stephen king writes shitty books and has people turn them into (usually) shitty films and made-for-tv movies. of course, i’ve already bitched at great length about his tv version of the shining that he spearheaded after being so disappointed with kubrick’s film. that horrible piece of trash was just the first shitty king flick dana and i watched. it actually spawned this weird, masochistic project we have taken on, watching so many horrible film and tv adaptions of king’s books.
right now, we are 4.5 hrs into the stand, which was a tv miniseries back in 1994 or so. it’s probably the worst king flick we’ve seen yet. there are massive, massive holes in the story where it jumps to scenes that have absolutely no background. like the scene where gary sinise is performing an appendectomy on some guy in a backyard — up until that point, i had no idea sinise knew anything about surgery. i also didn’t realize anyone in the film had a sore gut, especially one that required surgery. i also didn’t recognize the guy sinise was working on. had he been introduced to us already? i don’t think so. and after that scene, there was no further mention of that guy, his appendicitis, or the failed surgery. so what was the point of this unexplained scene? i have no idea.
there is also an incredible amount of wasted time in the stand. after 4.5 hrs, very little has actually happened. a superflu has wiped out most people in the US, and we are left with a large cast of characters who have been directed by dreams to come together in boulder, colorado while another group of ‘bad guys’ is setting up in las vegas. that’s it. that’s all we’ve got to show for 4.5 hrs. and it’s not like there are complex, interesting characters. each one is very much ‘what you see is what you get,’ and all we’re getting is a lot of pointless, redundant conversations and activities.
something else that really bugs me about the stand is that every character introduces themselves using their full names, every time. “i’m stu redmond.” “i’m nadine cross.”i’m frannie goldsmith.” and that, to me, is actually one of the most glaring red flags of terrible writing. NOBODY introduces themselves using both their first and last names, unless it’s some kind of formal thing where your last name actually matters, so when i hear it in a movie — especially when it happens like 40 times in a single movie — my alarm bells go off.
but that’s how king writes. i had actually been reading the second book in the gunslinger series, the drawing of the three, but i finally gave up halfway through because of all this ‘full name introduction’ kind of stuff. it’s as if king is a perpetual 16-yr old kid, writing for other 16-yr old kids. it’s pathetic, asinine, childish stuff. a technique king uses a lot that further illustrates his juvenile writing style is that he often tries to make his characters seem really badass by making them say corny things that only a 16-yr old loser would think a badass would say. like, johnny looked hard at the other man and squinted his eyes just a little bit. he said, “listen pal, i’ve tangoed with the best of ’em so if you want to tango with me, well, you just go right ahead. but i’ve got to warn you that i’m gonna lead the dance, and it’s gonna be a real uptempo number, so you better hope you can keep up with me, or your toes are gonna get real sore.” i’m actually proud of myself, that’s a very good impression of king’s writing style.
i certainly won’t say that everything king does sucks. i’ve liked a handful of films based on his writing, and one or two of his books, but i don’t understand how he can be considered a ‘master of horror’ when so much of his shit is so corny and schlocky. ‘court jester’ of horror might be a title better suited for him.