Top 5 Worst Stephen King Adaptions
3.) Maximum Overdrive
This film is so unusual. First of all it is the only adaptation that King himself directed. Think about that. Of all the stories King could have done he picked this one. Ok so it’s about an asteroid that passes by Earth with its radiation enveloping the whole planet that somehow brings to life earth’s technology. Mostly just the cars, but even then there are plenty that we see that aren’t affected with no explanation why some are and some aren’t. It is said that when King directed this, he was completely coked out of his mind throughout the production. That would explain why ALL the performances are so cartoonishly over-the-top. I mean it’s a weird enough premise and it’s not helped by everyone either having a cartoonish accent or is acting like a caricature of something. I just don’t know what King would be satirizing if that indeed is what’s going on.
I’ll you tell something else that doesn’t work, though your mileage may vary. The score and songs are all done by AC/DC. Now don’t get me wrong I like a number of their songs. However, hard rock music gets you pumped up in a fun way thus isn’t really conducive to creating a suspenseful atmosphere. I know Stephen King is a big fan of rock n roll. He even plays in a rock band with “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening. It feels like he just wanted an excuse to work with them. Still for a first time (coked out) director it’s not a terribly shot film. I mean Stephen King’s no Kubrick with his style. In fact, I’d say the visuals are painfully standard. I don’t know, I’d just expect it not to be as good as it is. Then, one of the actors starts talking and it begins to make sense. Side note, I hear there is another film adaptation of this called “Trucks” which is said to be just as if not a little worse than this. How does that happen?!
2.) Children of the Corn
Do you know how many “Children of the Corn” movies there are? 8! 8 damn movies! 9 if you count the made-for-TV remake for the SYFY channel. Soon to be 10 because there’s one that’s supposed to be released direct-to-video some time this year. I can only wonder what Stephen King thinks of these films. I can tell you the major problem in the first few seconds of the film. They show the massacre of the children murdering all the adults in the town right at the beginning. In the book you follow the couple until they find the town and meet the children. It’s only then that they find out what happened. That would have been so much more effective. Instead, we know what happened because we watched the beginning so most of the film is just people walking around a deserted town looking at stuff. It’s boring because again WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED! Maybe they realized just how dull the film was and rearranged things to start the film off more shockingly. I guess they thought that would make us accept the tedious 2nd act of the film.
Even the “South Park” episode “The Wacky Molestation Adventure” that spoofs this did it better. Still even ignoring its awful way to tell the story most of the child actors aren’t terribly good. The best one is probably the one playing Malachai, the evil ginger. The actor playing Isaac doesn’t count as one of the child actors because Fun Fact: he wasn’t a kid. He was 25 years old at the time of filming. Thanks to a condition he was able to convincingly play a young boy. In the book the description of He Who Walks Behind the Rows immediately stood out to me as something that would be difficult to properly capture on film. I hear some believe He Who Walks Behind the Rows may be Randall Flagg. They had to change it for the movie, but went the “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” route with just making it a smoke monster. The whole thing comes off very goofy and just makes you wonder HOW DID THIS GET SO MANY SEQUELS?!!!
1.) Graveyard Shift
Let me again boil this film’s central problem to one main thing… RATS ARE NOT SCARY! I personally think they’re cute. Now yes if their diseased they’re not terribly cute and there are some you see that look pretty messed up from living in places like the sewer or something. But of course you’re not going to be able to get those because it’d be too much of a safety issue. So you have to use pet rats in a production like this and I know some still find those creepy, but I’m sorry I think they’re adorable looking. I mean their big versions of mice. What’s not to like? I don’t care how much scary music plays over their twitching noses and whiskers watching their next victim or how much blood you splatter by them eating a prop body part. It’s not scary. I’m mostly going aww while watching.
You know I even paused this film at the halfway point to see how long the film had been playing only to realize 48 minutes in and NOTHING in the plot had happened. This film is mostly just people cleaning up an abandoned mill, a random character we barely know gets killed by some cute little rats, and redneck small town assholes acting like assholes while sitting around the local bar. Riveting. The actual story doesn’t really even get going until the hour mark and I remind you it’s a hour and 29 minute long movie! The film is full of unknown actors. The only big name is Brad Dourif who is head and shoulders above everyone else. I get the feeling he was given full range to be as freaky as he wanted in his performance. The only other interesting thing is the actor playing the main bad-guy, Mr. Warwick. He was the first choice to play Capt Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Ya… that’s the most interesting thing I can think of to mention about the acting. An alternative casting of one of the actors and trying to imagine what Picard would have been like.
This is one of those short stories that I’ve read. While it was decent I don’t think anyone would consider it one of Stephen King’s best. Even in his short stories. It was an odd choice for an adaption to say the least. Lastly the ending, this has one of the most glaring goofs I can remember seeing in a mainstream film. So at the end with the big bat/rat creature thing is killed by getting its tail stuck in a cotton machine and slowly pulled in. Simple enough gory monster death. Oh ya SPOILERS, but I mean who cares. I don’t and neither should you. Anyway here’s the goof, THE TAIL FALLS OUT. I mean it goes in, but the shot lingers in SLOW MOTION and then we clearly see the tail slip out of the machine. Next shot it’s being pulled into the machine killing it. So why’s it being pulled in? I don’t know. I guess the bat was good about following the script and just pulled itself back in as to not upset the director. Or the filmmakers didn’t notice this painfully obvious goof. Neither speaks very highly of the film itself.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Thanks again for joining me for this year’s batch of Halloween articles, see you next year!