Book Review by Michael McCarty
I have been a big fan of Stephen King’s books and movies long before I could even shave. I am reprinting this book review which was featured on Science Fiction Weekly, the official website of the Syfy Channel
Creepshows: The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Guide
by Stephen Jones
Billboard Books, 2002, trade paperback, 192 pgs., $19.95, ISBN: 0-8230-7884-1
With Stephen King movies, you get the good, the bad, the ugly, and the endless Children of the Corn sequels.
With this feature film guide, British editor Stephen Jones chronicles all of King’s cinematic and television adaptations. Stephen King once said in an interview, “Here’s the story. If somebody wants to make it into a movie – I love movies.” That love for the cinema might account for the fifty-plus adaptations of his work.
Here are some highlights from the book:
Carrie was made into a movie by Brian De Palma only two years after King’s paperback publication of the book. The movie launched his career onto the bestsellers list.
Two days after Rob Reiner began directing Stand By Me (from “The Body,” a novella from King’s Different Seasons), the studio was sold and the project was dropped. Norman Lear, producer of TV’s All in the Family, personally came up with $8 million so the film could be made.
Director and screenwriter Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile) once made The Women in the Room as a student film. King sold the rights to him to make the video for one dollar. Three years later, Darabont and producer/art director Greg Melton completed the short film for $35,000. It was one of King’s personal favorites.
The first film for which Stephen King wrote a screenplay was Creepshow. The first screenplay he wrote based on one of his own books was for Silver Bullet (a.k.a. Stephen King’s Silver Bullet).
The first movie filmed partially in Maine was Creepshow 2. The first movie to be filmed entirely in Maine was Pet Sematary.
Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile weren’t marketed as Stephen King films, but were some of the highest-grossing King movies.
Two Stephens create one kingly book. A book on Stephen King’s films was inevitable. What makes Creepshows a delight is that it fell into the hands of Stephen Jones, someone who knows the genre inside and out and who is one of Britain’s most acclaimed anthologists of dark fantasy and horror, with more than seventy books to his credit. He is a thirteen-time recipient of the British Fantasy Award who has also been honored with two World Fantasy Awards, three Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Awards, and two International Horror Guild Awards. A horror expert with his expertise is more than capable of handling such a monster project.
The award-winning media maven of the macabre does a fantastic job dissecting Stephen King’s cinematic work. He uses over sixty sources of material for Creepshows and includes content from horror artists Bernie Wrightson, directors Darabont and Mick Garris, and authors Peter Straub, Harlan Ellison, Dennis Etchison, and David J. Schow.
Jones gives the book’s source material more respect than most mainstream critics would dare. He remains objective most of the time, never getting too heavy-handed, even considering the number of lame sequels. The book also includes an in-depth interview with King, focusing on his films and television productions as well as his books.
Rounding out the package are a report on forthcoming King films, a section on unproduced projects, a list of all the cameos that King has made in the films (fifteen at the time), a listing of behind-the-scenes players, and an index to the stars of King movies.
Jones also includes plot summaries for the films, production histories, cast listings, an introduction by film director and screenwriter Mick Garris, and “Fact File” trivia in the margins.
Did I mention that this definitive guide for the legions of King fans out is jam-packed with over 200 photos? Creepshows is like an all-night Stephen King film festival – scary, fun, and often surprising.
My other blog about Stephen King: https://monstermikeyaauthor.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/stephen-kings-the-stand-and-me/
Stephen King is mentioned several times in my book: MODERN MYTHMAKERS … right now, the ebook and nook are only .99 cents. Links are below: