Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King

Season 1 Episode 8

You Know They Got A Hell Of A Band

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Aug 02, 2006 on TNT

Episode Recap

A couple, Clark and Mary Willingham, are driving cross-country. Clark is a computer programmer heading for a new job and Mary is a teacher. After a brief stop at a restaurant and an encounter with a local boy, Mary dozes off in the car and has a nightmare of the boy skating away from her in a diner as she confronts a jukebox with a severed finger on it. The jukebox container fills up with blood and ears and fingers float inside…and then she wakes up.

The Willinghams have reached a fork in the road and end up choosing more or less at random. The road gets narrower as they drive toward the evening and into the deeper woods. They come to a tree blocking the road and suddenly the CD player shorts out and spits out the CD, which melts. There's no cell phone service and as Clark tries to move the tree, Mary briefly sees him as an old man, then sees her self similarly aged in the rear view mirror. But then everything gets back to normal, Clark moves the tree, and they drive along. Mary grows increasingly concerned until they see a sign welcoming them to "Rock and Roll Heaven."

They drive in and find a bright cheery town straight out of Norman Rockwell. Mary is still suspicious and wants to turn around, but Clark wants to buy a souvenir and check the town out. Mary gets out and starts walking but Clark drives along with her and eventually convinces her to come into town with her. They're interrupted when a rainbow-painted magic bus drives by with hippies inside. Mary finally gives in.

They drive through town as a variety of people look on, but all look rather depressed. The Willinghams drive by a concert shell advertising a convert that evening. Clark pulls up to a diner to get a drink and they pass two guys who Mary seems to recognize. The diner's jukebox is filled with old songs but Mary gets Clark to order their drinks. Clark thinks the head waitress looks like the deceased Janis Joplin and Mary agrees, wondering if they've wandered into a place filled with impersonators.

As Clark goes over to talk to "Janis," Mary picks up a napkin where the other waitress has written "Get out while you still can." Mary calls Clark over for his pie and tries to slip him the napkin, but he misses it. The cook comes out and "Janis" calls him "Nick." Mary thinks she recognizes him too, as Ricky Nelson. Mary sends Clark out to get her wallet as there is a burst of music from the concert shell and the townsfolk react in horror.

As Clark goes out, two other men come in who are the spitting images of Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly. As Clark goes out, "Buddy" chats Mary up and suggests they stay for the concert. As Mary looks on, blood starts to ooze from "Buddy's" eye and "Janis" spits up maggots. Mary panics and runs out, and "Janis" tells the guys to get her since she didn't pay her bill.

She runs out to the car where Clark is ready. The two guys from earlier, who Clark also recognizes as dead rock stars, block their way and force them to back up. "Ricky" hangs on to their hood as the other dead rock stars look on in amusement. Clark manages to throw Ricky flying but he levitates to his feet, fine. Clark runs him over but Ricky gets up behind them again, unharmed. The rock stars close in and Clark drives out of town.

They get past the city limits and start down the road, but the bus is blocking the road up ahead and they skid into it. They try to back up but the engine is wrecked. The bus opens and a guitarist gets out and plays, while the police show up behind them – Otis Redding. With him is the mayor – Elvis Presley. As Elvis takes them back, he explains the road would have run out into the swamp anyway. Mary asks if they can go once they hear the show, but Elvis suggests they stick around for a while, maybe even settle down.

That night the normal townsfolk close up shop and head out to the concert stage as the Willinghams arrive. The waitress from earlier introduces herself as C.C. and is missing two fingers as punishment handed out by Frankie Lyman. She tells them the show ends at midnight…but time runs differently. Clark says they've got jobs – he's a clerk boy and she'll be working in a beauty shop. Mary tries to go but Clark is definitely cowed and a spotlight comes on to pinpoint her. The band starts up as disc jockey Alan Freed comes out to introduce the show. C.C. warns it's easy to lose track of time and can't remember how long she's been in town. All of the rock stars come out and the concert begins.