The Dead Zone is a 1983 American science-fiction supernatural horror thriller film directed by David Cronenberg. The screenplay, by Jeffrey Boam, is based on the 1979 novel of the same name by Stephen King. The film stars Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt, Herbert Lom, Martin Sheen, Anthony Zerbe, and Colleen Dewhurst. Walken plays a schoolteacher, Johnny Smith, who awakens from a coma to find he has psychic powers. The film received positive reviews. The novel also inspired a television series of the same name in the early 2000s, starring Anthony Michael Hall, the 2-hour pilot episode of which borrowed some ideas and changes used in the 1983 film.
When Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) awakens from a coma caused by a car accident, he finds that years have passed, and he now has psychic abilities. Heartbroken that his girlfriend (Brooke Adams) has moved on with her life, Johnny also must contend with his unsettling powers, which allow him to see a person's future with a mere touch. After shaking the hand of aspiring politician Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen), Johnny sees the danger presented by the candidate's rise and resolves to kill him.
In the novel, the phrase “dead zone” refers to the part of Johnny Smith's brain that is irreparably damaged, resulting in his dormant psychic potential awakening. When some information in Johnny's visions is beyond his perception, he considers that information as existing “in the dead zone.” In the film adaptation, the phrase “dead zone” is that part of his psychic vision that is missing — a blank area that he cannot see. This “dead zone” refers to an outcome that is not yet determined, meaning Johnny can change the future.
The music soundtrack, composed by Michael Kamen, was recorded by the National Philharmonic Orchestra, London, at the famous EMI Abbey Road Studios.