Stephen King’s NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES, Pt. 1 (2006)

Horror fans will be in for a treat when TNT starts cable casting over a four week period a series of eight one hour-long adaptations of stories from the fertile imagination of Stephen King. Watch this space during the next few weeks for reviews of the other six stories.

Battleground July 12, 9 p.m./ 8c.
William Hurt is almost the only human actor in this taut tale of a professional killer facing a strange kind of cosmic justice. After successfully killing the CEO of a toy company, John Renshaw returns to his posh condo to clean up when he receives a package. It is from the toy company. Unwrapping it, he is puzzled and a bit amused to discover that it is a set of soldiers, completely equipped with tents, helicopters and field artillery. Renshaw sets it aside, but soon feels stabbing pain. The soldiers have come alive and are attacking him. Although their bullets are like pin pricks, their rocket grenades are something else. As viewers we are fascinated by the unusual struggle—and conflicted, pulling for the human’s various schemes for survival to succeed, and yet aware that he deserves whatever fate he should meet.

Crouch End July 12 10 p.m./9c
A young, newly married couple Doris and Lonnie Freeman (Claire Forlani and Eion Bailrey), honeymooning in London, veer far off the course of reality and sanity in this bizarre tale. Invited to dinner at a friend, who lives in Crouch End, they become lost when Lonnie refuses to ask for directions, until it is too late. They are not lost geographically, but in ways that are far more horrible as they become stalked by something that must have climbed out of the pit of hell. Not my favorite of the eight, but compelling nonetheless.

King does not try to explain anything in the above two tales, but like most masters of horror, thrusts his characters into the midst of situations they neither understand nor desire, and within which they must cope or die. This series should make the TNT channel a must destination in July and early August.