When it came time to adapt ‘Doctor Sleep’; Stephen King’s sequel novel to ‘The Shining’, Mike Flanagan seemed to be faced with some tough decisions when writing and directing. Not only were King’s original novel and Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation two different beasts, but they were so dissimilar that the author famously hated Kubrick’s take on his work. However, it seems that Flanagan has succeeded in crafting not only a worthy sequel nearly four decades after the original, yet a movie that seems to work on its own terms (Hey, if it is enough to please the “King”, then I am sure it will work for modern audiences).
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I cannot guarantee that Netflix’s newest movie, ‘Gerald’s Game’ – based on Stephen King’s 1992 novel of the same name (and the third adaptation this year after ‘The Dark Tower’ and ‘It’) – is an easy watch; (as with most captivity thrillers) but if one were to get through a hodgepodge of ghostly visions, insanity, and a climax that I could describe as disturbingly and grotesquely unnerving for a film of its caliber, as I did, he or she will feel the epiphany of its themes in a way no horror movie has tried. Writer/Director Mike Flanagan (‘Oculus’, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’) makes ‘Gerald’s Game’ play out like a Bob Ross painting; it may not seem like much in the beginning, but once near completion, the picture is clear, and the beauty can be fully realized. It is amazing how something so simple can make you see things differently when all is said and done.
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Being that we live in a time where best-selling books are adapted into two-part blockbusters (‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay’, ‘The Hobbit’), there was no perfect time for Stephen King’s most popular horror novel ‘It’ to get the same treatment. Unlike other adaptations that want to bank off the successes of other two-parters in the past (They are slowly dying out, I swear!), ‘It’ has a good reason to be divided in half. Not only was Stephen King’s novel long, (I did not even have time to finish the book in high school near the end of my senior year) but it was the basis for a two-part miniseries starring Tim Curry as a devilish clown named Pennywise (Who is played here by Bill Skarsgard). If you have seen the original miniseries (which, I believe, many of you have), or have read the book, you can see that its story was made to be two movies. Whether or not you think so, this idea works and doesn’t make its audience tiresome. In fact, ‘It’ is one of the most consistently entertaining horror movies I’ve seen in years.
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It looks like ‘Pet Sematary’ is not the only terrible Stephen King film adaptation I have seen yet. Yes, Mary Lambert’s 1989 horror – Ahem! – classic was a nonsensical and grotesque piece of camp, but there was something entertaining in its cheesy demeanor. In Nikolaj Arcel’s adaptation of ‘The Dark Tower’; King’s 8-part series of books, however, the entertainment factor goes down to zero. This movie had potential to be a great epic, instead, it fell flat from the word “Go!”. I had more fun trying to spot the many Easter Eggs hidden throughout than I did sitting through this badly acted lackluster. Excuse that understatement! “Bad” is no way to describe the experience of watching this film; let’s go with “Boring”. Not since ‘Twilight’ have I seen actors feel like they wanted to collect their paychecks and wanted to go home from another day of work, hence a few alright performances from Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, who at least try; being huge names and all.
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In honor of this week’s release of ‘The Dark Tower’, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey; based on the popular book series by horror master Stephen King, as well as next month’s newest R-rated adaptation of ‘IT’ by King. I have decided to do my top 10 favorite Stephen King movies. Before I get started, the thing about Stephen King is that his work is so popular that it was a shame I couldn’t do a list on my favorite adaptations until now. Without further ado, here are my Top 10 favorite Stephen King films.
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