Posts Tagged ‘Stephen King’

Let’s be perfectly honest, this is not the best anthology series in the history of ever. I’m not going to do the run down of Stephen King’s career, or chronicle the ups and downs of his work here. Lately, I’ve found that no two people can really agree when exactly it was that they stopped loving the man’s work or when exactly things just plain stopped working for them. My particular view is that King has always been sort of lopsided and uneven. There are moments of brilliance and moments that don’t work and it’s up to each person to pick and choose what does and doesn’t work for them. However, for the most part, Nightmares & Dreamscapes didn’t much work for me. One problem was that it was greatly shot in Australia, but it’s trying to look like America (Or in one case, London) and it just doesn’t. That’s less of a problem here, as part of the show was shot in San Francisco (or someplace trying to look like it mixed with stock footage and matte shots) and the other part was just on a soundstage. None of that is very important though, the only really important question is “Does it work?” or possibly “Is it entertaining?” since I’ve admitted things that are complete train wrecks can be entertaining.

Well, the answer is “Yes.” A further answer might be, “It’s not the best Stephen King adaptation that’s ever been made, but it’s certainly the most fun.”

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Creepshow 2 (1987 New World Pictures Dir. Michael Gornick)

How do you follow the success of one of the most popular horror anthology movies ever? You make Tales from the Darkside for TV of course. What if you’re knee deep in that program and someone reminds you that Creepshow was a theatrical release and that they’d like to have another movie? Well, if you make a sort of halfhearted sequel that’s under funded and as a result fails to capture quite the spirit of the original. I place no blame at the feet of director Michael Gornick. I’ve listened to his commentary and it sounds like he made the best product he could with the tools he was given to work with. The problem was that New World Pictures was trying to make the movie on less than half what the first movie cost, which I can’t help but wonder if that frustrated Romero, which caused him to pass on directing duties. As I understand it, Romero was going to write and direct, and then decided to pass the directing duties to Tom Savini, who either because of time or not wanting to deal with what was becoming a cost cutting adventure passed it on to Gornick. Additionally, because of some production problems, the bonding company ended up placing extra pressure on the company asking them to speed up the production. So, there was some frustration in production, and that caused the end product to be less than stellar. It’s not even that this is bad, or not an enjoyable ride. It’s good, it’s fun, it’s just not as good or as fun as the original. It’s worth watching though, so let’s dive in and check it out.

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Creepshow (1982 Warner Bros. Dir. George A. Romero)

How does one begin to talk about Creepshow? I have to do an above the fold description, but it’s hard to know where to begin. This is a strange celebration of so many things that established wisdom says is bad for you. The horror comics of the E.C. era, anthology films, and of cheap and dirty storytelling. See, anthology movies never work. So says Hollywood. Argument not without some merit, as they rarely find an audience, thus they have poor box office and are difficult to manage artistically. The horror comic scare of demented perverts like Fredric Wertham* are the reason wanna be lawmakers even today try to demonize funny books. And even the short stories that these tales are based on are looked down on by snooty critics who can’t find any merit is works that people might actually enjoy reading. This is just a big bowl of everything that’s bad for you. I guess that’s why it’s so darn good. This is King and Romero doing their best scary-fun work.

*I’m just saying, no one ever though Batman and Robin were gay until this guy pointed it out. We also didn’t know Plastic Man was a phallic reference before him, or that Wonder Woman was a lesbian slut or that Superman was an un-American fascist. The guy was deranged, and a seriously shitty researcher to boot. I honestly can’t decry the fuckbag enough.

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TITLE PAGE!

Cat’s Eye (1985 DEG Dir. Lewis Teague)

Around the time Stephen King was getting ready to make Maximum Overdrive, The De Laurentiis Entertainment Group was making another King movie. This one was, as far as I can tell, the second of three movies that De Laurentiis and King would make together. The first being Firestarter and the last being Maximum Overdrive. Like Firestarter, this also has Drew Barrymore in it and like the other two films it was shot in and around Wilmington, North Carolina. It’s also directed by the man who directed Cujo, so there is a strong contingent of King Veterans in this movie. It contains two stories from Nightshift and a story that, again as far as I can tell, was just written for the screenplay for this movie.

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You know, we’ve seen us some dull title cards on this blog, but this one takes the cake. It was a nice cake too.

The Dark Half (1993 Orion Pictures Dir. George A. Romero)

This is not one of the better-loved Stephen King books, so I suppose it’s natural that the movie wouldn’t be that beloved either. Hell, I had to order a copy from England just to get a proper widescreen edition. Part of the problem was that the movie sort of flopped when it came out, which it did nearly two years after it was made, due to Orion’s death throws. The release of this movie could almost be considered a final death spasm, and as such, it wasn’t enthusiastically promoted or even properly funded. All this means that not many people saw the movie, however one cannot simply blame that as people who have seen the movie aren’t that impressed by it. This makes it much like the book, which is one of my favorites, but they can’t all be The Stand or IT now can they? Still, let us clear those things from our mind and try to focus on this movie. How does it stack up against the book or other King movies? Well, let’s see…

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Part One: The Plague
Part Two: The Dreams
Part Three: The Betrayal

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Final Round!

The Stand (1994 ABC Dir. Mick Garris)

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Part One: The Plague
Part Two: The Dreams

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The Stand (1994 ABC Dir. Mick Garris)

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