The Regulators Is The Latest Stephen King Novel To Get A Film Adaptation

"When there's no more room in hell, this artifact said, the dead will walk the earth."

Finally — one of the most epic Stephen King/Richard Bachman stories outside of "The Stand" gets a proper adaptation. Twenty-six years from the release of King's novel "The Regulators," a movie is on the way. Deadline reports that Bohemia group has optioned the cinematic rights to King's best-selling 1996 novel, a Western horror-thriller that begins in the most evergreen of ways to an American audience: an active shooter situation.

Dutton published King's novel in 1996, three years before the real-life Columbine High School massacre. It was an event that upended suburban realities — any North American millennial writer will vouch for it — preceded by King's fictional disruption in Wentworth, Ohio. One day, four vans packing gun-toting "regulators" (not cool in the Warren G sense but scary in the mass shooter sense) terrorize the residents of Poplar Street, OH by putting a bullet in anyone brave enough to venture outside. Houses become log cabins, and the street transforms into something out of a child's hand-drawn sketch. Amid all of this, a child on the autism spectrum – a survivor after his parents were previously dispatched in a drive-by shooting – seems to be at the nexus of it all.

King wrote the novel under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman — a pen name that grew out of King's worry that his fame came from luck than talent. Signet Books printed Bachman novels under the pseudonym until the final novel, "Blaze," in 2007. "The Regulators" was on the tail end of that timeline.

Can't be any geek off the street

"The Regulators" film adaptation is being helmed by the executive president of Bohemia Group, producer Justin Ross. Ross acted as custodian to the King-approved script, working in tandem with screenwriter George Cowan to adapt the novel to the big screen. King tells Deadline that he is "delighted" to see "The Regulators" coming to the big screen, and Bohemia Group's CEO Susan Ferris echoes the sentiment:

"We could not be more thrilled than to be working with the prolific Stephen King and his team on this project. The novel's themes and characters resonate so powerfully, and we are looking forward to making an incredible film."

Justin Ross adds further:

"Working with Stephen King is a long-time wish fulfilled. Susan and George and I look forward to doing the novel and its author proud."

The story is as "good vs. evil" as you can get outside of "The Stand," and is actually in tandem with King's "Desperation," a desert-centric thriller that got its own television adaptation starring Ron Perlman in 2006. The two books both share the same characters, although the way certain characters behave in "The Regulators" isn't the same way they behave in "Desperation." 

"The Regulators" also does what other King novels do (looking at you, "Dreamcatcher") and works its magic through a neurodivergent character who has spiritual access that others could never reach. Better writers than this one can analyze the mechanics behind that and how it sits in terms of eugenics and the treatment of anyone deemed as Other, but "The Regulators" touches upon a concept that can be seen in the "It" films and other King works — that the youths have more firepower against evil than the adults give them credit for. In today's socio-political landscape, this is a welcome and necessary theme, even within a horror filter.