Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nightmares & Dreamscapes Ep. 05: The Road Virus Heads North (2006)

Nightmares & Dreamscapes Ep. 05:
The Road Virus Heads North

Horror author Richard Kinnell (who may or may not have colon cancer) is driving home to Derry, Maine after a writing conference. On a whim, he stops at a yard sale, perhaps looking for a little second-hand inspiration.

He finds it in a dark little painting called THE ROAD VIRUS HEADS NORTH--depicting an evil young man behind the wheel of a muscle car--and quickly shells out the paltry $45 fee.

With the painting in the back seat, and Richard tooling down the road, it seems almost as if the Road Virus is following him. A laughable idea, sure, but when the painting starts changing, and the background scenes depict the car getting closer and closer to Richard's home turf, suddenly no one is laughing.

Something akin to a rock-'n'-roll slasher version of The Picture of Dorian Gray, I wanted to like this one much more than I did--pretty much the same way I felt about the short story that it was based on.

I love Mad Artist stories, but mad ART? Seems a little too Amityville Sequel for my tastes. There are a number of production problems that hurt it as well.

Too much of the soundtrack is comprised of corny, Kool 101 FM-style "jazz", and no matter how good an actor Tom Berrenger might be, even he has trouble pulling off some of the lame, sloppy dialogue the script calls for. Further, there's a convoluted backstory to the painting that is never suitably explored, and the story focuses too often on unimportant details.

Definitely not one of the stronger entries in the series.


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