Stephen King is one of the great storytellers of our age, hell of any age if
it comes to that. It is therefore a strange thing that movie and TV adaptations
of his books more often than not fall well short of, well, not sucking.
This book is a comprehensive look at all things screen when it comes to
taking the printed words and, more often than not, ignoring the hell out of
them. Every production you can think of (and a whole bunch you couldn't and
will wish you hadn't found out about) can be found inside the covers here.
First of all, let's deal with the title. STEPHEN KING FILMS FAQ suggests a
certain format, but it's not like that at all. There are no list of questions
being answered, frequently asked or otherwise. And then there is the matter of
the subtitle 'All that's left to know about the king of horror on film'. Well,
that forgets about the whole chunks devoted to videotape productions and I'm
curious to know what it means by 'all that's left to know'. All that's left to know
Let's deal with the good stuff first. Scott Van Doviak knows his Stephen
King adaptations. What it may lack in surgical detail it makes up for in the
sheer breadth of its scope. Whilst books could be written (and have been) about
the troubled making of Kubrick's THE SHINING, it gets a single chapter before
we head on to the next one. There is so much ground to cover that we don't get
to dig too deeply at any point.
Von Doviak's tone is light and pleasant and the book itself is a very easy
read, almost a page turner. It's very easy to settle down to a quick sample and
find that three or four chapters have gone past. The layout is clear, going
through celluloid examples chronologically before then moving onto the
televisual delights on offer. It starts to run out of steam toward the end,
however, but that's because we're on to the odds and sods such as THE SIMPSONS
pastiches and films inspired by Stephen King.
Curiously, Von Doviak doesn't really seem to like many of the films and
shows on offer. He certainly spends more time waxing rhapsodic about what's
wrong with each of them than what's great. Then again, we all do that.
Despite the fact that it's 'all that's left to know', I doubt that there is
that much in there that the King devotee didn't already know. The more obscure
outings might be useful for the King completist, however. For the person just
getting into the visualisation of Stephen King's books, however, there is a
wealth of stuff to choose from. Is THE STAND miniseries as good as the book?
How did THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION move from a short story to a long masterpiece?
Is the Stephen King scripted THE SHINING better than the Kubrick version?
It's all here.
As someone who's liked and hated his fair share of King's books and films,
but is far from being an expert, I found this an enjoyable, easy read, though I
was possibly not all that more well-informed at the end of it.
I am English, mid forties and a recent widower with two children and no time to, well pretty much anything these days.
More pertinently, I write and the fruits of these labours are available as ebooks on the likes of amazon, ibooks, smashwords and lulu.com
My main area of interest is science fiction and fantasy with a side order of supernatural horror. That's what I watch and read and write. I am a geek and proud of it. In fact, I also run a website called the Sci Fi Freak Site reviewing genre TV shows (it being pretty hard to get to the cinema any more).
I am also a regular contributor (some might say heckler) of the kindle forum on amazon.co.uk. It was there that it was suggested that every writer must have a blog, so here it is.