KING ON SCREEN
Filmmaker Daphné Baiwir taps into our love of horror through the lens and pages of Stephen King. Her new documentary KING ON SCREEN gives audiences all the insider goodies, things we heard through the grapevine and never before explored details from relationships with King and some of our favorite filmmakers who dared to translate his words for cinephiles.
The number of King’s books that jumped from page to screen is astounding. As a kid in the 80s, like many of the filmmakers in the doc, I grew up seeing King’s books on my family’s shelf but immersed myself in the films first. The kids in Stand By Me and IT became my peers. I rented The Shining, Creepshow, and Pet Sementary ad nauseum. By the time 1996 rolled around, I remembered the glee I experienced when I discovered The Green Mile in the grocery store checkout aisle.
While we don’t hear from King directly, we see stills and videos of Stephen on the sets of his adaptations. Filmmakers like Greg Nicotero, Mike Flanagan, David Carson, Taylor Hackford, Tom Holland, John Harrison, Mick Garris, and Frank Darabont share how King’s books inspired their work. They speak to the overwhelming readability of small-town horror. King singlehandedly made Maine an unlikely horror destination. I love that everyone addresses The Shining controversy. Behind-the-scenes footage and anecdotes explain the breakdown between the book and the film. Kubrick obliterates Jack Torrance’s humanity that fans of the book (King, most of all) hate.
King’s deep dive into the political landscape has always existed. The film explores his ability to explore universal truths, whether religion, race, or greed, and make characters lovable or loathsome based on their moral compass. In the same way, we joke about The Simpsons‘ writers predicting the future, Stephen King uses the global landscape to create villains and heroes that shake us to our core. Translating that from page to screen sometimes takes a slight adjustment. The best filmmakers always ask Steve first.
For horror fans, KING ON SCREEN is like a kid coming home with a Halloween candy haul that would put you in a coma. For fans of his books, it’s like changing costumes and going out for round two. It’s delicious fun, no matter how cliche you might find the Easter egg-filled bookend scenes. They play like a Where’s Waldo for readers and genre fans alike. (I loved it.) So, turn the lights down and make popcorn. KING ON SCREEN scares up our nostalgia and celebrates a storytelling master.
The horror documentary KING ON SCREEN will be in Theaters on August 11th
and available On Demand and Blu-Ray on September 8th.
The film is directed by Daphné Baiwir (Deauville and the American dream) and features interviews with Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Walking Dead), Mick Garris (The Stand, Sleepwalkers), Mike Flanagan (“Midnight Mass,” Doctor Sleep), Tom Holland (The Langoliers, Chucky), Vincenzo Natali (Cube, In the Tall Grass), Greg Nicotero (“The Walking Dead,” “Creepshow”), Mark L. Lester (Commando, Firestarter), Taylor Hackford (Dolores Claiborne, Ray), Dee Wallace (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Cujo), Tim Curry (Congo, The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and James Caan (The Godfather, Misery).