Stephen King on Film

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
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DarkImbecile
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Re: New Films in Production, v.2

#51 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:22 pm

It's been 20+ years since I read it and I've forgotten most of the plot details, but I remember The Tommyknockers being deeply weird sci-fi/horror on a large scale and infused with paranoia; different enough from Wan's usually more intimate and small-scale horror that I'd be curious to see if he adapts the source material to match his own tendencies or stretches himself a bit to make something more in line with Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#52 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:39 pm

I liked how King has copped to not remembering writing it at all, and it shows because he later swiped a subplot wholesale for a short story that Steven Weber adapted for the Outer Limits!

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#53 Post by cdnchris » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:18 pm

Wasn't the whole midsection just a bunch of his short stories worked in to fit with the main plot?

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#54 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:21 pm

You're right! Wikipedia tells me the story came first in 1984 and unbelievably the exact same character and all is transported into the novel three years later

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#55 Post by Murdoch » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:15 am

That book was my first crack at King and I'll admit I didn't make it far into it. The way King tried to work in his protagonist's menstrual cycle was... not odd, but forced maybe. I'll have to try my hat at one of his many other books that are collecting dust on my shelves.

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#56 Post by Lost Highway » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:41 am

I‘m more intrigued by Mike Flanagan‘s adaptation of Dr. Sleep, King‘s sequel to The Shining. Flanagan‘s Gerald‘s Game was probably as good a film as could be made from what was long thought to be one of King‘s less adaptable novels. Apparently Flanagan is going to start on that after he’s finished his TV adaptation of Shirley Jackson‘s The Haunting of Hill House, the first season of which appears to be more of a prequel to that novel.

I’d love for someone to take another shot at The Shining. Taken on its own terms the Kubrick film is brilliant but a genuinely faithful adaptation would be a very different film/mini-series. I still think the novel is Stephen King‘s masterpiece, the scariest thing I’ve ever read and Nicholson’s performance turns the film towards a dark comedy. The TV remake wasn’t actually that faithful either despite King‘s claims that it was. It was held back by the restrictions of network television at the time and of course it was incredibly bland.

Salem‘s Lot also could do with another adaptation, neither of the previous adaptations were very good, even if the Tobe Hooper version has its moments.

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#57 Post by Murdoch » Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:52 pm

Lost Highway wrote:Apparently Flanagan is going to start on that after he’s finished his TV adaptation of Shirley Jackson‘s The Haunting of Hill House, the first season of which appears to be more of a prequel to that novel.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. I love Jackson's book but it's largely because of how she dips into the protagonist's psyche and brilliantly works in her loneliness and desire for friendship.[warning, spoiler of the ending]
SpoilerShow
This allows her possession to go understated and remain ambiguous until the very last sentences of the book.
The backstory to Hill House is certainly ripe with material, but I can't see it rising above the standard haunted house fare.

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#58 Post by Lost Highway » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:01 pm

Murdoch wrote:
Lost Highway wrote:Apparently Flanagan is going to start on that after he’s finished his TV adaptation of Shirley Jackson‘s The Haunting of Hill House, the first season of which appears to be more of a prequel to that novel.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. I love Jackson's book but it's largely because of how she dips into the protagonist's psyche and brilliantly works in her loneliness and desire for friendship.[warning, spoiler of the ending]
SpoilerShow
This allows her possession to go understated and remain ambiguous until the very last sentences of the book.
The backstory to Hill House is certainly ripe with material, but I can't see it rising above the standard haunted house fare.
I’m also not sure how I feel about this till I’ve seen it, but Flanagan has consistently made above average, sometimes close to great, genre fare. I think this is planned as an ongoing series along the lines of Bates Motel and Hannibal expanding on the original, so it will be a different beast. We always have one great adaptation and it can’t be worse than the de Bont remake.

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#59 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:32 pm

Lost Highway wrote:I‘m more intrigued by Mike Flanagan‘s adaptation of Dr. Sleep, King‘s sequel to The Shining. Flanagan‘s Gerald‘s Game was probably as good a film as could be made from what was long thought to be one of King‘s less adaptable novels. Apparently Flanagan is going to start on that after he’s finished his TV adaptation of Shirley Jackson‘s The Haunting of Hill House, the first season of which appears to be more of a prequel to that novel.
I'm realizing just now I never wrote anything on it here, so let me plug Netflix's other underseen 2017 Stephen King adaptation, 1922, which I think is far and away the better movie (and better than the other two adaptations from last year, IT and The Dark Tower) and actually one of the five or six best King adaptations ever (once you get past Carrie, The Shining, and The Dead Zone, there's only a handful of mediocrities and then an ocean of garbage). Zak Hilditch (with whom I'm otherwise unfamiliar but whose previous feature These Final Hours apparently played the Director's Fortnight at Cannes 2014) directs from his own adaptation of the novella from the collection Full Dark, No Stars, and brings a grounded sense of place and character to the story of the downfall of a Nebraska farming family (led by a really solid Thomas Jane and Molly Parker). It helps that this is one of King's better short works of recent years, one more deeply interested than usual in the inner workings and progressive moral rot of its characters and one that effectively utilizes its supernatural elements as a means of reinforcing those interests, not overshadowing them. Hilditch and cinematographer Ben Richardson do some very commendable work in establishing the setting and playing up the importance of the rural isolation of the farmhouse to what unfolds, and the period trappings are both organically ingrained in the proceedings and authentically represented to an impressive degree.

Highly recommended to fans of the author for going against the grain of King adaptations by underplaying the horror elements (and thereby making those we do get more effective) while investing in the characters, language, and an appropriately languid pace and structure; if it wasn't for an unnecessary sop to the weakest conventions of the genre in the final seconds, this would have been in my top 25 of last year.

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#60 Post by Lost Highway » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:38 pm

I‘m afraid think much of 1922, but I can’t even remember why. It almost immediately evaporated after I’d watched it. The cast was good, it was well made but nothing about it stuck.

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#61 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:07 pm

Lost Highway wrote:I‘m afraid think much of 1922, but I can’t even remember why. It almost immediately evaporated after I’d watched it. The cast was good, it was well made but nothing about it stuck.
Funnily enough, that's closer to how I felt about Gerald's Game, which wasn't bad but didn't hold up for me under the weight of its structural conceit and didn't work as well in the casting department either (Gugino and Greenwood are fine, but not more than that). I wonder if it might have been more effective had I not remembered the novel fairly well; for whatever reason - it's definitely not one of King's best - details from that book are pretty well ingrained in my head a couple of decades later, and I don't think that helped my appreciation of the film, particularly regarding
SpoilerShow
the heroine's gruesome method of escape and the description of the Moonlight Man. The former Flanagan executes quite handily (sorry), but I couldn't help feeling impatient to get to it throughout, rather than remaining in suspense as I should have regarding how she might get out of this situation; the latter I don't think works as well, and could have been more effective if the grotesque appearance had been dialed down a bit, the exposition of his background had been reduced, and the scene in the courtroom had been taken out altogether.
That said, I do respect it for the much higher degree of difficulty in adapting that novel as opposed to the more conventional narrative of 1922, and for some of the imagery in the eclipse sequences. While I complained about the last few seconds (really just the last shot) of Hilditch's film, though, I think Flanagan's ending falls short in a more comprehensive way, where the
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hammering of the survivor empowerment message in the "Six Months Later" prologue felt clumsily handcuffed (sorry again) to the end of a film that had already done a much better job of playing those same notes less loudly in the main narrative.

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#62 Post by colinr0380 » Mon May 28, 2018 4:40 am

Watching Creepshow over the weekend, I particularly loved that moment at the end of the Leslie Nielsen story in which he shows that he is definitely a George A. Romero protagonist by sensibly shooting both of the people he drowned who have returned as zombies for vengeance dead centre through the forehead! His character would do well in a zombie apocalypse situation, I think. It is just unfortunate for that character that, whilst this is a Romero film it is not one of his zombie ones, so is playing by different rules! (It also seems like a neat dig by Romero at his zombie movies, in the same way that other films subvert the 'core rules' about being a vampire or a werewolf to suit their needs!)

I also love that comicbook style of Creepshow, especially the way that you know a character is definitively dead when the panel freezes, gets a comic book stylised background to capture the shock moment more vividly and gets bathed in blood red light!
___
Also I bet the use of "You'll never walk alone" in its football chant form as an ironic punchline (and implied equivalence of sporting crowds as mindless, potentially violent zombies?) at the end of Cell might upset some football fans!

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#63 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Mon May 28, 2018 5:56 am

I could remember the
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couple buried up to their necks, drowned by the sea
so vividly as a kid, took me decades to work out where it was from.

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#64 Post by Mr. Deltoid » Mon May 28, 2018 6:22 am

colinr0380 wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 4:40 am
Watching Creepshow over the weekend, I particularly loved that moment at the end of the Leslie Nielsen story in which he shows that he is definitely a George A. Romero protagonist by sensibly shooting both of the people he drowned who have returned as zombies for vengeance dead centre through the forehead! His character would do well in a zombie apocalypse situation, I think. It is just unfortunate for that character that, whilst this is a Romero film it is not one of his zombie ones, so is playing by different rules! (It also seems like a neat dig by Romero at his zombie movies, in the same way that other films subvert the 'core rules' about being a vampire or a werewolf to suit their needs!)

I also love that comicbook style of Creepshow, especially the way that you know a character is definitively dead when the panel freezes, gets a comic book stylised background to capture the shock moment more vividly and gets bathed in blood red light!
___
Also I bet the use of "You'll never walk alone" in its football chant form as an ironic punchline (and implied equivalence of sporting crowds as mindless, potentially violent zombies?) at the end of Cell might upset some football fans!
Funnily enough, I've just finished reading Stephen King's short story collection Skeleton Crew for the first time and was particularly impressed by The Raft, which I found to be very nightmarish. Anyway, I see that story was one of those adapted for Creepshow 2, which I've always heard to be a real dud, but which I'm now strangely curious to see. Anyone have a good word to say about the sequel?

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#65 Post by colinr0380 » Mon May 28, 2018 8:03 am

The Raft is an amazingly horrific story! I have not seen Creepshow 2 either and have been a bit wary of it from the general negativity towards it in comparison to the first film, but they certainly chose one of King's best short stories to adapt there!

In some ways I think the basic premise of The Raft (don't step on cracks, the ground, etc) which leaves characters trapped in one location has turned up in slightly different ways in a few other films in recent years, such as The Ruins or The Sand
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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#66 Post by Mr. Deltoid » Mon May 28, 2018 9:07 am

colinr0380 wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 8:03 am
The Raft is an amazingly horrific story! I have not seen Creepshow 2 either and have been a bit wary of it from the general negativity towards it in comparison to the first film, but they certainly chose one of King's best short stories to adapt there!

(In some ways I think the basic premise of The Raft (don't step on cracks, the ground, etc) which leaves characters trapped in one location has turned up in slightly different ways in a few other films in recent years, such as The Ruins or The Sand
Ha! That (terrible) trailer for The Sand does look like a shameless mash-up of two Skeleton Crew stories: the aforementioned The Raft and Beachworld (where two downed astronauts find themselves stranded on a desert planet where the sand keeps shifting with murderous intent!).

Like you said, King does have a knack for stories where isolated characters are trapped in a single location by an external (or psychological) menace. Off the top of my head, I think Misery, The Mist (another Skeleton Crew entry!) and Gerald's Game fit into this template and I'm sure there's more!

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#67 Post by colinr0380 » Mon May 28, 2018 11:51 am

Cujo too. And don't forget the staff and patrons trapped in the truck stop diner in the only film Stephen King directed, Maximum Overdrive! (which is based on another King short story, Trucks, from the Night Shift anthology. It also apparently got a 1997 TV movie remake under the Trucks title!)
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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#68 Post by tenia » Mon May 28, 2018 12:33 pm

I've seen Creepshow 2 when it was released on BD by Arrow, and it's very uneven.
The first story, Old Chief Wood'nhead, is OK in the beginning but quickly ends up dragging a lot, especially because it holds no surprise whatsoever as to how it's going to end.
The 2nd one, The Raft, seemed better to me. It's still quite overlong-looking compared to what it contains, but suspense seemed better handled to me, and I liked Beer's acting in it.
I didn't care much about the 3rd story, The Hitch-hiker, though it might have been the craziest "full throttle one" (no pun intended). It's basically a concept pushed to its most absurd, but again, it feels like it has no big interest past its concept, which thus turns almost gimmicky.

The intercut background story felt absolutely awful to me, and I ended up skipping most of it.

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#69 Post by colinr0380 » Mon May 28, 2018 2:20 pm

Something that I had not noticed before but found amusing was that in the opening section of the framing sequence from the first Creepshow the disgusted at comicbooks father (played by Tom Atkins the same year he was the lead in Halloween III) actually spoils the outcome of the stories to follow in the film itself! "Things coming out of crates and eating people? Dead people coming back to life? People turning into weeds for crissakes?"

And the boy in those segments? Joe Hill, Stephen King's son!

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#70 Post by ianthemovie » Tue May 29, 2018 3:19 pm

Creepshow 2 is pretty blah and has almost none of the wit or style of its predecessor, which remains one of my favorite horror movies. The acting is also worse all round, though Lois Chiles brings a certain campy brio to her role as the privileged bourgeois WASP who is stalked by the homeless black man she thought she struck dead with her car.

"The Raft," I believe, is the only one of the three segments that has any direct connection to King. That reminds me, I need to re-read Skeleton Crew...

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#71 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue May 29, 2018 4:05 pm

How does everyone feel about The Shawshank Redemption? It's one of my all-timers, as it made me aware at an early age of how powerful things like cinematography and music can be to enhance the story. I know that among other things it's prominence on the IMDB Top 250 rankles people, but it's still effective and works like a Swiss watch.

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#72 Post by Lost Highway » Tue May 29, 2018 4:14 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 4:05 pm
How does everyone feel about The Shawshank Redemption? It's one of my all-timers, as it made me aware at an early age of how powerful things like cinematography and music can be to enhance the story. I know that among other things it's prominence on the IMDB Top 250 rankles people, but it's still effective and works like a Swiss watch.
I have to admit that I find the popularity of the movie bewildering and the high regard its held in no doubt makes me dislike it even more. I only watched it once and what I came away from was that there wasn’t a single plot turn or emotion I believed in. But then I haven’t enjoyed any movie by Darabont. He lays on everything thick and then underlines it three times. Even The Walking Dead improved once he got fired (for three seasons anyway)

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#73 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue May 29, 2018 4:24 pm

I'll admit I was less impressed with The Green Mile (Hanks' performance being an exception, the dude was just on fire during that time anyway) and The Majestic, so I won't disagree too much with your assessment of Darabont's work, except to say with Shawshank I feel like he got everything right that one time. It's a bit of a shame that things he's done since then, in television especially, have not gotten off the ground as well as that did.

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#74 Post by colinr0380 » Tue May 29, 2018 5:01 pm

I like it a lot as a well made prison break story and one which starts bleak and hopeless and finds a light at the end of the tunnel (quite literally! It is a redemption story after all! A redemption for being a somewhat aloof husband at least, if not a murderer). After the brutal induction into the prison over the early scenes of beatings and gang rape the tone of the film settles into almost a manageable routine. Everyone finds their place in the system, and even in the worst of situations people still have lives and build things for themselves, like taking the extra schooling or building up that library. But that sense of having a role to play in the world again is perhaps an even worse situation and it becomes the main theme of the later sections of the film as feelings of self-worth are built up simply though people existing in a place for an extended period of time only to continually be dashed, by becoming institutionalised and being thrown back out into a world that really does not care if you are a 'reformed' character or not, and in the more 'filmic' way by the corrupt prison governor cooking the books, where it becomes clear if it was not already that you have to fight for your own right to life and not wait for others to deign to give it to you by just behaving properly and compliantly (or at least be compliant whilst working towards your own ends!). The film is pushing towards moments of hard won transcendence (like the record playing over the tannoy moment. Or even the suicide as the darker successful escape attempt(s)), as an actual pre-meditated act rather than something that will occur naturally anymore, in such a harsh world.

To put it another way, like The Godfather it is one of those films whose appearance on things like the imdb's top 250 list is not something that upsets me. And it is good to see such a complex, sprawling yet also clearly constructed and eventually rather emotionally uplifting film (without undercutting the darker elements) be justly recognised. In other words it does not feel as completely inexplicable in being celebrated as, say, the career of Adam Sandler has always felt to me!

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Re: Stephen King on Film

#75 Post by barryconvex » Thu May 31, 2018 2:01 am

A redemption for being a somewhat aloof husband at least, if not a murderer...
I always thought the redemption was Red's. He transforms from an embittered, world weary convict into a man who has some hope for the future by the end. Hope, being the movie's big theme...

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