Friday, June 22, 2007
If 1408 is all booked up,check out these other Stephen King stories on film
One of the big new movies out this week is the latest Stephen King adaptation,1408,starrring John Cusack as a skeptical ghost hunter who decides to check into an infamous haunted hotel room against the advice of the manager(Samuel L. Jackson). The reviews for 1408 have been pretty stellar so far and while I don't know when I'll be able to see it,I am reminded of many other King short stories that have made it to the theaters with not so great acclaim(Graveyard Shift,for one) and others that done better than expected(Shawshank Redemption,Stand by Me).
In case I'm not the only one who can't make to the multiplex,here's a list of Stephen King short stories on film(and one that really wasn't but claimed to be) to search for at the video store or Netflix:
1408 seems to be made in the same style as Secret Window,which is based on a novella from King's collection Four Past Midnight. Take an interesting tale of a man tormented by his past,cast a quirky yet likable character actor who easily slips into leading man mode(Johnny Depp),add a few other cool character actors/former heartthrobs(John Turturro,Timothy Hutton,Charles S. Dutton) and away we go.
The best part of the film is Depp,who really has some dark fun with the character and throws himself wholeheartedly into the plot,which makes the basic premise of a writer being accused of plagarism by a menancing stranger while going thru a painful divorce that much more real. Plus,Depp gets to have bed hair for most of the movie and he even makes that look good:
This movie is a trilogy of King tales,two of which came from his first short story collection Nightshift. The final story(and wrap around tie-in for the film) is the one most folks remember as "Drew Barrymore's cat fights a little green guy in her bedroom." was written for the film.
It's a fun little popcorn horror film,with campy performancs from James Woods,Candy Clark,Robert Hays and Kenneth McMillan as a vengeful gangster husband. Even the trailer has a good sense of humor about it:
CHILDREN OF THE CORN
If you're in a mood for an awfully bad movie,feast your eyes on this sucker. Children of the Corn also came from Nightshift and the story itself was a creepy little Twilight Zone kind of tale about a deadly kid run town in the middle of Nowhere,USA,where all the adults are sacrificed to He Who Walks Behind The Rows. The movie version is a campy goreshow,with tons of bad acting,creepy kids and cheesy special effects that particularly ooze off the screen. Believe it or not,there are seven COTC flicks that get worse and worse as they go on. If you're tempted to see any of them,go for the first one. It's the campiest of the bunch:
WONDER IF CBS GOT THE IDEA FOR KID NATION FROM THIS?
OUTLANDER! WE HAVE YOUR WOMAN!
IF CotC doesn't fully satisfy your appetite for bad horror,then get revvied up for Maximum Overdrive,another Nightshift story(is it just me or are most of the Nightshift stories under a curse? It sure seems that way.). This one was written and directed by King himself and he's the first to admit what a mess this is. King and company clearly did have fun here,from getting AC/DC to do the music for it to having one of the main evil trucks wear a Green Goblin mask:
This is the fake Stephen King movie I mentioned earlier;King took the producers to court to have his name taken off the film,since it bore no resembalance to the original Nightshift tale(see what I mean about a curse) other than the title and one of the gruesome deaths in the film.
There's also a reference to a secret gov't group called The Company that was first mentioned in Firestarter but beyond that the King connection ends there. My theory is that someone had this great little story that's "Charly goes Virtual Reality" in premise and decided to use the SK story as a way to greenlight the project.
Despite not being a real King adaptation,Lawnmover Man is actually a pretty good movie with some decent acting from Jeff Fahey and Pierce Brosnan and decent computer effects. It is worth seeing but avoid the hideous sequel at all costs:
Hope this list helps you find some movie magic or atleast a good scary laugh or two.
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