Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King

Season 1 Episode 5

The Road Virus Heads North

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Jul 26, 2006 on TNT
out of 10
User Rating
78 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Road Virus Heads North
Writer Richard Kinnell is on a way back from a check-up where he's found out he may soon be facing death. On his way home he stops off at a garage sale and is intrigued by a painting of a vicious killer driving a car. Kinnell buys the picture, but as he heads home he realizes that the painting is...changing. The car in the picture is following his route, and getting closer with every minute...moreless

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  • A writer driving home ends up being followed by a creature from a painting.

    I've scored this with a 6 because of some effective scary moments and because of the acting, which is pretty good, but unfortunately, the script is a mess and even Berenger cannot save it from being mediocre at best and terrible in bits.

    The storyline simply does not make sense without an explanation for the 'why', and the cancer storyline simply isn't good enough.

    In parts it feels as if it's just a delusion, a nightmare of the main character but it boils down to a script that slaughtered the original story, which was somewhat confusing to start with. Too bad !moreless
  • Worst yet!

    Tom Berenger has the worst luck! The man hasn’t had a decent role in years! After “Platoon” who would have thought it would come to this? A direct-to-video actor. What a shame.

    Anyway, Berenger also has the misfortune of being in the worst episode of “Nightmares and Dreamscapes”, at least so far. I didn’t read the Stephen King short-story but as presented here, the plot simply makes no sense. We never know why the “spirit” is chasing Richard. What was the kid into when he was alive? What kind of curse was this? There’s just no explanation. The end is the same. It comes out of nowhere and “bam” it’s over. Very unsatisfying. Tom Berenger is good in his role but the script was just too bad for him to make anything of it. Not a complete waste of time as there are some effective moments of suspense and fear but still very disappointing.moreless
  • What the @#$% ??????

    Ok, am I just dumb, or are there others that are confused with this episode??? There seems to be a lot of needless things in this episode that just confuse the issue: barking dogs, what did this signify?, visits to people, that are for sure to be killed, only to not be. Then at the end, he is laying in a clump at the bottom of the stairs, sees blood in the painting (I don't know what that meant either), then he says it time to go outside, and......IT ENDS!! I thought the story was o.k., until the end comes and I am left hanging with questions I don't have answers for. For me, my least favorite episode of the series so far. I just didn't get it.moreless
  • A good start leading to a bad ending.

    This episode started off really well, and it progressed steadily, but halfway through, it got messed up. Firstly, I thought it ended too abruptly. I still don't get why the ghost of Bobby Hastings was following Richard through the painting. What did it want from him? Also, why did Bobby attack only Judy, and not Trudy (Richard's aunt) or Sally (Richard's friend whom he leaves his dog to)? When you build on a story for an hour, you are expected to see a good end to it. What's even worse is that, the suspense in the beginning of this story was very good, but because of the end, it later seemed like a total let down. Due to the end, you feel like the characters such as Richard's aunt Trudy and his friend Sally were a waste of time, because they don't add to the plot in anyway, except give him the same advice, and provide the same remark on the painting.

    On the other hand, the plus points of this episode were Tom Berenger's acting, and the scene where the sales lady Judy gets murdered (since that was the only scary part of the episode). Unfortunately, even Berenger's acting cannot balance the awful end of this episode.

    All in all, I think 'Road virus heads north' had great potential, if only they had provided more information as to what was going on.

  • Why oh why didn't they stick to the original story?

    Tom Berenger does all he can to salvage this episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes, but unfortunately he is not left with a lot after the short story was butchered and the directing was way too distracting. For whatever reason a 'cancer' theme was introduced into this story, and it leads to very confusing sub plots and characters being introduced. At one point we see a very gruesome clue left behind by the killer in the story, but there is never any explanation as to why this happened and what relevance it has to the plot other than to be 'scary', it seems like this episode was thrown in at the last second.moreless
Tom Berenger

Tom Berenger

Richard Kinnell

Guest Star

Hamish Michael

Hamish Michael

Bobby Hastings

Guest Star

Marsha Mason

Marsha Mason

Aunt Trudy

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Just before Richard turns the volume up on the car stereo at the start of the episode, we can see it says "No discs loaded" yet he is listening to music. If he was listening to the radio, it should show the station.

    • When Richard tumbles down the steps, for a brief second you can see there are a few Stephen King novels scattered on the floor, obviously self-referencing the author within his own series. Two of the visible titles are Pet Sematary and The Tommyknockers.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • (talking to the painting)
      Richard: You hear the Road Virus? Aunt Trudy wants you to go for a swim.
      Aunt Trudy: No. Sink!

    • (Richard is receiving a medical exam)
      Doctor: Are you comfy, Richard?
      Richard: No, I'm wealthy. My caboose has landed its own reality show. Let me know if you find my dignity up there.

  • NOTES (1)


    • Aunt Trudy: Get busy livin'.
      In the Shawshank Redemption, a movie based on a Stephen King short story, Red (played by Morgan Freeman) said many times "get busy livin', or get busy dyin'"

    • Richard Kinnell says that he still has two hours to drive to Derry. Derry is the fictional setting for Stephen King's "It".