DVD cover of the miniseries showing John C. McGinley as Edgler Vess
|Directed by||Yves Simoneau|
|Produced by||Preston Fischer
Dean R. Koontz
Deborah Edell Underwood
|Written by||Stephen Tolkin|
|Based on||Intensity by Dean Koontz|
John C. McGinley
|Music by||George S. Clinton|
|Edited by||Michael Ornstein|
|Distributed by||Columbia TriStar Domestic Television
Sony Pictures Television
Intensity is a 1997 made-for-TV mini-series based on the novel of the same name by Dean Koontz, starring John C. McGinley, Molly Parker, Piper Laurie, and Tori Paul. It originally aired in the United States on the Fox Network.
Intensity is about a 26-year-old woman named Chyna Shepherd (Molly Parker), who had a very troubled upbringing. Chyna is reluctant but agrees to accompany her friend Laura Templeton to her house for Thanksgiving dinner. Just when things seemed to be going better for Chyna, she has a run-in with a serial killer named Edgler Vess (John C. McGinley), whom she witnesses murdering Laura's family. Chyna survives the attack by hiding in the killer's vehicle. When Edgler stops at a gas station, Chyna escapes and asks the two attendants to call the police.
Before she has time to explain though, Edgler returns and murders the two workers with a shotgun. Chyna then learns that he is holding a 14-year-old girl named Ariel hostage in his basement. She becomes determined to save Ariel and follows Edgler back to his home. On the road she runs into an older woman named Miriam (Piper Laurie) and asks her to call the police. The woman does not realize that Chyna is serious about the murders until she sees the two dead bodies back at the gas station. Unfortunately, she is hysterical on the phone with the police, telling them that they 'need to save Chyna and Ariel,' which the police interpret as a crazy lady talking about the country China. Upon trying to fall back to sleep, the policeman, Ethan Trevaine, remembers the name Ariel as a missing person's case and starts investigating. Trevaine starts to find clues on what type of vehicle the killer was driving, and what Miriam was talking about earlier.
Meanwhile, the car Chyna is driving runs out of gas so she leaves it in the middle of his road, forcing him to stop and push it out of the way. While he does so, Chyna runs back into his trailer and hides, unknowingly leaving foot prints. Edgler decides to have some fun and pretend he does not know she is there.
While at the home, Chyna witnesses Vess torture his victim and has memories of her disturbed mother and horrible childhood, which resulted in the deaths of her grandparents, who threatened to take their grandchild away from her abusive mother and her boyfriend. Her mother's boyfriend shot and killed them both, while Chyna was hiding under her bed for protection. Never revealed, it is implied that her mother, Lori, and her mother's boyfriend, Jim, got life in prison for murder, leaving Chyna an orphan. Ethan arrives at Vess' house, where Vess orders his pet Doberman dogs to kill him when gets he too nosy.
Vess dresses himself up as a State Trooper to make it appear as if Chyna had murdered her friends, the gas station employees and took Ariel as a hostage to "satisfy" her needs. The film ends when Chyna locks Vess in a room and sets that room on fire, watching him get burned alive. Chyna then adopts Ariel.