The Road Virus Heads North


Year: 2006
Director: Sergio Mimica-Gezzan
Writer: Peter Filardi
Starring: Tom Berenger, Marsha Mason, Susie Porter, Marg Downey, Hamish Michael

Well you’re a smug one…what do you know that I don’t know?

A second Nightmares and Dreamscapes short film review (Ah, once again the salve on my conscience!) from the TNT series a few years back. I’ve stated in the forums before that my first taste of Stephen King was when I picked up a paperback copy of one of his horror masterpieces, It. I quickly jumped from that novel to his first short story collection and haven’t stopped since. I do not think all of his books are great but at least there is always something enjoyable from his nightmarish tales.

We start the film off with what is an inside view of I suppose Richard Kinnel’s (Berenger) body as he drives to Boston for a meet and greet at a bookstore. We see that his fans are rather rabid, one goth looking woman hands him a hand of Glory and he casually comments to his assistant that he receives at least ten a year. The crowd of fans are being held back by security as Richard talks to his manager, it seems that he had shut off his phone so he couldn’t be bothered with the man’s questions. Richard is looking as if he is possibly burned out from life in general. He excuses himself from the meet and greet and we next see him getting a colon check-up and he receives some bad news…there is something but the doctor is not sure what it is.

Richard is rightfully worried about the medical news of possible doom and while pumping gas at a station he sees a yard sale and decides to give it a quick look. Of the many items he finds, including some of the paperback books he has written, the one that catches his eye is a rather creepy painting of a young man behind the steering wheel of a shadowy vehicle ‘racing’ towards the viewer with a cruel smile. Judy Diment (Downey), the woman who is handling the yard sale recognizes the author and remarks she should have known he would have been drawn to the painting. Richard asks if she can give him information about the artwork and Judy informs him that it is an original and belonged to a troubled young man named Bobby Hastings (Michael). Bobby got involved with drugs and finally took all of his artwork and sketchbooks and burned them in the yard, Judy explains that his mother said they were mostly sexual in nature, but he kept the one painting at the sale. After destroying his work he hung himself with a chain in the garage where his mother found him with a note pinned to his shirt that read “I can’t stand what is happening to me.” Richard is disturbed by the story but decides to purchase the painting anyway, throwing it in the back of his car.

On his way to pick up his dog, Hobo, from his ex-wife’s (Porter) house he decides to stop by his Aunt Trudy’s (Mason) place to visit and let her know of his doctor’s visit. In the backseat though, the driver’s smile widens to reveal very sharp teeth.

So end the spoilers, friends. You’ll have to watch the film yourself to see what else happens with the painting. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the review, Stephen King books may not always be great but you do find things to enjoy about them, such is the case of this offering. Tom Berenger is a great actor and does a fine job as not only a man dealing with what might be some very bad medical news but also as someone who is confronted with a very deadly Supernatural occurrence. The film is too short and unfortunately ends rather too abruptly. I give the Road Virus Heads North three and a half pumpkins out of five.

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Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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