1976, Brian de Palma directs Carrie, the first novel by Stephen King. Since, more than 50 directors adapted the master of horror’s books, in more than 80 films and series, making him now, the most adapted author still alive in the world . What’s so fascinating with him that the directors can’t stop adapt his books ? The feature documentary KING ON SCREEN reunites filmmakers that have adapted Stephen King’s books for cinema and TV. In the cast, more than 25 directors, including Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Walking Dead), Tom Holland (The Langoliers, Chucky), Mick Garris (The Stand, Sleepwalkers) and Taylor Hackford (Dolores Claiborne, Ray). It is a movie made for the fans and with the fans, led by an international ambition
Stephen King, with over 34 book to screen versions of his novels, is the most adapted current living author. The artistic and box office success rate is roughly split 1/3 between good, mediocre and bombs. So any documentary like King on Screen that examines King’s big screen influence is going to be equally divided.
With the exception of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, of which King has no real love for, all of them see each other’s work as successful adaptations. They all acknowledge The Shining’s monumental place in the horror cinema cannon, but none are willing to acknowledge that it actually is a masterpiece or even a good King adaptation. Like Republicans kowtowing to Donald Trump, none are willing to risk King’s wrath- his authority over them is that absolute.
The Rob Reiner directed King adaptations are particularly admired. Stand By Me, and Misery are bathed in halos. The other 2/3 mediocre to poor adaptations become a trudge to sit through and listen to.
King on Screen suffers through too much mutual admiration society syndrome and gets a mixed 3 out of 5, or a B.
King on Screen is part of the 10th annual Chattanooga Film Festival playing online and IRL through June 29th.