This year is an exciting one for movie and TV adaptions. Alongside the usual hype generated by Marvel and DC, we can expect adaptions of Ghost in the Shell, The Power Rangers and the highly anticipated Beauty and the Beast live-action remake. Alongside these potential billion dollar blockbusters, master of (oc)cult classics Stephen King is returning to screens big and small, with fresh takes on some of his most well known and revered works. But will they be any good? Previous adaptions have been a mixed bag, especially the modern remakes (looking at you, 2013 Carrie), so will 2017 gift us with three solid adaptions worthy of King's iconic source material?
'It' (Release Date: September 8, 2017)
Arguably the most highly anticipated #horror of the year is the movie remake of the 1990 classic miniseries #It, which originally starred Tim Curry as the root of all your coulrophobic fears. Pennywise the Dancing Clown was the stuff of nightmares, and won Curry favorable reviews — but the clown of the miniseries had some problems, which fans of the 1986 novel couldn't overlook. While it's considered one of the most famous of King's works, fans were not happy with Richard Bellis's reworking of the source material — which turned #Pennywise into a slightly camp caricature of the horrifying creature It has been in the book. One review on Rotten Tomatoes said of the remake:
Too vanilla, too banal and too earnest to do the source material any justice.
The 2017 remake is threatening to take Pennywise to the next level, and is reportedly keeping far more to the source material than the miniseries did. Directed by Andrés Muschietti and starring Bill Skarsgård, the remake has had a bumpy road to production — it was originally spearheaded by Cary Fukunaga and starring Will Poulter — before it finally began filming with Skarsgård last year. Our first peeks at the clown and cast (which includes Stranger Things' Finn Wolfhard) have been promising, and Skarsgård looks suitably creepy, but until we have a trailer it will be hard to gage the tone and terror of the movie, and whether Skarsgård's Pennywise will be a match for Curry's.
'The Mist' (Release Date: Unknown)
2007's #TheMist is one of those movies that you can't help but enjoy. The premise is simple and genius — a creepy mist washes over the small town of Bridgton, Maine following a violent storm, bringing with it a smorgasbord of monsters hidden within the fog. Set almost entirely in a grocery store, a group of survivors must figure out what they're up against and how they can survive.
- Do Stephen King Books Work Better As TV Series Than Movies?
- 5 Ways That 'Stranger Things' Channeled Stephen King
- Could The Duffer Brothers Direct 1 Of These 5 Unfilmable Stephen King Books?
The movie was actually pretty good — receiving a 73% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Director Frank Darabont controversially changed the ending to one where protagonist David Drayton murders his fellow survivors to save them from the horrors of the mist — only to be saved by the Army minutes later. King reportedly prefers this ending to his own.
So why do a remake? Well, it's a great premise and opens itself up well to a #TV adaption — especially when shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story prove there is an audience for this kind of survival horror. Many critics of the 2007 movie said that The Mist was a typical Stephen King horror; slow moving with no explanation or conclusion. From what we know so far, Spike TV's adaption will take the source material and build upon it, ripping open this world and hopefully giving us some idea of what's happening within it. TV Guide offered some idea of what the various plot-lines will involve, wetting our appetite for this exciting new reimagining:
"Alyssa Sutherland will play a mother who gets trapped in a mall with her daughter and her daughter's rapist; Morgan Spector will play the father of Sutherland's daughter who is stuck in a different location from the rest of his family; Okezie Morro will play a man with amnesia struggling to find allies; and Frances Conroy will play a woman whose ideas regarding the origin of the monstrous mist will lead to great conflict within her small community of survivors."
'The Dark Tower' (July 28, 2017)
The Dark Tower has not yet had its own on-screen adaption, but there's much to be said for the prequels, sequels, video games and tie-in comics it has inspired over the years. Described as King's magnum opus, The Dark Tower series began in 1984 with The Gunslinger and now consists of seven books. It's taken nearly 10 years to get the project off the ground, and has been tied to multiple actors and directors. The version we will get to see stars Idris Elba as lone frontiersman knight Roland Deschain (a.k.a. the Gunsligher), Matthew McConaughey as sorcerer Walter Padick (a.k.a The Man in Black) and is directed by Nikolaj Arcel — a fairly unknown director best known for his work on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Despite the movie being released this summer, we haven't seen a trailer. We do know, however, that the movie will not be a strict retelling of the plot, but more of a new take on the series. The thing about The Dark Tower is that it needs to be special, and it needs to impress if it wants to rank favorably with fans and critics.
Speaking to Deadline, Producers Brian Grazer & Ron Howard assured fans they had a team of "Dark Tower researchers" working alongside the screenwriters:
"One of the things we did was put together a team of Dark Tower researchers, devotees of the books. We wanted to restructure the novels to be most cinematic and Stephen King agreed completely and understood the journey we were on immediately and supported it. We used this group to inspire our thinking and stay in the universe of Dark Tower."
'Children of the Corn: Runaway' (Unknown) & 'Gerald's Game' (Unknown)
Not only will 2017 gift us with It, The Mist and The Dark Tower — but there are actually two more King adaptions listed for 2017. Children of the Corn: Runaway is the 10th sequel/adaption/whatever to King's 1977 short story and 1984 cult movie of the same name. According to IMDB, the plot follows a pregnant runaway called Ruth, who escapes a murderous child cult in a small Midwestern town. She then begins to live her life anonymously, trying to escape the horrors of her past. Do we need another Children of the Corn movie? Will it be better than any Children of the Corn movie that came before? Probably not. Next!
Gerald's Game is an adaption of another of King's novels from 1992. The suspense thriller stars Carla Gugino (Sucker Punch) as Jessie, and Bruce Greenwood (The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story) as Gerald, a couple who head to a remote cabin in Maine for a little romantic fun. What begins as a harmless sex-game turns into a night of terror as Jessie must confront the horrifying demons buried on her own mind.
At this point, you'd think Stephen King would be over adaptions of his work — but it's great that he's still getting involved in new projects. From It to Gerald's Game, there's a lot of positive hype swirling around these upcoming projects, and horror fans have every reason to be excited.