Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

"Stephen King's Movie Adaptation!"

Oh, hell yeah: now I've seen, and been impressed by, commercials for the film version of Stephen King's The Mist.

It's called Stephen King's The Mist.

If I sound redundant, I'm actually not. See, at some point I developed a rule of thumb: if a movie based on a Stephen King work mentions Stephen King in the title, or prominently mentions King in the ads ("From the master of suspense..."), then it's almost certainly going to be crap. Stephen King's Silver Bullet, Stephen King's Children of the Corn, Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man (until the lawsuit to remove his name) and Stephen King's Night Flier come to mind. Though I actually heard a decent thing or two about the film Stephen King's Thinner...and the film of Misery also took a nice variant approach by giving King's name the same weight on the poster as director Rob Reiner and screenwriter William Goldman.

But for TV adaptations of his work, it's almost exactly the other way around: likely to be better if it has Stephen King's as a prefix. I think Stephen King's The Stand is a solid miniseries, and it prompted me finally to pick up a King novel (The Stand: why not aim high? And I loved it). I liked the concept and some of the execution of his previous miniseries Stephen King's Golden Years; not perfect, but it had a good cast and some striking ideas. (I had a smilar reaction years later to Stephen King's Storm of the Century; the image of Colm Feore and the kids flying has stayed with me ever since.) I felt that the miniseries version of The Shining was a decent piece of business -- here's my 1997 review of it, paired with my diss of the miniseries based on Robin Cook's Invasion -- and when I read The Shining in '99, I thought King actually improved on the novel's denouement. I've yet to see Stephen King's It, or read the original novel, but I've heard decent things about the miniseries and great things about the book. (A friend of mine read It, all 1,100-plus pages, in a single weekend while he was sick. He actually resisted going to sleep!) It's a rule of thumb, not a rule -- hello, Stephen King's Sometimes They Come Back? Stephen King's Rose Red? Stephen King's Sometimes They Come Back...Again? (And so help me, the second sequel, Stephen King's Sometimes They Come Back...For More?) -- but it's a rule that's served me well.

This film of The Mist might buck that trend. The big reason: Frank Darabont wrote and directed it. While I've never completely warmed to Darabont's version of The Green Mile (though the book is wonderful: emotional and tough and wrenching), I'm as big a Shawshank fan as anyone -- ever since seeing it in early '95 in its second theatrical release -- and I was impressed with his 1984 short film based on King's "The Woman in the Room." (King was impressed, too; that's how he and Darabont got to know each other.) And as I watched these 30-second montages used to sell Stephen King's The Mist, seeing his small-town horror played out on-screen with cool images and great actors like Andre Braugher, I grinned big. Oh, hell yeah: this could be good.

Good in a way not usually seen when the words Stephen King's are on a movie screen.
Tags: books, film reviews

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