Will the Carrie remake and Under the Dome series reignite Stephen King’s box office power?
Starting in the 1980’s and continuing on for years, the literary works of Stephen King would adapted for the big screen. Sometimes the adaptations would have been better left untouched, such as The Lawnmower Man, The Mangler, The Running Man, Dreamcatcher, and Maximum Overdrive (directed by King himself). But more often than not, the film adaptions would go on to become huge box office successes and gain a following on home video releases. Movies such as The Shining, Cujo, The Dead Zone, Stand by Me, Cat’s Eye, Children of the Corn, Pet Sematary, The Mist, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Green Mile captivated audiences and brought even more popularity to the literary master of horror. But in time, the adaptions of his novels and short stories grew smaller and eventually disappeared for the most part. But in the last year, two adaptions of his works may bring about a resurgence in King’s writings.
In June 2013, CBS debuted the television series Under the Dome which is roughly based off of King’s 2009 novel of the same name. The series is set in the small town of Chester’s Mill which is reminiscent of other King settings. The town is suddenly thrown into a craze when a huge dome lands over the town, with those trapped being cut off from the rest of the world. The people trapped in the town must try to find a way out of the dome while also protecting themselves from those who can’t handle the affect of living in the dome. As chaos builds, it becomes more and more necessary to find out more about the alien-like dome.
The series pilot was the #1 ranked show on television that week with over 13 million viewers. Since then the series as continued to have over 10 million viewers each week with only five episodes left. The popularity has also helped CBS to decide to renew the series for a 13-episode second season that will air in the summer of 2014. Stephen King himself will write the first episode of the new season.
But Under the Dome is not the only one of King’s work that fans will get to see in 2013. Carrie will be released in theaters on October 18 and is directed by Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry). This is the third adaptation of this novel following the original 1976 film directed by Brian De Palma and the 2002 version that was made for TV. However, it has been noted that this adaptation follows the novel more closely than the others did.
The film star Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass films, Dark Shadows) as Carrie White and Julianne Moore (Children of Men, Hannibal) as Carrie’s domineering mother Margaret White. Everyone familiar with the novel and the previous films know the story of Carrie but we still have two months to wait to see Peirce’s vision for the film. Early trailers have been very simplistic but give the audience the feeling that this will be a much darker entry in the Carrie legacy.
But if the film is indeed a success, will this lead to a resurgence of movies made from King’s adaptations? Whether it be through remakes or new films, King has an abundance of writings to work from. I think it would be a great time to give the younger audiences a lesson on horror.
Inform this younger generation that before there was the gore-fest of the Saw franchise, there was audiences worldwide that squirmed in fear at the rabid dog in Cujo or the evil clown Pennywise in It . Before there was the zombie craze aided by The Walking Dead, the dead were purposefully brought back from the dead in Pet Sematary. And would any film with a homicidal machine be as good as an updated version of Christine?
Outside of remakes, I would love to see a film or even a miniseries of King’s 2010 novella Blockade Billy. Theaters were once filled with countless films with teenaged wizards or romances with vampires and werewolves. How about we get to see big-screen adaptations of King’s The Dark Tower series. And while others were adapted for TV, like The Stand, The Langoliers, and more, these writings could have a new life in theaters.
Just pick the novel or novella. King has a plethora of novels and short stories to work from. Sure, some may not work well as a film but many would. He was the master of horror before such a term was known. In the 1980’s, King’s adaptations held their own in theaters against the slasher craze. And I don’t see it being any different now with the modern horror movies that are being released year after year. I just hope someone in a higher position in the movie industry feels the same way I do.