king-size summer

Stephen King movie adaptations are experiencing a bit of a resurgence lately, but they’re nothing new. King adaptations have been thriving since Brian De Palma’s Carrie in 1976, resulting in some genuinely great – and some not-so-great – films over the years. To celebrate the impending release of the latest King adaptation, It Chapter Two, the Alamo Drafthouse is about to kick-off something they’re calling King-Size Summer. The program will screen several King films on the big screen, a plan which will likely draw in King fans far and wide.

King-Size Summer

It sure must be nice living near an Alamo Drafthouse! I’m in the Philadelphia region, which means I get jack shit. But you lucky folks in Austin (and in some cases, New York and San Francisco) are in for a treat. Starting in July, Drafthouse is kicking-off King-Size Summer, described as a “month of Terror Tuesday programming in Austin and culminating in nationwide screenings of four films in all Alamo Drafthouse cities, audiences will be able to experience a King-Size Summer of terror on the big screen once again.”

“We’re crazy with anticipation for It Chapter Two, so to ease the wait, we’re revisiting some of our favorite Stephen King adaptations,” said Sarah Pitre, senior director of programming and promotions. “These screenings will provide a chilling countdown to the final chapter of one of his most beloved works of fiction. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to build up our fear tolerance before we’re scared out of our minds by It Chapter Two!”

The lineup includes the original Pet SemataryCarriethe Mist, and more. Even Maximum Overdrive, the one and only film King himself directed, will be included. King weighed-in on the concept of the King-Size Summer on Twitter, and took time to point out how terrible his solo directorial effort is.

The full line-up, with info on where the screenings are being held, is below. And if anyone from Drafthouse is reading this, please open a location in Philadelphia before I go out of my mind with jealousy.

 

CREEPSHOW (Alamo Drafthouse-wide)

The seminal 1980s horror anthology to end all seminal 1980s horror anthologies, CREEPSHOW is pop-art splatterfest that’s oozing with senior citizen zombies, bad dads, furry beasties, disco dance-offs, cockroach war-zones, and Stephen King turning into a plant. 

 

MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (Alamo Drafthouse-wide)

MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE is the ultimate Stephen King retreat into total excess, a savage glimpse into the horror maestro’s deepest id and weirdest whims. King directs King! A plastic Green Goblin steals the show! Prepare to be THUNDERSTRUCK! Wheeling between high-octane action, gruesome bloodletting, and goofball humor, this is an explosive oil pyre of F-U-N.

 

THE RUNNING MAN (Alamo Drafthouse-wide)

Based on a novella by Stephen King (as Richard Bachman), this violent and legitimately funny sci-fi action romp is an underrated classic of the ‘80s.

 

STAND BY ME (Alamo Drafthouse-wide)

Based on Stephen King’s novella, Rob Reiner’s film about the sadness that comes with the end of childhood innocence still maintains an emotional resonance decades later. Entertaining, moving, beautifully shot and naturally acted STAND BY ME is one of the most unpretentious looks at that too-often used buzz term of “coming of age.” 

 

CARRIE (Brooklyn, Yonkers)

Thanks to Stephen King and Brian DePalma, prom was transformed from a symbol of happiness to a violent hellscape of death. With DePalma’s bag of stylized tricks and King’s knack for pulpy shocks, CARRIE is a special kind of horror masterpiece that only comes along once every two-thousand years.

 

CHRISTINE (Austin, Brooklyn) 

CHRISTINE is John Carpenter’s go-for-broke assault on coming-of-age sentimentality in the form of a killer car movie. Adapted from Stephen King’s novel and feeling like it’s set one town over from Haddonfield in HALLOWEEN, this brooding hellraiser plays out like a greatest hits compilation from Carpenter and King’s respective careers.

 

THE DARK HALF (Austin)

Based on King’s meta-fueled novel and directed by horror legend Romero (DAWN OF THE DEAD), THE DARK HALF is a smart and overlooked creeper from the pre-SCREAM era. 

 

THE DEAD ZONE (Austin)

A super-powers team-up between director David Cronenberg (THE FLY) and Stephen King seems like an impossible dream. But it happened. And it’s GREAT. 

 

FIRESTARTER (Austin)

No matter what script you start with, any film with the star of PATTON, the star of APOCALYPSE NOW, and the star of E.T. – all directed by the guy who did CLASS OF 1984 – is gonna turn out pretty wonderful. What a bonus, then, to have it be a whackadoo Stephen King adaptation. 

 

THE GREEN MILE (Austin)

Based upon the Stephen King serial novel, the Academy Award nominated THE GREEN MILE is a dense and enthralling film that’ll lead to introspection and the thought of what it means to lead a truly fulfilling life.

 

THE MIST (Austin)

A wonderful blend of slimy creature-feature horror, paranoia, and commentary on the inherent terror of just being inside a grocery store. It’s also a total gem, and one of the meanest Stephen King adaptations ever put to film. Featuring scenery-chomping performances by the likes of Tom Jane and Marcia Gay Harden – as well as acid-spiders, a giant squid, and spindle-legged beasties that would have made Salvador Dali scream with delight – THE MIST never shies away being a nasty little piece of nightmare-fuel.

 

PET SEMATARY (Austin, Brooklyn)

The original adaptation of Stephen King’s meditation on grief, scripted by King himself and directed by Mary Lambert, is heartbreaking, horrific, and a touch campy. Complete with a theme song from the Ramones, PET SEMATARY sums up how we all really feel about death – it’s “no fair.”

 

SLEEPWALKERS (Austin, San Francisco)

Filled with gory carnage, jaw-dropping special effects, and a constant barrage of insanity, SLEEPWALKERS is the ultimate WTF party in Stephen King’s filmography. It’s a blast. 

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