Why Stephen King Isn't A Fan Of The Tommyknockers Miniseries

Though Stephen King is known as one of the most prolific horror writers on the planet, he's admitted that some of his works sprung from the period of time when he was struggling with substance abuse — namely, the late '70s and early '80s. King also said he isn't fond of the work he produced during this time, including his sci-fi horror novel "The Tommyknockers" and its television adaptation. King would even go to describe "The Tommyknockers" and "Misery" as a "scream for help" in his book "On Writing".

Released in 1993 on ABC, "The Tommyknockers" has the residents of Haven, Maine discovering part of an alien spacecraft that grants them telepathy and other superhuman abilities; however, the spacecraft slowly drains them of their life force, too. Although the miniseries boasts an impressive cast including Jimmy Smits and a pre-"CSI" Marg Helgenberger, it's riddled with ridiculous performances and shoddy special effects. To top it off, the aliens aren't that scary — they look extremely fake, even by '90s-era standards.

Trouble Tommyknocking at the door

Looking back on "The Tommyknockers," King admits that even if it's one of the worst books he's ever written, there's a decent story buried within it:

The Tommyknockers is an awful book. That was the last one I wrote before I cleaned up my act. And I've thought about it a lot lately and said to myself, 'There's really a good book in here, underneath all the sort of spurious energy that cocaine provides, and I ought to go back.' The book is about 700 pages long, and I'm thinking, 'There's probably a good 350-page novel in there.'

King's no stranger to revamping his stories. During the course of his career, he's revised and expanded upon the books in the "Dark Tower" series, and that's considered his magnum opus. Given that "Tommyknockers" was an overt metaphor for the issues King was dealing with at the time, a revised edition of the story could be worth a read. It wouldn't be the first time the Master of Horror dabbled with cosmic forces; one of his most popular books, "It," happens to feature a Lovecraftian entity that often takes the form of a (no-less-creepy) clown.

You can't do that on television

And if you thought King was harsh on the novel version of "The Tommyknockers"? That's nothing compared to what he thinks about the TV miniseries. Here's what he had to say: 

"I think my novels are much better suited for miniseries presentations. I didn't care very much for The Tommyknockers because it just didn't seem that the people doing it got behind the project sufficiently and felt the story."

Now, "The Tommyknockers" is about to receive a second chance at an adaptation. Universal Pictures is developing its own take on the film, with James Wan ("The Conjuring," "Aquaman") slated to produce and Jeremy Slater ("Moon Knight," "The Umbrella Academy") penning the screenplay. Wan and Slater have added more projects to their plate — including Netflix's adaptation of "Nocterra" which Wan is producing, and Slater scripting the "Mortal Kombat" sequel — their respective talents could result in an adaptation truer to King's vision for the story.