johnny gets shot by the bodyguard. The picture of him using the baby will ruin his career and Stillson will kill himself. Huzzah! Sarah hugs him as he does and says she loves him. THE END.

No ironic thumbs up, it was actually pretty good. Take THAT, late night cable movie precedent!

*Christopher Walken doesn't do not creepy.

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