This is a film that gave birth to ten, count them, ten, sequels and reboots? This mediocre, slapdash, and, at times, lazy film made enough money to spawn a franchise? There really is no accounting for taste.
From way back in 1984 comes the original Children of the Corn, an adaptation of a Stephen King short story. King worked up a draft for a screenplay, but producers ultimately went with a pile of pages written by George Goldsmith, with first-time director Fritz Kiersch at the helm. Kiersch was handed a budget of around $800k, and his gobbledegook somehow managed to rake in over 14 million bucks at the box office. That’s on us, folks. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Children of the Corn (1984)”
It, the 1986 novel from Stephen King, clocks in at over 1,100 pages. It’s a massive tome, from a part of King’s career in which it seemed he was abusing his editors. 1,100 pages is a huge commitment for a reader to make — one in which they are prepared to spend weeks or months with a book. How does one translate such an expansive work to the big screen? Peter Jackson might have some thoughts on that.
I’m about to write something that will call into question my credibility as a reviewer of horror films. I believe Creepshow is the best film George Romero directed. Blasphemy! What has led me to such low depths; to such sacrilege against Romero’s groundbreaking classic, Night of the Living Dead? How could I possibly elevate Creepshow not just above the incredible Night, but also above Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead? It might have something to do with the writing. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Creepshow”
Every single scene in The Shining, the classic horror film from Stanley Kubrick, is unsettling, sometimes deeply. From the opening montage, a series of beautiful helicopter shots of the Rockies, rendered menacing by the music of Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind, to the final slow zoom before the end credits, there’s not a single moment’s respite from the tension of this film. That makes The Shining somewhat unique in comparison to other horror films. There is no lighter side of the Torrance family’s lives that is upended by the goings on at the Overlook Hotel. They were doomed regardless. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Shining”
My Loyal Seven readers know that Missile Test is a big fan of John Carpenter. In fact, he’s the unofficial official director of both the Empty Balcony and Shitty Movie Sundays. He didn’t direct The Running Man, the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle from 1987, but he should have. In style, flavor, pacing, look, feel, music, inherent mistrust of authority, and its very ’80s-ness, I have never seen a film so Carpenteresque without being directed by the man himself. It’s uncanny. But, this month is not about John Carpenter. It’s about His Arnoldness. Continue reading “Schwarzenegger Month: The Running Man”
Here are a few indications that the movie a person is about to watch isn’t any good. One, I reviewed it (heyooooo!!). Two, the Wikipedia page for the movie barely breaks 300 words. Three, there is one item in the trivia section of the movie’s IMDb page. Four, I didn’t bother to use anything other than Wikipedia and IMDb when I researched said movie. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Graveyard Shift”
A general rule: films that are adaptations of books are not as good as the book. Why should they be? A film removes all the grace of prose, and by necessity compresses the story. Sometimes, though, films are better than their source material, and the rule is reversed. Jaws, Wolfen, Die Hard (aka Nothing Lasts Forever), Full Metal Jacket (aka The Short-Timers)...a list like this could go on and on. It’s strangely satisfying to watch a film that’s better than the book. But also confusing. All those films I cited above come from mediocre books. Yet the mind of a filmmaker was able to read them and think, “Yeah, this would make a good movie.” Okay. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Christine”
How times have changed. Within two minutes of Brian De Palma’s Carrie, an adaptation of Stephen King’s first novel, there’s a scene in a girls’ high school locker room after gym class with no less than half a dozen full frontal nude shots. High school girls (all played by adults) are bouncing around and giggling after showering, showing off their gloriously naked bodies. I can’t imagine there would ever be a film made today that featured nude teenagers so prominently, much less with such sappy eloquence and, yes, sexuality. It’s not long before the camera pans and settles on the film’s main character, Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), as she showers and caresses her body, culminating in a horrific display of bullying after the onset of her first menstrual cycle. That’s how viewers are introduced to the confused, introverted, oppressed, overgrown adolescent of the title: as she is brutalized by her peers. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Carrie”
“Stephen King’s masterpiece of terror directed by the master himself.” That’s how Maximum Overdrive was billed, right at the top of the poster. There’s an image of a bearded King peaking through a jagged rip in the side of what looks like a horse trailer manipulating characters and events in the movie marionette-style. There they are at the end of his strings, right above the chrome and lightning bolt logo for the film, slave to his every command and victim to every twisted whimsy. The poster implies quite explicitly that every other King adaptation to make it to the big screen was shit. But never fear, the master of horror has blessed this film with his presence — total creative control — ensuring that Maximum Overdrive is the quintessential Stephen King film. Suck on that, Stanley Kubrick. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Maximum Overdrive”
For about half the film, Mikael Håfström’s 1408, based on the Stephen King short story of the same name, is creepy and frightening. By then, the viewer has grown used to Mike Enslin’s (John Cusack) predicament, and the film has no other alternative than to fall into convention. That’s unfortunate, because if Håfström had been able to sustain the atmosphere of the first half throughout the film, it would rank among the best ghost films of all time. A lot can be said for a film with potential like that. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: 1408″