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August 1, 2014

Nightmares and Dreamscapes: You Know They Got a Hell of a Band

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 2nd 2006 10:07PM

nightmares and dreamscapes(S01E08) While I haven't been overwhelmed by every episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes, for the most part I think they picked decent stories to base the episodes on. I would have liked to seen more of Stephen King's older short stories represented, but I guess the producers lost my phone number or they forgot to call and ask me which stories I would have picked.

Anyway, I would not have picked "You Know They Got a Hell of a Band" as one of the stories. One of my favorite things about Stephen King's short stories is how outlandish they can be, but this one, about a couple that winds up in a small town inhabited by dead rock stars, was just silly. I thought maybe they could turn that into something kind of fun and goofy for television, but instead they played it straight, which really wasn't the best approach.

A married couple played by Kim Delaney and Steven Webber are on a road trip in the Northwest and end up taking a shortcut that leads them to the town of Rock and Roll Heaven. Classic rock fans will get the reference to the Righteous Brothers song with the chorus that goes

If you believe in forever

then life is just a one-night stand

if there's a rock and roll heaven

well you know they got a hell of a band....

A lot of the bygone legends who appear in the town as malevolent specters are also mentioned in the song, such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, and Jim Morrison. Actually, Morrison appears in King's story but not in the TV version, which is fine with me since I've always considered Morrison's arrested existentialism to be highly overrated. Of course, I also know all the lyrics to "Yummy Yummy," so take that for whatever it's worth.

King's story actually parallels another earlier tale of his, "Children of the Corn." In both stories a couple becomes lost and ends up in a weird little town where things aren't what they seem and they can't escape no matter how hard they try. The difference between the stories is that a satanic group of kids with knives is a little more frightening than Dead Elvis. All in all I liked Nightmares and Dreamscapes, but I have to say they went out on a real downer.

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