Look, Stephen King had one hell of a year. IT blew everyone away and came close to breaking into the top 10 highest grossing films of 2017, Netflix’s Gerald’s Game was better than anyone expected, and that whole Stranger Things stuff is basically grade A King fan-fiction. Sure, there was the messy version of The Dark Tower we all want to forget about, and that TV adaptation of The Mist went nowhere, but it’s exciting to see how King’s work and fandom endures. Maine’s finest still has much to offer.
Still, you wanna go with The Tommyknockers?
James Wan, the guy behind The Conjuring, Furious 7 and the upcoming Aquaman movie, has been announced as the director of the upcoming adaptation of King’s 1987 novel. Roy Lee, one of the producers of last year’s IT, has also joined the project.
The story focuses on a small town in Maine - surprise - under the influence of a strange gas coming from a recently discovered spacecraft. It’s one of King’s more ahem… out there stories? The Lovecraft influence is obvious and there’s a lot of Quatermass in there. It’s not one critics love, and even King himself admits it’s not his best. To quote the man himself, he thinks it’s ‘an awful book’. It’s full of metaphors for drug addiction, which he was dealing with at the time. King says it’s the last book he wrote before he got clean. There’s an old Onion post about how King doesn’t even remember writing it that’s basically become an accepted urban legend.
It wouldn’t be a terrible idea to adapt it again, though (there was a terrible ABC mini-series in 1993 featurng Jimmy Smits). There’s something more interesting about adapting books that aren’t very good. You can do more with the material and not risk the fan backlash of ‘oh but the book was better’.
(Header photograph from Getty Images. I want that t-shirt)