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The reigning King of horror

Written by TV

In the spirit of Halloween, it’s the perfect chance to talk about the brilliance and nuance of author Stephen King, and how his work has inspired decades of TV.

We hear a lot about movies with the tagline ‘Based on the novel by Stephen King’ and rightly so; a number of them are great adaptations. But for King, known for writing quite lengthy novels, TV show adaptations sometimes work better. A rather creative adaptation is the 2018 Hulu show Castle Rock. This show cleverly mashes together characters, stories and themes from King’s stories. It lends its title and setting from one of King’s fictional towns in Maine; the setting of many of his bestselling novels

Bill Skarsgård in Castle Rock. Credit: IMDb

. The show basically a Stephen King multiverse. Season one calls back to Shawshank Prison from King’s short story Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and the widely successful film adaptation. There are endless references to King’s work. Castle Rock is superbly crafted and the plot of the show itself runs on mystery and tension, the same way King writes himself. Season two is set to be released soon. 

Any chance to see these characters come to life is worth it. 

The 1990 ABC adaptation of IT deserves a mention. This premiered as a mini-series but you can still watch the full show in three hours. While it’s arguably not as scary as the new movie remakes, it has a certain charm to it that you only find in classic horror. As for casting, Tim Curry as Pennywise was a brilliant choice and differs drastically to Bill Skarsgård’s version in the new movies. While I do prefer Skarsgård, there is something chilling about Curry’s that I can’t quite put my finger on. The casting for the Losers Club as children and adults was good, although again, not as spot on as in the movies. Although I will always have a soft spot for Dennis Christopher’s portrayal of adult Eddie Kaspbrak. Overall, the mini-series can be questionable at times, especially that strange ending, but it’s an entertaining watch especially if you’re a fan of the book. Any chance to see these characters come to life is worth it. 

The latest major adaptation due to be hitting screens is The Outsider, based on his 2018 bestselling novel of the same name. A trailer for the HBO mini series just dropped and as an avid fan of King and the novel, I’m very much looking forward to it. As soon as the trailer started playing, I was all in. In only two minutes, it captures exactly how I pictured The Outsider as I read the novel. I’m also intrigued to see what Jason Bateman can bring to the lead role; Terry Maitland may be a tough character to portray effectively. The miniseries is set to begin in January 2020. Stephen King continues to prove that his timeless works have never-ending potential. 

Last modified: 31st January 2020

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