The Stand (1994)

Directed by Mick Garris.  Written by Stephen King.  Starring Ruby Dee, Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Corin Nemec, Rob Lowe, Adam Storke, Miguel Ferrar, Jamey Sheridan, Ray Walston, Laura San Giacomo, Matt Frewer, Bill Fagerbakke, Ossie Davis, Shawnee Smith, Ed Harris, Cynthia Garris, John Landis, Karem Abdul-Jabar and Stephen King himself.

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Plot: a plague breaks out and humanity is divided between following a dark man with a dark purpose and a kind, elderly black woman with a message from God.

I figured we’d kick off our 31 days of Halloween with the original Stand mini-series.  They’re remaking it and I don’t know how good it’s going to be, but this first one was great on every level.

It starts out on a secret government facility where a superflu was created in California.  Of course, there’s a leak, and instead of doing his job and closing down the facility, Charlie Campion grabs his family and takes off down the road and across the country.  He infects all sorts of people along the way and eventually, the flu spreads across the entire country.  A “Dark Man” (Sheridan) takes over the in the West, while a kind, old woman named Mother Abagail (Dee) rallies people elsewhere.

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It’s the perfect mini-series really.  Here are some reasons:

     1. It’s fucking scary.  Like really.  When Stu (Sinise) is in the hospital for instance in the first part of the four part series, too much wrong shit happens.

     2. Its full of quotable lines.  Like, “Mayhap it is and mayhap it ain’t.”  And “M-O-O-N, that spells Moon.”  And “My life for you!”  Etc. etc. etc.

     3. The protagonists are highly likable.  There’s the Southern gentleman, Stu, the deaf mute, Nick (Lowe), the sexy singer, Larry Underwood (Storke), the old, dog lover, Glen (Walston), the mentally challenged and oh-so-lovable, Tom Cullen (Fagerbakke), etc. etc.

     4. It’s engaging and emotional.  There’s so many parts that have you close to tears.  Not all your favorites will make it and even when they do, bad stuff will come upon them.  Like when Nick appears in Tom’s dream and he can hear and talk.  Just try not to tear up.

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All in all, the movie may have some flaws, but the rest is so great that it overshadows them.  So, for Halloween, we start with The Stand.

Our score: 100.

“I’m 106-years-old and I still make my own bread.”

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