REVIEW: Firestarter [2022]

When you see her, you will understand. My initial impulse upon rewatching the original movie was to read the novel assuming something got lost in translation to make it feel so boring on-screen. Now that I’ve seen director Keith Thomas and screenwriter Scott Teems‘ latest adaptation of Stephen King‘s Firestarter, however, I’m beginning to wonder whether the source material is just dull. Because a lot has changed this go-round. The fact there’s only thirty minutes left by the time Andy (Zac Efron) and Charlie McGee (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) make it…

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REVIEW: Firestarter [1984]

You don’t need your gun. I haven’t read Stephen King‘s Firestarter, but I must believe it has more going for it than Mark L. Lester‘s adaptation. Why make it into a film at all if not? If I were to guess, the problem occurred when the producers hired Stanley Mann to create a new script that leaned more closely to the novel after Christine director John Carpenter had already commissioned two before exiting the project. There’s a difference between making a film version of a book and filming the book—something…

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REVIEW: Maximum Overdrive [1986]

It turned itself on and it bit me! To read Stephen King‘s short story “Trucks” (from the compilation Night Shift) is to get embroiled in a nihilistic nightmare along the lines of a “Twilight Zone” episode. A few people are left stranded at a truck stop while diesel vehicles gain cognizance and begin killing any people they see until fuel stores run low and a truce must be met to acquire their victims’ pumping services. There’s little room for hope as the new order of things appears destined to continue…

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REVIEW: Doctor Sleep [2019]

We don’t end. I’m not going to lie: seeing Stephen King endorse Mike Flanagan‘s cinematic adaptation of his novel Doctor Sleep worried me. After being so vehemently vocal against Stanley Kubrick‘s changes to The Shining, the film version of the sequel would seemingly need to be religiously faithful to the text for him to laud it. The only way that happens is for it to conversely diverge from Kubrick’s masterpiece instead, rendering a middle ground between them impossible. Either Flanagan wrote and directed a continuation of the movie (hedge maze,…

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REVIEW: It Chapter Two [2019]

We all need to remember. When last we left Derry, Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård) had fallen to his presumed death after a brawl with the Losers Club in his sewer lair. What we didn’t see as he slipped out of view were the Deadlights extinguishing—those bright beacons of insanity that caused countless children to “float” as this centuries old evil fed upon their fear. In the moment, however, these seven brave kids couldn’t think that far. To them this victory meant survival and the final time they’d be…

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REVIEW: Pet Sematary [2019]

I just wanted to be a family again. Remakes are often thankless jobs because you’re stuck trying to live up to or best your predecessor while also creating something wholly different. Most attempts based on literary works are able to fall back on the clichéd notion of “returning to the source” as though the first adaptation was inexcusably unfaithful. But when you’re following a script written by the novel’s author, that excuse holds zero weight. So Jeff Buhler (Matt Greenberg‘s draft was apparently changed enough to downgrade his credit to…

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REVIEW: Pet Sematary [1989]

It’s a place where the dead speak. Death is never an easy subject to broach for children or adults. The latter have their beliefs and experiences with it and thus work towards either protecting the former from thinking about mortality too early or ensuring it so they can be prepared. Some don’t have a choice, though, since death always finds us in the end. It could be the demise of a beloved pet or the traumatic circumstances surrounding a loved one suffering at the hands of disease. Do you choose…

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REVIEW: Christine [1983]

You have nothing to lose but your virginity. It shouldn’t be surprising to see parallels between John Carpenter‘s Christine and today considering we live in an era where phrases like “boys will be boys” are used to full stop sanitize the increasingly deplorable actions of young white American men. Back in the 1970s when this film (and Stephen King‘s novel on which it is adapted) is set, we would laugh at the so-called “locker room” talk of teenage boys sexualizing their female classmates and knowingly chiding the nerdy kids chiming…

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REVIEW: Carrie [1976]

Sin never dies. As a Maine resident trying his hand at literary horror, it shouldn’t be surprising that Stephen King would gravitate towards a New England topic such as witchcraft so early in his career. Carrie was his fourth novel (first to be published) and showed the potential for the skewed gaze on common tropes he possessed. The titular character isn’t a witch per se, but a young girl with newfound telekinetic powers and an abused background with which to foster a seething rage beneath her shyly sweet demeanor. Rather…

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REVIEW: Creepshow [1982]

Seven years before HBO brought EC Comics’ 1950s-era horror strips to life for their long-running anthology series “Tales from the Crypt”, Stephen King and George Romero delivered their own homage to the style with Creepshow. The former served in the role of screenwriter with two of the five chapters being adaptations of short stories he had written previously. The latter took his spot behind the camera to orchestrate King’s madness and mayhem with the help of special effects legend Tom Savini, each tale proving to be a mixture of black…

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REVIEW: It [1990]

“It just isn’t empirically possible” Considering I was around ten-years old when first seeing Tommy Lee Wallace‘s “It”—I’m pretty sure it was post-1990 since I was only eight then—my memory held its adaptation of Stephen King‘s novel in high regard. I probably watched bits and pieces over the next could decades, always believing it to be scary for more reasons than just Tim Curry‘s performance as Pennywise the clown. Something about the underbelly of suburbia and the idea that malevolence exists to force its residents into doing nightmarish acts struck…

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