Let’s talk about Desperation. Now…the book is not that great. It’s extremely heavy handed on the God tip. I can understand the religiosity and madness of some of his later work (the tail end of the Dark Tower series and suchlike) because after all he was injured and likely suffering from PTSD at that time. This book, however, has no excuse.
King always appealed to me because his work rarely got too philosophical- beyond the portrayals of small town “normal people”. In the work he did just before and after Desperation, he tended to start introducing himself, thinly veiled, as a character in his own work. The appearance of the godlike author in the Dark Tower series is the pinnacle of this nonsense.
Desperation has some redeeming elements as a book; the movie on the other hand…King wrote the teleplay of it. He did the adaptation and apparently had quite a bit of creative control. I won’t draw any conclusions yet about whether or not this is the source of the trouble with some of his films; we’ll wait until I get a chance to find a bit more information.
I know. He doesn’t care really, what we all think of his work. He gets paid, right? I understand that he probably has little negative response at this point from anyone whose opinion matters to him. and he HAS written so much really good work that he may feel he doesn’t have to worry so much anymore about the actual craft of scaring people. I mean, he’s written an incredibly good book about horror writing himself. But…I just want more of the good stuff. You know? I get like this, critical, mostly because I used to love his work so much. And I don’t read much pulp or paperbacks or genre fiction. I am a book person. A “real” book person. And I used to adore his books. Now, I find so many flaws in everything he writes. I know it’s a bit demanding but I want more GOOD movies and books from this man- or I want to stop having my hopes dashed. And so I’m sitting here in a stenched out room, with the smell of my own sick sweat encasing me, watching Storm of the Century and wishing it was Cujo.
Storm of the Century. Yeah, let’s talk about this one. Again, made for television. So again, we shouldn’t get our hopes up. Like Desperation, it was adapted by King himself. And like Desperation, it is heavy on the godtalk. Also, the cgi is hit-or-miss, but I assume that even though King had a degree of creative control, this may not be entirely his fault.
The dialogue is unbearable. The acting is mediocre. But…the manner in which it is written is the downfall. Blunt, unsubtle speeches. A bad guy named “legion”. I think that this, along with Desperation, belong more on the christian networks than in any nonreligious channel or network. Unscary to boot. As a non-religious person, the idea of demons or devils coming to get revenge on me for not praying just is NOT frightening. And no amount of heavy-handed bible talk is going to change that.
The Exorcist is a somewhat frightening religious movie. Desperation and Storm of the Century can’t just repeat that format with different characters and be frightening. It’s obsolete horror. It’s old. It’s been done, and better.
As usual he can write decent settings, but that’s always been one of King’s strong suits. Usually, that is.
Let’s talk about something else, instead.
Thinner, for example. Now, this book was all right. Not the top ten of King’s; not great, but not awful. I am hyperthyroid and have a high metabolism and have always had trouble keeping weight on, so it at least had some element of body horror I found personally frightening. It again is very morally heavy handed and obvious- but at the same time a bit more obscure and undefined.
The movie isn’t quite as terrible as the other two here- it’s not really that well-acted in general, and the pacing is awful- but the screenplay and writing, the adaptation, is fairly well done. It was not adapted by King. I’ve done as much research as internetting allows and it seems that King had little or less creative control over this one.
So…I’m gonna begin posting my ratings. My own personal opinion; The Shining (NOT TEH REMAKE) is probably the best King-related movie made. And The Langoliers is most likely the worst. So basing it on a scale from 10/shining, to 0/langoliers…
Desperation: 1.5, Storm of the Century: 1.5: Salem’s Lot: 3, Thinner: 2.
next up: Tommyknockers, Green Mile, The Stand, The Langoliers, Night Flier, The Mist (the mist, because I need a good movie break in teh middle of all the madness.)