Monstervision Host Segments

The Dead Zone

"The Dead Zone" put a whole new spin on Psychic Friends. Read on for a Cartesian critique of the picture (scared ya!) that many believe is the best Stephen King adaptation ever. Plus, Joe Bob discusses the virtues of beef and Inspector Dreyfus' true identity!


See these pork rinds? What are pork rinds made of? What particular part of the pig does the RIND come from? We probly don't wanna think about it, do we? But, you see, the pork rind, I have discovered, is the perfect accompaniment to tonight's movie "The Dead Zone," one of the best Stephen King movies ever made, where Christopher Walken wakes up from a Rip Van Winkle coma and starts having visions that he's not too happy about.
Am I the last person in America who doesn't give a flip about what he eats? I can see the expressions on your faces. "I can't believe you're eatin those." Why can't you believe it? You're WATCHIN ME DO IT.
"Do you know what McDonald's does to your cholesterol?" Yeah, I do. It makes my cholesterol FEEL GOOD. I'm sick of having these conversations. Whatever happened to the hippies, who said, "Listen to your body, and your body will tell you what it needs"? I'm listenin to my body, and my body is sayin, "Ribeye steak!" First of all, everybody knows I'm from Texas, so why would they even BRING UP the red-meat issue? What do they REALLY expect me to say? "Oh, yeah, well, it only took us 160 years of breeding the best cattle in the world until they TASTED RIGHT. Why don't we just kill all the herds and plant brussels sprouts?" I mean, I wouldn't go into an Amish community and tell em their hats were out of date.
Anyhow, I have a lot more faith in the human body than nutrition experts do. Because I've been watchin this situation. I know vegetarians that look like they oughta be in a Sally Struthers infomercial, and I know Jack-Daniels-drinkin pasta-packers that can run a marathon when they're 84 years old. I've also read those articles about archaeologists that dig up people from 5,000 years ago and figure out what they were eating -- and the answer is, "Any old crapola they could get their hands on." It was stuff that would KILL us, but it made THEM strong. Which says to me that the body changes according to what you put in it. It FIGURES IT OUT. It deals with it. It's SMARTER than anybody trying to MANIPULATE IT. I've decided to listen to what my STOMACH says. And when my stomach wants a Krispy Kreme donut, I stick one in there. Yall can shut up about it now, okay? Thank you.

All right, I'm gonna pork my rinds here and watch "The Dead Zone." We'll do the drive-in totals at the first break. Roll it.

[reading from bag during fade to black] "Nutritional value" -- are they kidding? They should just put "If you can read this, you don't wanna know."

"THE DEAD ZONE" Commerical Break #1

It's Chief Inspector Dreyfus! Herbert Lom plays Dr. Sam Weizak, and I find it hard to take him seriously in a role like this, because he's soooooo identified as Inspector Clouseau's boss in the "Pink Panther" movies. You expect him to stick a letter opener in his eye at any moment. Which is very unfair, because Herbert Lom is a great actor. He's been in more than a hundred films going back to the forties. He played Napoleon in "War and Peace." In fact, he's one of those international actors who appears in American films, British films, French, Italian, German, and occasionally the films of his native country, Czechoslovakia, or whatever they call it now. Is he Czech, or Slovakian? Never mind. Maybe it's just me, but I can't look at Herbert Lom's face without expecting him to start twitching. And this is NOT that kinda movie. Oh, I said I'd do the drive-in totals. We have: Eight dead bodies. One motor vehicle crash. One exploding house. One Nazi gunbattle. Scissors to the face. Three and a half stars. One of the better Stephen King adaptations. Let's do the ads and then see how it continues. Go.

[fading] Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru. Herbert Lom's real name. I repeat: Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru. You know how I can do that? I had em write it under the camera lens. What, do you think I would MEMORIZE that, just for THIS show?

"THE DEAD ZONE" Commerical Break #2
Now we can see why David Cronenberg wanted to make this film. Cronenberg is, of course, the Canadian director of horror classics like The Fly, "Dead Ringers," "The Brood," "Rabid," and last year's film that nobody knew how to pronounce, "eXistenZ." And he normally only makes films that he writes himself, but THIS film was adapted by Jeffrey Boam from a Stephen King novel. So why would David Cronenberg wanna do this? Two reasons: sex and disease. That's pretty much what ALL his movies are about. And he explained it one time by saying he was a Cartesian. You guys know what a Cartesian is? That's a person who is steeped in the theories of 17th-century French philosopher Rene Descartes. And, of course, we all know what he said, right? Sure. He said that all humans are composed of two substances -- mind and body -- and the mind is a conscious entity that understands, wills, senses and imagines, while the body is a being extended in length, width, and breath, but that whereas minds are indivisible, bodies are infinitely divisible, so that the mind can outlive the body, hence "I think, therefore I am," and that despite these two different natures, mind and body interact in a causal relationship, so that the human mind causes motions in the body via the brain, producing sensations and emotions, while the complex functioning of the body can create in the brain sensations of color, sound, taste, smell, heat and cold, even though there is nothing in bodies that resembles them- - hence the existence of a rarefied concept of pain, a la Christopher Walken in this movie, whose mind now functions independently of his body and may in fact be feeding on said body. Right? Pretty obvious when you think about it. Back after the ads.

[fading] Maybe you'd like for me to explain what Cartesian co-ordinates are? Maybe not. I drink, therefore I am Joe Bob.

"THE DEAD ZONE" Commerical Break #3
That was Jackie Burroughs as Christopher Walken's religious-fanatic mother. In Canada, Jackie Burroughs is big star, especially in the theater -- a theater legend, sort of like Helen Hayes was in America. She's best known in this country for being the producer, director, writer and star of a movie called "A Winter Tan" that came out in 1987. I haven't seen it, but I read the following description of it: "A middle-aged feminist embarks on a hedonistic alcohol-sodden sexual odyssey through Mexico." I'd watch that! Wouldn't you? Okay, the Mail Girl is comin out later, so send your e-mails now to joebob@ Or send em snail-mail care of TNT, 1010 Techwood Drive, Atlanta, Georgia, 30318. Or you can go to our website at and do it that way. Back in a minute.

"THE DEAD ZONE" Commerical Break #4
Well, the TNT censors did hack a few seconds out of the Deputy Dodd suicide scene there. In the original version, we do see him set those scissors up and ram em right through his face, in one of THE most disturbing images of the film. David Cronenberg is known for grisly. After all, he was the first guy to do an exploding head on screen, in his 1981 flick "Scanners." And, of course, he made "Crash," about people having sex during car wrecks. So this is a pretty tame movie by comparison with his usual stuff. One interesting thing. That white gazebo where Christopher Walken figures out the murder -- that was built especially for the movie. And after they finished the film, they offered to donate it to the town. Well, it caused a big controversy, because they were shooting in the historic and picturesque town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, where they have the famous Shaw Theater Festival every summer. And everything in the town has to be historic and authentic and antique and quaint. And so the town fathers wanted to tear it down, because it was not a REAL antique. So the producers of the movie said, "Fine, we'll wreck it." And then, at the last minute, they decided to keep it -- and nobody knows exactly why. But it's still there. Commercials, and then back to the movie.

"THE DEAD ZONE" Commerical Break #5
And so, as Christopher Walken gets creepier and creepier, weaker and weaker, psychicer and psychicer, illustrating the Cartesian postulate of mind/body co-dependency [crew groans]. . . What? All right, I won't talk about that. Let's read some mail! [crew cheers] You guys are sooo anti-intellectual. All right, we'll do "Joe Bob's Advice to the Hopeless," [enters] and to help us out is one of my few remaining friends in this town, Rusty the TNT Mail Girl.
RUSTY: Let's not get maudlin, okay?
J.B.: I'm not maudlin. I'm despondent. You may have to stay with me until my mood improves. I could be a danger to myself.
RUSTY: You were a danger to yourself BEFORE you got kicked out of --
J.B.: Hey. I left of my own accord. Couple of nice Cartesian postulates, by the way.
RUSTY: Here's an e-mail from Ryan Soileau of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
"Dear Joe Bob,
"You seem to be a pretty funny guy, and you got the looks for one of those B-movie actors, you know the kind. Really can't act, got that fake hick look wearing the uncomfortable steel-toed boots that cause him to look like he dropped the soap in jail. I was just wondering if you have ever received scripts to play parts in any movies. And I resent the implication that all people who are staying home on a Saturday night are fat slobs who can't get a date. In actuality, we are fat lazy slobs who never could get a date so we married the first woman who said maybe, now have three ungrateful kids and have a wife who won't cook and a dog that can't quit licking himself or figure out the concept of going outside to use the bathroom. Just needed to clear that up.
"Ryan Soileau, Lake Charles, Louisiana."

Well, never say I don't know my audience! No matter who abandons me here in El Lay, I'll always have the poor losers like myself who have nothing better to do than watch whatever movie TNT got off the clearance rack that week.
RUSTY: Well, at least you get to hook up to free cable up here in the hills.
J.B.: That's true. Course, my brain is probly gettin cooked, being so close to the main transmitter.
RUSTY: Yeah, but the weather's nice, right?
J.B.: Yeah.
RUSTY: Feel better now?
J.B.: I guess.
RUSTY: Great. Just call me if you get maudlin again. [exits]
J.B.: Really? I'm maudlin right now. Or at least I will be when you get home. What's that number again? What is maudlin anyway? Pissed off, right?

"THE DEAD ZONE" Commerical Break #6
Christopher Walken was 40 years old when this movie came out, and Brooke Adams was 34. These parts, in Stephen King's book, were much younger, but the script was altered to fit these two great actors. I think the chemistry between them is pretty good, and the reason might be that they had known each other since childhood. They met at the High School for the Performing Arts in New York City when Brooke Adams was in seventh grade and Christopher Walken was a senior. And they were both working Off-Broadway while still in their teens. Both of em have made a lot of horror films, for some reason. My favorite Brooke Adams film is "The Unborn" in 1991, one of the best mutant-pregnancy flicks ever made, although she was also in the immortal "Car Wash." And, of course, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And my favorite Christopher Walken movie, out of the SIXTY-SEVEN he's made, is "King of New York," as the cruel upstart mob boss. And he's got that great scene in "Pulp Fiction" where he talks about keeping the guy's watch up his bum. Walken wanted to be a dancer/choreographer -- he did musicals all over the country, met his wife while in the road company of "West Side Story." In fact, his New York stage debut was in a song-and-dance show with Liza Minelli. Hard to imagine today, right? The world's most intense actor, singing "All of Me" -- I don't think so. Anyway, let's do the ads and get back to "The Dead Zone."

[fading] You know those twitches that Christopher Walken does when he's starting to see a horrible vision? David Cronenberg took a .357 Magnum and fired blanks into the air, off-camera, so that Walken's twitches would be realistic, and PAINFUL. What an artist.

"THE DEAD ZONE" Commerical Break #7
The kid who takes the PICTURES of Martin Sheen holding up the baby -- the pictures that bring about his downfall--that kid is Ramon Estevez Jr., Martin's son. Pretty dang good movie.

All right, next week here on "MonsterVision" we got the ORIGINAL Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The movie that launched one of the biggest hit shows of the 90s. Teenage girls everywhere are already programming their VCRs.
That's it for me, Joe Bob Briggs, reminding the women out there that sometimes, we're not thinking about you. Live with it.

You guys hear the one about the three construction workers? Steve, Bill and Charlie are working on a high-rise. Steve falls and is killed instantly. The ambulance takes the body away, and Charlie says, "Someone should go and tell his wife." Bill says, "Okay, I'm pretty good at that sensitive stuff, I'll do it." Two hours later, he comes back carrying a 6-pack. Charlie says, "Where did you get that?" Bill says, "Steve's wife gave it to me." Charlie says, "That's unbelievable, you told the lady her husband was dead and she gave you beer?" Bill says, "Well, not exactly. When she answered the door, I said to her, 'You must be Steve's widow.' And she said, 'No, I'm not a widow.' And I said, 'Wanna bet me a six-pack?'"

Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the drive-in will never die.

Man comes home from the doctor and tells his wife that he has only 24 hours to live. He asks her for sex. Naturally, she agrees, and they make love. About six hours later, the husband goes to his wife and says, "Honey, I now have only 18 hours to live. Could we please do it one more time?" Of course, the wife agrees, and they do it again. Later, as they get into bed, the man looks at his watch and sees that he now has only eight hours left. Man says, "Honey, please, just one more time before I die." She says, "Of course, dear," and they make love for the third time. Afterwards, the wife falls asleep. But the man is worried about his impending death, so he tosses and turns until he's down to four more hours. He taps his wife and says, "Honey, I have only four more hours. Do you think we could..."
Wife sits up and says, "Listen, I have to get up in the morning. You don't!"

The Dead Zone, scheduled occasionally on cable (sadly without host segments, so print this out and read along during commercial breaks), and a new tv series on USA Network "inspired" by Stephen King's novel.

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Host segment transcript of 3/4/00 broadcast
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