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Nightmares & Dreamscapes - From the Stories of Stephen King

4.0 out of 5 stars 152 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Nightmares & Dreamscapes Collection (DVD)

This hair-raising miniseries is comprised of 8 mind-bending stories each featuring an all-star cast and cutting-edge special effects. Each episode is adapted from on of King's short stories and will feature such notable performers as Oscar nominees William H. Macy, William Hurt, Tom Berenger and other favorites as Kim Delaney, Steven Weber, Henry Thomas, Samantha Manthis, Claire Forlani and others. The series will premiere this summer in a 4-week television event on TNT starting July 12, 2006.

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Filter a Twilight Zone vibe through Stephen King's brain and you get Nightmares & Dreamscapes, an uneven but generally entertaining collection of eight tales that originally (2006) aired on TNT. There is no unifying theme here; although King's short stories provided the source material, there are six directors and seven screenwriters represented, so the episodes offer a variety of looks and styles, with content ranging from monsters to mind games, from pure fantasy to pulp fiction, from genuinely scary to merely unsettling. Still, a certain ineffably "King-ian" sensibility, combining elements of horror, terror, suspense, and whimsy, is always in evidence, as are the popular writer's own preoccupations (with authors who may or not be stand-ins for King himself, rock 'n' roll, and guys who won't ask for directions while their wives complain, inevitably leading them into very nasty situations).

Among the highlights: In "Battleground," a merciless hit man (William Hurt) offs a toy manufacturer and then finds himself attacked in his own apartment by a battalion of indefatigable toy soldiers; directed by Brian Henson, the episode has no dialogue and some terrific effects work. In "Umney's Last Case," William H. Macy is amusing as a crime writer who cruelly toys with his literary alter ego, an arch, fedora-wearing gumshoe (also Macy); it's an acting tour de force and a story that takes some deft and intriguing turns. "The Road Virus Heads North," with Tom Berenger as a horror novelist who finds himself pursued by… well, by a painting (guess you had to be there), is perhaps the scariest of the lot; it's also the best shot, with a cool jazz soundtrack and a nifty ending. Less successful is "Crouch End," set in a sinister part of London where "thin spots" in the earth lead to creepy new dimensions (nice premise, but it's overwritten and fails to sustain its Twilight Zone weirdness), while "You Know They Got a Hell of Band" is only fitfully effective in its depiction of Rock & Roll Heaven, Oregon, a town where Elvis is mayor and the rest of the living dead range from Hendrix and Joplin to Duane Allman and Buddy Holly. The three-disc set's decent if unexceptional special features include "inside looks" at the making of several episodes, actor interviews, and more. --Sam Graham


Special Features

  • Eight episodes on three discs, including one unaired extended episode
  • Behind the drama of Nightmares and Dreamscapes
  • "From the Mind of Stephen King" featurette
  • "Page to Picture" featurette
  • "The Inside Looks": making-of featurettes on six episdes
  • Interviews with series stars
  • Battleground: special-effects featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Eion Bailey, Tom Berenger, Kim Delaney, William Hurt, Claire Forlani
  • Directors: Rob Bowman, Mark Haber, Brian Henson, Mikael Salomon
  • Writers: Lawrence D. Cohen, Peter Filardi, Kim LeMasters, Richard Christian Matheson, Sergio Mimica-Gezzan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 24, 2006
  • Run Time: 378 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GYI340
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,571 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Nightmares & Dreamscapes - From the Stories of Stephen King" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By H. Bala TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 13, 2006
Format: DVD
Stephen King, in the course of 30 years, has become a gargantuan commercial success. And why not? He is wicked scary and chillingly entertaining. But part of King's success is attributed to his ability to raise common, fundamental truths and write characters with universal human flaws in his warped, fantastical stories - truths which any audience can latch onto and flaws which everyone can identify with. It's no different with the fabulous TV cable rendition of his Nightmares & Dreamscapes. Themes of isolation, alienation, mortality, the human condition, and social disintegration are touched on.

This lavish, all-out TNT production doesn't stinge in its mini-series adaptation. I was amazed by the acting talent brought on board: William Hurt, William H. Macy, Kim Delaney (still sexy), Tom Berenger, Samantha Mathis... Stephen King's stories are magnificently and thoughtfully realized by wonderful, fully committed acting, production values of superb quality, and across-the-board earnest efforts by the writers and directors, who honor Stephen King by cleaving close to the spirit of the author's works. The 8 episodes are selected for their diverse storylines and are uniformly excellent. They are, in turn, comedic, meditative, tense, gentle, allegorical, apocalyptic, and, YES, scary. Personal favorites of mine are "Battleground," "Umney's Last Case," and "You Know They Got a Hell of a Band."

For the completists, of the eight episodes, only five are actually from King's Nightmares and Dreamscapes short story collection. "Autopsy Room Four" and "The Road Virus Heads North" are from Everything's Eventual, while "Battlefield" is from Night Shift. TNT's motto is "We know Drama." But, it seems, they also know horror.
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Anthology series are problematic at best. There will always (hopefully) be episodes that you love, but also those that strain even the most patient of viewers. I don't care if it's "The Twilight Zone," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "The Outer Limits," "Tales From The Crypt," "Masters of Horror" or any of the many others I could list--it's always true. So, it's with trepidation that I approach this review. With 8 episodes, I have 8 chances of making someone angry! However, the one thing of which I am certain--this series, while ambitious, is not a 5 star review!

I would categorize only one episode as a five star rating. This honor belongs to a familiar story that's done extraordinarily well. In "Battleground," William Hurt gives a memorable, intense performance as a hitman battling a squadron of toy soldiers come to life. This is done brilliantly without dialogue--part of what makes it so dynamic. We've seen this concept before, but here it is expertly executed.

Three episodes qualify as four stars. "Umney's Last Case" stars a terrific William H. Macy and works as a comedic detective noir as an author battles his fictional character. "End of the Whole Mess" is perhaps the most complicated and intriguing tale. It's an intelligent script thoughtfully performed by Ron Livingston about no less than the end of the world. And "Fifth Quarter," with Jeremy Sisto, a criminal double-cross story that's entertaining and twisty.

One episode ranked at three stars. "You Know They Got A Hell of a Band" depicts a rock and roll heaven (or is it Hell)? I admired much in this tale with Steven Webber and Kim Delaney--it's a great concept, but ultimately a little uneven.

One episode ranked at two stars.
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I read thes stories when I was a teenager. Maybe they aren't his most terrifying but some are genuinely creepy & unsettling which is in true King form. The End of the Whole Mess was probabaly my favorite but I wouldn't categorize it as horror. Of course if this were a true story, it would absolutely be terrifying. The Fifth Quarter is a very intriguing crime story. Battleground has some awesome effects & is a well rounded story directed by none other than Brian Hanson. Umney's Last Case is a crime drama like no other & William Macy is brilliant, as usual. The short story for You Know They Got a Hell of a Band is the story I remember most from reading the book, but it fails drastically here on film. The Road Virus Heads North may not be the best of the lot but it will creep u out...that smile still gives me the eebie, jeebies. Autopsy & Crouch End are not good on film either but there is enough here to warrant the purchase price & definetly worth watching. The good out numbers the bad & lets face it, no one has the imagination of our King. For us true fans, he is the "shizznel" & we love and honor anything with his name attached. I enjoyed the majority & I think u will too. There's something here for everyone & worth adding to any movie collection.
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I must admit to being a little disappointed that there were not more stories from the book in this series of short films. I was particularly looking forward to seeing Dolans Cadillac and Chattery Teeth on the smal screen. However, all eight of the chosen subjects were great. We watched them all over a 3 night sitting and loved them. Battleground (*****), Umney's Last Case (****), The Fifth Quarter (****) and Autopsey Room 4 (*****) are the pick of the bunch. The rest get *** from me.
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