What do a clown targeting children’s fears, a living car, and a haunted hotel have in common? Their creator: Stephen King. King is one of the—if not THE—most well-known authors in the horror genre of literature. If you’ve seen a horror film, you’ve likely seen an adaptation of his works. The man has written so many novels and novellas it’s nearly impossible to swing a dead chicken without hitting a project King has been credited as its originator in the horror genre of film. There are the obvious adaptations (Carrie, The Shining, Christine, and It) with an overt supernatural trademark, but then there are the not-so-obvious stories with King’s twisted charm like The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me. Next to King are the writers and directors adapting his works, and that’s where the purpose of this blog begins.
Stephen King gave a small group of student filmmakers the opportunity to adapt one of his short stories for $1, also known as “dollar baby” or “dollar deal” films, and Frank Darabont was one of the lucky contenders. Darabont began his career in the early 1980s writing and directing the adaptation of King’s short story The Woman in the Room. The Dollar Baby films were not meant to be seen by wide audiences, outside of film festivals, so access to these films are limited and belong in King’s personal collection. Luckily, Darabont made an impression and went on to direct and write a handful of the most successful King adaptations to boot.
This evening at 5:30 on Panhandle PBS tune into On Story to hear Frank Darabont’s first-hand accounts on adapting the works of Stephen King, including The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist. As always, at the conclusion of the episode a short film will be screened. Just think, Jeffrey DeChausse’s Anniversario could be the next big thing and you’re seeing it first – so, don’t touch that dial (or whatever the equivalent of a dial is these days)! As always, check back for a Double Take… and, in the meantime, do you have a favourite Stephen King novel?