The Stand (miniseries)

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The Stand
The Stand (TV miniseries).jpg
Television miniseries poster
Genre Apocalyptic, Drama, Horror, Fantasy
Based on The Stand by
Stephen King
Screenplay by Stephen King
Directed by Mick Garris
Starring Gary Sinise
Molly Ringwald
Jamey Sheridan
Rob Lowe
Laura San Giacomo
Miguel Ferrer
Ruby Dee
Bill Fagerbakke
Corin Nemec
Adam Storke
Ray Walston
Matt Frewer
Ossie Davis
Shawnee Smith
Theme music composer W.G. Snuffy Walden
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 4
Producer(s) Stephen King
Mitchell Galin
Cinematography Edward J. Pei
Editor(s) Patrick McMahon
Running time 366 minutes
Production company(s) Laurel Entertainment
Greengrass Productions
Budget $28,000,000 USD
(equivalent to $44,778,626 in 2015)
Original network ABC
Original release May 8 (1994-05-08) – May 12, 1994 (1994-05-12)

The Stand is a 1994 American television miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. King also wrote the teleplay and has a minor role in the series. It was directed by Mick Garris and stars Gary Sinise, Miguel Ferrer, Rob Lowe, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Jamey Sheridan, Laura San Giacomo, Molly Ringwald, Corin Nemec, Adam Storke, Ray Walston, and Matt Frewer. It originally aired on ABC starting on May 8, 1994.[1]


In mid-June at a top-secret government laboratory in rural California, a weaponized version of influenza (called Project Blue) is accidentally released, immediately wiping out everyone on staff except for military policeman Charles Campion, who flees the base with his family. But Campion is already infected by the "superflu," an offshoot of the weaponised virus nicknamed "Captain Trips," which kills at a rate of 99% at a slightly slower pace (over several hours or days) than the instantaneous version released in the lab. Campion spreads it to the outside world as he drives from California to East Texas.

A day or two after his escape Campion crashes his car at a small town gas station in Arnette, East Texas, where Stu Redman (Gary Sinise) and some friends have gathered. The men rush to help and find Campion dying, riddled with hideous symptoms of the virus, and his wife and baby daughter already dead in the car. Stu comforts a dying Campion, who with his dying breath gasps that he was followed from the base by a terrifying figure: "You can't outrun the Dark Man." The next day, the U.S. military arrives to quarantine the town, though it quickly becomes clear that throughout the country they are instituting martial law through deadly means to try to contain both the virus and the truth about it.

The other townspeople, taken with Stu to a a CDC facility in Vermont, soon sicken and die. But Stu remains healthy and is confined against his will, ostensibly to study his immunity and research a possible cure. This proves futile, and the superflu rages unchecked as U.S. government leaders and scientists publicly deny to the very end about the existence of the top-secret bio-weapon. In less than a month civilization collapses and within two months 99% of the entire world's population dies. Stu escapes the facility in Vermont after a crazed doctor attempts to kill him.

By the month of August, after the virus runs its course, immune survivors are scattered across the country. They include would-be rock star Larry Underwood (Adam Storke), who had just had his big break but is now stranded in New York City after retreating to his mother's home to escape Los Angeles loan sharks; Nick Andros (Rob Lowe), a deaf man in Arkansas; Frannie Goldsmith (Molly Ringwald), a pregnant young woman from Ogunquit, Maine; Harold Lauder, Frankie's teenaged neighbor who has had a crush on her since she babysat for him as a young boy; Lloyd Henreid (Miguel Ferrer), a criminal stuck in a prison cell in Arizona; and "Trashcan Man" (Matt Frewer), a mentally ill arsonist and scavenger.

The survivors soon begin having visions, either from kindly Mother Abagail (Ruby Dee) or from the demonic Randall Flagg (Jamey Sheridan). The two sets of survivors are instructed in dreams to either travel to Nebraska to meet Mother Abagail, or to Las Vegas to join Flagg.

As their journeys begin, Lloyd is freed from prison by Flagg in exchange for becoming his second in command. Trashcan Man, who is a pyromaniac, destroys a set of fuel tanks in Indiana, then repeats this in Iowa, destroying the entire city of Des Moines. Through these acts of arson Trashcan Man wins Flagg's favor, and follows the voice of the "Walkin' Dude," directing him to travel to Las Vegas and serve him.

Larry Underwood escapes New York with a mysterious woman named Nadine Cross (Laura San Giacomo). Despite their mutual attraction, Nadine is unable to consummate a relationship with Larry because of her visions of Flagg, who commands her to join him as his concubine, and she leaves Larry to travel on her own.

After escaping the CDC facility, Stu gathers a group of survivors, including Frannie, Harold Lauder (Corin Nemec), and Glen Bateman (Ray Walston), a retired college professor -- and his dog, one of the few to escape the virus. They are later joined on their journey by various other immune survivors who have all been dreaming the same things about Mother Abagail and the Dark One in the West.

As the group travels toward Nebraska and later Boulder, Harold is consumed with jealousy over the ease with which Stu has assumed leadership and grown close to Frannie, who Harold considers his rightful girlfriend (despite Frankie's consistently clear messages to the contrary). When Harold spies on Frannie and Stu kissing in the woods, something in him snaps, though he hides his growing mental instability from the others.

Meanwhile, Nick makes his way across the Midwest, eventually meeting Tom Cullen (Bill Fagerbakke), a gentle mentally challenged man who spells everything "M-O-O-N." On their journey, Nick and Tom encounter Julie Lawry, a vicious girl (Shawnee Smith) who tries to join them, but quickly exposes her evil nature and is rejected by Nick. She vows to kill them and it is clear she is headed not toward Mother Abagail but toward the Other One.

Eventually Nick's group reaches Mother Abagail's farm in Hemingford Home, Nebraska. She warns that a great conflict is imminent and they must all travel on to Boulder, Colorado. There, by mid-September, the various survivors join with others to form a new community, known as the Boulder Free Zone, where they begin restoring society by turning the electricity back on and settling into homes and family life.

Meanwhile, Flagg sets up an autocratic society in Las Vegas, having already restored the electricity and working toward the defeat of the Boulder Free Zone with weapons found in the region -- including nuclear warheads from a nearby silo.

Initially all is well in Boulder. However, by October Frannie feels increasing anxiety because she is unsure whether or not her baby will be immune to the superflu, since its father died of it back in Maine. Meanwhile, Harold grows dissatisfied with his life in Boulder, his resentment of Stu and Frankie becoming an obsession. He begins seeing visions from Flagg. Harold is seduced by Nadine (who is following Flagg's command) and decides to join her in carrying out Flagg's dictates.

Mother Abagail, the spiritual center of Boulder, becomes convinced that she has fallen into the sin of pride and leaves town to walk in the wilderness. The seven members of the Free Zone committee choose three people to go west and spy on Flagg's Las Vegas: Dayna Jurgens (Kellie Overbey), Judge Farris (Ossie Davis), and Tom Cullen. They hypnotize Tom to follow a set of instructions, including that he leave Las Vegas at the next full moon.

Shortly thereafter, Harold and Nadine plant a bomb in Frannie and Stu's home, and set it off during a meeting of the Free Zone council. Meanwhile, Abagail returns to town greatly weakened and gives a psychic warning to the council members at the meeting. The warning allows most of the council to escape the explosion, but Nick and Susan Stern are killed.

In the hospital after the bombing Mother Abagail tells Stu, Larry, Glen, and fellow council member Ralph Brentner that they must travel to Las Vegas to confront Flagg; her message delivered, she passes away. Nadine and Harold make a run for the hills, where Harold dies in an accident caused by Flagg, and Nadine is raped by Flagg, who shows her his true demonic face, driving her to insanity (and causing her hair to turn completely white).

Flagg returns to Las Vegas with a traumatized Nadine. He becomes increasingly unstable, showing his true face to Lloyd in a rage. He finds Dayna Jurgens and she kills herself rather than give away her secrets; Judge Farris gets out of town, but Flagg finds him on the road. However, before he can torture Farris for information, one of his henchmen accidentally kills him (Flagg murders his henchman in a rage for this mistake). Tom Cullen leaves when the moon is full... but the vicious Julie Lawry sees and recognizes him; she tries to alert Flagg, but is too late and Tom makes it out into the desert, where he successfully hides from Flagg and his men. Shortly after this, a crazed and desperate Nadine taunts Flagg about his loss of control over the situation, and in a final act of will commits suicide with Flagg's unholy fetus inside her.

With winter fast approaching, the Boulder foursome of Stu, Larry, Glen, and Ralph set out on their quest. Stu breaks his leg in an accident and must stay behind while the others continue. Larry, Glen, and Ralph are soon captured by Flagg's forces and temporarily imprisoned, although Glen is soon executed for refusing to divulge information in exchange for his life. Larry and Ralph are forced to endure a show trial before being publicly executed in Fremont Street. As they are being tortured, to the delight of Flagg's acolytes, Trashcan Man arrives with a stolen nuclear weapon. Flagg transforms into a demon, but is unable to stop the unfolding chaotic end of his plan; a spectral hand reaches out to detonate the bomb. The voice of Mother Abagail declares that God's promise has been kept, destroying Las Vegas and apparently killing Flagg.

Meanwhile Stu is rescued by Tom, who takes him to a nearby cabin to heal his broken leg as winter sets in. They eventually return to Boulder by December's end in the midst of a blinding snow storm. Frannie gives birth to a baby in Stu's absence. Shortly thereafter Stu arrives back home and learns that the infant has the flu, though the Boulder doctors cannot determine whether or not it will be fatal. After a terrifying wait, the infant Abagail Redman survives the flu, signaling the end of the plague in a world where immune survivors of the superflu virus can now reproduce with the assurance that their offspring will also be immune.

With the end of both Captain Trips and Flagg clearing the way, Stu and Frannie and the other survivors set to work rebuilding their new society.


Moses Gunn had originally been cast as Judge Farris, but shortly after filming had commenced his health declined, and he died shortly after that. Ossie Davis, who was present at the filming because his wife, Ruby Dee, was playing Mother Abagail, took over the role of Judge Farris.[2]

Having both starred in previous film adaptations of King's works, Ed Harris and Kathy Bates both had small, uncredited roles in the early parts of the series. Bates's character, Rae Flowers, was originally a man (Ray Flowers), but when Bates became available, King - who wanted her to play the part - rewrote the role as a woman. Harris plays the Army general in charge of the original bio-weapons project who kills himself after the failure of the disease containment.

Rob Lowe had been originally considered for the role of Larry Underwood, but Garris felt that having him in the more unusual role of the deaf and mute Nick Andros would better suit the production (Lowe has been deaf in his right ear since childhood). Adam Storke ended up with the role of Underwood, where his musical skills were an asset.[2]

Miguel Ferrer, who played Lloyd Henreid, was originally interested in the role of Randall Flagg, but the sights for that part were initially set on actors such as Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, and James Woods. Stephen King wanted someone the audience "wasn't terribly familiar with". After Ferrer heard that Jamey Sheridan had been offered the part but wasn't sure it was something he wanted to do, Ferrer convinced him to take the part.[2]


Production Designer Nelson Coates, who garnered an Emmy nomination for his design work, created all 225 sets for the miniseries. Faced with prices of $40 per stalk for New York-made fake cornstalks, Coates opted instead to grow 3,250 cornstalks as a cost-cutting measure; when a winter storm hit Utah, the reproduction of a Nebraska house with cornfield became complicated by the fact that the harsh weather did not allow the corn crop to grow taller than 4 feet.[3]

Signs at Rae Flowers' radio station feature the logo of WZON, a real-life radio station in Bangor, Maine, owned by King.

Originally, parts of the miniseries were to be filmed on location in Boulder, Colorado. After the passage of Colorado Amendment 2, which nullified local gay rights laws, the production was moved to Utah due to protests.[4]


Original broadcast[edit]

Part Title Directed by Written by Original air date[1]
1 "The Plague" Mick Garris Stephen King May 8, 1994 (1994-05-08)
2 "The Dreams" Mick Garris Stephen King May 9, 1994 (1994-05-09)
3 "The Betrayal" Mick Garris Stephen King May 11, 1994 (1994-05-11)
4 "The Stand" Mick Garris Stephen King May 12, 1994 (1994-05-12)

Home video[edit]

The Stand was released as two separate VHS tapes for Parts 1–2, 3–4 originally in New Zealand and Australia, and later as a two tape set. It was later released on three LaserDiscs in a box set.

The Stand was released on DVD by Artisan Entertainment in a double-sided single-disc DVD in October 1999, then in a two-disc format in 2000. Both DVD versions have audio commentary and special features. The DVD was re-released on June 18, 2013.

In 2006, American DVD rights reverted to Paramount Pictures/CBS DVD. Paramount has not yet released a standalone version of The Stand, but has released it as part of a collection with The Langoliers (1995 TV miniseries) and Golden Years (1991 TV miniseries). This release of The Stand lacks the audio commentary.


Stephen King's The Stand (Original Television Soundtrack)
The Stand (soundtrack)-.jpg
Soundtrack album (Digital download)/Audio CD by W. G. Snuffy Walden
Released May 24, 1994
Length 46:40
Label Varèse Sarabande

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Music composed by W. G. Snuffy Walden
  • Executive producer: Robert Townson
  • Produced by W. G. Snuffy Walden
  • Music recorded and mixed by Ray Pyle and Avram Kipper at O'Henry Studios, Devonshire Studios and Taylor Made Studios
  • Music editor: Allan K. Rosen
  • Synclavier programming by Mark Morgan
  • Orchestrations by Don Davis and John Dickson
  • Scoring contractors: Paul Zimmitti and Debbi Datz
  • Principal musicians:
    • Guitar: W. G. Snuffy Walden and Dean Parks
    • Piano: Randy Kerber
    • Percussion: Michael Fisher
    • Woodwinds: Jon Clarke
    • Violin: Charlie Bisharat


The film was met with generally positive reviews.[citation needed]

John J. O'Connor at the New York Times wrote, "A great deal of time and money has gone into this production, and it's right up there on the screen... The nagging problem at the heart of "The Stand" is that once the story settles early on into its schematic oppositions of good versus evil, sweet old Mother Abagail versus satanic Flagg, monotony begins to seep through the superstructure... Muddled, certainly, but Stephen King's 'The Stand' is clever enough to keep you wondering what could possibly happen next."[1]

Awards and nominations[edit]

1994 Casting Society of America (Artios)[edit]

  • Won – Best Mini Series Casting: Lynn Kressel

1994 Emmy Awards[edit]

  • Won – Outstanding Makeup For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special:
    Steve Johnson, Bill Corso, David Dupuis, Joel Harlow, Camille Calvet
  • Won – Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Miniseries or a Movie:
    Grand Maxwell, Michael Ruschak, Richard Schexnayder, Don Summer
  • Nominated – Outstanding Art Direction For A Miniseries, Or Movie:
    Nelson Coates, Burton Rencher, Michael Perry, Susan Benjamin
  • Nominated – Outstanding Cinematography For A Miniseries Or Movie: Edward J. Pei
  • Nominated – Outstanding Miniseries: Richard P. Rubinstein, Stephen King, Mitchell Galin, Peter R. McIntosh
  • Nominated – Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Dramatic Underscore): W.G. Walden

1995 Screen Actors Guild Awards[edit]

  • Nominated – Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Gary Sinise


  1. ^ a b c O'Connor, John J. (May 6, 1994). "TV Weekend; A Plague and Its Effects". New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b c Stephen King, Mick Garris (1999). Stephen King's The Stand (DVD). Artisan. 
  3. ^ Michael Booth. "5 Points a star: Hollywood action invades Denver neighborhood", The Denver Post, August 27, 1994, page A1.
  4. ^ Dusty Saundes. "Amendment 2 Drives Film's Makers Away" Rocky Mountain News, May 8, 1994

External links[edit]

See also[edit]