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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Top 5 Underrated Stephen King Adaptations

If you been around this blog for a while you know I am a huge fan of Stephen King.  I got introduced to it, by an old collection of books my mother had. That collection soon became mine, but some of them were too worn out to read save for a few new ones I bought for her 3 years ago. My personal favorites out of them being Carrie and Christine.  Now that the new version of the former is out and since Halloween is a week away I want to do another tribute.  This time to the most Overlooked, Underrated adapations that very few have either seen and if they have, didn't care much for it. Why? Because I think they deserve a little love.

5. The Langoliers:
This one barely survived thanks to a combined effort of Bronson "Balki" Pinchot's over the top performance and the Nostalgia Critic's review.  I didn't even know of it's existence, until watching said review and upon watching this miniseries, I loved every minute of it. The story goes like so, a group of passengers find themselves waking up to an empty airplane. Upon landing they find more strange happenings and try to figure out what's behind it all.  Crappy CGI aside the pacing was actually pretty good and you really feel fear from their isolation. I won't describe anymore than that as the rest you have to see for yourself.

4. Tommyknockers:
Now this one I was aware of, but could never find anything on it until NC's review of said miniseries.  This tale is all about a radiation emitting spaceship, increasing the intelligence of everyone in Haven (Yes that Haven.) Maine.  While in the process making them more aggressive beings.  I love it mostly, because much of their dependence of their brain boosters realistically mirrors real life addictions; from the user staying awake beyond what the body can allow to said body decaying. That and drunk Gardner (who you recognize for being Princess Leia's adoptive father.)  is hilarious, especially when he does it on purpose knowing what damage he might do. As well as the miniseries having a better twist than the book itself which is Rare among adaptations.

3. The Stand:
Many people know this one and hate it. Mostly because there were a lot of heavy changes from the book to the movie.  But what do you expect, when said book (One of the few not in my collection.) is as long as the Tolken series it was inspired by?  A super flu infects all of the world, causing all but a select few to die off.  Said few divide themselves between Boulder Colorado, which is mostly a peaceful Town trying to bring civilization back to it's peak; and Las Vegas full of Anarchists, low lives and Arsonists.  It is a classic tale of good versus evil and much like the book it was based off of, it introduces a recurring villain in the King franchise: Randall Flagg. Played by Jamey Sheridan.  Speaking of which I hear there is gonna be a Dark Tower movie.  If they don't get Sheridan to reprise this role, they better get someone who can top it. I also like it due to a certain song in the soundtrack: The Beginning of The End, By W.G. Snuffy. That song is modern day Medieval personified.

2. Maximum Overdrive:
Many people dislike this movie, even King and Star Yeardley "Lisa Simpson" Smith consider it an old shame. However, there are certain things about it that make it worth the watch. Loosely adapted from "Trucks" A local truck stop is being held hostage by the world's technology.  Everything from Cars, Trucks, Electronic devices and the like have come to life and are pissed off.  The movie is worth it for 3 factors: 1. Stephen King himself gets called an asshole by an ATM. 2. It's one of a few movies that has the guts to show kids getting killed. 3. AC/DC.  The third factor especially caused the Angry Video Game Nerd, to give the movie a full 5 star rating. This in turn inspired a meme that shows any movie from Disney Princess to Harry Potter can be awesome when AC/DC is in the soundtrack.  King you may not like this movie, but we love the monster it created. 

1. The Shining Miniseries:
Ok this is gonna take some explaining.  There are two adaptations of The Shining.  One is the well received Kubrick Adaptation and the other is a less well received unless your a purist Miniseries.  How did this happen?  King himself never liked Kubrick's version, it was actually one of the first adaptions of his work that he was ashamed of. So taking matters into his own hands, King along with director Mick Garris who worked with him again in Bag of Bones; created a 3 episode miniseries that was more faithful to the book.  The story was all about recovering alcoholic, Jack Torrance who takes his family to the Overlook Hotel, to which he is hired as a Caretaker.  What they don't know is said hotel is haunted by a malevolent force that is after his son, Danny; who has an incredible psychic gift that allows him to see said force.  Now here is where the problem lies.  Kubirck's version while scary, was less faithful to the book, making everything ambiguous: Are the ghosts real or are the Torrances insane?  Was Jack Crazy the whole time or was it the booze?  (With the exception of the hedge maze, Kubrick wanted to have Topiary animals, but couldn't find a way to bring them to life. So props to him for trying.)  The story in the movie, became less Stephen King's The Shining and more Stanley Kubrick's the Shining.  I myself knew of the Shining by watching the Kubrick version, then reading the book.  Upon reading it, I myself was pissed off because so many crucial elements to the book were ripped out, such as why the ghosts were after Danny and how they were able to get Jack drunk again.  As well as the overall tone.  Both the book and miniseries played off more as a horror/drama, with the supernatural elements just being incidental like a normal day at work with everything being straightforward.  And that's probably why the Kubrick side of the coin hated the miniseries.  When you make something straightforward, yes it bores people, but it also helps them understand what is really going on, but when you make it ambiguous it let's the viewer not only decide what happened, but also scare them when they don't know.  However despite my understanding of why Kubrick's is more well liked, I am gonna have to side with King on this one. Mainly because regardless of what version people liked, it started with King.  Kubrick fans need to accept that without King, their movie wouldn't even be made, whilst King fans need to understand that if not for the Kubrick version, they wouldn't have something to fight for.  That being said I can't wait until Doctor Sleep is adapted. Having Danny battling the things he's been running away from is gonna be awesome.

As usual, debate argue and let me know what I missed.  Stay Tuned For More.

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