Picks and Pans Review: Stephen King's the Tommyknockers

updated 05/10/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/10/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

ABC (Sun., May 9, 9 p.m. ET)


Jimmy Smits and Marg Helgenberger star in this two-parter based on the novel by the Titan of Terror. They're writers, he a fading poet with a drinking problem, she an aspiring juvenile-novel author. But there's an evil spirit with a bright green aura lurking in the pine woods near the small Maine town where they reside. It slowly begins to engulf and twist the townsfolk, women and children first. Soon half the inhabitants are inspired to build a variety of bizarre glowing contraptions. At first these Rube Goldberg gizmos are designed to sort the mail or make the perfect BLT sandwich. Then they grow sinister.

Director John Power establishes good pacing, as the mounting suspense alternates with scenes of banal normalcy and campy humor. The action is spread around on a solid supporting cast that includes Joanna Cassidy, E.G. Marshall, Allyce Beasley, John Ashton, Cliff DeYoung, Robert Carradine and Traci Lords.

The thriller is like an attenuated, more pastoral version of the original 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But once it gets its hooks in you, you'll be back for the conclusion the following night.

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