KING ON SCREEN (2023)
Release Date: 08/11/23 [Cinemas]
Studio: Darkstar Pictures.
"1976, Brian de Palma directs Carrie, the first novel by Stephen King. Since, more than 50 directors adapted the master of horror's books, in more than 80 films and series, making him now, the most adapted author still alive in the world."
OUR DOCUMENTARY REVIEW:
Stephen King is – and there is no contest here – king. Not just of horror. Not solely within the realm of the macabre or the weird. But of fiction in total. King of drama, coming-of-age, fantasy, and crime fiction. King of stories. The documentary King on Screen is a celebration of King’s fiction on the big (or small) screen as told by over twenty different filmmakers who were fortunate enough to adapt a King story. King on Screen tells their story.
Directed by Daphné Baiwir, the docu opens with Baiwir herself heading to Bangor, Maine. Her short drive is jammed with in-joke references and a plethora of winks (such as passing by the Creepshop: For All Your Needful Things). The intro playfully sets the table for the interviews ahead - and there are interviews a go-go here. Highlights include Frank Darabont, Mick Garris, Mike Flanagan, and Greg Nicotero. There is Taylor Hackford, (director) Tom Holland, Vincenzo Natali, and Josh Boone. These men and more discuss the importance of King as storyteller and translating those stories through their personal vision.
Greg Nicotero recalls molding James Caan’s prosthetic feet for Misery. Daniel Attias discusses the rationale behind Reverend Lowe’s lupine transformation in Silver Bullet. Taylor Hackford praised the chance to direct the woman-centric story of Dolores Claiborne.
Baiwir does address significant attention to two of King’s more prominent movies: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) and Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Both movies are well-known and well-loved (except for King, who despised The Shining). However, The Shining has been discussed and dissected exhaustively throughout different forums (Kubrick died in 1999). Darabont, on the other hand, is an extremely prolific filmmaker that I could listen to for hours. Cook him a home meal, uncork a few bottles of vino, and let him go sounds like film geek heaven. But here? Perhaps too much. Baiwir devotes a lot of runtime solely discussing two movies where nothing new is uncovered.
Of the many different personalities interviewed here (Mick Garris is always a joy) there are some shockingly notable absences. No Rob Reiner (Stand By Me, Misery). And no Brian DePalma, who holds the distinct honor of directing the first Stephen King adaptation, Carrie (1976).
There are few gripes or regrets throughout. No real discussion of failure be it artistic or box office. Baiwir safely captures a positive exuberance. But make it a little shorter with some clever editing? King on Screen could have been a Blu-ray special feature extra - or an all-star episode of “The Kingcast” podcast.
Whether you’ve always wanted to bike through Derry with the Losers or mistakenly confuse “Christine” for “Carrie”, King on Screen is a delight to watch. Even when the lights are off.