Dead Zone, The

The Dead Zone Movie Poster

"In his mind he has the power to see the future.  In his hands he has the power to change it."  The Dead Zone, another movie based on a Stephen King novel, was released in 1983.  In this movie, Christopher Walken stars as Johnny Smith, Brooke Adams as Sarah, and Martin Sheen as Greg Stillson.  The movie received mostly positive reviews, and is still considered to be one of the better 80’s horror flicks.  The movie was a moderate financial success for Paramount.

In this film, Johnny Smith (Walken) wakes up from a 5 year coma (caused by a car accident), only to find he has touch-of-the-hand psychic abilities.  By touching another person, Johnny can learn a person’s past, present, and future secrets.  The abilities begin to wear him down as people begin requesting his talents, such as the sheriff, who wants Johnny to help him solve some murders.  Johnny discovers that the deputy is responsible for the murders, and this discovery ultimately ends in the deputy’s suicide and the deputy’s mother shooting Johnny, which leaves Johnny barely able to walk.

Johnny moves away, trying to live a quiet life.  After becoming friends with a man named Roger and his son Chris, Johnny realizes he can change the future by warning about future events (the “dead zone”).  At one point, Johnny manages to meet presidential candidate Greg Stillson (Sheen), and upon shaking Stillson’s hand, Johnny sees a future vision of a nuclear holocaust between the USA and Russia.  Johnny battles with the idea of killing Stillson to avoid this future.  In the end, Johnny tries to kill Stillson, but the shot misses and Johnny is shot by a security guard.  In the process of trying to protect himself, Stillson held up a baby as a human shield.  While dying, Johnny manages to touch Stillson, where he sees his missed shot ultimately will have the same future effect.  Johnny sees that the public is so disgusted with Stillson’s human shield stunt, that he does not make the presidency and ultimately kills himself.