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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen King’


Friday, April 15th, 2016

tn_carrie13carryoncarrieLike THE RAGE, the 2013 remake of CARRIE is directed by a woman. This one comes courtesy of Kimberly Peirce of BOYS DON’T CRY and STOP-LOSS fame. The screenplay is credited to two men, Lawrence D. Cohen (GHOST STORY) and Robert Aguirre-Sacasa (THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN remake). The weird thing is that Cohen wrote the DePalma version, and this is his first credit in 9 years, so I don’t know if that means they started from an old-screenplay base. It kinda seems like it. It doesn’t do its own thing as much as I’d like. It’s not DePalma, but it’s not a drastically different take either, so I’m not sure how much the female perspective was able/allowed to add in this instance.

Part of the fun of a remake or re-adaptation is seeing who they have playing the different roles. There are some familiar actors in the leads here. Chloe Grace Moretz (TODAY YOU DIE) plays Carrie, and she’s the first actual teenager to ever play the character on screen. At 15 I believe she’s actually younger than Carrie was in the book, and there’s something to be said for authentic youthfulness in this role. Julianne Moore (ASSASSINS) is Margaret White, because of course she is. It would have to be her. Judy Greer, known for thankless roles in every major movie of the last few summers, actually gets things to do in the Betty Buckley role as the sympathetic gym teacher.

I was not familiar with the young actors playing the do-gooder couple of Sue and Tommy. Sue is Gabriella Wilde, a tall blond model who was in the Paul W.S. Anderson THREE MUSKETEERS, and Tommy is boyish Ansel Elgort, a rookie actor who has since been in the DIVERGENT series of trailers that seem to come out every few months, was the boy lead in THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and reportedly on the short list to play Young Han Solo in I HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS: THE ADVENTURES OF ALL NEW HAN SOLO. Both actors won me over after initial skepticism. Meanie blood-dumper Chris Hargensen is played by Portia Doubleday, who I know from looking like Amanda Sieyfried on that tv show Mr. Robot. (She was also the surrogate date in HER, and her older sister Kaitlin plays Rhonda, the only major white character on Empire.) Chris’s bad boy boyfriend Billy Nolan (Travolta’s character) is Alex Russell, who I guess was in CHRONICLE and later Angelina Jolie’s UNBROKEN. (read the rest of this shit…)


Monday, April 11th, 2016
I also considered “CARRIED AWAY!”

tn_carrie76When one of us says “Carrie,” I bet we all think of the same thing: Brian DePalma’s iconic 1976 film, an American classic. It’s the first and still-second-best movie based on a Stephen King book, so of course we could also be talking about that 1974 novel (the fourth that King wrote, but first he got published). Or we could be talking about the 2002 made-for-TV version, or the 2013 remake, or I suppose the 1952 William Wyler movie which in my opinion is not based on King’s book. Anyway this week I’d like to take a look at the different incarnations of King’s story. (Not the failed Broadway musical though. I never saw it.)

I’m assuming I don’t have to tell you the story. And then I’m telling you the story just in case. Carrie White (Sissy Spacek, PRIME CUT) is a shy, awkward girl who already doesn’t fit in at her high school before she has her first ever period in the locker room shower after gym class and thinks she’s bleeding to death, much to the amusement of all her classmates. Yeah, thanks for the heads up on that menstruation stuff, abusive and mentally ill Christian fundamentalist mother (Piper Laurie, RETURN TO OZ, THE FACULTY).

The other girls get in trouble from their gym teacher Miss Collins (Betty Buckley, THE HAPPENING) for pelting Carrie with tampons and chanting at her. One of the girls, Sue Snell (Amy Irving, THE FURY) feels guilty about it and convinces her greatest-American-boyfriend Tommy Ross (William Katt, SUPER) to take Carrie to the prom and show her a good time. Another girl, Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen, ROBOCOP), goes the other route, she’s not allowed to go to the prom, and plans a cruel prank to avenge Carrie. Meanwhile, womanhood has unlocked in Carrie a freak power to control objects with her mind. So if she gets humiliated again, perhaps on stage at the prom to name one possible scenario, she’s not gonna cower in fear this time. There will be Hell to pay.
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Stand By Me

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

tn_standbymeSTAND BY ME is Stephen King’s latest chiller, a spooky tale of kids going on a long walk singing TV show themes. Okay, I guess it’s more of a coming of age drama type deal, and it came out in 1986, and I don’t generally use the term “chiller.” This opening paragraph could use some work actually.

It’s hard to review a movie like this that everybody has seen and knows backwards and forwards, but I watched it on the new 25th Anniversary Oh Jesus We’re Old Edition blu-ray. It holds up, it’s a good movie, and I thought it was worth some words and sentences and shit.
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The Running Man

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

tn_runningman1Arnold Schwarzenegger is… THE RUNNING MAN. That’s actually what it says on the credits, which makes me feel good, makes me proud to be an American. In fact, I’m gonna make a new tag for this review called “is…” If you can think of some other movies where the star “is…” the title, let me know. But only if it’s in the actual opening credits, not just the trailer or the poster, at least for now. We’ll see how many we can find.

THE RUNNING MAN was a book Stephen King wrote in 1982 when he was on the lam and hiding out under the alias Richard Bachman. I read it back in the ’80s so I don’t remember it in much detail, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the same kind of goofy cartoon shit as the movie. It was about a brutal game show of the future where contestants tried to get across the country without being killed. I think there were bounty hunters after them, but also they’d become famous through the show and regular people would try to kill them to collect a reward. It’s like American Idol except instead of participating by calling in you do it by shooting at the guy. The main character was kind of like Kowalski in VANISHING POINT, he ended up capturing the hearts of everybody at home and they started rooting for him to get away. (read the rest of this shit…)

Pet Sematary

Friday, October 31st, 2008

This month I’ve done a pretty good job of picking out the best mid-level Stephen King pictures, the INCBIS’s (it’s not CARRIE, but it’s solid). I didn’t think PET SEMATARY would hold up very well, but I was wrong, this was another good one. Good job, PET SEMATARY. Here’s a treat.

It’s a relief to see a Stephen King story where the main guy is not a writer and his marriage is not in trouble. This is the story of happily married doctor Louis Creed and his family of 2 kids and a cat moving to a new town in a house right along a popular trucking route. The road is so dangerous there’s a large pet sematary (sic) nearby, so they start worrying about their cat Winston Churchill. Their worries are not unfounded. But also they should keep an eye on their youngest kid in my opinion. (implied spoiler) (read the rest of this shit…)


Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Everybody loves dog movies if the dog is named Air Bud or is a descentdant of Air Bud, and he plays basketball or football, or rides a skateboard or wears sunglasses. But what if the dog’s sport was hunting, and furthermore what if his prey was THE ULTIMATE PREY – MAN. Same prey that Predator chose, in other words. Not so adorable now, is it?

CUJO is another solid Stephen King picture with a high concept about people with marital difficulties being terrorized, but for once it is not a haunted object that terrorizes them, it is a dog haunted only by a viral zoonotic neuroinvasive disease that causes acute encephalitis in mammals. Cujo got his rabies from a bat (the unsung villain of this piece, if you ask me) so now he’s kind of confused and taking his car chasing duties a little too serious. So when the mom from E.T. and the kid from “Who’s the Boss?” get stranded in their car on his property it creates a conflict. There is a strong disagreement about whether or not the dog should be allowed inside the car, basically. (read the rest of this shit…)


Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

To be honest I had written off the possibility of good Stephen King-based movies a while back. It seemed like that whole thing had run its course, but then I saw THE MIST and that was an enjoyable one. So I gave 1408 a shot, what the hell.

John Cusack plays a writer of haunted places guidebooks travelling around to allegedly haunted rooms, testing them, staying the night and writing about them. But he’s kind of a dick about it and doesn’t even believe in ghosts. And it’s indicated that something tragic happened in New York that caused him to leave his wife. But now he wants to go back to New York for the first time to stay in this room he found out about, 1408 at the Dolphin, where a whole bunch of people have killed themselves. And of course he gets in, the room terrorizes him for real, he learns about himself and explores the traumas of his life and faces why he left his wife. Spoooooky. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Mist

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

THE MIST is called THE MIST because it’s a cool and refreshing vapor of soothing horror quality in a sea of crappy bombast. Also because it’s about a mysterious mist that surrounds a small town and when they go into it there’s monsters. The small town is Castle Rock, Maine and you know what that means: based on a Stephen King story. The weird thing is the hero, Thomas Punisher Jane, is not an alcoholic writer, he is a guy who paints movie posters exactly like Drew Struzan (he even painted the poster for THE THING, just like Drew Struzan did, and came up with the same poster). So this is real new territory for Stephen King.

After a storm wrecks Tom Jane’s painting, his window, his boathouse, and his asshole neighbor’s Mercedes he takes his son and the neighbor (the great Andre Braugher of TV’s HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET) to the Food House grocery store. The place is chaotic with everybody stocking up in case of more storm and you can imagine how much worse it gets when The Mist traps everybody inside. By the way, even though this is Stephen King the grocery store is not possessed, not even the mist is possessed, it’s just mist that happens to surround monsters, which may or may not be possessed. I’m not really sure if monsters can be possessed or not, I have not considered this before. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Dead Zone

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Revisiting THE DEAD ZONE for the first time since the ’80s is kind of a trip. I didn’t know who David Cronenberg was back then so I didn’t know it was one of the most commercial movies he’d ever make. No weird phallic lumps, all vaginas presumably in the right spots. It’s an eery thriller with a cold, wintery atmosphere and a good idea from Stephen King. If you don’t remember, Chris Walken is a guy who gets into a car accident, wakes up from a coma and soon starts having premonitions. Sometimes when he touches somebody he finds himself in some traumatic future event. So he uses this to save children, catch a killer, etc., and becomes a local hero.

Walken of course is real good. He’s such a weirdo, but he gets to joke around, be kind of a charmer, and also be pissed off at this turn of events that people tell him is a “gift” even though it’s ruined his life. Cronenberg plays up the tragic love story. Walken and his old girlfriend still love each other, but while he was in the coma she got married and had a kid. So it’s tough. Not much you can do there that’s gonna make you happy in the long run. (read the rest of this shit…)


Thursday, October 14th, 2004

I don’t know if you remember this movie, it’s about a haunted car. In other words, it’s based on a Stephen King book. And that also means it’s a 50’s car that plays old Little Richard songs and crap while it kills people. I know the filmatists today are bad, they gotta put references to all the TV shows and movies from their childhood, but Stephen King is the original. This guy has been cannibalizing his childhood for decades. And also he’s been making up stories about inanimate objects killing people. Killer laundry machines and shit like that. Remember in the TV movie version of THE SHINING, there was a haunted fire hose that killed a guy? It’s alot like that only a car.

Actually, it’s a better movie than I remember it being when I saw it back in the ’80s, and I’m going to give most of the credit to Mr. John Carpenter. I’m not saying this is HALLOWEEN or THEY LIVE but it’s a good straightforward haunted car movie. The movie stars Keith Gordon (the kid from HOME MOVIES and DRESSED TO KILL) as a nerdy kid whose jock buddy tells him he needs to get laid now that he’s a senior and who gets his ass kicked in metal shop. They stab his sack lunch to death with a switchblade and he suffers the humiliation of everybody seeing that his mom packed him yogurt. (read the rest of this shit…)