the shining miniseries 6

(Welcome to The Unpopular Opinion, a series where a writer goes to the defense of a much-maligned film or sets their sights on a movie seemingly beloved by all. In this edition: an argument that the 1997 television adaptation of The Shining is a worthy companion to the iconic Stanley Kubrick film.)

Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation of The Shining ranks right up there with The Exorcist as one of the greatest horror films of all time. One person who has always been less than enamored with Kubrick’s film, however, is author Stephen King.

The Shining was King’s third published novel, released while he was on a hot streak in the 1970s, writing some of his most popular page-turners, like Salem’s Lot and The Stand. Over the years, King has been vocal in the press about his dissatisfaction with Kubrick’s adaptation. But in 1997, around the time of the book’s 20th anniversary, he was finally able to “correct” the problem, as Delbert Grady would say, penning and producing a much more faithful mini-series adaptation for television.

We are now about as far removed from the original airing of that mini-series as the mini-series itself was from the novel’s publication. Indeed, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the tale of the Torrances and the Overlook Hotel. And with two more high-profile King adaptations on the immediate horizon (namely, The Dark Tower and It), perhaps the time is right for a reevaluation of Stephen King’s The Shining, the 1997 TV mini-series.

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The Dark Tower sequel

Following years of development, a bumpy production period, poor test screenings, and a post-production process that was reportedly plagued with conflicting viewpoints from many different players, a film adaptation of Stephen King‘s beloved fantasy series The Dark Tower is finally in theaters.

But good things don’t always come to those who wait. The movie has received dreadful reviews so far (you should read our full review here), and it bungles the mythology from the novels so much that we wrote an in-depth piece answering a bunch of questions for anyone who hasn’t read the books.

But despite the negative critical reception, Stephen King wants a movie sequel to be rated R and a showrunner has been hired to tackle that prequel TV series. Will either of these projects actually happen?

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The Dark Tower Problems Plagued Post-Production

After years and years of waiting for an adaptation of Stephen King‘s epic series, The Dark Tower is now only days away from opening in theaters. Will general audiences jump right into King’s bizarre fantasy world? It’s currently on track to make somewhere around $25 million this weekend, but the accessibility of the story seemed to be a concern throughout the making of the film, leading to a series of creative clashes between the filmmakers and executives at Sony.

Below, learn about some The Dark Tower behind the scenes troubles.

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It trailer bd 13

Warner Bros. has unleashed a new trailer for Andy Muschietti‘s upcoming movie adaptation of Stephen King‘s classic horror novel It, and it’s even scarier than the frightening trailer that preceded it. A good portion of the new trailer consists of moments we’ve seen in other marketing materials, but there’s plenty of new footage that’s worth digging into, so check out our latest It trailer breakdown below to find out what some of these moments mean for the story as a whole. Read More »

Stephen King's It Trailer - Pennywise - It Footage Reaction

Pennywise the Dancing Clown is an unlikely horror movie icon, mainly because he has yet to appear in a horror movie. Many people know him from Stephen King‘s classic horror tome It. Many more know him from the 1990 TV miniseries adaptation, where he was played so memorably by the great Tim Curry. So, how does a 2017 big screen version of It take on a character so familiar (and so frightening) to so many people? Simple: you reinvent him/it from the ground up.

With this new version of It, director Andy Muschietti and actor Bill Skarsgård deliberately set out to create a version of Pennywise that feels nothing like Curry’s performance. In many ways, it looks nothing like the version described in King’s work, either. This Pennywise (actually the favorite form of an ancient, shape-shifting monster that preys on children) looks to reinvent the “scary clown” for a new generation of moviegoers.

When I visited the Toronto set of It last year, I saw firsthand just how different this Pennywise will be…and courtesy of the filmmakers and Skarsgård, learned just how this unique take came into being in the first place.

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Dr. Doom Short Film - The Morning Watch

(The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.)

In this edition, a video essay explores the art of what is called a rack focus, a camera technique that you may not know by name but will undoubtedly be familiar, a fan made his own Dr. Doom short film, and the child ensemble cast of the new adaptation of Stephen King‘s It imagines who might play them as adults if there’s a sequel. Read More »

the dark tower creature

The Dark Tower opens in a little over two weeks and the lack of marketing and that 95-minute runtime rightfully have fans of Stephen King’s beloved horror/fantasy series concerned. After years of development, could this long-waited adaptation arrive with a whimper instead of a bang?

It’s a question worth asking (and worrying about). But for now, this new featurette practically doubles as a new trailer, offering all kinds of new footage while various talking heads discuss the finer points of King’s “magnum opus.”

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the dark tower run time

Update: Stephen King himself has chimed in on the running time, arguing that the film is just following in the footsteps of the first book in the series:

The original article follows below.

The Dark Tower series is possibly one of Stephen King’s most difficult books to get into: It’s dense, it’s convoluted, it’s strange, and most frustratingly, it’s long. But thankfully, the film adaptation of The Dark Tower  doesn’t seem to be at least one of those things.

The official run time of The Dark Tower puts Nikolaj Arcel‘s sci-fi film gives me hope that this is the start of a trend for shorter blockbuster run times starting with this weekend’s Dunkirk. Could we be seeing the end of three-hour monstrosities? Is King’s most dense saga the answer to our cinematic run time problems?

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Mr Mercedes Trailer

It seems like even cellular networks are getting into the TV streaming game. And surprisingly, AT&T looks like it has a pretty solid first offering.

Stephen King‘s hardboiled 2014 detective novel Mr. Mercedes will be adapted into an AT&T original series, with reputable names behind and in front of the camera, including Big Little Lies creator David E. Kelley as showrunner and Brendan Gleeson as the star. And the recently released Mr. Mercedes trailer suggests that this unusual project is shaping up to be quite good.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Castle Rock Bill Skarsgard

Hulu’s upcoming TV show Castle Rock, a psychological horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse, has been slowly filling its lead roles as the show heads toward production. They’ve managed to snag some pretty awesome cast members so far – any show that prominently features Melanie Lynskey, Andre Holland, and Jane Levy is worth getting excited about – but now Carrie star Sissy Spacek won’t be the only actor who’s actually appeared in a movie based on a King novel: Bill Skarsgård, who is playing the terrifying-looking Pennywise the Clown in the upcoming adaptation of It, will be heading to Castle Rock as well. But who will he play?
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