"I could do without all of the Children of the Corn sequels."
February 3, 2016 6:03 PM   Subscribe

Stephen King On What Hollywood Owes Authors When Their Books Become Films: Question & Answer by Mike Fleming Jr. [Deadline]
DEADLINE: Authors want to do more than cash a check and cross their fingers when they sell their books to Hollywood. You’ve likely made more of these deals than any living author I can think of, and you always seem to option your works for almost no money, with a short leash. What do you ask these days when you entrust one of your books to a film company?

KING: I want a dollar, and I want approvals over the screenwriter, the director and the principal cast. We try to make these people understand, the people that are doing the deal, that I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I’m not a hard guy to get along with. In all the time we’ve been doing this, I’ve never put up a red light to anybody about anything that they wanted to do. Because if they want to make changes, if they want to be a little bit out on the edge, I’m all for it. I like it.
Related:

- Josh Boone has scripted an adaptation of King’s recent novel Revival. [Deadline]
Josh Boone, who since directing the hit adaptation of the John Green novel The Fault In Our Stars has been scripting to direct such high-profile projects as the Anne Rice novel adaptation of Vampire Chronicles and X-Men: The New Mutants, has found what he hopes will be his next film. On spec and in concert with producer Michael De Luca and author Stephen King, Boone has penned an adaptation of Revival, based on King’s 2014 bestseller about a charismatic preacher who loses his faith when his wife and child are killed in a tragic accident.
posted by Fizz (101 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is a great interview, thanks for posting it.

RE: The Shining,
I feel the same because the character of Jack Torrance has no arc in that movie. Absolutely no arc at all. When we first see Jack Nicholson, he’s in the office of Mr. Ullman, the manager of the hotel, and you know, then, he’s crazy as a shit house rat. All he does is get crazier. In the book, he’s a guy who’s struggling with his sanity and finally loses it. To me, that’s a tragedy. In the movie, there’s no tragedy because there’s no real change.
He's sort of right. Jack starts crazy and ends crazy. He's wrong about the movie though. Wendy gets the arc. She starts as a woman who is playing along with her unbalanced husband. She begins to realize that the hotel didn't have the curative effect on either their marriage or Jack's mental health. She goes through self doubt, but then she realizes that she's the only thing standing between death and life for her and Danny, and she takes heroic action to help rescue them. It's a different story, but it's hardly King's "Beautiful Cadillac without an engine." I guess I can see his own personal relation to the story, since alcoholic-writer is probably based on a lot of King's own struggle with addiction.

Anyway, I'm 100% in with a Von Trier collaboration. I'd see whatever that would be in a second, even if it was , like, the Regulators or something.
posted by codacorolla at 6:25 PM on February 3, 2016 [36 favorites]


Boone has penned an adaptation of Revival,

Hmm...Lovecraft filtered through King and adapted for the big screen. I probably wouldn't pay to see it but I'd be interested in seeing what he does what that bleak as fuck existential crisis inducing ending.
posted by MikeMc at 6:27 PM on February 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


DEADLINE: You’ve dabbled in screenwriting and even directed but haven’t been doing it as much. What was your opinion of that whole process?

KING: Well, it was a learning curve because I came into the whole thing thinking that screenwriting was work for idiots because everything was on the surface. It’s like the difference between skiing and swimming; one is full immersion, and that’s the novel; and the other one is screenwriting, where everything is right out on top, there’s no thought process. Unless you have one of those crappy or crafty voiceovers, it’s all what you see and what people say. But little by little, as I learned, I got more respect for it.


Speaking as a raving lifelong Stephen King fan, I'm glad he's realized this. Doubly relieving for me because, as a teen, I really wanted Maximum Overdrive to work because STEPHEN KING + AC/DC ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

The problem was that I'd read Trucks first. So teenage me was disappointed in Mr. King.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:34 PM on February 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


I guess I can see his own personal relation to the story, since alcoholic-writer is probably based on a lot of King's own struggle with addiction.

I don't think there's a "probably" here. King has been pretty up front about it being very personal and related to both his addiction, and also what he felt were inexplicable feelings of anger towards his children at times. Consequently, it's not surprising his problems with the movie stem from the Jack character, while perhaps missing that the movie's lens is trained on Wendy and Danny.

Film Jack doesn't have an arc because Film Jack is the force of nature / antagonist against which Wendy and Danny are forced to struggle, not the tragic hero.
posted by tocts at 6:41 PM on February 3, 2016 [24 favorites]


Film Jack doesn't have an arc because Film Jack is the force of nature / antagonist against which Wendy and Danny are forced to struggle, not the tragic hero.

Agree. Film Jack's change of venue is just a way for him to think he can change his behaviour by going elsewhere; you don't even need ghosts for that to be a shitty proposition for Danny and Wendy.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:47 PM on February 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wendy's the hero with the character arc; Jack's just the monster that she has to overcome.
posted by octothorpe at 6:53 PM on February 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


I have always loved King but was so disappointed in his book 11/22/63--I never finished it. His lack of research in the very basic things about the layout of the DFW area just ruined it. I couldn't get past the errors and it felt like it was just a hasty write. Sorry Stephen.
posted by shockingbluamp at 7:23 PM on February 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Heh, yeah, The Shining is the film that's the problem out of all of them, sure.

I mean, I'm generally sympathetic here, but come on.
posted by Artw at 7:31 PM on February 3, 2016 [12 favorites]


I'm thinking about some dream pairings:

Brandon Cronenberg - I am the Doorway
Ben Wheatley - Crouch End
Nicholas Winding Refn - The Road Virus Heads North
Duncan Jones - The Jaunt
Jennifer Kent - Night Surf
Joseph Kahn - Combine The Regulators and Desperation into one crazy movie
posted by codacorolla at 7:31 PM on February 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I used to think Stephen King needed an editor to trim his stuff down, but what he really needs is a trusted confidante to read his latest and just be able to say "naw, this is complete shite" and have it scrapped. He's so hit and miss - a small few are great, a couple very good, and there is lotsa crap. Just like the movies adaptions!
posted by parki at 7:37 PM on February 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've talked about King's reaction to The Shining here before. Thinking more on it, it seems like Kubrick read "The Shining" and treated it as the self-justifying narrative of a monster. In the same way that I've heard people describe the movie "American Psycho" as the movie Patrick Bateman from the novel would have made about himself, I think in an odd way Kubrick's movie gives the impression that "The Shining" is the novel Jack Torrance from the movie would have written about the Overlook Hotel.
posted by Grimgrin at 7:37 PM on February 3, 2016 [26 favorites]


Heh, yeah, The Shining is the film that's the problem out of all of them, sure.

Interesting how reticent King was on answering the "least favorite adaptation" (*cough* Dreamcatcher *cough*) question: that although Hollywood keeps turning his books into terrible movies he's not particularly interested in biting that hand. I wonder how much of that is self-interest and how much is simply him being well aware of Sturgeon's Law: that 90% of the adaptations of his work are going to be crappy because 90% of everything is, and it's the 10% that keeps him optioning out novels. (I suspect he's averaging slightly better than 10%, but still.)

The Shining is the one that he's allowed himself to publicly dislike; not because it's terrible, but because it became something other than what he envisioned.

(I was surprised that From A Buick 8 didn't ever make it to screen; it always seemed to me pretty much written as a screenplay.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:51 PM on February 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I dunno, the urban children of the corn movie that relied really heavily on actual corn was pretty goofy/fun.
posted by Ferreous at 7:57 PM on February 3, 2016


I feel he should have stuck it out for Children of the Corn 7: Holy Shit there are 7 of these.

(There are 9. 8 if you don't count the 'remake').
posted by Toddbert at 8:05 PM on February 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I read one of King's books (The Stand) and thought, nicely done, full of a bunch of characters clichéd in a cinematic way, but a good tale.

This interview was really impressive. He knows his shit.

If you know the long history of how many authors got sucked into Hollywood screenwriting on the promise of money, mostly, and how badly it ended for most of them, you have to give King a lot of respect for knowing how movies work, how the business works, and where the writer fits in. And then he has the chutzpah to dis his most famous book-to-film adaptation by one of the world's ultra-famous directors! Good show, Mr. King.
posted by kozad at 8:07 PM on February 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think the Breaking Bad / Better Call Saul people could do an excellent job with Dolan's Cadillac as a made-for-TV movie. And Jeremy Saulnier should do The Ledge.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 8:16 PM on February 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, seconding Duncan Jones for The Jaunt
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 8:17 PM on February 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Haven't seen it, but:
Dolan's Cadillac
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:27 PM on February 3, 2016


And a lot of thumbs for Frank Darabont, but Cronenberg's The Dead Zone is still my favorite King adaptation.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:29 PM on February 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


There actually was a version of "Cell" filmed, though. Looks like it's coming out this year, and they brought John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson back for it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:41 PM on February 3, 2016


Heh; King thought (at the "several years ago" time of the interview) that Cell "would have made a terrific zombie movie." "Mediocre and derivative" was more my reading of the book.

I did like Revival a lot, though; first King in a while that has made my skin crawl.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:58 PM on February 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pretty great podcast here with Emma Donoghue, writer of Room, talking about how she took her book to film while retaining a lot of control.
posted by Artw at 9:01 PM on February 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


KING: The ideal movie…the writer that got the fairest shake that I know of, was Ira Levin. He wrote a novel called Rosemary’s Baby. And that movie is the book. To the point where you can say to people, if you’ve seen the movie, you don’t need to read the book.

DEADLINE: Why?

KING: Because they’re exactly the same. Exactly.
Boy, is this ever spot-on. I read it for the first time this past October and it was eerily like reading one of those verbatim movie novelizations that they used to (still?) churn out any time a genre movie achieved box office success. (Don't get me wrong—it's a very well-written, suspenseful book. It actually made me re-assess the film. I still consider it a masterpiece, but most of its brilliant effects were already there on the page; Polanski mainly brought them—quite skillfully—to realization on the screen.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:35 PM on February 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


We had a deal, Kyle:

Funny, that. Five years ago, during a period of unemployment, I was browsing the library when I came across Cell. So, picked it up and ripped through it in a day (hey, no job). Yeah, not at his best. Although I have to say that there's something about his prose style that is kind of...comfort food? But hey, free entertainment for a day.

Liked Revival. That was a good King.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:36 PM on February 3, 2016


I want to see an anthology series of the men's club from The Breathing Method and The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:26 PM on February 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Goddamn, Lars von Trier doing Stephen King would result in a supremely fucked-up movie. I mean that in a good way.
posted by schroedinger at 11:40 PM on February 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Goddamn, Lars von Trier doing Stephen King would result in a supremely fucked-up movie. I mean that in a good way.

Erm. If you mean lots of women suffering unnecessarily, then I guess so.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:51 PM on February 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yo Lars, we got this script, it's called Gerald's Game.
posted by mannequito at 12:42 AM on February 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


I've never read a King book. I've tried, but his style is so incredibly off-putting that I can't get more than a few pages in (pace mandolin conspiracy). It doesn't help that I don't care for horror, I suppose, but I found enough horror in how he writes fiction.

But I do respect Stephen King. I respect that he has a body of work that the multitudes enjoy. I've read his advice on writing and the writing life (because his non-fiction is completely readable), and now his sane approach to translating a book into a movie. The man knows what he's doing, and I appreciate getting to learn from him.
posted by bryon at 12:51 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm sure it has been posted here before, but King's Art of Fiction interview for the Paris Review is a great read. He responds graciously but honestly to Shirley Hazzard's sneering at him at the National Book Awards:

So I’d say, yes, Shirley Hazzard does need a reading list. And the other thing Shirley Hazzard needs is for someone to say to her, Get busy. You have a short life span. You need to stop this crap about sitting there and talking about what we do, and actually do it. Because God gave you some talent, but he also gave you a certain number of years.

posted by Gin and Broadband at 1:31 AM on February 4, 2016


Yeah I really trust King's opinions on film. I mean, Maximum Overdrive? And the TV adaptation of The Shining? Now that's entertainment.
posted by panama joe at 1:43 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Cell has a great, terrifying opening act, in which folks with cell phones--so basically, everyone--go nuts. All at once. It's gripping and highly entertaining apocalypse stuff. The rest of the book is a slog, with uninteresting protagonists doing the post-apocalyptic thing for a while, and the ending is just flat-out, head-scratchingly, objectively awful.
posted by zardoz at 2:39 AM on February 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


I read a ton of Stephen King when I was in junior high and high school, and loved it. The short stories were always, to me, the best, and most terrifying of his work. Novel-wise, I'd like to see the King/Straub collaboration Talisman as a movie. For a short story, man, I'd love to see Mrs. Todd's Shortcut, but the only way it could work as a film is if it just played like a normal slice of life drama that progressively introduced the shortcut in very, very slight increments, so that by the end, the audience is wondering what the hell is going on, and exactly what kind of film they're watching. Not the sort of thing that screams profit.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:54 AM on February 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Oh, man, that one witty, funny story about the laundry mangle. They made a bunch of movies about it, but like Lawnmower Man, part of the horror and delight of the original story was the way it resisted being turned into anything as simple and pictorial as a movie. The possessed laundry equipment roaming the streets, a horrifying notion that is so over-the-top that translating it to the screen just makes it comical instead of scary. But to anyone who has ever been made aware of the way industrial equipment can, in a half a heartbeat, crush the life out of a person, or destroy their hand or leg, a mangler is terrifying in a way that just doesn't translate well to the screen. It reminds me of those driver safety films that were funny because of their truthful gore - it was the sombre realism of them that seemed excessive and ridiculous.
posted by gingerest at 3:43 AM on February 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


panama joe: "Yeah I really trust King's opinions on film. I mean, Maximum Overdrive? And the TV adaptation of The Shining? Now that's entertainment."

Yeah, the TV mini-series version of The Shining really undercuts anything that King has to say about Kubrick's movie.
posted by octothorpe at 3:57 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nice, interviews with Stephen King are always good.

By the way when he says "I want a dollar", well I’m not sure we can assume he means that for the hollywood-level stuff, but, just the other day I heard about this project here in Italy from a young photographer/filmmaker who is shooting an adaptation of a short story by Stephen King, "Nona", he emailed Stephen King and got permission, and King only asked for one dollar to give him the rights (nothing in English on it, sorry). Here’s the trailer. It was all shot in small towns in Northern Italy with a bunch of friends and very little money apparently. Good man Stephen King.
posted by bitteschoen at 4:13 AM on February 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


But to anyone who has ever been made aware of the way industrial equipment can, in a half a heartbeat, crush the life out of a person, or destroy their hand or leg, a mangler is terrifying in a way that just doesn't translate well to the screen. I

I think he wrote "The Mangler" after working in a laundry, so it was indeed his own body that he was afraid for. I sympathize; I was scared of the Hobart dough mixer in the old pizza joint. Hate to see someone get an arm caught in that thing. I gave it a wide berth.
posted by thelonius at 4:23 AM on February 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Stephen King used to coach his son's extra curricular YMCA basketball team (it was awesome to see him in sort of a real life - not horror vantage. Anyway, I often wonder since his kids were teenagers by that point if while sitting over Pizza or McDonald's post-game his son ever asked him, "So, when we were growing up and we spent that winter caretaking while you were writing, were you fantasizing about chasing Mom and me down with an ax?

I would so totally have wanted to have been on that basketball team just to hear his response over a milkshake and fries... or at least see the spittake.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:25 AM on February 4, 2016


King only asked for one dollar to give him the rights (nothing in English on it, sorry).

He's done that before to film students, and always has. I think he also asked for copies of the results.

Wow. You people weren't joking about there being sequels to The Mangler. I thought I had seen all of the 'King' movies (including, er, Creepshow III) but, nope.

On the other hand, The Mangler II "abandons the original's premise of an industrial laundry machine possessed by a murderous demon, replacing it with a murderous, sentient computer virus taking over a school", so I'm probably going to give that one a pass.

Not even Lance Henriksen can save that one.
posted by Mezentian at 5:32 AM on February 4, 2016


I often wonder since his kids were teenagers by that point if while sitting over Pizza or McDonald's post-game his son ever asked him

Well, he did pen Locke and Key, along with some other thing I haven't read of his, so there's probably something there.

All this talk about King and movies and I'm just sitting here wondering if/when The Dark Tower is gonna come out as a movie. .... as I also wonder if I want The Dark Tower to come out on movie. So much drama, so much potential, so much hollywood production hell.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:45 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


King only asked for one dollar to give him the rights

Stephen King's Dollar Babies
posted by Rock Steady at 5:46 AM on February 4, 2016 [8 favorites]


Darren Aronofsky - Survivor Type
Paul Thomas Anderson - Mrs. Todd's Shortcut
posted by shakespeherian at 5:52 AM on February 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Lovecraft filtered through King and adapted for the big screen.

It was called The Mist and it wasn't bad.
posted by echocollate at 6:30 AM on February 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


.... as I also wonder if I want The Dark Tower to come out on movie.

Maybe not a movie, but I think The Dark Tower could make a hell of a TV show, if taken up by the right production company. Granted, I'm also someone who was obsessed with the series prior to him having even finished Wizard and Glass, and then never finished the remainder of the series after I think book 5 due to feeling like it went off the rails in the later books.

Still, I think someone could really do it justice on HBO or similar (maybe even SyFy, what with how well they're doing with The Expanse).
posted by tocts at 6:36 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]




Interesting. Am I reading this right that they're trying to cram the whole story into a single movie, though? If so, my expectations are ... low, being honest. It's an awful lot of plot to fit in even a 2.5-3h movie, regardless of the quality of actors involved.
posted by tocts at 6:47 AM on February 4, 2016


There's already been some reaction to Elba's casting, and Akiva Goldsman has some words for those racist "fans".
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:48 AM on February 4, 2016


Dreamcatcher

Dreamcatcher is hilariously bad.

If you're wondering why: on the extras for the DVD, there's an interview with William Goldman, the screenwriter, where he says it was a very difficult book to adapt, but that he found the best thing to do was remove all the unfilmable stuff. He thought his draft was pretty great. And then the director, Lawrence Kasdan, "put all that stuff back in".

I once met Damien Lewis and told him how much I loved him in Band of Brothers and Keane, but was curious why he took the Dreamcatcher gig. Apparently he only saw the Goldman draft before agreeing.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 6:50 AM on February 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ah, yes, Akiva Goldsman, the mastermind behind the Transformers movies, "Childhood's End" and the writer of Batman Forever and its sequel Batman & Robin and... the reboot of I Am Legend? Ugh.

I will give him props for Fringe, though.

His taste is not good.
posted by Mezentian at 6:52 AM on February 4, 2016


Fringe is so Abramsy I have trouble attributing even the bad parts to Akiva.
posted by Artw at 6:54 AM on February 4, 2016


I feel he should have stuck it out for Children of the Corn 7: Holy Shit there are 7 of these.

(There are 9. 8 if you don't count the 'remake').


My boyfriend is a movies completist - he watches one of something, he'll watch the whole series - which means he once watched four Childrens of the Corn in one day. The last 4, to get them over with. It was....something.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:59 AM on February 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm willing to give King a pass on the whole Shining thing because it's clear that he can't be objective about it. Very personal story about his own addiction and misdeeds and treatment of his family, which as Grimgrin says reads like a self-justifying unreliable narrator anyway (even if in third person) and Kubric gave him back a much harsher reality. And then basically everyone recognized it as the best adaptation ever of King's books (or at the very least sharing that spot with Shawshank.)

I think it's like Rivers Cuomo hating Pinkerton because of the mortifying amount of honesty about his own fucked-uppedness that is in there, while fans love it for that same reason.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:01 AM on February 4, 2016 [8 favorites]


Maybe not a movie, but I think The Dark Tower could make a hell of a TV show, if taken up by the right production company.

For a long time I've wanted 4 movies and 3 TV series (6-8 one hour episodes each)
Movie 1: The Gunslinger (tells the story of Books 1 and 2)
TV series 1: The Gunslinger Born (tells the story of Roland getting his guns)
Movie 2: The Waste Lands (tells the story of Book 3 and the framing bits of Book 4)
TV series 2: Wizard and Glass (tells the story of Book 4)
Movie 3: Wolves of the Calla (Book 5)
TV Series 3: Song of Susannah (Book 6)
Movie 4: The Dark Tower (Book 7)
posted by Rock Steady at 7:02 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ah, yes, Akiva Goldsman, the mastermind behind the Transformers movies, "Childhood's End" and the writer of Batman Forever and its sequel Batman & Robin and... the reboot of I Am Legend? Ugh.

Don't forget Lost in Space.
posted by octothorpe at 7:03 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Lovecraft filtered through King and adapted for the big screen.

It was called The Mist and it wasn't bad.


King apparently loves the new ending, which reinforces my decision never to watch it because though it's one of my favorite King stories the new ending sounds like awful try-hard bullshit. I love the guy and his books, but yeah, he can be a bit of an anti-barometer on adaptations.
posted by Artw at 7:10 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Probably I need to read another King book to wash my head of Dr Sleep and the unfair perception that he's just 24/7 whining about Kubrick, because it isn't true and he's probably written better ones since.
posted by Artw at 7:13 AM on February 4, 2016


All this talk about King and movies and I'm just sitting here wondering if/when The Dark Tower is gonna come out as a movie.

I'm still wondering whether or not to invest the time to read the damn thing. I keep hearing that it went off the rails and didn't stick the landing. I really hate that, especially for a big series.
posted by Ber at 7:15 AM on February 4, 2016


I had a great time reading the first couple and forgetting to read the rest, FWIW.
posted by Artw at 7:16 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


I started laughing at the end of The Mist adaptation. That was some messed up nihilistic shit.
posted by angrycat at 7:26 AM on February 4, 2016


Heh; King thought (at the "several years ago" time of the interview) that Cell "would have made a terrific zombie movie."

I've said it before, I'll say it again -- zombie movies aren't about fighting the zombies or curing the zombies or really the zombies at all, and that's where Cell falls short. They're about how people fuck up systems.
"Okay, we've got our bunker all set up and a perfect defensive perimeter, so we're safe."
"Why isn't the generator to the electric fence running?"
"That was Dave's job! Dave is always screwing up! I vote we kill Dave!"
"Yeah! Let's kill Dave!"
"We can't kill Dave."
"This is a democracy, isn't it?"
And then the zombies attack while they're voting whether to kill Dave.
posted by Etrigan at 7:30 AM on February 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


I think Wolves of the Calla is both the last worthwhile Dark Tower book and where it goes off the rails. Seriously, when Father Callahan discovers Salems Lot on the bookshelf I felt really embarrassed for King
posted by angrycat at 7:30 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


The film ending for The Mist is SO BAD.

I also think The Mist in general is one of the greatest victims of King's really really un-nuanced and reliably stupid depictions of Crazy Religious Nuts.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:30 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Seriously, when Father Callahan discovers Salems Lot on the bookshelf I felt really embarrassed for King

Was it in The Waste Land where they're walking through a town with a thinny and someone thinks he sees a clown peeking out of the storm drain? That's when my eyes started rolling.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:32 AM on February 4, 2016


The ending of The Mist absolutely ruined that movie, which was otherwise pretty good. It was incomprehensibly sadistic to the protagonist, for no apparent reason.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 7:35 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


We'll always have Half Life so the best adaptation of The Mist exists.
posted by Artw at 7:35 AM on February 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


The film ending for The Mist is PERFECTION.

your mileage, of course, may vary
posted by djeo at 7:36 AM on February 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


The story ends on this deliciously dark note where they've escaped the horror of the grocery store and now are discovering the unutterably massive scale of the problem -- does this mean the whole earth is doomed? How far does the mist go? They've escaped, but have they escaped to anyplace? Are they just going to keep driving until something eats them because there's nowhere to go anymore?

The movie sacrifices all of that for some dumb Twilight Zone timing irony and aside from the absolutely terrible thing that the protagonist goes through there, everyone else will be totes fine, we cleaned up the mist, no bigs, I guess we learned not to experiment with portals!
posted by shakespeherian at 7:42 AM on February 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Eh the portal didn't bring monsters to earth, it just loosed the monsters already present, so I totes prefer the film ending
posted by infinitewindow at 8:04 AM on February 4, 2016


Does the film version have the soldiers who figure out what's going on and immediately hang themselves? Pretty fucking dumb soldiers if so, without the WE BROKE THE WORLD aspect.
posted by Artw at 8:12 AM on February 4, 2016


I didn't mind the Mist ending. I wish the viewer had been in on things though. I think that dramatic irony would have framed it better as epic tragedy rather than some sadistic nihilistic twist.
posted by echocollate at 8:18 AM on February 4, 2016


"This ain't no democracy"

-Rick Grimes

The new movie/show '11-22-63' has got to better then the book.
posted by clavdivs at 8:29 AM on February 4, 2016


I've read some King novels and short stories and generally liked them, though I know there are a lot of very bad ones. If you liked this interview though, and even if you have tried and disliked his fiction, I strongly recommend that you read On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, one of his few non-fiction books.

It's a fantastic, honest, and insightful read, as well as being one of the few books about the craft of writing that I feel actually helped me become a better writer myself.
posted by 256 at 8:41 AM on February 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Etrigan: zombie movies aren't about fighting the zombies or curing the zombies or really the zombies at all, and that's where Cell falls short. They're about how people fuck up systems.

Zombie movies make more sense if you imagine that most places are fine, and the movie is set in the one small community/mall/boarded-up house where things aren't fine because they've got a Dave.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:28 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


there's something about his prose style that is kind of...comfort food?

"I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries." -- Stephen King

if you’ve seen the movie, you don’t need to read the book

The Maltese Falcon (1941), too. Lots of the dialog is right out of the book verbatim.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:26 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I should probably pick up Bazaar of Bad Dreams, because short stories are where he really shines, though the title is kind of wank and I think I heard something somewhere about it being less horror and more fantasy vignettes, and though he can rock that Bradburyesque stuff I like him better putting his characters through tightly wound murder machines.
posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on February 4, 2016


The Maltese Falcon (1941), too. Lots of the dialog is right out of the book verbatim.

But you should read that book anyway 'cause Hammett was a hell of a writer.
posted by octothorpe at 11:24 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Darren Aronofsky - Survivor Type

I came here to type that literal exact same thing.
posted by wyndham at 11:32 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Now I'm wondering what John Huston could have done with a Steven King novel.
posted by octothorpe at 11:34 AM on February 4, 2016


Probably slept with whichever actress he cast for the main role.
posted by tocts at 11:53 AM on February 4, 2016


Re: The Mist moving ending. It's awful. It's so, so hammer-handed, we're-gonna-shock-middle-America-man-because-the-little-people-in-flyover-country-can't-handle it. I've been in dorm room bullshit sessions that had a better sense of narrative.

I can't believe the actors actually went through with it. You mean to tell me Thomas Jane wouldn't be all, "You want me to do what? I ain't gonna be a part of this shit."

I didn't mind the Mist ending. I wish the viewer had been in on things though. I think that dramatic irony would have framed it better as epic tragedy rather than some sadistic nihilistic twist.

Now, see that I can get behind. But I still don't believe an audience could accept the kid being killed in this scenario, being killed for the sake of irony. Kill the old folks to show the potential of the tragedy, give the kid a "happy" ending.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:56 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think he wrote "The Mangler" after working in a laundry, so it was indeed his own body that he was afraid for. I sympathize; I was scared of the Hobart dough mixer in the old pizza joint. Hate to see someone get an arm caught in that thing. I gave it a wide berth.

I managed to get my are forearm stuck in the roller of a our office's desktop label printer.

I have talent.
posted by Jalliah at 12:38 PM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


And a lot of thumbs for Frank Darabont, but Cronenberg's The Dead Zone is still my favorite King adaptation.

Seconded; I think The Dead Zone was important as it marked a certain transition for Cronenberg, but it's even more interesting for being ridiculously pitch-perfect; superb cast, score, cinematography, editing, the works. You watch it and instantly relax, for you are in safe, assured hands.
posted by specialbrew at 2:03 PM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Joseph Kahn - Combine The Regulators and Desperation into one crazy movie

I would love to see how they'd pull this off, with the same characters being at vastly different points in their lives (plus being in completely different relationships, hello sister-wife!) but the bigger problem is that Desperation is actually a story whereas The Regulators is pretty much just a scenario and maybe some things happen?

The new movie/show '11-22-63' has got to better then the book.

I want this to be true but I also see this being an "American Horror Story: Hotel" situation (at least, as it was for me) where the curiosity makes it tolerable for maybe-but-not-quite two hours and then the gore and dumbfulness makes it impossible to carry on.
posted by psoas at 2:27 PM on February 4, 2016


I keep hearing that it went off the rails and didn't stick the landing. I really hate that, especially for a big series.

I think one book, not the last one even, did go off the rails a bit. I forget if it was 5 or 6 but I feel like that caused a bunch of people to bog down... but honestly 7 made up for any/all badness.

I say read it.

Avoid the rewritten book one, because that's just crazytown to even do. Go into it with the understanding that a lot of realworld time passed between SK writing book one and book two. That's ok and way more palatable if you know that going into it.

If you enjoy one, I think you'll possibly love two and three.

Four will be an oddball but most people I know have said it's great or even their favorite in the series.

Five and six, not the greatest but not terrible, mostly just not getting the best compliments because 1 - 4 were so damn good. Does pull a few oddities out of his ass. Accept it and strap in for...

Book Seven. The tower. The ka-tet. I mean, it's the fucking grand finale... and King delivers. He delivers and pulls zero fucking punches along the way. Get ready. Oh, and he takes a moment to talk to you, The Constant Reader, personally before the end. I respect that. I wish I'd have listened to him. I really do. But I couldn't. You won't. No one can. And the ending... it tears your soul apart. Mine at least.

The comics are great too. The new book that falls between four and five is, well, read it after book seven, take it to the beach or something. It's not important. In fact, just stop and read The Stand or IT or Insomnia or something if you find yourself hankering for more Dark Tower goodness.

Trust me, I'm a gunslinger.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:00 PM on February 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


I keep hearing that it went off the rails and didn't stick the landing. I really hate that, especially for a big series.

I also say read it. But ...

I don't think it went off the rails. I don't think there ever were rails to begin with.

It felt like LOST, where the writers were obviously making it up as they went along. It was fun. But it was like, hey, it's the anything-can-happen book!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:28 PM on February 4, 2016


Trust me, I'm a gunslinger.

Will you open to us if we open to you?
Do you see us for what we are and accept what we do?
Do you seek aid and succor?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:32 PM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Trust me, I'm a gunslinger.

He speaks true, I set my watch and warrant on it.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:58 PM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've forgotten the face of my father and all but even the first book was kinda bad on reread.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:12 PM on February 4, 2016


I mostly stopped reading King ages ago but just a few weeks back I decided it was time to get The Dark Tower under my belt. Read the whole series in about two weeks flat so I can't say they weren't page-turners. Hell even when they were going off the rails, I found myself saying "I know there's more awesome ahead if I can just get past this".

I wasn't wrong.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:02 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am surprised that nobody but me still has an affectionate hate on for his miniseries "Golden Years." Adapted by Mr. King himself, it is amazingly bad, both the writing and the direction. The casting, in retrospect, is disturbingly odd: Felicity Huffman as the slinky agent of The Shop! Stephen Root! Character actress Margo Martindale! and several more!
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 8:27 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


There are parts of DT where he's obviously winging it, and other parts where he seems to be trying to walk back previous parts of it, but the really great action set pieces completely justify it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:30 PM on February 4, 2016


Since we're debating the ending to The Mist, here's what I wrote on the blue just a few months ago:

Ok, as someone who hated the ending of The Mist (and wasn't really a fan of the rest of the film, either), I must object. Yes, I would've preferred the Stephen King non-ending, the people driving off into the mist--and they should've included that scene with the radio! Turning the station dial as sloooooowwwly as possible and arguing if they hit upon a signal--that's memorable in the novella and would've worked well in the movie.

But I digress. The reason the end of The Mist sucks is because it isn't earned. They set up this tragic ending and then...Things Happened...and then oh, look, it wasn't so bad after all, all is well!

If you build up to that moment, sure. But these characters spend the last 90 minutes of the movie fighting only to stop everything within the last 3 minutes. No! Maybe if it were the last 30 minutes, and as an audience we felt the despair with them, and could empathize. But it's just a tacked on ending, and it's pretty clear to me they filmed the original ending but went with The Shocker. And of course, a standard happy Hollywood ending would've been crap as well. But they ending they went with...nah. The book's bleak, nothing-is-revealed ending is far better, full stop.
posted by zardoz at 11:40 PM on February 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think if you go into Dark Tower and check out after The Wind Through The Keyhole you are doing okay.
The Wolves of Calla onwards was a trudge.

I think a legion of Doctors Doom was riding velociraptors to fight Harry Potter, or some such other oxy-induced dream in there.

But I loved Cell, Gerard's Game and 11/23/63 and the movie version of The Mist, so opinions may differ.

Speaking of oxy-induced nightmares: David Cronenburg's Survivor Type gets my vote.
posted by Mezentian at 5:27 AM on February 5, 2016


give the kid a "happy" ending.

I'm not sure that would play so well in flyover country either. HONK HONK.

Also, I was going to poopoo the idea that audiences require happy endings, but then I remembered every literary thread where I argued for at least one character with whom I could sympathize, so I guess I get it.
posted by echocollate at 6:14 AM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


No no Cronenberg should do The Raft.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:39 AM on February 5, 2016


There's s version of the Raft on Creepshow II, but like everything on Creepshow II it is bad.
posted by Artw at 6:43 AM on February 5, 2016


Whut?
The Raft did a number on me, not only when I was young and saw it on TV, but when I read it.

I sentence you to watch Creepshow III.
posted by Mezentian at 6:48 AM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's always been interesting to me that King's original versions of Shawshank and The Mist both had pretty much the same ending -- protagonist(s) driving off toward something, hoping to find it but unsure of their chances -- and Darabont wrote his own conclusions for them that both said "Don't give up that hope" in completely opposite ways.
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:33 AM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


My boyfriend is a movies completist - he watches one of something, he'll watch the whole series - which means he once watched four Childrens of the Corn in one day. The last 4, to get them over with. It was....something.

Three interesting factoids about this:

1. I didn't even plan to do it. I got home from work with nothing to do that night...6+ hours later, I looked up and realized I'd now seen every Children of the Corn movie.

2. I was able to do it on the fly because I noticed that I owned every single one of them (except for the most recent one, which was on Netflix Instant) on DVD in various cheapo boxsets of garbage movies.

3. Miraculously everybody had matching towels didn't pack up and leave after that.
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:47 AM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I doff my hat to you.
I tried to watch all the Children of the Corn movies, and I think I quit either for Isaac's Return or the Revelation one.

Incidentally, I recently watched A Good Marriage and it was not a good film. It was almost like they sucked all the tension out of it.
posted by Mezentian at 12:01 AM on February 6, 2016


I keep hearing that it went off the rails and didn't stick the landing. I really hate that, especially for a big series.


Man, I had been so waiting for that series to move along, like years and years. The ending after the waiting was like "fuck this, fuck King (who was then still talking about retiring so fuck him) and his oeuvre anyways". I had been a huge King fan for a decade and a half but after that he was largely dead to me, the library purged of everything but "The Stand" and collections of shorts. I softened a bit but no longer breathlessly wait for his next piece and have only infrequently read anything since.

So yeah, horrible ending, all the moreso as it invalidates anything that came before it which was for me a wonderfully immersive land.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:31 PM on February 8, 2016


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