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MICK GARRIS DIRECTS STEPHEN KING'S 'THE STAND' MINISERIES

Adam Storke sits out a song in THE STAND Year: 1994

TV Miniseries from 1994 based on Stephen King's THE STAND, nicely directed by King's SLEEPWALKERS collaborator Mick Garris...

An epic's epic centering on an eclectic band of survivors from a deadly plague that eventually unite around shared dreams of an old black Christian lady on a farm, an out of tune guitar, and a divine vision to lead the Chosen Ones...

That's except for a few chosen rotten apples including a jealous teenage virgin, a sexy pill popper, and a spastic psychopath — two are female, and both... 

And especially a fiendishly sympathetic Laura San Giacomo as this baby's targeted Rosemary... fare better and more realistic than Molly Ringwald's subdued performance as a sweet, knocked-up ingenue... 

Despite her eventual leading man Gary Sinise's sublime turn as a tough silent-type Texan, one of the coolest, most relaxing yet subtle bad-ass heroes in television history. When some story-lines drag beyond their limit, it's always Gary's anchoring Stu Redman who puts the puzzle back together... but in the smooth, cool hero department, he's got some beyond-capable assistance/competition...


Gary Sinise steals his own show in THE STAND
Like Adam Storke is the reluctant, glib, black sheep good guy Larry Underwood, the most involving while wandering through desolation: a popular but fledgling rock star whose one hit wonder is referenced throughout, a funky, glossy, disco-meshed pop tune that even The Devil himself, Randall Flagg, sings with irony: "Baby Can You Dig Your Man... He's a Righteous Man!"

Enter Jamey Sheriden, a Michael Madsen type of grungy-handsome blue-jeans clad villain who intentionally chews up the scenery, sometimes literally while, alas, his face morphs ala gooey-looking mid-90's television-budget CGI (resembling Michael Jackson's "Black And White" video, directed by John Landis who makes a cameo here). But it's Flagg's number one man played by Miguel Ferrer (an antagonistic yet realistically vulnerable b-side to Storke's dependable rogue) who provides a logical, down-to-earth realism to the "other side," all residing fitfully in Sin City itself: a collection of "scum and villainy," and beyond...

Miguel Ferrer in THE STAND
The best scenes occur when particular characters travel either alone or in small groups within the now nothingness of America, from cities to small towns, the kind of searching through nothingness story Stephen King said he loves to write, and watch. These eclectic nomads develop through a combined tension that exists outside the realm of expository, providing THE STAND a palpable horror flick vibe with the heart of a Disaster Film that's already served its purpose, and, divided in four parts, the good guys eventually wind up in one of Stephen King's favorite states... Not Maine but Colorado...

Bridgit Ryan as Larry's girl in THE STAND
Shifting back from the cold fresh air to the sinister Vegas heat is a nicely balanced handing-off of characters, a few of them spontaneous and edgy enough (like Shawnee Smith, who bullies a deaf-mute Rob Lowe and his gentle giant friend, Bill Fagerbakke) to be chilling and creepy enough to make up for a lack of overall scariness...

"I don't see any whores!" John Landis
Making this apocalyptic melodrama intriguingly diabolical with enough tension and random bouts of action despite an abundance of what can either be called flaws: Or perhaps, in the King fashion, intentionally campy b-movie homage... Or genuinely classic nods or else simply coincidences, from PATHS OF GLORY (the imprisoned squashed cockroach) to BLACK SUNDAY (an annoyed Corin Nemic making his basement bomb) to CHINATOWN ("Summer colds are the worst"): But what this STAND goes for, works...

Only rabid fans of King's epic's epic novel will find reasons to be disappointed. Others, most likely, are pleased by the immense-yet-contained, popcorn-on-the-couch entertainment value and the (as it's now referred to as) binge-worthy aspect. Although just about everyone will agree that the Finger-on-The-Button finale is pretty anticlimactic (and dated... even then). But that's but a whimper compared to the big, wonderfully addictive bang leading up!
Rob Lowe and Bill Fagerbakke in THE STAND
Miguel Ferrer arrested in The Plague from THE STAND
Adam Storke in his Digyoman vehicle from THE STAND
Had the world not been so rudely interrupted, Brittney Lewis as Arlene would be Larry Underwood's dream
Adam Storke with Laura San Giacomo in THE STAND
Laura San Giacomo as the damned sexy Nadine in THE STAND
Full-lipped beauty Bridgit Ryan's Lucy Swann wins the award as the cutest girl in THE STAND dammit!
Bridgit Ryan as Lucy Swann w/ a lucky Adam Storke as Larry Underwood in THE STAND
Mick Garris said this was NOT a Black Sunday homage; but Nemic's attitude matched Bruce Dern; and 1977 music is played
Cutest of The Stand are Kellie Overbey as Danya Jergens with Bridgit Ryan as Lucy Swann
Kellie Overbey as Danya Jergens with Lloyd played by Miguel Ferrer in THE STAND
Kellie Overbey as Danya Jergens in THE STAND with Jamey Sheriden as The Devil Randall Flagg
Kellie Overbey as Danya Jergens in THE STAND as the sexiest dashboard in the Rockies
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