When my mom figured out she couldn’t stop my obsession with scary movies, she tried to get me into scary books as well. It did not really work. For the most part, I think reading is boring. She tried to get me to read Stephen King, but that backfired. Boooooring! But his movies, on the other hand? Those I like.
First up is The Shining. Now, I know that Kubrick’s version of the film is not a whole lot like the source material. It is actually notoriously hard to adapt a Stephen King book, and Kubrick basically did his own thing with it just like he did with everything else he ever made. King disliked a lot about the adaption, from the casting of Jack Nicholson (because he’d already played somebody crazy so it would give that part of it away) and the watered-down, pathetic way Wendy was portrayed. But you know what? I’ve seen the tv adaption from 1997. It might be more true to the book but it is nowhere near as scary. Those creepy twins and the blood in the elevator? Gone. No REDRUM either. And everybody remembers the “Here’s Johnny!” bit with the axe. Poof! Those things were all added by Kubrick and hurt King’s feelings apparently because he had to do it over as a tv miniseries. All I really remember about the tv version is that they casted the guy from “Wings” and that lame, not scary ending. I hope the book fans like it because there was no other reason to make that garbage. I don’t know anybody who like the “authorized” version better.
I was mad when they announced the remaking of It. How can you get a better Pennywise than Tim Curry? The other major problem I had with it was that the book is incredibly long. The mini-series was long too. The movie is not. A lot had to get cut, and you feel the missing relationships and connections through the movie. There was a lot of suspense and build-up to the mini-series, but the movie is mostly CGI and cheap jump scares. It did not do Tim Curry’s terrifying Pennywise justice at all.
Another movie I love is Pet Sematary. This is one of the few King-written adaptions that I really like. If you like gore and creepy and are a fan of horror, you’re going to like this one. And the ending is just dark and awesome and works really well. They are remaking this one as well, supposedly. That should be interesting (maybe. It seems that I hate remakes).
The last movie I will write about here is Misery. Now, this is not the same kind of scary as the ones above. It is more of a thriller. While it does justice to the book according to fans, William Goldman (of Princess Bride fame) wrote the screenplay. James Caan and Kathy Bates are amazing in their roles. While I wouldn’t say this movie scared me, it does put me on the edge of my seat every time I watch it and I still cringe every time it gets to the hobbling scene. That part is super hard to watch.
What are your favorite King films? Or do you like to waste your time reading all those pages instead?