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Dead Zone (1983)

Stephen King movies are a tricky lot – There have been over 40 movie and TV adaptations of his work, and for every Misery (1990) there is more than the odd The Dark Half.

Luckily, this thriller starring Christopher Walken as a teacher rebuilding his life after a five-year coma is one of the better ones, and has a terrific hypothetical at its heart: If you knew what you knew now, would you kill Hitler if you suddenly found yourself in 1930’s Germany?

One fateful night, Johnny Smith (Walken) smashes head-on into an enormous truck. For five years Johnny is plunged into a deep coma. When he awakens he discovers that his youth, his career and his fiancee, Sara (Brooke Adams) have all been lost.


But Johnny has gained something – extraordinary psychic powers allowing him to see visions of the past, present and future.

As Johnny’s value to society increases, his life crumbles and the gift becomes a curse, especially when he envisions the horrifying truth of mankind’s destiny under the possible control of evil politician Martin Sheen (a long way from his character on The West Wing).

Filmed with a gentle yet unnerving style by David Cronenberg, this is a truly chilling film, with a satisfactorily twisty ending.

Johnny Smith
Christopher Walken
Sarah Bracknell
Brooke Adams
Sheriff George Bannerman
Tom Skerritt
Dr Sam Weizak
Herbert Lom
Roger Stuart
Anthony Zerbe
Henrietta Dodd
Colleen Dewhurst
Greg Stillson
Martin Sheen
Frank Dodd
Nicholas Campbell
Herb Smith
Sean Sullivan
Vera Smith
Jackie Burroughs
Sonny Elliman
Geza Kovacs

David Cronenberg