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The Stand - Mega Hit Miniseries - Fantasy or Forewarning?
Based on what is arguably Steven King's best novel, The Stand went way beyond the horror genre to which it was assigned. Originally made as a television mini series aired in 1994, audiences across America waited with baited breath to see what would happen night after night.
I missed it!
I got to see the first part of it back in the day. Much to my disappointment, I missed the conclusion. I'm so glad the days of being at the whim of the TV guide are over. Now, thanks to DVD and streaming video, I can watch it when ever I want.
Follow along to see why The Stand gripped audiences and had everyone talking.
Horror just scratched the surface.
I think because King is known as a horror author, The Stand just got lumped into that category. It certainly has all the components of a good horror story.
It also has elements of science fiction, romance and drama. An argument could even be reasonably made for a post apocalyptic christian fiction categorization.
Pandemic coming to you soon via the Obama nation
The basic premise - A spoiler free version.
Man's arrogance gets away from him resulting in a catastrophic event that sweeps the globe wiping out most of humanity. In some secret lab, of which there are many scattered across our fair land, a super bug gets out. Before you know it, some yahoo panics and manages to spread it across the nation before his demise.
From all over the country, King provides the most believable characters. While they differ widely in what kind of people they are and what lifestyles they lead, the apocalypse must be dealt with by all. One could say it becomes the great leveler of the playing field.
Trash was one of the most interesting characters in The Stand from a psychological perspective
A polarization of good and evil across America occurs.
Through the series, we see people faced with the most basic choice faced by us all. It's pick a side time. There are really only two teams left, good and evil, with no shades of grey remaining.
One of the the things I really liked about this story is that we get to meet both sides. In so many movies, the viewer gets a really good look at the makeup of one side or the other, but seldom the characters comprising both.
In The Stand, good guys and bad guys get equal play. In some ways, I found the bad guys more interesting than the good guys. This was a direct result of the so real situations they were in and how the circumstances influenced the side they ended up on. It's a moving trip looking down the fork in the road on the decision making process, a not so silent commentary on how environmental factors play a role in the human condition. Perhaps it is best stated as some cases of "but for the grace of God go I."
Ruby Dee played Mother Abigail
Laura San Giacomo played Nadine Cross in The Stand
Stuart Redman was brought to life by Gary Sinese
A star studded cast makes the movie.
80's brat pack leaders Molly Ringwald and Rob Lowe both have major roles as do many other Hollywood heavy hitters. While there are way too many big names here to list them all, let us meet a few of them.
Mother Abagail - The oldest woman left alive, the champion of God and all that is good remaining, Ruby Dee brought to life this beloved character as no one else could have. If I close my eyes, I can still hear her voice.
We lost Ruby Dee yesterday, Jully 11, 2014. The world will miss her. A ground breaking actress loved by fans the world over, Ruby will never be forgetten. God rest her soul.
Randall Flagg - The head bad guy, son of Satan, psychic walking nightmare, this character is not what one would normally expect out of the Antichrist. He's never called that specifically in the movie, but it's close enough. Looking like a good old boy and being everything but, he was brought to everlasting infamy on the screen by James Sheridan.
Tom Cullen - Tom is a developmentally disabled young man with a heart of gold. Bill Fagerbakkee should get an Oscar for his portrayal of Tom, in my opinion. I worked with this population for years. Never have I seen any actor play the part of a mentally retarded individual so well. Never.
Fran Goldsmith - She's a typical teen that finds herself suddenly alone and pregnant after the apocalypse takes her father and virtually everyone else she knows, save the one annoying boy she's never been able to get rid of.
Harold Lauder - The one boy our dear Fran just can't get rid of. He's super smart, sweet and too in love with Fran for his own good.
Stuart Redman - Brought to life by Gary Sinese, Stewart is the hero of the piece, well one of them. Hailing from east Texas, Stewart is in on the action from start to finish. Down home, lovable, and possessing of a keen sense of right and wrong, this poor guy is again and again called on to do the impossible.
Larry Underwood - Really cute and on the brink of stardom, Larry is a good guy headed down the wrong road, until the apocalypse gets his attention. In the story, Larry, played by Adam Storke, is a singer. His first album is climbing the charts when the world goes down the tubes. The song is played a bunch in the movie. Personally, I think the song is terrible! That being said, there is a scene where he's sitting on an abandoned car singing another tune to himself. That song is really good. Go figure.
Nadine Cross - An interesting figure, somewhat tragic and memorably played by Laura San Giacomo, Nadine is destined for great things. She's no naive girl that's for sure. Loved by two of the finest guys surviving on the planet, watch this savvy city girl as she makes her choice.
Is the movie as good as the book?
Honestly, no. What movie ever is? Seriously, the book is fantastic but some characters had to be left out. There were just too many and the story was too long for the screen. As movie makes go, it's not a bad one.
I saw the mini series before reading the book. I'm glad. It sparked my interest enough to read the book which is not short by any means.
Forewarning for the future?
One thing that strikes me every time I see this film is the probability of the scenario. It's way high. Super minds from think tanks around the globe agree a pandemic is one of the top ten most likely extinction level events to sweep the planet.
King's take on a government facility letting a super bug escape them is just too real for my tastes. Actually, I'm surprised this hasn't happened already. People say oh, it's the government. They know what they are doing.
Really? I say look what they have done to health care and pretty much everything else they have ever touched. To quote another favorite movie hero of mine, Burt Gummer stated in Tremors 3 Back to Perfection something to the effect that government takes something simple and complicates it. I couldn't agree more.
Regardless of how many precautions are taken, nature can't be controlled. With that in mind, The Stand illustrates with glaring clarity how it would be best not to try.
It's a lasting addition to the post apocalyptic fiction genre.
The Stand is and will remain a front runner in the post apocalyptic fiction realm. Lovers of horror, Steven King, natural catastrophe extinction level event films, drama and great stories showing the ongoing struggle between good and evil will cherish The Stand.
The Stand trailer
Check out the trailers and a favorite clip from The Stand.
The last video is a part of the movie I dearly love. No one could have played Mother Abagail like Ruby Dee.
Both she and Ossie Davis who is also in the show do award winning jobs in their respective performances.
My favorite scene with Ruby Dee as Mother Abigail
Nothing tops a book.
Nothing tops a book.
Who is your favorite character?
This is a deep wade in that it's really long. Well written and easy to understand, this journey through the apocalypse is scary squared not because of hidden twists and turns, but rather due to the probability of it really happening. King brings home this tale as if it were today's headlines.
© 2014 Rhonda Lytle