Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Skip the novel, go for the movie

The movie is loosely based on Guy Endore’s The Werewolf of Paris, a mostly sensationalist, gruesome story that imitates the style of popular ‘true crime’ novels. The movie did admittedly skew the best part of the book, the sadistic relationship Bertrand’s to Sophie through which he finds some peace of mind for a little time although the relation would ultimately have been destined to end with him murdering Sophie, and turned it into a bitter sweet love-story and a promise of redemption for Bertrand’s tortured soul. But the movie did also take the completely random intro from in the book and gave it sense.
Personally I can live without the topics of cannibalism, forced incest and sadism the likes of which could make a even a seventies Euro Trash movie envious, and therefore prefer the movie over the book.

Ghost Story was the first contemporary horror novel I bought and it almost put me off the genre for good. After a highly atmospheric (read: scary!) beginning the books starts to waffle around and after having fought my way through 100pages or more of pointless rambles I flipped to the end to see if there was any point at all to the story and put the book away never to pick it up again since. Years later I saw the movie and the topic of this old men’s story telling club and a drifter with a girl rang a bell.
The movie cuts away all the embroidery and goes straight for the story, although, that much I must grant author Peter Straub, it does water down the impacting original end of the book considerably.
Still, the movie has a flow that grabs you and keeps you ‘till the end, which is something the novel couldn’t do.

Neither the movie nor the book are that remarkable in my opinion, after a great opening sequence including a violent werewolf attack the movie quickly succumbs to a typical ‘American Family’ dynamic. But Thor, the book the movie was based on, is among the few werewolf novels I never managed to get into. Written from the perspective of the family’s German Shepherd I though the writing to be too attention grabbing in it’s own right, so that it didn’t aid the story in the least.
I guess seen as a YA novel it can work, it didn’t however for me. The fact that the movie is good for a distraction and has Mariel Hemingway starring puts it definitively above the novel in my book.

The Dark Half ain’t a bad novel, it just felt atypical at the time for King. It’s a simple slasher the younger King could have handled better, in a more straight forward manner, and exactly that is what the movie does.
It skips all the fancy stuff and makes the necessary connections early on thus straightening out the story and setting it at the needed quicker pace the book missed for me.

Oh that poster style looks familiar doesn’t it?
Premonition with Sandra Bullock is harkening back to this.
But what's really remarkable about this poster is that in a as Star Driven world as Hollywood is, Stephen King holds more importance than any of the actors or the fact that 'Zombie' father George A. Romero directed the movie. No, everybody has to take second place behind King, the man has managed long since to become a living trademark and he's holding that position longer than any other contemporary author.

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