My Thoughts: I read the book "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" several years ago upon it's release (while I was in my teens). The book boasted a collection of short stories that were eerie, some baffling, and others incredibly gripping. Stephen King has a reputation for writing the most unique and imaginative stories which leads him to be one of the most prolific authors of our generation. King, without a doubt is the most seasoned novelist of his speciality: HORROR.
However, fans of the book might find this series a tad disappointing as several stories that made the book itself so captivating were missing - "Dolan's Cadillac" (I believe this was the first story in the book) sadly was missing from the series and I think the absence of it hurt the series tremendously. This has since been made into a movie but ended up straight to DVD over here leaving me feeling as if it was a mistake to NOT include it as an hour long episode of the "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" series instead as I feel it might have been more well recieved by King's faithful audience.
Along with "Dolan's Cadillac" being missing from the line up, "The Doctor's Last Case" was missing as was "Sneakers", and "Home Delivery". You won't find "The Night Flyer" here either (but this was made into a full length film years ago).
Surprisingly, there were stories added into this series that weren't ACTUALLY part of the book at all which may come as a surprise for die hard fans who read Nightmares and Dreamscapes but perhaps not the magazines or other books where these stories stemmed from; although both book and series respectively share the same title, they are two different entities and simply both collections of King's work. "Battleground" came as a pleasant surprise for me as I had not read "Night Shift" which is where it stemmed from, and it was possibly one of the strongest and most entertaining episodes of the series.
The strong episode in the bunch here (for me) has to be "Autopsy Room Four" which proves Stephen King to not just be the master of the Horror genre, but also has an incredible gift for comedic situation and dialogue. This had to be one of the funniest "laugh out loud" King adaptions I've ever viewed (you would expect horror from anything with "autopsy" in the title, but this is surprisingly fresh and mild).
All in all the series was watchable; some episodes I'd have rather missed (others might feel differently, of course), and had other tales from the books in their place (such as "Dolan's Cadillac" and "Rainy Season"). I hope that somewhere in the future there's plans for a season two to bring more of King's short stories to the small screen.
Episode 1: BATTLEGROUND: a hitman who has just successfully snuffed out the life of the CEO of a huge Toy Company winds up under seige with the most unlikely assailants...a box of plastic army men who have sprung to life to avenge their maker. Can tiny plastic toys really outsmart a professional hitman and remain a threat?
Episode 2: CROUCH END: Newlyweds Lonnie and Doris are Honeymooning in London when they are invited to a friend's house for dinner in the subburb of Crouch End. Upon arriving in Crouch End, they become incredibly lost with no way of contacting their host and no way of navigating through the maze of streets. If being lost isn't enough of a threat, they soon discover the eerily quiet streets hold more than they bargained for.
Episode 3: UMNEY'S LAST CASE: A private detective living in a world that's the Epitome of 1930's film noir soon is introduced to odd and unsettling changes that lead to the revelation he is the creation of a unhappy author eager to escape the grief from the death of his son, and the impending estrangement from his wife. Umney is thrown forward into the 21st century into a world that is incredibly alien to him, while his creator takes his place in the fictional world Umney unwillingly left behind...but can he find his way back or will he adapt to his 'new' life?
Episode 4: THE END OF THE WHOLE MESS: Howard Fornoy, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, sets up a camera and sits before it to make his final documentary subjecting his family life and the tale of how his younger brother - a genius in every field - reveals he may have discovered a solution to the 'end of the whole mess' the world has gotten itself into with war, violence and hatred. But will it come with a price?
Episode 5: THE ROAD VIRUS HEADS NORTH: Richard Kinell, a popular horror novelist, discovers a dark eerie painting during a rummage through a garage sale and purchases it. The painting disturbs everyone who sees it, but embodies the dark and devious things Richard writes of in his books. Soon, however, the painting begins to take on a life of it's own, turning the man who is used to scaring people into a terrified wreck.
Episode 6: THE FIFTH QUARTER: A woman raising her son on her own becomes entangled in a treasure hunt when her husband is released from prison and has intentions of locating the other pieces of a map which will indicate where a hidden treasure of stolen money is located.
Episode 7: AUTOPSY ROOM FOUR: A rich businessman takes up for a round of golf but somehow ends up in a bodybag being wheeled into an autopsy room ready for post mortem. Paralysed, unable to blink or speak but able to feel pain he is trapped in his own body like a prisoner while the doctors above him prepare to butcher him to discover how he died!
Episode 8: YOU KNOW THEY GOT A HELL OF A BAND: A couple driving through Oregon become incredibly lost and wind up in a town called 'Rock and Roll Heaven' that seems to be perpetually stuck in the 1950s, still eerily preserved and perfect. As they stop at a diner to get directions, they are astounded the waitress bears an uncanny resemblance to iconic but deceased singer Janis Joplin, and even more disturbed that every person in Rock and Roll Heaven resembles some iconic musician or singer who has been long dead...have they indeed wandered into Heaven? Or perhaps...Hell?