Archive for the ‘Stephen King’ Category

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It’s no secret that I’m a Stephen King fanatic. It, was the first adult book I read at the tender age of seven, and I’ve been hooked on his work ever since. Until that point the darkest stories I’d come across were Hans Christian Andersen’s grimm fairy tales, and the collected works of Roald Dahl, and I hungered for more. As luck would have it, (or fate if you’d prefer, I know I would) my cravings for the bleak would soon be satiated after I found a copy of It tucked between the alarm clock, and lamp on my uncle’s nightstand. I stealthily scooped the encyclopedia sized tome, glancing over my shoulders to ensure I wasn’t caught, and proceeded to devour it over a two week period, reading its terrifying passages whilst hidden beneath the sun-deck of my childhood home. It changed me, sparked my desire to write, and lured me into the dark side of fiction where I’ve spent the better part of my thirty years trying to craft something as equally horrifying.

Sadly, his adaptations have been a mixed bag, ranging from the fantastic Shawshank Redemption, and Misery to the mediocre, Pet Semetary, and virtually everything by Mick Garris, (fret not Mr. Garris, I respect your work, and I’ll be honouring it tomorrow, but Stephen King adaptations are not on the list) to the abysmal Silver Bullet, and Cell.

Perhaps there’s something about King’s work that makes it difficult to adapt. Maybe it’s because his brand of horror is far more effective played out in our heads than it is on a screen, or maybe the studios behind them are more concerned with the money that comes from his name, rather than making an adequate film. Whatever the case, many of King’s stories deserve better.

Next year, It will be making its way to the big screen for a second try, this time with a much needed R rating attached to it, and Pet Sematary soon after. From what I’ve seen, and heard about both films they appear to be faithful adaptations, made by filmmakers who respect, and adore the source material. Hopefully, should they be successful, it’ll start a trend of other less than savoury works being re-adapted, but we’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I figured we’d take a look at an oft overlooked adaptation- or rather anthology of adaptations in TNT’s, Nightmares and Dreamscapes.

Released in 2006, Nightmares and Dreamscapes sees a number of King’s stories from the aforementioned novel brought to life for the small screen, as well as a couple exceptions, namely The Road Virus Heads North, and Autopsy Room Four from Everything’s Eventual, and Battleground from the Skeleton Crew. The stories chosen from Nightmares are, Umney’s Last Case, The End of the Whole Mess, You Know They Got a Hell of a Band, The Fifth Quarter, and Crouch End.

To put it bluntly, Nightmares and Dreamscapes does everything the typical Hollywood Stephen King adaptation doesn’t, and that’s not a slam. The creators went to great lengths to do justice to the source material, and the special effects provided by the Jim Henson Creature Shop are excellent by network standards. Brian Henson, son of everyone’s favourite muppet manufacturer even directed the pilot, and standout episode of the series Battleground.

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Normally I’d pick a few of my favourite episodes, and summarize their plots in as few words as possible, but every episode of the series is worth watching, and vary just enough from one another to each stand out. This is more of a case of which was my least favourite, and if forced to pick from the lot I’d have to go with Crouch End, but that’s more so because I’ve never been a fan of the story, and not due to any fault of its own.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes ran for just one season, eight paltry episodes, and it’s a damn shame we never got a second considering Haven just wrapped up its fifth, and final season this past December. Not that I have anything against Haven, I’m actually quite fond of its campy charm, but it simply doesn’t carry the same chill factor, and level of prestige found in Nightmares.

If you haven’t seen this series, I implore you to track down a copy, they sell for relatively cheap on amazon, I think I forked out fifteen bucks for mine brand new, and I’d have gladly paid double.

That’s all for today my dearest darklings. Do come back tomorrow for the final course of my Thankskilling extravaganza. I saved the best for last, a nice bloody slice of dessert for all you gore-mongers out there.

Until then, stay scared!

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