Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King

Season 1 Episode 7

Autopsy Room Four

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Aug 02, 2006 on TNT
out of 10
User Rating
70 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Autopsy Room Four
A businessman on vacation, Howard Cottrell, plays a game of golf and is bit by a snake. He is taken to the nearby hospital's autopsy room, but the staff is unaware that he is in a deathlike coma but not dead. Now Howard will have to be a silent but fully conscious witness to his own autopsy unless he can somehow manage to communciate with the doctors.moreless

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  • Some body in the morgue turns out not to be dead at all.

    Despite the title, this is not a grisly horror story but much more a suspense story. Definitely one of the top three episodes of this series. The changes from the short story are minimal and this episode is just as effective as the short story. In fact, it is one of the better adaptations from King's stories to the screen. Even though Richard Thomas spends 95 % of the time simply lying on the slab, his thoughts can still be heard and he uses his voice as a very effective means to express his emotions. At the same time, some of this comments on the scene around him are very funny, proving that a clever writer (and a clever script writer) can successfully combine suspense and humour.moreless
  • Ohhh scary... NOT!

    This one didn’t convince me. What should have been a terrifying subject was almost played for laughs. Like they were going for humour. It baffled me. Plus everything else was wrong too. Greta Scacchi was looking awful. Old and tired. The other actors were all bland. The guy in the voice-over was dreadful. His fear was fake, no intensity, no desperation. The whole thing dragged for too long. It wasn’t believable, it wasn’t scary, it was just a big waste of time. It was too light, too “clean”. They missed the mark here. One of the worst episodes of the show, which by now is jumping the shark really fast.moreless
  • Good Adaptation to TV

    In the book, Stephen notes that after the hero 'Howard' gets revived and sent out of the hospital, he picks up a fetish for surgical gloves. That would have been hard to put in the tv story as there was no solid third person narrator. Other than that, the TV adaptation, like the other installments, is as perfect as possible.

    There are a lot of short stories written by King and I do hope that this series can continue perhaps next summer with several more installments. Its also possible that they can do Nightmares And Dreamscapes: Stories of a different horror writer. Although Stephens the King, summer TV watching can be a drag. Ill take anything. So long as it isn't dull.moreless
  • A remake of a tense, 30 minutes 1955 episode of an Alfred Hitchcock series. But this time, padded out to an hour.

    As robertru posted, this story is essentially the same as the 1955 "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" episode called "Breakdown." In the Stephen King short story, the character remembers this episode, but it doesn't help him. I recognized the story immediately, and watched to see if the director placed any "homages" in the new version. Sure enough, in the flashback scene with the fiancé while they are on the bed, a TV in the background is showing the original 1955 TV show.

    Interestingly enough, showing how things have changed since 1955: Joseph Cotton (playing the lead) receives a call from an accountant in his firm, who has been fired. The accountant starts crying, and Joseph Cotton is disgusted. It is only after he is paralyzed after an car accident, when he is about to be autopsied, that he sheds a tear, saving himself. In the new version, Richard Thomas is impotent, and is saved only by having an erection. How times have changed!moreless
  • Not the best, but definitely one of the better episodes in the series.

    I haven't read the short story, so my review is purely based on the TV adaptation only.

    I thought this was a very good episode in the series. It is not really gory, even though one might think that because of the name of the episode. At first you wonder whether Howard is really dead or alive, but later, as the story unfolds, you learn the truth as to what happened to him. This episode was filled with suspense, and towards the end, I found myself at the edge of my seat, hoping that Howard would somehow come out of his paralysis and slap the two autopsy staff. I was also surprised by Rusty's character. At first, I thought that he was a bad guy who didn't respect the dead, but he actually comes through later. Besides that, the humor was displayed nicely in this episode. I mean, you really feel scared for Howard's character, but at the same time, you cannot help but laugh at the comments that Howard makes when the two lovebirds are examining him.

    Probably the only negative piece of this episode was Howard's fiancée, Angela (acted by Jude Beaumont). Jude really needs to take some acting lessons, because her actions and emotions of her character were so insipid, I wasn't moved one bit. It felt like she was trying too hard just to look upset in front of the camera. Apart from that, another thing that I didn't like was how suddenly the ending was. I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone, so I won't mention it, but if you have seen the episode, you will understand when I say that everything moved just too fast in the end. It's just impossible for someone to act like that just after they have been operated and that too only for a second by a doctor, where we don't even see what the doctor even did! For those reasons, I didn't give a full score for this episode.

    Anyway, apart from the negative side, this episode was much better than most of the others in the series. It's hard to make an episode that's eerie, funny and thrilling at the same time, but "Autopsy Room Four" seems to pull it off perfectly.moreless
Richard Thomas

Richard Thomas

Howard Cottrell

Guest Star

Greta Scacchi

Greta Scacchi

Dr. Katie Arlen

Guest Star

Brian Lipson

Brian Lipson

Mike the Orderly

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions