Horror’s Icons: Stephen King’s Terrors, Part 2
Stephen King has given us many great novels and stories that have been turned into movies. Some are very good and some are just awful. But no matter what, I have always been entertained by King’s work. Well, maybe except for The Lawnmower Man movie. But, in my first blog on King’s iconic horror figures, I looked at Christine, Cujo, The Shining, It, and Carrie. And now, in this second edition, I have five more Stephen King films to dig into and see what else he has terrified audiences with.
The Children Aren’t Alright
Just a quick word of advice from Blog 4 Dat. If you are ever traveling through Nebraska and need some fuel or have to take a bathroom break, please avoid the town of Gatlin. Trust me. Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton had to learn this the hard way. The 1984 classic Children of the Corn stars these two as a couple driving through the state when they trapped in the town and hunted down by a group of kids. These kids, led by Issac, worship of malevolent force that lives in the cornfields and will kill anyone over 18 that enters their town. The classic film spawned absolutely too many sequels and a TV remake but none have ever been as good as the original.
Man vs. Machine
The story of machines coming to life and taking over the world is a pretty common plot that many movies have used. One of the biggest movie franchises, Terminator, uses that story to continue making movies to this day. But King also had his input into this idea when he directed Maximum Overdrive, based on his short story “Trucks”, in 1987.The movie was also redone as a TV movie in 1997 and titled Trucks. In both films, machines start to come alive and terrorize people that are stranded at a gas station in a small town. While the movies are similar with some minor differences, I would highly recommend Maximum Overdrive for four reasons. First, it stars Emilio Estevez as a badass who fights back. Secondly, it features some kick-ass machinery including a killer lawnmower, a drink machine that fires out cans of soda, and a wicked looking toy company 18-wheeler. The third reason is the pretty good AC/DC soundtrack. And finally, just for extra emphasis, it stars EMILIO ESTEVEZ!
The Mist was directed by Frank Darabont and stars Thomas Jane as a father who, with his son and seemingly half of the small town they live in, gets trapped in a grocery store as a thick layer of mist surrounds the outside world. Unsure of why this is happening, people try to leave only to meet a deadly demise. Tensions build between the people in the store and it gets to a point where Jane must try to leave and deal with the unknown or end up dying at the hands of the crazed townspeople in the store. He and a few others make it out of the store and this leads to one of the most gut-wrenching endings I have ever seen. I won’t spoil it here just in case someone has yet to see it, but trust me. The ending will turn your stomach inside out.
Nothing Stays Buried Here
In 1989, Mary Lambert directed Pet Semetary which was based on King’s novel of the same name. The movie is about a family who move to a new house in the country. Everything seems perfect except for the big trucks that pass at high speeds on the highway right in front of their new house. Well, and there is also the makeshift “Pet Semetary” that was built in the woods behind their house. The father of the family learns from his neighbor that anything buried in that cemetery comes back to life, but never comes back the same. Well, when tragedy strikes and his son is killed soon after moving in, the father decides to bury his son there. And he does come back. But he comes back as a vicious killer that tries to kill his own family. Now the father has to stop his reanimated son from killing everyone that he encounters. A sequel was made a few years later and followed the same story, but was not as successful or good as the original.
Randall Flagg from The Stand
The Stand is a 1994 six-hour mini series that aired on TV and starred Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Jamey Sheridan, and Rob Lowe among others. The story focused on two separate groups of survivors that are roaming across the United States after a deadly plague has wiped out most of the world’s population. These survivors then have to make a choice of who to align themselves with, an elderly woman who is a servant of God or a dark and mysterious man, Randall Flagg, who may be Satan himself. Flagg is the main villain and is downright devilish in his use of persuasion to gain followers. When everyone makes their allegiances, the battle between good and evil begins and the winner will rule the desolate world. The TV mini series is one of the best made from a Stephen King source and still holds up well today. But a movie series is in the works for this story and looks to be in pre-production, with the material being split into four movies.
Daryl Karpinski Jr.