Hollywood's Stephen King
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Ever since Stephen King's first book, Carrie, became a bestseller, Hollywood has scrambled to cash in on the appeal of the most popular novelist in recent history. More than 17 films have been adapted from King novels or stories, including such comme Continue
Ever since Stephen King's first book, Carrie, became a bestseller, Hollywood has scrambled to cash in on the appeal of the most popular novelist in recent history. More than 17 films have been adapted from King novels or stories, including such commercial and critical hits as The Shining, Misery and The Shawshank Redemption. In this perceptive and enthusiastic book, Magistrale, an expert on the American gothic genre, examines these films in the context of their sources, demonstrating how they elaborate on and, in some cases, distort King's meaning. Magistrale investigates such topics as the fear of menstruation in Carrie, infatuation with technology in Christine and male hubris in Pet Sematary. He also explores some of the conflicts King has had with the high-profile auteurs who adapt his books. Brian De Palma ruthlessly simplified Carrie's experimental narrative, for example, and Rob Reiner ditched the violent ending of The Body for his sentimental Stand by Me. For his part, King initially abandoned the Rose Red TV miniseries because of disagreements with Steven Spielberg, and he rejects Stanley Kubrick's version of The Shining because it's "too artistic to operate effectively as a horror film." Of course, not every King film deserves this kind of analysis: for every rose, there's a stinker (e.g., Children of the Corn; The Lawnmower Man). Magistrale acknowledges some of these films are "celluloid disasters," but he maintains the rest constitute a body of work deserving of scrupulous academic treatment. Beginning with a lengthy interview with King himself, this book is a useful elucidation of King's work through the skewed lens of Hollywood.